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


What Microsoft’s Anti-Linux Taskforce in Wal-Mart Teaches Us About Sub-notebooks

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: What do leaked antitrust documents teach us about the orchestration of competition assassins (Microsoft calls them “taskforces”)?

Remember when Microsoft commissioned a group of people to pressure Wal-Mart to take GNU/Linux off the shelves? Well, it worked, despite the fact that GNU/Linux was selling very well. Those who never saw this internal correspondence from Microsoft most certainly should.

The same thing appears to be happening at the moment in Microsoft’s war on GNU/Linux-powered sub-notebooks.

At an earlier stage, Microsoft used its friends from NPD and right now they are using ASUS to scare vendors who are stocking GNU/Linux. This also intimidates potential buyers.

According to this new article, Microsoft is very likely behind these latest developments.

The very next day, Asus’ chairman, Jonney Shih, after sharing a news conference stage with Microsoft corporate VP, OEM Division, Steven Guggenheimer, apologized for the Android Eee PC being shown.

Shih said, “Frankly speaking … I would like to apologize that, if you look at Asus booth, we’ve decided not to display this product. I think you may have seen the devices on Qualcomm’s booth but actually, I think this is a company decision so far we would not like to show this device. That’s what I can tell you so far. I would like to apologize for that.”

What the heck does he have to apology for? This wasn’t some put-together at the last minute skunk-works project that never should have been seen by the public eye. This was a system that, from all reports, could have gone into production immediately.

The only thing I can think of is that Asus doesn’t want to tick off Microsoft. Microsoft has been losing money by almost giving away Windows XP Home to netbook vendors. The Evil Empire wants to make that up this year by forcing netbook customers into buying over-priced, under-powered Windows 7. But, if customers get a chance to buy Linux-powered netbook for a good deal less than Windows 7 netbooks, Microsoft is scared that they’ll lose the netbook market.

If this was an isolated incident, I might not make so much of it. But, it wasn’t.

On the other side of the world, PC World, Britain’s self-professed largest specialist chain of computing superstores, announced that, regardless of what was coming with Linux netbooks, it would only be selling Windows netbooks.


Microsoft, frightened by the sudden rise of new Linux netbooks, is doing it best to make sure that neither you, nor anyone else, get a chance to even see one, never mind buy one.

It’s typical Microsoft strong arm tactics. Microsoft doesn’t dare compete on quality, so it pressures OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and retailers to keep people from even realizing that there are other, never-mind better, choices.

How much money has Microsoft spent (e.g. on kickbacks) in order to push GNU/Linux out of the market? Its people were not even successful. Microsoft reported a sharp decline in earnings and cited sub-notebooks as a reason. As Fewa put it a few hours ago, “a company can provide all the incentives it wants, they just can’t be based on the boycott of opposing products or tying.”

Acer, unlike ASUS, has not yet been "closely tied up with Microsoft," so it will deliver sub-notebooks with Android on them. This is also covered in the following articles that contain interesting details which we highlight:

i. Acer to make first-ever Android netbooks

Acer at Computex today said it would be the first to produce netbooks using Google’s Android platform. Company IT product president Jim Wong expects the systems to appear in the summer and that the Linux-based systems will still use Intel Atom processors. He didn’t provide prices, though the Android netbooks should be less expensive than Windows versions as Google doesn’t charge for licenses where Microsoft asks for $15 for each copy of Windows XP.


Acer’s decision is a blow to Microsoft, which has managed to achieve a near-monopoly of the netbook market by consciously selling Windows below cost to reduce most of the price advantage that had led Acer, ASUS and others to choose Linux in the first place.

ii. Acer to make first-ever Android netbooks

The Google Android OS is coming to the Acer Aspire ONE netbook, and sooner than you might imagine. As a happy ONE owner myself, and a keen observer of all things Android, the news that it could be as soon as Q3 this year really pleases me.

Microsoft is using its pressure tactics (extortion, blackmail, etc.) to not only exclude GNU/Linux from OEMs and shops but from chipmakers too. We previously wrote about the relationship between Intel and Microsoft in:

Watch what this analysts group had to say about Intel and Microsoft:

For over 20 years, Microsoft and Intel have partnered to grow the PC industry. Now, Intel is launching a netbook that will use the Linux operating system and not Microsoft. Could it be the economy and the need for more revenue? Or could it be such a huge revenue opportunity for Intel that they can not let the high price of an operating system slow them down?

What will Microsoft do next? Apart from ruining sub-notebooks as a whole by shutting GNU/Linux out, then elevating their prices and providing crippled versions of an operating system too heavy for the form factor?

More about Intel and Microsoft:

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


  1. K345 said,

    June 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm


    Remember the Soviet Empire? It simply collapsed when a critical mass of dissatisfaction was reached and the security apparatus could not frighten people anymore.

    The solution to make the Microsoft empire collapse is universal attack in a way they cannot contain anymore.

    We need to make up our own ideas what we can do to wipe that empire out but the important thing is to focus on where it hurts them most.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    At the beginning of this year we posted a lot of Comes vs Microsoft exhibits here. This got us some front pages in Digg and Slashdot, leaving Microsoft shamed. I have thousands more exhibits to go through and although I stopped doing this in March I intend to resume this summer. It’s just very time consuming.

    David Gerard Reply:

    I find myself recently redundant. What do you need? Laborious transcription? I can do that. Email me.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:


    There are many exhibits here from which we need to extract the full text. Find a headline you like, open the PDF and see if you can put it in text. When done we will post it in the front page.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm


    Arm-based netbooks can be a major kick in the nads for Bill. Think about how many days the average ARM-based mobile phone has. All that’s lacking is a larger screen and a keyboard to make it a netbook.

    Weight and battery life will outstrip the x86-based units to the point where they will be considered trash.

    I suppose that’s one of the reasons we’ve been waiting close to a decade for portable computers built on ARM…

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    They’ll prepare a Slog campaign with the likes of Enderle claiming that it’s underpowered, doesn’t run Microsoft Office, etc.

    Wait and watch.

  3. Daniel Zand said,

    June 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm


    This is a good reason to purchase System76, Zareason, etc. They and other upstarts do not bootlick Microsoft

    We’re also recommending dropping the eeePC … http://openbytes.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/microsoft-backs-down-starters-3-app-limit-removed/#comment-1150

  4. whatever said,

    June 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm


    I think it was less about being beholden to Microsoft and more about not having a demo-ready product.

    Acer is talking about doing it on Atom first because the ARM stuff is still not ready larger devices. Android has a lot of momentum and lots of potential, but as a G1 owner since launch date, it still needs a ton of work as a mobile OS, let alone on a netbook.

    The biggest advantage ARM has is for building in cellular stuff into larger devices. So your netbook uses your cellular connection, can make calls, etc. That can be huge, but the biggest adoption issue for not just ARM, but even Atom (and this includes newer Atom chips) is the total failure when playing streaming video.

    Streaming .h264 encoded 320×480 clips from YouTube is one thing. Hell, you can playback large non-hd .h264 files on Atom or Arm quite well, assuming they are static files — but streaming video still sucks. Flash isn’t on the iPhone because it kills performance. Kills it. Hulu Desktop barely runs on a N270 Atom — and it isn’t watchable. Streaming video has not yet been optimized to run on low-power processors, and until it is — the biggest hurdle for netbooks won’t be Microsoft. It’ll be convincing people to buy one when their smartphone is just as capable/incapable of decent streaming. And that doesn’t even address battery life concerns with video.

    David Gerard Reply:

    Hmm … we have an MSI Wind, which has an Atom N270, running Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix, and it’s the perfect thing to play CBeebies for the toddler, either live streaming or iPlayer. It seems to cope with it just fine. I’m not sure if the BBC is using FLV or H.264 though.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yeah, I’ve seen something along those lines. Based on SJVN’s latest review of Vista 7 on sub-notebooks (see ComputerWorld), it hardly even handles YouTube.

    David Gerard Reply:

    The Atom’s fine with a proper OS though ;-)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    For ARM it can be more complicated. Microsoft will do an anti-ARM (by inference anti-Linux) campaign using its familiar pundits and faithful groups.

    Microsoft is already renaming “Netbooks”.

    David Gerard Reply:

    Microsoft is not going to be able to rename “netbooks” – it wasn’t a brand name, remember, it was a term people just started using (Psion’s trademark notwithstanding).

    What will make a difference is if netbooks turn into – more or less – a phone with a bigger keyboard and screen. They’re heading this way, particularly with 3 in the UK doing a data-only plan and openly advocating people use it for Skype. That is, they’ll move away from being small PCs.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m posting about it later. You’ll see what I mean.

What Else is New

  1. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  2. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  3. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  4. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  5. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  6. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  7. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  8. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  9. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  10. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  11. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  12. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  13. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  14. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  15. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  16. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  17. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  18. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  19. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  20. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  21. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  22. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  23. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  24. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  25. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  26. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  27. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  28. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  29. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  30. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO


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


Recent Posts