Why Microsoft Was Trying to Buy Activision and ‘Look Big’ in 2022 (XBox Was Failing, XBox as a Whole Might Die Soon)

Posted in DRM, Hardware at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

XBox is far from the top, as shown below, and sales of XBox have collapsed in recent years (Microsoft keeps the recent numbers secret because it’s embarrassing)

XBox sales really bad

Summary: There have been several speculations online lately (we’ve also cited several) that XBox would be shut down if it carried on along the present trajectory; it also looks like the record-breaking takeover bid (Activision) was a last-ditch effort at comeback through exclusives (Microsoft fell way behind in this regard)

Further to this previous post and some recent Daily Links [1, 2], we’ve decided to belatedly study publicly-available data and charts, seeking to figure out what led to articles such as this one: (not the only such article so far this month)

Is Xbox Shutting Down in 2023?

We can now better understand this.

Comparing 2023, 2022, and 2021, it becomes apparent that the Microsoft’s XBox business reached somewhat of a standstill (layoffs had already begun as the debt-saddled Microsoft must reduce expenses). It wasn’t this bad half a decade ago, but contrary to what Microsoft lobbyists like Florian Müller focus on, we need to explore what happened to XBox, where many chiefs resigned last month in quick succession (they know how bad things really are; this is a matter of public record, not speculation). In 2021 Microsoft’s sales of consoles completely collapsed.

“When Microsoft refuses to reveal some numbers (e.g. number of active users of WSL) it always means the numbers are appalling and outright embarrassing.”“If Wikipedia can be considered even remotely accurate,” an associate noted, it does not look particularly good. “Jan 18, 2022 was when they made their bid for Activision,” the associate added, quoting this recent article (“PlayStation has 80% of the European video games market – 70% worldwide”) from the British media, Metro News. Here is the key part:

Given Microsoft refuses to release sales figures for the Xbox its impossible to verify these percentages…

And “there it is,” the associate said, “the XBox is a failure.”

When Microsoft refuses to reveal some numbers (e.g. number of active users of WSL) it always means the numbers are appalling and outright embarrassing.

“Nintendo’s stats are hidden too,” the associate said, citing this article:

It should also be noted that this already impressive figure does not take into account Nintendo game sales, as the publisher has always been weirdly prudish when it comes to revealing its own bottom line.

Microsoft’s gaming ambitions seem to be on their deathbed. No wonder Bill Gates-funded media (e.g. BBC) was lobbying against UK/CMA, basically giving a platform to “furious” executives who issue threats and try to blackmail Britain (via Gates-bribed outlets and the above-mentioned lobbyists).

“DRM issues set aside, “Linux” might be a big part of the console market in the future.”“Xbox was only ever a testbed for DRM on commodity hardware and was never meant to turn an individual profit,” the associate concluded, “though Microsoft would have wished for that benefit too.”

“Furthermore there some kind of “Steam” console on the market, too, also beating the Xbox.”

It runs Arch Linux with KDE. It’s the Steam Deck. DRM issues set aside, “Linux” might be a big part of the console market in the future.

Today’s games are mostly proprietary, many are cross-platform (unlike a couple of decades back), “but again,” the associate added, “the XBox was never about games but instead about working out DRM on the standard PC commodity hardware for later infection in the main OS.” This was said here many times before, for over a decade already [1, 2, 3, 4].


Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) Crushing Farmers

Posted in DRM, Hardware at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The above LibrePlanet panel talk from one month ago speaks about repairs of farm equipment; the panel includes Sick Codes, Kevin Kenney, Elizabeth Chamberlain, and Paul Roberts. The video was uploaded by the FSF less than 3 days ago (slides here; PeerTube link); From the official page: “Farmers large and small in the U.S. are being crushed under the thumb of “BigAg” equipment makers whose late model farm machinery combines sensors, always-on Internet connections, software and Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to vacuum up and monetize proprietary farm data, while simultaneously preventing farmers from being able to service and repair their own equipment. Farmers who own late model equipment today are required to patronize “authorized” technicians at the expense of independent repair and are forced to pay astronomical prices for even routine maintenance. What’s needed is a way to free farmers from the grip of these monopolies with free software and usurious OEM-operated software ecosystems. This panel will bring together experts on farming and farm equipment, embedded device security and policy (e.g. right to repair) to discuss ways to liberate farmers with free software.”

Licence: CC BY SA 4.0


Elizabeth Chamberlain: The Future of the Right to Repair and Free Software

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Videos at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A day ago this LibrePlanet non-keynote talk from Elizabeth Chamberlain was uploaded by the FSF, about a month after the in-person talk (slides here); From the page: “Dr. Elizabeth Chamberlain is Director of Sustainability at iFixit, which is the free repair manual for everything, with over 90,000 guides for fixing everything from tractors to toasters. Liz advocates for the Right to Repair around the world, supporting lawmakers, conducting repair research, and working to make sure environmental standards reflect repair best practices. Her writing on repair has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and The Atlantic.”

Licence: CC BY SA 4.0


DRM Coming to Batteries

Posted in DRM, Hardware at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published yesterday:

Summary: Oneplus’ tablet uses an ENCRYPTED BATTERY; this is dystopian anti repair


Matthew Garrett, Who Said He Wanted to Stab Debian Developers, is Working for Microsoft Inside Linux (to Remove Users’ Freedom)

Posted in Deception, DRM, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel, Microsoft at 8:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Moments ago:

Matthew Garrett working for Microsoft

Summary: It has become more than “abundantly clear” that Matthew Garrett is a de facto Microsoft mole inside Linux. Sad that not everyone can see this yet. He said he would be leaving the kernel alone (after he had attacked Linus Torvalds in vain, repeatedly, having done the same to Richard Stallman using false pretexts), but of course he lied. He would come back only to push more of Microsoft’s attacks into Linux. Just see the comments here; they do a better job than Michael Larabel (AMD shill), explaining why Pluton is a disaster and merely a rename of a truly sinister agenda.


Matthew Garrett Appointed to Debian Technical Committee Nearly 17 Years After Saying Debian Made Him Want to Stab the Volunteers Working on it. (And Himself.)

Posted in Debian, Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:29 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Ryan

Matthew Garrett has been appointed to Debian Technical Committee nearly 17 years after saying Debian made him want to stab the volunteers working on it. (And himself.)

Debian has made some unforced errors in recent years. Some technical, some political, some “other”.

It has also taken quite a lot of money from nefarious and corrupting sources, such as Microsoft, who never gives away money without expecting ruinous and self-destructive favors from the recipient.

As usual, the amounts in question were peanuts on the scale that Microsoft operates at, even as they are in trouble and in the middle of implementing massive layoffs and their CEO is speaking in euphemistically-coded pessimism about the future of the company.

Microsoft has supported Matthew Garrett by proxy during his work to foist so-called “Secure Boot” onto GNU/Linux, in a way that requires binary-only software in your boot path, whose only purpose is to lock the user (userspace) out of low level access to the computer.

I’ve been over and over why I just turn it off before I destroy Windows and replace it on a new laptop, so I will try not to flog this horse again, but at a certain point, even Matthew Garrett admitted that even turning on the Microsoft 3rd party signing key that works with this “shim” bootloader stage more or less destroys Windows, at least from the point of view of an average user, who is unlikely to know how to recover, and the entire “Secure Core Initiative” is just another milestone to a point where the user won’t even be able to choose a different OS for their computer, at all, no matter what they want to do.

Garrett left Google under generally unknown circumstances years ago. When pressed by me on Techrights IRC to explain the logic of leaving a gigantic corporation with deep pockets for an unprofitable “self-driving truck” company that only has enough cash to go on for about another year, whose stock shares have halved again since September of 2022, which has no future prospects except either bankruptcy or a takeover for patents, he has been rather cryptic and evasive.

Logically, why would you leave Google and take a job at Aurora voluntarily? That’s all I’m asking. It doesn’t follow, at least to me.

His pattern has been job hopping and always working on something Microsoft wants, no matter where he’s at officially. And he makes prolific usage of their GitHub division.

Whenever he does comment on Free Software, it’s either to try to cancel the main most directly responsible for its existence (like RMS or Linus Torvalds) or to say he wants to “stab” the volunteer people at Debian in 2006.

(I’ll assume he was speaking figuratively, but why would you even say this?)

And the issue that frustrated him so greatly at the time, which led to his resignation, was that he felt it was “too Free” to easily set up.

There have always been ways to set it up with non-Free firmwares and programs. That should be the user’s choice.

He was angry at them for making the point that Linux is a growing pile of binary proprietary-only software, and that most people’s PCs just don’t work without it because the Free parts of the Linux kernel turn out to be woefully incomplete on PCs, and that this should alarm the user. The operating system shouldn’t silence the problem, hide it from them, and give them backdoored firmware and hardware by default without asking.

Stabbing debian

But I think it’s safe to say that people who openly say that they want to stab other people and themselves (even if it isn’t literal) should seek counseling, not be elevated to the Debian Technical Committee in the middle of the night.

Because that kind of toxicity has no place in society, and they should get the help they need for their own benefit, of course.

He boosts Microsoft, including their fake disk encryption in Windows that exfiltrates your decryption passphrase to Microsoft, and by extension, any cops that want it.

The disturbing content about “stab people” came up in literally the first five seconds after I looked up “Matthew Garrett Debian”. So I can only imagine what else might be out there.

I suppose I might continue looking through things before Matthew Garrett catches on and starts deleting years-old posts.

I put the disturbing post I found in Archive Today just so there can’t be any confusion about what he actually said on his blog in 2006.

Bonus for pimping for Ubuntu before they turned into a Microsoft Troll Farm posting spam about “WSL”.

Words simply cannot describe how horrified I am at what is going on at Debian.

I figured, wrongly it turned out, that it would be a safe place away from the Microsoft Troll Farm known as Canonical/Ubuntu.

Just going to the Web site, it barely says anything anymore about why you would want to use Ubuntu as a GNU/Linux distribution, and it encourages you to use some bastard version of it like the Alien Queen shackled up at the bottom of the pyramid. (WSL)

The wrong people are assuming (usurping) control of Free Software and perverting it.

Contrast the following.

Richard Stallman: (Paraphrase)

I could have made more money if I had sold out my principles and gone to work for a proprietary software company, but I would have made that money by doing harm to the world and leaving things in a worse place than if I had never done any such work at all.

I could have lived on a waiter’s salary and not actively harmed the world.

Matthew Garrett: (Basically his world view, in my opinion and experience knowing him.)

Who will pay me the most, even if it helps bring about the end of Free Software and destroys millions of jobs?

They put Matthew Garrett on the Debian Technical Committee and IBM defunded the Free Software Foundation as punishment for not canceling Richard Stallman and weakening their position on software patents?


Bad people doing bad things definitely always seem to have the upperhand.

It takes constant work to fight them off and the minute you don’t, you lose everything.

Sometimes all at once, sometimes a piece at a time (Secure Boot) so they can deny you’re even under attack at all.

Debian’s Wiki has denied for a while that Secure Boot is an attack on Software Freedom.

So the fact that they’ve had some bad people lying their asses off to the users isn’t new, it’s just made so much worse now that Garrett’s back.

In my opinion, the Return of Matthew Garrett puts me squarely at “Debian is Finished”.

Now, don’t mistake this for being an immediate and dramatic end of Debian. It may go on for some years, or at least something calling itself Debian.

Remember that something calling itself the United States of America went on after 2001, but it’s not the America you grew up in.

Same thing.

I suppose that the avalanche started to take off back when they signed the deal with Mozilla to get rid of the “IceWeasel” branding.

We see where that led. Right? Now there’s DRM in Debian. It’s in the browser. There’s keyloggers and adware.

If they were worried about what the user wants, they would IceWeasel it again and rip it all out, but it’s so painfully obvious that they simply do not care anymore.

These are the sorts of compromises that Matthew Garrett was talking about in the “stab people” article.

You compromise here, you compromise there, and you don’t stand for anything. Eventually, you’re just….totally compromised.


DRM is ‘Protected’ by Phoronix

Posted in DRM, Hardware at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 2905be7b0686697c888bc869935fee7c
Protected From Scrutiny
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: x86 stronghold (rather weak lately due to the inflation and Windows failing users) is pushing DRM into kernel space, typically along with Microsoft and Google; Phoronix, which is funded or bossed by the x86 giants, is being far too weak or too “soft” (like it is on Microsoft), insisting that corporations treating clients like they’re criminals is in fact “protected content” (that isn’t independent, honest and courageous journalism, its’s docile cowardice)

THE comments (Forums) in Phoronix sadly remain a lot more informative than the 'articles' because Phoronix self-censors (based on a sixth sense of who pays the bills and/or will pay them in the future).

So the video above dives straight into the comments on the article after a quick introduction. The short story is that Intel is promoting DRM in Linux, once again (not the first time), even though (to quote one comment) “4k streaming works just fine on sites that don’t insist on using DRM. “piracy” is always the technically and morally superior option over complying with corporate copyright bullshit.”

There are many other comments to that effect. The readers aren’t tolerating DRM.

Shown below is now Phoronix fancies describing DRM (the term “DRM” is not even mentioned in the page, just the euphemisms).

Intel's Open-Source OpenGL Driver Adds Support For 'Protected Content'


Bill Gates’ Evil Prophecy: Blocking GNU/Linux From New PCs

Posted in Bill Gates, DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:02 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith). First published PCLOS Magazine.

Bill Gates Ad

In the 70′s, the motto that propelled the then young company Microsoft was the one in the picture above: A computer on every desk, in every house, and running Microsoft software.

Well, after more than 40 years, this sad prophecy is about to come true, thanks to the Pluton chip, yet another attack on user freedom, perpetrated by one of the most abusive companies in existence.

But, what is the Pluton chip?

The Pluton chip was announced on November 17, 2020, on the Microsoft blog. The Pluton chip acts as an extension of the TPM (trusted platform module) platform. The trusted module platform, TPM, acts as a verifier on what the operating system can run, remote attestation, and other restrictions. The TPM module is usually a separate circuit, mounted on the computer’s motherboard (although, over the years, several TPM implementations have emerged).

As the TPM module needs to communicate with the computer’s CPU, the information that travels between the module and the CPU can be accessed, analyzed and reverse engineered with the information collected. Thus, it is possible to hack a TPM module. Then comes the Pluton chip.

According to Microsoft’s blog post: “The Pluton project removes the potential for this communication channel (between the CPU and the TPM module) to be attacked by building security directly into the CPU.” That is, the TPM module, with the Pluton chip, is inside the microprocessor. That is, it is a SOC inside the CPU, eliminating the external module entirely.

The Pluton chip is not new, in fact it has been used before

The Pluton project was introduced as part of the integrated hardware and security capabilities of the operating system in the Xbox One console released in 2013 by Microsoft in partnership with AMD and also within Azure sphere. In fact, what Microsoft intended with this project was to prevent modded Xboxes from entering the Xbox network blocking their access to Microsoft’s network. The project worked so well that they decided to expand to microcomputers.

Pluton Chip
Block diagram of the Pluton chip

The concept of a security module that restricts the use of a computer is not unique to Microsoft. Apple also implements a similar technology, Secure Enclave, and Google, with Android, also implements SecureNet.

The reason behind Pluton is legit…

All the reasoning behind Pluton is legit. It is to ensure security in the internet of things (IoT), and it is correct to look for it. Because they are extremely frugal devices with no real processing power, they cannot afford to have sophisticated encryption and protection schemes.

To better understand the Pluton chip, it is necessary to know how Microsoft’s cloud security scheme for IoT devices, Microsoft Azure Sphere, works.

The Microsoft Azure Sphere concept is based on the fact that the SOC processors that power the IoT devices that exist today can no longer be trusted. Because they are based on old technologies, they are not prepared for the security demands of a connected world. Microsoft has released a solution to address this problem, Azure Sphere. This Microsoft solution is now ready to go into production. Azure Sphere is a secure, high-end application platform with built-in communication and security capabilities for cross-industry IoT devices. The idea of Azure Sphere is to have a line of trust, from the IoT device to the Azure servers in the cloud.

This would be achieved through the integration of 3 elements, which work as one: a brand new security silicon chip (a microcontroller with Pluton technology already built in), the Azure Sphere OS operating system and the Azure Security Service. sphere. These components come together to create a chain of trust between the cloud and the devices.

Azure Sphere

The operating system Azure OS is Linux-like, and the microcontrollers are already starting to be produced by the Taiwanese company MediaTek.

Azure Sphere Chip Arch
MT3620 Azure Sphere Chip Architecture

The road to hell…

As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and despite a legitimate concern for internet security, in the age of connected devices, this “security” opens up an avenue of possibilities for Microsoft to abuse again, the market, users and laws (let’s face it, the laws are not yet ready for our new digital age).

Now, what could go wrong? All, let’s recall an interesting case in which Microsoft, even indirectly, abused its customers.

Stuxnet, or How Windows Helped Bring Down Iranian Nuclear Power Plants

Stuxnet is a computer worm specifically designed to attack the SCADA operating system developed by Siemens and used to control Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges. It was discovered in June 2010 by the Belarusian antivirus company VirusBlokAda. It is the first worm discovered that spies on and reprograms industrial systems. It was specifically written to attack the SCADA industrial control system, used to control and monitor industrial processes. Stuxnet is able to reprogram PLCs and hide the changes.

Stuxnet’s design and architecture are not domain specific and could be adapted as a platform to attack modern SCADA and PLC systems (e.g. in factory assembly lines or power plants).


Later, and with the help of Edward Snowden’s revelations, it emerged that Stuxnet was part of an espionage and cyber warfare program called Operation Olympic Games (Operation Olympic Games was a covert and still unrecognized campaign of sabotage through of cyber nuisances, directed at Iranian nuclear facilities, likely by the United States and Israel. As reported, it is one of the first known uses of offensive cyber weapons. Initiated under the George W. Bush administration in 2006, the Olympic Games were accelerated under the Obama presidency, which heeded Bush’s advice to continue cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz. Bush believed the strategy was the only way to prevent a conventional Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities).

David Emm, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky Labs, told the Guardian: “We think the sophistication, purpose and intelligence of Stuxnet suggest the involvement of a state.

“This is a very sophisticated attack – the first of its kind – and was clearly developed by a group of highly qualified people with the intention of gaining access to SCADA [Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition] systems – industrial control systems to monitor and manage industrial infrastructure or facility-based processes. In contrast to most indiscriminate cybercrime threats on the Internet, this one has been targeted at very specific targets. It is also different because there is no obvious financial motivation behind the attack – the objective appears to be sabotage of systems.” What is known is that Stuxnet was created to exploit zero-day flaws that had not been made public. Windows flaws. And given Microsoft’s promiscuity with government agencies, it is not impossible that the entire map to be able to launch this attack has been provided by Microsoft itself. Of course, the company was never connected to this act of digital vandalism, but the last time I checked, 2+2 was 4…

Well, you reader, you might be thinking: F@#$! the Iranians. They’re a bunch of crazy fanatics, they better be sabotaged anyway. But once you open Pandora’s box, everyone can be affected.

The legacy of Stuxnet

As I wrote above, once you open the door to malware, it gets loose and will damage the systems it encounters, no matter if they are allies or enemies. After all, as everyone remembers, both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were CIA assets, trained and funded by the US government. But Stuxnet left us a legacy, its code continues to be studied, and, of course, it had heirs…


In 2011, threat analysts discovered a new worm and named it Duqu. The striking similarities between Duqu and Stuxnet led experts to believe that the two malware strains were closely related. In fact, they were almost identical: the only difference is that Duqu was not designed to sabotage machines, but to act like spyware by capturing keystrokes and collecting system data.


An even more suspected Stuxnet-linked malware that emerged in 2012. Dubbing the new threat Flame, researchers found that the virus shared much of its code with Stuxnet, in particular the way it was designed to target the same vulnerabilities of Windows and propagate through USB storage devices.

But, why did I bring this case? Well, now, let the imagination fly, and see how, with the help of Microsoft, a tyrannical government can control its entire population, through its digital devices…

Brave New World

In the not too distant future, the following could be possible with Pluton (with some custom application development to streamline everything together):

  • All devices on the network have Pluton and are subscribed to Azure.

  • Every time a document is created and added to the network, it is added with a Pluton certificate that verifies who created the document. Anonymous documents are kept off the network.

  • Every user in the organization is in Azure through Active Directory, and has specific devices attached to their user. Your user is subscribed to specific groups such as Accounting or Legal.

  • Documents are encrypted through Azure to be read only on customer-specific devices, using the device-specific public key.

  • So employees can read approved documents, but only on authorized systems.

Now, in our imagination exercise, visualize a hypothetical scenario. A user in Legal creates a document. When the user uploads it, Azure checks it against Pluton to verify that the document is likely clean and also to firmly establish who created it. When another user wants to download the document, Azure only provides a version that was encrypted with the user’s Pluton public key if that user belonged to the correct department and therefore can only be read by that user.

Now, multiply this hypothetical scenario all over the world, and everyone who uses Windows applications will never have any secrets. It would be the end for privacy and anonymity. Everything you do will have to be validated by a server in the Azure cloud, and, of course, big brother will watch. Ever. Using computers will be something like being a Linux user from North Korea.

Other than that, with a dedicated chip running inside the microprocessor, what else won’t it do? Will it not send my activities in forums, to some government agency? Or my emails? Or my comments on Facebook? The possibilities are endless, for evil, unfortunately.

The implications are already starting to show

At the beginning of the year, Matthew Garrett, the researcher who created the UEFI bootloader for Linux (which I do not agree with at all, as it sets a precedent for Microsoft to abuse the market, with its position of power, should not be allowed under any circumstances) said that the Pluton chip was not an attack on users’ freedom to use whatever operating system they wanted, which was not a threat.

In July 2022, he recanted, when he was unable to install Linux on a high-end Thinkpad Z13, complaining that this was not a legal practice by Lenovo.

But, that’s what Microsoft wants. Under the guise of enforcing security, it blocks the machine’s access to the user himself, being the gatekeeper of personal computing. In other words, “my” microcomputer is over. From now on, it will be Microsoft’s microcomputer, and only what it allows will run…

How to prevent that from happening?

It is up to us, the users, to boycott AMD products that contain the Pluton chip, to favor recycled or refurbished computers. And there is still more to do:

  • Support the Free Software Foundation’s campaigns against Windows 11

  • Support the Right to Repair movement, in the person of Louis Rossman, one of the most prominent activists of this movement

  • Bomb your congressmen with emails & phone calls, so that Microsoft is legally pressured not to go ahead with the Pluton project.

So folks, things have never been so in jeopardy as they are today. Microsoft wants to be the big brother, and dictate what everyone can run on their computers, under the benevolent guise of ensuring security. We can’t afford that, or the future of personal computing and privacy will be ruined.

Finally, let’s not forget that anyone who says they don’t need privacy because they have nothing to hide is the same thing as not defending freedom of speech, because they have nothing to say…

Let’s fight this! The scenario is ugly, and the battle will be hard!

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