Sunday, November 04, 2007

Microsofts greatest PR success

It's no secret that Microsoft has one of, if not the, greatest marketing entities in the world. Bill Gates was not an actual programmer of any significance, but a brilliant marketing master. That's why, even with the prevalence of superior alternatives, the vast majority of systems run Microsoft software of some kind (if not exclusively).

Some in the techie world debate over what the greatest marketing success the fellows in Redmond have made. Some say it's the deals with the OEM's and VAR's to have MS software preinstalled on their systems. Others say it's the applications. Still others point to data formats. However, I think it's something more subtle.

The greatest PR success for Microsoft was convincing the media and users that all viruses (and other security exploits) be called "Internet viruses" and not labeled, as they truly should be, "Microsoft viruses."

Now, my intent here is not to get into a religious flame fest over who's OS is best. Any IS/IT professional worth his salt knows that all operating systems suck, all apps are dangerous and all network systems are just a disaster waiting to happen. But the "normal" user doesn't know this. They don't even know that anything exists outside of Microsoft's domain. Oh, they probably have heard of Mac's from the cute ads on TV and they may have heard of this Lee-nooks or Ly-nuks or some such. But they don't know anything about them because their computer came with Windows and MSIE and Outlook and MS Office, etc, etc, etc. And that's all fine and dandy. While the practices that Microsoft uses are less than fair, the bottom line is they have the clout and they are using it.

But if the users ever knew that all the hacks, cracks, viruses and worms could be drastically reduced, or even completely avoided, by running non-Microsoft software do you think the software landscape would be different? I do. I do because when it comes down to it, users just want to use their computers to do stuff. They don't want to worry about stolen passwds and personal information, viruses destroying their data or spambots turning their computers into self replicating zombies. They also don't like being bothered with patches and upgrades that consistently break things.

Viruses, worms, rootkits and trojans all exist for every OS and every app there is. But when you have a system with at least a halfway decent amount of security built-in from the beginning, wouldn't you be interested in checking it out? Imagine what it would be like to practically never have any "Internet viruses" to contend with.

Wouldn't that be a nice place?

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