this copy and paste is a little off topic, but it is related
* Tech Agenda
* Internet Insider
Courtesy of the Colmbus dispatch
Microsofts spending priorities questionable
Monday, January 10, 2005
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
Microsoft spends more than $6 billion a year on research and development. It has come up with such wonders as the digital toilet (and as Dave Barry might say, Im not making this up).
And last month the company returned $32 billion to its shareholders, confessing that it doesnt have a better idea of how to spend that wad of money.
I can suggest a few for 2005:
How about a firewall for every Windows owner?
Firewalls block hackers from invading your computer. Without a firewall, youre open to hackers every second youre on the Internet. They might just poke around in your files or they might change or steal what they find. Want your tax returns, online banking info, passwords and personal photos circulating on the Internet?
Microsoft added a firewall in the most recent versions of Windows a lame, halfway firewall. And in the new update to Windows XP (Service Pack 2), that firewall is actually turned on, instead of off. But what about the tens of millions using older versions of Windows? Why do they have to find, figure out, and install a firewall from some other company? Why are they faced with paying extra for something that should have been in Windows in the first place?
And even if you think it was reasonable to leave the firewall out back then, why wont Microsoft spend a few million now to provide protection to those people who trusted the company with their personal data? Talk about an obvious step toward customer comfort.
How about anti-virus protection for Windows?
Somehow all of that R &D seems to have missed viruses, which have cost Windows users billions for years and years. Windows still doesnt come with any anti-virus protection, none, despite the danger that viruses can cost you time, money, your credit rating, and could be part of a cyberterror attack on the U.S. economy.
Despite that, nearly every virus attacks Windows, not Linux or Macintosh. (Of course, maybe spending a little to make Windows less virus-friendly would be a good idea, too, along with the virus fighters and blockers.) Door locks arent an extra-cost option on cars. Why are anti-virus programs an extra-cost item for Windows computers?
And how about spending some of that cash to help us against spyware and adware?
Theres more of this malware" threat every month. And nearly every spyware attack is aimed at Windows, which gives spyware makers convenient built-in tools for taking control of your computer. Thats how a homepage can be hijacked to show porn ads and search offers. And how your keystrokes can be logged and emailed to crooks who want passwords.
How about investing in technology that stops spam?
Because not all of us love spam.
Well, Bill Gates claims that the computer industry with Microsoft a leader is halfway to solving spam." Surely youve noticed the 50 percent cut in your spam load? No? Well, neither did I.
Maybe its because you havent been using the advanced spam-filtering option that comes with every copy of Windows and Outlook Express? Oops. My mistake. Thats actually in the free Thunderbird e-mail software from Mozilla.
Funny how a few people shipping a free program offer better anti-spam technology than the worlds largest software company spending billions every year on research. Funny.
How about adding a new R &D department called What People Actually and Desperately Need."
Alongside the billions for digital toilets, way-complicated-watches and other such wonders, this department could direct a few million to get us protection here, now, today from real threats and dangers.
But then, that wouldnt sell more copies of Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, or Outlook Express, would it? It would only fix what Microsoft has already sold. And when you own" customers who think they cant go anywhere else, why spend more money just to make those customers safer and happier?
At least the other R &D spending has some chance even if its only 1-in-abillion on the toilet thing to sell more stuff at some point in the future, making more money that can be given in dividends to those shareholders.