Microsoft this week celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Trustworthy Computing (TwC) initiative, a programme that helped to improve the software giant's development processes and engineering culture to prioritise security and privacy in the design of all products.
Bill Gates sent a now-famous email to all Microsoft employees outlining the initiative, which called on employees to deliver products that were "as available, reliable and secure as standard services such as electricity, water services and telephony".
"In Bill's original email, he identified three core attributes – security, privacy and reliability – that we had to develop in our software and services," said Scott Charney, corporate vice president of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing.
"In the memo, Bill said that technology was going to be integrated in our lives in a far more rich way and would impact everything we do. That was one of the reasons it was so critical to get these three attributes right."
TwC famously gave birth to the Security Development Lifecycle, a mandatory policy for producing more secure products.
Ovum analyst Andy Kellett argued that the initiative had achieved a lot over the past decade.
"If you take the position at the beginning as far as security was concerned, Microsoft were the lead duck in that particular shooting gallery and they still are a major target because they have so much market share," he told V3.
"But it has moved things along significantly and taken the approach to drive an internal strategy to improve the quality of products from a security perspective which shows with each major release."
He added that TwC had also helped to raise the profile of secure development and the need to weed out application vulnerabilities at the design stage, although he argued there is still too much insecure code, especially SQL injection vulnerabilities.
Going forward, the Android platform and the mobile revolution in general represents one of the biggest threats to the ideals behind the TwC, said Kellett.
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