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11.25.09

Novell Ignored Staff’s Own Advice Before Selling Out to Microsoft

Posted in Audio/Video, Deals, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jeremy Allison

Summary: An excellent new audiocast covers lesser known facts about Novell’s deal with Microsoft

JEREMY Allison, whom we interviewed shortly after he had left Novell in protest, has just done a session with the SFLC where he talks about events predating the Microsoft deal. According to the audio (playable below), Allison was sent an early copy of Novell’s deal with Microsoft, which he said was like passing a crayon over section 7 of the GPL (v2). Allison resisted it, but the lawyers ignored his feedback anyway and requested deletion of the trail.

Here is the original page, which includes in its index:

* Jeremy discussed that he resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft/Novell deal. (19:33)

The main new item there is Novell’s treatment of antagonism. The legal team patronised an expert advice, so what was it sharing a draft for? A pursuit for endorsement and “yes men”? Based on the bogus survey, that is a possibility.

11.09.09

Microsoft Keeps Shutting Dubai, MoU Roadshow Reaches Taiwan

Posted in Asia, Deals, Microsoft at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dubai beach

Summary: Microsoft signs more deals that help exclude rivals, starting with Dubai and moving further east to Taiwan

LAST week we saw Microsoft making moves to control Dubai’s ICT — moves that we now see continuing. They got themselves a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over there and this week it’s Taiwan which signs an MoU with Microsoft, despite accusing Microsoft of antitrust violations last year. MoU-type deals are explained in this presentation from Microsoft and we also gave recent examples in:

Here is the latest, via the Wall Street Journal:

Microsoft, Taiwan Sign MOU On Cloud Computing Research Hub

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and the Taiwan government signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday to jointly set up a research center for cloud computing in Taiwan, the U.S.-based software giant said in a statement.

Why is the government involved in this? Watch the role of ministries:

Microsoft Corp. and the Taiwanese economics ministry said they are in talks of setting up a cloud computing research centre in Taiwan by next year.

It’s a government partnership:

As for its partnership with Taiwan’s government, Microsoft and Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs will jointly invest to establish a Software and Service Excellence Center in Taipei, with focus on R&D of applications of cloud computing technologies. This reveals Microsoft’s intention of establishing a hardware supporting system to realize cloud computing applications.

What makes no sense here is that they are using taxpayers’ money for this. Another fine example of “constructive capitalism” printing cash for Microsoft at the expense of those who will later pay some more, to the very same company whose operations and establishment they fund too?

What Microsoft is doing with Chinese banks at the moment is also worth paying attention to. Steve Ballmer has just signed a deal in Beijing. We wrote quite a lot about Microsoft in banking recently, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

11.01.09

Microsoft Uses Propaganda to Acquire ICT in Nigeria and Abu Dhabi

Posted in Africa, Asia, Bill Gates, Deals, Deception, Microsoft at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Bill Gates

Nigeria Windows logo

Summary: Microsoft spreads lies about the role of counterfeiting and thereby attempts to capture Nigerian ICT; A new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abu Dhabi blocks Microsoft competitors from ICT

Microsoft has taken its crocodile tears campaign up another notch. It’s all about lies and spin. At the beginning of this month we wrote about what Microsoft was doing Nigeria and now we find the “rich uncles from Redmond” summoning the ‘piracy’ propaganda yet again. It’s all about ICT, which Microsoft wants to absolutely dominate in Nigeria under the guise of “defense” (from so-called ‘pirates’, a phantom enemy).

Microsoft, one of the world’s largest software providers has launched a new operating system (Windows 7), saying Nigeria is one of the major countries of the world where the level of piracy is a threat to the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Meanwhile we learn that Microsoft has just captured ICT in the United Arab Emirates. Further east in Abu Dhabi we find the following new reports:

i. Abu Dhabi’s ICT arm inks deal with Microsoft

The Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre, the ICT arm of the Abu Dhabi government, has signed a master business and services agreement agreement with Microsoft Gulf to enable the emirate’s local government affiliates to purchase Microsoft licenses and engage Microsoft Consultancy Services.

ii. Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre signs master business and services agreement and MoU with Microsoft Gulf

The MBSA agreement together with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Gulf were signed by H.E. Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General, ADSIC and Charbel Fakhoury, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf and witnessed by Linda Zecher, Global Vice President, for Microsoft’s Public Sector business.

This marks a continuation of policies which Bill Gates secured in its trip to Dubai, leading to yet another MoU — a contractual scam that we wrote about and sometimes properly explained in:

Here is a leaked presentation from Microsoft. It explains how an MoU works and what its purpose really is.

09.30.09

~100 Novell Employees to Work for Xerox

Posted in Deals, Novell at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox’s store before I did and took the TV doesn’t mean I can’t go in later and steal the stereo.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Printer and photocopier

Summary: Novell employees to become Xerox staff (outsourcing revisited)

XEROX has announced that it is buying ACS, which works closely with Novell in the sense that Novell employees are moved there.

Novell claimed that the exact number would be "156 Novell professionals" when it signed the agreement with ACS, but the following report from Utah claims that less than 100 “employees” are affected.

The deal comes just five months after ACS and Novell Inc.’s Provo office formed a strategic alliance in which ACS took over computer operations. Nearly 100 Novell employees went to work for ACS.

The following article provides some more background information about Novell and ACS.

Office equipment supplier Xerox Corporation is to buy Dallas based data center management and business process outsourcing firm Affiliated Computer Services in a cash and stock transaction valued at $6.4 billion.

[...]

In June this year Affiliated Computer Services said it would take over the running of Novell’s data center operations in Provo, Utah as part of a global services deal which will see the outsourcer take Novell’s data center products to market. Under the IT outsourcing arrangement, around 150 Novell data center staff will move to ACS, including the infrastructure and application development and maintenance services operations. ACS will also take over Novell’s global SAP roll out by providing consulting and applications development and system integration services in a $135 million, five-year contract.

The above article speaks of “around 150 Novell data center staff.” We have already explained the role of Novell offshoring in its cost-cutting moves.

09.25.09

Is Moblin a Microsoft-taxed Linux in the Making?

Posted in Deals, Dell, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Turbolinux at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intel Pentium CPU

Summary: Moblin is a step forward for GNU/Linux, but software patents do not appear to be off the table

YESTERDAY we wrote about Moblin eschewing Silverlight, noting that it was (sometimes still is) based on SUSE [1, 2]. There is a complex history to it, which continues to present day.

As we explained two days ago, Intel is not a friend of GNU/Linux, but it must keep up with the competition, so Linux is not a platform that Intel can afford to ignore. Intel and Novell are quite close, as this very recent video of Guy Lunardi shows. Likewise, Intel is close to Microsoft, whose operating system it is constantly promoting these days; there is even collusion with Microsoft [1, 2, 3].

As we repeatedly showed, Dell had mysteriously joined the Microsoft/Novell deal very shortly before Microsoft’s patent attack began [1, 2]. Now we find this in The Inquirer:

Dell and Microsoft back Moblin

[...]

During her keynote at the show, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Software and Services Group Renee James was joined by Ian Ellison-Taylor, Microsoft’s general manager for Client Platforms and Tools to announce the collaboration.

This partnership is expected to help developers write applications once and have them run across Windows and Moblin devices, expanding the reach of Silverlight from the desktop and into mobile consumer electronic devices.

“We see this as a clear extension of our current efforts with Novell where we are building an open source implementation of Silverlight called Moonlight that is targeted at the broad range of Linux–based PCs,” said Ellison-Taylor.

Heise has some more details and Turbolinux, which also joined Microsoft’s Linux racket, is mentioned in various places. This does not necessarily suggest that there is consistency here when it comes to “Linux tax” in Moblin.

Throughout its lifetime, Moblin swapped desktop environments and distributions several times. After the Ubuntu shuffle came OpenSUSE, but also Fedora was put at the centre about a year ago, before Moblin was passed over to the Linux Foundation. According to this, Fedora is still at the centre, which is somewhat baffling and the information may be out of date.

Atom-based devices can run Windows but also Moblin, an open source custom Fedora-based Linux operating system targeted at netbooks, handhelds, smart phones and car computers. Intel started the Moblin project in 2007 then passed it over to the Linux Foundation.

Then there is this press release, which suggests that Ubuntu is somehow magically back under the name “Ubuntu Moblin Remix”. Are there now variants of Moblin, too?

Sam Dean argues about the effect of Moblin on ‘fragmentation’, further adding or at least showing that Moblin targets device types that are almost dominated by ARM.

If Moblin becomes a serious player in open source mobile operating systems, it will contribute to a great deal of fragmentation. Android is just gaining its stride, and heading beyond just smartphones, while Google is likely to put big marketing dollars behind Chrome OS. It’s already announced that it is talking to hardware partners.

 

At IDF today, the first edition of Moblin Linux for smartphones were demonstrated. They could lead to Intel chip-based smartphones.

There is more information about the smartphones outreach of Moblin, which confirms that to Intel it is mostly about expanding to more hardware, not necessarily replacing Windows. Intel also intends to offer software shops and there is nothing wrong with that. The most interesting report speaks about Moblin coming to full-blown desktops.

Intel has expanded the scope of Linux-based Moblin by porting the OS from netbooks to mobile devices and desktops, where it could compete with Microsoft’s Windows OS.

In its latest filing, Microsoft told its investors that it worried about Hewlett-Packard and Intel turning to Windows alternatives, namely GNU/Linux in this case. It sure looks like it is happening. So to characterise Intel’s work on Moblin as beneficial to Microsoft would be absurd. But that’s not the point; the question is, will Intel bend GNU/Linux in the direction of becoming Microsoft-taxed, just like SUSE? This is hopefully preventable as that would spell a defeat to the freedom of Free software in the mass market.

08.26.09

Another Warning Sign for Mono Proponents: NTFS and FAT

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The strength of this platform [C#] and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: Another new lesson on the dangers of mimicking Windows functionality

EARLIER in the day we wrote about people who try to turn GNU/Linux into some kind of a clone of Windows. They do so despite lack of interest from both users and developers. To make matters worse, Microsoft’s “promise” for Moonlight and Mono was deemed insufficient. Lessons ought to have been learned from Microsoft's attack on free implementations of FAT and Microsoft is now doing the same thing to NTFS, which some hardware manufacturers tactlessly embed by default.

The significant news comes through this press release from Tuxera. For those who do not know, “Tuxera was the first to implement reliable NTFS read/write support on Linux, Mac OS X, and other systems.”

Oddly enough, Tuxera is not bashful about lending its voice to Microsoft’s patent attacks and the Microsoft crowd seems ecstatic.

On August 26, Tuxera Ltd anounced it has signed an intellectual-property (IP) licensing agreement with Microsoft; joined Microsoft’s exFAT driver-licensing program; and joined the Microsoft Interop Vendor Alliance. Tuxera, based in Helsinki, Finland, was founded by the NTFS-3G open-source project.

According to The H (Heise):

Tuxera has announced an “extensive co-operation” with Microsoft. Tuxera, the company formed by the NTFS-3G developers, has signed an Intellectual Property Agreement with Microsoft and joined its exFAT Programme.

[...]

Tuxera’s CTO, Szabolcs Szakacsits said he looked forward to working with OEM customers saying “Adding exFAT into our existing NTFS product portfolio is the logical next step”. The exFAT driver is aimed at OEM manufacturers and will be available for Linux first, but no details of any open source plans for exFAT were disclosed.

Tuxera seems to be a very small proprietary software company, based on its Web site. NTFS-3G was considered open source however and the agreement around it is secret.

Tuxera, the Finnish company behind open-source file system NTFS-3G, has announced a confidential intellectual-property deal with Microsoft, under which it will be permitted to carry on distributing its open-source NTFS product and to offer new exFAT drivers.

Tuxera is based in Finland, where software patents are invalid. What were they thinking?

Could Microsoft have rewarded Tuxera in some way in order to rattle the NTFS case? We shall soon find out, hopefully. The secrecy around this deal may be part of the FUD factor that’s desirable to Microsoft.

08.25.09

VMware Turns Sour After Microsoft Intervention

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Virtualisation, VMware, Windows, Xen at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

E-love

Summary: VMware shows signs of Linux neglect, just like Xen after receiving funding, staff and acquisition from Microsoft-tied entities

VMware is run by Microsoft veterans after aggressive intervention and this causes real trouble. Joining the Linux Foundation was a cheap (as in relatively inexpensive) public relations move for VMware; judging by its actions, it’s not serious about the platform anymore. From the news:

VMware drags its feet on Linux-based vCenter appliance, annoys Linux users

The vCenter virtual appliance server 2.5 has been available as a free technology preview since late February. The cross-platform client interface is still in development but some components have been available in technology preview since May, with no word on how long users will have to wait for a full production release of either product. All of that doesn’t sit well with some people.

Eric Siebert, a TechTarget blogger and IT veteran, said he thinks VMware may have been dragging its feet a bit on this project because its customer base is predominately Windows. But VMware needs to step up its Linux efforts if it wants to compete with Xen and Hyper-V for Linux users, he said.

Why is this happening? Is Microsoft using Maritz and his other Microsoft colleagues as what it calls “insider friend, ‘the Fox’” or is this neglect simply part of the company’s overall weakness?

VMware — being part of EMC — is Microsoft Partner of the Year 2008 and so is Citrix/Xen, whose role has become Microsoft centered.

Another one of Microsoft’s suspicious ‘puppets’ is Yahoo!

It truly shows now that Yahoo! joins Microsoft's action against Google in books and now that Yahoo acquires Maktoob. Guess who it may be piggybacking?

Yahoo Acquires Arab Portal, Bing Gets Backdoor Into Deal

[...]

This morning Yahoo announced that it was acquiring Maktoob.com, “the leading online community in the Arab world.” According to Yahoo the site has an audience of 16.5 million people. The purchase price has been estimated at between $75 and $100 million and was apparently in the works before the search deal with Microsoft was announced last month. Yahoo said the acquisition is part of a larger strategy to grow its audience in emerging markets and become the “destination of choice” in those locations.

It is reasonable to treat Yahoo! almost like a subsidiary of Microsoft in particular areas. As we have seen before, Microsoft may also use its partners to acquire other companies for competitive reasons. This is sad.

08.23.09

Microsoft-Yahoo! Deal Not a Done Deal, But Microsoft Proceeds to Other Deals as Search Ambitions Fail

Posted in Antitrust, Deals, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digital world

Summary: Scrutiny and challenges ahead of “Microsoft 2.0″; Wolfram|Alpha and Advance Internet deals spotted

Regardless of the outcome of the Microsoft/Yahoo! deal, Yahoo! is now behaving like a drone of Microsoft [1, 2]. As Hadoop escapees show us, this also has negative effects on Free software inside Yahoo! [1, 2]. Based on this report, other Yahoo! ‘refugees’ are starting to form a business elsewhere.

A team of Yahoo veterans who built its behavioral targeting advertising technology are publicly launching a hybrid ad network today called Rocket Fuel, which they’ve tested over the past year with major brands including Nike, Dell, Microsoft, and American Express. Despite keeping quiet, Rocket Fuel’s ad network reaches 40 million people and shows them about 100 million ads per month.

Great damage (e.g. to consumer choice) has already been done by the signing of the Microsoft/Yahoo! deal, which is revocable nonetheless. Antitrust regulators may still break it apart.

Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. hope that by joining forces, they can tilt the balance of power in Internet search away from Google Inc. First, however, Yahoo and Microsoft have to convince regulators that their plan won’t hurt online advertisers and consumers.

As the U.S. Justice Department reviews the proposed partnership, approval figures to hinge on this question: Will the online ad market be healthier if Google’s dominance is challenged by a single, more muscular rival instead of two scrawnier foes?

Microsoft too admits that this is not final. From Reuters:

Microsoft legal chief sees risk in Yahoo deal

[...]

The deal, struck in late July after months of talks, faces a tough regulatory review, and the possibility that it won’t be enough to effectively challenge Google Inc (GOOG.O).

Reuters names some other challenges such as this one in India:

According to Komli Media’s analytics platform Vizisense, the combined share of search traffic from India for Yahoo and Microsoft in July is only 8.49%, compared with Google’s 91.19%. However, the combined reach of search users is higher, at 37.90%, compared with Google’s 93.17%.

In China, which is the largest Internet population, it’s all about Baidu and Google. We wrote about this some weeks ago and also cited supportive numbers. Speaking of such numbers, the above shows sheer dominance by Google outside the United States (US) and not too surprisingly, the Microsoft-friendly meters that Microsoft loves to reference and pay [1, 2, 3] are not measuring things globally. Classic hype and deception for Bing. Among GNU/Linux users (many of whom are outside the US), it’s mostly the same story:

It’s therefore somewhat telling that Linux users overwhelmingly choose Google as their preferred search engine, according to data released today by Chitika, an online advertising network. Chitika analyzed data from 163 million searches across its advertising network between July 30 and August 16, and came up with the following…

According to this, almost 95% of GNU/Linux users are also using Google (neither Yahoo! nor Microsoft’s search engine identity du jour).

What can Microsoft do for a breakthrough? According to some reports, Wolfram|Alpha negotiated an agreement with Microsoft, but it’s not quite what CNET tries to make it seem.

Wolfram Alpha and Bing have reached a licensing deal that allows Bing to present some of the specialized scientific and computational content that Wolfram Alpha generates, according to a source familiar with the deal. The deal was reported earlier by TechCrunch.

It would be better for Wolfram|Alpha not to associate itself with a company so hostile towards science, a company that thrives in ignorance.

Microsoft has signed another deal with Advance Internet, a newspaper group. It will have a negative effect on balance in the news.

Microsoft makes another move to restart its internet business with the announcement of a local advertising partnership with a major newspaper group in the US

Several days ago we saw Microsoft/NBC buying another news Web site [1, 2], which means it will be less than eager to criticise Microsoft, the paymaster.

A writer at Seeking Alpha has more details on what should be announced tomorrow.

On Monday, Advance Internet is announcing its new partnership with Microsoft (MSFT), an agreement that tells us a few things about the emerging, post-recession marketplace.

What will be the effect on newspaper coverage now that Microsoft is working with them? It would be naïve to assume that that the answer is “none”.

“And let’s face facts. innovation has never been Microsoft’s strong suite. We’re much better at ripping off our competitors. For example, we did not invent either ASP or IE, we bought them!”

E-mail from an unidentified Microsoft employee, as revealed in the antitrust trial

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