Gates memo: No mention of 'trustworthy computing'

Chairman Bill Gates says Microsoft must recognize the ongoing "sea change" toward online services. Missing from his list is his "trustworthy computing" e-mail from 2002.

Tech Culture

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, in a memo which came to light on Tuesday, says Microsoft must recognize the ongoing "sea change" toward online services in much the same way that the software giant embraced the Internet 10 years ago.

Gates references two other call-to-arms memos. "Ten years ago this December, I wrote a memo entitled The Internet Tidal Wave which described how the internet was going to forever change the landscape of computing," he wrote. And later: "Five years ago we focused our strategy on .NET making a huge bet on XML and Web services."

But missing from Gates' list is his "trustworthy computing" email from 2002, which called on Microsoft's coders to revamp development processes to plug holes and tighten security overall.

Back then, Trustworthy Computing was job number one for the software maker. "Every few years I have sent out a memo talking about the highest priority for Microsoft," Gates wrote as he laid out his strategy in 2002.

Likewise, a memo from chief technical officer Ray Ozzie, which prompted Gates' email, doesn't mention the earlier security initiative.

However, Ozzie recognizes the potential security risks inherent in some of the big, complex initiatives that Microsoft has tackled in the past. "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges, and it causes end-user and administrator frustration," he wrote.

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