“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”
Dana Gardner ponders, along with others, the future of Microsoft.
Dana Gardner hosts a BriefingsDirect roundtable discussion with experts in IT. The topic is Microsoft’s future. Gardner’s groups of experts is split over whether Microsoft is growing increasingly irrelevant or poised to ride new trends to further dominance.
The remainder this post is a summary of Microsoft’s latest failures, which easily escape the attention of the 'big' press. A reader wrote to us a few days ago to make the following point: “I remember in years back that whenever an article praising FOSS or even any other competitor or especially an article critical of Microsoft got on any magazine’s web site, by 8am ET there would be a burst of new articles, often MS-related to push it off the start page. The converse was as good as never true.”
ZDNET.MICROSOFT.COM, Blogosphere.NET, Wednesday (NNGadget) — As Microsoft continues to prepare for the 2009 2010 launch of Windows 7, it today issued a plea through its network of objective opinion-shapers: Don’t let the journalists near it.
Here is a call from April to boycott Windows Vista.
One of the selling points of Free software is that the user can always fix bugs (or hire someone to fix bugs, potentially along with other users who require the fix). It can be done regardless of the main vendor and copyrights holder, which may simply ignore polite pleas and urgent requests.
“How long does it take Microsoft to fix bugs,” you ask? Well, here is one news report about Microsoft resolving a security flaw almost 2 years late. It knew about this all along, but it chose to leave hundreds of millions of computers vulnerable nonetheless — until now.
MICROSOFT has finally got around to patching security flaws for Windows and Office, including a critical bug that had been publicly disclosed nearly two years ago.
Two years sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, Patch Tuesday saw the fix of a bug seven years late. Got that? 7 years! Like Vista 7. The holy number, 7. The Register wrote a report about it.
Microsoft’s light sprinkling of patches yesterday includes a fix that reportedly goes back seven years or more.
The old, insistent fairy tail is that those who purchase security software have nothing to worry about. Aside from the fact that such software is ineffective when it comes to battling threat (as noted before), it can cause a lot more harm than good.
Windows users frequently boast that security software need not cost money and many are using products from AVG. Well, look what just happened.
An update for the AVG virus scanner released yesterday contained an incorrect virus signature, which led it to think user32.dll contained the Trojan Horses PSW.Banker4.APSA or Generic9TBN. AVG then recommended deleting this file; this causes the affected systems to either stop booting or go into a continuous reboot cycle. So far, the problem only appears to affect Windows XP, but there is no guarantee that other versions of Windows don’t have the same issue.
They fixed the problem a short while later, promised to compensate paying customers with an extended subscription, but no more than a few days later they screwed up again.
AVG, the popular anti-virus package, has falsely identified Adobe Flash as potentially malicious. The snafu comes just days after AVG slapped a bogus Trojan warning on a core Windows component.
Would it not be easier to just never require such ‘bolted on’ security?
Another major international financial institution has had its computer system attacked by unknown cyber-hackers, FOX News has learned.
The discovery of the assault last week threw into crisis the Washington, D.C. based International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers emergency financial aid to countries faced with balance-of-payments problems, and provoked a shutdown of IMF computers that lasted for several days.
The flaws were found in Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Office Communicator and Windows Live Messenger, which Microsoft said could impact as many as 250 million people. The flaws also affect many other applications and systems that use the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP), including those from Avaya, Cisco and Nortel, according to the report.
We’ll return to Nortel in a moment.
XBox360: Trouble Ahead
The troubles for XBox360 are already severe and the losses are massive (estimated at $7 billion for this division alone). Now comes a Microsoft MVP (Steven Bink) warning that more troubles lie ahead.
A trusted source working as a customer service rep for Microsoft has revealed that there will be some bad drama when the Xbox 360′s Fall update hits on November 19th. He says the update could bring the dreaded “three red lights of death” issue roaring back to life.
The rep said that there has always been an influx of calls from owners of bricked Xbox 360s after every major Xbox 360 software update. Most of the complaints come from owners of launch consoles.
Judge hears $2-billion lawsuit against Wal-Mart, Microsoft over brain control
A judge has refused to dismiss a “bizarre” civil suit brought by a Nanaimo man, who is seeking $2 billion in damages from Microsoft, Telus, Wal-Mart, the RCMP and other defendants over alleged brain-wave control, satanic rituals and witchcraft.
Nortel’s rocking financial situation and announced layoffs this week of 1,300 people likely won’t have much short-term impact on the company’s four-year unified communications alliance with Microsoft, including before the deal’s expiration in 2010, according to experts.
Kerravala says Nortel’s current trouble shouldn’t impact its partnership with Microsoft in the next 16 months, but he thinks by 2015 the alliance will be gone.
The article above says nothing about Microsoft’s cancellation of products, services and some staffing reductions, not to mention shutdown of groups like Ensemble Studios. Microsoft’s future is no so promising, either. Nortel’s pain is shared by many. █
Here is a new turn of events. An almost-new name shows up because Jim Allchin, who was recently pulled into the investigation (he thought he had peacefully retired after the irreparable Vista disaster), points his finger at Will Poole, who left company some months ago and shortly afterwards joined NComputing [1, 2, 3], a company that typically distributed GNU/Linux (although Windows options are available too). Poole was also seen involved with this collusion in our first post about the subject.
A surprise decision by Microsoft jeopardized its relationship with PC giant Hewlett-Packard a year before Windows Vista’s release, according to internal e-mails unsealed late Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The messages, between top Microsoft and HP executives, shed new light on the behind-the-scenes turmoil that preceded the operating system’s troubled debut.
“You have demonstrated a complete lack of commitment to HP as a strategic partner and cost us a lot of money in the process,” wrote HP executive Richard Walker in a January 2006 message to then-Microsoft Windows chief Jim Allchin. “Your credibility is severely damaged in my organization.”
From: Jim Allchin
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:01 AM
To: Steve Ballmer
Cc: Kevin Johnson
Subject: FW: Microsoft Vista Compatible Announcement
I am beyond being upset here.
This was totally mismanaged by Intel and Microsoft.
What a mess.
Now we have an upset partner, Microsoft destroyed credibility, as well as my own credibility shot.
I was away and I get back to see this mess.
I was told all this started with a call between you and Paul (Otellini, Intel’s CEO). I will have to get to the bottom of this and understand how we could be so insensitive in handing the situation.
From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:32 PM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Kevin Johnson
Subject: RE: Microsoft Vista Compatible Announcement
I had nothing to do with this. Will (Poole, another Windows executive) handled everything. I received a message that paul was going to call. Will said he would handle it. Paul called. I had not even had a chance to report his issues when Will told me he had solved them. (It did not sound like he had) I am not even in the detail of the issues
Pressured by Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp. relaxed the rules for a crucial Windows Vista marketing program — a move that let the chip maker sell older graphics chip sets that were incapable of meeting the original requirements, internal e-mails show.
High-ranking Microsoft and Intel executives were involved in a plan to re-write the Windows Vista Capable program to save both companies – and OEMs – millions of dollars, according to unsealed court documents.
After Microsoft loosened the requirements, senior vice president of HP’s consumer PC unit, Richard Walker fired off an e-mail to Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft’s platforms and services division.
Microsoft wants you to know that its Live Search bribery program has seen “positive traction,” claiming that searchified cashback offers have resulted in a significant return on investment for its advertisers. The question is whether Microsoft will ever see ROI for itself.
Many Hotmail users are threatening to leave the e-mail service in the wake of its most recent redesign. Turns out, though, that even before the revamp, they were on their way out, at least in the U.S.
It’s not just about GNU/Linux though. Long-time customers complain about the new interface, which is casting dust on the myth of Microsoft as a Usability Supreme.
Microsoft isn’t having much luck with the redesign of Hotmail, which is currently playing havoc with thousands of user’s emails.
From watching many of the comments closely, it becomes clear that angry users recommend to peers that they ditch Hormail. Some recommend a similar service from the company starts with a “G”. Microsoft is going frantic and is allegedly deleting comments it does not like.
Microsoft insists Hotmail redesign hasn’t left users out in the cold
MS has also apparently deleted over 1,500 comments from its Windows Live blog since we told a perplexed company spokesman about the grumbles being posted on its site yesterday.
Microsoft deletes mass Xbox 360 crashing claims from Forza 2 forums
In what appears to be an effort to conceal the over 900 replies gamers provided on the official Forzamotorsport.net forums about Forza Motorsport 2 crashing on the Xbox 360, Microsoft has deleted the long thread, now stating that it’s “exclusive content for registered forum users” only. However, the thread was removed entirely, even to registered members.
But my final question arises from the initial choice of this Microsoft guy: “I chose to use Winbind on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5) for my Linux-to-Active Directory integration project. RHEL5 is the current version of the commercial Red Hat Linux distribution, and it is fairly popular in enterprise datacenters.”
Say, wasn’t Novell the big friend of Microsoft, committed to interoperability and the like? Maybe its YaST configuration tools handle better the Active Directory authentication. Why wasn’t SLED, SLES or openSUSE the primary choice of Gil Kirkpatrick?
It might be the case that licking Microsoft’s asses doesn’t pay, not even when your name is Novell.
A free software activist and former student at CUSAT, Anivar Aravind was manhandled today (16/11/2008) by the “National free software conference organizers” @ CUSAT with assistance from the states police forces, for his peaceful protest against the “Novell Sponsorship”. The free software conference is backed by CPI(M), the ruling left party in Kerala.
Q2. What is the problem with NOVELL?
Novell doesn’t respect the free software philosophy and works against the interest of the community. In short we are against Novell because of the following.
1. Novell helps Microsoft more than it helps GNU/Linux.
2. Novell still insults competing GNU/Linux distributions and Sun’s Openoffice.org. (Read more)
3. Novell & Microsoft’s software patent agreement betrays rest of free software community, including the very people who wrote the Novell’s own system, for Novell’s sole financial profit. (Read more)
4. Novell helps Microsoft’s fight against Ajax, web standards, SVG by supporting Silverlight & implementing its GNU/Linux version. (Read more)
5. Novell supports Microsofts proprietary standard OOXML.
6. Novell is pushing Microsofts patents to GNU/Linux and cheating Free Software Community.
7. Novell is the biggest promoter of MONO in Free Software Development.
Except for the links from yesterday, this was also covered in:
All hell broke lose when novell guys saw the ‘Bycott Novell’ handouts pasted right across their booth and said they won’t pay up any sponsers money they owe to the event organisers. They took their ire by kicking out the activists and tearing up the posters.
So, as suresh pointed out yesterday, “Novell had threatened that they won’t give the sponsorship money when they saw the anti-Novell posters in the stall.So the blame on Novell is not totally out of place.” █
Novell Abuses Sun and Red Hat to Shore up Failing Business Model
A FEW days ago we explained Novell’s role in harming OpenOffice.org, ODF, Red Hat, and GNU/Linux as a whole. Novell’s poor business model is hard to blame because its legacy technologies are talking a dive too rapidly. Inheriting Novell’s place is — weirdly enough — Novell’s partner, Microsoft. The choice of partners was particularly bizarre given Ray Noorda’s persistent warnings. But Novell is now run by former IBMers, whose commitment seems dual.
One reader of ITWire wrote: “Novell fighting RedHad in stead of Windows… Just as they fight OpenOffice.org in stead of MsOffice.” As pointed out the other day, they indeed just fight Sun and Red Hat (among other F/OSS entities), creating somewhat of the civil war Microsoft prescribed as its strategy [1, 2, 3].
This is also something we explained and showed last week. Microsoft can establish in-the-cloud lock-in by summoning OOXML, which no existing application works with properly (unlike the old binary formats). On ‘the cloud’, non-Windows platforms are likely not to receive all the same features, which renders them second-class citizens. Here are the uncertainties being pointed out.
There appears to be good news, according to a Microsoft support site: Office Web applications can run on operating systems besides Windows. But the questions of how and why were left unanswered, and not even Microsoft can explain.
A blog post to a Microsoft-managed site, turned up this morning by Computerworld reporter Gregg Keizer, seems to indicate that the Web applications in Office 14 will run in a Mac- or Linux-based Web browser. That information contradicts what BetaNews was told two weeks ago at PDC 2008 in Los Angeles, where attendees were given the first peek at Office 14′s Web applications suite.
There, we saw demos of the Office Web apps (a formal name has yet to be rendered for them) running in both Internet Explorer 8 and Mozilla Firefox 3, on Windows 7-based virtual machines. Those demonstrations involved Open XML-format documents and spreadsheets stored on Office Live Workspace, which is a service geared for enabling Office apps for Windows to store documents on Microsoft’s cloud-based servers. Also during the demos, the sharing process between Office users was facilitated by Windows Live services.
What wasn’t clear at the time, however, was whether Office Web apps would work on non-Windows platforms. In theory, Microsoft could still tie Firefox and Safari users to Windows through the use of extensions or browser plug-ins, if that is how the company wants to play its first move into the Web-based productivity software market.
This week, however, a blogger on Channel 10, a Microsoft-sponsored online community and news site, confirmed that Office Web would also work for Linux and Mac OS users running either Firefox or Safari browsers.
Until Microsoft’s reactionary product is ably catching on, all Microsoft can do is throw FUD at Google Apps. Unlike Google Apps, Microsoft will discriminate against other platforms because it’s in the business of selling operating systems for desktops and servers. █
“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”
–Bob Muglia, Microsoft
Many of our readers use Ubuntu GNU/Linux and some of them might soon upgrade their installation (unless this was already done). There’s help at hand for those who want to remove Mono quickly and painlessly from Ubuntu 8.10 (codename “Intrepid Ibex”).
Fortunately, the dependency management tools mean that we don’t have to remove each one of these files on it’s own. The single package mono-common is a common dependency for everything above apart from libmono0.
So the command to purge yourself of all the Microsoft infected software is as follows:
sudo apt-get remove –purge mono-common libmono0
This command will remove almost 60MB of crap from your hard drive and free you from eternal damnation and suffering. Well, OK. Perhaps it’s not quite that bad, but I personally have no wish to use software that is so tainted. Nor for that matter do I want to use code that is so tightly bound to a company that, amongst other things, manages to screw us all out of significant tax revenues.