Windows 7 as Marketing Spyware

Microsoft just announced its plans for Windows 7. The plan is to get PC users to run software not locally, on their own private machines, but through the internet, on Microsoft’s coming network of super-servers.

Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote [will be] used from within standard web browsers.” According to Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft, it’s aiming to bring “the best of the web to Windows, and the best of Windows to the web.”

Translated into English, this means that Microsoft is following through on its new CEO Steve Ballmer’s drive to turn Microsoft into the world’s largest gatherer of “marketing data,” a.k.a. detailed knowledge of people’s off-the-job behaviors.

The biggest decision I’ve made — unless we close this Yahoo! deal — the biggest decision I’ve made as CEO is pushing into the business applications area,” Ballmer said. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made, and the reason that brings us all here today.”

Ballmer noted that while CRM may stand for customer relationship management, the increasingly broad options available in the technology meant it was re-emerging in various incarnations, managing relationships of all kinds — a phenomenon he referred to as “xRM.

At its presentation of the new system to software developers yesterday, “[o]ne interesting demo was an extension of Microsoft Word that pulled in CRM information…

So, the plan is to invade yet another area of life — word processing and associated computing — and turn it into yet another source of marketing spying.

Market totalitarianism never rests.