Hello Windows users,
This week Microsoft announced a set of new technologies to advance its Microsoft® .NET strategy. The technology, code-named "HailStorm," is a set of user-centric XML Web services that enable developers to build solutions that work seamlessly with one another over the Internet to deliver a more personalized and consistent user experience. In addition, Microsoft showcased five industry partners: American Express Co., Click Commerce Inc., eBay Inc., Expedia.com Inc. and Groove Networks Inc. All showed prototypes and conceptual demos illustrating HailStorm-based scenarios.
Hailstorm would feature popular Microsoft services such as MSN Instant Messenger and its Passport identification service that stores personal data like credit card information in a virtual wallet. It will also include a personal calendar, contact book, document storage and inbox (amongst other services). HailStorm seems to be Microsoft's answer to AOL, using instant messaging as a vehicle for a range of Web services, pitching Microsoft against America On Line (AOL) - the leader in instant messaging technology.
It has been reported that AOL & Sun officials held telephone conferences with antitrust regulators about HailStorm, alleging that HailStorm is designed to limit their access to customers and leverage Microsoft's dominant Windows market share.
Microsoft also has to deal with privacy and security concerns. HailStorm employs the Passport user authentication system to secure an individual's identity and information. Both Passport and the HailStorm services require affirmative consent and explicit opt-in by the user for the release of any personal information, but considering the recent hacks of Microsoft servers, a lot of people may not feel too comfortable turning over their confidential data for storage at Microsoft.
HailStorm is to be released for beta test in the second half of calendar 2001 and general availability by the end of 2001 or early 2002.
More information can be found at Microsoft's .NET Web site. Microsoft also welcomes feedback on HailStorm via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microsoft to Deliver on Privacy Tools in Internet Explorer
Microsoft today announced the specifics for privacy tools it will deliver in the next version of its popular Web browser software, Microsoft® Internet Explorer 6.
"With these significant privacy features in Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft is helping to give people critical notice and consent information in their browser experience, to better know what information is collected about them via cookies," said Rick Belluzzo, president and chief operating officer at Microsoft. "Privacy is a key part of Microsoft's .NET efforts, and this work is a step toward enabling the .NET experiences of the future, where devices, applications and services work together on behalf of the users."