Poetic Justice

I’m not anti-Microsoft, but the folks at Apple and Sun must be smiling about this:

Forget trying to flood Bill Gates’ e-mail inbox with junk.

The Microsoft Corp. chairman receives 4 million e-mails a day, but practically an entire department at the company he founded is dedicated to ensuring that nothing unwanted gets into his inbox, the company’s chief executive said Thursday.

“There are two people who probably are the number one spam recipients in the world,” Steve Ballmer said.

“Bill Gates (is first) because he is Bill Gates. Bill literally receives four million pieces of e-mail per day, most of it spam.”

Spam or junk e-mails are unsolicited messages, generally advertising goods or services and usually sent to many e-mail accounts simultaneously, often indiscriminately.

Ballmer said Microsoft has special technology that just filters spam intended for Gates.

“Literally there’s a whole department almost that takes care of it,” he said.

Four million pieces of spam per day? That means he’s getting spammed an average of 46 time per second, every minute of the day non-stop. Think of it this way: if you’re watching full motion video, you’re typically seeing 30 frames per second. So for each frame that goes by, Bill is getting one and a half pieces of spam. In the time it took me to write this sentance, he received more than a thousand pieces of junk mail.

I wonder how much bandwidth gets used receiving all this junk. Even if they’ve got the best filtering software known to man, the email server still has to receive the message before it can be filtered. And much of the spam these days contains attachments.

But the real irony is that most of it is in HTML format. You might recall that Microsoft was the prime mover behind adding HTML elements to email messages because it would make them more ‘friendly’. Plain text messages are quite compact. Once you start adding images, backgrounds, fonts, javascript, sounds, and other junk to it, an email can grow to more than a thousand times its plain-text size.

Between Gates and current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the company probably has the equivalent of several OC3 circuits dedicated to receiving all this crap just so they can delete 99.9995 percent of it.

Sounds like poetic justice to me.

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