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02.08.09

Windows is Dying, Long Live Vapourware

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 10:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7

Microsoft buried the “Vista” brand and started banging on some drum which refers to an imaginary O/S that they can always claim “is still in beta!”

As we noted several times before, the press says almost nothing about “Vista” and a lot about “Windows 7″. This is not a coincidence. It has been a recognisable pattern for a while and it gets more apparent every week.

As a small test, earlier today we obtained a set of Microsoft headlines from the past week. Assemblage of news matching “Microsoft” in Yahoo! News and Google News produced 450 items. Search/slice on the term “Vista” and 3 results will be returned; search/slice on “Windows 7″ and 34 results will be returned. Yes, vapourware tactics indeed:

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Among the headlines that we find about Vista 7[sic]:

i. Economy Could Slow Enterprise Adoption of Windows 7

The turbulent economy could hinder enterprise adoption of Windows 7, even though many companies opted to skip Windows Vista and are still running the outdated Windows XP OS, analysts said.

Although the beta of Windows 7 released in January is getting good reviews, that may not be enough to inspire businesses to upgrade, given their tight IT budgets and the fact that many are cutting costs in any way they can.

ii. Microsoft’s Plan to Upsell Windows 7

To many people, the Starter restriction will be, if you’ll pardon the expression, a non-starter. Between browsers, email programs, iTunes and other software, it won’t take long for the average user to bump into the three-application limit. What’s more, this is the first time Microsoft will be imposing such a restriction on an operating system sold in the U.S. and other developing markets (there’s a three-application limit on the starter edition of Windows Vista, Microsoft’s current installment of Windows, but that product is only sold in emerging markets).

iii. Intel employee warns on Windows 7 netbook pricing, SSDs

In the blog, Bancroft says that Microsoft’s margins on XP netbooks are not strong, and the company will feel pressure to increase revenue from Windows 7 netbooks — a move that he suggests could lead to netbooks that are too expensive. Bancroft also expressed doubt that netbooks with small solid state disks (also known as flash drives) would be able to handle Windows 7.

Sounds like a plan.

Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile has a sad story to tell and we have tracked this story for several months. Some of Microsoft’s most ardent supporters believe that Windows Mobile will not survive. The eulogies continue to rush in because several individuals keep suggesting that Windows Mobile is on its death throes. From Information Week:

i. Motorola, Microsoft In Suicide Pact

Instead, it’s cutting back even further. After announcing last year that it would support just two operating systems, Windows Mobile and Android, it is laying off Windows Mobile engineers, indicating that Motorola is going to focus exclusively on Android.

This is not only another sign that Microsoft’s decline is accelerating; Microsoft is behaving like an animal in its death throes, showing little interest in pursuing new prey.

ii. Is Window Mobile On Its Last Legs?

Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of the mobile open source company Funambol, has all but declared Windows Mobile dead in a recent blog entry. Is he right, or is there still life left in the mobile platform from Microsoft?

Windows revenue has been declining for a while and not even 'massaged' reports are able to hide it. Very interesting times lie ahead.

Eric Lai provides some early evidence of the ‘IBM-isation’ of Microsoft. His article states in its summary: “Under program, [Microsoft] customers will get credits if no support response within 30 minutes.” This sounds very much like the successful business model adopted and championed by Red Hat and to an extent Oracle and IBM as well. Is Microsoft realising that giving Windows (almost) for free and offering support is one reasonable way forward? Some things inevitably become a commodity (like drugs going generic) but not human labour and skills.

Windows Problems Take Down Airplanes, JFK Airport, Houston Municipal Courts

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serenity Security now!

IT wasn’t so long ago that NASA got plagued with Windows viruses that had infected its PCs in space. As embarrassing and dangerous as that was, it neither led to any crashes nor forced an emergency return to planet Earth. A few days ago we wrote about the French military becoming a victim of Windows viruses and French airplanes have just been downed by these severe issues. The news has just appeared in English [hat tip: Tony Manco].

Planes grounded by ‘Microsoft virus’

[...]

[T]his morning I happened upon peculiar information while accidentally scanning the French paper Liberation.

JFK too has just been sort of downed by a Windows failure and here is pictorial evidence.

So I was happy to see that they wanted everyone to truly experience life with Windows with one of the huge screens nicely displaying an exception. (grin)

Over in Houston, the court system has been downed by Windows viruses.

Houston shut down part of its municipal court operations Friday, cancelling hearings and suspending arrests for minor offenses after a computer virus infected hundreds of its machines. City officials said they expected the problems to extend at least through Monday.

Court offices will remain open to allow people to pay tickets and fines, but the dockets will have to be reset, a move that will affect thousands of cases, city officials said.

It was unclear Friday how the virus got into the system, but officials promised a thorough investigation. They could not say when they hoped to have the virus removed from the city network.

Last but not least, the abusive relationship between DNS and Windows botnets sure seems to be ‘flourishing’.

With an estimated 10 million PCs infected by the stealthy worm known as Conficker, it’s a good bet that plenty of administrators are blissfully unaware that their networks are playing host to the pest. Now, a free service called OpenDNS is offering a new feature designed to alert administrators to the damage and help them contain it.

Why is this needed in the first place? Because people's lives are now being compromised by Windows' failures?

Slated Lists Microsoft Sins and Offences

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Courtroom, Finance, Fraud, GNU/Linux, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, ISO, Microsoft, OLPC at 10:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Illegally shooting antelope.
  • Throwing chairs and profanities at employees who leave for Google.
  • Selling towels and soda machines to survive a financial crisis.
  • Making false accusations.
  • Bleeding their victims dry in litigation.
  • Tax evasion.
  • Harvesting other companies’ products, then transforming them into slop in an inept attempt to “integrate” them with all their other assimilated warez.
  • Burning people’s houses down, and killing babies, with faulty electrical components, then blaming the victims for not knowing about the recall notice, and demanding they pay the legal fees, whilst challenging the validity of claiming a dead baby represents any kind of “loss”.
  • Scratching Xbox games discs, then denying liability, whilst secretly acknowledging it.
  • Sabotaging charities for fun and profit.
  • Bricking Xboxes with poor ventilation, resulting in a Red Ring of Death, then denying warranty repairs to the victims.
  • Shrugging their shoulders as Xbox Live accounts get stolen.
  • Pretending to be the police by demanding to audit other companies’ books, if they dare to refuse to renew Windows/Office licenses.
  • Infecting the world with a million+ viruses.
  • Missing the boat on essential technologies, declaring them to be insignificant, then running around like headless chickens trying to catch up after everyone else has adopted those technologies, whilst claiming that was the plan all along, pretending to have invented that technology, applying for patents on it, assimilating it, perverting it into something proprietary and/or encumbered to Microsoft, then denying everyone else access to that technology.
  • Dumping products at a loss in order to destroy competition.
  • Getting letters of support from dead bodies.
  • Inextricably integrating a Web browser into their OS, in order to try to win the browser standards war.
  • Bribing ISO delegates to vote in their favour.
  • Bribing Nigerian education suppliers to wipe Linux from schoolkids’ laptops.
  • Bribing bloggers with laptops to provide favourable reviews for Vista.
  • Talking and behaving like drug dealers.
  • Blackmailing OEMs to exclude competing products.
  • Running smear campaigns against ISO chairmen who don’t support them.
  • Hiring proxies to attack critics.
  • Hiring Munchkins to discredit competing products.
  • Hiring astroturfers to do damage limitations for Microsoft by proxy.
  • Hiring analysts to lie in Microsoft’s favour.
  • Creating fake grass-roots organisations to support Microsoft’s agenda.
  • Creating shell companies to litigate against their competition by proxy.
  • Trying to compete with the world’s most beautifully designed digital media player, by producing something which looks and behaves like a rectangular turd, even to the point of actually being coloured brown (initially).
  • Producing a spreadsheet application which can’t actually calculate anything accurately, but which subsequently forms the basis of nearly every business’ office in the world, thus dooming mankind to years of worthless and untrustworthy accounts.
  • Hypocritically claiming “IP” infringement, whilst basing their entire business empire on stolen property.
  • Breeding an entire generation of toner-monkeys, due to them being taught “Microsoft” instead of “computing” at school.
  • Destroying American jobs with cheap, foreign labour, by bribing politicians to extend the H1-B visa program, then making their indigenous workforce redundant instead if immigrant workers, at the first sign of financial trouble.
  • Using India as a software engineering sweat-shop.
  • Poisoning Free Software with patent-encumbered garbage, with the eager help of FOSS traitors.

Credit: Slated

Patents Roundup: Apple, Microsoft Trolls, and Linux

Posted in Apple, Deals, GNU/Linux, HP, Kyocera Mita, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple

ACCORDING TO the following BNet report, companies need not fear junk patents like Apple’s, but who has the money or the means to invalidate patents? It’s notoriously hard and expensive.

When the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patent number 7,479,949 for a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics,” eyebrows shot up throughout the industry. On first glance, it seemed that Apple had locked down the concept of a multi-touch interface, posing problems for Palm and anyone else who might want to compete with the iPhone, iTouch, and future products. But some more careful consideration suggests that the patent may not be as broad as it seems — and Apple may have missed including some seminal prior art, at least some of which was known to the inventors. That could cause spell problems in trying to enforce the patent.

BNet has published some more news picks about Microsoft and Apple patents.

Microsoft Trolls

This was mentioned a few days ago because Nathan Myhrvold is still on a racketeering warpath. Currently, he wants to justify what he’s doing by paying for a ‘study’ which defends the practice.

Former Microsoft Exec to Release Patent Troll Study

[...]

The funny part is that this former executive’s company makes its money by, you guessed it, collecting patents. The firm has yet to assert any of its rights in court, however.

What is he striving to be, “king of the trolls” (a representative)?

To defend against such Microsoft-bred trolls, there is already a drive called “Linux Defenders” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], but it’s not a permanent solution. Nonetheless, it continues receiving some coverage, this time from Heise Online:

Linux Defenders expand initiative against patent trolls

[...]

The Peer to Patent project, an initiative by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO, is aimed at making the US patenting system more transparent and open to the public. An internet portal is to be jointly created by the USPTO and Linux Defenders to enable the community to provide information to the Patent Office about pending patents that will help clarify whether a patent should actually be granted.

Linux Defenders still gives some validity to these patents. It accepts the broken law and the consequence is unfortunate, as detailed below.

Linux and Big Brother

Microsoft continues to bask in patent deals with companies that use Linux and don’t mind paying Microsoft for nothing of substance. Brother is the latest sellout [1, 2, 3] and the ‘protection’ it bought from Microsoft is allegedly for printers only. Microsoft argues that is has “similar” agreements with other printer or MFP makers and the ones it named are HP, Samsung, Fuji Xerox, Seiko Epson, and Kyocera Mita.

We do not know about Epson and Linux. What about H-P? Are they paying ‘Linux tax’ to Microsoft? It is known that Dell sold out when it “joined” the Novell/Microsoft agreement — whatever this actually mean. According to this article, it’s likely that H-P and Epson did not sign a deal which directly covers Linux.

Since launching its Intellectual Property Licensing program in December 2003, Microsoft has been aggressive about engaging in such deals. Redmond has entered into 500 licensing agreements in a little more than five years. Other licensing deals involving printing technologies include those with Hewlett-Packard, Kyocera Mita, Samsung, and Seiko Epson. Most of these agreements have involved embedded Linux technology.

Microsoft officials believe such agreements will prove to be an integral ingredient in ultimately offering IT shops greater innovation in tying together multiple environments, most notably Linux.

[...]

Many of these companies offer printers based on embedded Linux technology. Microsoft officials say they’ve been active in pursuing licensing agreements with these companies because of the growing popularity of Linux for networked, high-speed office printers.

How can Microsoft charge money for something it does not develop? Does Microsoft not have debt to Linux companies for all those ideas which it copied? Bill Gates once joked about his company’s behaviour when he said: “Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox’s store before I did and took the TV doesn’t mean I can’t go in later and steal the stereo.” Microsoft actually began business with ‘theft’ of many ideas and dumpster-diving for other people’s discarded code. That’s the true story which Microsoft prefers to bury.

Dumpster

Anyway, for future use, this latest development was also covered in:

The patents will cover such subjects as Microsoft Office integration and embedded Linux systems. Financial terms of the deal were not released, but Microsoft said that it would be receiving compensation from Brother.

Why is the Linux Foundation not stepping in to fight this? Can it be that IBM is a pro-software patents lobbyist, so it simply doesn’t care?

Quote of the Day: Why Microsoft in FOSS Conferences is Trouble

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Quote at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

66 Pages of Microsoft Evilness

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS Web site, we exposed the origins of Microsoft AstroTurfing and people who were responsible for that. James Plamondon was among them and he had received the blessing from the very top chiefs, including Bill Gates who supported this type of behaviour. In fact, he refers to it as a requirement in some other internal correspondence.

Today’s exhibit, Exhibit plex_2456 [PDF], contains the accompanying notes from a presentation delivered by James Plamondon and his colleague, Marshall Goldberg. These are the transcripts from a presentation they both gave. The exhibit is 66-page long and we have it as full text at the bottom.

Due to the scale of this exhibit, we wish to draw attention to particular parts of it. They explain Microsoft’s strategy which relates very well to things that we see occurring to this very date.

One-night Stands

How to treat developers, according to the company’s philosophy:

JAMES PLAMONDON: We’re going to talk about the tactics of evangelism. This is the one-slide review of the previous presentation, and that says it all right there. This time we’re going to talk about the tactics of evangelism. First, the role of ISVs. ISVs— independent software vendors—are pawns in the struggle between platform vendors. They are today’s allies; tomorrow, who knows? Tomorrow, you know, it could have been that Netscape was a little applications company that we thought was great and we worked with, and then suddenly they came up with this competing platform. The bastards! And you never know which way they’re going to go. They also could join up with, you know, IBM. We worked closely with Lotus for years. Lotus was one of our stronger supporters of OLE, and yet, then IBM bought them. It kind of makes it hard to work with them quite that closely any more. So we may move in their markets; they may move into our markets, whatever.

They are very valuable pawns in the struggle, however. We cannot succeed without them. If you’ve ever tried to play chess with only the pieces in the back row, you’ve experienced losing, OK, because you’ve got to have those pawns. They’re essential. So you can’t win without them, and you have to take good care of them. You can’t let them feel like they’re pawns in the struggle. I mean, all through this presentation previously I talked about how you’re using the pawns you’re going to screw them if they don’t do what they want, and da-da-dah. You can’t let them feel like that. If they feel like that, you’ve lost from the beginning. It’s like you’re going out with a girl; forgive me
___________; it goes the other way also. You’re going out with a girl, what you really want to do is have a deep, close and intimate relationship, at least for one night. And, you know, you just can’t let her feel like that, because if you do, it ain’t going to happen, right. So you have to talk long term and white picket fence and all these other wonderful things, or else you’re never going to get what you’re really looking for. So you can’t let them feel like pawns, no matter how much they really are.

Why .NET and Mono

Goals. Microsoft is a very goal-driven company. Every six months, hit those objectives. The goal is always the same. Your…when you’re writing your review and your-goals for the next six months, your goals should always be worded almost exactly like this: Establish (whatever it is you’re working on, insert here) as the de facto standard in the industry. That’s your goal.

On Analysts

The analysts…the financial analysts particularly carry a lot of weight. We may think that, you know, Christine Comerford and Jesse Burst and other people who write in the Windows magazines are important, but the most important analysts are the guys who work for, like, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers and the other financial analysts.
And if you can influence those guys’ opinions…and they almost never hear directly from. like, evangelists, and so when they do you have to be real careful. You don’t want Bill calling you up and saying, “What was this I saw from your _______?“ You have to be real careful. But going to those guys and giving them information can be very, very leveraged, because, you know, everybody reads PC Week, but the VPs and above, those guys are reading the Goldman Sacks analyst reports. They’re the guys, you know, really making the decisions.

On Influence

For developer mindshare:

Mind share. Mind share is the most important concept in evangelism. To control mental output, you have to control mental input. You’re going to control what the developers write, the code they write. You have to control what they’re thinking, which means you have to control the input to their brain. The way you do that is by taking control of the channels by which the developers receive their information. And in that I’m including the marketing slime and the VPs and execs and so forth. Thus you control mind share, by controlling input.

There are many channels of communication. There’s one-on-one. This is the staple of evangelism, where you and a bunch of people go sit down in a room and you sell them on your idea. You should support Microsoft’s Internet technology because of these three reasons…OK, and so forth. That’s why you should do it, and we’ll make it easy and we’ll ensure that you make money and we’ll give you lots of exposure and it’s the best thing for you.

Hire a Shill

More on talking by proxy:

Channels of Information. There’s one too many presentations where you’re actually giving a presentation at a conference. You should never give a presentation at a conference. Nobody from Microsoft should ever give a presentation at a conference if we can possibly avoid it, because you could be doing something else then. Furthermore, you’re not objective(?). Nobody’s going to believe anything you say. Get a third party to give the presentation at a conference. It’s valuable to a consultant or an analyst to give a presentation at a conference. It gives them exposure; it’s good marketing for a consultant; they want to do it, and you can get something in return. II you write this article for me or this sample code, I’ll arrange for you to speak at this conference. Oh, yeah, can I do that? They love that. So when you’re giving a presentation at a conference, you’re throwing away an opportunity to get somebody else to do something for you. OK, so you’re not only waiting your time, you’re wasting other time.

Microsoft on How it Deliberately Ruins Competitors’ Conferences by Attending

We constantly see Microsoft doing this to GNU/Linux and Free/open source software events, for example in LCA2009, OSBC 2008 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], and OSCON 2008 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. They know it gets people turned off and this ruin the events.

Here is a good portion:

OK? Any time you can make somebody feel cool, that’s good. The sig leaders are very important people. They are people who choose. They choose who speaks and who doesn’t speak at these sig conferences. They set up the agenda. They have influence over twenty, thirty, a hundred, however many people come to this sig. And however many people are on the mailing list, which is also a valuable commodity. So those sig leaders are like consultants. They are very valuable people that you want to schmooze with.

I don’t know if everybody recognizes that word “schmooze” there at the bottom. Schmooze is, I think, a Yiddish word. Basically it means suck up to, socialize with, take care of; love and so forth, go to dinner with, get drunk together, talk about your girlfriends and boyfriends and whatever. I mean, just socialize like crazy, and pump for information, and leak little bits of tidbits of information that think…make them feel special that they’re hearing it and work the crowd and so on. Schmoozing is a very important part of an evangelist’s job, and the better you are at it. the better, because everybody who meets you should think—you know. OK, I hate Microsoft like everybody else, I’m a good member of the Computing Society, I hate Microsoft, that’s what you have to do to get in. But, you know, I like the individual people I’ve met from Microsoft. You know, you’re all ambassadors of Microsoft, and they should…if we can’t help them hating Microsoft, at least we can have them like the individuals, and that’s a big step in the right direction.

I, for example, was once a Macintosh developer. I developed Macintosh software. I never worked for Apple, but was…wrote a lot of magazine articles and stuff in the Macintosh community. I developed…I formed developer groups, I spoke at conferences, I was the kind of person that you want to find as an evangelist, because I was an unpaid guy who goes out and spreads the word. Right? Any time Apple could get me to say something it was more credible than when they said it, and I was out there doing this and I wasn’t even costing them anything. It was great. Well, I left the Macintosh world and started doing Windows stuff and became this notorious heretic, OK. But on the other hand, I was just such a hell of a nice guy—you know, you guys know that’s not true, but they didn’t—I was such a hell of a nice guy that they’d go, You know, that damned Plamondon, you know, he’s working for the Evil Empire, he’s seducing people to the Dark Side, but, you know, he’s such a hell of a swell guy…you know, I hate Microsoft, but he’s OK. Yeah, actually, it was…so you just want to be a heck of a nice guy. Being a heck of a nice…this is…One of the things I like about evangelism is that it’s one of those few jobs where being a nice guy is valuable. And it wasn’t of any value to me as a programmer. They don’t care how nice you were, they just want to know how many lines of code you write, that’s all. So, anyway.

Channels of information. There’s more of them. Developer conferences. There are two kinds of developer conferences. There’s those that are controlled by the platform vendors, such as our PDC. We control everything that goes on there; nobody says nothing that we don’t approve beforehand. Same with Brain Share and Lotusphere and Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, and I’m sure IBM has such conferences. Or there are independent conferences such as Software Development, Window, Mac Hack, various Comdex, so forth. At enemy conferences you gather intelligence. You go to the enemy sessions, see what they’re saying, talk to people, be nice. Just be super nice. You never say anything rude; never, never, never. Stand up at the microphone at an enemy conference and say, “Excuse me, you’re full of shit,” you know. “You’re wrong; that’s not true; if you looked in our documentation you’d realize that wasn’t true. You just said that OLE doesn’t do irregularly-shaped objects, that OLE doesn’t do multiple active simultaneous objects, that..you know…that they’re all heavyweight and have to live out a process. You said those things and they’re all demonstrably not true. In fact, I have a

demonstration right here on my laptop…” You know, I mean, that’s just…it’s absolutely pointless. You gain nothing, you look like an idiot, it looks like Microsoft is just, you know, raining on their parade. You just never, ever say anything like that. You can occasionally go up and say, “Hi, this was a really great presentation. Thank you very much for doing it. I had a question about one of these things. You said it would be shipping by when, exactly?” OK. That kind of thing is OK. You’re just asking for very general information that anyone else could have asked. But even then it’s better to get somebody.. .some shill to go up and ask the question for you. I mean, if you’re at a conference like that, hopefully you know some people there. Get them to go ask the question for you,what the hell.

So at independent conferences, or rather those controlled by the enemy vendor, just gather information. At independent conferences, subvert them. Find the people who choose who goes on the agenda and who doesn’t. Send that person all the free software in the world they want. Find out if their kids are in school, find out what school they go to, send them free software; see what kind of car they drive, send them a little keyring with that car’s logo on it, you know. Anything, anything. Love those people. Just suck up to them so hard your face collapses. I mean, those people…those people are so valuable to you, it’s beyond belief, because they control who goes on that session or not. At last week’s Macworld expo, I had a session added to the conference agenda called Windows95 Programming for Macintosh Developers. At Macworld! Can you imagine?
OK.

JAMES PLAMONDON: It was pretty crappy because they didn’t put it on the main agenda, unfortunately. It fell off the list. I’m sure she did this on purpose. She was returning the favor to me by putting, making the session happen, but she was covering her butt with Apple by not putting it on the Conference At a Glance session—er, listing, right? The main bulletin, or the detailed description was there, but it wasn’t on the Conference at a Glance session, right, so it was kind of funny. Last year I had a similar session that I did on my own in a meeting room that I rented rather than being part of the agenda, and it was packed the whole time, you know. I carefully made sure that press and analysts came by and peeked in the door and saw that it was packed, you know. But this time it wasn’t so good.

But nonetheless, I mean, Windows 95 programming for Mac developers on the conference agenda at the Macworld Expo—I mean, you couldn’t pay enough to get that. And all it cost me was some free software, and her husband had had a stroke and I sent her some articles about recent therapy and research in strokes, went to the library and looked it up. I had a problem with that one. I mean, that one was…you know, I care about her as a person, I’ve known her for years, you know, I was truly sorry that her husband had a stroke; my grandmother died of a stroke. I was kind of interested in the topic. I went to the library anyway, I found this information. I was about to fax it to her, and I said, “Wait a minute. This is, like, totally scummy. I know I’m doing this for a purpose!”

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: I go back to my former question. How do your-sleep at night?

JAMES PLAMONDON: Well, it turns out that the information was actually quite valuable to her. I mean, it was talking about a drug and a therapy that she was not aware of, and that her doctor wasn’t aware of. So, I mean, I actually helped her and everything. She also owed me and she put my conference sked…she put my session on the conference agenda. I mean, what can I say? I’m just too nice of…OK. So you want to love those conferences to death. I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. First there was the Mac App Developers Conference. I was on the Board of Directors of the Mac App Developers Association long ago, and after I left I worked to try to turn it into a cross-platform developers conference, and I did. I managed to make it.. their last conference was very cross-platforn, both Windows and Macintosh, which of course turned off their Macintosh audience; half of the conference was irrelevant to them. They didn’t care about Windows. They were a bunch of Mac guys. Which diluted the value of the conference. And they didn’t know how to advertise the Windows guys when the Windows guys showe dup. So they lost money that year and the group folded. Oh, well. One less channel of communication that Apple can use to reach its developers.

The other conference was called the Technology and Issues Conference. it had been going on for, like, ten years. It was an independent conference. it was by invitation only. They invited VPs and above at all the major Mac software companies. And they always held it in, like, Yosemite or Vienna or Hawaii. It was a big junket thing. And it was always…they held the conference the last few days of the week before Fourth of July weekend, right, so it was just a junket trip. But Apple always hated this conference because, you know, all of their ISVs got together and received a message that they didn’t control as much as they would have liked. Well, I sponsored a dinner and I brought…because once you sponsor a dinner, right, you get to talk to them during dinner. You get to do a dinner presentation, OK, once the clatter of knives dies down. And we were there being so helpful. Apple was still nickel and diming its developers to death. And so we’re there handing out free software developers’ kits to everybody there, and free copies of the Explorer PD and other things like that for their kids, because, you know, they’d bring their wives and families along with us, and so we’d give them free games and stuff. And then I gave them this big presentation over dinner and so on. So it seemed like Microsoft dominated the conference. Well, Apple got so pissed off at this that they threatened the guy that ran the conference that they were never going to send anybody again, that they were going to schedule conferences that directly opposed it so that the VPs couldn’t go to his conference, they could only go to Apple’s conference and so forth. So by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this? I’m losing money on it every year anyway. Screw Apple, they don’t need my help. And so the conference died, so that’s two. I’m working on two other Mac conferences now.

We saw some of these tricks in the OOXML corruptions, e.g. paying for dinner of ISO committees. James even says words like “shill”.

Cday, who helped proofreading this, wrote: “When I read the section about “schmoozing” the first thing I thought of was Neelie Kroes’ experience after the anti-trust verdict a couple of years ago. She mentioned that Steve Ballmer came to visit, and that he took her out to dinner and what a charming guy he was. I hope she sees this whole exhibit.”

Controlling the Press

“infiltrating” computer magazines is Microsoft’s strategy. Do have a look:

Channels of information. They’re developer magazines. Developers love to read other people’s experiences. I remember when I was first learning programming, I was subscribing to a magazine that seemed to solve the problem I was working on every month.. Every month I’d be encountering this new problem and racking my brain, trying to figure out how to deal with it, and this magazine would come out and it solved the problem. it was amazing. It was a very introductory kind of magazine, though, and I got to a certain point where it wasn’t useful any more. But there’s a zillion programmer magazines. There’s not just Microsoft Systems Journal; there’s also…gosh, what is it, WinTech Journal, the DOS/Windows Programmers Journal; there used to be something called the OS/2 Programming Magazine, it was then OS/2 and Windows, which was then Windows and OS/2, and now it’s just Windows, and.. .and so on, OK? There’s lot’s of independent programming journals. You want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. The ones that we control, you use. It’s an opportunity for consultants and so forth to get their stuff published, right? You can say, if you do this…if you join this beta program, I’ll give you early access to the technology. Your deliverable is a magazine article, OK? I’m not asking you to ship a product by a certain schedule, but you must ship me an article with sample code and so forth, which I will then get published in MSJ, which will then establish you as an expert in the field, which will help your consulting business. Everybody wins, OK? So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate. You want to get yourself onto the advisory committee that picks out which authors are published and which ones aren’t, or which topics are covered and over these special issues, things like that Just be so helpful that they can’t do without you, and then make sure that things go your way. Just help those magazines like crazy. Encourage new writers. Magazines…technical magazines face the same problems that we do in hiring evangelists. They’ve got to find people who are both very technical and know how to string words together in sentences that make sense, and people are not usually trained in both. You usually get one or the other. It’s like…when I was going to school, I was…you know, I was a science major. I wasn’t going to take any of these artsy-fartsy language and stuff classes. That’s for those losers who are in Liberal Arts, and basket-weaving classes. And so most people don’t do both. So when you can find somebody who can write an article well and point him at one of these magazines: Ooh, that’s great. Magazines love that. They owe you.

AstroTurfing

Sending Microsoft people to online forums. Yes, that’s Microsoft.

Channels of information. There’s Jots of them. There’s online forums, the Usenet groups…

More here:

So don’t waste their time. Don’t look like you’re trying to snooker them or something, and don’t sound arrogant. Microsoft people have this.. .It is going to be presumed that you’re an arrogant asshole until you prove otherwise. So be nice and polite on email.

Shill Consultants

Microsoft is pleased to be using books and consultants to do the shilling:

Consultants are independent evangelists. They’re people who are out there doing our job for us, or doing somebody else’s job against us, without even being paid for it. We don’t even have to pay ‘em nothing! This is great. We don’t even have to give them stock options. They must be on the bleeding edge in order to sell their services. The only reason you hire a consultant to do something is because you don’t know how, because consultants are, by definition, these expensive guys who help you go around and help you do something That you haven’t figured out how to do yet, get your projects started, and so on. So they have to be on the bleeding edge, which means they have to be in tight with Microsoft, or somebody else, or else they can’t do their job well. Sucking up to consultants pays off very well.

Yes, he says that “sucking up to consultants pays off very well.”

Moreover:

They also have the patina of objectivity: this very thin layer, they can say, I don’t work for Microsoft, I’m not just spouting the Microsoft party line, but…here’s the Microsoft party line, OK? So, a very thin appearance of objectivity. Contract programming houses are the same way. If you need some sample code written, or a book or an article, or anything like that, for God’s sake don’t write it yourself. Get them to do it, because then you can do something else, like getting somebody else to do part of your work for you. It’s not only frees you up to do something else, it’s getting them to do something so that now they’re committed to it, right? They’ve written this book on OLE. They’ve learned a lot about OLE. If that doesn’t pay off for them, then they’re losing all that time, so it’s in their interest to stomp open.doc into the ground and to make OLE successful, tight? You want to get these people bought into stuff. You do that by throwing business their way.

Sometimes Microsoft offers jobs to analysts/consultants whom it used to attack the competition. They are paying in favours:

When I do something for you, you’re supposed to do something for me. It’s a fundamental characteristic of human nature. You see it in primate societies and all sorts of stuff like that. I’ll do something for you, you’re supposed to do something with me. It’s not like a law or anything. it’s just a fundamental characteristic of human nature. if you don’t do something for me, you’re a scumbag, all right. You owe me, you bastard. You see this all the time in the Hollywood thing. If you see, like, movies like The Player or whatever where people are…it’s about Hollywood. Hollywood is all about the exchange of favors and he acted in my movie and therefore I have to put him in this other movie, and so forth. And what you see is people on the phone saying, “How can you do this to me? I was at your bar mitzvah! I was…put you in the movie! I went to this play with you! I was at your daughter’s, you know, whatever, and you’re not going to let me
be in your movie? You bastard!” Right? You’ve done all these favors. You’ve been…the person owes you, and not to return the favor is terrible.

Trading favors: If you help me, I’ll help you. I do this, you do that. You always return favors, right? Always. If somebody does something for you. even if you didn’t ask for them to, you have to return the favor. It’s a rule. Otherwise you’re the scumbag. Never work with somebody who fails to return a favor…for a while, anyway. There’s this rule in game theory that says, if somebody screws you over, then you should screw them over back, as hard as you can and as soon as you can. Then you forgive him, because you’re even now, right? That clears the decks and you go forward. So never work with someone who has failed to return a favor. Be sure to screw him as hard as you can as soon as you can, and then make sure that they understand what happened, and then you

Giving Gifts

About schwag like Microsoft’s laptop giveways:

Help people. Help people as much as you can, because then they owe you a favor. One of the first things I did when I started doing evangelism to the Mac community is, I started giving stuff away like crazy. Sending them the compiler; sending them the STK, sending them documentation. I had this thing that got to be known as the Plamondon Love Kit. It was this big, heavy box full of books and compilers and goodies, and Mac developers started talking about the Plamondon Love Kit, and how, you know, if you sent off to James and said that you were going to do something on Windows, he’d send you this Plamondon Love Kit. And Apple was just—arrggh, like that, because they couldn’t afford to give stuff away like that. It was very irritating to them. But then they owed me. tight? Then all those guys owed me something, and I was able to get quotes and some things out of them in return. So you want to help people so that they owe you back.

You have many resources. Remember, it’s the exchange of valuable resources, control over the distribution of valuable resources that makes you powerful. You are powerless if you do not have resources. But you do. By working at Microsoft, you have resources up the wing-wang. You have resources coming out of your pockets all over the place.

You can create your own resources. Information is the ultimate resource, and that’s what Microsoft has in abundance. We have specifications, betas. Early access to betas are, like, worth their weight in gold. If you give Company A the beta, but his competitor, Company B, doesn’t have it, Company B is at a competitive disadvantage. You control the distribution of that valuable resource. Free products. Sending off the compiler. That’s $500 you don’t have to pay. Or, in the case of the cross-compiler, the PC-Mac cross-compiler, that’s two grand. That’s a lot of money! Costs us ten bucks. What do we care? Free products, knowledge. We know things they don’t know. More resources. Job placement. 3,000 people are about to be laid off from Apple. I can help those guys find jobs. Then they owe me their livelihood. They owe me their car payment, their mortgage, their daughter’s braces, and that’s a lot to owe somebody. ISVs are looking for people. I know of companies that are looking for people who have certain skills. If I can fill that position, then the company owes me. And the guy who got the position owes me. Cool.

You can give people exposure. Consultants need exposure all the time to pull in new clients, because you can’t hardly advertise a consultancy except by demonstrating your expertise at publications, conferences and seminars. You have more resources. You have the one I hate to mention, which is cash. I hate to mention it for two reasons. First of all, you probably don’t have much. Secondly, because the ones you do have, those dollars…Microsoft dollars work just like everybody else’s dollars, right? We don’t get a discount on dollars just because we’re Microsoft. Just because we’re Microsoft we can’t buy them for 80 cents each or something like that, OK? So spending…

Hypnosis

More references for shaping up and “controlling the channel of information.” Here is a note about elimination of evidence:

Use the phone, email, faxes, whatever, widely. People tend to get stuck in an email rut here, and they only deal with other people by email, and that’s a big mistake. Telephone—when you just call somebody on the phone, they tell you stuff that they would never write down in an email. Email is discoverable. The Justice Department, whoever, can say, send me every email that you’ve ever written on this topic, right? It just gets pulled off the backup server, and the guy who wrote it has no clue. Email is just like…you might as well send a stamped, self-addressed copy to the Justice Department every time you send an email.

[...]

I have, still, on. ..in recorded, every email that was ever sent to me. Not to groups that I’m a member of, but that was actually addressed to me, and every email that I’ve ever sent out.

Bill Gates Endorses This

Marshall Goldberg later confirms that blessing was given to these practices. This was all done very much with endorsement from the very top, as James insisted even in 2007

Bill Gates and the Microsoft executives consider the Developer Relations Group to be a key strategic resource. They listen to us—truly listen to us. We can use them as a resource. I came to this meeting directly after meeting with Bill Gates himself, and in a sense Bill Gates wasn’t using me, I was using Bill Gates. and Bill Gates would readily admit to that That he’s an atomic weapon.

Example situation:

Now what isn’t relationship evangelism? Well, when this conference was first proposed, Avery said, “Well, James is doing evangelism as war. You’ll do evangelism as love.” Wow! Relationship evangelism isn’t about love at all. As a matter of fact, people that know me, and know some of the companies I deal with, when I get upset with the behavior of a company, I’m the first one to say it, and I say it very loudly. And one of the things that I see as part of the relationship work I do, is when a company is really not doing right by Microsoft, I make certain that everyone in Microsoft feels the same way. For example, I’m having a problem—I’ll mention the company, we’re all DRG—with Peoplesoft. Peoplesoft continually flips what we call NT sales to UNIX. They’ll go into an account, they’ll claim to be platform-neutral. Why, we’re platform-neutral. We support the platform that’s best for the customer—as long as it’s H-P, UNIX and Oracle.

Marshall also spoke to two people who were later charged with fraud.

Well, I methodically and convincingly convinced Charles Wong and Sanjay Kumar, the president and the chairman, that Microsoft platforms in the enterprise would dominate in the distributed case.

Here is a bit about Novell:

They were so impressed with NT they adopted it internally and wiped out Novell.

Steve Ballmer and Paul Maritz also get mentioned in relation to this “Evangelism”:

Paul Maritz invited me to go out to him with Wang in early December, and I did. So that immediately makes the ISV thing…well, this guy has Paul Maritz’s ear. Well, I can. I can send him mail, or even Bill. They listen to us, because we are very.

To finish off, here is a section that is “absolutely priceless,” according to Cday.

OK, you should support Point Number One because of this, because of this, and because of this. You need to know what your because are, and if you don’t have any evidence to support them, create it Find some third-party vendor who will say that this is true. Do an independent third-party study that will support those arguments. Create the evidence you need, don’t just rely on it to come out of the ether. Don’t just wait for somebody to write the article that says it’s true. Find somebody. Say if you’ll do this for me, I’ll do this for you. Get it done. Then you’ve got your data points. So create the evidence you need.

“…create the evidence you need.” How slimy is that? And the part about using independent third-party studies is a hoot, too…we all know how “independent” those really are,” writes Cday. See the “Analysts Cartel” series for actual examples [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

There is plenty more to digest in the full text below.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit plex_2456, as text


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Perspective on EMC and Microsoft (and what it means to GNU/Linux)

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Windows at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Complicated relationship

EMC and Microsoft

A FEW days ago we provided detailed explanations of how Microsoft is using EMC to fight GNU/Linux [1, 2]. The only contradictory thing here is that EMC has Iomega, which makes use of a specialised Linux and VMware may be a GPL violator for its use of Linux.

What probably makes this ironic is that Microsoft and EMC can jointly leverage bits of ‘proprietarised’ Linux against Free Linux, but the point of this collaboration is based on reciprocity, so it mustn’t be assumed that EMC, Microsoft’s partner of the year (for 2008), is acting like a subsidiary. It’s merely an alliance where the crux is the selfish interests of two companies which can elevate each other.

For completeness and for future reference, here is the press release about EMC’s and Microsoft’s “Alliance”, which includes virtualisation (i.e. VMware), according to the following:

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and EMC (NYSE: EMC) agreed to extend their decade-old strategic alliance through 2011 and said they are committed to “broader and deeper product interoperability and service delivery” in areas like virtualization, security, content management and data storage and protection.

More on virtualisation:

Despite a heated rivalry in the virtualization market between EMC-owned VMware and Microsoft, the partnership is a mutually beneficial one that should deliver real results to customers, writes Pund-IT analyst Charles King.

Really? “Heated rivalry”? With Microsoft chiefs in charge of VMware after EMC's brutal intervention? With regards to Maritz vs Microsoft, PJ of Groklaw called it “manufactured dispute” or something along these lines. It becomes a pretend ‘competition’, like Microsoft versus Novell and vice versa. They manage market shares and agree on rules rather than actually compete. US telecoms engage in similarly notorious practices.

There is also some more new coverage of this in The Register and the pro-Microsoft writer Shane O’Neill shows that it’s a lot to do with Microsoft.

One of the big areas of collaboration for us over the next couple of years is, as EMC pioneers what it’s thinking about storage, and as we pioneer where we’re going with products like SQL, Exchange and SharePoint for the cloud, the real onus on us is to bring that back together, both in the cloud and for customers in their data centers.

This is not competition. Some call it convergence, some would call it oligarchy. Whatever it’s called, it demonstrates a serious flaw that impedes development and harms consumers. It also harms GNU/Linux and thus people’s rights.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 7th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

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