This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Media Unspun email newsletter and is Copyright 2002 by Keith Dawson.
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Hailing on Microsoft's Parade

What if Microsoft called a parade and nobody came? That's what happened with the technology Microsoft introduced to great fanfare a year ago -- then called Hailstorm but later renamed .Net My Services. (The name "Hailstorm" conveys about the same degree of warm fuzziness as the FBI's "Carnivore" did.) John Markoff broke the story yesterday in the New York Times, and Reuters picked it up early. By this morning the Wall Street Journal, Internet News, Newsfactor, and others were running the news.

Microsoft isn't exactly accustomed to seeing its technology initiatives snubbed. My Services would center on a vast Microsoft-owned repository of customer data that financial institutions and others could tap into for their own customers. The Times' Markoff quoted a Gartner analyst on the trouble with this model: "Microsoft ran into the reality that many companies don't want any company between them and their customers." Markoff also talked to a software developer who described the poor attendance at My Services sessions in the company's annual developers' conference last fall. "There was incredible customer resistance," Markoff quoted a no-name consultant, over the security and privacy implications of all that customer data sitting on Microsoft servers. The Register wondered whether the resistance was more about "large consumer companies deciding they weren't going to let Microsoft steal their lunches."

After the Times claimed yesterday that Microsoft had "shelved" My Services, a number of outlets today ran the Microsoft spin: Hailstorm isn't dead, it's merely sleeping. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that a Microsoft service called .Net Alerts has been in testing with a number of companies, including eBay, since October. Hey, we're not having a parade, we're just strolling down the street. - Keith Dawson

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