Microsoft will solve the spyware problem? Not.

The quality and quantity of Kewl Aid being served in Redmond must be going up this season. This article published over at News.

The quality and quantity of Kewl Aid being served in Redmond must be going up this season. This article published over at makes it seems like there is universal consensus that Microsoft has finally got it right and that Vista is going to make the spyware problem go away.  I hope I am not alone in thinking that this is just crazy talk.


First and foremost, Microsoft has not even come close to demonstrating that they can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting malware. It is way too early to grant them victory. They were two years late in introducing Windows Anti-spyware beta and *that* program still recommends that you *ignore* the most insidious adware on your computer, helping to pump up the business prospects of the most invasive of desktop scumware.  One can only assume that this lack of judgement and lack of concern for end user safety and security will carry over to Vista Defender.


Second, Vista will not gain significant market share for at least three years. I read somewhere here that over 50% of enterprise has not upgraded to XP yet! The stand alone anti-spyware companies support versions of Windows all the way back to Win98.  Microsoft does not even support those operating systems anymore. So spyware will continue to be the scourge of the desktop through the year 2010. It is a little early to talk about nails and coffins.


There are two groups of computer users that already experience the “spyware is not a problem” state of bliss. Those that have purchased a commercial anti-spyware product and those that use a Mac.  Don’t ask me, ask Walt Mossberg at the WSJ.


And while I am ranting against myopic prognosticating… What is this “spam is just an annoyance?”  Did Microsoft make spam go away as well?  I was recently losing a few emails so I asked Spam Assassin to go ahead and forward all my spam so I could check it. I get over 2,000 spam messages a day!   Spam must be working and the damn spammers must be getting rich. And the anti-spam companies must be doing just fine thank you.


Do I need to put a disclaimer in here? Yes, I worked at an anti-spyware company for a year and a half. No, I do not own stock in that company. And no, I have no positions in MSFT either long or short.


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