Microsoft ends free software for monitoring giveaway

Microsoft pulled the free software offer from its Web site Tuesday, which made free copies of Vista and Office among other applications available in exchange for feedback.

Users will be required to install a piece of software on their computers for three months in order to receive the software for free. However at the same time the offer may have been tantalizing for some, for others it may have raised privacy concerns.

For example, some of the information collected included Windows settings and usage, details on your hardware, file and folder structure, programs the user runs, and application crash data.

While Microsoft said it will not try to intentionally capture sensitive information, there is still the possibility that some personal data could be disclosed through crash reports.

Either way, the company changed its call for participants on Tuesday after it had apparently run out of software to give out under the program. The page for the callout remained, however it now seemed to ask those already with the software to participate.

A cached version of the page on Google shows the original version.

Microsoft had apparently been offering the deal for well over a month, but it was not until this week when the deal appeared on blogs such as Engadget and Gizmodo that the Redmond company saw any appreciable number of signups.

The deal would have originally expired on December 31, 2007. A request for comment from Microsoft was not returned as of press time.

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