Tag Archives: vice president

Lame PR Responses #34,223(b)


When independent blogger Mary Jo Foley, who knows more about Microsoft than Microsoft does, interviewed the company’s new Corporate VP of its Searching and Advertising Group recently, she was told that Microsoft had recently launched an ad-funded version of Microsoft Works, the application suite you think will be a cheap alternative to Office but turns out not to be.

She couldn’t find it online anywhere so, she asked Microsoft PR. Which is always a mistake:

I’ve asked Microsoft for more information on the new ad-funded Works suite. No word back yet. Update: Even though Microsoft’s own vice president discussed the product, no one will talk. The official comment, via a Microsoft spokeswoman: “We’re always looking at innovative ways to provide the best productivity tools to our customers, but have nothing to announce at this time.”

Agh. These kinds of mealy-mouthed, knee-jerk-and-yet-probably-took-all-day-to-form, smug, self-promoting-and-yet-information-free responses drive me nuts. How many people had input on that particular phrase?  Thirty? How many emails had to exchange hands in the crafting? Forty? And how, exactly, does this help the journalist? Or, for that matter, the reader?

And don’t get me started on how a VP statement (“Microsoft Works has already been released as an ad-funded product”) is then throttled into submission as a slab of slippery PR perch, flailing on the floor of the meaningless drivel wet-market. How dysfunctional is that?

Poor Ms. Foley. Spare a thought for someone who has dedicated themselves to trying to make some sense of Redmond’s utterances. I only have to sit through the occasional PowerPoint barrage of buzzwords, cliches and tautologies spewing from the mouths of identikit Microsoft promoters wearing Joe 90 glasses. She has to do it on a regular basis.

» Microsoft Works to become a free, ad-funded product | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com

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When Firewalls Move

Here’s the details on the Zone Alarm deal I promised a couple of days back:

Effective immediately, Sygate and Kerio users switching to ZoneAlarm Pro will receive a $20 instant rebate, over 40% off the retail price of $49.95. “A firewall is the most essential, fundamental element of protection against hackers,” said Laura Yecies, general manager of Zone Labs and vice president at Check Point. “Innovation in firewall development is critical, because threats are dynamic and ever-changing. Consumers must seek a solution that is not only vendor-supported but has new features added regularly to protect against novel attack strategies.”

Of course, there’s still the free version.

And here’s details of the purchase by Sunbelt Software of Kerio:

Sunbelt Software and Kerio Technologies Inc. today announced that the parties have signed an agreement for Sunbelt to acquire the Kerio Personal Firewall. The acquisition is expected to be finalized by the end of the month.

The Kerio Personal Firewall will be re-branded on an interim basis as the “Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall”. All existing customers of the Kerio Personal Firewall will be able to receive support through Sunbelt once the acquisition is completed.

Upon the close of the deal, Sunbelt will also announce new reduced pricing for the full version of the product and a variety of special offers for both Kerio and Sunbelt customers. Additionally, Sunbelt will continue Kerio’s tradition of providing a basic free version for home users.

News: Blogging For Politicians, Iranian Style

 If you need convincing that blogging is not some nerdy fringe activity, here’s some: Iranian vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi is a blogger.
It’s in Persian, iranFilter (a collective news blog) says, and is the first blog by a major Iranian politician. It’s personal rather than political, but has some nice surprises, such as secret photos of Eduard Shevardnadze, and accounts of personal and unofficial conversations with government ministers.

News: The Ugly Truth About The Self-Checkout Lane

 I live in Indonesia, which teaches you tons about credit cards and how easy they are to get fraudulent with. But at least here they don’t allow you to swan past security with riding lawn-mowers you haven’t paid for. From the Sacramento Bee, a cautionary tale about the self-checkout lane in supermarkets where you swipe your credit card, wave a scanner over your goodies, and leave.
Speed and convenience, the paper says, have made the most basic fraud deterrent — checking IDs — nearly obsolete. Crooks know this, police say, and are abusing the technology with frequency. Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives estimate they receive 140 cases of credit card fraud each month.
Another interesting snippet: Most credit card companies and retailers don’t reveal their fraud numbers because if consumers knew how much fraud really occurs, they might lose faith in the credit system and the technology that accompanies it, said Stuart Taylor, vice president of VeriFone, the leading manufacturer of point-of-sale terminals. The company reports that payment systems fraud is growing at an alarming rate in many countries, including the United States.