Summary: The plague which is Microsoft staff swapping hats (to masquerade as journalists) is still impacting news giants
OVER the past half a decade (or more) we have given many examples where CBS hired from Microsoft and appointed ‘journalists’ who not only had worked for Microsoft (to cover Microsoft issues and/or bash Microsoft’s competition) but even people who still worked for Microsoft. It’s like they are wearing two hats. The latest such example goes only a month or two back. There are dozens of such people (in total) and it is a very big deal because CBS owns and controls ZDNet and CNET, among many more sites. Last night we were told by a writer from Ars Technica (owned by Condé Nast, just like Wired and Reddit) that Microsoft sponsored the launch of Ars Technica UK, where every single page right now bears a huge Microsoft advertisement (which ad blockers are unable to hide). Ars Technica already employs several pro-Microsoft propagandists.
IDG, which owns and runs a huge number of sites that cover technology and proclaim to be news sites, can serve to show the security bias which we last mentioned the other day. As spotted by this comment, “Roger Roger A. Grimes] currently works for Microsoft as a principal security architect.”
“The author clearly has never met a good troll,” said another comment. The title of the piece is “We need the Internet police now more than ever”. This is total nonsense. What we need are operating systems without back doors, i.e. we need to abandon the likes of Microsoft (no more Windows). It facilitates cyber-crime, leads to botnets, DDOS attacks, extortion, etc.
This article is not atypical; this is just Microsoft propaganda (whether planned/coordinated or not). It’s Microsoft philosophy publicly projected. There is mostly blaming of the victims from Microsoft’s Grimes (Microsoft salaried ‘journalist’). Watch one of his latest: “Get real about user security training” (because it’s easy to blame the victims).
One day it may become possible to effectively screen journalists. We hope that journalism wouldn’t be so easy for Microsoft to penetrate and use to its advantage, leaving Microsoft only with aggressive PR agencies that try to push 'prepared' articles to journalists. █
“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”
–Microsoft, internal document
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‘Gifts’ from Microsoft
Summary: Media which is either willfully ignorant or complicit has successfully, based on volume of coverage, framed Microsoft’s proprietary software as openness and nicety
THERE is a truly disturbing thing going on in the media right now. News that Microsoft announced last year resurfaces again and it only serves to mislead the public.
The Microsoft BUILD event would be better off named BLOB. There’s no build process (for the public at least) when the end product is only binary, like Visual Studio Code or blobs for open/free/modular/hacker-friendly computer boards (Arduino and Raspberry Pi). The latest moves which Microsoft tries to paint as “open” are actually Microsoft injecting proprietary software into open platforms that aren’t Microsoft’s. It’s a form of abduction and ‘bastardisation’. Linux is replaced by Windows. Some “openness”, eh? Why does the media cover it so poorly and what’s with all the promotional language? The ‘newsflash’ here is that Microsoft gives a proprietary code editor to developers. Why would they need that? Because there aren’t any good code editors that are FOSS? There are plenty of them, including versatile ones like Eclipse, which also function as complete IDEs and support many hardware architectures.
According to this article from Phoronix (which has been helping Microsoft’s PR efforts a little too much as of late), “Ubuntu Make Adds Support For Visual Studio Code”. The original and the links to it (Softpedia covered this too) remind tell that “Ubuntu Make 0.7 is available via a PPA for users of Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10, and 15.04.”
So what’s the big deal? Do they really want us to download this? It’s proprietary software. It’s serves Microsoft, just like Skype, a malicious surveillance program. It is understandable that people like Adrian Bridgwater cover it because of their history of Microsoft apologetics (also see this new article from him), but why do FOSS- or GNU/Linux-leaning sites give Microsoft a platform/space? Here is Linux Veda treating as ‘news’ (from last year) proprietary software for several platforms (to help promote Microsoft APIs). This proprietary software story is receiving more publicity than Free software equivalents, even in GNU/Linux-focused sites. Why is that? Are they just parroting what they see on corporate media, which is actively being manipulated by Microsoft PR agencies? This is not important news and it’s not FOSS news.
Softpedia went further by reviewing this proprietary software in the GNU/Linux section. The author wrote: “After extracting the ZIP package, you’ll see a new folder that has the same name as the archive. To start Visual Studio Code on your Linux box, open the extracted folder and double-click the “Code” executable file.”
Microsoft’s Trojan horse for .NET is distributed as a binary blob and given Microsoft’s track record on back doors, surveillance, DRM and so forth it’s not a good idea to encourage others to run such programs. Here is OMG! Ubuntu doing the same thing, telling people how to install this blob in Ubuntu.
What was probably must frustrating would have to be this post from the body representing Linux. The Linux Foundation should know that Microsoft releasing a proprietary software binary (blob) is not “Microsoft Opens Up” (as the headline puts it, referring to just two links about proprietary software from Microsoft).
Our article about this was mentioned in Soylent News the other day, countering Microsoft’s self-serving (and misleading) narrative. This is what openwashing looks like: calling Microsoft “open source” because it released a binary blob. See the headline “Say goodbye to Micro$oft – the new Microsoft is all about openness”. Yes, blobs are “all about openness”. White is the new black.
Microsoft is also trying to make FOSS compilers more Windows-oriented, i.e. tied to proprietary platforms, based on Phoronix and Linux Veda [1, 2]. If this is “opening up”, then proprietary software is the new “Open Source” and ultimately, it’s all about Windows.
Phoronix, incidentally, also published this article about Mono, Microsoft’s Trojan horse for .NET promotion and dependency on Microsoft’s software patents. Why focus on such bits of software? They are part of the proprietary software stack which is actively attacking GNU/Linux in all sorts of ways, e.g. ‘secure’ boot (preventing people from using kernels of their choice or modifying and then executing them). This is an attack on Free software. Why help Microsoft’s agenda? Stockholm syndrome?
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols believes that “Windows embracing Android and iOS is a bad idea”. Well, if it’s an "embrace, extend, extinguish" approach, then it’s not such a bad idea. It’s evil and potentially effective (Microsoft destroyed competition this way many times before). Vaughan-Nichols asks: “How can there be a future for Windows on smartphones and tablets when Microsoft is encouraging developers to bring its apps from Apple and Google’s ecosystem?”
The basic idea is, take away all the applications and make them Windows applications while at the same time replacing applications from Apple or Google with Microsoft applications. Microsoft's booster Tim Anderson explained how it’s supposed to work and several other sites covered it [1, 2] as though it’s a nice gesture rather than an aggressive coup. Microsoft must be salivating at the sight of many who actually believe Microsoft wants peace. █
“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”
–Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée
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Book burning time
Summary: Microsoft’s embarrassing crimes against Netscape — the ones that put Bill Gates on trial and nearly split Microsoft — virtually forgotten as Netscape itself is made to ‘disappear’
THE grooming of Microsoft has gotten pretty bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as gross distortion of facts. The ToryGraph, an oftentimes pro-Microsoft paper, does some professional revisionism in the “Microsoft” section today, disguised quite shrewdly as “a brief history” of “Web browsers”. It’s really just a Microsoft ad, as one can instantaneously see.
“If often seems like Microsoft’s PR campaigns know no boundaries; they make what is perhaps the most famous Web browser in history just vanish, and not just once.”“Somehow they manage to leave out Netscape,” iophk wrote to us. Watch the comments and especially those commenters who allude to Netscape. One comment says: “Bloody rubbish. Internet Explorer was based on Mosiac and where is Netscape in the list?!”
This is disgusting. Microsoft propaganda that distorts history like this is something we have become accustomed to and have seen in the British media before. Having committed crimes against Netscape (see this petition text), Microsoft is yet again deleting it from history, like the Microsoft-connected BBC did for Microsoft half a decade ago in a TV programme. If often seems like Microsoft’s PR campaigns know no boundaries; they make what is perhaps the most famous Web browser in history just vanish, and not just once. We have shown more examples of this over the years. It’s not accidental. It’s extremely likely to be deliberate and conscious because only a fool or a self-deceiving journalist can make gross omissions like that. █
“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”
–Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark
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Summary: Another publicity stunt from Microsoft, this time going under the name ‘Visual Studio Code’, which is basically proprietary lock-in
DESPITE an openwashing campaign and an effort to deceive the public (as chronicled here before), Visual Studio is (and will remain) proprietary. There is currently yet another PR blitz from Microsoft, which at the moment is trying to openwash it and pretend that it’s ‘news’ (it’s not, it goes back to last year).
Sadly, some FOSS proponents have already fallen for it and Phoronix is doing marketing for Microsoft [1, 2]. This is not really news and it’s not even a surprise. It’s just some publicity stunt which got Microsoft boosters and Microsoft-friendly sites on board. There is a press release and a lot of what looks like ‘prepared’ coverage (ghost-written or written in advance with a so-called ‘embargo’) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16].
Microsoft may be good at marketing, even when it comes to proprietary software whose aim is to promote Microsoft APIs, i.e. Microsoft lock-in. █
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Lying to the public for salaries
Summary: Media actively subverted by Microsoft-sponsored agents of deception, whose goal is to change what people think of Microsoft and its software, even if by lying (they call it ‘marketing’)
ALL around the world there have been many misleading reports about Microsoft being “open”. These reports are not always in English, so it may not be easy to spot and rebut them. Writers of such reports are either extremely gullible, pressured (e.g. by assertive editor/publisher/advertiser), or bribed.
Someone, a long-term reader of Techrights, came to our IRC channels claiming that “one of my ex classmates is now a paid Microsoft copywriter… I got furious yesterday when I found out” (the company in question is VISIBILITY, one of Microsoft’s many PR agencies/proxies that include Visible Technologies). We already explained how such firms operate and it’s absolutely appalling. Microsoft already got caught (several times) sending out people to conduct AstroTurfing campaigns in sites like Reddit and YouTube. Now we know that Microsoft may also be paying agencies (at least in east Europe) to push into the media pro-Microsoft stories. And they wonder why they’re hated. Well, given the prevalence of agencies that push ‘stories’ for Microsoft it’s not crazy to debunk these ‘stories’, it’s just crazy to believe them. Lies in repetition can become compelling nonetheless. We already explored how Microsoft was pushing fake (prepared) ‘articles’, often to be ghostwritten or ghost-published by fake/lazy ‘journalists’. With enough bribed ‘reporters’ no wonder Microsoft can rewrite history and lie so routinely and effectively. If Microsoft pays agents in east Europe to ‘plant’ articles, then it’s not even expensive because salaries there are significantly lower and perhaps regulations of the press are relatively lax. It’s like outsourcing of AstroTurfing. Clever move.
“Business as usual then,” wrote Paolo Vecchi about it, reminding us of very recent examples like damn lies about Vista 10 being 'free'. It went on for many weeks before Microsoft finally admitted that it had lied (‘marketed’). The media pushed this lie into every corner of the Web for weeks. It was published in many languages in some very widely-read sites. The correction from Microsoft (weeks later) hardly received any coverage at all.
A new report by Gregg Keizer says that “Free Windows 10 is not an upgrade … it’s marketing,” according to Microsoft. Vista 10 is not free and was never going to be free. It’s a big lie and Microsoft’s 10-Q filing shows that Microsoft knowingly lied (‘marketed’). To quote Keizer: “Windows 10 is not a free upgrade, Microsoft said last week. It’s a “marketing and promotional activity.”
“The odd nomenclature appeared in Microsoft’s 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that highlighted the company’s first quarter financial numbers.
“In the 10-Q segment devoted to revenue recognition — typically several paragraphs of static boilerplate — Microsoft brought up Windows 10, specifically the free upgrade it plans to hand out to users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 after Windows 10′s summer debut.”
So remember that Microsoft wilfully lies and just calls it ‘marketing’. Truths and lies have no meaning to Microsoft; it’s all ‘marketing’. It’s manipulation of the media.
Bear that in mind when seeing the openwashing of Microsoft, such as the latest (and seemingly obligatory) Nadella grooming by Sam Dean, whose parent company was paid by Microsoft to embed pro-Microsoft messages inside articles. It’s more of the ‘new Microsoft’ nonsense, which means that Dean is either gullible or acting as a salesman. “It’s becoming more and more clear that we aren’t witnessing the old Microsoft anymore,” he says. Actually, Microsoft is getting worse but also more secretive. Do we really need to perpetuate all those lies (‘marketing’) from Microsoft?
Watch this new headline that says “Microsoft may love Linux now, but can Hadoop vendors ever kiss and make up?”
Very loaded headline they got there. Microsoft hates Linux, as its actions serve to show. We wrote about this just over a month ago in:
Journalists should stop repeating Microsoft’s slogans and PR. Microsoft does not “love Linux”, it hates it with a passion and actively tries to destroy it. Phoronix shows how the BSD world is increasingly being used as a wedge through which to harm or change GNU/Linux, as Microsoft tries to spread .NET through it (.NET and associated tools such as Visual Studio are totally Microsoft-controlled and proprietary). █
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The ‘special’ relationship between Microsoft and Gartner is simply impossible to overlook
Summary: Gartner waited until 2015 to declare FOSS fit for databases; another example spotted where Gartner staff comes from Microsoft or vice versa
OVER half a decade ago we showed how Microsoft-friendly ‘analysts’ were using totally bogus yardsticks to measure the market share of databases. They love to keep track of revenue, not actual usage or installed base. Well, based on this new report, Gartner is still stuck 10+ years in the past, pretending that “Relational open source databases,” as the headline at IDG (parent of IDC) puts it, “come of age” (oh, really?). So how come the Internet and many other servers at the back end (server room) of businesses have been running postgres, mysql, etc. for ages? Gartner prefers to pretend that it’s a new thing, but then again, Gartner is so corrupt (paid by Microsoft and Oracle) that one should expect bias. They have been in denial about Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and GNU/Linux for as long as they could get away with it. Surely they’ve spread FUD for years, so why the sudden change?
To quote the report from IDG, “Open source relational databases have come of age, according to a new report from Gartner. The analyst firm recommends folding an open source database into your application portfolio.
“In its report, The State of Open-Source RDBMSs, 2015, the company found that open source relatoinal database management systems (OSRDBMSs) have matured to the point where they can replace commercial databases. CIOs can now consider them as a standard infrastructure choice, the company advised.”
Only now? Gartner has got to be kidding, not just lying.
What we have here is a bunch of Microsoft propagandists pretending to support FOSS, but all they really do is mischaracterise it and belittle it. They put it under negative light. They make it seem immature and borderline amateur.
Speaking of Gartner, the other day we saw a Microsoft boosting site presenting some column called “Analyst Watch” in which a former Gartner (and IDC) guy said that FOSS would “eat the world” (not a very friendly way to put it). To clarify who wrote this, see the byline: “Al Hilwa is an industry analyst at research firm IDC, specializing in application development research. He has written columns for tech publications and is widely quoted in the media, including the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and National Public Radio. Prior to IDC, he spent seven years at Microsoft in the Server & Tools division, and five years as an industry analyst at Gartner specializing in database systems. Before Gartner, he worked in IT in various industries. ”
Yes, so he spent seven years at Microsoft in the Server & Tools division and also Gartner. People can work for Microsoft and Gartner. No conflict of interest. None at all! This isn’t an exceptional case. Gartner is totally corrupt. See the recent Gartner spin from Mr. Silver, the firm’s lead booster of Microsoft. He went as far as lying for Microsoft.
Al Hilwa also works for IDC (by extension IDG), which is a frequent booster of Microsoft that in the above example amplified Gartner’s ‘findings’.
When we have Gartner/IDC/Microsoft staff commenting on FOSS in a Microsoft-friendly ‘news’ site we need to be very careful. Apart from openwashing of Facebook surveillance, e.g. sticking/shoving its proprietary surveillance software (call records hoarder) into Free/libre Android right now, the article is associating FOSS with anti-FOSS concepts. Al Hilwa from Gartner/IDC/Microsoft says “IP” and “IP back into the community.” He speaks of “Creating IP in open source”, “proprietary IP”, and “Open-source IP-based businesses”. Yes, sounds like real ‘advocacy’ of FOSS, eh?
And here comes the Microsoft apologist Adrian Bridgwater. He follows Al Hilwa’s lead with an article titled “If Software Is Eating The World, Then Open Source Will Chew It Up (And Swallow)”.
“In a world where ‘even’ Microsoft embraces open source,” he writes, “surely we need to know what kind of software is eating the world.”
Microsoft does not embrace open source, it "embraces, extends, extinguishes" open source. It’s a destruction strategy, but Microsoft has not yet extinguished it (the third phase). It keeps trying though. █
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Summary: The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what’s going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!
HAVING essentially killed Nokia and Novell by infiltrating them and taking control of them, Microsoft would like to have history rewritten. This is true also when it comes to Yahoo!, which Microsoft systematically killed from the inside and Yahoo! is now trying to push away to regain some independence.
Watch Marissa Mayer receiving heat for laying off a lot of Yahoo! staff. How about blaming those who induced this destruction in the first place? Microsoft has deliberately destroyed a lot of companies over the years, causing many people to become jobless and for their projects/work/code to be abandoned. To Microsoft, this is the strategy, which is why Microsoft layoffs are great news; they provide an opportunity for some other (law-abiding) companies to turn up and provide jobs to the unemployed engineers/programmers.
To repeat what Mayer has done, she made it possible for Yahoo! to altogether terminate the search ‘deal’ with Microsoft in 6 months. As one site put it: “The two companies have amended the terms of the Search and Advertising Sales agreement whereby the agreement could be terminated any time on or after October 1. The term of the deal was 10 years from its commencement date, February 23, 2010.”
Microsoft did to Yahoo! what it had done to Nokia, although the attack on Yahoo’s sovereignty in many ways and by several years predates the latter. The reason Mayer needs to lay off a lot of staff (no matter how she puts it or announces it, there’s no easy way!) is Microsoft’s abusive attacks on the company. As one article put it, “Yahoo! missed Wall Street’s revenue and profit forecasts as slight growth in its online advertising businesses was outweighed by higher payments to websites that send readers to the site. ”
Here is how Wall Street media put it: “Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer outlined plans to explore options for the company’s stake in its Japanese division, heartening investors dismayed by another report showing disappointing sales and profit.”
As with every ‘partnership’ in which Microsoft is involved, only one party benefits. It’s no wonder Yahoo! is going broke. The sooner it quits Microsoft and restores/bolsters its search teams, the faster it will manage to get out of this hole. Mayer inherited a total mess wherein Yahoo! is contractually committed to carry water (traffic) for Microsoft; it seems like she has been trying her best (since February) to escape this mess by all means necessary.
Appalling revisionism says that Yahoo! was failing before Microsoft attacked it and the same is being said about Nokia. This horrible case of misplaced blame is an insult to history. █
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Putting news into reverse
Summary: A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly ‘Open Source’ effort
Microsoft has turned the media into somewhat of a joke. The technology ‘news’ sites that we can thus far see covering the shutdown of Microsoft’s “Open Tech” proxy (we took a very comprehensive look) are simply misleading their readers on behalf of Microsoft. It’s an insult to journalism. There is no scepticism, no fact-checking. It’s what some people call industrial journalism and it’s clear which industry is being served.
Here are some Microsoft “Open Tech” articles that we wrote here before:
“Open Tech” is not ‘Open Source’ but rather a mole whose goal is to derail ‘Open Source’ as we know it. It’s about making ‘Open Source’ Microsoft-dependent, i.e. dependent on Windows, SQL Server, Office, and so on. “Open Tech” from Microsoft is better at anti-copyleft propaganda (or anti-Free software), as Microsoft’s former manager who founded Black Duck hsd been doing for years (even a decade ago). Here is a reminder from Black Duck, whose anti-Free software press releases are still being republished (we saw this one last night, following last week's media blitz). Black Duck, which came from Microsoft, began as an anti-GPL entity, by its very own admission. Microsoft is just joining it a little later. It’s a ‘divide and rule’ strategy.
To share with our readers some of the poor journalism, see this article which called shutdown “absorption” and see Microsoft’s booster Jeffrey Schwartz from the Microsoft-connected sites (a Microsoft boosting network) misleading readers [1, 2] in Redmond and elsewhere using appalling spin. “Microsoft believes enough in its open source commitment that it no longer feels it has to have an offshoot to emphasize,” he said. What utter nonsense. It’s followed by some more openwashing, such as: “Mark Russinovich, CTO for Azure, earlier this month raised eyebrows when raising the specter of Microsoft open sourcing Windows, saying “it’s definitely possible.””
So they return to the googlebombing of "Open Source" — a gross googlebombing campaign to which Matt Hartley too (despite being a GNU/Linux advocate) is not so reluctant to help/assist.
Saying that Microsoft’s shutdown of a so-called “Open” entity is proof of Microsoft’s commitment to “Open” is not just counter-intuitive; it’s total nonsense, it is make believe, and some fools are falling for it (or maliciously playing along).
We can understand why Microsoft boosters such as Mary Jo Foley and Darryl K. Taft would spread the lies and deceive for Microsoft’s agenda (they were among the earliest ‘journalists’ to cover this ‘scoop’ with ‘damage control’ embedded in it), later adding a Microsoft propaganda video. What’s harder to justify is reporting from non-Microsoft-affiliated sites doing the same, perhaps refusing to do the most basic research. They are repeating the shameless spin from Microsoft, casting something bad as “good”, so it is not really journalism, it is more like PR in disguise and they are complicit in it.
Witness what Microsoft apologists wrote or what Microsoft propaganda sites wrote. Also see some of the more colourful headlines, such “Microsoft Open Technologies to ooze its open source vibes through Microsoft proper” (what a bizarre way to explain a shutdown).
Brian Fagioli, at times a Microsoft troll and propagandist, did the same thing, but the most misleading headline, “Microsoft’s open source ambitions pick up speed”, came from TechRadar, an occasional Microsoft troll.
How can a shutdown of a unit called “Open Tech” be interpreted as “Microsoft’s open source ambitions pick up speed”? Are these journalists drunk, bribed, or just satirical? A better headline would be “Microsoft closes Open Tech open source subsidiary” (in the British press).
All in all, we hope that our readers do understand that the corporate media, saturated with Microsoft friends (pretending to be objective journalists), is lying through its teeth. The above is a complete summary, based on what we were able to find with search tools. It was extremely hard to find accurate reports on this. History is being warped/shaped/revised by friends of Microsoft and the biggest victim is truth itself. █
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