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05.02.09

Neowin Authorship Affiliated with Microsoft; Microsoft Partners See Income Fall 80% or Go Out of Business

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 2:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Microsoft folks occupy Neowin; Citrix income down sharply; OQO possibly finished

ONE OF OUR regulars, Goblin, has been investigating this Web site called Neowin, which he suspected — as many others already know — to be biased in favour of Microsoft for some good reasons:

So the newest Neowin reporter is a bit of a joker? A bit of a comedian? Im not sure, but surprise, surprise, what he is (and this is quoted from his profile)

“…..works as a Microsoft Student Partner in his spare time.”

Marvellous.

MSPs, which we wrote about before, are unpaid Microsoft boosters who receive gifts from the company in order to promote and spread its products. Here is more:

Neowin, its reporters and its users can play with Windows all day I really dont mind. What I mind is when something is posted that (IMO) is likely to mislead someone into an incorect assumption about an alternative to Microsoft products.

I wont draw inference from Simon360s posts (which are quite typical from reporters from the Neowin site who quite happily swear, insult and in one case have a girlfriend pop up in defense.) What sort of outfit is being run here? I dont see Joe Willcox, Mary Jo Foley or any of the Microsoft employees Ive had the pleasure of debating with acting like this.

Well, Joe Willcox is out (since 2 days ago), so Microsoft’s pseudo-journalists pool is drying up.

Speaking of drying up, Microsoft's income declined by over 30% and its close ally Citrix has just reported a drop of 80%.

Citrix kept pretty tight control on costs, chopping across the board, but booked $20.7m relating to the restructuring it announced at the end of January, that would see it cut 10 per cent of its 4,600-strong workforce. This obviously took a bite out of profits in the quarter, and drove net income down by 80 per cent to $6.93m.

Microsoft and Citrix have meanwhile ruined Xen and turned it into more of a “Windows thing”, so even the Linux Foundation reluctantly abandons it.

This puts pressure on revenues and profits for the XenServer products even as the installed base grows, which it is doing and will continue to do, thanks in large part to the Microsoft partnership and the need for IT departments to get more efficient and flexible.

Citrix is just one new example. OQO insists on selling just Windows, so for the second time in about a week we find rumours that it has gone out of business.

WE’VE RECEIVED an email from a well placed source who said that OQO’s last chance at flogging itself off seems destined to fail.

[...]

Last week the outfit ran out of cash and was looking for a white knight. The week before pre-orders of the OQO Model 2+ Ultramobile PC (UMPC) were cancelled after OQO was unable to commit to a ship date. OQO is in such dire financial shape that it has even halted repair and warranty services too.

That’s what happens to those who insist on selling Microsoft products in a downturn. Perhaps they just cannot compete with comparable devices running Maemo, for example.

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8 Comments

  1. Goblin said,

    May 2, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Gravatar

    Hi Roy.

    Firstly the Neowin issue is a difficult one. I think many reporters with experience of MS only products have a bias (either intentionally or through ignorance of alternatives) I dont think Neowin as an entity or site is favoring MS per say, I think it just has some reporters on its books that do (for whatever reason)

    That being said there are a few Ive spoken to who do actually promote alternative views and not like the dubious ones that say “I love Linux and Gentoo’s great for the new user”.

    I dont know if you are privy to the latest happening between myself and a Neowin reporter, but Im still in a state of shock because it was just so childish:

    Whilst challenging someone who I understood was trying to bait me on Twitter (Neowin reporter), I was “attacked” (very badly I may add) by the reporters girlfriend!?!?! At first I thought I was being slow and it was some joke that I just wasnt getting, but true enough the blog was subjected to the nonsensical and badly thought out posts of a neowin reporters girlfriend. It really does beggar belief and the point I was trying to make by highlighting and dragging out her behaviour was not so much the direction or opinion of the Neowin site, it was the type of people they are recruiting to report for it.

    Whats next? Bill Gate’s wife to pop up on Boycott Novell and have a go at Roy?

    Anyway the matters ended. Stacey (the lady in question) has threatened to pop up again on the site, although really I think she has done enough damage to her boyfriend and Im actually beginning to feel a little sorry for him.

    Finally:

    Was Joe Wilcox let go because of the recession? or was it because he allowed free speech about alternatives on Microsoft Watch?

    Ill let your readers decide.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Watch closely what Joe does next because it would not surprise me if Microsoft offered him a job like it did with Peter Galli and Peter O’Kelly (former shills).

  2. whatever said,

    May 2, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Gravatar

    Neowin is run by children (well, high school and college students), so calling them “reporters” or considering the site an actual tech news site or blog is really inflating what it is: a user forum populated by many, many teenagers and a few scattered adults — most who probably aren’t using legal licenses for MS stuff anyway.

    Joe Wilcox is the victim of the economy, the rapid decline of print journalism that is also sneaking into online stuff (see places like Conde Nast, which haven’t been in bankruptcy protection for 3 years like Ziff-Davis, and actually make money, laying off Wired Digital staffers including some full-timers and freelancers at Arstechnica), and the fact that the site network he worked for (eWeek) has a ridiculously low CPM ad-rate, in part because no one visits the site.

    Antecdotally, I get at least one offer from eWeek, CIO or one of the other ZD Enterprise properties per week offering me free professional subscriptions. I think I’ve had an auto-renew of some of these free subscriptions since I graduated from college (2006). I’ve even had the fuckwits call me and try to sell me on going to expensive conferences (I’m not sure how they got my number, but then, when I probably signed up for something back in 2004, I probably didn’t expect to get sales calls 5 years later). Wilcox’s former company is on its last legs for a myriad of reasons, and I feel for him losing his job, but I sincerely doubt his column’s content was in any way responsible. I mean, my God, they got rid of the cat mascot/column that had been there from the beginning. ZDE is all but dead.

    But back to Neowin — you’re talking about people who either write for free or get paid almost nothing to post — this is not a real newsource or publication. They get leaks because it is a low-risk place for people to leak stuff (no corporate backing that can make it a legal risk or that will question acting as a propaganda arm for Microsoft or anyone else.)

    Unlike IDG, where there is at least a theoretical Chinese Wall between editorial and ad sales (I said theoretical), Neowin isn’t getting anything (relatively speaking, they might get some low-level ad rates, but certainly no sponsorship) by being a shill which makes them all that less important. They shill unwittingly, simply appeased by free Microsoft software that any student can get.

  3. Goblin said,

    May 2, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Gravatar

    Hi!

    Thanks for giving me that info, I found it very interesting.

    I didnt have a list of all Neowin reporters so I could only comment about the ones Id had experience with (who did appear to be students)

    “this is not a real newsource or publication.”

    I think the point I was trying to draw out whilst entertaining and encouraging some of the childish antics, was to show that a site which can appear to an “average user” as being professional and full of experts, can have a few issues when you examine it a little closer.

    I dont think the average user would bother looking into details such as these. IMO they will read an article (usually Microsoft related) and take that as fact, if the site looks better than what the “average user” can create I think this adds to the illusion.

    I think thats the danger and why we have seen one company run roughshod over the IT scene for so long. That in itself would not be a problem if there were indeed no other packages able to do the same jobs either just as well or better (IMO) and usually at a lower/free cost.

    “They shill unwittingly, simply appeased by free Microsoft software that any student can get.”

    Agreed (in relation to students), and you also mentioned another correct point in your text when you mentioned about pirate software. I have seen a few Microsoft student users who Twitter the support of MS, who also mention the BT protocol and tracker sites. Seems youre correct there also.

    In regards to Joe, I understand that some FOSS users may disagree with me, but I personally found him to be a reporter of impartiality, he may have had a “direction” in which to post given to him by the MS watch “bigwigs” but the fact he allowed free speech, and rather unflattering debate in regards to Microsoft told me he had welcomed the alternative view being on his site.

    Joe (IMO) is also a very good writer, I found myself genuinely interested in what he had to say and whilst I may not agree on all his views, he delivered them in an interesting way. It was a shame he had to go.

    Thanks again for telling me the above.

    Regards
    Goblin.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 2, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Gravatar

    I agree that Joe is a good writer. That’s why I read him.

  5. Freddie said,

    May 2, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m not sure I get your point about Neowin… it doesn’t seem to really be run by anyone full time, and in my experience has been no more biased than any other dedicated tech news site. And I’m a Linux user (need to get non-Linux news somewhere).

  6. Goblin said,

    May 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Hello Freddie,

    In answer to your question about Neowin, I comment about the reporters. The site is not a person. If the Neowin reporters were all Apple users then I would expect the site to have an Apple bias.

    The point I repeatedly made to some of the challenges was that how can someone who presents news and information offer a balanced view when by their own profiles they do not have any real experience of anything other than Microsoft products. That goes for any site.

    I think its fair to say most if not all Linux users also have a wealth of experience with Windows systems aswell and that was my point you cannot have an honest held belief in the superiority of any product if you havent tried the alternatives.

    It appears (as per the previous poster) that Neowin in particular are mostly students (and for the most part using Microsoft products).

    Neowin is of little consequence in the grand scheme of things. I did not challenge its reporters because they were some “mega” site (I cannot believe their claim of 300k+ hits a day). I challenged them because one of their reporters implied a unique feature in OpenSUSE that was not available in any other distro whilst at the same time having a CV of interests in Microsoft products (coincidence?). The rest, as they say is history.

    BTW if anyone can tell me of these “magic beans” in OpenSUSE Id love to know. Chakkaradeep (the Neowin reporter who implied it never answered)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Bear in mind that hits don’t mean pageviews. Hits can mean all sorts of things depending on page design. In BN for example, based on Webalizer, we get almost 200,000 hits/day, but that may not be a meaningful measure.

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