Volume II, Issue XI

Dear Bill: I've always admired your work. You've built the world's largest software company from the ground up.

Columns From: 11/1/2001 Modern Machine Shop, ,

Dear Bill:

I've always admired your work. You've built the world's largest software company from the ground up. You've helped teach the world about possibilities. When you caught grief for that whole browser thing, I defended you because I saw the validity of bringing the Internet to the "desktop" seamlessly.

You are the man.

And I know you're awfully busy right now, what with launching your new product (XP), developing new apps, and dealing with your legal struggles and our more recent national crises.

But I feel it's time to let you know about us and what we're thinking right now.

We're manufacturers, Bill. We make things. We're quite different from your customers who use Microsoft products to buy thong bikinis, locate a David Lynch film or play euchre online. Many of us use your products to become more efficient manufacturers and to serve our customers better—through networking, computer integrated manufacturing, customer relations management and the Web.

We're machining professionals, and our industry looks for results in absolutes. Part of that means we're looking for confidence in these systems, applications and products as we look for ways to move our businesses to the open architecture that the Web and your products provide.

But our confidence is being slowly, gradually whittled away by the security "holes" in your operating systems.

We know the Internet was never built with e-commerce in mind—the security and stability needed for businesses just isn't there. Open architectures are important to us but not at the expense of our productivity and our clients' confidence in us. Many of us have seen recently what the preponderance of more sophisticated viruses can do to us, and it's getting worse.

Bill, it's time for you to consider rewriting the Windows code with operating system security as the primary concern. I realize the scope of this, but the ease of installation and portability of Windows products have evolved to the point that security and stability are suffering on the current platform. By taking a step back, rewriting the code, and maybe even initiating standards for security on many other products and Internet applications with your partners and competitors, you'll go a long way toward inspiring us to continue.

Bill, no one else but you can pull this off. Not only is your company the recognized leader, but you also have the reputation and resources to do this. This issue is starting to affect our productivity, at a time when our productivity is most important.

We need your help here, Bill. This is important.

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