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A study of the privacy and competitiveness implications of an annuity model for licensing Microsoft Windows 2000

Mar 10, 1999, 11:37 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Catlett)

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"...concludes that allowing Microsoft to make the switch in a manner that apparently maximizes its short-term gains would significantly compromise both consumer privacy and the competitiveness of electronic commerce."

"By using its monopoly of the Windows OS to coerce identification of consumers, Microsoft would obtain considerably more information about individual online consumers than any of its competitors in application software, web media, and electronic commerce."

"Since 1997 it has been working with First Data Corp. in a joint venture on electronic bill presentment, previously named MSFDC and now named Transpoint. First Data maintains a database of more than than 160 million individuals and 10 million businesses across the USA. The same year Microsoft also entered into an agreement to exchange unspecified information with Metromail, a major vendor of demographic, psychographic and behavioral information, the world's largest letter shop (junk mail factory), and now a subsidiary of Experian, one of the three US credit reporting agencies."

"Microsoft has indicated in posted policies that it may sell information about consumers to other companies, a common and profitable practice in the direct marketing industry. What is unparalleled is the breadth of this information, and its potential depth if Microsoft puts its OS users under a virtual compulsion to identify themselves."

Complete story.