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08.10.08

How Microsoft and Intel Conspired Against the GNU/Linux/AMD Laptops

Posted in Fraud, FSF, FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC, Windows at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s a delight to see a widely-respected publication such as The Times (Online) finally telling people the truth about OLPC. The trade journals and Microsoft-obedient press like the Wall Street Journal have been exploited extensively to spread the lies and rewrite history on behalf of Intel and Microsoft. There are clear examples of this where even Intel employees were given room for ‘placements’ that defend themselves. That misuse of literature can hardly be tolerated. It puts society at risk because it prevents future generation from learning about history. It imperils legal justice, too.

Anyway, read the following article and sober up with truths. Having watched the project closely for over two years, I can attest to having the same understanding of what happened. Now it’s time poetic justice.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2005, Nicholas Negroponte, supreme prophet of digital connectivity, revealed a strange tent-like object. It was designed to change the world and to cost $100. It was a solar-powered laptop. Millions would be distributed to children in the developing world, bringing them connection, education, enlightenment and freedom of information. The great, the good, the rich and the technocrats nodded in solemn approval.

And then some of them tried to kill it.

Microsoft, makers of most of the computer software in the world, tried to kill it with words, and Intel, maker of most computer chips, tried to kill it with dirty tricks. Of course, they don’t admit to being attempted murderers. And when I introduce you to Intel’s lovely spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, you’ll realise how far their denials go. But the truth is the two mightiest high-tech companies in the world looked on Negroponte’s philanthropic scheme and decided it had to die.

[...]

My Intel spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, seems to exist to evade the issue. I played e-mail ping-pong with her over several days. She was trying to avoid giving me any dates that would show the Classmate came after the XO. This included sending me a bizarre and barely literate “ethnographic” study of computing in the developed world. In the end, all she would say about the timeline of the Classmate was: “It’s hard to pinpoint a start date with the nature of ethnographic research in which ethnographers collect data over a long period of time.” Sorry?

We advise that you read this article. The author had the guts to make the accusations and the editors did not 'intercept' it.

We wrote about this several times before. It’s about OLPC’s need to join hands with the likes of Larry Lessig and fight corruption, not liaise with those who shower in it.

“They try to counter GNU/Linux on low-cost laptops by manufacturing ‘lessons’ on ‘failures’.”To give just one example: Intel sold computers at a loss (dumping) just in order to ensure OLPC could not get a foothold in Nigeria. Going by trade law, this may be illegal and it’s only the tip of the iceberg as far as Intel's crimes go (there are more obvious cases where the company is to be convicted of bribery, too). Intel is now after Nvidia’s lunch because it seeks growth, so sit sight and watch. Nvidia is already complaining, just like AMD. Intel and Microsoft were recently caught engaging in collusion that harms consumers.

There are some other current incidents to remember. Consider what happens with ASUS at the moment. Again, it’s about Intel and Microsoft. They try to counter GNU/Linux on low-cost laptops by manufacturing ‘lessons’ on ‘failures’. The most recent Fiscal indicates that low-cost laptops are among Microsoft’s main threats, so they push the ‘perception’ envelope (FUD). They want their healthy margins back.

“So, you want manufacture and market a Ubuntu-based UMPC? Well, look what happened to OLPC (now running Windows),” Microsoft will insist. It’s especially important to do this where kids are involved. Given enough stories of ‘failures’ that Microsoft can generate, people’s positive perceptions of Free software turn to fear. See the quote below. How many projects of migration to GNU/Linux has Microsoft countered by handing out gratis (or highly-discounted) software and/or equipment, sometimes even funds?

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

You’ve got to admire what Richard Stallman has just said in this new interview about corruption and its impact on society.

From my point of view, business issues are minor in comparison with issues of human rights and general well-being. And I reject completely the assumption that the way to improve people’s well-being is always through a market. A market is a tool, and for some things it’s very good. It can work well in some areas of life, as long as somebody is making sure it doesn’t go haywire. One of the things we see when businesses have too much power is that they corrupt those watchdogs, and we see this in the U.S. all the time. The U.S. government has ceased to effectively monitor the market to make sure it works well. Instead, it is a tool in the hands of big business. So instead of capitalism of a useful kind, we now have extreme capitalism, which is thoroughly corrupt. And the results of that are increasingly bad, here and everywhere else.

Microsoft is not there to compete. It’s there to destroy competition. It’s an ethical illness.

Diversionary tactics, holding action, and retreats may each seem contrary to the achievement of the overall objective when considered solely in their own terms, but taken in light of the overall conflict, may contribute to overall success. In the Chinese Civil War that followed World War II, Mao Tse Tung’s Army ran away from every battle, until they won the war. They knew that overall victory, not local victory, was the objective.

Thus it is imperative to measure each action in accordance with its contribution to overall, not just local, victory.

Victory

“A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.” This is the mission statement of Microsoft itself; it is the definition of the conditions under which Microsoft itself can declare overall victory.

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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5 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    August 10, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Gravatar

    I put this link in your Asus article but think it better belongs here.

    Microsoft has colluded with OEMs to limit hardware specs for GNU/Linux laptops. These include forcing XP installs, small screen, low memory and slow processor requirements. While it makes some sense for laptop makers to protect the lucrative market for ultra mobiles like the Mac Air or Thinkpad X series, selling XP on devices that won’t run it well is crazy. In a really free market, someone would want to undercut their competitors anyway. The deal only makes sense if M$ has threatened them with Windows licensing punishment and they see some value in that still. This is why you won’t find $200 laptops around, for now, M$ has successfully protected it’s market.

    This is the kind of business that got M$ busted for anti-trust back when they destroyed Netscape. We can only hope that EU and US regulators are paying attention.

  2. John Wilson said,

    August 12, 2008 at 12:20 am

    Gravatar

    The web site that published this and the newspaper it comes from is the Sunday Times of London. sister paper of The Times of London.

    I think you need to make that clear in your first paragraph as “The Times’, at least in the United States would probably be interpreted as “The New York Times”.

    Beyond that. The Sunday Times has never been one to be in the pocket of any entity, political party or, even Microsoft. They’ve also had something of a crusading background though usually conservative causes (conservative in the British social sense not Conservative, necessarily, in the British political sense).

    You also express surprise that the paper’s editors didn’t spike the story. There’s a very good reason for that. Rupert Murdock, owner of News Corp which owns the Sunday Times and Times of London had given $2 million to OLPC.

    Murdock doesn’t like being crossed. That’s one very good reason it wasn’t spiked.

    There’s another very good reason it wasn’t spiked. It’s just, only just possible to “buy” a British newspaper as Microsoft has been accused of doing in the United States. The problem is that they don’t stay bought.
    The reason is the fact that British newspapers are fiercely competitive and this story could have been put together by any of them. So if The Sunday Times hadn’t run with it you bet your bottom dollar that someone would have.

    British tabloids would have had a field day with it.

    All that said it is a great story and quite accurate.

    As I said, Rupert Murdock doesn’t like being crossed and he isn’t afraid to fire a broadside or two at whoever did it.

    ttfn

    John

  3. Chris Lees said,

    August 12, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Gravatar

    Since when is it illegal to sell products below cost to take sales away from competitors? It’s certainly not illegal anywhere in the developed world. Show me an OFF-SITE reference for this piece of information you have about it being illegal in Nigeria.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 12, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Gravatar

    One example

  5. Jose_X said,

    October 16, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Gravatar

    [Chris Lees] >> Since when is it illegal to sell products below cost to take sales away from competitors? It’s certainly not illegal anywhere in the developed world.

    Where did you get that? Could you cite something?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing
    >> Predatory pricing (also known as destroyer pricing) is the practice of a firm selling a product at very low price with the intent of driving competitors out of the market, or create a barrier to entry into the market for potential new competitors…
    >> In many countries predatory pricing is considered anti-competitive and is illegal under antitrust laws.

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