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Microsoft's Ad Team Trumps IE Developers' Privacy Aims 149

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-like-a-movie-script dept.
phantomfive writes "The company everyone loves to hate is after your private information, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The IE8 design team had planned on adding the best privacy features available, but the advertising executives wanted to track users. From the story: 'In the end, the product planners lost a key part of the debate. The winners: executives who argued that giving automatic privacy to consumers would make it tougher for Microsoft to profit from selling online ads. Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.'"
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Microsoft's Ad Team Trumps IE Developers' Privacy Aims

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  • Business as usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by koh (124962) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:15AM (#33108732) Journal

    Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.

    And how exactly is this different than what Chrome or Firefox does? Last time I checked, you had to actively enable the privacy feature for each session in all browsers...

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by x2A (858210) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:17AM (#33108742)

    IT'S A TRAP!!!

    I mean, in other browsers that have 'private' browsing modes (like Chrome's 'incognito' mode) don't you turn it on each time you launch it? What's different about IE here?

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dc29A (636871) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:22AM (#33108784)

    You can modify the shortcut for IE or Chrome to start in private/incognito mode all the time (no need to set it on each program startup). Problem is, 99% of the planet wouldn't know/understand how to do this and this is the issue, if geeks can avoid tracking with ad blocking and incognito mode and whatnot, the average browser user can't. If IE really wanted to distance themselves from other browsers, they would have made privacy an opt-out feature, instead an opt-in.

  • Re:huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:23AM (#33108792) Journal

    When was Microsoft profiting from selling online ads?

    2007 [techcrunch.com] and earlier.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the real reason is they're afraid that it would be seen as an anti-competitive move against Google ...

    Oh, it's very competitive [microsoft.com]. Whenever Microsoft arrives late to the game, you know they bring lots of money with them. Why has Bing Cashback stopped?

    The problem with your post is that you can't imagine a company being both a "spooty ad company" and a company that actually makes actual products. You don't have to be one or the other.

  • Woosh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by psbrogna (611644) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:23AM (#33108798)
    That noise, Mr. Ballmer, is the sound 10% browser market share makes when migrating to the competition.

    I guess somebody thinks that knowing more about less eyeballs is more profitable. I suppose there's a possibility that may work for a while ... a short while.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#33108806)

    Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.

    And how exactly is this different than what Chrome or Firefox does? Last time I checked, you had to actively enable the privacy feature for each session in all browsers...

    You must've been using a trunk build of Firefox last time you checked, then, because Firefox has always had "Never remember history" or "Permanent Private Browsing mode" so that your browser fell into private mode automatically on boot. Where is this option on Internet Explorer? Please tell me, cause I can't find it.

  • Re:huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by x2A (858210) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#33108814)

    I thought the private modes disable things like cookies? So in private mode, you couldn't stay logged into any websites... sounds like a way for customer satisfaction to go down rather than up.

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:27AM (#33108830)

    Except there are reasons that the average person would not want to have privacy/incognito mode enabled by default, since it blocks cookies, history, saved credentials and several other things that people use every day.

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:32AM (#33108858)
    Those few browser users who actually care about their privacy have already taken steps to safeguard it, at least to some degree that they are comfortable with. MS releasing yet another version of IE that makes it easy for them or others to violate that privacy is not news. It's just business as usual.
  • Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark72005 (1233572) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:37AM (#33108888)
    MSFT has designed yet another piece of software you'd have to be a complete idiot to use.
  • advertisement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:02AM (#33109038) Homepage Journal

    Ads are one of the places where we clearly see the rise of corporatism. Cyberpunk was right in the general direction, that corporations would become more important and then more powerful than governments, but wrong in how it would manifest. There will be no corporate wars (they're not profitable). The enemy of a corporation is not another corporation - it's the consumer. Wolves kill rabbits a lot more often than they kill other wolves. Amongst your peers, threats and displays of power work a lot better to establish hierarchy and territory than actual battle does. It's the prey that you hunt and kill, not your competitors.

    We will be seeing a lot more like this. Consumer rights are being erroded all around the world, while corporate rights are being strengthened.

    And I don't even consider myself a leftist - for you americans, if you read your actual history you'll find that several of the founding fathers wanted to outlaw corporations entirely, and the original compromise was to grant them temporary existence. Funny how the conservatives should be up in arms a lot more than the leftists are.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:15AM (#33109140) Homepage

    I am wary of Google Chrome for the same reason.. Google, even more so than MS make money from advertising online.
    Firefox too derives much revenue indirectly from advertising, through their google sponsorship...

    At least the source code for these browsers is available, giving users the opportunity to check the code over and provide third party builds with better privacy features, something you can't do with IE.

    There's always Opera if you want a closed source browser, since they aren't an ad broker.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:19AM (#33109172) Homepage

    Isn't Windows meant to be a graphical OS where you never need to use the CLI?
    Isn't it Linux that's supposed to require the commandline to do anything remotely advanced?

  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:28AM (#33109248)

    This would have been infuriating news several years ago before

    - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ordered members private information made public, without consent, without notice, without apology and then told people they would learn to like it.

    - Google enrolling people into buzz by default exposing information about them to people who they might not want to see it.

    - Yahoo, giving you notice, but mining your address book for its social network, information you thought would never be used.

    Microsoft leaving some privacy stuff out or turned off by default makes very limp new these days. Zuckerberg did raise the bar

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:33AM (#33109272)

    Seriously, is anyone on /. using IE anyway? Firefox with adblock and noscript is all you need. As long as MS doesn't go all Apple and try to stop me from installing an alternate brower, who really gives a shit?

    Sure it screws over those who use IE. But those who use IE have been getting screwed over for a long time. So what's new?

  • by delinear (991444) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:36AM (#33109284)
    On the downside, this would probably kill projects like Google hosting common JavaScript libraries so sites can reference them and decrease page loads as users cache them elsewhere - in fact it would be worse than having no caching at all, it would strip the JavaScript out completely after the 10th site (unless they came up with a system of whitelisting such projects, which would carry management overheads, or ignoring certain files, in which case ad providers would just make their files look like the exceptions, etc).
  • Poor argument. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raehl (609729) <raehl311@yFREEBSDahoo.com minus bsd> on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:39AM (#33110118) Homepage

    Microsoft's primary goal is to make money. Their primary goal is not to make Google make less money.

    Microsoft and Google make more money is better for Microsoft than Microsoft and Google make less money, even if the less disproportionately affects Google.

  • Re:Poor argument. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gtall (79522) on Monday August 02, 2010 @11:54AM (#33111194)

    I don't know about that. Ballmer, in response to questions about the iPad, said that Apple was selling more than he'd like them to. Now what kind of perverted Business School Product thinks like that...probably all of them. Presumably if Apple wasn't selling any, he'd be uninterested in the segment. This goes a long way in explaining what is wrong about MS.

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