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Microsoft puts a price on your Attention Data - $4999.80/year

Added on by Chris Saad.

USD$4999.80/year - that's how much Microsoft values your Attention Data.

As Dallas writes on his blog:

If you would like a free copy of Windows Vista, then simply go to

The catch? You have to allow Microsoft to watch your every move for 3 months, and there are also some other requirements (below). This of course isn't for everyone, some people wouldn't care less and some would definitely have to think ten times about it before going ahead.

I really don't know how I feel about this program, since my privacy is worth quite a bit. Will they be tracking websites I go to, software I use, content I post on websites? In a world where spyware software exists to calm the ever increasing paranoid attitude of the public, how would a program like this be treated by the masses? While I am fairly confident that my online security is safe with Microsoft (credit cards, etc) do I really want to put my digital life on the line for the small price of one software product? Kevin - Notebook Review

What do you get?

  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit and 64-bit DVD)
  • Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007
  • Microsoft Money Plus Premium
  • Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008
  • Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008


  • First off, you have to be an American resident and over the age of 18 years.
  • You must own the computer you will be using.
  • You are required to fill out a survey at the start, and then every 2 weeks.
  • The automated program is offered to Windows Vista and Windows XP customers only.
  • The survey feedback program applies to all versions of Windows.
  • Microsoft, comScore, and MarketTools employees are not eligible to participate.
Matthew Hall (aDB) from Twitter has worked out the exact value of this bundle of software for me (thanks Matthew!)
Well here's the numbers I get from Best Buy :

Total Bundle Value at Best Buy $1249.95 - for 3 months of your Attention Data.

Interesting hey?

MaaS - Media as a Service

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jeremiah - my friend and fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup member wonders out loud if media is becoming a service much like software.

I think it's an interesting question. I have recently re-downloaded the Joost Beta and started playing with it. A lot has been made about Joost's platform and how it is actually based on an elegant combination of on open standards technology.

It occurred to me that Joost (or something like it) could become for TV what the browser is for the Web.

While they are focusing on content deals with premium content providers right now - they have an opportunity to become the generic user interface for loading, remixing and socializing around streaming video content.

This would seem to me a step closer to Jeremiah's premise of Media as a Service (MaaS). If Cable TV is replaced by Joost, and Joost becomes an open service for the distribution of high-quality video content on scale, then we are indeed creating a series of tools, platforms and services that give us enormous capacity for media creation and distribution on demand.

Other companies like Microsoft, SplashCast and others are working towards similar services with very different implementations.

How can up and coming artists, enterprises and established media players take advantage of this emerging trend?

If media services are on tap, what are the implications for user choice and Attention Scarcity.

Controlling the message in Media 2.0

Added on by Chris Saad.
I am very late to the story where Microsoft’s PR agency sends its memo on a Wired journalist to the journalist himself (the dossier is here).

Read an insightful commentary on it by Jeremy Wagstaff from the Wall Street Journal.

To me this underscores the level of command and control large companies try to exhert over the message of the day in the Media. A level which, in the face of Media 2.0, has been severely diminished

While orchestrated media campaigns can still be waged by PR companies driving the message for mainstream media outlets and A-list bloggers (with B and C list bloggers following the Techmeme cluster) the great long tail means that something worthy of discussion is still discussed and covered - it still gets ink - somewhere.

Take the launch of Peepel yesterday. The coverage was huge. It seemed like every blog was talking about it (with notable exception of Techcrunch - I think Michael has something against Aussies from Brisbane).

I know that Peepel is a startup and I assume like all startups they don't have a Microsoft level PR firm pulling the strings. Yet they still managed to get plenty of coverage. Coverage that mainstream media would have never provided.

With feed readers and new content discovery/delivery tools like Touchstone, that coverage is being heard by people who are interested. We can now each have our message heard by people who want to hear it.

The leveling of the playing field and the increased diversity of voices can only be a good thing for innovation, understanding and the human race in general.

Betting on Windows - iPhone a closed platform?

Added on by Chris Saad.
I've stayed quiet on the iPhone announcement because I figured that it was getting more than enough coverage from everyone else - I certainly had nothing original to say. It looks like a very nice device - although the name is in some dispute!

This quote, however, got my attention.

From this post on Michael Gartenburg's Jupiter Research blog, in regard to the iPhone being a closed system (as opposed to an open platform for 3rd party developers), Steve Jobs said:

"You don't want your phone to be an open platform", meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider's network, says Jobs. "You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up."


We have received a bit of heat for choosing .NET (and by extension - favoring windows) for the first version of Touchstone. The early adopters among us (probably most people reading this blog) seem to have a cult like 'appreciation' for all things Apple and some refuse to accept that perhaps a small startup should target the platform with the most users first (i.e. Windows).

Putting the 'Crossing the Chasm' arguments aside - and I will get a lot of flak for this - one of the reasons I actually like Windows and will typically bet on Microsoft every time is because they understand that ultimately while overall user experience and style are becoming more important (and to me they are VERY important) - better tools and platforms will win every time.

What does that mean?

With the XBOX 360 they understood that it was not about building the most powerful hardware mix, but rather building the best overall entertainment solution. A solution that had a known platform and comprehensive development tools.

With Windows Mobile, they understood (before Palm did) that they should separate the software from the hardware and make the development tools easy.

With Windows Embedded and Windows Media Center they are doing the same thing and will therefore outplay Apple TV and Tivo etc.

And each time they do what they do best. They leverage Windows (in this case the many, many windows programmers - both amateur and pro) to create broad developer adoption for devices based on their OS.

By building a great software platform and the tools, they empower developers to more quickly (and therefore cheaply) target the device. The result - more content/software for your device and more extensibility.

User choice.

All that being said though, I thought the iPhone is based on OSX? So why can't developers write apps for it?

Update: Read/Write Web has some coverage of this too.