How Reg reader outrage prompted Microsoft's Passport volte-farce
All the Astroturf too
I'd like to congratulate you on your article, perhaps one of the most-read in the publishing industry today.
I work as a screenwriter, and I know of quite a few people who use Hotmail accounts to send and receive manuscripts or screenplays, as well as copyrighted information. I have also forwarded the link to your article and Microsoft's TOS agreement to legal departments of different production houses. I have also sent it to a writer friend of mine in San Francisco, who's already doing the same.
It may be that people be advised not to use Hotmail accounts at all to avoid hairy issues. I predict some frantic back pedaling from Microsoft soon.
For those of you'd who'd hoped that the Passport Terms ceased to apply the moment you'd finished signing-up, and skipped away from passport.com, that was a disappointment, as its assuredly ensnared Hotmail users.
This one tickled us no end.
"I don't work for Microsoft. I don't like Microsoft software. I never WANT to work for Microsoft," he begins. "I DO, however, respect Microsoft's purpose and goal and most of their business tactics ..."
Such moments do you remind you of the gift of life itself. There's much more in the vein of "Just thought I'd point out that making the public fear Microsoft under false terms is pretty sad. There's a reason Microsoft is so successful today whether it's unfortunate or not. The reason is: Bill Gates is a very successful businessman..." But you get the idea already.
Brewing a storm
Why Microsoft changed the terms so promptly shouldn't be a mystery. It was a PR disaster for a company bidding to be the trusted central clearing house for personal information on the Web, as it is with HailStorm web services.
"What scares me about Hotmail and Passport is that they're bringing it under their control – one particular place that Microsoft will have control of," says Mark Simmons, senior analyst at Bloor Research. What would they do with your voting data? he asks.
Building a bridge of trust isn't likely to be aided by episodes such as this. Without a substantial user base, HailStorm won't even get out of the starting blocks. ®
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