EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.31.09

Microsoft Accused of “Sabotaging Firefox”

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zoo park

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.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

20 Comments

  1. the11thplague said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Stefano Forenza’s Web site… nice site, I didn’t knew about it before!
    Thanks for the tip.

  2. pcolon said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Was the Mozilla team contacted beforehand in reference to the Firefox modification?

    Updates, including security patches, do not occur without asking in the GNU/Linux distros I use. These forced modifications to the os and extended applications is reason enough for discontinuing the use of microsoft products and services altogether.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Gravatar

    I haven’t come across any official response from Mozilla.

  4. aeshna23 said,

    June 1, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Gravatar

    I attempted to remove this addon from my installation of Vista 7 following the directions given at http://www.annoyances.org/exec/show/article08-600.

    I could not follow those directions. There appears to be no longer be any reference to this add-on in the firefox configuration options (steps 5-7). I hope I’m not being paranoid in wondering why Microsoft would make it so difficult to remove this add-on.

  5. Bogdan Bivolaru said,

    June 2, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Gravatar

    Well… where are the antitrust regulators?
    European Commision? US?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Steve and Neelie might discuss this over dinner and candlelight.

  6. suresh said,

    June 2, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Gravatar

    Mozilla should take a leaf out of GNU Icecat’s book which is more concerned about privacy and spyware.

  7. Joe said,

    June 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Gravatar

    You can follow http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/963707

    to remove it.

    However, unlike Microsoft, AVG will ask you if you want to add their extension to FF. Kinda niffty how they did it in the first place.

    Btw, I had some malware/payware that infected IE and FF but not Chrome. Perhaps you should keep that just in case and/or a copy of FF in portable app guise.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’d love to try Chrome at some stage.

    Is there any response from Mozilla?

  8. alex said,

    June 3, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Gravatar

    I wish I had time to look at this in detail as it starts to slip toward copyright infringing to me.

  9. Juan Pablo Angamarca said,

    June 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Gravatar

    So typical of Microsoft… that’s got so stop!

  10. PaulGaskin said,

    June 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Gravatar

    This is really outrageous. They’ve changed the way millions of Firefox installations on Windows will function without asking permission, nor notifying users.

    This .net extension will undoubtably cause pop-ups, crashes and become a security problem. This was a desperate and probably illegal act by Microsoft.

    They should face the full force of the law for compromising people’s computers and illegally interfering with a business competitor.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I was not able to find any response from Mozilla. Is there such a thing? Is Mozilla too shy to complain? It’s already part of the Opera-led motion in Europe (with ECIS IIRC).

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve finally found a response from Mozilla:

    dealing with the .NET ClickOnce add-on
    http://shaver.off.net/diary/2009/06/02/dealing-with-the-net-clickonce-add-on/

    pcolon Reply:

    Thanks for the update. IMO Mozilla has tested this fix as much as possible since there is a vested interest. But that doesn’t rule out the fact that microsoft can modify, without user consent, a third party application running in a windows environment.

    Many people elected to use Firefox instead of IE thinking Mozilla and the owner of the computing device would be the only party to modify Firefox’s behaviour.

    Bogdan Bivolaru Reply:

    Let me get this straight:
    I need to install patch #2 just to remove something that shouldn’t be installed in patch #1 (without users’ consent)…
    That doesn’t sound like easy removal (as any patch from MS can break my system in lots of unexpected ways) and doesn’t sound like they stopped pushing patch #1 down the users throat.
    This message is like ‘We keep doing crimes, but we help those injured as a result of our actions.’
    What about stopping the patch #1, isn’t it still pushed down the channel?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s malicious. Like AARD.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “It’s malicious. Like AARD.”
    Well, MS’s intention with this add-on was to add .NET integration to Firefox so that .NET powered web apps can work. MS did not deliberately made it uninstallable, it was a side effect of how it was installed.
    In comparison, AARD was an attempt to prevent Windows 3.1 from running on DR-DOS (thus sabotaging it), there is no other way to explain it, period.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “uninstallable”
    I mean non-uninstallable.
    “In comparison, AARD was an attempt to prevent Windows 3.1 from running on DR-DOS (thus sabotaging it), there is no other way to explain it, period. ”
    Not only that, it was clearly deliberately obfuscated code. Andrew Schulman disassembled it and says so.

  11. buck said,

    June 7, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Gravatar

    Another reason not to use Windows.

What Else is New


  1. In the European Patent Office, One Gets Rewarded for Mentally Torturing ('Interrogating') Staff

    Elodie Bergot and her "Gestapo" have both enjoyed spectacular promotions, broadening the reach of Battistelli's "police state" culture



  2. IP Kat Participates in Deletion of Information About EPO Scandals

    IP Kat has just deleted nearly 40 comments (some of them very detailed); we bring these back to life for the sake of history and preservation



  3. Links 23/10/2017: Wine Staging 2.19, GNOME 3.27.1

    Links for the day



  4. SUEPO Has Just Warned That Patent Quality at the EPO is About to Get Even Worse

    The staff union of the EPO (SUEPO) speaks of increasing "production" pressure, which is certain to result in low-quality European Patents



  5. The EPO No Longer Measures Quality of Patents; Instead It Publishes Fake Statistics

    The decline in patent quality at the EPO is a long-known issue and suppression of information about it merely enabled several more years of questionable patent grants, thereby putting at risk the perceived value of EPO services



  6. Speaking of “Social Democracy” While Suffering Extreme Democratic Deficiency

    The EPO represents an even broader assault on democracy in Europe (implicating ILO, Team UPC, national delegates, and national governments), but Benoît Battistelli is unique in the sense that he's disguising it or lying to himself about it



  7. Management by Intimidation Has Caused Deaths at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An accurate diagnosis of the conditions created at the European Patent Office (EPO) by Benoît Battistelli and his cronies, who have essentially hijacked the Organisation -- not just the Office -- then attacked every 'enemy', either real or perceived



  8. The Difference Between Alain Pompidou and Benoît Battistelli as EPO President

    The different approaches adopted by Pompidou and Battistelli; one pursued amicable mediation and training, whereas the other resorted to vindicative witch-hunts, kangaroo courts, and a culture of terror which resulted in many suicides



  9. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part IV: Links Between CGD (Former Employer of António Campinos) and the INPI

    More information about connections between CGD and the Portuguese Intellectual Property Office (INPI)



  10. Links 21/10/2017: Purism Against ME, Pop!_OS Ready

    Links for the day



  11. US Patents Appeal Board Attacked by the Patent 'Industry', Defended by Federal Courts, and Dodged by Patent Trolls

    PTAB, the branch or the 'court' responsible for eliminating bad patents, is coming under attacks from those who rely on poor patent quality and receives praises from everyone else, as usual



  12. In the United States, the Patent 'Industry' is a Dying Breed and China Adopts This Destructive Force

    The decaying patent microcosm, or the pipeline of low-quality patents and frivolous lawsuits these entail, loses its grip on the US; China, much to the astonishment of people who actually create things, is attempting to attract that ruinous microcosm (which preys on real, producing companies)



  13. Microsoft and Nokia's Patent Trolls by Proxy: First Conversant, Now Provenance Asset Group Holdings LLC

    Microsoft's shell game with patents (passing Android-hostile patents to trolls) carries on and publishers funded by these trolls offer the details, albeit vaguely and with obvious spin



  14. Anonymous Professionals Speak of Benoît Battistelli's Destruction of the EPO, But Why Does the Media Turn a Blind Eye?

    Everyone in the circles of EPO staff and EPO stakeholders knows that dysfunction has become the norm; European media, however, remains suspiciously silent about what otherwise would be a major European scandal (bigger than FIFA or Dieselgate)



  15. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part III: More Details About Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Former Employer of Campinos

    The side of Campinos which he prefers to conceal, or rather his association with a rather notorious Portuguese bank



  16. UPC Looks Like More of a Distant Dream (or Nightmare) as Germany Adds Another Two Months' Delay

    The likelihood that the UPC will be altogether scuttled is growing as delays keep piling up and more complaints are being filed by public interest groups (as opposed to Team UPC, which hoped to shove the UPCA down everyone's throats behind closed doors)



  17. Patent Trolls Roundup: BlackBerry, Dominion Harbor, IPNav, IP Bridge

    A quick review of recent news regarding patent trolls or entities which resemble (and sometimes feed) these



  18. Battistelli's Destruction of the EPO is Bad for Everyone, Even Patent Attorneys

    The collapse of the European patent system, owing primarily to Battistelli's totalitarian style and deemphasis on patent quality, means that "the war is lost," as one professional puts it



  19. Links 19/10/2017: Mesa 17.2.3, New Ubuntu Release, Samsung Flirts With GNU/Linux Desktops

    Links for the day



  20. Some of the USPTO's Most Ridiculous Patents Are Scrutinised by “Above the Law” While Dennis Crouch Attempts to Tarnish Alice

    Controversies over patent scope and level of novelty required for a patent; as usual, public interest groups try to restrict patent scope, whereas those who make money out of abundance of patents attempt to remove every barrier



  21. Microsoft's Software Patents Aggression in Court (Corel Again)

    Microsoft's tendency to not only abuse the competition but also to destroy it with patent lawsuits as seen in Corel's case



  22. The Spanish Supreme Court Rejects the EPO's “Problem and Solution Approach” While Quality of European Patents Nosedives

    European Patents (EPs) aren't what they used to be and their credibility is being further eroded and even detected as such



  23. Europe is Being Robbed by Team Battistelli and the UPC/PPH Would Make Things Worse

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has put litigation at the forefront, having implicitly decided to no longer bother with proper patent examination and instead issue lots of patents for judges and lawyers to argue about (at great expense to the public)



  24. Team UPC Continues to Promote Illusion of UPC Progress Where There's None

    The core members of Team UPC in the UK spread obvious falsehoods in the media, probably in an effort to attract 'business' (consultation regarding something that does not exist)



  25. António Campinos: A True EPO Reformer or More of the Same?

    More unfortunate reminders that Campinos and Battistelli don't quite diverge on the big issues, they're just more than two decades apart in age (but the same nationality)



  26. Juve Has Confirmed That António Campinos is French

    The relationship between Campinos and Battistelli has a nationality aspect to it, not even taking into account the interpersonal connection which goes a long way back



  27. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part II: António Campinos at Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos

    A look at the largely-hidden banking career of the next President of the EPO and the career of the person who competed with him for this position



  28. SUEPO to the Media, Regarding Campinos: “No Comment, It’s Too Dangerous”

    António Campinos, who is Benoît Battistelli's chosen successor at the EPO, as covered by German media earlier this month



  29. Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

    New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli's successor of choice (Campinos)



  30. Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts