Microsoft Privacy Chief Announces Windows Cognitive Impairment
Microsoft seems to be suffering from a bit of institutional memory loss. How else to explain the company’s recent pot-to-kettle slagging of Google’s approach to privacy? “Google’s a great company, got some great products, but you know, in some respects, I think Google is where Microsoft was seven or ten years ago,” Peter Cullen, Microsoft’s chief privacy strategist, told ZDNet. “Microsoft has over 40 full-time people invested in privacy and over 400 part-time people. Google hasn’t–at least from what I read about them–evolved to that.”
Perhaps, perhaps not. But Microsoft’s record on privacy isn’t exactly untarnished–at least from what I’ve read about them. And that makes Cullen’s comment more than a bit ironic.
Surely we haven’t forgotten the privacy firestorm that erupted around Microsoft’s .NET Passport system back in 2002. There was an FTC investigation and enforcement action and a European Commission probe as well. And who could forget Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), the anti-piracy program that phoned home to Microsoft every time a user rebooted his or her PC? And while it made headlines about a decade ago, the company’s Windows Registration Wizard, which was caught transmitting all manner of personally identifiable information to Microsoft, is still likely to redden a face or two in Redmond.
So maybe Google (GOOG) doesn’t have 400 part-time people working on privacy. But is it really where Microsoft (MSFT) was seven or ten years ago? Really?