Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Marketing Agreement In MS I-Café Program

We got a first glimpse of what the above subject would be in some portions of 100-item FAQs that was temporarily pulled-out for editing and/or revision after it caused confusions on some terms and conditions of the I-Café Program.  Even then, questions on privacy of those who will join the program were already aired in forums by concerned i-café owners. The first copy of the actual Marketing Agreement in the Microsoft I-Café Program came out of circulation when the an i-café owner from far-away Bukidnon province availed of the promo under the program. The privacy question gr>ew louder especially about Section 2g of the agreement that says:

Install and deploy the Internet Café “Software Summary Tool” on all Participating PCs.  This tool summarizes the frequency and duration of applications used by referencing .exe files.  This information is sent to a server where it is aggregated. Absolutely no personal or company information is collected as part of this software. Participant acknowledges that the “Software Summary Tool” may not be ready for installation within the above-referenced 30 days following the Effective Date of this Agreement.  Therefore, Participant agrees to install and deploy the software on all participating PCs within 14 days of receipt.
The Marketing Agreement also serves as the RRA (Rental Rights Agreement) for the software purchased under the program so i-café owners who avail of the promo are compelled to agree and sign the document. As an organization that supports the Microsoft I-Café Program, we took it upon ourselves to reach out to both parties (Microsoft and the i-café owners) so we seek clarifications on the above-quoted provision of the agreement. I sent an email to Ms. Fortune Magsadia, Licensing Compliance Manager of Microsoft Philippines containing the following:
We must note that the "Software Monitoring Tool" (called simply as Monitoring Tool at ULOP forums) is the most feared item mentioned in the FAQs and the one that has the most negative criticisms in forum discussions among i-cafe owners.

Please clarify us on what .exe files will be monitored and sent to your server. We were of the belief and we circulated the information that only the default settings of the operating system on Internet Explorer as the browser, Bing as search engine and Windows Live Messenger as instant messaging system will be monitored.
Ms. Magsadia immediately replied to my email as follows:
You are correct.

Only the default settings - Internet Explorer as the browser, Bing as search engine and Windows Live Messenger – are required.

The Software Monitoring tool was planned initially, but we did not provide the same, as part of the Kit due to privacy reasons.
We hope that in posting the above communications, the i-café owners among us will be clarified and continue to consider availing the promo and join the Microsoft I-Café Program.

1 comment:

  1. impression here is, they initially planned to play "Big Brother" by monitoring our activities. When they get criticized for it, they took a step back, but now, they're imposing on us to use ONLY their settings.

    Okay, perhaps they can argue that it's their product so if they want to use it, we should follow their conditions. Fine, but then we must remember that it's "monopolistic" actions such as this is what got Bill Gates and Microsoft into hot water with the US Department of Justice and the European Union due to anti-trust violations. This is also perhaps the reason why it's Windows OS is the favorite target of hackers and virus makers.

    In my opinion, I believe Microsoft should only require cafe shops to buy original copies of its OS (which is only right)but it should not impose anymore on what settings shop owners would use, as long as such settings would not constitute to re-writing or backward engineering or modifying the program itself which already violates the EULA. The company must appreciate that users have their own preference hence, what works for one guy may not necessarily work for the next guy.

    Again, this is just an opinion. Thanks!


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