Gates predicts the death of spam

— 4:16 AM on January 26, 2004

On the heels of news that Bill Gates will be knighted, Microsoft's chairman boldly predicted the death of spam within two years. Microsoft's new anti-spam technology, which we've covered before, requires that senders of unsolicited emails expend additional resources to add legitimacy to each message they send out.

The new software would require that any incoming e-mail from an unfamiliar address — one not in a user's address book — prove that it isn't spam, Gates said.

One possible approach would send a puzzle back to the sender. The puzzle would be designed so that only a human could solve it. The e-mail would be accepted only if the puzzle were solved.

Microsoft's challenge-based email software certainly has promise, but I just don't see it killing off spam in the next two years. I would, however, love to be proven wrong.

With a story like this, it's tempting to quote Gate's infamous assertion that no one would ever need more than 640k of memory on a computer. Gates, however, denies ever uttering such a thing. Let's hope someone got his spam prediction on tape.

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