Printer Friendly

MICROSOFT'S GATES CALLS FOR NEW FOCUS ON SECURITY.

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates recently called for a fundamental shift within the software giant to focus on what many consider the company's Achilles' heel -- security against hackers and viruses.

In a memo sent to Microsoft's 47,000 employees and made available to media on Wednesday, Gates said locking down the company's products -- a strategy he dubbed "Trustworthy Computing" -- was vital to the success of its .NET strategy to roll out Web-based services.

"If we don't do this, people simply won't be willing -- or able -- to take advantage of all the other great work we do. Trustworthy Computing is the highest priority for all the work we are doing," Gates wrote.

Computer security experts have criticized Microsoft over the years for what they say are inherent vulnerabilities in its products, such as the Windows operating system and Outlook e-mail program.

Microsoft acknowledges security problems often hit its products, but has said the popularity of its software makes it an attractive target. It also maintains there is a trade-off between offering ultra-tight security and making software easy to use.

But Gates' memo indicates he now believes bells and whistles cannot compensate for vulnerable products.

"All those great features won't matter unless customers trust our software. So now, when we face a choice between adding features and resolving security issues, we need to choose security," he wrote.

The Trustworthy Computing program would also emphasize reliability and privacy, two areas analysts have said are essential for .NET to have a shot at succeeding.

While Microsoft has won praise for the stability of its latest operating systems, Windows XP, analysts have been less sure how it can protect the privacy of .NET customers, who could have data like passwords and credit cards stored on Microsoft-powered networks.

"Trustworthy Computing is computing that is as available, reliable and secure as electricity, water services and telephony," Gates wrote.

The Sept. 11 attacks and a series of damaging computer viruses last year drove home the need for security, Gates wrote. The company has also seen embarrassing outages of its instant messaging service, Hotmail e-mail and MSN network of Web sites.

A Microsoft spokesman said the memo was not in response to a particular incident or attack.

"It's a continuation of what we're doing on security and the recognition of the importance of meeting the critical challenge of making safe and secure software," spokesman Jim Desler said.

Gates said his call should be seen carrying the same weight as two earlier major strategy shifts for the company -- when .NET was outlined two years ago, and a now-famous Internet "tidal wave" memo Gates penned in the mid-1990s that led to the company finally tackling the Web head on.

"Over the last year it has become clear that ensuring .NET is a platform for Trustworthy Computing is more important than any other part of our work," he wrote. [sections]
COPYRIGHT 2002 Millin Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Comment:MICROSOFT'S GATES CALLS FOR NEW FOCUS ON SECURITY.
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 21, 2002
Words:479
Previous Article:NORTHROP GRUMMAN PURCHASES ENGENUITY TECHNOLOGIES' SUITE OF PRODUCTS FOR AVIONICS DEVELOPMENT ON DISPLAY PROGRAM.
Next Article:TOSHIBA INTRODUCES WORLD'S HIGHEST CAPACITY 1.8-INCH HARD DISK DRIVES.
Topics:


Related Articles
Br'er Hill & The Briar Patch A Cautionary Tale.
Letters.
"CHIEF SOFTWARE ARCHITECT" OF MICROSOFT LAYS OUT BLUEPRINT FOR INTERNET FUTURE.
MICROSOFT'S GATES UNVEILS NEW DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTS.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters