Second, Microsoft deliberately left the world at risk in pursuit of relentless profit. Windows XP was a strong and stable operating system that was more than adequate for the vast majority of the world’s business (and NHS) needs. It was only deliberate technical and commercial obsolescence that left it unsupported when many users had no reason at all to update because it very successfully let them achieve all they wanted of IT. This vulnerability to attack was, then, deliberately made possible by a company refusing to support a product simply to extract revenues from those who had no need to pay it.
Third then this situation arises because we live in a political economy that grants corporations that are effective monopolies (as Microsoft and other such companies clearly are) the right to hold us to ransom by refusing to support perfectly useable product that we have purchased, which refusal does in turn lead us vulnerable to quite literal attack, which has a wholly foreseeable consequence. The cost is very obviously to us all. The benefit is equally obviously to a very few.
And let me be clear, this is not about profit maximisation. That can, even by its firmest enthusiasts only be justified when competitive environments prevail. That is not true in the market for IT operating systems. Sio this then is rent extraction and not profit maximisation. This is what the goal of modern multinational corporations is. Innovation is limited, and designed only to render obsolete systems that can be discarded when still useful to force customers to unnecessarily spend, in the process limiting choice, stifling real opportunity and ultimately imposing untold externalities on society at large.
Is this the direction in which we wish the world to continue to progress? I personally don’t think so. Regulation to control this abuse seems as essential as measures to prevent hacking.
The Curajus State would force British Leyland to still provide maintenance for Austin Allegros.
And it’s worth noting that Microsoft hasn’t refused to support XP. They’ve just said that it would cost them some money to do so, would someone therefore like to pay them to do so please?
The NHS said no.
So now the Curajus State is going to demand that British Leyland support Austin Allegros for free, eh?