Microsoft Piracy Check: No More PC Phone Home
Privacy activists, journalists and even regular folk were upset to learn that
Windows Genuine Advantage was set up so your PC would contact Microsoft each
and every day -- just to say, "Hi." Microsoft claimed this was essential to keeping
the program working, and that no personal info was being sent (I'm not
sure if Bill Gates has time to read your e-mail, anyway).
Last week, buried in the sixth paragraph of an otherwise obscure press release
Genuine Advantage Bolsters Frontline in Anti-Piracy Fight," Microsoft
disclosed that the anti-piracy checker will no longer phone home every day --
but it does promise to write!
is aggressively promoting research to help protect personal privacy.
Maybe these teams should start working together.
Office 2007 in 2007?
It looked like Microsoft, with Office 2007, might actually ship something
in a timely manner. Unlike Vista, which has more issues than Mariah Carey, Office
2007 seemed stable, complete and more or less good to go -- but not good enough
for Redmond. Citing performance problems, Microsoft
is pushing back the shipment to late this year or sometime next.
It may be that no news is bad news. With everyone harping on the Office delay,
who has time to think about OpenOffice or the good ol' Corel suite?
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Does Ballmer Matter?
Business 2.0 -- a magazine that rode the heights of the Internet
wave, crashed when the bubble burst and was brought back to life when Time bought
it -- has a smug little feature
story where it decided which tech titans don't matter anymore. On
the list is Linus Torvalds (I guess Linux is somehow now irrelevant?) and Steve
Ballmer. I'm not sure what board meetings Business 2.0 reporters
sat in to reach this conclusion, but it's a cheap, easy and unfair potshot.
Sure, Microsoft would be just fine without Ballmer, as it will be without Mr.
Gates. But Steve knows his company perhaps better than anyone and clearly played
a part in re-architecting the top technical team. Microsoft's business
is undergoing a radical transformation, and to assume that you somehow know
that Ballmer has no role is a mite arrogant.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.