Microsoft, Why Are Updates Frequently Kept Secret?

I am not sure of anyone else’s feelings on this, but I have, for as long as I can remember, remember being aware of Microsoft being very secretive about things that they have released.

The problem used to be that, during the days of DOS, there were updated versions of certain DOS utilities that could be found on the Microsoft site, through FTP, but they were never spoken of, nor were they covered in the many magazines of that time. (There used to be many more computer oriented magazines during that time, and they were –surprise- devoted to computers entirely. Ah, those were the days!)

The user could poke around on the Microsoft FTP site and find so many things never spoken of. Now and then there was a pearl, and I always celebrated when finding something really useful.

The situation has taken many forms, and many paths. In another example, it was always easier to use Google, or even Yahoo, to search for things that were needed on the Microsoft site, rather than use the built in site search feature.

It is that way to this day.

It is also rather disconcerting that the ability to use Bing, rather than something else is not there – even now. Google will find things on the Microsoft site that Bing will not. Make of this what you will, but I have always wondered why Microsoft does not have a “What’s New” area for each of their categories on the main site, but even when there was something that approximated a method of revealing new things, the things Microsoft chose to concentrate on were of little use to anyone.

It is a continuing quandary to this day…

I run Microsoft Security Essentials on my Windows 7 machine, and the current version on the machine is 2.0.522.0.

I just downloaded the updates this morning, that I was made aware of by the updating mechanism, and though there was a definition update for the MSE, there was nothing which changed the basic program. Imagine my surprise when I read elsewhere that a new version of Microsoft Security Essentials was available, and that revision level is 2.0.657.0. It has new features, and is available for download now. (Except that now was yesterday 12-16-10)

Once again Microsoft has screwed the pooch, and ostensibly defeated its reasons for having an updating mechanism in the programs it offers. It is also once again shown to not have any “special benefits” available to those who are using “Genuine Windows”. My copy of Windows 7 couldn’t get any more genuine if it tried, unless Mr. Ballmer had come to my door to deliver it instead of the UPS man. The copy I run is one obtained by having a Windows Launch  Party, and is a Steve Ballmer Signature Edition of Windows 7 64bit Ultimate.

Why must I be informed about new things I might need by third party methods, instead of Windows, or Microsoft, Update?  I have notifications turned on for that very reason, and check the Action Center at least once per day. If Microsoft is truly interested in protecting me, and giving me the very best software at all times, why are the things most important, like security software, not part of the notification process?

I would just love to hear from a Microsoft employee (though not a Microsoft janitor, thank you) that could give me the reasons why Microsoft has had this behavior over the years, with their products, and why, in this age where important changes are happening on a 24-hour cycle, we have to look to third parties to get the message of changes that they are (ostensibly) designing for our benefit.