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Microsoft: The Gatekeeper of the Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Microsoft 539

jeffy124 writes "C|net News.com is embarking on a seven day comprehensive report on how Microsoft is moving themselves into position to be The Gatekeeper Of The Internet through Windows XP. The first installment explains the basics of how this is going to happen: Reminders that last for days encouraging users to sign up for Passport, and how Windows will evenutally resemble services like AOL."

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539 comments

Microsoft's Future (2, Interesting)

jwilhelm (238084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446280)

I think that Microsoft's future, once they have their whole .NET and Passport thing set up, will ride on whether they can provide the security that they claim to be able to provide. It's possible that people will sign up and use the service, but I think that the very second that they have a security breach, and information leaks out, people will stop taking them seriously, and they will be doomed.

Re:Microsoft's Future (4, Insightful)

cbowland (205263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446297)

I think that is very optimistic considering the public's history with MS. MS products have repeated proven themselves to be very vulnerable to security breaches and yet there is little consumer backlash. Having the dominant position in the marketplace makes it very difficult for the ordinary user to switch away from MS regardless of any security problems.

Re:Microsoft's Future (3, Interesting)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446408)

I wish that wasn't insightful, but it's true. :( Stupid real world, not working the way it theoretically should...

very second that they have a security breach (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446299)

You are kidding. They`ve had loads of breaches in the past - the whole world heard about the various LookOut problems - but nothing changed then. What makes you think the inevitable problems in this system will be any different. If anything they`ll have more chance to wriggle out of it. OutLook is their software - this is `the internet`!

Re:Microsoft's Future (3, Insightful)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446323)

I'm afraid I just don't agree with you. Peple are used to security breaches, they happen all the time. I'm not just talking about the Swiss-cheese IIS, but other companies who aren't able to run their own systems securely, from banks which make data avaiable to the wrong people, to online retailers which leave sensitive data on unsecure webservers.

Okay, a breach would damage their rep a little, and some people would stop using the service, but I think the majorty would just accept the failure as a temporary glitch and continue to use their services.

Tom.

Re:Microsoft's Future (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446368)

But to compensate for poor security, they'll just keep lowering the price of the OS. Like the article said, it's the whole razor and blades theory. Within two years time so many people will have been forced over to MSN/Passport/.NET that Microsofts main revenue stream will be services, not the OS.

Who cares if it's insecure when the package is offered to them for free download/upgrade (plus $XX per month)...

MS will enter the free OS movement with consumer awareness. Consumers still aren't bombarded with the phrase "Microsoft virus/worm" often enough for them to differentiate systems or security.

.forsight

does not apply.. (1)

jspectre (102549) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446282)

excuse me, but how does this apply to those of us who don't use windows? are we going to be pushed off of the 'net? that will never happen.. ok. M$ might control the sheep but the smarter people will think for themselves and not sign up for passport..

Re:does not apply.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446302)

Just wait until every online merchant requires a valid passport account to make a purchase.

Re:does not apply.. (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446436)

That's what Brick & Mortar is for

Along with nastygrams to each merchant I would otherwise use.

Re:does not apply.. (1)

mancuskc (211986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446338)

OK kiddies,

Now is the time to get that killfile, and turn it inside out.
Seeyah Microsoft - the new internet will be built inside the ruins of the old.

Re:does not apply.. (3, Insightful)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446365)

I think that one thing that will convice many people to switch the MS systems is that they'll make as many services as possible run only on Windows.

Okay, we have the beautiful open-source coders, all out there trying to catch up and offer the same (or equivalent) stuff for other platforms, but it'll be a hard struggle. Picture a nice file-sharing system that all Windows users use. Nice. Along comes Mr Open-Source, who says "Hey, I'd like to get in on this action", but find that he can't because to do so would require him to illegally decrypt something. I don't know what, but if I was MS, I'd find a way to make using their services from a non-Windows platform illegal - and I don't think it'd be very hard to do so...

Tom.

Re:does not apply.. (5, Insightful)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446397)

xcuse me, but how does this apply to those of us who don't use windows? are we going to be pushed off of the 'net?

To some extent we already have been. If I made my machine at home boot directly into the Linux partition, my wife would kill me. Not because she cares about operating systems, but because there are a good many mail order sites that do things that either don't work without Internet Explorer (I'm thinking of ActiveX scripting and such) or don't render properly under Mozilla, because the web designers didn't care.

Sure, this is the fault of the companies that design sites like this. But when 95% of all online purchases are made from Windows machines, then from a business point of view it doesn't make sense to worry about the other 1%. How many Linux users are going to buy clothes from L.L. Bean or Chadwick's?

Re:does not apply.. (2, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446428)

How many Linux users are going to buy clothes from L.L. Bean or Chadwick's?


Don't most of them buy clothes from K-Mart and the Salvation Army, anyway?

Re:does not apply.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446450)

Maybe, but as a Solaris user I do buy clothes from LL Bean ;)

fast pissed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446283)

fastly pissed for all those out there
who like real beer

Bill Gates Is The Antichrist (0, Troll)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446286)

The more I hear stuff like this,
the more I believe Microsoft is the brain child of
Satan. Bill Gates has far to much power, and is taking far to many liberties.

Re:Bill Gates Is The Antichrist (1)

gregorio (520049) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446325)

The more I hear stuff like this, the more I believe Microsoft is the brain child of Satan. Bill Gates has far to much power, and is taking far to many liberties.
Too much power? It's fair to say that Microsoft's shareholders OWN Bill Gates, not the opposite.

Re:Bill Gates Is The Antichrist (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446384)

I don't know the answer to these questions, but I'd be willing to hazard a guiess:

Are the majority of the MS shares in (direct or indirect) ownership of one person/entity?

If so, who, or what?

Tom.

Re:Bill Gates Is The Antichrist (-1, Troll)

gazbo (517111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446402)

Subject: Bill Gates Is The Antichrist
Uhhhhh huh. Whatever floats your boat.

Body:
The more I hear stuff like this, the more I believe Microsoft is the brain child of Satan.
Riiiiight. Well, this is the usual /. crud (if this can't be called FUD, what can?)
Bill Gates has far to much power, and is taking far to many liberties.
Right. Now he's said something that isn't just a childish insult. A single sentence that says nothing new, just the usual 'Hold on, I don't like Microsoft'
And yet it gets a +1 informative. Well, I don't feel very well informed by it.
By this reckoning, I should get a +5 informative for this next line - stand back, it'll be a killer:
Windows
Bad start, I meant:
Windoze is less good at stuff than what Linux^H^H^H^H^H L00nix is.
Can I have some karma now, please?

Re:Bill Gates Is The Antichrist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446464)

ATTN: This is the way a self important,self righteous asshole likes to hear himself talk.

But XP is so pretty (1, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446290)

I've always had a computer configured with Linux and 98SE for games. Recently I saw how pretty XP was and heard it had compatability modes for playing old DOS games. So I think I might switch to XP and Linux. However for every good piece of news about XP there is a bad piece of news. First o all I avoid passport every step of the way. There was even a contest to win a Porsche, but it required me making a passport, so I didn't enter. If windows becomes a service like AOL, however, that would just be absolutely horrible. AOL is the most poorly written memory hog of a program ever. All AOL does is pull a shade over the internet so you are kept inside its little webby world. Still might get XP after I test its gaming performance on some other machines.

Re:But XP is so pretty (0)

Solidblu (241490) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446331)

yes XP is very pretty but after using betas on other people's machines and seeing the list of headaches aka features. I feel that it is a set towards AOL. Only XP can't do what AOL 6 does by over writtening th TCP IP protcol making 90% LAN networking almost impossible.

it's a child's os (1)

Rai (524476) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446434)

XP looks like it's GUI was designed by fisher-price. c'mon. why is this 'new advanced technology' microsoft makes resemble something you'd see in preschool. most of the windows even have rounded edges like they're afraid the users are gonna hurt themselves on it. i think gates has some kind of child fetish because he wants to make the computing world look like todlers.

Re:But XP is so pretty (2)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446435)

Recently I saw how pretty XP was and heard it had compatability modes for playing old DOS games.

Why not just load up DOS 5 for old games? Oh, wait, you can't... But then again, if I wanted to run Slackware 1.3, I could probably find it using Google and run it without breaking any license agreements - but you lost your license for DOS 5 when you installed Win 3.1 back in '93, didn't you?

Don't mind me...
Jim in Tokyo

PS - Gnome can be pretty, too - as pretty as you want it to be.

Re:But XP is so pretty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446444)

once again jim...lay off a bit. don't you have something better to do than harassing poor ms users here on slashdot, like oh, coding perl?? lol! great job. i mean, do you actually sit around all day (apparently you do) thinking of ways to lay into people who use windows. do you go to bed thinking of linux? do you think about how cool free software is every hour?? this is your life jim, be proud! have some self respect! i'm trying to help you!

Re:But XP is so pretty (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446459)

If you have a hotmail account, you have a passport. You're telling them that you were ready to give personal information to enter a contest but you didn't want to give personal information for Passport? With Passport, you sign up once and whenever you enter a contest you don't have to go through given the same information over and over again.

Btw, i'm using Win XP and in my experience so far, i didn't even have to deal with passport. I removed Windows Messenger and that's it. Their's also an option to activate passport automatically upon logon, but this option is hidden in the users manager section of the control panel and it's not even activated by default.

When the going gets tough... (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446298)

I jerk off. Thank you.

actually... (-1)

GaylordFucker (465080) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446300)

i had sex last night.... with a girl!!
haha.. just kidding
you probably believed me too... didn't you?

peace,
fuckgoat

I want Microsoft to be the Gatekeepers! (5, Funny)

Desus (253573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446311)

I don't understand Slashdot. Not everything Microsoft does is evil. Hell, I want them to be the gatekeepers of the internet. I find that worrying about things like personal freedom, privacy, and security tax my little mind too much. So I'd rather have a corporation deal with that for me.

Also, my mother still picks out my clothing for me. Decisions like this worry me so much.

Re:I want Microsoft to be the Gatekeepers! (1)

egriebel (177065) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446343)

Yes!! If it wasn't for Garanamals(tm) I wouldn't be such a snappy dresser! Also, I like BillG telling me where I want to go today. It's a nice sense of peacefulness not having my day bogged down in silly choices!

Re:I want Microsoft to be the Gatekeepers! (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446426)

Also, my mother still picks out my clothing for me. Decisions like this worry me so much.

True and some other people. Anyone who can pick out clothes for me and pay for them is welcome. I don't think that clothes are worth money, they should be free.

Suprise? Not! (1)

egriebel (177065) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446312)

Why does this come as a suprise to anyone? Microsoft's modus operandi is to embrace, extend, extinguish every technology that could make them money. It's just that the Internet is so huge is why it hasn't happened already with that.

Of course, their failures are spectacular too, such as Acti-mates, and the one that's so obvious, I'm not even going to mention it.

$$$$ (1, Flamebait)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446313)

If this were a movie, and not real life, Bill Gates would be some sort of Mad Scientist with a plot to take over the world. I'd say hes well on his way.

"Damn straight, today a Mad Scientist can't get a doomsday device, tomorrow its the Mad Grad-Student, where will it end?"

Re:$$$$ (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446404)

When the movie's made in ten years time, he'll be portrayed as a gifted man, working to make the world better.
In twenty years time he'll be The Savior


Tom.

To quote Dennis Miller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446416)

"Bill Gates is just a monacle and a persian cat away from being a James Bond vilain."

Re:$$$$ (1)

rednuhter (516649) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446463)

Pretty Sammy Eps2 (Tenchi Muyo spin off)

Bill gates is played by Biff Standard

Its a good strategy... (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446315)

Software is becoming more and more of a commodity industry, so it makes sense to try to move more in a services type direction.

Patience is a Virtue (5, Insightful)

Kletus Cassidy (230405) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446316)

Wouldn't it have made more sense for Slashdot to wait for the entire 7 day series to be written and link to it all than to link to the first two articles? What's going to happen now, is Slashdot going to provide a link to each installment daily or revisit the story in a week when all 7 articles have been printed?

BEST QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE "If successful, Microsoft could challenge AOL Time Warner and other media giants for control of the Internet and entirely new industries"

Basically, C|Net is admitting that AOL already practically owns the Internet and Micro$oft is trying to give them a run for their money. I usually don't support Micro$oft but I'd rather there was some competition to AOL's increasingly massive control of how, where and when most people access the 'net and what they see.

Re:Patience is a Virtue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446347)

Yeah, right, like we really all need constant reminders of an ongoing series :rolleyes:

If you're not interested enough to read the rest yourself, then you don't need the link from Slashdot. If you are interested enough, then you don't need the link from Slashdot.

Or would you like it if CmdrTaco came over and helped you wipe every time?

Discussion value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446392)

tsk tsk tsk

Or maybe some of us would like to have a discussion with other likeminded souls about the series on Slashdot instead of just reading it on C|Net. If it was simply about reading the linked articles then why would anybody post comments?

Re:Patience is a Virtue (1)

floodle (409717) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446381)

Wouldn't it have made more sense for Slashdot to wait for the entire 7 day series to be written and link to it all than to link to the first two articles? What's going to happen now, is Slashdot going to provide a link to each installment daily or revisit the story in a week when all 7 articles have been printed?

Bah. You know that if they had just posted it in a week a dozen people would be complaining about how stupid CmdrTaco was for linking to old news. It happens pretty much every time he puts a news story up on the front page, anyway.

Re:Patience is a Virtue (3, Insightful)

Ouroboro (10725) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446407)

Basically, C|Net is admitting that AOL already practically owns the Internet and Micro$oft is trying to give them a run for their money. I usually don't support Micro$oft but I'd rather there was some competition to AOL's increasingly massive control of how, where and when most people access the 'net and what they see.

Don't fool yourself. Microsoft's play for the internet will be much more painful than the Fisher Price like work that AOL does. The reason? Control. Once you are locked in with microsoft it is very hard to extricate yourself. Think of AOL as a pair of rosey colored glasses. Now add some duct tape to keep you from removing them, and now you have microsoft.

Re:Patience is a Virtue (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446449)

C|Net is admitting that AOL already practically owns the Internet

Not from where I'm sitting. AOL may be popular in the USA, but in the rest of the world very few people use it to access the 'net. And the rest of the world is quite a big place, you know.

Re:Patience is a Virtue (2)

smartin (942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446456)

... AOL already practically owns the Internet...
I don't get this. I am a very heavy internet user and have been since long before AOL and I have to tell you, AOL is not even on my radar. I have no opinion about them because they have no effect on my life whatsoever. M$ on the other hand is in my face every day.

Re:Patience is a Virtue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446457)

Wouldn't it have made more sense for Slashdot to wait for the entire 7 day series

No. Don't make decisions on bahalf of the readers. If ./ tell me now, then it's my choice whether I read it one part at a time, or wait till the end and read it all at once.

A good news source gives me as much accurate information as possible as early as possible, and let me decide what to do with it. I'm fed up with sites that filter, summarize and otherwise decide what's best for me.

Ummmmm (0, Offtopic)

SupaTrouble (242042) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446317)

Who said they could do that?????

Microsoft as Corp. vs. Microsoft as Tech. (5, Insightful)

under_score (65824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446320)

Microsoft is in a funny position. Many of the things they do (not all) have a solid basis in user needs or wants. Honestly, I would be/is a lot simpler to have the internet and all its related services (web, mail, chat, identification etc.) integrated seamlessly into the OS so that any application can easily access those services. That's the tech side of Microsoft: they are doing some good. BUT As most people here would agree, their business practices range from sucking to disasterous. Basically, this dichotomy boils down to the issue of "does the end justify the means?" Most people do not think so, and our legal code is set up that way. In fact, if you really get down to it, most of our society is based on the idea that the means justify the end. (That is a whole other discussion...) Microsoft being a gatekeeper to the internet is both a business decision and a technical decision. For many people, it is a way to provide useful services for their operating system and applications. Therefore people will buy it, corporations will buy it (not all of course). But as time goes on, there will be more and more pressure on Microsoft from a legal perspective... because undoubtably, they will not clean up their act on the "means" side of things.

Death of the Internet!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446328)

Death of the Internet!!!
Microsoft to own entire network!!!!
Film at 11!!!!!

Trusting the Gatekeepers. (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446330)

I think we should probably have a set of faked passport profiles, with names insulting to MS.

Some of these can get passed around.

Seriously there is nothing wrong with having a good system running things, as long as you can trust the gatekeepers.

The problem is that you cannot trust these gatekeepers.

Like Ceasars's wife, they should be blameless.

They need to prove they are pure as they driven snow, and this would probably require completely open books, and completely open records of all significant meetings, not just the symbolic ones.

Re:Trusting the Gatekeepers. (2)

tmark (230091) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446353)

I think we should probably have a set of faked passport profiles, with names insulting to MS.

At the risk of being spammed, I am the proud owner of the "windows_sucks" hotmail account.

As an aside, I had to cast about for quite a while before settling on that one...all the "legitimate" accounts I tried to get were all taken, which makes me wonder how far MS can really go in providing accounts for everyone. There is a limit at which the ungainliness of your address becomes a serious hindrance.

Good - Let them go! (5, Funny)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446332)

By ensuring a Windows-only "internet" they are granting freedom to Linux users and people saavy enough not to play along...
I was happy enough with the BBS culture of 10 - 15 years ago - I will be happy to see all of those morons gone. If you can't figure out that you don't need Windows, I'm not sure that I want to know you...
Good riddance to them - For a while, it was as if the football team had joined the A/V club and now they're being shepherded out of the room - let them go... Maybe I'll get less spam and fewer Code Red attacks...

Obviously Somewhat Embittered,
Jim in Tokyo

Re:Good - Let them go! (3, Interesting)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446395)

I was happy enough with the BBS culture of 10 - 15 years ago

I don't want to go back to that.

Sure, you lose the morons, which is good.

On the downside though, you also lose access to two things; the enormous pro bono resources that have grown up to serve The Web of the Long September (they weren't there before because there wasn't the demand to make it worthwhile) and also the purely money-grabbing commercial sites that need a population of proles to feed off. You might hate the level to which the BBC or CNN are pitching their news stories, but I bet you still read them.

I never had Amazon@Fidonet or Terraserver@Fidonet to play with. I _like_ these huge resources of on-line data, and I might even use a M$oft product if that were my only way to maintain access.

That's not an endorsement of M$oft, you understand, just a statement of how low my morals might fall if that were the only way to access the Natalie Portman Grits archive 8-)

Re:Good - Let them go! (2, Funny)

spnbs (264432) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446410)

What happens when microsoft owns the routers? Maybe the football team will decide that there's just no need for an AV club. It's just a haven for dorks without software licenses, anyways.

Re:Good - Let them go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446424)

I hope you come back to this post months or years from now and realize what a jackass you were. Seriously, sit back and ask yourself why you care about these things. You talk as if you somehow have entitlement to use the internet over laypeople. Well, who are you exactly? You use Linux, that makes you somehow smarter than others? I used to think this way, but it is truly a pathetic display. You need to get away from this site, use your own mind. Linux...pfft.

Re:Good - Let them go! (3, Redundant)

s390 (33540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446425)

Microsoft has already taken over an ISP's (Qwest, somewhere) email service and promply imposed a Microsoft-only email client policy. Are you sure you want to be _forced_ to run Microsoft's proprietary software? I know I don't. This is scary and a Very Bad Thing(tm). We can't let it happen.

Watch out for pretorians! (1)

Fez (468752) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446334)

Of course they're implying by the use of the word "gatekeeper" that Bill Gates has a backdoor he can use to get in and out of all their systems, only to be foiled by Sandra Bullock's skillfull pressing of the escape key.

Not for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446337)

I'm sticking with Windows 2000 for now! I don't trust this XP crap. Especially if I can't disable it.

Re:Not for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446467)

You can allay your fears about not being able to disable it. All sorts of 3rd parties have signed up with Microsoft to take advantage of the disabling API features in XP. RIAA will do it for you through Windows Media player if dare play an MP3 file they don't want you to have. Microsoft internet phone should simplify the centralized tracking the calls of American and world users of XP. Big Bill's MSN is watching you! Terrorists and anti-capitalists beware! Disabling is a great advance in the cause of enforcing service and protection rackets...wait, I hope Microsoft won't be charged under any racketerring clause...oh, that's covered, not while they have the White House and Congress bought and paid for.

"Gate"keeper (1)

Green Aardvark House (523269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446339)

It's a fairly appropriate title for Microsoft.

From the article:

"In regards to Windows XP prompting me to sign up for Passport, to be frank, I don't like that at all," said Darnell McGavock, a database administrator from Suwanee, Ga. "I don't need Microsoft prodding me to sign up."

No one likes to be constantly reminded to do something. It's almost like the preponderance of X10 ads on the internet.

It also seems to be an attempt to limit choice; more bundling that they have done with IE.

Also from the CNET article:

"What they want is to build direct relationships. Everybody's got Windows, but Microsoft doesn't enjoy that direct billing relationship AOL has with its customers,"

In the future, with this sort of bundling, could Microsoft do what AOL does now? Offer the software for free, then finance the whole operation with subscriptions? That definitely would make it somewhat more palatable with consumers.

Re:"Gate"keeper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446361)

That definitely would make it somewhat more palatable with consumers.


Not really, unless the consumers are mindless sheep who accept closed source programs.

Re:"Gate"keeper (-1)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446412)

Unfortunately, most consumers are not aware of the open-source alternatives.

My guess is that the palatability of this is from no longer having the $400.00 initial outlay for a new OS.

Re:"Gate"keeper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446442)

I'm glad most people are either not interested in or aware of alternative lifestyles.

Otherwise we'd have a nation full of faggots running open source operating systems... uh, wait, forget it.

Better Microsoft than AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446346)

I'd much rather have Microsoft be the GateKeeper than AOL and let's face it, someone is going to take charge for real progress to happen. Microsoft has never rested on its laurels when it came to development and innovation. They've had a lot of problems with security and stability, but they keep moving forward. When security is the major issue, they have the money to go after it and fix stuff and they will once the pressure mounts enough. AOL on the other hand is just a media company gone mad. One look at AOL and you can see they care very little about advancing the Internet and only about getting as many paying customers as they can. At least Microsoft thinks the way to make more money is to make things BETTER.

GateKeeper, KeyMaster. (2, Redundant)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446348)

God, that is so symbolic.

Where are the Ghostbusters when you need them?

[snort]

Re:GateKeeper, KeyMaster. (2)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446389)

You are just another *Master Baiter.

ostiguy

Re:GateKeeper, KeyMaster. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446406)

Ballmer *does* look a little like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Quote of the Day (scary!) (5, Insightful)

Masem (1171) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446350)

"This whole thing is driven by the fact that Microsoft has hundreds of millions of Windows users out there, but Microsoft doesn't have a direct monthly billing
relationship with those users," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft.
(My emphasis).

That word, right there, scares the bejeebies out of me.

Re:Quote of the Day (scary!) (5, Funny)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446382)

Well not everyone has a fear of relationships, its the month billing part that I don't like. :)

Re:Quote of the Day (scary!) (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446390)

You're a Linux user, why should it scare you? Besides, those companies who always complain that they don't want to buy an upgrade have now the option of renting the software and always having an up-to-date version.

Re:Quote of the Day (scary!) (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446394)

Here's my favorite:

In this case, a primary instrument of that leverage may be something that has gotten relatively little attention in the hype surrounding the new operating system: a Web browser integrated in Windows XP called MSN Explorer.

Relatively little hype, huh? Is the reporter brain damaged? Is he incapable of remembering anything that happened more than a few weeks ago?

One question I have: I'm on TW's high speed internet service. Am I going to be shunted onto AOL?

Where is ..... (0, Offtopic)

MatrixManiac (448609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446352)

Sandra Bullock when you need her?!

bogus e-mail address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446356)

Maybe I just don't know enough about Passport (I signed up for a Hotmail account 2 years ago and check it quarterly, never anything in it) but can't you just sign up with a bogus e-mail address and not worry about it? Maybe not a bogus address, but sign up for a Yahoo account or Hotmail and just don't use it. Sign up just to make them happy. I mean, if you're never going to check it, what's the difference?

Re:bogus e-mail address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446376)

What the hell are you talking about?

Why shouldn't I be able to sign up with a bogus e-mail address?

Re:bogus e-mail address? (-1)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446378)

I signed up for a Hotmail account 2 years ago and check it quarterly, never anything in it

Nothing in it? You sure you signed up for Hotmail, The World's Free, Web-Based Spamming Tool?

wincing in pain and laughing at the same time (2, Funny)

headwick (247433) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446358)

"Microsoft and AOL are considered to be among the few online leaders capable of providing the security and technology necessary to handle payment systems on an Internet-wide scale"

Joe Wilcox [mailto]
You have got to be kidding me!

Re:wincing in pain and laughing at the same time (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446370)

Why, you know any companies who have more servers? Do you know any company who have more users than MS or AOL?

M$ is the only option for a lot of people though (1)

thrashncarry (528967) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446362)

have you ever tried asking your mum why she uses Windows? Until Linux gets a bit more user friendly and people like Red Hat,etc make their names more household brands then people are going to keep buying Windows. i doubt a lot of people have even heard of Linux, let alone know what it is.

it's good that a lot of smaller businesses are considering putting Linux on their workstations rather than NT/2K but there is still a long way to go before most people will be convinced

the good news though is that all these latest plans by Bill Gates and M$ are definately going to push people away and start thinking about alternatives to the dreaded Windows. People aren't stupid and sooner or later they'll get sick of this, it's just up to Linux developers to make sure there is something there that is user friendly to fall back on.

People's tastes will change. (1)

suso (153703) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446363)

Remember how Commodore 64s and Tandy's once ruled the home computer market and you could play all kinds of games. Well, here comes along the 286 and somehow everyone wants to start using spreadsheets and do wordprocessing instead of having fun.


The point is that people's taste for what they want out of a computer and how the computer works changes over time. Microsoft is probably on the right track to change their OS to be something more like AOL. Perhaps that's what everybody will eventually want and then when they look upon us with no different eyes than those old folgies that still think that 8-bits is enough.



OSS needs to lead. Now damnit!

Hold on a second. people. (4, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446366)

Of course Bill & Co. are trying to take over the Internet - they get paid to make as much money as possible for thier shareholders, and the best way to do that for them at this point is to commandeer as much of the Internet as possible. I certainly don't like it either, but it's the reality of a company being too sucessful in a Capitalist economy. Bill Gates is not Satan, he's just a really successful player in the Business Game - he's a symptom, not a disease.

Until we can convince the unwashed masses that the Internet can be a force for world change of the benevolent kind and is not just for businesses and pr0n, crap like this will continue. If it's not Gates, look out for Elliston and/or McNealy - any one of them would co-opt the Internet in a second, given the chance.

Soko

How free you are... (1)

Sheyala (520936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446369)

...is directly related to how open the gate is that you came through. It's true in religon, it's true in immigration.

AOL lead the way, soon it will be true on the internet as well.

Already looks Like AOL (1)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446377)

Well so far, win XP looks like somthing you give a 5 year old. but the easy solution is to just not use XP. I am running linux / win 2000 on my systems. Why would I move when it will make my life not so fun

my 2 cents plus 2 more

Re:Already looks Like AOL (2)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446409)

Well so far, win XP looks like somthing you give a 5 year old.

Give KDE a couple of years and it will look just like XP.

Re:Already looks Like AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446455)

Uh, wrong.

KDE icons are clear and intuitive. Gnome, on the other hand, has fuzzy, childish icons.

They've got some work to do. (2)

G-funk (22712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446379)

I've been running XP for a couple of months now, and ages ago a mate of mine checked his hotmail from my computer. I now have his msn messenger on my computer and can't find a way to make it piss off and forget his settings, and I've done some looking....

They've got some cool ideas (some, not all) but they need some help implementing them methinks.

More puns (1)

trurl3 (112621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446385)

Someone mentioned ghostbusters.

Anyone recall this [tje.net] little ditty about the DOSfish? Talk about prophetic.

AOL 7.0 needs to bundle Netscape browser (1)

PRR (261928) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446388)

Especially now that MS is so agressively going after AOL's lunch, I hope AOL would get the clue that having their signup logo as an icon on the Windows desktop is of little help if they are reliant upon IE (which MS will always use to their advantage)

AOL needs to bundle the Netscape browser (which they own) with AOL 7.0.

It's All About The Average User (5, Informative)

Self Bias Resistor (136938) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446391)

The point is not that the technically adept will possibly somehow be denied access to the Internet (which wouldn't happen for a whole slew of technical reasons), but that Micrsoft will get an unfair headstart on those who aren't technically minded. Your 'average user' may not know that you don't need Passport to use the Internet under Windows XP. But if he/she gets constant reminder messages for days suggesting to them that they get a Passport account, then they may start thinking "if I don't get a Passport account, I may be missing out on something (ie. may not be getting the "best" services)". Especially if, as the article suggests Microsoft might starting including "features" in XP that may only be accessed with a Passport account. Those who know enough about computers will know how to set up their systems under XP using their own software and Internet access. But it's the 'average user', who doesn't know these things, that it's going to most affect.

In this case, education will the key. If people know that they can use XP just fine without a Passport account, then they may be less likely to sign up for one in future (hey, it's yet one more password to memorise). That is, unless MS doesn't in future require users to have such accounts to use key features of the operating system. It's bad enough that it's compulsory to register your copy of Windows XP (otherwise it stops functioning). To say nothing of the fact that even in the face of an (once) impending antitrust suit by the Department of Justice, MS are continuing to "bundle" products and services to their operating systems more tightly than ever.

M$oft are already doing it (2, Interesting)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446420)

"if I don't get a Passport account, I may be missing out on something"

Try using IE, then turning off ActiveX controls for restricted sites and adding doubleclick and a few other banner-ad vendors to your restricted list. Now when you browse eBay (or many others, not on your restricted list) then you have a continual dialog box on each page stating "YOUR settings prevent ActiveX. The page MAY NOT DISPLAY CORRECTLY". The clearly implied message is, "Use ActiveX; if you turn it off you're a Bad Person and you're going to miss a party".

Re:M$oft are already doing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446472)

Uh, so?

ActiveX is there to provide a better view on the content. Since it's on by default, you have changed the settings so that it's disabled. And because it's disabled, you won't get the the same experience as with ActiveX on.

I think it's only apprpriate to tell the user about this. Especially, if he has switched the ActiveX off by chance or some *nix geek has decided to "improve" his computer security by switching off an important feature.

Microsoft's Last, Best Hope (1)

denzo (113290) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446400)

The reason Microsoft is pushing their .NET architecture so strongly, of course, is because it's their last recourse for their domination of the computer world. Yes, now it's not just the "PC" world.

And in true Bill Gates fashion, Microsoft is always picking up these trends after some other notable people declare how things will be. First, Bill Gates didn't believe in the Internet. Now he realizes, after sitting on the wayside while Mosaic then Netscape initially dominated the browser market, that this may perhaps be the biggest opportunity of his company's life. He's already had control of the PC market by essentially requiring all PC manufacturers to bundle his operating system with their machines, but this influence pretty much stops at the x86 market (with a brief stint in the Alpha market with NT). Keeping things proprietary meant a tight control over the PC world.

Now, in a strange twist of irony, the open, non-proprietary Internet standards will perhaps offer Bill Gates a new domination over the Internet. A good portion of the market is already under Wintel domination, and the vast majority of such systems are likely connected to the Internet. What better progression than to use this as a portal into the "whole" Internet?

We're going to need to be watchful over this one. Either .NET is a genuine, open architecture that will make all our lives easier, or it'll be just another MS sugar coating to take over the market. After these anti-trust trials, I am hoping that the former is true. But we will still need to be careful, and remain critical of .NET.

(Perhaps this is just preaching to the converted and stating the obvious, but important issues like these can never be said enough.)

MS as gatekeeper... scary... (5, Insightful)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446401)

I wouldn't mind Microsoft resembling AOL. It's their right to try and do so. But the big difference with AOL is that with AOL i at least have a choice in signing up.

MS provides an operating system. Fine. MS provides technology for the internet. Reasonable... better than loose products like in the 3.x days. (trumpet winsock etc..). MS providing security. Bad. Given their trackrecord it would be an outright disaster. MS providing content (MSN). Evil. I want to be able to view any kind of content. Not MS controlled. Who is to say that when MS gets a big stranglehold on the Net they won't start censoring content provided by others. If MS doesn't want people to find out about bugs they just block the sites that provide such information.

Basicly MS tries to not only control the Internet on a technologie side. They can (and most likeliy will) also try to control the content. Power corrupts.. whatever kind of power it is.

And when i have almost no control on which provider or technology i want...

Joe Sixpack will probably just click on the yes button, not knowing they give away their freedom and privacy.

XP (1)

Peter Allan (235555) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446403)

The .Net/Hailstorm scheme makes the CueCat look like a good idea.

I read the article and I can't understand where the consumer's advantage is in all this. Big corporate customers will have it disabled or stripped out, the technically adept will circumvent it and the rest will keep their AOL accounts.

Happily, the harder MS tries to force this, the more users will jump to Linux or Mac.

An honest broker (1)

lenski (96498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446427)

People and organizations providing online purchasing and access services could benefit from the services of a high-quality honest broker.

Microsoft could have served in such a role had they been honest. Their need to use domination of one marketplace to force products and services into other markeplaces (e.g. Office<->OS<-> browser) renders them absolutely unacceptable in the role.

What customers really want (1, Offtopic)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446433)

Mr. Gates said "Our customers do want us to make Windows richer and more reliable".

Ironically, all my Windows-using relatives (3) and neighbors (4) only say theyy want Windows to be stable. And hey, have to reinstall itself less often! And maybe not have to reboot 3 times just to install a minor application.

And "new featuritis" seems the main thing _preventing_ stability/reliabilty-- so MS's goals are antithetical.

I have yet to find a _customer_ who demands Windows be "more richer", though I'm sure Gates et al want the "more richer" part.

Ah well, Linux will do for me... (1)

simong (32944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446437)

The WinME side of my laptop has slowly been declining with every patch I install, be it from Microsoft or Acer. Having fscked the sound I decided to try and roll the config back a week, which promptly deleted the boot files for WinME. So I'm now booting into Linux primarily at last, using OpenOffice build 638 [openoffice.org] , which seems to read Office2K files happily, and running NT4 in VMware [vmware.com] 3.0 beta to use Ameol until I find time to start my Cix [cix.co.uk] OLR project. I will not be going anywhere near XP and I'd like to thank Microsoft for improving my computing experience immensely.

The other gate... (2, Interesting)

drnomad (99183) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446438)

This passport stuff reminds me of the fuzz we had here in the Netherlands with pay-per-view TV a couple of years ago.


The most popular channels wanted to get behind the digital decoder, but a lesser popular channel chose not to do so. In the end, none of the channels got behind the digital decoder, as the consumer would choose for the other gate: the free gate.


So even when Microsoft succeeds into implementing this passport into XP, the rumour will spread like fire, that there is a free alternative for their expensive habits. This rumour will spread via the internet and likely by the spoken word.


I'm not sure about the future, but I considering the option that MS is shooting themselves into their own feet with this...

Not MY internet (2)

Private Essayist (230922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446439)

The Net was here before M$ got interested, and before AOL heard of it, and before business discovered it. In fact, some of the most interesting parts of the Net are still those oddball sites totally unconnected to M$ and AOL and their like. When I want to find out information on tech stuff, I prefer homegrown sites where people passionate about tech write their true assessment of stuff, rather than some conglomerate taking advertising dollars from the same companies they are reviewing.


M$ can be the gatekeeper and it won't affect me since I don't run M$ in my home -- at all. Nor do I use AOL. They can charge whatever they want, but they won't get any money from me. And if they decide to start forcing certain sites I use to charge money, I will switch to other sites. It's nice to have CNN.com around occasionally, but there are other ways to get news. I like ESPN, but I could switch if I had to.


If 90% of the online world eventually switches to a vast wasteland of sameness controlled through subscription services, I will just be part of the 10% going to the independent sites, the fan sites, the oddball sites. That's how the Net began, and that will always be a part of the Net. You just have to search those sites out.

The toughest obstacle for MS yet...your wallet! (4, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446445)

Isn't it clear? Microsoft knows they want a subscription buisiness model, but they don't know yet what customers will pay for. I've got news for Microsoft, consumers don't pay for anything very easily. Look at all the failed dot bombs: People like free stuff, when the model switches to a payment model, most customers drop it like a bad habit. I used to work in retail, trust me when I say most people are cheap. I admit, I am.

Do you think for a minute Napster will survive as a subscription service? No way!

How about software? Forget about it!

Now factor in a recessonary world economy, and guess what.....HailStorm, XP, and all the software subscription based models are doomed to fail.

privacy (3, Insightful)

TheMMaster (527904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2446469)

You know what really really makes me mad? The fact that the whole fucking world is talking crap about privacy, people dump shit on the government for taking their privacy, security cameras invade privacy and what else the "people" talk about. And under there noses is a company (let's call them Microsoft) that sells them an OS that they'll install, presents them with a nice dialog and asks if the user wants to create a passport.
PEOPLE WILL create those things... and people WILL use them and in a short while there is a company that has your Creditcard number, expiration date, all your favorite files, knows your surfing habits, knows who your friends are, knows what you like to buy, can present you with "special offers"

I've been preacing this ever since I heard about the passport thing, and passport is pretty old now.... PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO HEAR AND DON'T WANT TO KNOW as long as they can get their daily dose of minesweeper....
And we, the geeks, have seen this coming for quite some time now, but (as always with microsoft) by the time the people know what hit them, it's too late to turn back, all e-commerse sites will be .NET and will require your passport to get to your safely stored creditcard informatation...

The world makes me sick, and most of all these ignorant people that don't seem to care about this kind of privacy.
But what can we do? Well since I hope there are some more talented writers than myself here, write a column for your (local) newspaper... convince people... THIS IS IMPORTANT

and for all the techies: check out .GNU [dotgnu.org] something simular to .NET but with privacy in mind...

end rant

coward? eat you load of crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2446473)

yes, so microsoft's this big corporation, and this new marketing scheeeem is going to shoot them into interdomain dominance? No. And why? Because, it's annoying to be asked to buy products unrelentingly from a service that you already mistrust. Well, even the last half of that statement aside, it's annoying. Windows took off (and made lots of money) because it was innovative. IMHO, Macrogloss has crapped out the internet's face by providing a needlessly bulky (and buggy) GUI for mail and shopping. (I don't want to shop online! PLEASE! Make it stop!)

Anyway, when some other company comes along and provides a better solution, microsoft will go away, and then that'll be that. Kind of like IBM. And just like IBM, Microsoft will make big headline news (and lots of money for traders) by announcing all their retooling shit years after someone else has outdone their OS.

So cheers for them. I guess my next desktop will definitely be running linux.

maybe I'll get a cable modem too.

and a dvd player.

and sell my desktop for a 909.

and.... free shoes.
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