Microsoft To Become a Big-Time Spyware Vendor?

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Preston Gralla

Preston Gralla
Jul. 05, 2005 06:08 PM

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Microsoft portrays itself as being in the forefront of fighting spyware, going so far as to buy an anti-spyware software company, tweak the software, and then make it available for free.

So why is it negotiating to buy the much-critized adware company Claria?

According to a report last week in the New York Times, Microsoft has been negotiating to buy Claria for up to $500 million. Claria, for those not familiar with the company, was formerly known as Gator until it changed its name because of the bad publicity the company received because of its controversial ad-delivering practices. Claria has been targeted by privacy groups and has been sued by a number of companies, including the New York Times.

Why is Microsoft considering making a deal with Claria? In a word, money. The Times said that Microsoft sees Claria as a quick way to compete with Google for ad revenue.

Apparently, though, there is a faction within Microsoft trying to kill the deal. Let's hope they win. It's hard to believe that Microsoft would want to become one of the biggest purveyors of adware on the planet, while at the same time claiming it's trying to fight spyware. If the company make the deal, it'll be the most short-sighted decision the company ever made --- and one of the worst ones.

Preston Gralla is the author of Windows Vista in a Nutshell, the Windows Vista Pocket Reference, and is the editor of He is also the author of Internet Annoyances, PC Pest Control, Windows XP Power Hound, and Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition, and co-author of Windows XP Cookbook. He has written more than 30 other books.