Microsoft in 12 step program

Microsoft has released a 12 step plan to help its image and communicate their intent to prevent the kinds of lawsuits like the one going on with the EU.

While I think the plan will work on a number of levels, I am disappointed that it had to happen this way.  I am not of the belief that Microsoft has never acted in the name of profit or that sometimes there have been less than the fairest of practices employed, but is this any different than any other company?  I would prefer that the oil and gas companies were held to such high standards or even just the cable companies.

The Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition are outlined on the MS site and should make anyone who has dealt with Microsoft in the past feel a bit better.  The reason for this is that in all my dealings with Microsoft the staff there have been zealots about dogma.  If it is a defined part of the company culture (as these tenets are sure to be) then it is embraced pretty thoroughly.

I have no doubt that this will help Microsoft by actually influencing the internal culture and that it will help competition.  I just wish the pressure it took to make a single software company do this were either applied to the industry instead or better yet to an industry that actually needs it.

Mining for Malware

When I see an article like this one in eweek, I always wonder about how the people doing this cool thing will make enough money (or any money) so they can continue to do these cool things.

Basically they are using the Google Search APIs to ferret out sites on the Internet that are hosting malware.  I think this is great, but the article didn’t say how this cool thing would be actually used to benefit the world.  If they notified site owners that they had malware and pointed out exactly what was where then there is no profit in this (Do I sound like a Ferengi here?) which means it isn’t likely to be sustainable.  But what if they notified sites the first time (civil minded) and offered to keep them updated in the future for a nominal annual fee.

I find that many great ideas languish and die because people want to hold onto the open source kind of dream and for some reason either don’t see how to help the community in a self sustaining way or are just worried about being accused of just being out to make a buck.