Long-sighted FUD strategy
Summary: Commentary about Microsoft’s attempts to make GNU/Linux look like it’s its own property, thanks in part to broken patent law in the United States
YEARS AGO, shortly after Novell and Microsoft revealed that they had signed a patent deal that involved Wine, we hypothetised that Microsoft was perhaps trying to keep Wine under patent threats. Amusingly enough, “Chinese People Try To Patent Wine On ARM,” according to Phoronix. One must wonder how Microsoft feels about it.
For those who think that Microsoft has finished extorting companies, look no further than this Dell deal where “[t]he companies did not provide specific information on which products the agreement will apply to” (or how much — if anything at all — gets paid).
We long ago called for a boycott of Dell, immediately after Microsoft pretty much took this dying company under its wing. Appropriately enough, Muktware is now contradicting its own report (which we criticised) in the comments, insisting that maybe a few pennies are paid to Microsoft by Dell (or nothing at all) and that this is more of a publicity stunt, trying to make Chrome OS and Android seem expensive and dangerous. At the time we also wrote about Verizon joining OIN and other factions of the Linux world, demonstrating that unlike Dell, many companies are now taking a stand for GNU/Linux, not against it (as Dell did). █
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Campaign of intimidation against Linux fueled by Dell, too
Summary: The dying computer assembly company is joining a notorious attack on GNU/Linux as if it is trying to appease Microsoft rather than today’s generation, which increasingly embraces GNU- and Linux-based platforms
Last year we called for boycott of Dell and at the end of the year we gave more reasons for it. Dell had done a disservice to Free software for a number of years and in 2007 it joined the Microsoft/Novell deal, perhaps implying (but never explicitly saying so) that it will play a role in putting patent tax on GNU/Linux.
“Dell did not have to do this, but it chose to.”Now that Windows (Microsoft’s common carrier) is in real trouble because many users are exposed to crackers other than the NSA (to which Microsoft provides back doors) Microsoft is very much focused on trying to scare vendors (and people, who usually rely on these vendors) away from GNU/Linux.
Chrome OS is a GNU/Linux distribution, possible the most widely used of its kind, so Microsoft has been running attack ads (smear campaigns) against it. In addition, adding to reasons to boycott Dell (Microsoft took over at least part of Dell and it has been getting worse since), Dell is reportedly joining Microsoft’s extortion and intimidation campaign against Android and Chrome OS. Dell did not have to do this, but it chose to. “Without disclosing too many details,” writes Monika Bhati, “the companies said they have agreed to license each company’s applicable intellectual property related to three product lines: Android, Chrome OS and Xbox.”
Monika Bhati’s softball ‘article’ is just parroting claims from press releases without investigating any further or at the very least checking what’s true and what’s FUD. This article repeats the unsubstantiated claims that Microsoft makes billions of dollars this way, despite lack of any actual evidence (the real goal is to deter against GNU/Linux adoption). She is not alone in it and we need to stop this. This whole thing is typical cross-licensing, intended for the most to disguise the reality of finances, as in Novell’s case (I spent years of my life researching this, so I recognise these patterns).
One must wonder: where is OIN in all this? The OIN brags about adding Verizon to its ranks this week, but it does absolutely nothing to stop Microsoft’s racketeering campaign. The OIN’s CEO, whom I spoke to several times over the phone, is quote as saying: “We appreciate Verizon’s industry thought leadership in joining OIN and supporting patent non-aggression in Linux. We believe Verizon is a bellwether for other communications service providers from an open-source and intellectual-property perspective, and look forward to working with other carriers so they can similarly come to understand the benefits of participation in the OIN community and partake of this growing culture of patent non-aggression.”
Mr. Bergelt is quoted as saying that he is into “non-aggression in Linux,” so how come he does nothing at all to stop the racketeering against OIN members like Google? This is beyond useless and the OIN will never even lobby against software patents because its large members are in favour of them. Some of them are very much part of the problem.
People need to vote with their wallets. The Linux Foundation and OIN are not going to save or preserve freedom in GNU/Linux; they don’t prioritise this. One is a mutual pact not to sue and another is a branding operation (employing for the most part marketing and branding professionals). █
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Summary: Amazon and Dell abuse people who work for them, Nestle just kills them
IT HAS BEEN quite a while since we first called for a boycott of Amazon and the Microsoft-connected Dell. We explained the reasons and expanded the list. But  and  help show that even employees of those companies should boycott their employer, which sometimes may pretend to like GNU/Linux in pursuit of profit [3-8]. well, at least unlike Coca Cola and Nestle , Amazon and Dell don’t murder their employees… yet. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
A BBC investigation into a UK-based Amazon warehouse has found conditions that a stress expert said could cause “mental and physical illness”.
Sadly, Sputnik 3 is just the codename of the device. If you go to buy the Linux machine from Dell, you’ll see that it’s more properly known as the XPS 13 Developer Edition. The machine comes in two configurations with the base model starting at $1,249. That hefty price gets you a dual-core Intel Core i5-4200U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen LCD.
Dell is taking another stab at making the Sputnik Ultrabook it converted from Windows to Ubuntu even cloudier for developers.
Striking Nestle worker and trade union organiser, Oscar lopez, was shot four times by multiple gunmen in a local bar. ‘Sinaltrainal’, his trade union had been locked in a bitter dispute with Nestle over union recognition and report receiving several death threats via text message from a right-wing paramilitary group, ‘Urabenos’- the day before Lopez was murdered. The messages read, “We are going to chop you up” and “Death to all Communists”.
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Summary: Yet more disdain and abandonment of Microsoft as a platform
Last month we wrote about OEMs dumping Windows and Microsoft’s booster Ina Fried adds another new example, which is ASUS. The ongoing attempt to use vapourware won’t work anymore (Blue is hogwash).
“The ongoing attempt to use vapourware won’t work anymore (Blue is hogwash).”Vista 8 is a total disaster and Microsoft’s results are getting harder to game [1, 2, 3], with some people who urge Microsoft to fire Ballmer. As Pogson puts it, Microsoft is “Trying To Work For A Living” now that preinstalls of Windows are weak (Android is preinstalled more times). Here are some numbers of Microsoft’s own (rebadged) hardware sales: “Microsoft’s shares took a beating following its gloomy fiscal 2013 earnings report earlier this month, in which it wrote down nearly a billion dollars on its unloved Surface RT fondleslabs. But the software giant isn’t out of the woods yet, because new details have emerged that have the full Surface picture looking even worse than was previously thought.
“In Redmond’s annual 10-K report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), published on Tuesday, the software giant reported actual Surface revenue figures for the first time – and they’re not good.”
Also note that “Microsoft managed to mow through an $898m marketing budget in just eight calendar months – and consumers still didn’t take the bait.”
An article from famed computer expert Jean-Louis Gassée says: “Last week’s Monday Note focused on Microsoft’s conversion from a divisional to a functional organization. It resulted in interesting discussions in the comments section as well as in e-mail exchanges and conversations around a couple of Valley watering holes. Some thought Microsoft’s statements had the sincerity of a death-bed conversion, others pointed to the challenges in remaking a cricket team into a football squad, most expressed doubts about Microsoft’s ability to successfully adapt to a world where the PC no longer reigns supreme.”
Either way, even Microsoft-friendly sites take notes of growing impatience at Nokia, which despite being a Microsoft pawn has openly complained about Microsoft’s failure. Interesting times. Can Dell still rescue/salvage itself? █
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Summary: Microsoft is trying to write off a billion dollars as its hardware ambitions are pretty much dead and OEMs (other hardware makers) leave Microsoft for Linux/Android; Microsoft’s shares crash (as shown above)
Microsoft had a very bad week last week, just after the ‘reorg’ PR campaign [1, 2, 3, 4]. Gregg Keizer said that “Microsoft’s attempt to transform its dog-eat-dog corporate culture into a kinder, gentler cooperative climate is likely doomed, according to an expert in failed business strategies.”
“Note that Microsoft takes almost a billion-dollar charge on Surface (way to hide the losses).”What “kinder, gentler cooperative climate”? The bribes? The patent extortion? Those are just baseless promises. Anyway, the article goes on, citing Carroll. Here is some background: “Carroll’s book, which he wrote with fellow Devil’s Advocate co-founder Chunka Mui, conducted postmortems on some of the most famous business failures, and is based on research into 2,500 enterprise flops. Devil’s Advocate, meanwhile, is an alliance of experts who help corporations evaluate strategy shifts.”
What shifts of strategy have been seen in Microsoft? That has been mostly PR. The real business was the illegal monopoly on formats and a common carrier, Windows, which is rotting because of form factors diversity that even bribes cannot make up for.
We recently wrote about Dell‘s resistance to Vista 8 and now we witness resistance to Microsoft as a whole, accompanying news about the company’s shares collapsing shortly after ‘reorg’. Well, here is what Pogson makes of the ‘reorg’ and here is a noteworthy observation about OEMs walking away from Microsoft, one recent example being Microsoft’s partner Samsung (older news from this year) and a new example being Lenovo, which has some former Microsoft staff at the top. Here is the news:
Microsoft has been having a rough time with its fledgling Windows RT operating system. Devices using the tablet-centric operating system, have sold poorly since the operating system was introduced last year. The flagship tablet running the operating system from Microsoft, Surface RT, recently received a significant price cut in an effort to spur sales.
Note that Microsoft takes almost a billion-dollar charge on Surface (way to hide the losses). This is ruining Microsoft’s relationship with OEMs. To quote this one article: “Less than a year after Microsoft entered the tablet computer market with the Surface, the cracks are starting to show.”
“he NSA scandals definitely won’t help Microsoft this year.”Just starting to show? No, people pointed them out just weeks or months after the debut. Here is coverage from IDG which is not really shocking. It says that days ago Microsoft “booked a large write-off to its Surface RT business after it slashed prices on the tablets to stimulate demand this week. Its quarterly earnings results also showed that Windows 8, an operating system designed to bridge the divide between PCs and tablets, has been so poorly received that it contributed to a revenue drop in its operating system software unit.”
This Vista 8 stunt is similar or reminiscent of how Microsoft previously hid massive losses. Some coverage is filled with understatements. These financial tricks are nothing new and the scams begin. As Will Hill put it:
Microsoft took an 11% decline in value, $32 Billion, on their latest earnings report. No one is buying Vista H8, Microsoft’s crappy tablets, which had $900 million in unsold inventory, or Nokia’s crippled phones. The reorg fooled no one.
As usual, the Microsoft press and Warren Buffet say, Buy some Now! Even the CNN article claims “decent numbers”. What fraud.
Here is a report which calls it the biggest sell off in 13 years. To quote: “Shares suffer biggest one-day percentage sell-off since 2000 as investors fret over weak demand for Microsoft’s latest Windows operating system and Surface tablet.”
Following many high-level departures, including those two CFOs who got extra money just to keep their mouth shut, something big is happening here. The NSA scandals definitely won’t help Microsoft this year. █
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Summary: The company with history of hostility towards GNU/Linux is now becoming part of Microsoft
COMPUTER giant Dell was recently hijacked by Microsoft and now it’s Best Buy‘s turn. iophk calls it “Yet another reason to avoid Best Buy,” adding that “they’re really worried about the chromebooks that people would otherwise buy” (see upcoming daily links for major news related to this).
Here is a report showing what happened:
Microsoft, in a new take on the store-within-a-store model, will take over the entire computer section of 600 Best Buy stores.
Microsoft, tweaking the store-within-a-store concept, has announced plans to build Windows Stores inside of 500 Best Buy stores in the United States and another 100 in Canada.
Best Buy was reportedly wakened by Vista series machine and now made hostage by the very same company which arguably caused its demise. It’s the same as Dell and Novell. This has “Stockholm Syndrome” written all over it. Our new Wiki page about Best Buy helps provide other reasons to boycott Best Buy, notably the store’s FUD campaign against GNU/Linux. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to Best Buy. █
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Image found in Reddit
Summary: Microsoft continues to dominate the “desktop” and GNU/Linux is made more expensive than Windows at Dell
THE ‘bug’ which Canonical won't fix still needs squashing. Now that Dell is dominated by Microsoft (see our newly-organised Wiki page about Dell) it is not shocking that Dell makes GNU/Linux more expensive than Windows, as before. Microsoft is paid for Ubuntu-based Dell PCs (Dell joined the Microsoft/Novell patent deal) and Pogson helps show the outcome using screenshots, too. He asks, “why does Dell promote “7″ by charging $20 less than GNU/Linux on identical hardware?”
He adds: “I suppose we should be happy that they offer GNU/Linux but that’s just the first step in liberating retail shelves. Price is still a barrier. The price of a licence for GNU/Linux is ~$0 so the product should be ~$50 less with GNU/Linux. At least be honest, Dell, and tip the teeter-totter in the right direction. Your customers would be glad to take GNU/Linux for $25 less.”
“No escape from Vista 8 on this machine, it’s still there even if you get Linux.”
–iophkThis is why we should not take as a given Canonical’s claim of pseudo victory and neglect of the community (the latest spin from Mr. Bacon is announcement of a subdomain, community.ubuntu.com).
Canonical wants to claim victory when GNU/Linux is taxed (Novell style). Linux is winning, but not on the desktop, which Ubuntu was all about. “No escape from Vista 8 on this machine,” writes iophk about this new article from the MSBBC, “it’s still there even if you get Linux.” A common phrase of wisdom is, do not declare victory prematurely. It may only help your enemy and lower morale in the long term. If people cannot get an OS-free machine from Dell, then by buying it with GNU/Linux (Ubuntu only) they help reinforce a Microsoft ‘Linux tax’. So much for choice, eh? Either way Microsoft is extorting the customer, irrespective of the ‘choice’. █
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On to imaginary products
“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: The sale of Dell turns out to have been initiated by Microsoft, whose leading product (common carrier) is already having obituaries written about it due to the messages which come out from Microsoft
The manager behind the product which we dubbed Vista 8 has already been fired. It is easy to see why now that we have preliminary market statistics, just over half a year after the official release. Vista 8 greatly harmed OEMs such as Dell (Dell too has complained) and this new report says that Microsoft is paying Dell [1, 2, 3] to encumber PCs with Vista 8, leaving the customers out of the loop.
The terms of Microsoft’s $2 billion loan into the war chest of Denali Holdings, the Dell private buyout entity led by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners, are now public record. Microsoft’s money was key in raising the $24.4 billion required to finalize the offer for Dell, but it’s possible Dell will benefit even beyond the loan; the loan documents make clear that after the acquisition is complete, Dell will re-negotiate its payment terms for Microsoft software licenses.
So no longer is it mere speculation that Microsoft was behind Dell going private and selling out. “Windows Blues,” as iophk calls it, is what we are seeing here. “Vista 8 is failing so they are already doing the N+1 thing,” he adds. Here is a report about it. Talk about rush; this is motivated by panic. The Guardian says “PC sales plummet”, but what it means to actually say is “Windows preinstalls plummet” (because of failure to evolve). “Biggest expectation is that update will revive start button familiar to users for 17 years before removal from Windows 8,” writes Charles Arthur. But that’s not really an apt summary. The real news is that Windows is plummeting to minority market share and Microsoft has no clue what to do about it. Here is CNET claiming “‘Wintel’ on the wane: Intel goes Google”. The summary is as follows: “Intel has been synonymous with Windows PCs seemingly forever. But it’s trying to change that in a hurry. Enter Google.”
I recently had lunch with an Intel engineer who acknowledged this trend. Moblin and Tizen were not good enough as comeback attempts. Here is a criticism of what Microsoft is essentially doing right now. The author alleges that Windows 8 marketing fiasco deemed even worse than ‘New Coke’ and he starts with the obvious pitfall: “With the Windows Blue update on the way, analysts have already started writing obituaries for Windows 8, the operating system that proved to be immensely polarizing among PC users. While history will likely look upon Windows 8 more kindly than the widely despised Vista, Envisioneering analyst Richard Doherty tells The Financial Times that it will be remembered as the biggest marketing fiasco since Coca Cola decided to rework the
formula for its famous soft drink back in the ’80s.”
Here is IDG with some numbers:
Microsoft’s own numbers show Windows 8 sales falling rapidly
Microsoft says it’s sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses to date, but its officially reported monthly sales are falling off precipitously
Based on some numbers from IDC (part of IDG), despite a lot of money spent on marketing, Windows is a non-starter outside the desktop. █
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