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ANA Board Opposes Microsoft’s Decision to Implement ‘Do-Not-Track’ Default Function for Internet Explorer 10 Browser

Letter to Management Encourages ‘Opt Out’ Model for sake of Companies, Consumers

New York, NY – October 1, 2012 – Today the Board of Directors for ANA (Association of National Advertisers) expressed profound disappointment with and strong opposition to Microsoft’s decision to implement ‘Do Not Track’ functionality in its Internet Explorer 10 browser by default. In a letter to Steve Ballmer, CEO, Bradford Smith, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer of Microsoft, ANA renewed their request that Microsoft reverse its position, which will harm consumers, hurt competition and undermine American innovation and leadership in the Internet economy.  

“Microsoft’s decision undercuts the effectiveness of our brand owners’ internet advertising and undermines the industry’s self-regulatory system,” said Bob Liodice, ANA President and CEO. “It is time that Microsoft realign with the broader business community and provide choice to consumers, which is why ANA’s Board of Directors has come together to emphatically denounce this ill-considered approach.” 

The ANA is particularly concerned about the future of the Internet ecosystem and a diminished interactive advertising marketplace. By setting the Internet Explorer browser to block data collection, Microsoft’s action could potentially eliminate the ability to collect web viewing data of up to 43 percent of browsers used by Americans. The result of such a large percentage of data collection being blocked would threaten the vast array of free or low cost online offerings that define the consumer online experience. The default settings will also block the personalized and relevant experiences of consumers – before consumers even have the opportunity to determine whether it is of value to them.

Microsoft’s decision marks a shocking departure from the DAA Principles. The company has been participating in the Digital Advertising Alliance program since 2008 and most recently attended a White House endorsement of the DAA program this past February. The DAA strongly opposes Microsoft’s course of action to unilaterally impose choices on the consumer, which will weaken thriving business models and reduce the availability of Internet products that millions of people enjoy.

In May of this year, Microsoft announced that it was building “Do Not Track” by default into its upcoming Internet browser. From the beginning ANA has been a vocal opponent of Microsoft’s decision, which has also been met with condemnation and criticism from the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and outrage from the entire media ecosystem.

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About the ANA

Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA's membership includes 450 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers. For more information, visit www.ana.net, follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook, or visit our YouTube channel.

Media Contacts:
Luna Newton
CooperKatz & Co. for the ANA
lnewton@cooperkatz.com
917-595-3061

Marcus Hardy
CooperKatz & Co. for the ANA
mhardy@cooperkatz.com
917-595-3043

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