Monday, February 07, 2005

Microsoft's AntiSpyware Filters Competitor



Update: Ilse, Startpagina.nl's owner, has sued Microsoft

This is what the beta version of Microsoft's AntiSpyware will show users that try to use Startpagina.nl, presumably Holland's largest site, as their default start page. Microsoft's AntiSpyware marks the page as a so-called "browser hijacker", and suggests users to implement MSN.nl as their start page instead. Browser hijacking is an adjustment of a browser without the knowledge of the user by a third party, for example porn search engines.


The director of Startpagina.nl, Bert Wiggers, denies that his site changes any browser preferences, and notes that the anti-spyware filters out all sites with the word 'startpagina' in the address, but does not do this for the English equivalent 'startpage'. He thinks that Microsoft has deliberately selected Startpagina.nl, being the foremost competitor of MSN.nl. Wiggers makes a small calculation:
"Soon we will have 4 million visitors per day on our site. About 95% of these visitors uses Windows. If 60% of them installs the anti-spyware, you can imagine how many visitors we will miss out on."
The parent company of Startpagina.nl thinks about taking Microsoft to court. Microsoft on its turn hides behind its software (again), saying that this is merely a beta version, and as such used to detect and remove (technical) glitches.
Filtering porn is so pass
é. Commercial filtering pours in the hits and money. Thanks to Microsoft for another application of an old insight.

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