News Schmooze: Microsoft gets itself off the hook

Microsoft settled, Bonfield quit and some politicians got into the email marketing business
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

In the same week that Microsoft and the Feds reached what seems to be some sort of deal over Microsoft's illegal monopolistic practices, Microsoft did a good job (as usual) of reminding folks exactly why the row broke out in the first place. This time Microsoft managed to provoke people by locking everybody but Internet Explorer users out of the MSN Web site. At least the ensuing protest proves that there are still a few people out there who don't rely exclusively on Microsoft products.

In the mean time, hackers and crackers did their level best to demonstrate that the new Product Activation feature is aimed at normal end users and not software pirates -- the pirates, see, have developed their own key that lets them copy XP at will. It's just the regular schmoes who have to put up with asking Microsoft for permission every time they upgrade too much of their hardware.

Crackers also put up a Web site letting you download supposedly copy-protected broadband movies and audio, in a nose-thumbing gesture to Microsoft's protection software. The Schmoozer does wonder, though, how long it will be before the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is broadened to make these kinds of exploits into a capital crime.

With Sir Peter Bonfield finally admitting he's going to leave BT at the end of January, one might wonder what this beloved chief exec has done for the company. By way of an answer BT explains that £1,000 invested in the company at the start of Sir Pete's term six years ago would now be worth £2,000, assuming all dividends were re-invested in BT. All very well and good, but in fact, shares are trading slightly lower today than they were then.

This doesn't seem to be Sir Pete's concern though -- unless, of course, it affects the stock-option part of his roughly £3m golden handshake. The Schmoozer supposes that this makes BT a big success, at least for one person.

It's always nice to hear a politicians being honest for once. Forget all this malarkey about Web services helping voters -- mainly, they're a great marketing tool, some MPs told the Schmoozer this week. Looks like Sir George Young et al have been learning from DoubleClick's email marketing success.

The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.

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