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Community: Microsoft's Bid to Monopolize the Spyware Market

Feb 22, 2005, 00:15 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Zeek Greko)

[ Thanks to Zeek Greko for this article. ]

Of Microsoft's recent market ventures, their "Microsoft AntiSpyware" application is an apparent attempt by them to monopolize the Spyware market. Not the "AntiSpyware" market mind you. The "Spyware" market. "Say what?" You heard me right, and here is why.

If Microsoft's "Microsoft AntiSpyware" application removes all Spyware from Windows computers except their own "Alexa" data mining tools and others, which is in fact just what it does (leaving Alexa intact), then obviously Microsoft's own Spyware "Alexa" would be the only Spyware software left, and Microsoft would then be the only entity still able to collect personal data and usage statistics on the people who are using any Windows computers that are supposedly protected by their "Microsoft AntiSpyware."

Now, what if their "Microsoft AntiSpyware" was included and enabled by default in their upcoming "Longhorn Next Generation Operating System," offered as a free download through their Windows Update site, or as part of a Critical Security Update or Service Pack for Windows XP and or Windows 2000? Then, by virtue of their 90% plus share of the computer Operating System market, and the fact that most end users are trusting, oblivious to such matters, and would accept the default settings and look no further.

Microsoft, by squeezing out and removing all of their nearly equally reprehensible Spyware Riff Raff competitors, would effectively have an exclusive monopoly on the mining of personal information and statistical usage data on all computers. Usage information that would undoubtedly be used to solidify and strengthen their market position in Operating System Software, Media Player Software, and their other pursuits. At that would-be historic moment, Microsoft would become the first company in recorded history to be able to claim a monopoly on an underhanded and dirty deed. The dirty deed of computer-based privacy intrusion. Another first for those fun-loving, wacky, brown shirts at the Redmond-based hegemony.

So, how far and to what depths of anticompetitive behavior does Microsoft's "so-called" security applications like "Microsoft AntiSpyware" go? Does it deprive Real Player, Quick time and other such applications of collecting usage statistics, while at the same time allowing Windows Media Player full and unfettered access to their servers for reporting it's usage statistics? Are they playing this same game with their firewall software? Does it keep out everyone but them? Will they attain a monopoly position on firewall intrusion into all of our computers also? I don't know the answer to these questions, but my guess based on their past performance is they will do whatever they think they can get away with regardless of whether it's right or wrong.

It is my firm and uncompromising belief that it is nobody's business what you do with your computer, and I am surely not advocating equal time for other Spyware. None should exist, period! And using any Microsoft-provided security solutions other than updating closed source Windows code when they eventually get around to issuing fixes, is pure unadulterated folly. To do so flies in the face of basic common sense or of any, even basic security practices. It's the proverbial Fox guarding the Hen House. Who's watching the watchers?

My first reaction to learning that Microsoft was entering the "AntiSpyware" business and offering it to their Windows users was to say to a nearby friend "Oh please, give me a cup of strength. Windows is (expletive) spyware!" Much of my time when setting up new Windows systems or updating/maintaining older ones is spent pulling Microsoft and other software vendors teeth out of peoples backsides and or finding third party free or commercial work around solutions that my clients find acceptable and can live with.

There are plenty of good third-party cleaning, antispyware, anti-virus, and firewall applications available for Windows. Most are free for personal use. None in fact, of the many that I have tried have ever left "Alexa" behind, and all of these spyware removers regard it's components as critical to remove. It's nearly impossible to completely avoid Microsoft's software products, but it is now prudent and more important than ever before to use the minimum number of Microsoft's products and services as is reasonably possible. The brain trust and egos running Microsoft have themselves become so corrupted that they have turned what used to be, and sadly still could be decent software into wholly untrustworthy Microsoft Agenda Ware garbage. Because of this, trusting Microsoft unchecked by some third party with your Windows systems security is just plain, well, stupidity.

For readers' information: Alexa is persistently reinstalled when updating Windows with service packs or reinstalling software like Internet Explorer and must be removed each time. As this is not an advertisement, I will resist the urge to recommend an application for removing Alexa and other spyware.

Many of you are understandably annoyed by Microsoft's monopoly position and (in my opinion) nearly constant deceitful and disingenuous actions and tactics, but haven't quite reached the "I've had just about enough of Microsoft" point. Some people though have well past that point and have sought out alternatives such as the rapidly growing in popularity, open source GNU/Linux as a replacement for Microsoft Windows.

You might not be aware of this Windows alternative or it's Free Enterprise based system of software marketing and development FOSS (Free Open Source Software) and OSS (Open Source Software). A system where all of the participants freely covenant to adhere to through the GPL (General Public License) and other similar Open Source Software licenses, that essentially ensures that a Microsoft style monopoly on software can never happen again. This system is currently Microsoft's only viable competition.

Microsoft and other enemies of Free Enterprise in general, however, are trying to get enacted worldwide, software patent legislation that will deprive you of ever being able to say "I have had just about enough of Microsoft" because software patents will effectively kill off Free Software, which again is their only competition. This will leave you nowhere else to seek an alternative choice to their monopoly software products should that day ever arrive. Be assured however, that Microsoft will not stop until they are stopped by you and many others like you speaking up and out.

Wherever you are reading this, please contact your government representatives. Tell them that "software patents are the food and fuel of corporate fascist control over the software industry and you want no part of it. And, let it be known to them that If they want to continue to be your representatives they will vote for freedom, democracy, and free enterprise, by voting against software patents and Microsoft's attempt at global corporate software fascism.