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02.25.10

Microsoft Uses Vapourware and ‘Piracy’ (Empty Slurs) to Block Competition

Posted in Africa, Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level..

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

Summary: It’s propaganda time for Microsoft as the world starts exploring better software that the user actually controls

THIS post accumulates news reports that show how Microsoft deceives the market and blocks competition in this way.

Return of the Vapourware

In order to contribute to further damnation of the market, Microsoft saturates the press with vapourware about Vista 8. Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke is doing exactly that while belittling Free software, as usual, using British humour and spin. Yes, he is spouting out a lot of spin and Pogson replies/rebuts. Microsoft Nick and others play along with this shameless routine too. They haven’t actually seen anything (it’s a closed process), but they sure write about it.

“Windows team manager Scott McGregor would later recall, Gates was always complaining, “Why isn’t this like the Mac?” and “Be more like the Mac,” long before the Mac even shipped. This was a mantra that would become numbingly familiar in the months ahead.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Microsoft already neglects to deliver security patches for Windows XP [1, 2], not just Windows 2000 which receives almost no patches despite the obligation that Microsoft has. “When XP is Discontinued” is the title of this new article from the Washington Post and according to this new report, Microsoft is suing a business that still sells Windows XP.

Microsoft Corp. is suing a Southern Nevada company it claims has been selling refurbished computer systems loaded with unauthorized copies of Windows XP Pro software.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against PacificGeek.com of Boulder City, its owner Kirk Frantz and PacificGeek officials Dylan Frantz (son of Kirk) and Mark Frantz (brother of Kirk).

This is part of a new push to suppress software that Microsoft does not want to be sold. Experience suggests that Microsoft does not mind if the ‘right’ version of Windows is sold illegally.

Africa

Several weeks ago we showed how the United Nations and the World Bank practically helped Bill Gates and Microsoft colonise Africa. We also showed how Ethiopia was affected and earlier this month we saw that Windows Vista (not Vista 7) is finally being made available in the Ethiopian market, about 3 years after its original release in English and other languages. This is how much of a priority Africa is to Microsoft. If there is not much money to be earned from a translation, then it probably won’t be done. Africa is left years behind the rest of the world simply because Africa is not allowed to control the software it uses; this would not happen with GNU/Linux, where discriminatory treatment can only exist if the local population is uninterested in development.

So why does Microsoft translate its software to more languages? As we saw in south America, Microsoft makes such translations available only when it must block Free software adoption (GNU/Linux). Microsoft has also just launched Office 2007 for Africa. We’re in 2010, right? What took Microsoft so long? Here is what seems like another plug/advert in Africa’s press.

In summary his message was simple: How Microsoft as a business has benefited from utilising the concept of interoperability and why member states should consider such a model.

Interoperability is the ability of diverse systems, organisations and products to work together without special effort on the part of the consumer.

Microsoft is not interested in interoperability; it just wants to use software patents, so it ignores open standards. The above is a single article which seems like part of a marketing blitz (see more new examples from Kenya and from Nigeria). Those articles are ignoring the existence of decent Free software whose latest versions have been available for quite some time. Africa deserves better than that, but Microsoft keeps blocking the competition, often using the propaganda that it calls "piracy". Here are some lies and spin saturated with euphemisms like “protect consumers” and “Clean Dealer Program”:

As part of efforts to curb the challenges of non availability and lack of access to genuine software and information on how to identify and get the best from their IT investments, Microsoft has introduced the Microsoft Clean Dealers Programme.

According to the company, the programme was designed to increase customers‘ access to genuine software solutions.

This article from Nigeria has an Orwellian headline. There is also this one:

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in partnership with Microsoft has identified music as a veritable tool to tackle the menace of cybercrime in Nigeria.

Russia

Microsoft has been using this whole “piracy” nonsense in order to suppress adoption of GNU/Linux in Russian schools [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft booster Marius Oiaga contributes to similar Microsoft spin about Russia, where Microsoft uses this insulting word in order to portray itself as a victim while it’s blocking competition. Associated Press has an article with propaganda and insulting language (this article can also be found in Microsoft’s ‘news’ site) and they are issuing a whole paper about it. Now is the time of the year for Microsoft to pretend that it’s a victim and Nick Farrell, for example, plays along rather than expose what Microsoft is really doing here.

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

Middle East

This news report says that “software piracy [sic] rate dips in Jordan” and nevertheless, Microsoft whines about what actually brings Windows to more clients.

‘Jordan should do more to combat piracy’

Jordan should do more to combat piracy in order to make the Kingdom a regional hub for information and communications technology (ICT), according to Microsoft Jordan.

[...]

In November 2009, Microsoft Jordan renewed its strategic partnership agreement (SPA) with the government, which includes supporting various projects for the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Yes, Microsoft Jordan is also part of this new campaign that portrays Microsoft as a poor victim that everyone ‘steals’ from. Over in Qatar, Microsoft just ensures that people remain stuck with Windows and there is this new deal with Qtel:

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Qatar Telecom (NASDAQ: QTEL) have signed a strategic alliance to bring together integrated cloud-based services, software applications, mobile services and devices over QTEL’s converged network for work and entertainment purposes. MSFT and QTEL plan to launch their first products by mid-2010.

Over in the UAE [1, 2, 3], Microsoft is up to no good either and in Oman Microsoft is imposing the Live@edu scam (maybe some bribed officials):

Furthering its commitment to the development of a knowledge based society in Oman, Microsoft today announced that the Oman Ministry of Education has deployed its Live@edu online offering across schools in the Sultanate.

This is terrible. Students will be turned not only into Microsoft customers but also into people whose data is stored on Microsoft servers. Later on we will show how Microsoft abuses this data, in violation of the law.

Asia

The whole “piracy” propaganda has also come to Singapore:

Microsoft’s local office has formed a new collaboration with local IT mall, Sim Lim Square, to build upon the mall’s ongoing efforts to lower software piracy by promoting genuine software and offering incentives to adhering retailers.

Microsoft is being a sheer hypocrite for reasons that we explained in posts such as:

Here are some more of the imaginary numbers that supposedly refer to “damages”:

Pirates in Armenia cause 50 mln damage to Microsoft annually

[...]

Armenia, along with countries such as Georgia, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe joined the list of the largest consumers of pirated products.

Microsoft is just insulting nations where it prices its products out of reach and then allows people to obtain the software without licensing. The Copyright Cartel is doing the same thing. They want to enjoy sympathy while they abuse the market.

Europe

Microsoft’s scandals in Romania withstanding [1, 2], we now learn that the government keeps leaking money to Microsoft. The background posts put this in perspective. Microsoft is using Romanians as a diplomatic tool in Europe.

Romanian Ministry of Communications is to pay, until 2012, in nine equal instalments, the amount of 90.18 million euros (VAT included) for the right to use a total of 163,427 Microsoft licenses in about 30 public institutions.

Over in Norway, where Microsoft abuses are abundant [1, 2], only Microsoft is the named option in procurement:

The Vanylven municipality in Norway has issued a request for proposal for the purchase and delivery of Microsoft licenses. The contract has a period of performance of three years with an option to further extend by one year.

Why does this municipality only consider Microsoft licences? This is the type of discriminatory request that got a government sued (in Switzerland). See the following posts:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court

BETCA is also guilty of using vendor names (Microsoft) rather than adhere to open bidding based on capability and functionality.

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A Single Comment

  1. Robotron 2084 said,

    February 26, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Gravatar

    “Experience suggests that Microsoft does not mind if the ‘right’ version of Windows is sold illegally.”

    And that suggestion would be wrong. You can collect data through experiences, but you need logic and reason to come to the correct conclusions.

    Microsoft, like most any company selling software, doesn’t condone software piracy. Some people do sell pirated software without getting caught, but selling discontinued/out of date software is a dead giveaway. Not only that, but as the article goes on to say, this isn’t the first time the infringing company has been in trouble. It’s logical to assume that Microsoft would keep closer tabs on companies already found to be distributing pirated software in the past.

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