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Germany To Bail Out Windows Users

OK, so this isn't the most important story for Microsoft partners, but it's just darn interesting. Get this: The German government is going to fund an effort to help Windows users rid their machines of malware.

No, seriously! According to a blog entry by a guy who can read German better than we can, the German government is going to team with ISPs to find infected machines and help users clean malware off of their computers. The leader of the project is Germany's Federal Office for Information Security, which is part of the country's federal government. It's not clear at this point whether Microsoft will have any involvement in this, but we're getting the feeling that it won't -- which makes the whole thing all the more strange.

This is crazy, right? We're allocating a lot of government money to projects in the U.S. right now, many of which are technology-oriented. But a Windows-specific (which, as far as we can tell, it is) bailout for users whose computers are afflicted by malware? A help desk and Web site set up and funded by the government with the aim of keeping Windows clean? We at RCPU don't remember TARP, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or whatever it's called) or any other government-run program covering that sort of thing on these shores.

Needless to say, as fans of government playing a limited role in business in general, we're dizzy-headed (even more so than usual) with shock over this. Even France, your editor's country of residence for a few years not so long ago and a nation with a bent for government intervention into everything, hasn't done anything like this (to our memory, anyway). It's interesting, though, that Germany is essentially giving Microsoft a subsidy, given that (dig this) Firefox recently passed Internet Explorer in market share in Germany. Hmm. Oh, and the government isn't telling anyone what it's spending on this little charity mission, either.

Anyway, we can't think of anything more to say about this. We just thought it was funny and bizarre and...well, a little bit nuts. If you have thoughts on Germany's Windows bailout, send them to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 10, 2009 at 11:55 AM