Click here to read the interview that Bill Gates gave to PC Magazine recently. After reading it, you’ll probably be wondering how this man has amassed more money than anyone in US history. Michael J. Miller, editor-in-chief of PC Magazine, did the interview, and I feel he asked some very good questions that we all have been wondering lately. He asked Bill Gates why Windows has so many problems with viruses and worms. Bill’s response, from what I could distill, was Windows has problems with viruses because it’s so popular. What does the install base have to do with the fact that Windows easily allows viruses to run on it? In the small server market, Linux is fairly dominant and it’s rare when you hear of an exploit that cripples all these servers en masse. Granted, the popularity of Microsoft operating systems does help justify spending the time to write a virus. If Microsoft wrote a secure OS that was very difficult to write a virus for (Unix, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X…), it would be very hard for virus writers to justify spending so much time to do so.
Gates goes on further to deny, very streniously I might add, that Windows is not more vulnerable than Macs or Linux boxes. While other OSs have their holes and vulnerabilities, they are so much harder to exploit than those on Windows. That’s because the people who write other non-Microsoft OSs realize that if something can be broken, somebody eventually will. When you write code with that mindset, you try everything you can think of to break the stuff. Microsoft obviously does not think defensively. [Note: I do realize that a product as complex as Windows will have holes in it no matter how well it is written. Microsoft, however, with Bill Gates as its mouthpiece and figurehead, uses this an an excuse to allow too many bugs to be released to the general public.]
Miller asks Gates about the lack of improvements to the search speed of the popular Outlook email client. (The slowness of the searching speed in Outlook has long been a sore spot with those who use it and keep a lot of email.) Gates says that Microsoft could fix it, but then goes into a big load of crap about some new features in upcoming products. He circumvents the issue and starts plugging new products!!! This is so typical of Microsoft: Ignore the now, leave the broken unfixed, and add new features that 99% of computer users never use. Microsoft really needs to realize that new features are only part of the reason people like to upgrade software. Improving upon the speed, stability, and security of existing releases is just as important. Based on this interview, I think it’s safe to use Steve Jobs’ former favorite phrase: Bill Gates “just doesn’t get it.”