In every Office 2003 application there is an item on the Help menu for "Customer Feedback Options". When you turn this on, you tell the Office team how you use their product. This feedback is then used to help prioritize development in future versions. While it's not the only criteria used, it gives the developers statistical data to refer to when making decisions on what features to remove, improve, or change.
This data is collected anonymously. It tells Microsoft what types of accounts you have in your profile (Exchange, POP, IMAP, HTTP), how long each session of Outlook lasts, what menus are most frequently used, how your view is configured and other information that helps the developers learn how you work. Programs similar to this resulted in the removal of the Office Toolbar and other features Microsoft discovered weren't being used by many people.
Many new programs coming out of Microsoft include a Customer Feedback option, although some programs have it on their Tools, Options menu, not Help. To learn more about it, see //www.microsoft.com/products/ceip/english/default.htm, and consider using it, especially if you have a full time internet connection.
BTW – After enabling the feedback, your firewall may tell you that a program is trying to contact sqm.microsoft.com. This is the Service Quality Monitor ("skwim") server used by the Customer Feedback tool. You'll need to allow access to it.
Published December 15, 2003. Last updated on May 16, 2011.