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KIN is Dead, Zune May Naturally Jump the Shark Next

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zune Mayday

Via OpenBytes

Summary: Now that Microsoft abandons “KIN” (just weeks after its official launch) the investment in Zune code makes less sense and there may be a chain reaction

A FEW days ago we made a picture of a drowning ship bearing the word "KIN". How prophetic that must have been. Only a day or two later it turned out that “KIN” joins the long list of dead products from Microsoft. Watch out for the domino effect because now is a good time to put Zune to sleep. “KIN” (project Pink* or “Zune phone”) gave Zune some reason to exist, but that plan is no more. “Microsoft Kills Kin,” reveals Gizmodo.

Just six weeks after launch, Microsoft’s Kin, the social phone we wanted to love, is dead. Microsoft is ending its short life, sources close to Microsoft tell us.

Microsoft’s boosters confirm this. Neowin, a Microsoft proponents site, does too.

Disappointing sales have led Microsoft to cancel its Kin mobile phone initiative a little more than a month after the company launched the devices, according to sources close to the company.

David Gerard writes enthusiastically: “Over 500 sold! Maybe!” Gerard refers to rumoured numbers that Microsoft never bothered to refute. “Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied reports that only 500 of the Kins were sold since the launch last month,” says the news. In IRC, Ryan Farmer says: “Wow, that’s $1 million a phone [because Microsoft bought Danger for $500 million], but at least they got $50 back from each one.” He quotes: “Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases…”

Ryan translates that to: “Dear investors, we didn’t waste your money, we recycled it!”

“Wow, that’s $1 million a phone, but at least they got $50 back from each one.”
      –Ryan Farmer
We’ll study this whole story over the weekend and post more findings shall they arise.

“KIN” is just one example of why Microsoft is falling apart, as we pointed out on Tuesday. Windows Mobile has branched off into too many paths. Microsoft’s fragmented portfolio in the mobile space [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] happens to be similar to Microsoft’s endless redesign and rebranding of its so-called ‘search engine’ which it uses to deceive people.

“According to Statcounter,” wrote Ryan last night. “Bing only brought MSN/Live Search from 3.25% market share since the rebranding to 3.75% as of this month. That’s a lot of money to maybe have brought Google down half a percent.”

Microsoft has been spending (wasting) billions of dollars on it and it is also paying comScore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which then shows a load of garbage (US-only figures that contradict ones from firms not paid by Microsoft).

Ryan concludes this with the question: “How do you tell your investors you spent $1 billion in rebranding, development, and bribes to gain a half a percent on your competitor?”
* “The Kin devices were the result of extensive development under the code name “Project Pink,” and based in part on technologies acquired by Microsoft in its $500 million purchase of Danger Inc,” says the news.

Dan Ravicher Suggests Organising for Chance of a US Patent Overhaul

Posted in America, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The SFLC’s analysis of In Re Bilski does not neglect to make suggestions for those who pursue abolishment of software patents in the United States

BILSKI’S patent did not bring about any major change, but it did get thrown out. The SFLS[how] spoke [Ogg] to Dan Ravicher, the legal director at SFLC. Having looked at the full SCOTUS text and drawn some conclusions, he states that the current administration is of no use when it comes to abolishing software patents because it’s already in the pocket of the pro-patent interests [1, 2].

“[W]hat we really have to start do, if people are outraged by this, they need to start acting that way and refuse to transact business…”
      –Dan Ravicher,
Instead, suggests Ravicher (around minute 42 from the start), “what we really have to start do, if people are outraged by this, they need to start acting that way and refuse to transact business and encourage people to collect their voices together in unison and we actually need to make this a policy issue that we care about.” Here is the audiocast/oggcast as HTML5 embedment:

Rather than talk about the defeat of Bilski, Florian Müller ‘injected’ his opinion (e.g. [1, 2]) that it’s only a loss to opposers of software patents, despite the fact that there are good sides to the ruling. As the Washington Post put it, “Supreme Court ‘Bilski’ ruling doesn’t rule out software, business-method patents,” but this does not mean that these are validated. In fact, based on Ravicher’s interpretation, Scalia still distances himself from the patenting of software (as he did when he addressed Microsoft lawyers some years ago).

Speaking of judges like Scalia, David Boies is going to battle against Microsoft yet again, this time over the issue of software patents:

Get ‘em, Boies: Salesforce countersues Microsoft

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff says Microsoft is a patent troll. Looks like it takes one to know one. On Thursday, the company answered Microsoft’s charges of patent infringement with patent-infringement charges of its own.

For context, also see:

Here is what a Windows news section said about the Bilski ruling (bias expected):

Upholding an appeals court ruling in the closely watched Bilski v. Kappos case, the U.S. Supreme Court denied patent protection to a specific business method for energy trading. But the Supreme Court chose not to clarify the lines that define patentable subject matter.

The disallowed patent claim describes a series of steps for hedging against the risk of price changes in the energy commodities market. It was rejected by a patent examiner because it was an abstract formula not implemented on a specific device.

The “device” loophole/trick is being used by Microsoft in other parts of the world, including Europe. Someone really ought to resolve this ambiguity (the Supreme Court even contains two ambiguities in one statement about software, regarding the future of what qualifies as “invention”).

The US patent system is out of control. Choudhury’s yoga patents are a great new example of this. From this week’s news:

American attempt to patent yoga, puts Indians on their toes. Last week, Open Source Yoga Unity, a San Francisco-based non-profit group of yoga enthusiasts, filed a federal lawsuit attacking Choudhury’s patent on 26 yoga postures.At the center of the suit is the question. ‘‘Whose yoga is it anyway? ” The saying, “What’s in the past, should stay in the past” – doesn’t work here.

Here is Ravicher commenting on gene patents — another class of outrageous monopolies. How far will patents go when lawyers are put in charge to maximise their own profit?

Eye on Security: Red Hat Explains Why Windows is Less Secure, New Windows 0-Day Attack

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Red Hat, Security, Windows at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Comparative security news from this week

Open Source is Inherently More Secure, Says Red Hat (Microsoft admits silent patching it never discloses)

But in the closed source world, you have to trust your vendor completely. All you get to see are binaries, so you have no way of knowing how they were built. President Reagan was fond of saying to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, “Trust, but verify.” With proprietary software, you simply have to trust.

Microsoft, for example, pushes out security updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Bressers said they can’t do that. Microsoft has the advantage of hiding security flaws and working on them at their leisure, but with open source software, that’s not possible because everyone can see that there’s a problem and they expect it to be fixed right away.

And if a security hole isn’t plugged quickly enough, you can fix it yourself, Bressers explained.

An example of the power of open source is the ping of death bug. Back in the late 1990s someone figured out that if you send a giant ICMP packet to a computer, just about any computer, it will crash. The bug affected every operating system, routers, printers, etc. When the problem was discovered, the open source Linux operating system had the bug squashed in about 2 hours, Bressers recalled. The closed source operating system vendors, however, took days, weeks and even months to make and distribute a patch for the ping of death.

Microsoft: 10,000 PCs hit with new Windows XP zero-day attack

Nearly a month after a Google engineer released details of a new Windows XP flaw, criminals have dramatically ramped up online attacks that leverage the bug.

Microsoft reported Wednesday that it has now logged more than 10,000 attacks. “At first, we only saw legitimate researchers testing innocuous proof-of-concepts. Then, early on June 15th, the first real public exploits emerged,” Microsoft said in a blog posting.

New Windows Live Messenger has same old privacy problems

Why do I get the impression that some folks at Microsoft just don’t get it?

Privacy problems persist in latest Windows Messenger 2011 beta [via]

Earlier versions of Messenger played fast and loose with your privacy. The new Live Messenger 2011, currently in beta, suffers from some of the same defects

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