The Disturbing Tale of Windows Live Mail
Microsoft will not be offering you a free personal email program with the next version of Windows. They'll be trying to convince you that Windows Live Mail is the "next generation" of personal email programs. It is not. It's a "cloud computing" application that exposes your private data, mail accounts, messages, and any personal information contained in them to much higher risks than if you stored such important information only on your own computer - such has been the case with Outlook Express and Windows Mail. Microsoft has what we call a "propaganda campaign" to make you believe that Windows Live Mail is the mail program of the future. It is not. The following then, is our opinion of Windows Live Mail and why you should be expressing your outrage at Microsoft for taking the personal email program out of Windows 7 - the next version of Windows.
We've been known to get all cranked up about spyware, adware, and hijackers. We've been known to blow a gasket when it comes to companies bundling garbage - so instead of getting just the program you thought you were downloading you get a bunch of garbage you don't want. FunWebProducts, a notorious adware/spyware/hijacker that bundles 18 or more programs after conning poor, unwary netizens into downloading its "SmileyCentral" hijacker/adware program - comes to mind.
But never, ever, did we ever think that someday we would be writing about Microsoft in the same article as FunWebProducts, adware, spyware, and hijackers. So, today is a sad day. Microsoft, stooping to new lows, has its own bundle of garbage called "Windows Live Mail". It's adware for sure - if you use a Hotmail or MSN account it will insert ads into your outgoing mail surreptitiously - you don't see it but your recipient will. It's a home page hijacker - it will change your home page from whatever it is to MSN. It's Cloud Computing application - meaning that all your messages, user accounts - even those personal accounts your ISP gives you, passwords, and other personal information, is hanging right up there in the cloud - an accident waiting to happen. If someone with a password cracking program harvests your emails addresses it's a simple matter to crack your password and see every mail you've ever sent or every message you've saved including private confidential mail from your bank, savings institution, software companies who've sent you keys, private family messages and more.
It's one thing to have a Hotmail account and use if for certain things - but quite another to have ALL of your email addresses in one location on the Web. Your ISP accounts, your Hotmail account, your Gmail account, etc. When you put all of your eggs in one highly visible basket, you're just asking for a basketful of trouble.
And it's bad enough that Microsoft even offers Windows Live Mail, but to think that in the next version of Windows - which is only nine months away, there will be no personal email program like Windows Mail". You'll have no choice but to use Windows Live Mail because Windows 7 will have no desktop-based, personal email program like Outlook Express or Windows Mail. All you'll have is Windows Live Mail. Millions more of you will be forced to store all your private email account information, messages, and so forth on Microsoft's servers - where it's only a password cracker away from some criminal's hands.
Oh, you do have a choice. You can use Outlook - for which you'll have to fork over $150 - or install Microsoft Office for about $400. Or you can use Thunderbird, which is far less capable than Outlook Express or Windows Mail. There's a bevy of other free email programs too - but none of them are nearly as good as Outlook Express or Windows Mail. Besides, why should you have to go out and learn a new email program after all these years?
Microsoft isn't doing this for you. They're doing it for Microsoft. More specifically they're doing it to make more money. Yes, once again, Microsoft is going to stick it to its customers by not giving you what you want, but giving you what they want. No wonder Apple and Linux are starting to erode Microsoft's stranglehold on the computer market. They're taking away your personal email program and giving you a glorified Hotmail desktop - a browser that looks like an email program and where all your private messages and other personal information are stored in the "Cloud".
Microsoft's decision making of late leaves us scratching our heads. Windows 7 isn't going to be a brand new version of Windows as promised. It's going to be one giant Windows Vista service pack for which you're going to pay $100 or more. Windows 7 isn't about making Windows better, it's about making money. It reminds us of Windows ME which Microsoft threw together to quell uneasy stockholders. Microsoft made XP too good. Now they can't top it. So, instead of concentrating on making a whole new version of Windows with more features customers want - like faster boot-ups and shutdowns, better performance using less resources, they've decided to make Windows more like Mac - i.e. make it prettier. Windows 7 is a glorified Windows Vista. It's not the brand new operating system that it was supposed to be. It's all about the money with Microsoft and Windows Live Mail is another example of highly-educated people making really dumb decisions. Does General Motors ring any bells?
Let's talk about installing Windows Live Mail. It's a bundle. I don't care if they give you the option NOT to install the programs they bundle with it, all the programs are checked by default and many people will simply click "OK" and install the other programs - instead of the program they "wanted" to download - Windows Live Mail. It's software bundling - just as much as it's software bundling when some "freeware" program tries to get you to install Yahoo Toolbar with it. You may have the option to select or deselect but Microsoft is not stupid -they know that a majority of people will leave all the boxes checked (which they are by default) and install everything in the bundle- and you can bet your bottom dollar that they want you install all of these programs.
* Windows Live Mail
To add another breach of trust, Microsoft wants to hijack your preferred search provider and your home page. These boxes are both checked by default. Anyone installing Windows Live Mail and not paying attention and just clicking "OK" will find they have a new search provider and a new home page the next time they open their browser. If Microsoft was doing this the fair way, those boxes would be unchecked by default and you'd have to check them if YOU wanted to switch search providers - and home pages. Microsoft seems to be unwilling to admit that a ten year-old start up beat their britches off in the search provider game. Here's a hint for Microsoft: If you want to win the search provider game, make your search engine better than Google's and make your main search page simple like Google's instead of that bloated, ad-filled, ostentatious, eye-sore you have. People go to search page to search page to search not to be bombarded with ads and dazzled with page design. Here, take a look, http://msn.com/ compared to http://google.com/ .
It's not bad enough that Microsoft makes a game of hide-and-seek out of installing Windows Live Mail, but the preposterous idea of replacing the popular Outlook Express/Windows Mail with Windows Live Mail, just blows us away. Who makes these kinds of bone-headed decisions? Microsoft apparently doesn't care what you want or what you like, they'll spend zillions of dollars convincing you something less secure, with less features, is somehow better. "Everything in one place" they like say. Indeed. Everything in one place - a really dandy idea. Now, if we lived in a perfect world where there were no criminals or where everyone used secure twenty-eight-character, nearly-impossible-to-crack passwords, it might a good thing. A huge target for hackers and password stealers, Windows Live Mail is a virtual ocean of private, personal, and sensitive information all sitting there in one place waiting to be snatched up by miscreants with highly sophisticated password crackers - or sophisticated computer nerds who would like nothing better that breach Microsoft's Live servers. I guess the good thing about it is, someday we'll be able to write an article featuring our four favorite words: "We told you so!" Government servers and other sensitive servers are hacked all the time - but not even these servers have the quality of content hackers and password thieves drool over. They crack your Live Mail password, they have access to all your email, all its content, all your passwords, and more. If your bank sent you a Lost Password request in email, then they have that. They'll have whatever you have in your Outlook Express or Windows Mail folders right now.
Air-headed, money-driven decisions such as Microsoft's decision to remove your personal email client from Windows and replacing it with a Web-based, "cloud computing" mail program that is disguised as a personal email program- where every bit of your personal data is stored both in the "Cloud" and on your computer makes not one bit of sense - unless you're Microsoft, of course. The only reason for this decision is to provide an additional source of revenue - a source that wasn't being tapped before - and that source is your personal, private email. It's wrong and this decision will end up costing Microsoft a lot of credibility and a lot of lost customers.
There is absolutely no benefit to anyone other than Microsoft by eliminating the personal, private, desktop mail application from Windows 7. It's all about money and Microsoft will continue to decline while others, like Google, who find out what people want and then provides it, will continue to eat away at Microsoft, until all that's left of Microsoft is what they used to be.
If you agree that this decision by Microsoft to leave your personal email program out of the next version of Windows is wrong and that it again points out why Microsoft continues to lose sales to innovators like Apple, please express your opinion by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page. Maybe there is someone who cares about you more than money at Microsoft who will listen. Maybe if enough of you voice your opinion, we can get them to listen. Otherwise, in a few months the era of the personal email client from Microsoft is over and an era of breaches and security nightmares will begin. The only ones who will be hurt by this ill-advised decision will be everyone who uses Windows Live Mail, who installs Windows 7 or who buys a computer with Windows 7 pre-installed on it. And eventually that will be all of us.Get Hundreds of Windows Answers, Tips, Tricks, and more in our InfoAve Premium Volume V E-book Our newest E-book contains all the information from the past year's issues of Information Avenue Premium. It's our best E-book ever! Easier to navigate, easier to search, and easier to use! You'll find yourself referring to our new Volume V E-book over and over again. Get your ebook NOW! Also available on CD which includes all previous year's eBooks, or CD with Lifetime Membership to IA Premium. Visit this page for details!
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