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12.14.08

Microsoft Sued Again for XBox 360 Failures, Slammed for Deception and FUD

Posted in FUD, Hardware, Microsoft at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There are people who don’t like capitalism, and people who don’t like PCs. But there’s no-one who likes the PC who doesn’t like Microsoft.”

Bill Gates

ANOTHER WEEK, another Microsoft lawsuit.

Microsoft could find themselves in some hot water if a Madison County, Illinois resident has his way. Jason Johnson is suing Microsoft for what he claims is defective hardware in relation to his Xbox 360. Johnson claims that his console has ruined his favorite games and made them ‘unplayable’ due to optical disc scratching. He claims that his copies of Rock Band, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Rock Band 2 all began displaying the “Disc Read Error” after extensive use.

This begs the question:

Having your games destroyed by your console certainly isn’t fun, but is it worth $50,000?

There is more information about it here and this is not the first time that such a thing is happening [2]. The allegation is based on fact [1] and there’s much more to the problems [3-6], as we showed a few months ago.

Amid tough times and billions in aggregated losses, Microsoft chooses not to mention its main competitor, which is putting it to shame.

In fact, Nintendo’s red-hot Wii system outsold the Xbox by almost 3-to-1 in November.

 

Some wondered why Microsoft left out a comparison to the Nintendo Wii and had doubts about Microsoft’s thoughts that the Wii isn’t really a competitor for the Xbox 360.

Selective statistics. Classic!

Microsoft does what it does best by throwing some FUD at its easier-to-compete-with and easy-to-ridicule rival. It’s doing it again. Sony has already responded to Microsoft’s latest FUD.

Sony Shoots Back at Microsoft on Home

[...]

Now this may not come as too much of a surprise but Sony doesn’t entirely agree with this proposition, in fact it believes that Home is so advanced that, “PlayStation Home just couldn’t be done on any other game platform”. This, at least it according to Director of PlayStation Home, Jack Buser.

Microsoft unethically crashed launch parties of the Sony PlayStation 3 (among others) and it publicly mocked Nintendo’s Wii [7, labeling (libeling) it “a kids toy.” If the best revenge is being successful, then Nintendo got its revenge for these distasteful tactics from Microsoft.

____
[1] Microsoft admits scratch problem with Xbox 360

There hasn’t been much discussion on the fact that the problem exists by consumers, but untill now Microsoft has always somewhat denied the problem and never proposed a solution.

The Dutch television show Kassa, which deals with customer complaints, has been nagging Microsoft about this problem for several weeks, they did tests with Xbox360 setups and filmed (and proofed) that the Xbox360 is indeed responsible for scratching game discs, when not moved, placed on a stable table and under the best possible conditions.

[...]

The television show also reported that while this issue is now an issue in the Netherlands (it is also widely covered in regular news), it could become a global problem for Microsoft in the future. Therefore I would recommend anyone who is facing the same problem to contact their local Microsoft office and point them to this article.

[2] Gears of War disc errors – why the hell is no one covering this?

So, we’re all just ‘unlucky’ Mark? Thanks for that. I’m happy for you and your console, but what about us? Where are we supposed to turn to for help and support? Microsoft wasn’t very helpful (ref #102-379-2964) any of the times I’ve called them (I think it’s up to three now for the same issue – perhaps I’ll call again today and check on an update).

All I know is that if I see that dreaded error message again on my new 360 I am going to go absolutely ballistic!!!

[3] Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against MS For Bricked 360s

According to Gamespot, the suit seeks a minimum of $10 million in damages, depending on how MS decides to defend itself.

[4] Numerous Reports, November 30 Xbox 360 Update Is Bricking Consoles

Some consoles are being bricked by Thursday’s dashboard update. Issues range from freezing, red ring of death and VGA adapterm alfunction. Microsoft isn’t acknowledging the issue and billing $140 for repairs.

[5] Update brick your 360? Speak up

Since yesterday’s update, there are numerous reports about 360s being bricked. Some people suspect that this is being done by Microsoft intentionally to stop modders and hackers. Xbox Scene thinks it has more to do with certain combinations of hardware and firmware.

[6] Autoupdate killed my 360!

I was fine yesterday gaming with the VGA cable but after getting the autoupdate today, I get a black screen. Does Microsoft test these things? My connection to the TV didn’t change yet its screwed. Thanks for nothing Microsoft.

[7] Microsoft Taking Wii Lightly in Europe?

“…People will make a clear decision as to whether they want that sort of product — a kids toy — or they want high-definition gaming and entertainment and all that it brings.” [--Microsoft]

No Hope for Microsoft’s On-line Ambitions

Posted in Deception, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Search at 8:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”

Chris DiBona, Google

MICROSOFT has manufactured a fair deal of ‘studies’ recently [1, 2], mostly in order to deceive the public when it comes to its progress on the Web (compared to rivals). The truth about the fact is that, despite billions of dollars in investment, i.e. losses, Microsoft carries on losing market share.

Microsoft is now running a new PR scam. Actually, it’s more of a sophisticated smear campaign. Microsoft is trying to portray Google as a privacy violator/invader (yes, again) and it’s lying in the process.

Search Anonymization: More Hot Air from Microsoft

[...]

As it stands today, Microsoft keeps sensitive search data for 18 months, twice as long as Google currently does (although Google’s new 9-month rule is also a bit slippery in terms of the actual anonymity it provides). Why didn’t Microsoft just agree to meet Google at 9 months, or even to meet Yahoo’s 13-month limit, and then have everyone work together to get to the European’s stated goal of 6 months? Because it can’t. It’s still a distant third in the search engine wars, even in Europe, and it can’t afford to concede anything that may further erode its position.

This is not the first time that Microsoft shows its outrageously hypocritical attitude when it comes to privacy. It does not always get caught though. The article above was a single minor exception among a sea of articles that scold Google by quoting Microsoft, whose history shows low value of integrity and honesty. The company’s track record when it comes to privacy is abysmal.

Microsoft has many reasons to fear Google. Just days ago it was reported that Redfin had dumped Microsoft for Google in at least one area.

Online real estate site Redfin, once a high-profile showcase for Microsoft’s Virtual Earth technology, said this morning that it’s switching exclusively to Google Maps in an effort to improve map-rendering speed on its site.

In reality, Google’s value is not so shy of Microsoft’s. It’s almost two thirds of it now, but both companies are forced to cut down on planned expansions.

With the economy in the shape it’s in, even Microsoft and Google are thinking twice before dropping $100 million on a new datacenter. But the two tech giants are easing off the funding pedal for different reasons.

Remember those search briberies [1, 2]? It’s still a total disaster.

Live Cashback Users Feel Cheated By Microsoft

[...]

This has completely outraged hundreds of those who tried using the program and were unsuccessful due to the outage. There are about 90 comments on Microsoft post, calling Microsoft everything from being a fraudster to a crock, to liars.

One of Microsoft’s loyal fans, who casually writes at IDG, actually believes that Microsoft’s latest appointment of an online chief (the predecessors just keep quitting) is yet another mistake and a case of “heading the wrong way.” He concludes with:

It may be that overseeing Office’s online expansion isn’t one of Lu’s responsibilities, and that he’s been told to focus on search. If that’s the case, though, it means that Microsoft’s online strategy is divided among several different people, which doesn’t bode well, either.

Does anyone believe that Ballmer’s dream of crushing Google will ever come to fruition?

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

Datacenter
Free software owns the datacentre

Microsoft’s Sentimental Blackmail is Back in the Mail

Posted in Deception, Dell, Vista, Windows at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

(RED) stain in Microsoft’s stagnant reputation

WE already wrote about this extensively about a year ago [1, 2]. Rather than repeat the explanation we provided at the time, we shall explore and discuss this in the form of an update because the (RED) scam is retuning for the holidays. Take-home message: those who are interested in charity should give to charity, not to abusive and disrespectful monopolies.

Microsoft is using poor African children in an effort to promote Windows Vista and Dell PCs (Dell is paid by Microsoft to "recommend" Windows Vista). How insensitive business people have become. To limit the scope of this post, we won’t even go into the depths of how Bill Gates' investments in African oil are killing Nigerian children. The many media companies Microsoft has a stake in don’t report about this side of the story. They can’t.

“Microsoft is using poor African children in an effort to promote Windows Vista…”This was not the first time that Microsoft (even Bill Gates at a personal capacity) used sentimental blackmail to further corporate agenda. For those not aware of this latest push, Microsoft’s own booster at CNET summarises it as: “Buy Vista, fight AIDS in Africa.”

“Awww…. think about the children.”

“Why don’t you buy Windows Vista?”

“This will make the world a better place.”

Anyway, that’s pretty much the message which Microsoft is trying to send. This is covered also in IDG, which is connected to Microsoft. It’s another very silly headline: “New Microsoft Vista Version Helps Fight AIDS”

Windows Vista Ultimate (Product) Red will be available starting Dec. 15, and an undisclosed portion of the profits will be donated to the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.

Emphasis, if needed, would fit pretty well where it says “undisclosed portion”. Yes, charity has to remain a secret because it’s done behind closed doors. Does that not sounds familiar? It’s also worth remembering that IDG is responsible for Microsoft revisionism that denies serious crimes in Africa.

We could only find two more reports about this and they were not as ‘Microsoft-obedient’ as the above. Here is what we found:

  1. Microsoft Vista Ultimate gets (PRODUCT)RED treatment
  2. Microsoft Vista Ultimate PRODUCT (RED) edition coming Dec 15th

If only it wasn’t so kitschy (red like blood) and also insulting. It’s spreading the demeaning 'drug' and DRM trap using other people’s misery.

Dell’s plant-a-tree-for-each-PC-sold campaign was lame enough; people are better off sticking to lightweight operating systems like GNU/Linux and not buying unneeded PCs (to ‘plant a tree’) while burying another one, which is filled with toxins (these typically get exported to and dumped in Africa where they cause enormous damage to the population). So, all in all, Dell deserves part of the blame too. This programme promotes sending more garbage to Africa. It’s marketed differently though.

Black girl
Vista does not help hungry kids, it helps Microsoft shareholders

Microsoft’s B.A.D. in China, Philippines

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jail cell
You can put cushions in a prison, but detained inhabitant
will still have a cushioned jail cell, not a home

B.A.D. stands for “Bribing, Addicting, and Dumping.” We previously gave examples of these in [1, 2, 3], going up to a month back. There are a couple new examples of this strategy, starting with the Philippines.

The company also partnered with Internet café chain Netopia, a move that Microsoft viewed as a strategic fit given the internet café’s prevalence in the country. The internet café chain has 157 company-owned and franchised branches in the country. As part of this partnership, Netopia will offer discounts and freebies to clients who sign in and use Windows Live.

Microsoft expects to tap a large number of its market from this tieup, considering that over 75 percent of internet users in the country use internet cafés.

This immediately rings a bell because of Microsoft’s great Kenyan Internet café scam. They try to get them locked in, just like in UNISA. It’s Web-imposed lock-in.

The second new example comes from China.

Software giant Microsoft yesterday announced plans to reduce the retail price of its Windows and Office products by as much as nearly 60 percent in China, hoping to win customers from pirate software dealers.

Putting propaganda terms aside (“pirate”), the intentions are very clear. They just don’t know how to make money in China. If they charge for the software, GNU/Linux wins; if they don’t, they have no revenue, just userbase that they always insult using words like “piracy”.

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft Mole Watch: Yahoo, Amazon, Costco

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Search, Servers, Windows at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SEVERAL months ago we showed the dangerous impact of former Microsoft employees occupying positions of power in other companies. Mozilla is the most recent example, but there’s more.

Yahoo

We last wrote about Yahoo when it became more evident that it had been captured from the inside. There is a followup here where it’s explained how Yahoo got poison-pilled by proxies like Carl Icahn and 2 of his cronies. They ‘liberated’ the Board of Directors and now comes this report from Bloomberg.

Carl Icahn, who holds a 5.5 percent Yahoo stake, told CNBC last week that he would oppose a potential bid for Yahoo by former AOL CEO Jonathan Miller. Analysts had pointed to Miller as a potential successor to Yang, who announced plans to resign last month. Yahoo must sell its Web search unit to Microsoft after rejecting an offer from the software maker earlier this year, Icahn said.

How assertive. The word “must” is being used. Microsoft only wants the ‘fun’ part (search market) of Yahoo… just like in that "one-night stand" analogy from Microsoft’s top evangelism persona. Here is another post which tries to encourage the snatching of Yahoo employees by Microsoft.

Amazon

Amazon is another company where key positions are being filled by former Microsoft employees. Here is one recent example and here is a new one.

Key data center architect leaves Microsoft, headed for Amazon

[...]

The Data Center Knowledge blog has more details Hamilton’s impact on Microsoft’s data center strategy, particularly in the area of containerization.

Mary Jo Foley covered this too. Putting it bluntly, this leaves more Microsoft poison inside Amazon. Not so long ago, Amazon began offering Windows as an option for ‘clouds’ and with people like Brian Valentine (formerly of Microsoft) up at the top, there may be a relationship. There are lessons to be learned here from VMware and others [1, 2, 3, 4].

Costco

Last but not least, Costco has just been struck by Microsoft influence deep inside its board of directors.

Warehouse-club operator Costco Wholesale Corp. said Tuesday it named Jeff Raikes, a former Microsoft executive, to its board of directors.

Might Mr. Raikes introduce them to his former employer?

Links 14/12/2008: Myst Online is Open Source, Glimpse at Lancelot

Posted in News Roundup at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Leftovers

  • Electronic votes mysteriously vanish in Ohio election
  • Required Reading: News

    As some of you remember, just over a year ago I reported that I was shifting my academic (and activist) work from free culture related issues to (what I called) “corruption.”

  • Media Companies Have Only Themselves to Blame

    The recession is hitting everyone. But print media companies — newspapers, books and magazines — are getting hit harder and sooner than most.

    It’s their own damned fault. Like the US automakers and the music industry, print media companies squandered most of their time and money during boom times clinging to the past rather than preparing for the future. And now they’re left totally unprepared for the bust.

    How bad is it? It’s bad.

    The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy Monday. The company publishes the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other daily newspapers. The New York Times Co. intends to pawn its shiny new Manhattan building to borrow a quarter of a billion dollars just to stop the bleeding. Other major dailies are either for sale, or rumored to be so, including the Rocky Mountain News, the Miami Herald and others. The Cox newspaper group is closing its Washington bureau. Most newspapers have announced layoffs, or will do so soon.

  • Editor’s Note: Does the Internet Make People Stupid?

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Dolby Linux wizard John Gilbert gives us a look inside the movie industry 07 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Microsoft is Insulting Our Intelligence, But Dell Collaborates with Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vista, Windows at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dell monitor logo

DELL is still lying to its customers. We covered this before, but nothing has changed since then. Those who are interested in a GNU/Linux computer will be greeted with a message from Dell that urges against it.

The bottom half was dedicated to the Ubuntu version. Shown in a smaller, less eye catching ad than usual. What really caught my eye was some larger text (14 pt.) in the upper right-hand corner of the Ubuntu section. It said:

“Dell recommends Windows Vista Home Premium.”

Real smooth, Dell. Once again, Dell shows it’s weak side when advertising another product, with another form of software installed other than Microsoft Windows. It’s strange really. Both models were described as “new” in the advertisement, but the Ubuntu version gets treated like a second-class citizen. I am glad that Dell is selling Ubuntu machines, but sometimes the whole “we recommend this…” line gets a little old, especially when plastered not in the appropriate section, but in the section advertising an Ubuntu product.

Dell does not recommend Windows Vista Home Premium. In fact, Dell complained about Windows Vista in general for being an utter failure. Rob Enderle, a Microsoft mouthpiece, talked about Dell in a series of E-mails, only to be impeded by an NDA.

As we showed before, using solid proof, “Dell recommends Windows Vista Home Premium” is a Microsoft advertisement. Dell knows this is a lie, yet it plasters this lie right next to GNU/Linux products. Maybe it gets paid even more by Microsoft for doing this. The truth is always a secret, so it leaves room for illegal maneuvering.

“The truth is always a secret, so it leaves room for illegal maneuvering.”In other news, Microsoft is not willing to permit rational acceptance of GNU/Linux in Australian education. It’s fighting against it using old techniques that we call B.A.D. [1, 2] (or predatory pricing), with insufficient evidence of kickbacks [1, 2].

Microsoft is allegedly dumping $0 Windows to get children addicted to Windows and educators seem unable to understand this. As Ken Starks said to ‘Microsoft guards’ in education, “You’ve been trained well.” They are being trained and influenced by Microsoft, as we showed on numerous occasions over the past month [1, 2]. It’s a classic technique, much like the tobacco industry’s, which is trying to capture customers while they are young. At the early stages, cost is almost irrelevant.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 13th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

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