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Microsoft: Play by Email [Jun. 23rd, 2005|12:34 pm]
From a Slashdot article comes the news that Microsoft is planning to implement their own form of sender-ID scheme. This sort of thing is basically an anti-spam tool. It updates the standard for email servers such that the source of email is verifiable.

News is that MS plans to use it on Hotmail. Anything not having Sender-ID will be tagged as spam.

Why is this move significant? MS is going to activate their version of a Sender-ID system even while talks are ongoing about establishing industry anti-spam standards. But the IETF standards group has already rejected the MS Sender-ID proposal... which MS is now going to activate anyway.

This is, in fact, a brilliant (and evil) strategic foray by Microsoft. If they can leverage their Hotmail influence (and alliance with AOL) and push Sender-ID into becoming an ad hoc standard (so average users can email Hotmail and AOL users), then they have effectively added their own protocol to the Internet standards.

And they own the patent! The Apache Foundation has analyzed the situation and concluded that open source cannot implement MS Sender-ID since it represents proprietary technology. If Sender-ID becomes a de facto email standard, then Linux will be crippled as a serious commercial platform.

Now, realistically, I think that the MS move will likely be blunted by lack of industry acceptance. But it is still a devious and daring attempt that bears watching.

[edit] Yes, I'm aware that this sort of maneuver is nothing new. But it's often attempted on emerging Internet services rather than established protocols. And, even if it's nothing new, we have to be aware every time stuff like this is attempted.

[User Picture]From: normanrafferty
2005-06-23 08:47 pm (UTC)
Microsoft does this kind of stuff all the time. In fact, almost every computer company tries this at least once. Everyone wants the ad-hoc standard to be one they own.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-06-23 08:54 pm (UTC)
true enough. I'm just surprised at the scope of this one and that I haven't yet seen much discussion of it.
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[User Picture]From: furahi
2005-06-23 09:03 pm (UTC)
Bah! How am I supposed to comment when you say almost word by word what I wanna say? ;)
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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2005-06-24 12:34 am (UTC)
I'm wondering if it'll have all that great an effect, given hotmail's not exactly the prime choice for a free email account these days - gmail comes particularly to mind, though there's certainly no shortage of alternatives, ranging from Yahoo through to Hushmail. (The latter being interesting, as it's geared around being a secure service, https throughout, client running as a Java applet. Only nasty point is having to log in at least once a month, else it's disabled, with a paid account being the only way to get it back)

Personally, it'll have no effect, as I don't think I know anyone with a hotmail account. ^_^;

Maybe Microsoft's overestimating their importance? If I had an account trashing every other legitimate message, I'd be inclined to hop off rather than wait for everyone else to comply with the service's wishes. Of course, it'll likely be the case a lot of folks won't be aware of what's going on.

Although I suppose that last sentence is perhaps universally applicable. ^_^
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