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01.10.09

Microsoft Lies to Create Vista 7 Hype Whilst Vista Dies

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 7:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Publicity stunts galore

TIRELESSLY AND DECISIVELY we have been covering a great deal of manipulation from Microsoft, which is trying to shape the perceptions around Vista 7. Never underestimate Microsoft’s capabilities as a well-lubricated PR machine; after all, much of its ‘success’ is often attributed to marketing, lawyers and illegal activities for which they earned convictions.

Vista 7 (technically Windows 6.1) is making some headlines at the moment, so it’s time to put things into perspective. Other people have already done that, so we reference rather than repeat.

PR and the supposed ‘leak’

It should be clear to all of us that these versions floating around various torrent sites – and especially the beta 1 – are carefully planned by public relations. And it’s brilliant. Why?

* Because they reach their target audience, people with tech skills who are still enthusiastic about Windows and are taking time to download, install and test the operating system. Most of them have blogs and will surely post something about it and creating hype for the next release.
* Zero distribution costs via peer-to-peer networks; no responsibility for download speed or failures.
* Press coverage on all the major blogs with little adverse consequences; even if the review is negative – the release is not official.
* A large, no-consequences, zero logistics, no expense beta test; Judging by ThePirateBay seeder/leecher ratio and the time of upload, more than 30 000 tech savvy people are running Windows 7 beta 1 right now and probably submitting bugs, crash reports and hardware information.
* Frameworks inside Windows 7 allow remote deactivation or ‘crippling’ via de WGA scheme. Your copy of Windows 7 works because Microsoft lets you. And they know a new machine is online the minute Windows connects to the internet.

Glyn Moody hits the nail on the head when he claims that Microsoft is merely inflating an image through illusions, in this case artificial scarcity.

So either they’re saying that they didn’t expect Windows 7 beta to be popular and their infrastructure doesn’t scale, or they’ve let this happen on purpose to generate a little buzz. In other words, in order to make Windows 7 desirable, first you make it unobtainable….

This bogus ‘crisis’ and the phony hype were created in accordance with screenshots of Microsoft’s guerrilla marketing blog. They appeared in The Register and in IDG, which repeatedly published to create a buzz about Vista 7 (more than once).

Vista 7 is just another Vista. It’s a little more advanced, but being a slightly advanced bad operating system does not make it a good one. The early adopters of pre-beta and beta builds just happen to be its anticipating fans, so the coverage will naturally be uneven and biased.

With the digit “7″ in many headlines, it has become abundantly apparent that Microsoft is burying Vista’s promotion, regardless of those $300 million (some sources said $500 million) in renewed advertising budget. The FSF has meanwhile taken the opportunity to declare the death of Vista in this press release, with a similar message at the front page of the BadVista campaign, which was a great success.

On December 15, 2006, the FSF launched its BadVista.org campaign to advocate for the freedom of computer users, opposing adoption of Microsoft Windows Vista and promoting free — as in freedom — software alternatives. Two years later, the campaign has nearly 7,000 registered supporters, the name Vista is synonymous in the public eye with failure, and we are declaring victory.

Vista is likely to be remembered as the point where Windows went horribly wrong and Vista 7 is a frantic response to negativity. The response to 7 is eerily similar to that which Vista received in early 2006 when mostly enthusiastic testers took it for a test drive. Little did they know that the many problems they had experienced would not go away when the beta tag gets removed. Moreover, the average user does not have equally-capable equipment on which to test — or actually use in a mission-critical setting — the operating system.

Even the Microsoft sympathisers at InformationWeek have just acknowledged that “Windows sales and market share, though robust, are in decline. The company’s efforts to expand into new markets are floundering, and key executives are jumping ship.”

Ogg Theora

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34 Comments

  1. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    January 10, 2009 at 7:44 pm

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    Microshit garbageware is disgusting.

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/windows_7.png

  2. aeshna23 said,

    January 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm

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    The lifehacker website is extremely interesting to read on this topic. There were people posting to lifehacker who were ridiculously positive about a Windows 7, before the beta was even released. I’m posting from the Windows 7 beta right now and I don’t see a thing different from Vista. I can only conclude that the pro-Windows 7 fans are part of a Microsoft PR campaign.

    Also, Roy neglected to mention how much Microsoft has even bungled its guerrilla marketing:

    http://lifehacker.com/5127866/in-2009-microsoft-still-underestimates-the-web

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 10, 2009 at 9:09 pm

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    aeshna23,

    Can you please elaborate?

    I think I covered the guerrilla marketing extensively (if not here then elsewhere).

  4. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm

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    aeshna: the thing I heard about Windows 7 is that the following changes were supposed to have been made:

    1. the accessories should all use the new MS Office ribbon
    2. hovering your mouse over a ‘window item’ in the window list (the bar that contains the Start menu, in case my wording is confusing or I’m using the wrong terms or something) should provide a preview thumbnail, one for each tab (Vista only showed the main window thumbnail).

    These are the 2 things that other people have told me were supposed to be in there. Also, supposedly the new Calculator program has a lot more features (financial, programmer, statistics, etc modes).

    More or less, it’s supposed to look and feel just like Vista other than those minor tweaks I mentioned above.

    A coworker of mine told me friday that he was going to install the Windows 7 beta over the weekend to check it out, so I guess I’ll poke him come monday.

    Overall, it sounds like what Roy has been saying, a “.1″ release, which is fair enough, I suppose, but not something I’d jump at the chance to spend the $200 or whatever to upgrade if I was already running Vista. And also not likely to be enough to convince me to run Windows 7 if I was running XP because of not liking Vista.

    But then, I’m not so much a Windows guy anyway.

  5. Shane Coyle said,

    January 10, 2009 at 11:06 pm

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    …a “.1″ release, which is fair enough, I suppose, but not something I’d jump at the chance to spend the $200 or whatever to upgrade…

    That’s likely to be a common sentiment, which means that yet again, Microsoft tries to copy Apple and comes up short. ;^ )

  6. AlexH said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:35 am

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    Wasn’t Windows XP “technically” Windows 5.1? Even if not, generally MS has produced something much better after a particularly stinky release – writing off Windows 7 at this point seems a little bit premature.

    We should remember that during the Vista release process MS basically threw away three year’s work. They haven’t made that mistake this time.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:55 am

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    They reused some of this work (latched parts of Longhorn onto Vista).

  8. AlexH said,

    January 11, 2009 at 5:30 am

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    Sure, but significant amounts of it got tossed, including plenty of code which never actually made it into the Longhorn build, and other parts which were ripped out and redeveloped into standalone products (so, not really thrown away, but not contributing to the final Vista product). It was a huge screw-up.

    XP SP2 was developed in the middle as well, and I think people forget that the original XP was pretty deficient in many ways, and it was that OS that they based Longhorn on – it wasn’t until much later that they reset around Windows 2003. With a bit more work SP2 could have been a valid point release just on its own, and put Vista somewhat in the shade too.

    None of these mistakes have been made (so far) this time around, so I think it’s a bit early to think that Windows 7 isn’t going to be successful or popular.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 5:35 am

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    That’s what they said about Vista.

    “Vista will be the last nail on Linux’ coffin,” remember?

    Vista almost killed Microsoft, not GNU/Linux

  10. AlexH said,

    January 11, 2009 at 5:47 am

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    I’m not going on what they’re saying, I’m looking at what they’re actually doing.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 8:18 am

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    What are they doing? Did you try for yourself? Did you see the code?

  12. AlexH said,

    January 11, 2009 at 8:54 am

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    Of course I haven’t seen the code.

    I’m talking about the development progress. Vista was a bad release for a number of very public reasons. Assuming that Windows 7 will be as bad, or worse, is an extremely naive point of view.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 9:00 am

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    Its performance is equally bad, as shown by benchmarks. Vista 7 is the real “Mojave”.

  14. AlexH said,

    January 11, 2009 at 9:07 am

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    Actually, the benchmarks are divided, and in any event comparing an OS in development to one released is a bad idea. Vista in development was substantially worse than it is now.

    Again, you write off Microsoft at your peril. I have no doubt that you will never be able to find a single positive thing to say about the OS because of your narrow mindset, but closing your mind to a reality doesn’t change the reality.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 9:09 am

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    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and Thom Holwerda are Microsoft fans. Their ‘benchmarks’ have no validity in my eyes.

  16. David Gerard said,

    January 11, 2009 at 9:14 am

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    I’ve downloaded the beta to try in a VM. After all, there’s important debugging work to be done making sure Cygwin and Mingw are good for Wine, as is Interix!

  17. AlexH said,

    January 11, 2009 at 9:15 am

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    But this is exactly the point: you’re basing your opinion on who’s saying something, not what they’re saying. Did they perform the benchmark incorrectly? Is their methodology faulty? Who knows – they’re “Microsoft fans” therefore you write them off.

    And you label practically anyone who says anything positive about Windows as a “Microsoft fan”, which means that in practice you write off the opinion of anyone who doesn’t agree with your mindset.

    That’s fair enough, that’s up to you. But what you’re missing is that your view is completely divorced from reality. Vista was objectively a bad release. Will Windows 7 be? You’ve made up your mind already, and write off anything which doesn’t fit with that view.

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 9:42 am

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    It’s possible to prove a lot of things (watch the global warming ‘debate’ and Gartner/IDC lies). I know these people’s hypothesis, and that’s all that matters. I haven’t looked at the methods.

  19. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 11, 2009 at 10:24 am

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    Roy: your logic in that last comment is so fundamentally flawed, I don’t even know where to begin.

    Hypothesis don’t matter, the facts and the proof do. As a scientist, I would have thought you would have known this.

    Obviously if you cherry-pick the facts, you can “prove” any hypothesis (which is basically what you do). However, in order to disprove someone’s hypothesis, you need to look at what facts they do bring to the table and fit them in with other facts that you can find that they left out.

    Just because someone has different beliefs than you doesn’t mean you should ignore their facts, because maybe it is you who is wrong. If you ignore their facts, then your argument is no stronger than theirs.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 10:27 am

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    Hypotheses pose certain questions that methods are established to address in hopes of fulfilling the promise.

    You’re not contradicting what I wrote.

  21. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

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    You looked at their hypothesis, not their supporting evidence. You threw away their supporting evidence because you didn’t like their hypothesis.

    While yes, their proof may be flawed, they presumably have some sort of supporting evidence. You can’t write it off without at least examining it.

  22. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 11, 2009 at 10:30 am

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    This is what you refer to as “shooting the messenger” when it is done to you, Roy.

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

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    You should take a look at IDG/Gartner ‘studies’ sometimes. I will show in the future how they bow to Microsoft money and change studies.

  24. Jose_X said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm

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    Dan and Alex are speaking accurately IMO wrt “evidence” and “hypothesis” in general. They are *incorrect* wrt to the major generalizations about Roy’s work and behavior, again IMO, but Roy should take note or at least explain the comment made that sure does sound like he is ignoring evidence and sticking to hypothesis.

    Also, at times Roy does fail. That is not news nor have I seen it denied by anyone. Comments usually rise quickly when someone is upset about something that was said. Clarifications and some debate usually follow based on who happens to have been passing through.

    I think many key arguments are correct when you look across BN’s posts (based on the limited amount I have looked at considering Roy posts like a machine gun round the clock). Well.. the comments section is here to find the probs.. so let’s get to it.

    I don’t know what Roy meant, but I at least partly believe that “statistics can be used to prove anything.” In other words, many of the “studies” we hear about either have flaws or have enough missing details that normal folks with a little experience can figure out that much dirtiness *may* have been involved to lead to the conclusions supportive of the hypothesis the researchers may have wanted to prove all along. Does study X or Y really suggest very much? When studies can’t be confirmed, we’d have to trust on the magical wisdom/honesty of the researcher. [I'm not suggesting anything about the current links or linked authors.]

    I’ll say one thing about benchmarks, they can be gamed by anyone with access to the source code through code paths that will never be used for any real workload (eg, because of security issues and because of other assumptions made that won’t fit). The credibility problem Microsoft and any closed source company WILL ALWAYS HAVE is the closed source (whole or bits), the lack of transparency.

    Of course, if Windows 7 is Vista dressed with things like speed fixex, then one can understand it would perhaps in fact perform better. It may do DRM better, for example. Maybe these alpha OS versions leave DRM off altogether in a number of crucial cases (gaming the benchmark). Many other things can be left off (including security tests and background activity).

    Anyway, with closed source, there can be any amount of cheating. Surely, I don’t expect Adrian K-H or anyone else to have studied all the source code in order to conclude that the benchmark(s) wasn’t (weren’t) gamed.

    The flaws and privacy/security violations of Microsoft products, happening faster, don’t really help my peace of mind.

    Another note on Microsoft credibility: Unfortunately, perception wins out in many purchasing decisions. It seems a large chunk of MSFT’s value comes from perceived brand value: http://www.interbrand.com/best_global_brands.aspx?langid=1000 . I can’t believe their brand does this well, even considering that you aren’t really going to find ranked highly quality but lesser known brands. Microsoft must be doing a great job passing off the blame on product defects. If people don’t know where MSware starts and stops, it’s easy to think the worse portions of it may not be Microsoft after all but hardware issues or “those evil spyware people”.

  25. Jose_X said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm

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    The last post was longish, and I want to highlight a few portions:

    >> The flaws and privacy/security violations of Microsoft products, happening faster, don’t really help my peace of mind.

    >> Anyway, with closed source, there can be any amount of cheating. Surely, I don’t expect Adrian K-H or anyone else to have studied all the source code in order to conclude that the benchmark(s) wasn’t (weren’t) gamed.

    >> Another note on Microsoft credibility: Unfortunately, perception wins out in many purchasing decisions. It seems a large chunk of MSFT’s value comes from perceived brand value: http://www.interbrand.com/best_global_brands.aspx?langid=1000 . I can’t believe their brand does this well, even considering that you aren’t really going to find ranked highly quality but lesser known brands. Microsoft must be doing a great job passing off the blame on product defects. If people don’t know where MSware starts and stops, it’s easy to think the worse portions of it may not be Microsoft after all but hardware issues or “those evil spyware people”.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm

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    With regards to methods, intent can affect the ones used.

    Don’t forget independent-but-Microsoft-commissioned ‘studies’ which led to an “outrage”. They set up Linux servers — badly — in order to demonstrate that it was worse than NT. I think they also got sued when they tried something similar vs IBM.

  27. Jose_X said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Gravatar

    >> It’s possible to prove a lot of things (watch the global warming ‘debate’ and Gartner/IDC lies). I know these people’s hypothesis, and that’s all that matters. I haven’t looked at the methods.

    I would fix this reply up as follows:

    It’s possible to “prove” a lot of things ….

    I know these people’s hypothesis. I don’t agree with it, and I doubt they have proved otherwise. I don’t want to waste the time to look into the methods, especially when I have found (in cases where I have checked) that so much key information is left off the “studies” in the first place.

    ***

    I don’t know Roy’s views, but the above fixes make the statements a little closer to my views. [I don't really know what motivates researcher X or Y, for example, though I can certainly have my suspicions.]

    ***

    Microsoft and their credibility problem.

    No wonder they fear transparency and Linux.

    It’s painful when you have to learn about a Microsoft problem for the first time through a virus or malware that caused damage already. .. well, if I didn’t already mind the fact that untrustworthy Microsoft is in control over my information and privacy (were I to use Windows).

  28. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm

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    I have some antitrust docs that I need to process and publish. They show Gartner and IDC negotiating with Microsoft what they’ll produce. There are prior examples of this that I published. CIOs will hopefully become more open minded because they are being sold mindshare.

  29. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

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    I suggest that you keep track of Lessig’s new career direction (he’s changing institutes). He’ll be exploring precisely these issues of mind control through sponsorship

  30. Jose_X said,

    January 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Gravatar

    Wrt the link recently posted about brand value…

    Linux getting competitive with Microsoft is by Linux sellers/advocates helping to bring perception in line with reality. Microsoft spends a ton of money on managing that perception for a reason (it pays).

    [Novell and various defenders (eg, of Microsoft) here have definitely done their services for Microsoft's benefit when they generally fail to mention Microsoft problems or downplay them. The other part of their service to Microsoft is in then trying to highlight positives.]

    Microsoft’s brand value (eg, perceived trustworthiness and quality) is crucial to the value of Microsoft’s products and business successes (especially moving forward).

    An example of brand value to Microsoft:
    The key in brand value and in exclusive (“innovations”) is a main part why Microsoft will use WinFOSS to really help Windows without hurting their income and the willingness of people to still pirate their goods. The WinFOSS is intended to help the monopolies be preserved since not everyone wants to pay or steal (duh) and Microsoft can’t afford for Linux to gain serious traction. WinFOSS that Microsoft can leverage most comes from the use of things like mono. [See this http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/25/jose-on-mono/ and the quote here http://boycottnovell.com/2009/01/11/eric-rudder-on-dot-net/ .]

    Two minor points: One, where brand is really important is among those that make MSware purchasing decisions. Consumers don’t really make their OS choices (when they do, Linux fairs much better than the alleged market share value of one or few percentage points). Two, the brand value “study” has it’s own set of hidden methods and faults or else limited conclusions.

  31. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm

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    I was going to mention that too because such things are easily bought. It’s like knighthoods (for sale) over here in the UK.

  32. Jose_X said,

    January 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Gravatar

    As far as knighthood for sale.. part of the trick is that Gates (like all good business people) sells his own brand (B&F Foundry helps here.. remember the MS brand value quote at over 50 billion usd). Gates brings value to “knighthood”.. at least from the pov of Gates sales pitch. This is why, in exchange for being knighted, he might have actually been given more things. [and mutually supportive: valuable brands like to associate with valuable brands as that further helps everyone in the group.. including with such issues like trustworthiness]

  33. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Knighthood for a man who says “Where Are We on This Jihad?”

  34. twitter said,

    January 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Gravatar

    If the Prince can call his friends “ragheads” and “pakis” Bill Gates can be a knight even though he talks about Jihad. We can only hope that people work for justice and learn from their mistakes.

    It seems, however, that PC makers having been burnt badly by Vista don’t expect Windows 7 to move hardware. I’ve collected a few Windows 7 reviews here. The relevant and worthwhile reviews are here and here and here.

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