10 years after Bill Gates’ Trustworthy Computing memo

Beta News
By Christopher Budd

I joined the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) in April 2001 and left the company in December 2010. During that time I was involved in security and privacy at Microsoft, culminating in my role handling worldwide crisis communications for security and privacy incidents. I am one of a handful of people who knows what the security world was like at Microsoft before Chairman Bill Gates’ Trustworthy Computing memo on Jan. 15, 2002. I was also part of the growth and transformation that memo brought about over the years.

As Microsoft marks the tenth year anniversary of that memo, it seems a good time to share a former insider’s view of what it really meant and accomplished. As well, I’ll share thoughts on why, in the next 10 years, it’s critical that other technology companies follow Gates’ lead.

Memos from Gates were viewed as rare pronouncements from on high, and that was the case with this memo. In a single movement, Gates enshrined security, privacy and reliability as central, aspirational ideals.


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