Scot McPhee on Wed, 15 Mar 2000 07:15:33 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] microsoft: privatising the 'everyday language' of the 'everyday web'

Microsoft announces that it partner with RealNames. This travesty of a
'solution' effectively PRIVATISES the categorisation of the internet names.
Effectively, the MS strategy is to 'embrace and extend' the DNS service by
BYPASSING it. Instead of a logically way of organising the name space such
that entities are within categories that suit them, MS and RealNames (and
all like competitors) merely privatise the name space to the highest bidder.

Internet users should be very concerned at these developments. Effectively
it makes the whole debate about '.com', '.org' and '.net' redundant by
implementing a full and completely FLAT name space, in which there will ever
only be ONE Mcdonalds, ONE Mcphee, ONE nettime and so on.

ICANN should be doing somehting about this illogical organisation of the
namespace and implementing a technical system which make such PRIVATISATION
of the totality of the namespace impossible.


Microsoft copyright breach follows;


Internet Keywords: Enabling Everyday Words on the Everyday Web

Steve Ballmer(L), president and CEO of Microsoft, shakes hands with Keith
Teare, CEO of RealNames Corporation, at PC Forum 2000, after announcing
Microsoft's commitment to RealNames' Internet Keyword solution, which allows
Web users to navigate using common words. 

Photo by Jeff Christensen 

REDMOND, Wash., Mar. 14, 2000 -- Microsoft today announced that it will
integrate RealNames' Internet Keyword solution -- a common naming system
that gives users direct and intuitive navigation using simple, everyday
words -- into MSN Search and Internet Explorer. The company also announced
that it is taking an equity stake of approximately 20 percent in RealNames.
To find out what this announcement means for the two companies -- and how
the Internet Keyword solution fits into Microsoft's Everyday Web vision --
PressPass spoke with RealNames CEO Keith Teare and Brad Chase, senior vice
president of Microsoft's Consumer Division.

Press Pass: Why is Microsoft making such a strong commitment to the
RealNames Internet Keyword solution?

Chase: RealNames has done a great job of solving one of the biggest
frustrations people have with the Internet today, which is the complexity of
finding the right Web site. Most sites have arcane domain names and URLs
that either have very little to do with their content or are virtually
impossible to remember. For instance, who would guess that the United
Airlines home page is at, rather than Or that if you
wanted information about Ford cars and trucks, you'd go to, instead of just And even if you know the
domain name, it's impossible to go directly to a specific page within a site
-- if, for example, you want to get information about United's frequent
flyer program, or a particular Ford vehicle. It's frustrating to consumers
because it's not intuitive. And it's a problem for companies, because they'd
like to seamlessly extend their trademarks and brand names into the online
world. Microsoft is committed to the concept of the Everyday Web, and
there's nothing more fundamental to that vision than the names we associate
with everyday things. When we saw that the Internet Keyword system was
expressly designed to address this problem, we decided to integrate it into
MSN Search and Internet Explorer so people can use ordinary language to get
the information they want on the Internet. 

Press Pass: How will RealNames benefit from working with Microsoft?

Teare: We gain credibility and validation as well as tremendous
distribution. Microsoft recognized that we have built the next generation of
Internet navigation, and they've chosen to offer it to hundreds of millions
of consumers worldwide because it delivers such great benefits. By being
embedded in the Internet Explorer browser and integrated into MSN Search,
our Internet Keyword system can be used by more people in a seamless and
natural way. 

Press Pass: Why are Internet Keywords important to consumers?

Teare: They're important because people think and communicate in ordinary
language, not technical code words. We hear about companies and products and
issues through television, radio, magazines and newspapers. And the things
we hear about have recognizable names, like the "Frasier" television show.
But when we go to the Internet to get more information about "Frasier,"
we're forced to use unrecognizable names that start with "http" or "www."
Our Internet Keyword system uses a common naming system to bring together
the world of television, radio and print media and the world of the
Internet. It includes the brands and trademarks consumers are familiar with,
so there's nothing extra to remember. You just type in "Frasier" or "United"
or "Ford," and the browser goes right to it. Internet Keywords let people
use the knowledge they already have to make their Internet navigation more
efficient and rewarding. 

Press Pass: How will the RealNames solution benefit consumers? 

Teare: The solution saves time and reduces frustration because there's
nothing new to learn and nothing hard to remember. Consumers just use what
they already know. It makes the Internet more accessible to more people
because it removes those assumptions of technical know-how that create
barriers for ordinary people. 

Chase: That's right. People can just type words in the Internet Explorer
Address Bar or in MSN Search and find what they're looking for. If the match
is definitive -- such as BMW or Ford -- the user will be taken directly to
the corresponding Web page. If it's not -- such as Delta, which could be the
airline or the faucet company -- the most relevant matches will be displayed
and the user simply clicks on the right one. Plus, Internet Keywords let you
navigate directly to a page deep within a Web site without requiring you to
click through multiple links or remember long name extensions. So in Keith's
"Frasier" example, you wouldn't have to start with the corporate entity, go
to NBC's Web site, click on the "prime time" link, and so on. You'd go right
to "Frasier." Internet Keywords makes navigation much faster and more
intuitive for consumers.

Press Pass: What do Internet Keywords mean for the search engine industry?

Teare: I think it will push the industry toward more sophistication and more
specialization, with search engines geared to the unique needs of various
types of users. People will increasingly turn to search engines for the
research functions they were designed for, rather than for straightforward
navigation, which is what our service does. People may end up using search
engines less often, but they'll get better results.

Chase: When you integrate the two worlds, as we do with Internet Explorer
and MSN Search, you can create the optimal user experience. Users can get an
exact, definitive search result or a list of options to choose from,
depending on what they want and which tool they use. 

Press Pass: Are Internet Keywords an open solution?

Chase: Yes, absolutely. Internet Keywords are based on open Internet
standards and are supported across the entire Internet, so it's not a closed
or proprietary solution. All search engines can provide the benefit of
Internet Keywords to their own users.

Press Pass: How does this solution affect international consumers?

Teare: The solution has benefits for all consumers, but the benefits are
especially huge for non-English-speaking users. Today's Internet URLs are
limited to the 66 Roman characters -- what technical people call ASCII. Our
Internet Keyword system can use any character in any written language, just
like Windows 2000. So people can type their search word in Hebrew or
Mandarin or Cyrillic or Kanji or whatever, and Internet Explorer will take
them right to the Web page in their own language. (Or, they can go to the
page in another language if they change the MSN defaults.) With Internet
Keywords, people all over the world can navigate the entire Internet using
their own languages to go directly to the site they want.

Chase: It will be much faster and easier for people to find the information
they want on the Web, in a truly global way. Their familiar local brands and
companies will be embedded into their browsers and MSN Search, and it will
be fully intuitive no matter what language they speak.

More Information Resources
Press Release: 

Steve Ballmer Announces Microsoft's Integration of RealNames' Internet
Keyword Navigation Solution - Mar. 14, 2000

Other Microsoft Resources: 

MSN Search Web Site 
Microsoft Internet Explorer Web Site 
RealNames Web Site

2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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