The program, which allows external developers to create .NET products, is a major part of Microsoft’s strategy. But at present, many enterprises are reluctant to use .NET technology for mission critical applications. Microsoft needs to overcome these concerns. Its new focus on security, backed up by a $200 million advertising initiative, might do the job.
Critics have voiced security concerns over Microsoft’s Visual Studio.NET program.
Following Microsoft’s recent launch of Visual Studio.NET, alongside a $200 million advertising campaign to promote the .NET initiative, the company has come under yet more criticism on security issues.
The Visual Studio.NET developers’ toolkit is the first to allow groups outside Microsoft to develop .NET applications. Microsoft will keep rolling out additional tools through its Developer Network (MSDN), to let developers implement high-level design features and changes into existing web services based on both XML and UML protocols.
However, Microsoft has admitted, somewhat embarrassingly, that Visual Studio.NET is unlikely to be the de-facto program for mission critical applications. Critics go further, accusing Microsoft of opting for speed and integration over security and integrity. The program has a loosely coupled framework, rather than the tight-coupled two-phase commit used in other development programs.
Visual Studio.NET also came under fire from security firm Cigital, which claims to have uncovered other security flaws. However, this was little more than a PR coup. The flaws did not in fact pose any significant threat for developers.
Even so, as .NET’s use increases, the perceived risks associated with it will come under increased scrutiny. Bill Gates is aware of the problem – he has gone on record to say there is no higher priority for us than closing security holes. This may look like mere corporate rhetoric, but it is backed up by action. Microsoft is creating special support services and enterprise tools to support the initiative.
Just as well. The company has a long and arduous task, both in countering criticism over its latest rollout and in convincing a skeptical public that its products are secure enough to be used in a multitude of different applications.
As a result, the new advertising initiative, specifically targeted at enterprise customers, is not just to raise user awareness of .NET. If the initiative is to be a success, Microsoft knows it must change their perception of it as well.