Microsoft

MICROSOFT RESERVES RIGHT TO TURN OFF YOUR MP3s

The recording industry has cozied up to Microsoft’s WMA technology, which can contain all of the “digital rights management” tools that will limit your right to listen to music on your computer without continuous payments. Microsoft is chasing their money and plans to cooperate fully. Here’s a quote from the license agreement for Windows Media Player 7.1 that ought to strike fear into your heart:

Digital Rights Management (Security).

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MICROSOFT ANTITRUST SETTLEMENT

The settlement talks are creeping along, perhaps heading towards a conclusion. Lots of potholes on that road. But let me suggest something that’s occurred to me about the proposed settlement.

One settlement demand is that Windows be offered in a stripped-down version without the allegedly “anticompetitive” addons – Media Player, Windows Messenger, and the like. […] continued

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PRESS DEMOCRAT AND MICROSOFT-BASHING

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has somebody working their Business section with an anti-Microsoft grudge. The paper has been more and more bold about printing articles bashing Microsoft as if they’re straight news items. It’s confusing to people – a combination of misinformation and half-truths, with no indication that there’s another side. […] continued

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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WILL NOT SEEK MICROSOFT BREAKUP

The Justice Department announced today that it will not seek a breakup of Microsoft into separate operating systems and applications businesses. Instead, the government will focus on “conduct-related” provisions. Presumably this helps the sides inch towards a settlement, although the Justice Dept. rattled its saber a bit by stating it intends to ask the court to “investigate developments in the industry since the trial concluded.” My guess is that Windows XP won’t be the real target. […] continued

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DEFENDING MICROSOFT

I’ve had an odd feeling of unreality reading the news reports about various politicians, competitors, and special interest groups calling for delays or changes in Windows XP. The Press Democrat reprinted a poisonous, vitriolic tirade from the Wall Street Journal on the front page of the Business section a couple of days ago, with very little to indicate that it was anything other than a straight news story. […] continued

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KODAK vs. MICROSOFT

Here’s an article about Kodak’s contention that Microsoft is using its monopoly power unfairly to “pry its way into new businesses” with Windows XP. A lot of companies are currently getting a sympathetic ear in the press with their complaints about Microsoft, and this looks like a perfectly good example of what the fuss is all about. […] continued

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MORE ON MICROSOFT RULING

If you’re looking for more analysis, here’s a good article on the meaning and likely effect of the appeals court decision today.

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MICROSOFT NEWS

If you want a headstart on tomorrow’s headlines, here’s an article about today’s appeals court ruling vacating the remedies ordered by Judge Jackson and remanding the case back to a different trial judge.

Microsoft also backed away from the controversies about the “smart tags” feature planned for Windows XP. (See the June 19 item below and this article about today’s decision.) People raised the specter of Microsoft trying to take control of the Internet. […] continued

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MICROSOFT PHOTODRAW DISCONTINUED

After months of speculation, Microsoft has now confirmed that Photodraw has been discontinued. There’s no obvious replacement. Photodraw was perfect for quick work with photos and clip art. Nothing on the market comes close for ease of use or breadth of features. We can keep using Photodraw – it’s not broken, and it works fine after upgrading to Office XP – but this announcement means that there will be no new release to deal with Photodraw’s shortcomings. […] continued

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MICROSOFT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HOTMAIL SPAM

Oh, this is a nasty one. According to this article, Microsoft sends information about its Hotmail subscribers – email address, city, and state – to InfoSpace, an Internet white pages service. InfoSpace then combines this information with the subscribers’ telephone numbers and home addresses. The result is a user database that spam advertisers use to generate junk mail. […] continued

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MICROSOFT PASSPORT

More and more online merchants are signing up to accept payments through Microsoft’s Passport system. It’s an important part of Microsoft’s long-term goal to take over the Internet and collect fees for every online transaction. I signed up. If you have a Hotmail account, you’re already plugged into the Passport system. […] continued

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MICROSOFT & SMALL BUSINESSES

Microsoft has revamped its bCentral web site, a collection of services and resources for small businesses. One interesting example is the offer to design and host a web site from scratch for $399. That’s the price for a custom design with a generic but relatively professional look, and five pages of content. […] continued

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MICROSOFT TO CHANGE PASSPORT PRIVACY POLICY

Microsoft is hustling to revise its privacy policy for Passport and Hotmail, after a torrent of criticism from privacy advocates. (See my item on March 30.) Microsoft says it’s a terrible misunderstanding, just some old legalese that they forgot to update. Here’s an article about the gosh darned oversight.

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MICROSOFT AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Microsoft has new initiatives on the way that are meant to move programs and data online, relieving companies and users from some of the burden of maintaining it all. Confidentiality will be the key issue that will persuade or dissuade people from trusting the services.

Many of the new .NET services are built on the Passport system created by Microsoft. […] continued

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SLAMMING JUDGE JACKSON

If you’re following the Microsoft hearings, the best part was the obvious distaste shown the by appellate panel for Judge Jackson’s outrageous anti-Microsoft ravings in the press. Here’s an article that quotes extensively from the oral arguments yesterday.

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