Microsoft Dangles Deal: Products For A Peek
Allow Microsoft to keeps tabs on your computer through the Windows Feedback Program, and fill out a few surveys, and the company will reward you with one of its software packages.
And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold.
But if you lose, the devil gets your soul.
-- Charlie Daniels comments on a business deal, Devil Went Down To Georgia
Golden fiddle or Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007? Johnny’s fiddle probably ended up being painted gold; the Devil isn’t known for trustworthiness.
Will the typical Windows XP or Vista user trust Microsoft enough to permit the company to watch over computer activity for three months, and answer some surveys, in exchange for that version of Office, or the top version of its operating system, Vista Ultimate?
Microsoft bets they will. The company opened up the Windows Feedback Program with those versions of Vista and Office, along with Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, Money Plus Premium, or Streets and Trips 2008 dangled as the carrot; participants choose one software package as their reward.
They will watch a lot of information during the period. However, Microsoft said in the program’s FAQ they won’t look at sensitive data:
We do not intentionally collect sensitive information, such as the passwords on the user accounts, the contents of any of your personal files, the name or HTTP address of any of the websites you mark as Favorites, or what websites you visit.
Out of the five software packages, Office looks the most appealing. Whatever one’s opinion of Microsoft may be, they do pack a lot of features into their signature productivity suite. That could be enough to tip people into giving Microsoft a bit of their PC’s soul for three months.
UPDATE: Microsoft got deluged with people signing up for the free stuff and has pulled that part of the offer from the program.