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Robert X. Cringely Shreds Microsoft to Pieces While Fraud/Kickbacks Surface at HP, Dell, and Intel

Posted in Apple, Dell, Fraud, GNU/Linux, Hardware, HP, Microsoft, Windows at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mark Hurd
Photo by JD Lasica

Summary: Microsoft loses its power struggle in the Free/open source community and the OEM channel; One of our readers opines that Microsoft may have been responsible for Hurd’s departure from HP

MICROSOFT is going through some tough times (unless one minds the PR). Fortunately, Microsoft is collapsing as even attempts to “embrace and extend” the free/libre competition bite the dust [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft Gavin spins it too weakly for Microsoft. “Microsoft has reportedly refused to comment officially on the changes,” he writes and “[r]eading between the lines, it would seem that Microsoft’s push for Microsoft-versions of dynamic languages has fallen victim to overall budget cuts and changing priorities.”

Jason Perlow suggests breaking up the company and famous columnist Robert X. Cringley is having a go at Microsoft as well (he “seems to sort of use Mac, not sure that’s true,” says a reader of ours. “But the same points could be used for switching to Linux as well.”):

It’s kind of pathetic, really. Most of these arguments are premised on the notion that if you’ve already wasted most of your adult life using Windows, you’ll be more familiar with it than the Mac, so you might as well waste the rest of your adult life. Which is really the only reason why Microsoft continues to dominate desktop market share: It’s harder to switch than to stick with what you got, even if what you got sucks eggs.

Cringely (over at IDG/InfoWorld, so maybe not the original pseudonym’s owner, Mark Stephens) also says that “Microsoft needs more than a new slogan” and in IRC we’ve been having an interesting discussion with an employee of HP. We have already mentioned that at least one possible replacement for Hurd is from Microsoft. Two articles pointed this out and someone who claims to be from HP (nadege) told us: “Hurd was not a Microsoft Monkey. We should know the new CEO within 2 weeks”

HP's new software head was hired from Microsoft a few months ago, which means that he sits on the desk in executive meetings of HP. gnufreex writes: “I have theory about canning Hurd

“Yahoo was too independent company and they put Bartz. And SGI too. And HP of 90′.”
nadege says: “Not sure Hurd was fired due to Microsoft Retaliation : HP & Microsoft are partners, and HP promote a lot the Microsoft products”

“HP does promote Microsoft, but Microsoft doesn’t forgive competition,” gnufreex tells nadege. “Palm is competition”

nadege responds with: “HP promotes Microsoft due to a special relationship. However, HP is still an independent company. So I don’t think Microsoft will put its own CEO at HP”

“Yahoo was too independent company,” gnufreex tells nadege, “and they put Bartz. And SGI too. And HP of 90′. Read this http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=belluzzo&defid=3861632

Someone seems to have coined the term “belluzzo” for Microsoft mole. To quote from Urban Dictionary:

Someone who acts against the interests of the organization he’s with, often in favor of some other organization he may be secretly working for instead – a mole.


Those acts – along with the reward from Microsfot – got him the nickname “the microsoft mole” (google “microsoft mole Belluzzo”) in those companies, and occaionally the term “a belluzzo” is used to describe someone who seems to be acting in the interest of a different company than the one he works for.

For details about Yahoo! entryism, see our Wiki. Earlier today we showed that Newsweek‘s outgoing Managing Editor now works for Microsoft (MSN). Bartz could be just another Belluzzo.

“Also note what they did to IBM’s OS/2, IBM was special partner too,” gnufreex adds. “When you are Microsoft competitor, you are on their hit list [...] That is exactly why they are firing him [...] I mean, not they are not firing him, they are setting the harassment case”

“HP has to be close to Microsoft,” nadege confesses, “otherwise Microsoft will favour Acer or Dell, and HP will lose its leadership. It’s tough to be a Microsoft Partner [...] And believe me : Customers (Companies and end users) want Microsoft products. They won’t accept any huge replacement of Windows.”

Chips B Malroy says: “they will on tablets [...] just look at the iPad”

nadege responds with: “Tablets, OK. Android will perform well” and gnufreex adds: “Yeah, and that is why Microsoft’s want Palm dead, and they need CEO who will kill it. [...] When I said they need CEO to kill Palm, I mean new HP CEO. Hurd didn’t want to kill his product just to please Microsoft, and now has to go. But then again, he is maybe just a rapist and deserves to be fired, and Microsoft has nothing to do with it”

IDG has a new article titled “Did HP Board Have Hidden Agenda in Removing Hurd?”

“New theories on why HP’s Mark Hurd was forced out,” says another headline.

HP has just been sued by a shareholder [1, 2] (shades of Yahoo!) and an aide is leaving along with Hurd. Well, guess who else is leaving? “Palm Prē design lead ejects from HP,” says this report from The Register.

Demi-disgraced HP chief exec Mark Hurd may have been the most-recent high-level exec to exit that company’s Palo Alto headquarters, but he’s not alone in his good-bye drive down US Highway 101.

Thanks to TechCrunch, we now learn that Peter Skillman, Palm’s now-former vice president of design — and the man who shepherded the design of the Palm Prē — has also bailed. An HP spokeswoman tells The Reg that his resignation came “about a month ago.”

Skillman’s departure is no small loss to HP. As the company expands beyond the security of the staid PC ‘n’ server ‘n’ printer markets and dips its toe into the turbulent ‘n’ trendy consumer products free-for-all, it’s going to need all the vision and design expertise it can get.

That cannot be good, can it? Hurd’s ‘Delilah’ says she is sorry and gnufreex writes: “I think Microsoft set him up [...] Because of his Linux related acquisitions [...] I think Microsoft want HP to kill Palm [...] some new Beluzzo might replace him [...] HP Enterpirse Software division (HP-UX and VMS) already got Microsoftie at helm”

The full IRC logs are available to see these claims in sequence. This theory says that they ‘pull a Bartz’ on HP, but evidence is not sufficient.

It was only weeks ago (before Hurd left, followed by the Palm Prē design lead) that HP had filed for a WebOS tablet trademark. It has real potential, but after Hurd officially dumped Vista 7 in favour of WebOS we now learn that Vista 7 is back, almost at the same time that HP put a Microsoft executive (Veghte) in charge of software at HP. Could HP be putting back Windows after dumping Vista 7 from “Slate”? How come?

Last week we showed that there was crime at HP and additional coverage includes:

i. HP settles kickback complaint

ii. HP Takes Charge to Settle DOJ Kickbacks Case

HP allegedly paid more than $3 million to systems integrators between 2001 and 2006 in exchange for favorable treatment on government contracts, according to DOJ filings.

iii. HP pays to end kickback probe

HP is taking a two cents per share charge to end a Department of Justice investigation into bribery allegations.

Here’s more (not about the fraud/kickbacks):

  • Next to exit HP: Top aide to Hurd

    As the many questions around Mark Hurd’s departure continue to go unanswered, a key aide to the former CEO has also abruptly resigned this week.

    The mystery deepens. Caprice Fimbres McIlvaine, formerly head of internal communications at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and a top aide to ex-CEO Mark Hurd, has left the company, following her boss out the door three days after his departure. Her exit is significant because, according to two people with knowledge of her former role, McIlvaine was the key conduit in hiring Jodie Fisher, the actress-turned-corporate hostess/”marketing contractor” who later filed a sexual harassment suit against Hurd, setting in motion the chain of events that resulted in the CEO’s resignation on Aug. 6. McIlvaine resigned effective Aug. 9, HP confirmed Wednesday.

  • Andreessen: Valley statesman, HP’s front man

    Why HP was wise to put director Marc Andreessen forward as the board’s spokesman on the Mark Hurd crisis.

    The delightfully jarring aspect to Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) bombshell news and investor conference calls last Friday was the board member the venerable company put forward as its public face: Marc Andreessen, not so very long ago the enfant terrible of Silicon Valley.

  • Mark Hurd is Irrelevant – The Challenge Ahead for HP

    Mark Hurd’s silly exit has little to do with HP’s real problems. As an executive there about a decade ago, I saw a company that was giving up its differentiating value in the name of operational savings, not realizing that by now the Golden Goose of creativity would find greener pastures. But surprisingly, the classic HP tradition of building a great place to do engineering that results in a flood of excellent creative products is being followed…

Back we go to Cringely (the original one) who wrote about “Stupid CEO Tricks” — a post wherein he mentioned Intel for showing that “to a certain extent crime does pay. ”

This week brought two other news events worthy of comment — Intel’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and Mark Hurd’s sudden departure as CEO from giant Hewlett-Packard.

The Intel story is almost as it is being presented in the trade and general press. Yes, Intel has promised in very specific ways to no longer be evil. No, Intel isn’t being made to give back the money it made as a result of being evil, so to a certain extent crime does pay. Of course some will say the money damages were in part covered by Intel’s recent $1.25 billion settlement with AMD, but the FTC also doesn’t generally impose fines. So if you happen to be guilty of anti-trust I guess it is better to be sued by the FTC than by the DoJ, which does impose fines.

Either way, Intel got away with something and the graphics chip makers in particular should be pissed.

We have already explained how Intel and Dell are teaching our kids that crime pays off. Here is more coverage about that, starting with older articles:

i. FTC gives itself an anti-trust extension as Intel deal eludes it

AN APPARENT FAILURE TO FIND agreement has led to the US Federal Trade Commission extending by two weeks the time it has to find a settlement with Intel.

ii. Red faced Dell fined for cooking the books

iii. Dell Settles with SEC for $100 Million

iv. Dell pays $100m to settle accounting fraud charges

v. Dell to Pay $100 Million to Settle SEC Case

vi. Dell proposes settlement in SEC investigation

vii. AMD gets an order from Dell

The relationship between Dell and AMD has been getting closer lately. Certainly in the days when Dell was an Intel-only shop this sort of deal would have been unthinkable.

viii. Chipmaker Intel settles FTC antitrust lawsuit

ix. FTC Settles Antitrust Complaint Against Intel

x. FTC settles anti-competition case with Intel

xi. FTC settles Intel lawsuit to ‘help consumers’

What is this case teaching our children? That a slap on the wrist is all one gets for abusing the market? Earlier today we showed that Apple too had been caught using kickbacks, so an Apple manager goes to jail (which is rare, they are usually just fined).

The original Cringely has one last post on the subject. “Too Big to Fail” is the title.

Everything about the Intel/FTC settlement screams of one thing — Microsoft. Redmond’s multi-year nightmare with the FTC, DoJ, and the attorneys-general of several dozen states wasn’t lost on Intel, which is a more rational company and doesn’t want a Microsoft-like anti-trust experience. Both companies are guilty and both are paying something for that guilt, but Intel clearly wants to avoid the decade of pain and distraction suffered by Microsoft.


Microsoft was paralyzed with the FTC breathing down its neck. Intel is not paralyzed.

Roughly $2 billion in payouts and Intel is a free bird — a rich free bird at that — having proved that crime does pay.

These settlements will effectively pay for themselves in two months at current Intel profit levels.

Had Microsoft been “paralyzed”, then its abuses would not carry on; but they do.

“Fuck! It took you a year to figure that out!”

Bill Gates

“That’s the dumbest fucking idea I’ve heard since I’ve been at Microsoft.”

Bill Gates

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