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News

Security Essentials For Free Brings Benefit To Microsoft

Lieberman Software : 15 November, 2010  (Technical Article)
Phil Lieberman of Lieberman Software comments on Microsoft's move to make security essentials free to its partners and how this can benefit the company
"Microsoft is already playing both sides of the "you/I fix my problems" scenario of security. In fact, it not only patches its own products, it also provides a very rich environment for other companies such as McAfee and Symantec to do likewise with 3rd party solutions. The free market provides a heavy hammer that is constantly pounding on Microsoft via humiliation, reputation damage, and competitive FUD (i.e. Apple's claim that there are no viruses or exploits against "their" systems).

The computer science behind the flaws and their vast numbers is well understood and the number of flaws cannot be brought down to zero with an infinite amount of money. That is not to say the Microsoft products have been getting progressively more secure each year; they have been. The core issue is simple the statistics behind very large products and the need to be constantly updating these same products with new features to keep the upgrade revenue flowing.

Paying money to third parties will undoubtedly find security flaws, but I personally can't see this providing much benefit to Microsoft or its customers. There is already a booming business of researchers, commercial companies and those seeking to make a name for themselves as "security experts"…all without Microsoft providing financial sponsorship.

It sounds more like the thesis of the funding argument is the common refrain: "Microsoft is rich and can afford to be further taxed, humiliated, and punished for its success…right?" I personally think that Microsoft can be humiliated for many things, but in the case of security, I personally think they are doing a very good job and the security community at large is helping keep the security net as tight as possible. Another "security tax" on Microsoft serves no purpose other than to punish the successful."
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