Microsoft and the ransomware attack

Microsoft’s behaviour is outrageous. My next computer will be a Mac. Microsoft XP was an excellent operating system, one that I miss, but has now been made totally obsolete. I assume that Apple will continue to service its software for Mac without prohibitive charges.

Microsoft held back from distributing a free repair for old versions of its software that could have slowed last week’s devastating ransomware attack, instead charging some customers $1,000 a year per device for protection against such threats. ….

In another controversial pricing move, meanwhile, Microsoft recently began charging customers more for extra security in the top-of-the-line version of Windows 10. ….

Most security experts defended Microsoft’s fees. “They’re trying to discourage people from using Windows XP so they’re jacking up the cost,” said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner. “You have to pay heavily. I can’t see why anyone would want to be on XP.”

However, Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies, a medical information consulting service, said the fees exposed Microsoft to the same sort of criticism of price-gouging that drugmakers face when they charge extremely high prices for life-saving drugs.

He also said that using the WannaCry crisis to encourage customers to move on to newer software was in part self-serving, since Microsoft’s business model has shifted and it makes more from its newer software than it did when it sold XP.

Echoing that view, the former US government official said: “One way to view it might be: they made a defective product that the current laws don’t make them liable for, and force you to buy a new product otherwise you are vulnerable to harm from the existing product.” [Emphasis added.]

Richard Waters and Hannah Kuchler, “Microsoft held back free patch that could have slowed WannaCry“, Financial Times, 18 May 2017 (gated paywall).

Richard Waters is the FT’s West Coast (USA) editor. Hannah Kuchler is a technology correspondent for the Financial Times.

This is a very informative article. I learned that many organisations, including Britain’s NHS, continue to use XP because the cost of changing to another system is high. Sophisticated machines often cannot operate with new software, so would have to be replaced.

2 Responses to “Microsoft and the ransomware attack”

  1. Michael Littlewood says:


    I am an Apple user from way back – 30+ years (phones, tablets, laptop and desktop). As with any OS, it has its frustrations, including relatively high-priced kit.

    However, the support is great and, so far, effectively part of the purchase price. We have just yesterday updated the phones, tablet and laptop. Today’s job is the desktop. It all went smoothly.

    Support does eventually run out or slows down old machines but I’m about ready to trade-up by then for speed/capacity/new features. My 2017 MacBook Pro replaced a 2009 version that still works on the latest OS but is ever so slow (and bulky) by comparison.



  2. Michael – My wife and two sons use Apple computers. I will join them the next time I change my computer (a laptop), I do use an Apple notebook (iPad) and iPod, and am happy with the products. They do become clunky as software demands increase, but they are not vulnerable to viruses and worms.