Redmond, AKA Securityville (1/17/02)

Hey Redmond-- stop the presses, or whatever the heck it is you stop when you want all operating system development to grind to a screeching halt. According to a New York Times article sent to us by faithful viewer Sledgehammer Smythe, Big Man Bill has brought word down from the mountaintop, and that word is SECURITY. Yes, folks, Bill had an epiphany, which was evidently this: that shipping software so full of holes that it probably costs the world's businesses billions of dollars in damages every year is a Bad Thing™. Having reached this radical conclusion, he now wants his workers to focus on making the company's products more "trustworthy," even at the expense of adding new features.

This is a sea change from the apparently age-old Microsoft tradition of "ship it now and fix it later," but Bill is willing to put the company's money where his mouth is. According to the Times, he is actually "stopping development of new operating system software for the entire month of February and sending the company's 7,000 systems programmers to special security training." Zowie! In addition, "every developer is going to be told not to write any new line of code until they have thought out the security implications for the product." If all that's true, then it sounds like Bill's really serious about this-- and it only took Melissa, ILOVEYOU, Nimda, last month's massively nasty Universal Plug and Play bug, and about eight billion other flaws and viruses to clue him in. Still, better late than never.

For what it's worth, while we're a little skeptical that Microsoft is suddenly going to turn into the Safe Software poster child of the industry (it sure seems convenient-- and awfully good PR-- that Uncle Bill's company-wide memo was "leaked" to the Times), if the company is really going to shift its emphasis to safety in coding, we back that decision a thousand percent. Sure, we'll have to live without taking the occasional easy security-hole potshot at Microsoft, but we figure, what the heck? We'll still have bloatware, antitrust issues, Bill's haircut and sweaters, and the big gun known as "all things Ballmer" in our arsenal, so we're willing to make the sacrifice. It's the least we can do for the world at large.

SceneLink (3514)
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The above scene was taken from the 1/17/02 episode:

January 17, 2002: Toshiba announces new tiny drives that may give the iPod a little more muscle. Meanwhile, the color of the universe constitutes proof of Steve Jobs's alien status, and Bill Gates tells his troops that Microsoft needs to become a bastion of secure software...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3512: For The True Music Glutton (1/17/02)   Any suspicions we had that the iPod isn't a revolutionary device have long since evaporated, and here's why: this morning we couldn't decide what we wanted to hear, so we started listening to every single song in its library, in alphabetical order by artist...

  • 3513: Steve Jobs Phone Home (1/17/02)   It has recently come to our attention that, despite his predilection for bare feet and black turtlenecks, his uncanny ability to bend mere mortals to his will, and his decidedly unusual diet, some people think we're kidding when we occasionally refer to Steve Jobs as an extraterrestrial life form...

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