“Microsoft held back from distributing a free repair for old versions of its software that could have slowed last week’s devastating ransomware attack, instead charging some customers $1,000 a year per device for protection against such threats,” Richard Waters and Hannah Kuchler report for The Financial Times.

“In another controversial pricing move, meanwhile, Microsoft recently began charging customers more for extra security in the top-of-the-line version of Windows 10,” Waters and Kuchler report. “The split pricing marks the first time the company has treated the highest level of security as an add-on feature of its software, drawing criticism that it has left other versions of Windows more open to attack.”

“The company issued a free patch in March that would have protected computers running recent versions of Windows from the malware. But users of older software, such as Windows XP, have to pay hefty fees for so-called ‘custom’ support,” Waters and Kuchler report. “The cost went from $200 per device in 2014, when regular support for XP ended, to $400 the following year. It jumped to $1,000 after that, according to one person who had seen a pricing schedule that Microsoft sent to one customer, with a minimum payment of $750,000 and a ceiling of $25m.”

“The high costs led many — including the UK’s National Health Service — to abandon the special support after one year, leaving them exposed to last week’s attack,” Waters and Kuchler report. “The company also took the rare step of making the expensive patch for old software such as Windows XP free of charge at around midnight local time on Friday, though that was too late to contain the WannaCry outbreak.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Moral of the story (besides that Microsoft has no morals):

You’ll pay one way or another – to the hackers, to Mafiasoft, or in lost data – unless you’re smart enough to use a Mac.

Wasn’t Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP supposed to be secure? Now, they’re promising Windows Vista will be secure. Yeah, riiight. And, because they’re incapable of making Window secure, they’re going to charge their pigeons $50 per year? For “Microsoft Security,” a misnomer if ever there was one? Why not make Windows itself secure? You know, like Apple’s Mac OS X.

Anyone who buys Windows and then pays Mafiasoft $50 per year in protection money is a damn fool. If you’re that stupid, you deserve to use Windows, and only Windows, for the rest of your life. Wonder what will happen if and when Microsoft’s security subscription earnings dip and need to be, ahem, “reinvigorated?”

Here’s the best personal computer advice you’ll get all year, perhaps ever: If you only use Windows, dump it and get a Mac… You’ll come out so far ahead, you’ll think you’ve jumped forward a decade – which, of course, would be true. — MacDailyNews, February 7, 2006

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