Microsoft's Laugh-a-Minute Show Continues

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On Monday I was writing about the knots into which Microsoft managed to tie itself trying to claim simultaneously that Google was anti-competitive but that it couldn't use the same arguments Microsoft had employed a decade ago when it was similarly accused.

And after that hilarious situation, we have a Microsoftie named Scott Charney making a few droll suggestions on how malware might be tackled:

"I actually think the health care model ... might be an interesting way to think about the problem," Charney said. With diseases, there are education programs, but there are also social programs to check people for disease and quarantine the sick.

This model could work to fight computer viruses, too, he said. When a computer user allows malware to run on his computer, "you're not just accepting it for yourself, you're contaminating everyone around you," he said.

The idea that Internet service providers might somehow step up in the fight against malware is not new. The problem, however, is cost.

Customer calls already eat into service provider profits. Adding quarantine and malware-fixing costs to that would be prohibitive, said Danny McPherson, chief research officer with Arbor Networks, via instant message. "They have no incentive to do anything today."

So who would foot the bill? "Maybe markets will make it work," Charney said. But an Internet usage tax might be the way to go. "You could say it's a public safety issue and do it with general taxation," he said.

Can you believe it? Microsoft's lousy programming has caused *billions* of pounds worth of damage to the global economy in terms of downtime, lost files (and probably blood pressure problems) and it has the bare-faced cheek to suggest there should be an “Internet usage tax” on *everyone* (including GNU/Linux users) to pay for the rectification of *its* mistakes? No wonder Scott Charney has the humorous and manifestly self-contradictory title of “Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing”....

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