Banned in Redmond or Not, Bundling Is Here

Opinion: The 'B' word (bundling) is on the Microspeak blacklist. But there's no sidestepping the reality: Vista is set to get more bundled components. (Microsoft Watch)

Finally, after months of rumors, its official: Microsoft is planning to bundle the core of its Windows AntiSpyware product into Windows Vista.

We know, we know: Bundling is a banned word in Redmond. When a previously stand-alone Microsoft product or technology is subsumed by another, the result is supposed to be labeled "innovative integration," according to the Microspeak police.

Its not hard to understand Microsofts loathing of the B word. The company has gotten its hand slapped more than once for bundling. You dont have to look further than the U.S. Department of Justice and EU vs. Microsoft cases for examples.

But those lessons seem to have been forgotten. Based on recent signs, it looks like Microsoft is gearing up to bundle not just Windows AntiSpyware, but possibly also some other new wares, into Vista, the version of Windows due in 2006.

/zimages/7/28571.gifClick here to read more about Microsofts bundling dilemma regarding Windows AntiSpyware.

For the record, I am not 100-percent anti-bundling. Ive talked to lots of users about Microsofts bundling behavior. And as long as bundling makes their lives easier, the users with whom Ive spoken are all for it.

Competitors, such as RealNetworks, Sun, IBM, etc., argue that bundling reduces customer choice and hurts users in the long run.

Microsofts competitors say if users had a chance to dabble with third-party products—which always outshine Microsofts offerings—theyd be willing to shell out for them in a heartbeat.

While this argument sounds solid, I have not able to find many users who share this sentiment.

But back to Microsofts bundle-mania. Microsoft has not discussed publicly its plans to add new Windows components to Vista, beyond acknowledging that it will enhance currently bundled technologies, such as Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer.

/zimages/7/28571.gifRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: Banned in Redmond

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