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Microsoft Once Again Disregards People’s Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It’s Just an Accident

Posted in Dell, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“What we’re really after is simply that people acquire a legal license for Windows for each computer they own before they move on to Linux or Sun Solaris or BSD or OS/2 or whatever.”

Bill Gates

Summary: A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people’s privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

THE topic we have neglected as of late is Vista 10, which is still doing pretty poorly in the market. Its whole purpose seem to be data collection and Microsoft will not tolerate barriers to: 1) adoption of Vista 10 and 2) data collection from each Vista 10 user.

Microsoft is aggressively trying to impose downloads of Vista 10, even without consent from users. One ought to wonder, when will there be class action lawsuits? Microsoft pretended this was done in error, but later it became clear that this was not an accident. Microsoft is really desperate to make everyone adopt this malicious spyware, which acts as a keylogger with a lot of other nasty features.

According to reports from earlier this week, Microsoft’s special ally Dell helps snooping on users in more than one way. Not many reports mention this, but it’s a problem that affects Windows only [1], just like in the case of Lenovo, which took all the blame for Microsoft's bad behaviour.

According to reports from the British media, Microsoft is now overriding users’ preferences not only when it comes to downloading Vista 10. It not only ignores privacy settings, either. Microsoft is now using Windows updates to actually alter privacy settings [2], showing once again that anything privacy-related is a farce under Windows [3]. Remember that Microsoft works closely with the NSA.

One article rightly recalled Microsoft’s hypocritical AstroTurfing against Google and wrote: “Microsoft spent millions portraying Google as a greedy and amoral data marauder. Redmond doesn’t need to read your email, it told everyone. The Scroogled campaign positioned Microsoft itself as the ethical alternative; the occupier of the moral high ground.”

As one person put it in Twitter, “now that they’ve apparently “given away” Windows 10, the die is cast. Vast majority of people have no idea of privacy loss/laws” (it is only a ‘free’ ‘upgrade’, it is not “given away”).

The press will likely find yet more of Dell’s serious privacy violations [4], including this second one [5,6], but rarely will it bother to mention that only Windows is affected. This whole bunch of stories comes to show that Dell and Microsoft Windows are more like NSA incorporated. They are designed to erode privacy. Surveillance is a built-in goal. Just like in the case of Lenovo, however, Microsoft received none of the blame. Lenovo and Dell get all the negative publicity, but it is a Windows issue, not just a Lenovo or a Dell issue.

We wish to remind readers that now is a good time to leave Windows. The decks in the proprietary software world are stacked against privacy. They guard the watchers, not the users. Windows sometimes puts people in prison [1, 2].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Dell, Comcast, Intel & Who Knows Who Else Are Out to Get You

    News came out on Tuesday that since August Dell computers have been coming out-of-the-box with a root certificate preinstalled that is an “unintended security vulnerability.” The source of the quote, by the way, is Dell itself.

    And you thought all you had to worry about was Superfish, the adware Lenovo installed on its computers that left users vulnerable to man-in the-middle attacks — even when running Linux. At least the latest dumb move by Dell seems to be Windows specific, meaning most readers of FOSS Force can breath easy and repeat the official Linux mantra rewritten from an old Dial soap campaign.

  2. Why Microsoft yanked its latest Windows 10 update download: It hijacked privacy settings

    According to Redmond on Tuesday, “when the November update was installed, a few settings preferences may have inadvertently not been retained for advertising ID, Background apps, SmartScreen Filter, and Sync with devices.”

    Fair play to Microsoft for shedding light on the blunder. Basically, its operating system allowed apps to access people’s unique advertising ID numbers; the SmartScreen Filter that sends executables to Microsoft servers to analyze was enabled; software was allowed to run in the background; and settings and passwords would be backed up the cloud. If you previously disabled any of those, they would be reenabled by the MCT-derived upgrade over a previous Windows 10 install.

  3. Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

    Microsoft pulled a major update for Windows after it blew away the user’s privacy settings, allowing app developers and advertisers to glean the user’s identity.

    But that’s only part of the story, which gets murkier by the day.

    We already knew Windows 10 Threshold deleted third-party data monitoring tools and cleanup tools, including stalwarts like Spybot and CCleaner. It even disabled Cisco’s VPN software. Just a bug, said Microsoft.

    Two bugs would be a puzzling coincidence – but something else makes it altogether more troubling.

    This year Microsoft introduced background tracking services called DiagTrack, or the Diagnostics Tracking Service. It was added to Windows 8.1 installations as well as betas of Windows 10. It arrived without much fanfare in May 14, in the shape of a patch, KB3022345.

    It was just one of several slurping enhancements added via the back door.


    Microsoft spent millions portraying Google as a greedy and amoral data marauder. Redmond doesn’t need to read your email, it told everyone. The Scroogled campaign positioned Microsoft itself as the ethical alternative; the occupier of the moral high ground.

  4. New Dell computer comes with a eDellRoot trusted root certificate
  5. ​Dell in hot water again as second ‘Superfish’ root certificate surfaces

    Dell customers have turned up a second root certificate installed on some Dell machines, which could make them easy prey for malicious attacks on public Wi-Fi networks.

  6. Second Dell backdoor root cert found


Campaign of Intimidation Against GNU/Linux, Courtesy of US Patent Law

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows, Wine at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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).


Another Reason to Boycott Dell: Support for Microsoft’s Racketeering

Posted in Dell, Microsoft, Patents at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Campaign of intimidation against Linux fueled by Dell, too

Dell monitor logo

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).


Another Reason to Boycott Amazon and Dell

Posted in Dell at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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 [1] and [2] 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 [9], Amazon and Dell don’t murder their employees… yet.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Amazon workers face ‘increased risk of mental illness’

    A BBC investigation into a UK-based Amazon warehouse has found conditions that a stress expert said could cause “mental and physical illness”.

  2. Dell’s Production Line Exposed: 74-Hour Weeks, Forced Overtime and Squalid Mass Dorms
  3. Dell Staff Show Ubuntu Linux Some Love
  4. Dell Expands Project Sputnik, Open Source Linux Laptop
  5. Have you read about Dell’s Sputnik 3 touchscreen laptop ?
  6. Dell Launches its Third “Sputnik” Ubuntu Ultrabook
  7. Dell’s Sputnik 3 might be the best Linux laptop yet

    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.

  8. Dell aims for cloudy orbit with Sputnik Ubuntu developer project

    Dell is taking another stab at making the Sputnik Ultrabook it converted from Windows to Ubuntu even cloudier for developers.

  9. Striking Nestle worker murdered by right wing paramilitaries

    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”.


Hardware Companies Continue to Dump Microsoft Windows

Posted in Dell, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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?


OEMs Are Dumping Microsoft, Leading to Biggest Sell-off of Microsoft in 13 Years

Posted in Dell, Finance, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 2:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft shares

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.


Boycott Best Buy

Posted in Dell, Microsoft at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Best Buy

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.


With Ubuntu Preloads, Microsoft Dell Makes GNU/Linux More Expensive Than Vista 7

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 9:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Image found in Reddit

Mark Shuttleworth on deck

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.”
This 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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