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10.31.09

The Guardian Tells Microsoft’s Lies

Posted in Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Jack

Source

Summary: The Guardian shames itself by telling obvious lies in a show about Windows

THE GUARDIAN is generally a decent publication, but on several occasions we have shown that The Guardian spreads anti-GNU/Linux venom. It very typically comes from Microsoft Jack. See for example [1, 2, 3]. Just days ago we found anti-GNU/Linux rhetoric in The Guardian, twice even; it’s courtesy of Microsoft Jack again.

Two British readers of ours have independently complained about even worse content in The Guardian, namely a new podcast. ThistleWeb writes: “on the tech podcast from the Guardian, Windows special….Windows rep claiming “we introduced people to the GUI” ROFL

“It’s a “history of Windows” special,” emphasises ThistleWeb. He adds another mind-blowing quote from the podcast: “One of the principles behind the design of Windows 7 was to make you feel like you were in control…”

“…..without actually giving you control,” sarcastically remarks ThistleWeb.

“Windows rep claiming “we introduced people to the GUI”…”
      –ThistleWeb
“In fairness it is a Windows special,” he adds, “interviewing MS employees speaking as MS employees….but they do say a number of wrong or misleading things.”

ThistleWeb points out some slip-ups, such as, from the podcast: “the initial impression is how much it looks like Vista, which is the thing I’m not supposed to say.”

See our earlier post about the subject, as well as older ones. They are forbidden from admitting that Vista 7 is just like Vista.

Another reader of ours, whose identity shall remain anonymous, writes:

Guardian reinventing history, listen to the audio, MS introduced the GUI to the world.

“We introduced this amazing concept to the world it was called the GUI, the graphical user interface,” –Nick McGrath

Introducing a thing called DDE… overlapping screens or Windows…

Introduced a SDK, a single development kit.. the entire independent software community grow up around Windows…

Introduced file and print management…

Solitaire designed to teach people how to use the mouse? (this it total revisionist bullsh*t)…

Reason why we built NT, no mention of OS/2 or IBM (must be erased from history)…

“You gotta do a transcript,” said this reader, “I notice a lot of this kind of stuff recently. Putting it out on audio/video so as Google can’t pick it up.”

Can anyone extract the text from this revisionist show? We have given many other examples of Microsoft revisionism, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. These examples are mostly recent.

“How much would it cost a business to buy an advert of this size in the Guardian,” asks our reader.

“Listen to the end,” he summarises rather than concludes, “someone calls them on it. Why is it that in interviewing tech CEOs they give them a blank cheque to say what they like without calling them on it?” ThistleWeb wrote a few minutes ago: “I never noticed just how much of a MS shill Jack Schofield is until I listen[ed] to this sh*t.”

Recently we wrote about The Register's adverts that are published as 'articles' or 'whitepapers'. It is all rather sad. The Register also hosts Microsoft podcasts from Gavin Clarke and Mary Jo Foley, who are both Microsoft boosters.

What is happening to the British press? The Telegraph, for example, is now checking GNU/Linux usage in English-speaking countries where Mac figures are very high and GNU/Linux very low; this is not representative of the global sample set at all. There is so much hostility towards Free software in the English-speaking countries, whereas in countries like Italy, France or Germany, for example, the story is vastly different. How about Brazil?

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

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24 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    October 31, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Gravatar

    The firms working under Microsoft’s marketing budget make heavy use of revisionism. The first MS Windows was late to the market as a so much a copy of Apple’s Mac OS that the courts gave a thumbs down. However, even on DOS (DR-DOS, MS-DOS, and PC-DOS) you already had GEM and Desqview. MS Windows wasn’t first even to DOS, nor was it original.

    The revisionism goes on and on. Just the other week shills tried to spin old press coverage of the Vista failure.
    The 10 Biggest Tech Failures of the Last Decade
    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1898610_1898625_1898627,00.html

  2. your_friend said,

    October 31, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft astroturf and press control is always shocking. People expect publications like The Register and the Guardian to be independent but their tech people and editorial standards are obviously corrupted. Boycott Novell has published clear evidence of bribery and corruption of journalist and analysts from Microsoft’s own emails [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Boycott Novell has also published Microsoft’s TE training manual that explains the methods of corruption in great detail. None of that can prepare a person for the continued and brazen lies Microsoft continues to publish and the seeming effectiveness of their coordination. It is an affront to the intelligence of the audience and it outrages all the more because casual observers will be deceived to some extent. Modern media is so obnoxiously pervasive that obvious lies are both disturbing and unavoidable. To an informed person, it is as if TV, radio and newspapers are all suddenly saying the sky has turned green and people they know actually believe that the sky might be green in some place they have never been.

    The good news is that few people outside of Microsoft’s vanishing circle of corruption still trust the mainstream tech press. Readership of the tech press has plummeted even faster than ordinary paper newspapers, temporarily giving Microsoft that much more influence. Vista was a turning point where the public noticed and refused to buy into the Microsoft story as much as they stayed away from Vista. Editors and papers that sang Vista’s praises latter issued humiliating apologies [2] and the world did finally catch on. While there was considerable resistance to XP and Microsoft’s stock never recovered it’s 1999 glory price, XP did manage to gain 50% of the Microsoft desktop market after two or three years. Vista went nowhere. Windows 7 is following the same course at an accelerated pace because it is obvious that Microsoft won’t be able to pay the bills much longer. Death spirals only get tighter and less recoverable. These are interesting times.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The sad thing is that the press has learned nothing from Vista. The same outlets glorify Vista 7 like they glorified Vista just 3 years ago.

    your_friend Reply:

    I’m not sure about that. Some of the same people say the same things but the turn around for the rest of the world is quicker this time. Windows 7 has only been on the market for a few weeks and already the more honest stories emerge to blow up each little lie. People like Randal Kennedy were showing up the nonsense before release. No one puts it together like Boycott Novell does but I see a real overall improvement compared to Vista coverage.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Kennedy is actually mocking almost everything; many consider him a troll.

    Dennis Murczak Reply:

    heise.de brought an article yesterday about how Microsoft thinks Vista 7 “tops all expectations”[1]. A reader pointed out in the comments[2] how MS had stated nearly the same in March 2007 (Heise article: “Microsoft Germany very satisfied with Vista launch”), and he also was modded up for that.

    To be fair, Heise isn’t Microsoft centric in the least but often brings provocative headlines on Fridays to increase traffic.

    [1] http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Microsoft-Windows-7-uebertrifft-alle-Erwartungen-846731.html (German)
    [2] http://www.heise.de/newsticker/foren/S-Heisemeldung-13-03-2007-Microsoft-Deutschland-mit-Vista-Start-sehr-zufrieden/forum-168553/msg-17584066/read/ (German)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Actually, with all sincerity, it feels like Microsoft dropped the ball just weeks before the launch and shortly afterward. Compared to Vista, this latest wave of hype was very short lived.

    Dennis Murczak Reply:

    Here’s my translation of [1]:

    Microsoft: Windows 7 “tops all expectations”

    A few days after its launch, the new operating system Windows 7 is adopted on a significantly higher scale than its predecessor Vista, according to Microsoft. The company had shipped ten times more packages as originally planned, Microsoft manager Oliver Kaltner told the dpa (Deutsche Presseagentur, German Press Agency, ed.) this Friday. “In the first two days alone Windows 7 sold five times better than Vista at its time.” Until today 60 percent of the shipped products had already been sold.

    “The first sales week tops all our expectations”, Kaltner said. Presumably, the following christmas sales would be the most successful in its corporate history again. “However we have also always said that the success of Windows 7 not only depends on its starting phase.” Microsoft had put much hope into compensating for the false start of the predecessor Vista. Due to the strong demand Microsoft had had to increase production several times in the past weeks.

    Windows 7 was put onto store shelves worldwide eight days ago and had already received a lot of premature praise a fairly long time ago. Other than Vista, Windows 7 now also fits on the popular netbooks. Microsoft is currently considering shipping a version of Windows 7 on a USB stick in Germany too, Kaltner said. In the USA Microsoft is already offering such a solution for netbooks which are not equipped with a DVD drive.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “Ten times more packages as originally planned,” eh?

    Either:

    1) they are very bad at predictions

    Or

    2) they are lying

    Or

    3) They should have lowered predictions tenfold and then claim “a HUNDRED times more packages as originally planned.”

    Microsoft played the same statistical games when Vista was released. Check out old news and you will see.

    Dennis Murczak Reply:

    I think it’s just fantasy numbers. They did that a few times already. Besides of that, I don’t see a lot of excitement in my country, and the electronics stores in my city have apparently learned too, and did not stock or advertise it. Only the stupid “Vista 7 was my idea” advert *still* runs on TV :-(

    There weren’t any Vista 7 laptops or PCs on the shelves at Saturn (big electronics chain) as of yesterday. I wouldn’t call that a “high-scale adoption”. Of course it will gradually creep in during the next few weeks via the usual channels. But what I see doesn’t resemble the situation with Vista, where the sellers were falling over each other to take part the hype, and the customers were pissed off big time.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think it’s just fantasy numbers.

    Yes, no-one like the ASA (in the UK) verifies those claims. See the original post about what Microsoft got away with in the Guardian podcast.

  3. satipera said,

    October 31, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Gravatar

    The technology section of the Guardian can make depressing reading for floss supporters. The technology editor told me several months ago that floss coverage was being reviewed, sadly I have not seen much sign of more balanced coverage. He does however support floss in an occasional blog as do others at the Guardian. Most of the little coverage that there is; is buried away in blogs or is around an Ubuntu release.

    The only time I see a Microsoft Jack article is when the link has no clue near it that it is his work.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What’s scary here is the cyclic nature of ignorance; if the Guardian does not inform people about FLOSS, then people will never expect or demand coverage of it. Then the Guardian can claim “lack of interest”.

    your_friend Reply:

    It takes embarrassing ignorance and poor judgement to claim a “lack of interest” in software that saves hundreds of dollars per seat. The cost savings alone make GNU/Linux a topic of general interest. Traffic to free software sites and hundreds of millions of downloads of individual versions of free software programs prove that a massive world wide interest already exists. Free software has taken over the embedded market, so people not only use free software on the web, they often have it in their house or in their pocket. Without free software there would have been no Darwin or OSX, iPhone and friends. It is getting hard for non free people to pretend that GNU/Linux is something no one cares about or uses.

    It is also impossible to report intelligently about changes to the industry in general without a firm grasp of free software. How does someone like Microsoft Jack explain Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Oracle, Amazon, Twitter and other giant success stories of this century? Do these types imagine any of that would be possible without “non commercial” software that no one uses or cares about? They are equally unable to see the departure point, where these services start to ignore IE and later Windows because Microsoft’s refusal to follow web standards makes service impossible otherwise. Perhaps people in orbit around planet Redmond really are unable to see changes on the IT ground. That’s OK, but they should not be offering tech advice or telling people what OS to use.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    To the average user, “computer” typically means “desktop”, which to many is synonymous with “Windows”. I guess the problem is that the media reports based on audience reception rather than importance. There are many analogous examples in other areas like politics or sports where very important events do not get reported because they may not be “interesting”.

  4. satipera said,

    October 31, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Gravatar

    The Guardian technology section unfortunately reports on stories that are sometimes of not much consequence. Their ideal story is a new gadget. At the same time they routinely ignore the major structural changes that have been happening. The casual reader of the technology section can be forgiven for thinking that nothing has changed for the average user since the 1990′s, a big dollop of Microsoft and Apple for pudding.

    When all is said and done they are following the crowd and providing precious little progressive journalism. What is going to cheese me off in the future is when the same journalists say “We saw it all happening and did our best to move things on”. They might be able to see what is happening but they have hardly lifted a finger to report it.

    It is a shame that the whole section will be remembered mostly for Microsoft Jack over the last 15 years.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I am always amused by Microsoft Jack. He is a dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft “fanboi”, yet he accused those who do not agree with him of being “fanbois”. Hypocrisy is hilarious.

  5. TropicalCoder said,

    November 1, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Gravatar

    This is my first comment on this site. I am using HTML formatting, so I hope that is accepted. I wanted to respond to the following quote…

    The Register also hosts Microsoft podcasts from Gavin Clarke and Mary Jo Foley, who are both Microsoft boosters.

    Gavin Clarke is a journalist who impressed me the most in the past months with his savvy article on the motivation behind Microsoft’s manoeuvring to dodge the European Union’s efforts to level the playing field in the browser market. Read his article Behind Microsoft’s IE-free, Windows-for-Europe ploy carefully and tell me if you still feel it is fair to call him a “Microsoft booster”. I submit that that characterization was unwarranted and unfair. In his article, Gavin Clarke comes to the conclusion that…

    Microsoft’s legal history suggests this a tactical move against regulators and competitors, not a genuine offer of peace. The move is designed to put pressure on one and outmaneuver the other while maintaining as much of IE’s declining market as possible.

    The company’s legal and business teams are used to playing hardball, mixed with a strong dose of theatrics, to put regulators and competitors on the back foot.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Mary Jo Foley does that too sometimes. Taken an a statistical basis (with past reporting errors), I believe my assertion stands and I am not the only one to complain. See some other examples.

    TropicalCoder Reply:

    Roy, I have no doubt that you have read articles from these reporters that would lead you to label them as “Microsoft boosters”. However, it may be a reality in the publishing industry that one has to appeal to a broad audience or die, and these journalists may feel a need to take a neutral or even positive approach to reporting Microsoft news in general to survive. If they are being read by the vast uneducated hoards of Microsoft users and share holders, it is all the better when they come out with a hard-hitting article from time to time that pulls no punches. They can do more good this way then a thousand articles on Boycott Novel that are never read by the aforementioned hoards.

    Personally, I follow the discussion on sites such as Groklaw, Slashdot, and Boycott Novell, and I am well educated on Microsoft’s Machiavellian tactics and the harm they do to us all. However, Microsoft is not going to go away until main stream Microsoft users and share holders finally come to understand what Microsoft stands for. They are not going to read the web sites just mentioned. The only hope for their education lies with the main stream press where they will feel comfortable and at home. We must be careful not to alienate the mainstream press, but rather be kind and patient and teach them how to properly educate their readers and how and why this will benefit us all in the long run. Most important, we must give them credit and encouragement where warranted. Perhaps along these lines Boycott Novel could hand out Mainstream Press Rewards like some kind of a Pulitzer Prize for outstanding reporting as seen from Bocott Novell’s unique perspective.

    your_friend Reply:

    It is right to correct journalist when they are manipulated or deceitful. No good purpose is served by lying to the public. Shareholders and users and others with larger interests in the subject are those who most need to know the truth. People who lie on Microsoft’s behalf, regardless of the reason, are rightly called Microsoft Boosters. Their shame comes from their actions.

    Boycott Novell does a fine job of promoting software freedom and others that promote it. Links bring well deserved attention to projects that don’t get it otherwise. Scorn is dumped where it belongs.

    The whole browser thing is a distraction. The larger injustice is at the OEM, distribution and retail level, where Microsoft has insured that their OS is always the one that’s cheapest and best advertised. Competitors are sabotaged at all levels from hardware specs to retail floor. Sites like Groklaw, Boycott Novell, FSF and many others are seriously discussing this issue and deserve credit for it. People worried about “browser choice” have missed the big picture.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    People tend to forget (revisionism is to blame here, at least in part) that it’s no more a “browser choice” thing (like “global warming -> “climate debate” or “bailout” -> “stimulus”) than a case of punishing Microsoft in Europe for the crimes that gave IE market share in the first place. They were found guilty.

    A lot of “boosters” use the talking points served by Microsoft and European front groups like ACT and CompTIA, who insist that it’s all about offering choice. They have managed to change the debate. It’s spin doctoring.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Gravatar

    TropicalCoder,

    I try to be gentle towards those whom I disagree with and the word “booster” is hopefully not offensive. Actually, OpenSUSE has just created a “boosters team” (yes, they call it that).

    If you spot abundant rudeness in my posts, please point it out. I’m just not to sure how to emphasise sufficiently that a particular reporter works in tandem with Waggener Edstrom and those PR chaps. It is actually important to point this stuff out in order to put convictions into perspective, e.g. a Red hat employee or OSI president (or both as it happens to be) writing about FOSS and Novell.

  7. BrownieBoy said,

    November 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Actually, the Guardian’s Technology section ran a comparison of Ubuntu 9.10 and Windows 7 only last week. And yes, it was fair and balanced.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2009/oct/27/ubuntu-koala-windows7-review

    Microsoft Jack is the problem. (Needless to say, the abouve review was not from him). Surely, the other journalists who work in that section must be counting off the days to his retirement.

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