Now that the dust has settled around the imminent (well, in two years time) departure of his Billness from Microsoft it gave me pause to reflect on the impact he has had on the industry. What ever your views on the people or technology, Microsoft has undoubtedly had a huge impact on all of our professional lives.
From an application security viewpoint this has been a twin edged sword, as the vast amount of software pumped out from Microsoft lead to an almost equivalent amount of security attacks on it – primarily as it is the dominant player (no one ever kicks a dead dog after all) but also because it was riddled with security flaws and gaping holes that proved irresistible to the hacker community.
But one thing you can say about Microsoft is that once they "get" something they have proved an ability to execute against the problem. Take the Trustworthy Computing Initiative. This was, and still is, a real drossy moniker for a very broad ranging refocus of Microsoft on combating problems with their shoddy code and products, kicked off by an email from his Billness 4 years ago.
To me this was probably one of the most important points in the history of Microsoft as they finally showed they were capable of acting as a grown up company. Let’s hope that Ray Ozzie can keep the Microsoft security wheels turning.