Microsoft Takes Aim at Privacy

Microsoft announced Sunday that it was taking new steps to protect consumer privacy in the areas of Web search and online advertising. Specifically, the company said it would make all Web search query data anonymous after 18 months on the Microsoft Live Search service.

Peter Cullen, Microsoft's chief privacy officer, said that the company plans to store customer search data separately from data tied to personal data such as names, e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Through this separation, the company intends to ensure that no unauthorized correlation of these types of data can be made, as was done last year with data from AOL.

Last, Cullen said that it also will permanently remove user identification data stored in cookies.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft's new position on privacy? Tell me at [email protected], and in the spirit of privacy please note that we may use your response in future newsletters.

Google Sets Conditions for Wireless Spectrum Auction
Google has committed $4.6 billion to participate in the upcoming auction of wireless spectrum conducted by the FCC, as long as certain conditions are met. Google is asking the commission to ensure that third parties will be allowed to resell services over the network, and that users would be able to download any applications or content they want, as well as be able to buy a phone and use it on any network.

I confess that as a consumer I appreciate the position that Google is taking, but I'm not sure it should be imposed on all participants in the spectrum auction.

If you'd like to read more about the old-versus-new debate in telecom from someone who has lived it (at AT&T Bell Labs and as a consultant), check out David Isenberg's Web site at

Do you support Google's proposed conditions for the wireless spectrum auction? Let me know at [email protected].

BigLever and Telelogic Team on Model-Driven Development
BigLever Software and Telelogic yesterday announced an integration of the companies' model-driven development (MDD) and software product line (SPL) technologies.

Enterprises producing product families can share code and features using the capabilities of Telelogic's Rhapsody and BigLever's Gears. Rhapsody lets engineers design not only software but complete hardware-software systems, while Gears lets them define individual offerings in a product family and tag the MDD models with definitions that help in building individual products.

Do you use unified modeling language or MDD in building systems and software? I'd like to hear about your experiences. Reach out to me at [email protected].

Strangeloop Networks Announces $11.5 Million in Funding

Strangeloop Networks has announced the receipt of $11.5 million from a private investment source, according to the company.

The company's AppScaler network appliance uses heuristics discovered by company engineers for speeding up the performance and improving scalability of ASP.NET applications in production.

I don't usually pay much attention to who gets VC money, but I'm intrigued by Strangeloop's technology. Many application optimization vendors claim that tuning and scalability testing must be done during the application development lifecycle, not in production. If Strangeloop has a robust production solution, it would change the dynamics of Web application development.

Mailbag: Renting Windows 7?, Windows by the Numbers
Doug reported yesterday on Microsoft's plans for Windows 7 -- mainly, that it will run in 32 or 64 bits, and that it may be sold on a subscription basis. Most of you don't seem too keen on the prospect of renting your next OS:

Rent an OS? Wow. Outside of work, Windows seems less important now. With a subscription model, here comes SusE or OS X.

I would not rent my OS and Microsoft should go 64-bit only.

No, I personally would never rent my OS. Additionally, we work with a lot of SOHO clients (five to 25 users), and I can't think of any one of them who would want to rent theirs.

I was really hoping Vista would be the last 64-bit OS. It is a real pain from the management side to have to deal with so many different packages (Home, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate) and even more of a pain when the 32-/64-bit is thrown in. The only reason I can see for running a 32-bit OS is to be able to run 16-bit software, since almost all 32-bit apps work just fine in 64-bit Vista.

My vote would be for Microsoft to go pure 64-bit, with an option for 128-bit (hey, there are two-and-a-half years of hardware development out there!).

Just say NO to renting the OS. OK, I really HATE paying subscriptions for anti-virus updates, software maintenance, etc. MS would have to give a VERY compelling reason to pay a subscription fee for the OS. With AV subscriptions, there are hourly if not daily improvements to the product. What benefit would I receive for paying for a OS subscription?

I believe that operating systems should not be on a subscription basis. If Microsoft wants to include services that have already been a subscription service, I believe that the subscription services made available should be based on the level of OS that a person has. For instance, with Windows Vista Ultimate, all levels of subscription services should be available on a trial basis. And if each of the services do not get used, once the free trial expires, then a grace period of 14 days starts with reminders that these services need to be either subscribed to or bought. Otherwise, after the 14 day grace period, they should be automatically deleted from the operating system.

I also believe that whether it comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit or just in 64-bit depends on the level of technology available in 2010. But the way that consumers are with new products, especially with new OSes, in the first 12 months people will be staying with their current OS and wait for most, if not all, bugs to be ironed out, and for third-party software and hardware parties to catch up with that new OS. Once ALL computer components have gone over to 64-bit, then and only then should the OS go fully to 64-bit. I also believe when that day does come -- which it eventually will, since most CPUs are now 64-bit -- that OSes should have code in it to be backward compatable with Vista (all versions) and XP (all versions).


I can see two sides to this argument. We buy the telephone (hardware) but pay for the dial tone (software) every month. From that standpoint, we shouldn't pay more than a few bucks a month. My computer is 6-years-old and came with 98SE installed, which sold for about $100 for the upgrade or $200 for the full version. On that basis, I shouldn't have to pay more than $2 to $3 a month. Even assuming I upgraded after four years (which is about right) my cost should be about $4 a month.

On the flip side, I buy a $400 laptop from Wal-Mart to take in the car when we're on vacation. That's the only time it's used. I have to pay $4 a month to have it sit in a closet?

And it looks like our timeline of Windows versions -- "Windows 95 was 4, 98 was 5 and XP was 6" -- was wrong:

Windows 7? Wait a second, if Windows 95 was 4, 98 was 5 and XP was 6, then what was Windows 2000?

If Win95 is version 4, 98 is version 5, and XP is version 6, what is Vista? Version 6.5?

Doug, I'm sure you've been inundated with messages like this already, and it's irrelevant to the article...but your facts are wrong.

Win95 was version 4. Win98 was version 4.1. WinME was version4.2. Win2K was version 5. WinXP was version 5.1. WinVista is version 6. Which would indeed make the next MAJOR version of Windows version 7. Oops.

Windows 95 was 4.0, and 98 was 4.1, Windows 2000 was 5, XP is 5.1, and Vista is 6. Just thought you might want to know.

I think your version history is a bit off. It should be:

NT 3.1
NT 3.5
NT 4
Windows 2000 = NT 5
XP = NT 5.1
Vista = NT 6

To verify, open a command prompt and type "ver."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Windows NT 4.0 was Windows 4.0(!) Windows 2000 was 5.0. Windows XP was 5.1 Vista is Windows 6.0.

MS has already said that Vista and Server 2008 (6.1?) will be the last 32-bit versions of Windows. A bit more research next time, perhaps?

Are you really that unaware of the versioning scheme of Windows?

Window NT 4 was 4, Windows 2000 is 5.0, Windows XP is 5.1, Windows Server 2003 is 5.2, Vista is 6, not sure about Windows Server 2008 (might be 6.1) and that will be followed by Windows 7. No one cares about any version number of the 9x line of Windows.

Join the fray! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.


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