The Microsoft Delusion

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BBC employees are to be banned from connecting their PDAs to the BBC’s computers unless they run on the Microsoft Windows PocketPC 2002 platform.

An internal email from the company’s technology division stated all PDA platforms other than PocketPC are insecure – which will prevent anybody operating a Palm or Psion handheld device from using their PDA at work.

The email said reasons of security and unusually, the “exposure to users of health and safety risks” left the company with no other choice but the PocketPC platform.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said:

“The BBC has to have some kind of say if people are going to be downloading things from our computers and taking them home.”

“We believe PocketPC includes all functionality and is one the most secure platforms available. [my emphasis]

Employees have until summer 2003 to change their PDAs or refrain from porting them to BBC computers.

I hope BBC was paid well by Microsoft to make that public announcement. I haven’t seen any major flaws or breaches where a Palm or Psion handheld PDA was used in some insecure fashion to exploit, steal, or “hack” into any corporate networks… at least none which cannot also be done with a PocketPC.

Microsoft, OTOH, has had at least 3 security advisories per month for the past 4 years, sometimes more.

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