Walter Mossberg argues that “we consumers need is a simple, unified protection plan to counter all of these threats. And the computer, software and Internet industries have badly failed us in this regard. They would rather dump the security mess in the laps of users than solve it at the level where a solution really belongs: in the operating system, or the hardware, or the online provider’s servers.”
I’m talking about a truly unified, seamless service, controlled and maintained over the Internet, that would take on the whole problem.
Microsoft has made untold billions from the court-certified monopoly it holds in operating systems, and its poor security designs have contributed hugely to the problem. Plus, the company fought for, and won, the right to keep adding new functions to Windows, in the slap-on-the-wrist antitrust settlement it was granted by the Bush administration. So, it owes its customers a solution to the security mess.
If Microsoft won’t step up, there are opportunities for others in the industry to deploy the same kind of unified security service for consumers. I think many people would be willing to pay a reasonable annual fee to anyone who would take responsibility for securing their PCs.
If Dell or Hewlett-Packard built such a service into their consumer PCs, they would distinguish themselves from competitors and earn huge customer loyalty. The same goes for AOL or EarthLink, or the various purveyors of cable modem and DSL service. Ditto for the two big makers of security software, Symantec and McAfee.
All of these companies now offer fragmentary products and services, but none offers to shoulder the whole burden. It’s time somebody did.