Gates wrong about spam

Apparently as many as 80% of people surveyed did not trust Gates in 2004 when he announced that spam would be gone by 2006. An article in today’s ZDNet suggests that within 30 days that number might jump to as high as 100%:

Bill Gates’ prediction of January 2004 that spam would be “a thing of the past” within two years has virtually no chance of coming true, according to security company Sophos this week.

Beware those who say “security will happen by x date”. True security is far more complex and subject to uncertainties than a short-term objective such as a functionality enhancement. Moreover, there are usually so many influential factors that it is better to say “security will have x control in place by y date” and predict a resultant soft “decline” rather than any “absolute” or “total” eradication.

ZDNet put it slightly differently when they covered the original announcement.

John Cheney, chief executive of email security firm BlackSpider Technologies, which conducted the survey, said the results show that the industry doesn’t perceive Microsoft as a security authority, despite its chairman’s enthusiasm for the task

To his credit, at least Gates did not land on the roof of Symantec in 2004 for a photo-op in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

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