Can We Sue Microsoft for Worms?

08/20/2003 16:30:29
tags: humor, Windows

Ok, now hear me out. As the last couple of days have shown, Microsoft Products (especially Windows, Outlook, and IIS) have been responsible for the vast majority of worms causing significant slowdowns on the internet.

Due to the large number of machines running these products, with a relatively small number of users being savvy enough to properly lock down their systems, it is trivial for a worm exploiting these apps to significantly affect the overall speed of the internet.

I have personally had difficulty accessing a few sites, and have had poor delivery of incoming email. I do not run Windows products, and have not been “infected” by any of these worms, yet I feel the effects of shoddy programming anyway.

My question is this: Is there grounds for a class action lawsuit against Microsoft for the lost productivity and data caused by these worms that exploit poorly written software? Everyone knows Windoze is crap. Everyone knows it crashes frequently and is bug-ridden. Yet nobody seems to be doing anything about it.

I use Mac OS X. I like it. It works. It almost never crashes. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a virus (I think I had one around 11 years ago back in college). And most importantly, my machine has never been used to help bring the net to a screeching halt.

Surely Microsoft has some liability in here somewhere. Sure, they did not write the worms. Sure, they try and issue security patches. (Come on, how many patches are really necessary if you had written it write the first time - Apple has issued something in the neighborhood of 5–10 security patches (I am guessing) since OS X was released (Not counting ones intended to fix bugs in Microsoft code).) And sure, the users have some responsibility for locking down their systems and reading email responsibly.

But really, doesn’t it all come down to the fact that Microsoft products blow? It seems as though everyday there is a new windows security flaw, or a new virus, or worm, or something. The last flaw discussed in OS X involved an issue whereby someone could hack into your system, IF you were already logged in, and IF your screen saver was running, and IF they could gain PHYSICAL access to your machine. If they have physical access, there are a billion and one ways to get to your data. I hardly even consider it a flaw, though I am glad it was fixed.

I am not a lawyer, but it seems as though such a suit MIGHT help raise awareness and eventually force Microsoft to improve the quality of their coding. And that would be a good thing….

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