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Microsoft: The Gatekeeper of the Internet 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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Microsoft: The Gatekeeper of the Internet

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  • Microsoft's Future (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jwilhelm ( 238084 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @09:47AM (#2446280) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • But XP is so pretty (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @09:49AM (#2446290) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by dingbat_hp ( 98241 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:07AM (#2446395) Homepage

    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-)

  • by cloudmaster ( 10662 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:10AM (#2446408) Homepage Journal
    I wish that wasn't insightful, but it's true. :( Stupid real world, not working the way it theoretically should...
  • by dingbat_hp ( 98241 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:12AM (#2446420) Homepage

    "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".

  • The other gate... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drnomad ( 99183 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:16AM (#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...

  • by narfbot ( 515956 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:38AM (#2446574)
    I was thinking, why should I buy XP?

    For one thing I know, there is activation. If there is a moderate change to the system, you have to reactivate--this is very bas in my case because I change hardware out almost every week.

    I thought once that a laptop could be better to run XP, because the hardware doesn't really change. But then I remember a story of a guy on a plane, hooks up his spare laptop battery or something, and had to reactivate, which was impossible. Wierd.

    I could buy the corporate XP version which has no activation...but why should I pay more because Microsoft cripples its products.

    Then heres a look at another angle. This articles shows how Microsoft wants XP to be the gateway to their MSN service (in the future the entire internet) .......... I want to get an OS for productivity! not to be advertised to!
  • Re:does not apply.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ttys00 ( 235472 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:40AM (#2446586)
    WINE was made because Linux users needed Windows apps, why can't Mozilla or Konqueror be made to impersonate IE's functionality?

    Browsers and other linux internet tools will adapt to allow the use of Microsofts internet. We will not be kept out of it.
  • by Dexx ( 34621 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:49AM (#2446649) Homepage
    A friend of mine has a .sig that reads something like:
    Remember when the internet was only for smart people?

    On that note, I kinda like the idea of having a little AOL version of the 'net and a Windoze version of the 'net and a real version of the 'net. That way once people figure out what they're doing at each step, they advance to the next version of the internet. People who don't want to figure it out, don't. Picture it like a larval/pupal/adult cycle..
  • Do you think for a minute Napster will survive as a subscription service? No way!

    That's because they probably won't do it the right way, charging 5 or 10 cents per downloaded song, which I and many others would happily pay.

    Back on topic, I think it's just completely laughable that Microsoft now expects us to trust them to hold onto our personal data for convenience. Especially when they can't even keep their own sites from belching up passwords [zdnet.com] sometimes.

    Personally, I wouldn't trust Microsoft to carry a still-usable tissue I've already blown my nose in, much less my vital financial information. Microsoft knows there are a lot of people like me who won't be swayed by their marketing bullshit. To take care of us, they'll simply attempt to co-opt as many 'net merchants as possible, until they make it virtually impossible to make a purchase on the 'net without using their service for authentication. And if it comes down to switch-or-do-without, I'll simply do without.

  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @11:09AM (#2446745) Homepage
    You can still use mail servers other than Microsoft though.

    No you can't. They have blocked port 25 to any servers outside their network. You are forced to use theirs unless you have a VPN that you can connect to your company network with.

    Even my girlfriend's mom wants to move away from Qwest now that they are MSN. And she's not the most computer literate person on the face of the earth, but she knows something bad when she sees it.
  • by SomeoneGotMyNick ( 200685 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @11:32AM (#2446873) Journal
    With the price of broadband getting cheaper (or more accepted), and as M$ chokes off compatibility to the services on the Internet, why not make a shareable translation system which will keep other systems compatible.

    I recommend a co-op of sorts. A group bands together to get one (1) copy of a M$ product, a server. Someone in the group w/ broadband can run the server as a proxy whose sole job is to proxy web services and translate them to/from RFC standards on the fly. All members surf through the proxy. They can use whatever browser they want. The whole system SHOULD be Lynx compatible.

    I mention the M$ product because the M$ standards will most likely be already installed and useable. A custom application can be coded to leverage the new "standards" and translate them as needed. Just buying the one copy puts less money into M$ pockets than every user buying a copy of an M$ operating system.

    Disclaimer: These are just thoughts. A spark of an idea if you will. I'm sure there will be AC responses describing any flaws in it.
  • by StrawberryFrog ( 67065 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @11:34AM (#2446883) Homepage Journal
    fall flat on its face.. I predict this will happen within about three years

    People have been saying that for 3 years or more. Remenber when win2000 was supposed to be a disaster due to code size & complexity?

    Microsoft is in many ways a pre-Internet company. The internet has caused changes to the way software is developed and distributed. There is nothing Microsoft can do about this.

    Microsoft would like to be a post-internet company and they are working hard on it. That is, each time when you fire up Microsoft office, it will make a Microsoft connection to a Microsoft server so that you can sign on to Microsoft passport, get out your Microsoft wallet and make a Micropayment into Microsoft's not-exactly-micro account. (Integrating passport into applications is mentioned in the article). This is what they can do about it.

  • ie6 and 404s (Score:4, Interesting)

    by K. ( 10774 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @11:52AM (#2446983) Homepage Journal
    the story mentions something about ie6
    automatically directing the user to msn's search
    engine when they get a 404 - is this true? If so,
    isn't it a bit presumptuous on their part? 404
    responses can after all be used to help people
    find whatever they were actually looking for on a
    site, and redirecting them would prevent this.
    Isn't this pretty much the same issue as the
    Smart Tags thing?
  • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <slashdot.stango@org> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:14PM (#2447108) Homepage Journal
    One day soon its going to be really hard for a CTO of a small or medium sized company to justify buying Microsoft rather than using a free, similar product.

    Don't hold your breath. Yeah, those Office alternatives may be cheaper, yeah, they may be almost as good. But what good is any of that if you can't communicate effectively with the people and companies your company does business with, because of file format issues?

    Rest assured, Microsoft will just keep fucking with their file formats to ensure that the only way you won't have problems with Office documents is to have the same latest-and-greatest version of Office as the people who created them and sent them to you, period.

    Look for them to eventually do something to their file formats that will protect them under the DMCA (frankly, I'm surprised they haven't already). Then the companies who make file translators and other like products will have to (if they don't already-- I don't know how it works) pay steep licensing fees to be able to continue making their products. Anyone who doesn't want to or can't afford to pay licensing fees, but still insists on making a non-Microsoft means of reading/writing Office files, could be prosecuted.

  • by MagicM ( 85041 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:24PM (#2447151)
    According to the second article:

    Chairman Bill Gates told CNET News.com earlier this year that building demand for new products by seeding developer interest "is the Microsoft strategy. We have bet our future on that."

    The more development is done on .NET-related projects, the bigger the chance that Microsoft will get away with it's evil plans. So drop your ideas of "competing" with Microsoft in the .NET-world, because it will just attract consumer interest to Microsoft.
  • Re:does not apply.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by irktruskan ( 235269 ) <robb&livewiretech,net> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:29PM (#2447484) Homepage
    There's another face to this argument, although it has conspiracy theory written all over it. A good deal of sites are created with software, not hand coded- mostly because the people creating the site do not understand HTML any more than I understand the minute details of quantum physics. Too bad HTML editors rarely output W3C certifiable code. Anyone that has seen the code some of those pieces of software put out understands the horrors within. Certainly not compliant by any definition of the word- and hence browsers striving for that compliance end up not rendering them right. Opera and Mozilla are both doing everything in their power to try to adhere to the standards set down by the W3C, and bully for them. I can name one other browser, however, that could really care less about the standards, and doesn't hesitate to render bad code as if nothing is whack. (hint: ... do you even need a hint?)

    I'm beyond assessing blame- that is a buck that can be tossed indefinitely and incur a lot of energy expenditure doing so. I'm just observing that browsers that render bad code as if it was good code allow designers to continue writing bad code.

  • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `srevart.sirhc'> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:40PM (#2447556) Homepage Journal
    Suppose you want to steal someone's identity, credit card info, bank statements, ad nauseum. Passport is the IDEAL way of doing this and one does not even have to involve directly attacking the servers. For instance see the following site:

    http://www.passport.com@www%2elinuxdoc%2eorg [linuxdoc.org]...

    Because that URI is standards compliant, it will work in any browser. Furthermore, any of the letters in the hostname can also be substituted using the %hex hex notation. So call me paranoid when I see this as being a great benefit to computer criminals...

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham