EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.25.08

Off-Topic: The Secret Crumbling of Microsoft’s Key Staff

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Windows at 10:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Quiet exodus in bright daylight

Just what has been going on at Microsoft recently without a grossly-biased press covering this properly? The previous post promised a partial roundup. One needn’t even go as far back as Jim Allchin’s and Bill Gates’ departure.

Windows Team

Veteran Windows architect resigns from Microsoft

On the heels of a week of news of a number of Microsoft executive departures and reshufflings, another has come to light. Rob Short, Corporate Vice President for Windows Core, has resigned from the company.

MS Insider: The Office Crew Isn’t Smart Enough to Supplant Real Windows Developers

“With Alchin retiring, MarkL and MarkZ, two of the most talented architects in MS already having left, the picture gets really ugly for the Windows division,” my friend claimed, and the BV’s core team members, Ian McDonald, Jack Mayo, Todd Wanke, Clyde Rodriguez and others are starting to connect the dots.

[...]

He concluded ominously. “A trainwreck of biblical proportions looms. Pick a good seat on the sidelines, trainwrecks this large take awhile to complete. Vista may be the last MS OS for some time to come, especially if Cutler decides to play hardball.”

Executives

Juniper Networks exec to succeed Microsoft Business Division President Raikes

Another reason I consider the Raikes announcement timing odd: Why announce Raikes’ departure a day after acknowledging the defection of your mergers and acquisitions chief Bruce Jaffe? You could make the argument that Microsoft wants to get all its defection/churn announcements out of the way at once. But I’m not sure I’d look at things the same way, if I were one of the company’s “image makers”….

Microsoft also announced on January 10 that Bob Muglia, the Senior Vice President in charge of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, is going to move out of the Business Division and report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft loses top executive in China

“Li Gong is currently exploring other career opportunities,” Microsoft said in a statement to News.com.

[...]

In a September 2005 Business Week interview, Ballmer touted Gong as one of several key hires that Microsoft had made.

Most recently, Gong has served as managing director of Windows Live China and as Vice President of Microsoft China R&D Group.

Gong’s name came up in the case over Kai-Fu Lee, the top Microsoft executive whose hiring by Google sparked a multistate legal battle.

Microsoft losing acquisition playmaker

In a previous life Jaffe was the CFO for Microsoft’s MSN division, and also had roles overseeing acquisitions related to Microsoft’s consumer business, groups like MSNBC and Microsoft Games.

Microsoft’s OEM chief defects to Lenovo

While so many of us Microsoft watchers were preoccupied with the hasty departure of former Microsfot CIO Stuart Scott, the resignation of the company’s OEM chief slipped right by most of us.

Zune

Microsoft says Zune executive will leave company

Bryan Lee, corporate vice president at Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, also played a key role in shaping the Xbox game console business and the introduction of its Internet Protocol television software.

Live

Yet another Microsoft search exec calls it quits

In March, Blake Irving, the Corporate VP in charge of the Windows Live platform, announced his plans to leave Microsoft, effective this summer. Payne announced his resignation from Microsoft shortly after Irving made his announcement.

Another Microsoft Search reorg: Shum now leads engineering

That same month, Windows Live Platform VP Blake Irving resigned, as did Chris Payne. the Corporate Vice President in charge of Windows Live Search.

Microsoft Search Leader To Leave Company

The Microsoft Corp. vice president who led the company’s push into Internet search is leaving the software giant as the effort he helped launch loses ground against lead competitor Google Inc.

Danny Thorpe quits the Windows Live development team

Danny Thorpe, one of the higher-profile hires Microsoft made to its Windows Live team, has decided to leave for greener pastures.

Microsoft Windows Live VP to resign

Blake Irving, a Corporate Vice President in Microsoft’s Windows Live Platform group, is resigning his post, according to sources close to the company.

Former Microsoft Search Chief Bill Bliss On Early Search Missteps

Bill’s biggest regret? Not bypassing middle management that wasn’t listening to him scream about the coming threat of Google and going right up to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

at least no chairs were thrown…

A friend of mine was walked out of Microsoft today.

I’m not talking about Stuart Scott, the now former Microsoft CIO who was canned for “violating company policies.” No, another friend decided to leave the MSN Live Search team and join Google Kirkland.

XBox Team

Peter Moore, the project’s long-time leader is no longer at Microsoft. But there’s more.

XBLA’s Ross Erickson leaves Microsoft, heads over to Sierra Online

Of course, this follows XBLA General Manager Greg Canessa’s departure a couple weeks back. While having two of the most senior Xbox Live Arcade execs jump ship in a two week time span after a particularly long string of subpar Wednesdays — nothing, Ms. Pac-Man, Lumines add-on, nothing, Root Beer Tapper, Paperboy, nothing — might seem to imply certain disaster, Ross insisted that he and Greg’s decided to leave under entirely different circumstances.

XBLA main man jumps ship

In somewhat surprising news, Greg Canessa, the big guy behind Xbox Live Arcade, has left the Microsoft compound for PopCap Games.

Raikes and Other Exits

It’s weird that Mini and all the commenters here have failed to notice the mass exodus from the Xbox team in 2007. By my count, more than 15% of the product team (dev/PM/test) have left Microsoft for Apple, Sony, Google, Yahoo, MySpace, Amazon, and various other companies (including several startups, local and in the Valley)…

Others

Microsoft Businesss Solutions Group’s Burgum to resign

Microsoft Corp.’s Business Solutions group senior vice president Doug Burgum will resign, effective June 30, and leave the company to pursue other opportunities, the company said on Tuesday.

Database head to leave daily duties at Microsoft

Paul Flessner, who leads Microsoft’s data storage and platform division, will step down from his daily duties after the new year.

Microsoft Windows hardware leader takes a ‘vacation’

Veteran Softies are dropping like flies lately. The latest Microsoft exec to leave is Jawad Khaki, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Hardware Ecosystem.

Anti-Linux Propaganda (Bill Hilf)

Microsoft’s open source chief takes on Windows server marketing

The change comes amid a long-building storm that exploded in May, when the company said that Linux violates 235 Microsoft patents.

Good riddance.

Even Evangelists

Evangelists are what Microsoft calls “cheerleaders”. Have a look:

Evangelist Gartenberg back to being analyst

After only three weeks at Microsoft as an “evangelist,” Michael Gartenberg is returning to his old job as vice president and research director at JupiterResearch.

Robert Scoble and and Niall Keneddy are two related departures. One man asks:

Will Microsoft Survive the Next 10 Years?

I am not really an expert in this but when I read all the negative headlines and articles I ask myself if Microsoft really will survive the next 10 years.

[...]

I am pretty sure that the Open Source Community, the new Ubuntu, Google and of course Apple are those companies that are ready for our century and they will get more and more people that know what they really want.

There are many more of course, but keeping track is difficult because of the secrecy. Novell, by the way, is not better off. The same goes for Linspire, as we have meticulously documented in this Web site.

Microsoft Conceals Financial Pains Using Money Games (Updatedx2)

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Deception, Dell, Finance, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, SCO, Windows at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Lost Articles on the 18 Billion Dollar Loss”

Background Reading

If you are new to this, you are encouraged to read the links contained here:

Is Novell’s Pal Cooking the Books as Well? (Microsoft)

Microsoft is not in a healthy state with its aging business model. This post followed another one about Novell, which is faking it as well:

Novell’s Salespeople Admit Financial Misconduct (Massaging GNU/Linux Figures)

The first among these two might shock you. Microsoft is fooling a lot of people and it’s making good use of biased publications such as Motley Fool (it’s part of MSN, i.e. Microsoft). They hypnotise people. Microsoft is claimed to have done the same thing with Salon in the past. It’s a case of media control, which some could label “propaganda”.

Reality Strikes

Remember that most people get Microsoft Windows only with a new PC. Based on the prices of GNU/Linux PCs that are available from major OEMs, Microsoft gets paid very little for Windows. You could see it in some leaked contracts as well as in the press, especially after Linux had become available from the “big channels”. Mind the dumping of products too because we saw a lot of this in the past week.

Linux will win it Microsoft elevates the price. Linux would devour Windows gradually had Microsoft not permitted so-called ‘piracy’ and introduced $3 Windows, even for embedded devices (and no, not just for the developing world, i.e. poor people). As for the latter, look where it ended up just a fortnight ago:

SOFTWARE giant Microsoft has decided that it does not love its popular Mobile and Embedded DevCon any more and has pulled the plug.

Do not be misled by hyped, of which there is plenty. It’s mainly the money which generated this deceptive hype.

Office is Microsoft’s most major cash cow and it’s hardly surprising that Microsoft resorted to well-documented corruption in the fight against ODF. There is undeniable proof of this.

Let’s go a week back and remind ourselves of the new year’s staff exodus, which involved some high-profile departures such as Jeff Raikes

Microsoft is shuffling its executive ranks, with today’s surprise announcement that Jeff Raikes, president of the Business division, will leave the company. Uh-oh. He’s not the only executive on the way out the door.

Raikes departure will have huge impact on Microsoft as it completes its 2008 fiscal year on June 30. His division is one of two responsible for nearly all Microsoft’s profits.

This is part of a much larger exodus which left Microsoft reporters very worried. XBox 360 saw a quiet exodus last year and the next post will provide some more detailed listings for the sake of completeness. To quote the above again (with emphasis):

“His division is one of two responsible for nearly all Microsoft’s profits.

Be aware that he has just left after many years of loyal service in the company. He was not too old to carry on with the job. He joins the likes of Bill Gates and James Allchin.

Allchin seems to have disappeared into the darkness after he unleashed Windows Vista, which had him nervous for years. One of his leaked E-mail is very revealing.

[Jim Allchin:] “I must tell you everything in my soul tells me that we should do what I called plan (b) yesterday. We need a simple fast storage system. LH [Longhorn] is a pig and I don’t see any solution to this problem. If we are to rise to the challenge of Linux and Apple, we need to start taking the lessons of ‘scenario, simple, fast’ to heart. Jim”

Enter Recession

The industry as a whole is cutting down at the moment. Many people are being sacked and larger companies stop recruiting. Some companies are wealthy enough to play financial games. Microsoft and IBM, for example, are on heavy buybacks at the moment, but their pains are undeniable and inevitable.

IBM has sliced some of its wages by 15% as it carries on offshoring (sacking of staff in Europe and America, followed by recruitment in the East, if any at all). At the same time, IBM is able to manufacture this illusion that all is well. So does Microsoft.

Dell and Novell and totally bluffing while at the same time axing jobs and sending only some of them abroad. Novell is crumbling very fast. Don’t believe their financial figures. It’s called recession. Novell has admitted cooking the books (see the link proving this at the top as well as this summary). Even SCO pretended to be doing well just before filing for bankruptcy (Chapter 11).

Here ares some new headlines, courtesy of a new talk from Soros (forum in Davos)

Financial Times: Soros Sees ‘End Of An Era’

Reuters: Soros: world faces worst finance crisis since WW2

Telegraph: Dollar’s golden era is ending, warns Soros

Financial Times: The worst market crisis in 60 years, by George Soros.

The Independent: Soros warns ‘systemic failure’ may be upon us

The Guardian: Soros: Britain cannot escape US recession

Salon.com: The gloomy gospel according to George Soros

[...]

Also from the past week:

1. Prices rise on last day of year in short session

U.S. stocks were hit by losses in large technology companies, including Microsoft Corp.

2. Recession fears could end bull market

The slide could be halted, however, if bellwether companies such as Apple and United Technologies engender hope that the U.S. economy can avert recession.

Even Mark Shuttleworth responded to this alarming issue:

3. Economic oversteering

Yesterday, we saw the most extraordinary failure of economic leadership in recent years, when the US Federal Reserve pressed the “emergency morphine” button and cut Federal Reserve rates by 0.75%. It will not help.

These are extremely testing times, and thus far, the US Fed under Bernanke has been found wantinbxg. Historians may well lay the real blame for current distress at the door of Alan Greenspan, who pioneered the use of morphine to dull economic pain, but they will probably also credit him with a certain level of discretion in its prescription. During Greenspan’s tenure at the Fed, economic leaders became convinced that the solution to market distress was to ensure that the financial system had access to easy money.

More on the Mark:

4. Mark His Words

Pretty standard Economist-type analysis you might think; but what’s interesting about this lengthy piece is that it’s written by Mark Shuttleworth, head of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. What struck was not just that it’s extremely well written, but that he took the time and trouble to pen it. I don’t think there are many CEOs who would be both willing and able to do so.

I think we can deduce from from this is that Canonical – and hence a key player working towards GNU/Linux on the desktop – is in good hands.

And this isn’t the first time that he expresses political concerns by the way. Consider:

5. Shuttleworth grasps open source political message

In his interview today Shuttleworth also said Ubuntu will support GPLv3 and was careful not to criticize Linus Torvalds, who supports GPLv2, saying the differences in the contracts is more of a kernel issue than anything else.

[...]

But it’s Shuttleworth’s swipes at Microsoft and his rallying of anti-American sentiment which I believe will be the headlines, and should be.

For Mark Shuttleworth’s confrontations with Microsoft’s patent games he deserves some high praises.

More on the economic problems (news from the past week):

6. Apple Sliced as Forecast Flops

Investors disappointed with Apple’s (AAPL) tune slammed the stock 13% lower Wednesday during another wild market ride.

7. Cisco stops hiring

Sources are telling us that the outfit has recently put on an abrupt and unannounced hiring freeze, or at least an abrupt hiring cutback, and this is not for low level workers either, but the cream of the crop.

8. Chipmaker to Cut 115 Jobs in Arlington

National Semiconductor Corp. will cut 115 jobs at its Arlington manufacturing plant, about one-fourth of the facility’s workers.

Can anyone escape the wrath of these changing tides?

Microsoft Not the Exception

From a reliable source (offline) we hear that it’s the same old business for Microsoft. “If you can get hold of this article, it is probably time to dig it out again and use in the context of the current financial troubles. Microsoft execs bluff like anything, but basically it seems much of the Vista sales aren’t sales.” (I’ve said that for over a year)

Anyway, in 1998, Microsoft ran an $18-billion loss. Bill jumped ship as CEO.

Share and share unalike“, Aug 5th 1999, The Economist

Now he’s jumping ship from his role as Chairman to be. Though that seems to me so that admit he is full time politician and cause damage worldwide. Yes, that’s why he decided to ‘retire’.

The Economist article used to be readily available as well, until fairly recently.” (when it was apparently heavily cited)

I’ve actually been writing about this for over a year. Microsoft lost over half of its savings in the past two years based on the Seattle P-I’s count.

Here is another new article from that Microsoft-affiliated Web site, Motley Fool. It was published just 2 days ago:

Dueling Fools: Microsoft Bear

You don’t need to watch the ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ commercials to see that Microsoft is taking a beating. You see it in the company’s financials where its online unit, incredibly, is operating at a loss; overheating Xbox 360 consoles find the company taking a huge warranty hit for a system losing market share to the Wii; and the upgrade wave of its flagship operating system has been more of a ripple than a tsunami. That last point is important. This was supposed to be Microsoft’s final feast, the major last hurrah for its Windows Vista operating entry and its Office 2007 suite of applications before the inevitable embrace of cheaper open source operating systems and Web-based apps… In fact, even Microsoft will tell you that its fortunes peaked several months ago.

Another source that has followed Microsoft’s business from a distance adds (offline):

Also, Microsoft has made lots of acquisitions, and so they will say that they have gotten value their dollar (by buying companies) and they have returned value to shareholders, which is an appropriate use of capital, if the circumstances call for it. And the Microsoft shareholders were getting grumpy because the stock was stagnating for a while, and Microsoft was sitting on a pile of cash, which they disbursed in December 2006, I think it was. And I seem to recall that it was the largest one-time cash dividend payment in the history of the world. It was something like $40 billion USD, IIRC.

So the challenge for us here will be to show that the value was simply eroded. I don’t think that is the case.

I do think that Microsoft’s sales have not kept pace with the growth of PC sales, and that is the interesting thing. Or, to put it another way, Microsoft is losing market share. IMHO, that might be easier to prove than to say that they are experiencing a loss of capital.

Because, after all, it is far for the shareholders to expect a dividend payment. So no one is going to be critical of Microsoft for expanding by buying new businesses (unless they are expanding into areas where they do not excel, which I think is the real problem for shareholders with their acquisitions) or unless they buy bad businesses (not the case) or unless they fuck up the acquisitions, which they sort of have done with hotmail, which never caught up with Yahoo mail.”

[...]

To sort of summarize, my main point has always been that Microsoft cannot compete in areas where it is not able to leverage its Microsoft Windows monopoly, because Microsoft is not an innovator, except for a few minor areas, such as their recent photosharing project, which did not take off in a commercial sense. I even forgot the name of it.

The Xbox is popular, but not immensely profitable for Microsoft; certainly not on the level of the Microsoft Office or Microsoft Windows cash cows. Halo sold well, but not on the level of Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office. It’s because they have real competition with Nintendo and Sony. Same for MSNBC. In every area of their business except for Windows and Office, Microsoft is just an ordinary revenue generator.

They are bullies, plain and simple. They are not innovators. Where they must compete, they exhibit lackluster performance.

If people tell you that Microsoft is seeing great financial success at the moment, point them at this page and ensure that Microsoft’s little vanity campaign gets buried before it gains any ground. It is extremely hard to defeat self-serving media that is funded by corporations, but a little corner of the Web will usually gain perspective and see past the public relations Great Wall.

Update: Another reader has just sent in an E-mail to add some information.

Here’s another resource you might find interesting:

Taking a closer look at Microsoft
By BILL PARISH
http://www.billparish.com/20030420barronsoped.html

It was written in 2003, but I remember the name Bill Parish from the Billwatch days before 2003. While the US-DOJ case was making headlines, he was writing articles critical of Microsoft accounting practices as “a voice in the wilderness.”

Having just taken a look, here is one bit of interest:

While Linux may be attractive to poor countries because it’s less costly and more reliable than Windows, Linux users in the developed world are excited too because it gives them the ability to see and alter the actual computer code to fit their particular application. Seeing the actual code also allows users to recommend improvements, innovations that enable them to create more competitive products and services.

Microsoft’s current attitude about source code is like that of a math teacher hiding numerous parts of an equation and then expecting the students to understand the formula and make optimum use of it.

I am personally familiar with some of Parish’s other writings, including this one from 2007:

The following report regarding Microsoft?s financial practices is the most widely read report on my website since 1999. Numerous major news stories have appeared based upon the report titled Microsoft Financial Pyramid Summary

There is also this popular report which is older:

Sadly, many of these brilliant people have been blinded by the stock price and unable to see that Microsoft is also the key architect of the greatest financial pyramid scheme this century.

It is not uncommon for participants in pyramid schemes to lose their emotional bearings. My close friends who work at Microsoft are particularly upset over my work and it is possible that even Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer do not realize the implications of their financial practices.”

There are more such writings (from different authors even) which describe this as a modern-age “pyramid scheme”.

Update #2: Another reader had this to add:

MS went over to permatemps way back when to avoid having to report major downsizing. So right there you can see the start of the end. I’d guess that the savings have been long gone. I’d also guess that much, if not most, of its money comes from buying and selling its own (and other) stock.

I’d also point out that a few years back there were many articles showing that MS only makes any money on MS Office and MS Windows and then only because of OEM sales. Everything else is about control of the market and based nearly exclusively on extending the DOS monopoly inherited from IBM via family contacts. There is some documentation in the book “Just Say No to Microsoft”, which despite the flamebaitish title is really only about the history of desktop computing. It would be nice to be able to get the historical facts more visibility and stop the revisionsist history that’s eroding our knowledge base.

Professionally, with 24 years of work experience, much of which with desktops and workstations, I have to say that the time for half measures is long since passed. And that while I sometimes begrudgingly accept some best-of-breed closed source software, in regards to Redmond, the only possible answer is one of zero tolerance.

The largest barrier I see is one comprised of several forms of cognitive dissonance. If you discuss events, laws, standards, or any other metric separated from the name ‘MS’ people will 100% side against MS. How to get decisions to stick once the real names of the parties involved become known.

In regards to the net, one of the things keeping MS aloft is the insane number of man-hours of corrective, after-market maintenance work done on a volunteer basis. If all the family/neighborhood geeks stopped fixing MS for free, the problem would solve itself in short order.

The Security FUD; Rinse and Repeat the Same Lie Every 3 Months

Posted in Apple, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 8:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates (Microsoft’s CEO at the time)

We recently exposed that Big Lie which is Windows Vista security. The Propaganda Machine has been hard at work and Secunia's disinformation wasn’t helping.

Out comes Microsoft with yet another ‘apples and oranges’ comparison. Microsoft uses Windows-only metrics to assess other platforms and it’s patching things silently to reduce counts (i.e. it’s lying). As usual, being a company that owns a lot of the mainstream press, its deception gets published as news.

On the same subject, a reader of this site points out: “An article which recently disappeared, this one after 12 years online was :

         http://www.acm.org/classics/oct95/

which can still be found at http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html

It’s also available from the Web Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/19961220000801/http://www.acm.org/classics/oct95/

The reader adds: “For me what was interesting was that it disappeared from the ACM site after 12 years, only a few months after I started making a lot of noise about it. It may have been in October. It was still in Google cache then, but unavailable.”

Another lie Microsoft tries to convince you of at the moment is to do with finance and the next post will address this. Novell is on a similar boat.

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology is a key evangelism function. “Independent” analysts’ reports should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent consultants should write articles, give conference presentations, moderate stacked panels on our behalf, and set themselves up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour.””

Internal Microsoft documents (leaked) [PDF]

Software Patents Anticompetitive by Nature

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Standard at 8:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ownership of mathematics, protocols

The previous post raised the issue one faces when a competitive entity is allowed to collect royalties from all its rivals. Novell foolishly permits this. There is an inherently anti-competitive issue in patents and this was recently brought up by Richard Stallman. Glyn Moody likens it to a return to the age of guilds.

A couple of news stories remind us of the nature of this problem. The first one we alluded to yesterday, but here is a press release.

Chairman Majoras disagreed with the majority’s determination of liability, stating that “[t]his case departs materially from the prior line [of FTC standard-setting ‘hold-up’ challenges], in that there is no allegation that [the patent holder] engaged in improper or exclusionary conduct to induce IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers] to specify its NWay technology” into the relevant standard. “The majority has not identified a meaningful limiting principle that indicates when an action – taken in the standard-setting context or otherwise – will be considered an ‘unfair method of competition,’” she said, adding also, “The novel use of our consumer protection authority to protect large corporate members of a standard-setting organization is insupportable.”

Given the questionable integrity of the FTC, it was surprising to see it getting actively involved for a change. The second article weaves this with a story that involves Rambus, which Andy Updegrove has kept track of for at least a year. Here it is.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the most important resolution of a standards-related enforcement action since Rambus, and possibly since its landmark settlement with Dell Computer in 1995. At issue was whether a licensing promise made by a patent-owning participant in a standards development process is binding upon someone that later owns the same patent. In a split 3 – 2 decision, the FTC has ruled that it does, when the later owner exploits the “lock in” of the marketplace by dramatically increasing the cost to license the patent in question.

Discussing this further would probably prove to be a distraction. However, it’s clear that software patents, trolling and intellectual monopolies will become a very important issue on which the success of Free software is hinged. The tying of one’s intellect with fees is somewhat adverse to collaboratory science. Research and developments is a case of building one framework upon another, not necessarily paying for it. When it comes to algorithms, it’s a matter of nature and physics, which are not necessary tangible (and shouldn’t be). Never mix software patent with trademarks and copyright. It’s means of propaganda (through confusion), as some would put it.

Eben Moglen: Microsoft Remains a Very Dangerous Party

Posted in FSF, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, Videos at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In this seemingly-new interview with ComputerWorld’s Todd Weiss, Eben Moglen pretty much explains why Microsoft is the biggest threat to Free software.

What do you see as the biggest danger to open-source software today? On the one hand, there’s still a locus of resistance. Microsoft still maintains strongly the view that its business model, which depends upon concealing source code from users, is a viable and important and indeed necessary model. And so as long as a company that sells a billion dollars a week in software is in that sense fundamentally still trying to [fight] the free way of doing things, Microsoft remains a very dangerous party.

Here is a video that was added to YouTube just a couple of days ago. In this video, Eben explains how introducing royalties with Novell’s kind ‘help’, the freedom of software gets jeopardised (in all senses of the word “free”).

With apologies to Professor Moglen about the use of Flash. We do try to use Ogg every time it is possible. We tried locating the Ogg version of this video in the FSF’s Web site, to no avail. Here is another noteworthy video about this subject.

Forbes Magazine Bias and the Anti-Linux “Charities”

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Dell, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Give X to charity, get 2X in return

Yesterday we wrote about some of the charitable work whose main purpose is to stifle the growing adoption of GNU/Linux, to which youngsters are increasingly introduced and exposed. Moments ago we brought up this highlight again because there are follow-up stories (further manipulation in Europe). By this stage, several articles on the Web have emerged and they speak about the intent to have children ‘addicted’ to Windows, just as Bill Gates wanted (by his own admission). There is an new article in Forbes which explains why Windows does not belong in schools. To quote a portion:

The current school system makes this hard, however. To see why, picture Microsoft Windows. It, like schools, is highly interdependent–you can’t build or change one component unless you build or change the others, because each component affects the way the others function. Changing just a few lines of Microsoft Windows’ code would necessitate rewriting thousands of other lines. A custom-configured version of Microsoft Windows would therefore cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Contrast this with Linux, which is a modular system. Anyone from the open-source community can tinker with one part of the code and produce a custom-configured operating system. Modularity allows for affordable customization, while the economics of interdependence mandate standardization.

[..].

To educate every child, schools must migrate to a modular architecture–from the current teacher-centric classroom to a child-centric classroom–so they can customize for each child. Computer-based learning offers a way. It is inherently modular and therefore easier and less expensive to customize to the way each child learns.

It was worrisome to see that this article got published only after Forbes had let Bill Gates sneak his own column in, It was self-promotional, as was the ‘plug’ Intel got into the Wall Street Journal last week. Intel used its corporate influence and control of media to defend itself after its malicious abuses against a charity. Its own employees wrote articles that got published in attempt to rewrite history and restore the company’s image.

Such media control is nothing out of the ordinary and it often comes to show who controls (not just indirectly funds) a publication. The BBC’s Web site, despite being a taxpayers-funded site, now gives room for Bill Gates to sell his products as well. It needn’t be said again that the BBC has been serving Microsoft ever since they entered a partnership. And speaking of such activities and misconduct, check out this new bit of spin on the iPlayer. As Groklaw puts it:

This blog post by the VP of Digital Content Services at VeriSign celebrates the success of the iPlayer launch, but does not mention that viewers prefer the streaming version over the Kontiki version 8 to 1.

Moreover, the BBC shows that it’s willing to do what it is too little, too late.

Ok, so I know that people think that Dirac disappeared into a black hole some while ago but we’re still hanging in there and getting it done. We’re just coming up to some really major milestones and things are looking really exciting. First, Dirac (or part of it) is going to be an international standard. Yay! We made a cut-down version doing intra coding only and this has only just been submitted to the SMPTE. If it goes through it will become VC-2 (Windows Media 9 became VC-1 when they standardised it). After a lot of hard work fighting SMPTE’s preferred Word format (yuk) it went in just before Christmas and is being voted on as a Committee Draft as I write this.

Think of it as self defense. The BBC is being ripped to pieces at the moment for misuse of public money.

Going back on topic, we have received a couple of E-mails from a reader who wishes to express his opinions about the latest move by Microsoft. He saw a headline in the local paper and it sais “Bill Gates touts ‘creative capitalism’“. While Dana Blakenhorn Paula Rooney sees this as a sign of embrace of Free software principles (as in “Microsoft is learning from us”), our reader has a different idea. Here is what he says:


The story itself is fairly content-free with all of the appropriate sound bits about “making capitalism work for the poor people” and “the world’s getting better, but not fast enough”, etc.

I did a quick search and it appears that this so-call “Red PC” (from communist Mikrosoft?) is just a rebranded Dell PC with Vista. It comes packaged with stuff from a bunch of other companies as well including some Microsoft rivals. There is some tie-in with the Gates Foundation, so I suppose this is yet another example of use of the Foundation to further Microsoft’s competitive interests. I believe the real target here is Free Software.

[...]

“Clearly, by donating PCs bundled with Windows, they aim to create a dependency of the recipients on Windows.”Now that I think of it, it ties in with with the above assertion if you take the Gates Foundation as an example of a well-established, liberal organisation. Clearly, by donating PCs bundled with Windows, they aim to create a dependency of the recipients on Windows. It’s a sort of variant on the quote “if there’s piracy, I’d rather that they pirate ours … then we can figure out how to collect later.” Longer term, Gates thinks that, if these currently “third world” countries can emerge, they can become loyal Microsoft customers by virtue of accepting all of these donated PCs running Windows and of having a populace that knows and expects Windows.

Whereas I see that free software has an aim closer to what Nietzsche advocated. Empower the users. They should not allow themselves to become subservient. It’s better to teach a man to fish than it is to give him free meals day after day.

I realise using Nietzsche may be controversial and that he’s a frequently misunderstood philosopher. He had the misfortune of having a sister who inherited his estate after he died, was interested in his philosophy but was also incapable of understanding it. Thus it later was used to justify things that he explicitly denounced, such as nationalism and anti-Semitism. It’s akin to how Microsoft would like to marginalise free software. Free software is a fundamentally good idea, but beware if we allow hostile entities to define it.

Meet J. Carl Cooper, a Patent Troll (Plus Other Patent News)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 12:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Having already introduced you to the father of all patent trolls, Ray Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], we wish to present one of his siblings or descendants. Those who are not familiar with the malicious nature of patent trolling ought to watch the following video.

Here is a good biography of J. Carl Cooper, the man who attacks GNU/Linux using software patents.

Now I have. In numerous court filings, Technology Licensing Corp. (not to be confused with the totally separate California patent licensing shop, Technology Licensing Company — more on them another day) admits it is a shell for J. Carl Cooper. TLC first started working with TechSearch back in the day, and now Acacia since the big Acacia-TechSearch transaction.

Who is J. Carl Cooper, anyway? For one, he is a registered patent agent. He also sometimes testifies as an expert in patent litigation. He used to be affiliated with the Los Gatos, California company Pixel Instruments Corp., but now has moved to the Lake Tahoe area. Similarly, Technology Licensing, once located at the home offices of Pixel in Los Gatos, has moved to Carson City, Nevada.

This article on Ray Niro (titled, by someone else, “Meet the Original Patent Troll”) states that Cooper came to Niro through an introduction made by Anthony O. Brown of TechSearch. The article claims that Niro has netted over $50 million for Cooper.

You can hopefully see the relationship now. Also remember that Acacia has links with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

In other patent news:

FTC bars company from higher royalties

The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that it has blocked a company from seeking higher royalties on a patented technology that is included in a widely used computer networking standard.

[...]

Ethernet enables computers and other devices to connect over networks and is used in “nearly every computer sold” in the United States, the FTC said in a release. N-Data’s efforts could have led to higher prices for consumers, the FTC said, though it didn’t specify the amount at stake.

The technology, known as Nway, was originally developed by National Semiconductor Corp. and was accepted as part of the ethernet standard in the 1990s by a technology standards group. Technology standards allow different high-tech equipment makers to develop compatible products.

U.S. panel to investigate Samsung-Sharp dispute

Samsung had accused Sharp of infringing four patents on LCDs, which are often used in computer monitors.

BoingBoing: a more acquiescent Parliament [via [digitalmajority.org]

I am proud to have been the proposer of an amendment in July 2005 which scrapped the proposal for an EU software patent. What worried me then, and still does, was the response from an EU Commission official at the time. I quote, “Colleagues, we are disappointed, WE will just have to bring this back before a more acquiescent Parliament”

IPhone Visual Voicemail Co-Defendant Settles Lawsuit with Klausner Technologies

SimulScribe, a co-defendant with Apple in the patent infringement lawsuit recently filed by Klausner Technologies, has settled the litigation and has licensed the Klausner Technologies visual voicemail patents. Other defendants in the case include AT&T, Comcast and Cablevision Systems.

Some of these have already been passed on to Groklaw (yesterday), in case you sometimes wonder about an overlap.

FUD, Litigation, Unsubstantiated Accusations Against GNU/Linux

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 12:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established: once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The quote above goes well with articles which involve free market think-tanks (i.e. like the Alexis de Toqueville Institute, which accused Linus Torvalds of code plagiarism). It certainly brings back memories of the dying SCO and also of Microsoft, which secretly attempted to fight Linux from legal fronts (the ‘pawns’ include Tanenbaum, who was too ethical to be ‘corrupted’). This has never truly stopped. There is almost nothing that would stop unethical companies from making self-promotional lies and accusations.

Sam Varghese has just made us aware of an article where this phenomenon gets further explored and exposed. He refers to another element of it as FOSS spinmeistery.

In August 2003, a little more than three months after the SCO Group had filed a lawsuit against IBM, seeking damages for alleged breach of contract, I had an email exchange with Blake Stowell, who was then the public relations manager of the former company.

[...]

But the spinmeister cannot do this – he or she has no skills in this direction and there are few companies which are looking to hire incompetent “advocates” or “consultants.” One thus finds that the spinmeister, in many instances, sets up his or her own consultancy and actively uses his or her position in the FOSS sphere to generate business. Self-promotion comes easy to this breed, dishonesty and a lack of integrity is close behind.

The article as a whole is worth a read. There is also this other new essay which addresses the FUD Microsoft has used against GNU/Linux.

My favorite, classic FUD comes from Steve Ballmer. “There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it.” Here, Ballmer went to the route of the American psyche. How many Americans, to this day, still cringe a little in fear at the voicing of “communism”? If there’s anyway to turn Americans off from buying a Linux PC, it’s to emblazon the image of a big, red, Soviet Flag on the face of Linux, to conjure up an image of Fidel Castro reciting his communist propaganda from a speech he’d written on his openoffice,org word processor, to strike fear into our hearts at the thought of a Wisconsin Senator named Joe McCarthy barging into our houses in the middle of the night to send us away to prison for life because we owned an Ubuntu PC. I can’t say if this FUD actually worked; it was so preposterous, and so few people give any credence to what Ballmer says anymore, that people might have just laughed at it. But it does show the depths to which proprietary software makers will go to keep the Linux and open source software threat out of their wallets.

As we found out recently, the company goes further than this. ‘Thanks’ to Novell, Microsoft now makes money from so-called ‘communism’. It also dumps 'donations' in order to ‘save’ the world from so-called ‘communism’.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts