Subject: Re: Q: authentication system on OS? (with tangent)
From: Zimran Ahmed <zimran@creativegood.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 01 00:08:36 -0400

>I'm not sure that's true. Maybe the average slashdot reader or
>the average commentator, but customers are still as apathetic as
>ever - of course.

it's not a question of apathy, and I wish this attitude was not so 
prevalent in both the technology and business community -- regular users 
are trying to live their lives, and aren't interested in technology. They 
want to call their granny, not think about the joys of telephone 
switching.

>MS ain't stupid. If what you say above, about people being more
>privacy-conscious, was correct, then Hailstorm would be dead before
>it started.

people are privacy concious, but not in the way we think. For example, 
folks worry about their credit card number being taken, but don't realize 
that the merchant is liable for unauthorized charges not them. They want 
to see a privacy statement on a site, but won't think to checkout how 
secure the database on the backend is.

>I have not seen any pricing information for either Hailstorm or
>Passport so I can't really comment on the price issue... it has
>been my understanding that both services would be "value-added" and
>be used as more of an MS promotional effort. 

"value-added" is just biz-speak for "useful." Sometimes it is a 
euphemism. The problem is not whether or not the service is value-added, 
or what the price is, but how the correct price for the service will be 
determined. In the current system, the price is whatever Microsoft 
decides to set it at. There are no market mechanisms (aka competition) to 
regulate the price.

>this is a consumer-driven problem. Consumers are by no means forced
>to use MS products, services, and web sites. When they choose to do
>so, they implicitly agree to play by MS's rules.

I think some Microsoft anti-trust judges might disagree with you there. 
Given the average technological competance of the people using these 
computers, microsoft's control of the desktop absolutely determines what 
people will use (and you cannot blame the end-user for this, technology 
is not their domain, they just got a new computer so they could email 
with their relatives).

Simple usability on a site can improve performance by 300%. Something as 
complicated as downloading a new browser over a 56K phone line, when you 
don't even know what a browser is, might put off 99% of regular users. 
Ease-of-use is a *critical* determinant for a consumer-facing application 
to take off. *Small* differences in usability result in *huge* (order of 
magnitude) differences in usage behavior.

zimran