Jim from Florida writes:

Since only Microsoft has the knowledge to correct the problems in XP, and since Microsoft is the one withdrawing the support for XP, why doesn’t Microsoft provide that knowledge to the security companies so that they can correct those problems that Microsoft previously corrected?  Microsoft too selfish and greedy?

I don’t know that keeping proprietary information about your business a secret is necessarily selfish or greedy. The company invented and developed Windows and makes their money running it. If they were to share that information with multiple security companies and authorize them to use it, that information would get around. There is plenty of open-source software out here, Windows is not one of them. You won’t see Apple sharing that kind of information either. They don’t even allow other companies to make devices that run their operating system.

If KFC stopped offering a spicy chicken, they still wouldn’t give out the recipe. But here’s the thing, even Microsoft were to share that information, it is actually unlikely that any of these companies would put a team of security professionals in place researching and developing security patches for a 13-year-old operating system that has a lot of security vulnerabilities.

That would cost millions and millions of dollars and you would imagine that each security company would want their own team of professionals on it. Up to this point, these companies received that information for free from Microsoft. They would not only have to research new threats, but come up with programming solutions to permanently patch them. That’s a whole lot of effort and that expense would be passed on to the consumer. The cost of security software could jump up prohibitively.

With the diminishing market share for XP, that’s not going to make a lot of financial sense. And security companies make security software for the same reason that Microsoft makes an operating system, they want to make money.

If you’d prefer an open-source operating system, you could always check out the many flavors of Linux. Because most of your other choices for operating systems from Microsoft to Apple to Google are in it for the money, are proprietary about their knowledge and can upgrade it or pull any kind of support for it whenever they choose.

 ~ Cynthia