“Where are we on this Jihad?”
Summary: An analysis of Microsoft’s ongoing political and legal attacks on Google; a glimpse at Microsoft’s Fog Computing gameplay, which leads to unprecedented levels of lock-in and is a reactionary strategy amid Google’s rise to power
MICROSOFT AND GOOGLE are fighting over people’s data, including their communication (data going down the wires, not just data stored locally or in Fog Computing). Microsoft advocates the use of Windows, whereas Google advocates GNU/Linux with more Free software components inside the stack, e.g. Apache and Python. Neither company is “good” or “evil”; like in many wars, both sides can be “evil”, but it’s all very subjective. To us, what matters is that neither company promotes software freedom, but Google is a lot closer in the sense that some of its products and its funding go towards enabling software freedom (e.g. Summer of Code, Chromium, and maybe Wave to a certain extent).
It should be easy to see why we defend Google from AstroTurfers like LawMedia Group and ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ (Bill Gates too does his share of lobbying against Google). Microsoft has ongoing campaigns to destroy Google; the same can hardly be said about Google. Name just one AstroTurf action Google has run against Microsoft. It’s hard to think of any because it’s a one-way boxing match and it helps show why Microsoft is so widely detested in the IT industry.
“Microsoft Has Lobbied for Weaker Protection for Search Engines, ISPs,” argues Groklaw, which points to this page/file which says (the highlight in red is Groklaw’s): “Turning to the issue of limitations of liability, such provisions are important for the development of innovative Internet-based services. However, care is needed in drafting such provisions to ensure that exceptions are not so broad to include activity that is widely regarded as unlawful. Barry referred to this in his comments about Bill C-61. In Microsoft’s view the Internet and other digital network service providers who profit from providing services that enable or facilitate communication of infringing copies – so for example providers of software that help users locate infringing music, movies or software files – should not qualify for exemptions or limitations on remedies. Accordingly, provisions which seek to limit liability, ISPs or search engines should be carefully crafted.”
“I missed this at the time,” writes Pamela Jones (Groklaw) in News Picks, “but here [above] is part of what Microsoft’s Michael Hilliard, Corporate Counsel for Microsoft in Canada, said in the government’s Copyright Consultations round table discussion in Halifax about a year ago, in August of 2009, on the theme of desired changes to copyright law (MP3), and as you read it, have in mind the strategy that Viacom tried unsuccessfully to use against YouTube/Google, asking the court to rule that Google didn’t qualify for DMCA safe harbor protection…”
“[H]ere is part of what Microsoft’s Michael Hilliard, Corporate Counsel for Microsoft in Canada, said in the government’s Copyright Consultations round table discussion…”
–Pamela Jones, GroklawTo put things in context, we’ve looked at recent news and gathered information which shows that in the US market (and meters that are not sponsored by Microsoft) Google continues to gain market share (not by excluding but by offering a better service).
Henry Blodget has argued that “Yahoo And AOL Should Immediately Merge” and it's not going to happen (more and more people seem to agree). Yahoo! is already somewhat of a property of Microsoft (the search part at the very least). MediaPost Communications looks at this alliance in the article “Navigating The Microsoft And Yahoo Alliance”. For those who do not remember, Yahoo! was very close to signing a deal with Google, but Microsoft is then said to have hired AstroTurfers including LawMedia Group to shoot down the deal. It was utterly disgusting but very typical for Microsoft. Later on Microsoft took over Yahoo!
Anyway, there is more than just search at stake. Search is just a gateway through which a company can gain a lot of Web surfers and channel them towards particular pages, including their own proprietary services (Fog Computing and such). The Microsoft-friendly 1105 Media is promoting Fog Computing for children right now, including the Live@edu scam (there is a new press release about it and additional complaints about lack of encryption in it). The education systems are still being exploited by Microsoft in order to offer ‘free’ indoctrination that’s akin to American EDGI [1, 2, 3, 4], which is now extending into Washington [1, 2, 3] and gets promoted by Seattle’s Microsoft boosters [1, 2]. Had they been honest, they would state that it’s not free and Microsoft should pay people for the privilege of having them brainwashed at the expense of their own time. Since Governor Gregoire is well within Microsoft’s pocket [1, 2], nothing will be done to stop this. If anything, she is likely to encourage this abuse which is marketed using sheer spin.
Over at Minnesota there is already a surrender to Microsoft's Fog Computing, which is maddeningly irresponsible as it puts state E-mails under Microsoft’s control and it’s ripe to misuse [1, 2]. It’s bad enough that some universities make this terrible mistake and under some new banner called “Microsoft Innovation Alliance” (we never came across it before) Microsoft is taking over many more colleges right now. To quote one example: “Software major Microsoft has enrolled BV Raju Institute of Technology (BVRIT) as its member under the Microsoft Innovation Alliance programme.”
That’ll be regrettable.
Based on what we learned in IRC last night, MTS (Canadian ISP) is also throwing its communications at Microsoft’s servers. To quote:
Well, I guess there’s no worry of getting heck for mentioning this since MTS has a press release about it on their website (August 7th)
MTS is phasing out their in-house email service, and switching to Microsoft Windows Live.
“New customers will be able to take advantage of this new service starting August 17, and existing customers will be contacted by email with directions on transitioning to Windows Live services starting in October. Once the customer completes the transition, their existing emails and content in the customer’s current MTS Webmail online account will be transferred to their new Windows Live account all within a few minutes.”
This too will be regrettable because Hotmail is a disaster, just like the rest of Microsoft’s services (e.g. BPOS [1, 2, 3]), which are very unreliable and now require a downtime dashboard (no kidding!) rather than a permanent solution to prevent future downtimes. To put downtime in perspective by quoting the ‘Microsoft press’:
Microsoft acknowledged BPOS service outages affecting customers in North America on Aug. 23, Sept. 3 and Sept. 7.
That’s terrible. These downtimes were long, too. Imagine Google being down so often. It just ain’t because it’s built on top of Free software, which is a lot more reliable (even Microsoft uses GNU/Linux internally [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], at least for the mission-critical stuff, like DNS).
“Microsoft looks into Hotfail bug” says this new headline:
WEBMAIL PROVIDER Microsoft is looking into a bug that is apparently affecting thousands of its Hotmail users.
We were first alerted to the problem by a reader, as, er, none of us use Hotmail. Ian, in South Africa has been unable to get into his account all week and, quite fairly, thought that there might have been a correlation between the Hotmail security updates we had reported and his being unable to access the service.
Nobody needs Microsoft for Fog Computing or for search. That’s why Microsoft is so desperately trying to destroy Google. It’s the only choice it has left. Microsoft is known for breaking stuff (like competition) and taking other people’s stuff; it rarely creates anything worth using (“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products,” said Microsoft’s European business security product manager). Google has the thinkers, Microsoft has the bullies. █
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” –Albert Einstein