If anyone was really surprised at the fact that Bill Gates broke ranks with Silicon Valley on the Apple v. FBI issue, they obviously have not been paying attention. As TechCrunch reported, he is blithely claiming that the FBI is just being absolutely truthful, and that there is no way that they have a desire or intention of using whatever mechanism Apple might come up with to fulfill their request ever again.
No, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim Cook was telling the truth about his products. There would be no way to make a backdoor into an iPhone or anything else a “one-time use” fix. Gates knows this, and is lying if he claims otherwise.
Of course, if this had anything to do with Microsoft at all, it’s safe to assume that Gates would be singing a totally different tune. No, it doesn’t matter how much he clarifies his statement on Apple. The bottom line remains the bottom line, and his comments need to be seen as a back-handed attempt to level the playing field when it comes to security in tech.
Apple has managed to offer consumers a generally more secure option other than the PC for years, and Gates has every reason to see that change - even if he isn’t in the driver’s seat as he once was at Microsoft. Sadly, he probably doesn’t realize that his current stance has the potential to backfire on him, and severely. While many may not be saying it out loud, it is fair to guess that there are many in the industry who are thinking that Gates is coming out on the side of the FBI simply to knock Apple down at least a little. Now that he’s done it, Microsoft employees can expect that he’ll do the same if anything comes up involving government intrusions into Microsoft products.
No matter which way you cut this, Gates should be viewed as someone who is simply taking advantage of the situation for his own benefit. Now, we just have to see if Tim Cook will call him on it, and ask him publicly how he’d feel if it was Microsoft dealing with unacceptable demands from the government.