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Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Microsoft CEO Caught Sending Illegal Spam
Date: Mon, 04 Jul 2005 19:10:03 -0100
DON’T SUPPORT [ MICROSOFT SENDER-ID ]
BREAKING NEWS: MICROSOFT BREAKS THE FEDERAL CAN-SPAM LAW
THE WASHINGTON POST HEADLINE:
Was Microsoft’s e-mail message spam? Some people who got it think so
—— —- — — — -
By Jonathan Krim — The Washington Post
Article Published: November 5, 2004
—— —- — — — -
For a year, Microsoft Corp. has extolled the virtues of the Can-Spam
Act, which Congress passed in late 2003 to crack down on purveyors of
unwanted bulk e-mail. The company, with other Internet and marketing
firms, helped craft the act and has sued several spammers under its
But Bob Poortinga thinks the software giant is engaged in its own
Last week, Poortinga got a lengthy «executive letter» from Microsoft
chief executive Steven A. Ballmer touting Microsoft’s Windows products
for companies and other organizations.
The letter was one of a series sent by Microsoft to the technology
community as part of a worldwide campaign by Microsoft to combat the
growing popularity of the Linux operating system and other open-source
Many businesses and government agencies have turned to open-source
systems because they consider them to be less expensive, more secure
alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows software.
«I’m writing to you and other business decision makers and [informationtechnology] professionals today to share some of the data around these
key issues, and to provide examples of customers who opted to go with
the Windows platform rather than Linux,» Ballmer’s message said.
Microsoft said Ballmer’s e-mail did not violate federal anti-spam
regulations. But anti-spam activists and legal experts said the message
does not make it easy for people to remove themselves from future
mailings, as required by the law.
Like many anti-spam activists, Poortinga, a Bloomington, Ind.,
programmer, has never been a fan of the Can-Spam Act. He said it is as
much an effort to protect corporate marketers' ability to send unwanted
e-mail as it is to block unsavory spam.
He said he never gave Microsoft the e-mail address to which Ballmer’s
note was sent. Poortinga said he primarily used that address to
register Internet domains for hosting Web sites.
«It also shows that the Can-Spam Act is simply a worthless exercise in
PR and it reinforces the widely held belief that Microsoft is so
arrogant that they feel that they are not bound to conform to laws and
standards,» Poortinga said in an e-mail interview.
Poortinga, who described his experience in a note posted on an Internet
discussion group, added that he got an unsolicited e-mail from
Microsoft in 1999 and tried to unsubscribe at the time.
As details of his experience and a copy of Ballmer’s note were
forwarded to other technology mailing lists, some participants
speculated that Microsoft was sending its messages to lists containing
names other than those in its customer database.
Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall said the company «never, ever» uses
outside lists for its mailings, although he said he did not know how
Poortinga ended up in Microsoft’s customer database.
He said that database includes millions of names collected from a
variety of sources, including registrations for products or
Microsoft-sponsored conferences, names provided to Microsoft
representatives at trade shows or requests to receive company
He added that Poortinga might not have followed the proper procedure
to unsubscribe in 1999, but conceded that the request might have
fallen though the cracks.
Sending an unsolicited e-mail once is permitted under the terms of the
That was a sore point with many anti-spam activists, who argued that
people should not receive any commercial e-mail unless they
specifically request it.
Instead, Congress required bulk mailers to provide for an easy way for
people to remove themselves from future mailings. Failure to honor
those requests is punishable by fines.
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