Steve Ballmer’s jesters come out to play
Summary: The smears against OpenDocument Format (ODF) start coming from all the familiar places, including Microsoft itself, even directly
There’s a true “yes men” roundtable today, involving all the usual suspects. Some hours ago we stated that a vile Microsoft shill was preparing to attack ODF (he has already attacked GNU/Linux and other non-Microsoft threats) and later on this assault started. It’s Wouter van Vugt, whose latest batch of messages gets the attention of those whose involvement many could guess blind-folded. First of all there’s Matthijs Hoekstra, who describes himself as “Developer Evangelist @ Microsoft.”
“Evangelist” means “shill” or “TE”, to use Microsoft’s own terminology. Find out all about them in this leaked Microsoft presentations (antitrust). They are the nastiest, least ethical types. He’s happy with the ODF smears (coming from a Microsoft MVP, which makes it virtually a colleague).
“Joining these celebrations (attack on ODF) is the Convenor of OOXML, who is known to be deep in Microsoft’s pocket.”Joining these celebrations (attack on ODF) is the Convenor of OOXML, who is known to be deep in Microsoft's pocket.
Jesper Lund Stocholm participates a great deal in this early round of ODF bashing. Like Wouter van Vugt, his career is deep in Microsoft's wallet, so he’s doing anything he can to disrupt ODF and help the Microsoft ecosystem.
And these are the voices representing a company which pretends that it supports ODF while actually just causing it damage in practice [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]? It figures.
Microsoft has stated that it needs to attack its competition, but not directly. It always uses some people who look like outsiders and it’s the job of Technical Evangelists (TEs) to encourage them. As usual, Microsoft would step aside and say, “No! It’s nothing to do with us.” Microsoft only happens to reward them financially in all sorts of artistic ways. █
“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”
–Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO
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Picture contributed by Twitter
Summary: The full(er) story about Microsoft’s attitude towards patents
IN PREVIOUS writings about the i4i vs. Microsoft case [1, 2, 3] we showed that Microsoft was getting burned by the very same system it craved. According to the following, Microsoft talks the talk but does not walk the walk.
Court documents show i4i claimed that Microsoft infringed on its patent in a “willful and deliberate” manner when it created its Word 2003, Word 2007, .NET Framework and Windows Vista software.
Here is the press release about tise judgment. It looks pretty bad for Microsoft, whose partners are busy patenting Microsoft lock-in.
In other places we have found information about Microsoft’s patent greed in consoles. Slashdot summarises this as follows:
An anonymous reader writes “BNET looked at some patents which suggest that Microsoft might be thinking about an integrated game console/set-top box. Quoting: ‘Patent 20080167128 is for watching television on a game console, while patent 20080167127 covers switching a gaming console between various media, including television, video, music, and games, and even using the console as a set-top box. Clearly Microsoft has been interested in controlling the living room, and combining media, gaming, and set-top functions in a single device would make a great deal of sense.’ There are also hints of mobile gaming that support the current round of rumors about a combination Xbox-Zune. ”
Microsoft’s XBox is still being sued from many different directions [1, 2] and it also turns to losses. Here is a report of progress in one of the latest cases.
Microsoft Faces Sanctions In Xbox Patent Spat
Microsoft Corp. has lost a tool in its defense in a patent trial over technology in its Xbox gaming console, and its alleged discovery misconduct has drawn a judge’s ire and threats of sanctions.
“Alleged discovery misconduct,” eh? That other company accused Microsoft of “willful and deliberate” infringement. It’s worth memorising for the next time Microsoft says that “Linux” (it means GNU/Linux) disrespects intellectual monopolies. █
“IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different.”
–Professor Joseph Stiglitz
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Summary: Microsoft remnants enter another company; Microsoft PR/MVPs look to cause trouble in ODF and online fora
IT ONLY makes sense to keep track of companies which are likely to serve Microsoft. This week we find that Synacast has tactlessly chosen someone from the very heart of the Microsoft ecosystem to become its CEO:
The Chinese P2P video vendor Synacast, better known under the name of its video platform PPLive, will announce next week the appointment of former Microsoft exec Vincent Tao as its new CEO. Tao joined Microsoft in 2005 via the acquisition of his mapping startup Geotango, which provided the technology for Virtual Earth. Since then, Tao has acted as senior director for Microsoft’s online services division.
Will PPLive (the video platform) support standards, open formats, and platforms like GNU/Linux?
Speaking of negative influence, we wrote about Wouter van Vugt a few days ago. It was only later found that:
Wouter van Vugt is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (see banner at the side). Also notice how much time he spends ridiculing Microsoft’s rivals. Maybe that’s how he becomes an MVP. From the front page alone:
“The story of Lotus Symphony [bashing]“
“Validity to schema is not an ODF conformance requirement”
“Some more un-guidance from the ODF Alliance”
“Why Linux Sucks”
What a true gentleman…
Right now he says that he is “Having fun reading the ODF specification.” Surely he’s just preparing to attack it in public, all on behalf of the company that brings home his bacon. Open document formats sure scare a company like Microsoft and its faithfuls, to whom the use of a proprietary format like OOXML may be a matter of commercial life or death. Office is Microsoft’s most profitable product and one of the few that are actually profitable.
Microsoft keeps up its appearance by means of AstroTurfing. CNET has this new exposition of a shill for NBA, but watch the comments:
NBA PR man admits he’s anonymous commenter
You just don’t what Microsoft brought into this subject.
It seems as if Microsoft employees comment regularly in Microsoft’s favor on this board. How may times have we read how great Visa is, or how good Windows 7 will be?
Why shouldn’t people working for other corporations do the same? Honesty and truth have nothing to do with business and marketing. Only money counts.
I find it very hard to believe that Microsoft would stoop so low as to actually pay people to support their view on any internet forum.
NO company is that bad. Paying people to do that could be considered dishonest.
Oh, yeah? Well, Microsoft employees have already admitted that Microsoft is doing this. We wrote about this back in January.
In addition, Microsoft is paying professors to write papers against competitors. So, responding to “I find it very hard to believe that Microsoft would stoop so low,” well… Microsoft stoops much lower. It bribes and bullies professors to protect its image. It does not take much effort to research and find this out. It’s not even a secret. █
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Summary: Newspapers and news sites take instructions from Microsoft proxies
TWO days ago we wrote about Paul Meller’s deficient and flawed coverage from Brussels. He failed to map out Microsoft’s web of hired guns. Now we see other Web sites propagating his mistake. ACT is not an SMB lobby group; It’s a Microsoft lobbyist disguised as an an SMB lobby group, which it is not [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 9]. Also, the actual views expressed in there differ between Microsoft (represented by ACT and CompTIA) and PIN-SME, so there is no consent (contrary to the report from IDG).
The press is generally polluted with misunderstandings of the lobbying game. Maybe it’s deliberate or maybe it’s due to fear of libel allegations. The nationalist Murdoch press describes the handling of a law-unabiding company (Microsoft) as a “strike”. There’s the obvious pro-US bias from the Wall Street Journal, whose implicit job is to defend native corporations (Wall Street trade gives a clue).
Frustrated with past efforts to change Microsoft Corp.’s behavior, European Union regulators are pursuing a new round of sanctions against the software giant that go well beyond fines.
The regulatory push is focused on a longstanding complaint against Microsoft: that it improperly bundles its Web browser with its Windows software. Rather than forcing Microsoft to strip its Internet Explorer from Windows, people close to the case say, the EU is now ready to try the opposite measure: Forcing a bunch of browsers into Windows, thus diluting Microsoft’s advantage.
There are people out there who are in denial over CompTIA being a hired gun of Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Luckily, however, more journalists are starting to wake up and realise what CompTIA is all about, but most of them still give it a voice. To give the latest examples:
i. EU’s antitrust case against Microsoft could mean endless ‘crapware’ on PCs
Antitrust regulators at the European Commission want to force Microsoft to open Windows to other browsers, such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome and Opera Software’s Opera. That, said the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)…
ii. Computer Group Objects To EC Browser Regulations
The Computing Technology Industry Association has warned the European Commission that its remedy for the European browser market could negatively impact the marketplace.
iii. Microsoft Allies Rally Against EU
An industry body partly funded by Microsoft has come to its defence
This week, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a 25 year old industry group funded in part by Microsoft, released a statement coming out against the latest EU case against the dominance of Internet Explorer.
Just sit back and watch Microsoft taking over the news. Those who are quoted extensively are mere proxies of the company. They pretend to work on behalf of someone else. █
“Excessive distrust is not less hurtful than its opposite. Most men become useless to him who is unwilling to risk being deceived.”
–Luc De Vauvanargues
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Summary: Microsoft turns up the heat on VARs
WHEN TIMES are rough, Microsoft reaches out for more debt. Whenever times are tough, Microsoft looks for every extra penny it can squeeze out of others. Some hours ago we wrote about Microsoft working harder to end counterfeiting, thereby betraying popular distributors of Microsoft software. Now we find a betrayal of authentic partners too:
i. Partners Shocked By New Microsoft Financing Terms
Solution providers who’ve long raved about the convenience of Microsoft’s financing program say they’re stunned by a new Microsoft mandate that requires them to include a larger amount of Microsoft products in deals.
ii. Financing Terms Worry Microsoft Partners
Microsoft Corp. is tightening the requirements on financing partner sales – a move some partners say will be hard to swallow, especially in the sour economic environment.
The software company is requiring that all deals it finances for its indirect sales partners include a minimum of 35 percent of Microsoft’s software or services. Previously, financed deals only needed to include a single Microsoft product to qualify.
That’s what Microsoft partners are for. Ask Cisco. When partners are no longer useful (for Microsoft to exploit) they get mistreated, neglected, and sometimes sued. █
“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.”
–James Plamondon, Lead Microsoft Evangelist
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Summary: Microsoft changes Mozilla’s software without permission from the users and the aim is self promotion
THE FIRST self-explanatory report is this one:
Microsoft Sabotaging Firefox With Sneaky .NET Updates?
Sabotage may be a strong choice of word, but it immediately came to mind with the news of Microsoft’s latest .NET update.
The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1, unleashed in February, forces an undisclosed Firefox extension on Windows users, called “Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant 1.0″, and it does so without asking the users permission.
It is not an unusual development and this was also entered into Slashdot and into Stefano Forenza’s Web site.
The Washington Post used much gentler words (Melinda Gates is in charge, so it’s wise to be cautious) and so did this Web site.
A routine security update for a Microsoft Windows component installed on tens of millions of computers has quietly installed an extra add-on for an untold number of users surfing the Web with Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser.
Here at Techgeist, we do not like it when software does stuff to other software without asking. The problems are made that much worse when it’s the operating system doing the dirty work. So we are all pretty angry at Microsoft right now. As part of a service pack for the .Net Framework, which they rolled out as a critical update via Windows Update, Microsoft also installed the “.Net Framework Assistant” add-on onto users’ Firefox installations.
The story in short: Microsoft uses its Windows Update franchise (monopoly) for unwanted/uninvited intrusion that’s justified by a EULA people cannot refuse. Moreover, Microsoft shoves its software down people’s throats to advance its business by interfering with rival software. █
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Summary: Spontaneous reboots a feature or an Easter egg?
• Windows 7 Beta Shuts Down July 1
Users who run the trial version of Microsoft’s new OS beyond its expiration date will suffer endless reboots.
• Windows 7 users panic when Microsoft gives wrong auto-reboot date
A mistake by Microsoft sent some users into a panic when they received an e-mail that told them their copies of Windows 7 beta would automatically begin rebooting every two hours starting June 1.
Windows 7 beta, which was released to the public in January, will expire on Aug. 1. A month before that, the operating system will prod users to move on to the next milestone, dubbed “RC” for Release Candidate, or revert to an older OS such as Vista or XP. Microsoft doesn’t go for subtlety: It warns users of an approaching expiration date by automatically shutting down, then restarting, the PC every two hours.
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Summary: Yahoo! becomes somewhat of a puppet state; Microsoft’s search ambitions start off on the wrong foot
YAHOO! is an astounding example of a company that Microsoft took over pretty much from the inside. This company continues falling apart and now we find the following reports:
Yahoo! is clearly looking for a deal of salvation, so why not with Google? Because of Microsoft’s political intervention and manipulation (details in the links at the bottom)?
According to eWeek, Bartz’s Yahoo! only thinks in terms of money, unlike Jerry Yang for example. He thought with his heart too (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told columnist Kara Swisher at the D: All Things Digital conference in California that she would consider selling Yahoo’s search apparatus, or even the company itself, to Microsoft in exchange for a suitably massive amount of money. Yahoo has been in reported discussions with Microsoft over a possible partnership as both companies battle with Google for the online core search market.
Microsoft’s (new name for a) search engine is meanwhile failing quite pathetically:
Did you hit bing.com today? If you got a blank page from Microsoft’s new search tool, it’s not because Bill Gates is blocking your non-Internet-Explorer browser. Microsoft has confirmed to VentureBeat that it’s working on fixing technical glitches that sometimes deliver a blank page. Sometimes you get a Coming Soon page.
Several people have complained about this in public. Microsoft uses all sorts of publicity stunts to get people to try this renamed search engine. They drop some celebrity names, they make curious claims that it is not a search engine (Wikia and Wolfram|Alpha used the same strategy), but some prominent people advise Microsoft to just give it up.
“It’s time for Microsoft to face reality about search and the Internet,” blogs Henry Blodget, CEO and editor in chief of The Business Insider, in a scathing critique of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) Friday morning.
Mirosoft spends 100 million dollars marketing this latest push. With or without Yahoo!, however, Microsoft will remain without Google. Thus, in this unique game of indexing the World Wide Web, Microsoft has already lost its opportunity. It’s too busy daemonising Google because nothing else has worked to weaken Google. █
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