Summary: More Microsoft products cancelled, services made worse
OVER the past few months we have seen many Microsoft products getting cancelled and taken off the market, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft is now borrowing money (nobody seems to know why), it has laid off a lot of staff and another key product, Microsoft Money, has just been officially killed.
At the time of writing, only two sources seem to have coverage of this (based on Google News). Both are close to Microsoft. They are probably intended to cushion the blow as it becomes public knowledge, i.e. preemptive damage control. Well, here it is from the less obnoxious among the two sources:
Microsoft announced in August 2008 that it would no longer sell Money through retail stores. The company said at that time that plans to release a Money Plus 2009 release were cancelled.
This makes about 15 dead Microsoft products, all getting axed in a matter of months.
Since Microsoft is already taking debt, expenses must be controlled and faulty XBox360s, whose severe faults only Microsoft is to blame for, will not be properly repaired anymore. One of our readers had half a dozen broken XBox360s. He gave up in great anger because these could not last for more than a few months without breaking spontaneously. He confronted a Microsoft manager over this. Lastly, for the record, Microsoft has lost well over $5 billion in the XBox business and it’s far from the only area where Microsoft loses money. Now there’s no Money. █
Update: More short coverage gets titled “No money in MS Money?”
Update #2: Here is a list of Microsoft products that recently bit the dust. Thanks, David Gerard.
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Summary: Microsoft extends digital handcuffs to the east and the west
Boycott Novell has been keeping track of Microsoft’s moves in Thailand this year [1, 2]. Microsoft is particularly interested in making schools turn kids into Microsoft customers. The earlier, the better. It is truly a tragedy and some would label it child abuse when people decide for a young child what he or she is supposed to use and under whose rules.
Someone has just informed us of this new Microsoft deal:
Microsoft extended ‘Partners in Learning’ program to next five years
The Office of the Basic Education Commission, Ministry of Education and Microsoft Thailand have officially announced their extended collaboration for the successful Partners in Learning program (PiL) over the next five years (2009 กV 2013). In a MOU signing ceremony held today, the two parties both looked to the future and celebrated five years of achievements through the program which was established with a goal of transforming education through the integration of information and technology.
It’s an MOU, a programme whose details appear in this leaked document from Microsoft.
Moving on from Thailand, another someone has informed us that the Gates Foundation is investing in Peru. The Gates Foundation is routinely used as a financial vehicle to promote Microsoft’s agenda without it actually looking like Microsoft bribes for deals. We wrote about the Canadian government in this context. Bill Gates is giving it billions of dollar and the government then signs multi-billion dollar deals with Microsoft.
Anyway, here is a translation of the report from Peru, courtesy of our reader:
I just wanted to make you aware that the damned monopoly tries hard to consolidate its empire by investing on Peruvian economy.
“(Peru.com: 2009/2/26) (EFE) .- The Bill Gates Foundation is interested in entering the microfinance sector in Peru, reported the head of the Superintendency of Banking, Insurance and Pension Fund Administrators of this country, Philip Tam”
This is the original page in Spanish:
This will increase pressure on small && medium size companies by ensuring loans to them only if they get into the proprietary bondage. Digital colonialism at its highest:
“”In the national micro finance sector are important players such as the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, other foundations are also very important as that of Bill Gates, who also wants to Peru,” Tam said the agency Andina.”
Knowing the corrupt authorities in Latin America this will perpetuate Microsoft bondage on emergent economies. This will give more leverage to MS to do what the did in Colombia by bribing them to vote for MSXLM standard ISO approval, and the way they try to derail FLOSS advances in Eastern Europe, South Africa and other countries. This also will give them leverage to press for software patents not only in Peru but all Latin America. Remember they’re afraid that everyone’s follows Brazil’s path to technological independence.
I hope that the Peruvian youth and free entrepreneurs don’t bite the lure to perpetual bondage and follow Brazil’s path to technological independence that leads to economical independence.
Did Peru learn nothing about foreign occupation before letting Bill Gates in? This is a very foolish decision. It’s selfish, it’s abusive, and maybe kickbacks (gentle bribes) are involved.
Let’s not forget what Microsoft does in Brazil (Globo), in Chile, in Colombia, and other south American countries. It’s a direct assault in libre software and GNU/Linux. █
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Summary: Microsoft is trying to artificially differentiate and discriminate against one class of GNU/Linux-only computers, describing it as inferior by design despite its clear advantages
OVER THE past week we have shown that Microsoft makes courageous attempts to not only harm the software world; it has moved on to deciding what hardware people are able or unable to purchase [1, 2]. In addition, there may be attempts to mock ARM-based machines, using different names to characterise them as inferior. How’s this for a headline: “Microsoft Sets Stage for Netbook v Smartbook World.”
The difference in microchip architecture does not really change the nature of devices (weight and ventilation aside perhaps). The software is virtually identical, although in one case it is able to run for much longer without additional charge. Perhaps Microsoft knows that it’s cheaper to run another Slog [
PDF] than it is to port and maintain Windows for ARM.
Glyn Moody opines that Microsoft is losing this war over sub-notebooks if financial terms are accounted for (Microsoft's earnings are down 32%). Microsoft was not able to charge for Windows. Apparently, people see no substantial value in using Windows over GNU/Linux, but as Microsoft says, “under NO circumstances lose against Linux.”
These are all incontrovertible signs that Microsoft simply hates the netbook sector, and wants it to go away. It is doing everything it can to dissuade users from buying them, manufacturers from making them, and everyone from naming them. The reason why it wants the netbook to vanish is simple: thanks to GNU/Linux, it makes no money in this market. Worse, netbooks are, indeed, cannibalising its profits in the notebook sector – which is why it is trying to redefine them as notebooks so that it can “re-align” consumers’ expectations – that is, charge more.
So, yes, Microsoft is “winning” the netbook wars in one sense, but it is a purely Pyrrhic victory.
The fruits of that “victory” can be seen in its recent financial results, which showed the first-ever drop in revenue, part of which was attributable to weakening sales of its Windows division.
A few days ago we warned that Microsoft would invoke its pseudo-journalists to smear its competition in this area. It didn’t take long. A very familiar pseudo-journalist who met Steve Ballmer not so long ago is already attacking the notion of Google’s Android (Linux) running on sub-notebooks. He even contradicts what Microsoft once said. Here is his summary:
Android-based netbooks provide much-needed competition for Windows, but the obstacles to success are massive.
It is truly amazing that IDG employs these people to publish under the heading “CIO.com”. Is Microsoft instructing CIOs what to think? This comes from IDG by the way; they do a lot of business with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. █
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Summary: Novell turns its attention to Microsoft’s Visual Studio
SOME DAYS AGO we saw Novell integrating Mono (MonoDevelop) and Windows [1, 2]. Novell is now advancing Visual Studio as well, which makes one wonder what Novell is doing for GNU/Linux (all things considered).
Mono Tools for Visual Studio have been released to a limited number of developers for a closed preview cycle.
This first release of the Mono tools integrates four major pieces of new functionality into Visual Studio…
It’s all about .NET and as James Plamondon (Microsoft Technical Evangelist) once put it
[PDF]: “Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”
Novell gives Microsoft some victories. After all, why not? Microsoft funnels money into Novell to get its money’s worth.
Here is the direct link and some coverage from IDG:
The Mono Project has been sponsored by Novell as an effort to develop an open source Unix version of the .Net platform. “Its objective is to enable Unix developers to build and deploy cross-platform .Net Applications. The project implements various technologies developed by Microsoft that have now been submitted to the ECMA for standardization,” the Mono Web site states.
So what if was submitted to the ECMA for standardisation? It does not mean that there are no software patents and it does not mean that this ECMA reference won’t get ignored (then ‘extended’) by Microsoft. ECMA does not even offer any guarantees.
In other such news, Fedora is getting rid of Mono by default and it also neglects Mono-based software in general. Well, maybe f-spot is just an exception, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Ubuntu is a more difficult case:
Ubuntu censoring rap
In fact they even not care of providing a place for discussion to happen. Ubuntu does not care about Mono issues. It’s not that people are not allowed to talk. It’s that every place they find is the wrong place. There’s no such place inside the Ubuntu community facilities.
Is has gotten very hard to inform Canonical/Ubuntu about the issues. █
“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”
–Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO
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Summary: Microsoft’s attacks on ODF are getting noticed and the European Commission is asked to step in
EVERAL MINUTES ago we wrote about Microsoft folks manipulating Wikipedia, tilting it against an interoperable ODF. Microsoft wants to fragment ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], having failed to stop momentum with previous campaigns against it [1, 2].
Here are some samples of hostile Wikipedia edits we’ve kept track of:
It is no secret that prominent pro-Microsoft people like Alex Brown have also infested the ODF mailing lists, despite what Microsoft has been doing to this standard. History speaks for itself [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].
One informant has just told us that Rob Weir labels what Microsoft has been doing recently “ODF Lies and Whispers.”
So what is one to do? You obviously can’t trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to “improve” the ODF and OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft’s re-use in their whisper campaign. My advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees, etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.
Groklaw has written about this too.
Alex Brown, the convenor of the OOXML BRM, has been editing Wikipedia’s article on ODF. That strikes me odd, like finding out Steve Jobs had been editing the Microsoft Zune page. Some things are simply inappropriate. It puzzles me why Wikipedia allows it, frankly.
If you read the talk page on ODF, you’ll see that there are others there trying mightily to spin the article on ODF more negatively than is factual. And such rudeness! Plenty of smears against Groklaw too, I couldn’t help but notice. It does seem to me that there is a marked increase in what I view as a concerted submarine marketing effort. Some of it is subtle. Most of it is not. A fair measure of it is mean-spirited. Some of it is lies, pure and simple.
In the good old days, dead people supported Microsoft, if you remember that funny headline about a pro-Microsoft astroturfing campaign, but at least it wasn’t a smear campaign, just pro-Microsoft. Nowadays, I think I would have to rewrite the headline to read, “Mean People Support Microsoft.” Or worse. You see, Groklaw has been visited recently by several OOXML types, including Alex Brown, Doug Mahue of Microsoft, and Rick Jelliffe, all singing pretty much the same songs, posting on our ODF articles, so I got to watch it close up. I puzzled over it, because they seemed so deliberately rude.
Microsoft is whitewashing, so Pamela Jones believes that the European Commission should intervene. Microsoft is left with just PR-style rebranding, whitewash and tricks. Our regular reader remarks on this last particular example by saying, “This geek reach-out of Microsoft looks a bit like to accommodate the black community with coon songs.” █
“We’re getting the gang back together.”
–J Allard, high Microsoft senior (2007)
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Summary: Security news about Microsoft flaws and the botnets they make
• Microsoft Office Excel Malformed Records Stack Buffer Overflow
• McAfee downplays service pack fail
A recent McAfee service pack led to systems being rendered unbootable, according to posts on the security giant’s support forums.
The mandatory service pack for McAfee’s corporate Virus scanning product, VSE 8.7, was designed to address minor security bugs but instead tagged windows system files as malware. The software update was issued on 27 May and pulled on 2 June, after problems occurred. Users were advised to keep the patch if they’d already installed it in a low-key announcement on McAfee’s knowledge base.
• DOS attacks threaten mobile network security
New types of denial of service attacks threatened the security of mobile data networks, a senior telecoms security researcher warned last week.
• Feds Need 10,000 Cyber Security Experts
The head of the DoD-sponsored Digital Forensics Challenge said that contests like this will help the U.S. government find the talent it needs.
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Summary: New ODF developments and observations
A reader has just sent us a pointer to the following:
Date: Tue, 09 Jun 2009 11:58:15 -0500
From: Wade Smart <wade at wadesmart.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Subject: [users] Windows Vista Search doesn’t find ODF files….
> I have two documents, one a .odt and one a .doc. (They are the same
> document, just different formats).
> If I search using Vista Advanced Search by Modified Date, (they both
> have the same Modified Date) ONLY the .doc file is shown.
> To unsubscribe, e-mail: users-unsubscribe at openoffice.org
> For additional commands, e-mail: users-help at openoffice.org
20090609 1157 GMT-5
I have noticed that too. A little preferential treatment maybe?
This just shows how much Microsoft likes ODF, does it not? Microsoft has fought against ODF all along [1, 2] and now it is trying to fragment it with its pseudo-ODF (MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]).
At the same time, Microsoft is subverting Wikipedia's article on ODF in order to hide the effect of its actions. Just looking at the past couple of days, there are many edits from the usual suspects, e.g.”Ghettoblaster” [1, 2] and Albert Zonneveld (most people know him as "hAl"). Look how hard he has been working in tandem with “Ghettoblaster” in the past couple of days, all to glorify Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (and not just in the article on ODF by the way).
The Microsoft proponents are editing so quickly that those correcting them with messages like “suspected advertisement in promoting microsoft’s product, please provide valid source” are being overridden vainly and swiftly. When it comes to “Ghettoblaster”, here is a person trying to correct his/her promotion of Microsoft and another one correcting an insult of OpenOffice.org.
How about interesting edits that state: “(Undid revision 295165923 by user:HAl how is it not relevent that Rick Jelliffe has admitted recieving money from Microsoft to edit wikipedia, and demanding a sources for unsourced fact)”
For more information about what the Microsoft folks have been doing in Wikipedia (to the ODF article alone), see:
What Microsoft is doing gets noticed too. Make no mistake. Microsoft "technical evangelists" (TEs) and staff are participating in this from a distance. We offered proof.
The FSF has meanwhile joined wide opposition to what Microsoft is doing to ODF. The headline states, “Microsoft Office tries to break ODF.”
Just a quick update to our OpenDocument campaign, with news that Microsoft Office has added support for ODF, but in a state that leaves it incompatible with every other ODF capable application out there, including OpenOffice.org and KOffice.
Microsoft has many reasons to be afraid of ODF (which is interoperable). Brazil makes more obvious moves to ODF and as Tony Manco puts it, “open office brasil (BrOO.org) adopts odf and uses more foss software like firefox. [...] BB accepted foss since 2001. 60% of there computers use Linux [...] the rest use another os but have OOo and Firefox installed.”
In other very interesting ODF news, there is more support for this standard from Google.
Google Translator Toolkit currently only allows users to upload HTML, Microsoft Word, OpenDocument Text, Rich Text and Plain Text documents up to 1MB for translation. Alternatively, it’s possible to enter the URL of a file on the web, select a Wikipedia article or a Knol for translation.
Google was among those publicly opposing OOXML, which is proprietary. █
“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“
–Microsoft on OOXML
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Summary: Shades of Xen/Ignition Partners/Citrix maneouver in Vyatta’s round of funding
AS a quick recap, Microsoft employees in Ignition Partners had put money in XenSource and put it on route to acquisition by Microsoft’s other half, Citrix. As a result, Xen’s future on GNU/Linux became uncertain, Red Hat bought KVM, and Xen was used mostly to promote Windows and Microsoft, so the Linux Foundation abandoned it.
Having identified such patterns before, it’s not so encouraging to hear that Vyatta is now borrowing money (in a sense) from Citrix.
Open Source Networker Vyatta Raises $11 Million, Led By Citrix
Today, the company has announced that it has raised $10 million in Series C funding, led by Citrix.
Why would Citrix, a company that is all about Windows, be interested in routers running GNU/Linux? This gives Microsoft — through Citrix — a lot of leverage power.
For some background, appended below are some of the more recent stories about Vyatta and what it’s all about. █
 Vyatta Open Source Routing and Security Software
It has been a very long time since I had the chance to speak with someone from Vyatta about their open source routing and network virtualization technology. After rummaging through my files, it seems that the last time I spoke with them was in June 2007 (see Vyatta – changing the world of routers, firewalls and VPNs.) They’ve been on my mind ever since and I’ve often spoken about their approach and their technology to Kusnetzky Group LLC clients.
 Vyatta – a fortnight in review
Well this is really simple, its managment interface (not the WebGUI) its awesome, some of our guys are cisco nuts, vyatta manages to deal with those guys – I have yet to dig into it too much but vyatta seem to have replaced bash with their own shell. The upshot of this ? you can type “configure” and it takes you into config mode like a cisco, it then will autocomplete router style commands like “run show bpg summary” its very clever – to really understand what i mean here try it.
 Vyatta Aims Higher
Belmont, Calif.-based open source router maker Vyatta has issued a flurry of press releases since the start of the year. The most significant news was the most recent: the release of its Community Edition 4.
 Vyatta: A high-end Linux-based firewall and router
Let’s play a Linux word association game. Red Hat is to Microsoft as Vyatta is to Cisco.
 Free x86 Linux router distro rev’d
Vyatta Community Edition 2.2 (“Camarillo”) features security and flexibility enhancements to the BGP (border gateway protocol) stack, and usability enhancements related to NAT (network address translation) and DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol).
 Enterprise router runs open Linux OS
Vyatta has spun a branded hardware “appliance” version of its dual-licensed Linux and open source software-based router and firewall stack. The first in a “Series 2500″ line of “Open Networking Appliances,” the Vyatta 2501 targets data centers requiring up to 10Gbps of throughput.
 Vyatta Enterprise Router Runs Linux
Vyatta has bundled its dual-licensed Linux and open source software-based router and firewall software into a branded hardware “appliance” version for the enterprise market.
 Vyatta gives Nortel the half-Nelson
Nortel became dependent on phone companies, outfits like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. After DWDM brought the benefits of Moore’s Law to fiber, these companies stopped buying. And they’re still not buying.
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