Bill Gates thinks the spam problem could be solved in the next 18 to 24 months, and that his company has the tools to do it, according to reports of speeches Microsoft’s [MSFT] chief software architect made over the weekend. However, neither of his solutions seem likely to make such an impact by 2006.
Bill Gates has claimed that Microsoft has the magic solution to ridding the world of spam.
Microsoft has two techniques in mind for solving the spam issue, both based on the premise of changing the economics of email to place a greater burden on the sender.
First, the company is known to be working on a computational challenge system, whereby a recipient email system gives the sending system a mathematical problem to work out before it will allow the email through to the end user.
The math takes mere seconds to process, meaning normal personal email usage would be largely unaffected. But bulk mailers, sending out millions of spams per day, would either have to invest in costly high performance systems or go out of business.
The second technology Mr Gates is talking up involves actually bringing economics, a dollar value, into the email system. Email users would have white-lists of approved senders, and could set a monetary fee for non-listed users to send email.
Using this system, the recipient gets to decide whether the email they have received is spam, and whether the sender gets charged the fee. The system would be like a postal service where only marketers have to pay for stamps.
It’s difficult to see how either of the systems Microsoft is proposing could kill spam off worldwide in just two years, even given the fact that Microsoft is probably the only company dominant enough to pull off such a trick.
The computational method would presumably require email recipients to be running the software. There could be a viral effect, with senders obliged to also run the software, but two years seems wildly optimistic for global adoption of a platform not yet available.
The digital postage stamp method seems even more improbable to have such speedy adoption. Somebody would have to collect and process the payments after all. Chances are Microsoft sees a revenue opportunity here.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire