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03.04.14

Skype Chief Executive Quits Microsoft Amid NSA Scandals

Posted in Red Hat at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A day or so after Yahoo was revealed to have been used to illegally spy on users’ webcams the former Skype chief executive resigns (effective immediately)

SOMETHING TRULY ugly is happening at Microsoft. Not only did Microsoft collude with the criminal NSA but it also turned Skype into a surveillance machine. To make matters worse, Microsoft is now shamelessly hoovering up personal data from Windows PCs (article in German) and executives are fleeing (can anyone blame them?).

“Tony Bates, the former Skype chief executive and currently head of Microsoft’s business development, is to leave the company immediately,” says this article (titled “Microsoft Loses Two Top Executives”), “while Reller, co-head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, will stay on board during a transition period” (damage control).

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft’s Kinect as a target of surveillance (mentioned in the context of Yahoo). It doesn’t get any worse, does it? Even video of people who use Microsoft products seems to be intercepted and saved, obviously against the law (millions are affected, so there is no reasonable suspicion). The timing of this immediate resignation is interesting to say the very least because it overlaps reports about Yahoo video chats as targets of interception and mass violations (GCHQ is said to have watched and probably recorded hundreds of thousands of innocent people masturbating). Based on previous leaks (about Skype), it is reasonable to say that Skype is not exempted from this and its violations are no different. We just haven’t seen enough documents about it (yet).

Meanwhile, as Sam Varghese notes [1], Red Hat is failing to exploit these scandals to its own advantage, perhaps because Red Hat too has something to hide [1, 2, 3].

It would be nice if more people started to appreciate Free software, at the very least because of privacy (which a lot of people understand and value).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux companies never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

    It would be heartening to see James Whitehurst, the head of Red Hat Linux, the biggest commercial Linux outfit, and one that has seen billing go above the billion-dollar mark, deliver a speech at some official forum that underlined the fact that his company’s product – and that of other commercial Linux companies – provides a guarantee against the insertion of backdoors.

Microsoft’s Strategy is to Hurt the Competitors, Not Create Products

Posted in Google, Marketing, Microsoft at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An appointment of Penn to the role of “chief strategy officer” says a lot about Microsoft’s strategy

IN ADDITION to trolling Google with patents (via proxies) Microsoft is running smear campaigns against Google. Microsoft is a political movement, not a technology company, and now it is hiring political astroturf figures and promoting them to the very top [1]. To quote this new report: “For Washingtonians, Penn’s appointment is of particular interest, given his time on the Clinton presidential campaign and his subsequent resignation after his public relations work raised conflict-of-interest issues. During his year and half at Microsoft, he has helped the firm use his penchant for negative advertising against tech competitors.”

Writing about this man’s promotion to “chief strategy officer”, Glyn Moody says that “if Nadella thinks “scroogled” is strategy, MS is truly in finished” (Nadella is not really in charge, Ballmer and Gates still control him behind the scenes and he serves mostly as a public face).

So the official Microsoft strategy now revolves around throwing libel at Google, based on Penn’s promotion. Sam Dean, often an apologist for Microsoft, asked yesterday [3]: “How Will Microsoft Respond to the Success of Chromebooks?”

Well, we think it’s very clear now: smears and patent litigation/extortion.

Welcome the ‘new’ Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Former Clinton strategist to help shape Microsoft’s future
  2. Microsoft Is Said to Shake Up Staff With Penn’s Appointment

    Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, in an effort to reignite growth, is shuffling management and putting former political operative Mark Penn in the new role of chief strategy officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

  3. How Will Microsoft Respond to the Success of Chromebooks?

    As we’ve reported, although market research findings have been very bleak for PCs and PC equipment makers, Chromebooks–portable computers based on Google’s Chrome OS platform–have continued to sell well, and did especially well during the 2013 holiday season. These devices feature low prices, with some of the them going for $200, and a cloud-centric approach to working with apps and data. They also increasingly come with freebies, such as large amounts of free, online storage.

Bill Gates’ Pet Patent Troll (Intellectual Ventures) is Seemingly Collapsing But Trying to Disrupt the Government With a PAC

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An update on Nokia, Intellectual Ventures, and other proxies of the Microsoft camp that pass patents for trolls who attack Android/Linux, FOSS at large, and the industry as a whole (everyone but Microsoft)

WHEN Bill Gates, hiding behind his tax evasion ploy, funded his close friend’s so-called ‘business’ Intellectual Ventures he must have envisioned the potential for abuse against Microsoft’s competitors. Over the past few years we have demonstrated this happening. It’s not a theory but practice.

Glyn Moody, writing this update about Intellectual Ventures, notes that there were layoffs (due to lack of money) and months ago the troll was reported to have “grown to 800 employees, 70,000 patents.” It’s a bubble.

As we demonstrated and repeatedly showed some years ago, Intellectual Ventures was lobbying together with Bill Gates, showing the alignment in agenda (they work on some projects together, extorting real companies). “Intellectual Ventures,” notes a new report, “which is one of the country’s top patent owners but makes few of its own products, filed to organize the committee with the Federal Election Commission this week.”

So they continue to interfere with politics.

Speaking of trolls, Microsoft’s troll Nokia (which also sends patents to other trolls) is now the subject of complaints for its trolling (after the European regulators warned about it also) [1]. “A little bit of revisionism there,” said iopkh, “the ground was lost because of Elop.” (A Microsoft mole)

Nokia, Intellectual Ventures etc. are just part patent-stacking techniques and elimination of fair competition by passing some patents to trolls (both Nokia and Intellectual Ventures use smaller entities for litigation). Meanwhile, as revealed in [2], the EFF continues to focus on “trolls” rather than software patents when it comes to patent reform. Perhaps they would do something to limit the ability of Nokia, Intellectual Ventures and others who are passing patents to troll as part of the current business model. Maybe Nokia, Intellectual Ventures, and others will just die quickly enough to reduce the damage they can inflict upon producing entities.

This is a serious issue. It deserves more attention.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google, Samsung Said to Express Microsoft-Nokia Concern to China

    Google Inc. (GOOG:US) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) joined Chinese mobile phone makers in expressing concern to China that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US)’s bid to take over Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s phone business may result in higher patent licensing fees, two government officials familiar with the matter said.

  2. Two Big Cases Could Protect Software Innovators – and Their Customers – From Patent Lawsuits

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the U.S. Supreme Court to crack down on patent trolls and the schemes they use to perpetuate their lawsuits in two amicus briefs filed today.

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