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

Thanks to Thomas
Pfau
for this link.

“…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
.