What Wasn't Said, And What Was - InformationWeek
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7/11/2005
04:29 PM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
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What Wasn't Said, And What Was

Is Microsoft fiddling its Anti-Spyware product to give a free pass to adware from a company it intends to buy? Microsoft's "clarification" leaves two key points absolutely unclear, but we can draw some conclusions -- one because of what the company didn't say, and one because of what it did say. The "Response to questions about Claria software" posted on the Microsoft Web site on Friday and addressed to "

Is Microsoft fiddling its Anti-Spyware product to give a free pass to adware from a company it intends to buy? Microsoft's "clarification" leaves two key points absolutely unclear, but we can draw some conclusions -- one because of what the company didn't say, and one because of what it did say.

The "Response to questions about Claria software" posted on the Microsoft Web site on Friday and addressed to "Dear Customer" doesn't acknowledge with a single word a recent news story that reports that Microsoft is seeking to buy Claria, the adware company formerly known officially as Gator and unofficially by far less polite names. Obvious Conclusion No. 1: The story is true, and Microsoft is intent on becoming an adware company. The reason is said to be that it is intent on catching up with Google in the ad space. My grandmother would have said, "You cannot elevate your position by lowering your standards."What the customer letter did say was equally interesting. I quote:

"Today, anti-spyware vendors use different approaches, definitions, and types of criteria for identifying and categorizing spyware and other potentially unwanted software. This has limited the industry's ability to have a broad, coordinated impact in addressing the problem. That is a key reason Microsoft is a founding member of the Anti-Spyware Coalition, a group of technology companies and anti-spyware companies working alongside public interest groups to address key spyware issues."

Translation: "When it comes to adware, as with everything else, it's Microsoft's way or the highway. We'll decide what adware is and who has to suffer from it, and you'll like it."

This, Obvious Conclusion No. 2, is in line with the recent announcement that Microsoft will also soon begin to shove its proprietary anti-spam scheme, called Sender ID, down the computing community's throat, which I don't like either.

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