Microsoft Shelves Hailstorm Amid Lackluster Corporate Support

According to a New York Times article today, "Hailstorm" - once the centerpiece of Microsoftis much-vaunted .NET strategy - has been put aside. Hailstorm, the codename for the Microsoft service known as "My Services", was designed to provide a central depository for personal data, e-mail and other organizational tools that would work with .NET services and participating companies. It seems that many companies were concerned about exactly who would be managing the consumer information they had gathered. According to the article:

Industry executives said the caution displayed by consumer giants like American Express and Citigroup illuminated a bitter tug of war being fought over consumer information by some of the largest financial and information companies.

"They ran into the reality that many companies donit want any company between them and their customers," said David Smith, vice president for Internet services at the Gartner Group, a computer industry consulting and research firm.

The lack of interest also indicates that in a variety of industries outside the desktop computer business there remain significant concerns about Microsoftis potential to use its personal computer monopoly and its .Net software to leverage its brand into a broad range of service businesses.

The article also notes the uproar Hailstorm caused among privacy advocates, whose concerns about the safety of so many usersi data being in one place prompted complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, as well as mentioning the legal issues Microsoft faced in privacy-conscious Europe. Microsoft is now considering releasing My Services as a package, instead of providing Hailstorm as an outsourcing solution. You can read the full article at the New York Timesi Web site. A free registration is required to view the New York Timesi online content.