Microsoft Corp. today announced a search distribution deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. to offer the MSN Toolbar, powered by Microsoft Live Search, to U.S.-based Internet Explorer users when they download the Java™ Runtime Environment (JRE™), effective as of today.
Through this agreement, Internet Explorer users downloading Sun’s JRE will have the option to download the MSN Toolbar and have one-click access to Live Search features, as well as news, entertainment, sports and more from the MSN network and direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.
The Java Runtime Environment is one of the highest-volume consumer downloads on the Web, with tens of millions of downloads each month from http://java.com.
Seems like a fairly predictable eyeball buy and in this case Microsoft is replacing Google whose deal dating back to 2005 had apparently expired:
Financial terms, as well as the duration of the partnership, were not disclosed.
Sun provided few details about why its relationship with Google had ended in the United States (The Google toolbar will continue to be bundled with Java abroad).
Klein said Sun had "made a change in direction."
A separate agreement – under which Sun put the Google toolbar within its StarOffice suite – will also expire Monday, although the two companies continue to have other business relationships.
The Google toolbar in StarOffice will not be replaced by Microsoft’s offering.
Likely not unrelated is also the disappearance of Sun’s StarOffice from the Google Pack. Danny Sullivan also notes the oddity that this is the MSN toolbar, not the Windows Live Toolbar. Of course, the bigger oddity is why there are two Microsoft browser toolbars in the first place.
Digital Resolve, the authority in transparent risk-based authentication, announced today a formal data provider agreement with Microsoft to provide data feeds from Digital Resolve’s Trusted ServerTM Technology. These new feeds will help provide real-time, front-line protection for consumers against phishing attacks. Introduced in July 2005, Microsoft Phishing Filter helps protect millions of customers from phishing scams when they are browsing the Internet and is available via the new Windows Live Toolbar, which launched in final release last month, in Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2, and in Windows Vista, both currently in beta testing.
“We were impressed with the quality of Digital Resolve’s data feeds, and they have become an important addition to our rich network of data provider partners,” said Alan Packer, Product Unit Manager of the Anti-Phishing Team at Microsoft Corp. “This agreement underscores Microsoft’s goal of employing a broad range of data sources from both third parties and end-users to help protect customers from the threat of phishing.”
Microsoft’s Phishing Filter URL reputation service is part of the innovative Phishing Filter feature that will be available to millions of users of Windows Internet Explorer 7 and the Windows Live Toolbar.
The new data feed supplied to Microsoft as part of this new agreement comes from Digital Resolve’s Trusted Server Technology which provides consumers with real-time, positive assurance that they are at a valid website. The technology utilizes patented data mining capabilities, which were developed in 1999 as the core building component of the company’s patented IP Intelligence technology, to crawl the Internet 24 x 7, verifying the authenticity of financial services and e-commerce websites. This information is constantly monitored and updated within Trusted Server, which can be fed to web browsers and other desktop applications to safeguard consumers against rogue websites and protect the brand of legitimate online businesses.
This approach is a “whitelist” alternative to blacklisting known phishing sites as they pop up. There are more details from Matt Hines at PC Magazine.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE “VZ”) and Microsoft Corp.(Nasdaq “MSFT”) today announced an expanded alliance in which Verizon will offer its consumer DSL and FiOS Internet customers a co-branded suite of Microsoft® Windows Live™ services to help them enjoy more personalized Internet experiences with enhanced online security.
As part of the new agreement, which is an expansion of the two companies’ broadband relationship that began in April 2002, Verizon customers will have access to co-branded information and communications services, including a co-branded Live.com home page with easy access to Verizon and Windows Live services, a Windows Live Toolbar, a co-branded Windows Live Search page, Verizon e-mail powered by Windows Live Mail, a co-branded version of Windows Live Messenger and safety protection via Windows Live OneCare™ safety scanner.
It’s the same audience building idea as putting links to your online services on new PCs or in Vista. Interestingly, Verizon currently offers MSN Premium free to their subscribers and that will continue.
Microsoft’s Alex Heaton explains about the updates:
Windows Vista is the first major Microsoft product release that will be serviced with security updates throughout the beta process. We are committed to release Windows Vista updates for all MSRC critical class issues that may arise during the beta testing period. We strive to release any Windows Vista updates as soon as possible, but our priority will be to release the updates for Windows products that have been released to manufacturing.
We have received multiple inquires from Windows Vista beta testers asking if their systems are affected by the security bulletins released last week. Of the seven critical Windows updates released in August, only 2 (MS06-042 and MS06-051) also affect Windows Vista Beta 2 or later. Windows Vista (Beta 2 or later) is not one of the operating systems affected by Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-040.
Updates for the 2 issues mentioned above have been released to Windows Update and are available in the Microsoft Download Center.
Not everyone was happy about the late notice. Support for Vista Beta 2 will end when RC1 appears and support for all pre-release versions will end when Vista is released to manufacturing.
The Seattle Times‘ Brier Dudley notes that things are looking up for Vista uptake according to a Merrill Lynch survey of CIOs:
The survey found 15 percent plan to upgrade to Vista in 2007, up from 8 percent in the April survey. Only 39 percent are waiting for clarity about the product, down from 75 percent in the previous survey.
This seems to be business as usual for a new operating system, at least at companies big enough to have a CIO.
Finally, Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft Watch reports that a new test build (rumored to be build 5506) of Vista has some newly embedded Windows Live links on the Welcome screen (Bink.nu has a screenshot):
Microsoft is poised to release a new pre-RC1 test build of Windows Vista any day now to a select group of testers. The latest builds include links to Windows Live Messenger, Toolbar, OneCare and Desktop Mail.
Windows Live Messenger is the successor to MSN Messenger, Microsoft’s free instant-messaging service. Windows Live OneCare is the paid, subscription-based backup and security service the company launched in late May. Windows Live Toolbar is a collection of Windows Live search, antivirus, mapping and other utilities similar to the Google Toolbar. Windows Live Desktop Mail is a program that allows users to view mail from all of their various e-mail accounts in a single pane.
Live Messenger can be viewed as a replacement for Windows Messenger which shipped with Windows XP and similarly Live Mail Desktop (I thought it was now Live Mail Center?) can be viewed as a replacement for Outlook Express which also shipped with XP. I’m almost surprised they aren’t pre-installed, but there are likely good reasons:
Company watchers have been wondering whether Microsoft would bundle any Windows Live services directly into Windows, given the ongoing antitrust scrutiny to which the company has been subject in recent years, in the U.S. and abroad. The European Commission required Microsoft to offer alongside its standard Windows XP software a separate version of Windows XP that did not include Windows Media Player as an embedded component. In South Korea, Microsoft has faced legal challenges for integrating Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger in Windows XP.
Microsoft’s decision whether to integrate Windows Live services into Vista or not “probably has more to do with Microsoft’s interpretation of assorted global government restrictions than it does assessments of real-world customer value,” said Peter O’Kelly, an analyst with the Burton Group.
In any case, this Welcome screen appears to be the one that OEMs can customize according to their whims and own business deals, so it remains to be seen what will actually appear on any given new Vista PC. Of course, since this is a beta build, the vanilla Microsoft version could still change a lot before RTM.