“Open source is great for debugging, but it’s crucial not to touch [the code...] Intellectual property [IP] socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society. And we are an IP-based society. If there is no way to protect IP, there is no reason to invest in IP.”
–Shai Agassi, SAP president
Summary: A SAP CEO becomes the CEO of HP after HP began to explore Linux very seriously, just like Nokia had its CEO canned to give way to a Microsoft President after it had moved aggressively and strongly in MeeGo’s (Linux/LSB) direction
WHAT WE dreaded the most is becoming a reality. One of the biggest OEMs in the world — just like the world’s biggest mobile phones manufacturer — seems to have become somewhat of a victim of Microsoft entryism and assimilation after supporting Linux ‘too much’. The CEOs got thrown out under mysterious circumstances. The subject was discussed in IRC a few hours ago, but here is just a preliminary summary (more information to come later).
For those who know not so much about Hurd’s departure, it turns out not to have been caused by sexual harassment at all [1, 2, 3, 4] (and it’s not surprising that Oracle immediately hired him after he had been ousted). The CEO who replaces him will be far less sympathetic towards Linux at HP because it is a SAP CEO, Leo Apotheker:
Today was the day eh? HP has chose Leo Apotheker as CEO and President. Who is Leo? Well, for the last 20 years he has been the CEO of a tiny little company called SAP.
HP has already hired some top guns from Microsoft, even a ~20-year veteran who became a Vice President at HP earlier this year. Microsoft must not have liked seeing Hurd drop Vista 7 like a rock Slate, putting instead on his tablets a nice touch of Linux, which performed a lot better (Vista 7 on the Slate is a subject of ridicule at the moment). When Hurd got canned Microsoft seemed to have managed to reverse Hurd’s judgment. And who exactly is this new CEO? It’s the top man from SAP (see our Wiki page about SAP). Microsoft wanted to buy SAP some years ago because it’s Microsoft’s #1 ally in Europe, perhaps if only large companies are accounted for. SAP is also the major party among the few lobbyists for software patents in Europe. As for its relationship with Microsoft at present, they recently signed yet another partnership (right after lobbying together against SUN), building upon other relationships that they had (there are many past deals between this pair). They are close to Novell because Microsoft-taxed SUSE is the main GNU/Linux distribution SAP would dare to touch these days (it was solidified last week). It’s all rather telling and there is a lot more ugly stuff about SAP (see the Wiki and today’s IRC logs).
“Imagine what they can do with their own as well as acquired IP, including Palm. WebOS will pay the MS. tax?” –ZiomatrixTo quote Ziomatrix about SAP: “They seem like MS’s minime concerning European lobbying. What’s their market cap? [...] Hurd was no saint but who knows what this CEO may unleash onto HP. He could be their Nero. [...] either that or HP will gain abundant market share by becoming a key patent hoarder. Imagine what they can do with their own as well as acquired IP, including Palm. WebOS will pay the MS. tax? [...] you think Nokia’s fate is as much sealed?”
Well, that’s the thing though, there are similarities there too. Nokia was assimilated to Microsoft right after it had moved a little ‘too close’ to Linux (MeeGo) and declared its intent to put Linux on the future crown jewel handsets (N series phones). In Nokia too the CEO got ousted, as if putting a Microsoft President instead of him and then exploring Vista Phone 7 [sic] would provide a lifeline somehow. For background see:
Getting back to HP, Hurd was canned (some would say “framed”) not so long after Microsoft had identified HP as a “risk” and its executives said this to their investors; HP was labelled a threat specifically for ‘daring’ to support GNU/Linux on sun-notebooks/netbooks (see the SEC filing for MSFT) and so was Intel, which built Moblin at the time (now it’s merged with Nokia’s Maemo and Microsoft has influence inside Nokia, the more dominant steward of MeeGo).
“Microsoft’s Elop does not even come from a mobile background, he comes from the Microsoft Movement and Steve Ballmer’s announcement of Elop’s departure seemed so optimistic that it aroused suspicion of it being arranged.”What are we trying to suggest here? In order to counter Android/Linux Microsoft seems to be invading companies which very much promote Linux and develop for Linux. In some cases, Microsoft signs Linux-hostile patent deals with those companies (e.g. HTC, Samsung, and LG), so Microsoft seems to have achieved a lot with this distasteful strategy. Just days ago it seemed like HP put Vista 7 on the HP Slate, even though Hurd had decided to call off this project (or focus a lot more on the Linux-based WebOS, which he bought along with Palm, expending billions). And then there’s the recent news about Vista Phone 7 on Nokia phones. Seriously, how much more evidence does one need to say that the Microsoft Movement is dealing some tricks? Companies don’t just reverse their strategies and return to old, discarded strategies overnight. Management can change in all sorts of ways and just as cats can be shaved in all sorts of ways, CEOs too can be disgraced and canned in many different ways. There was no reason for Nokia, for example (a longtime Microsoft sceptic/foe) to appoint a Microsoft President to become CEO. Microsoft’s mobile business is an utter disgrace and sheer failure, despite huge spendings on it. Microsoft’s Elop does not even come from a mobile background, he comes from the Microsoft Movement and Steve Ballmer’s announcement of Elop’s departure seemed so optimistic that it aroused suspicion of it being arranged.
The following timely links from Pogson may help explain why Microsoft had to prevent HP and Nokia/Intel (MeeGo) from releasing Linux-based products. Published today:
White-box players also believe that even though they have inferior quality over hardware and software, with the addition of GPS, WiDi, micro projector and e-book reading capabilities, as well as a price point of half the mainstream tablet PC’s price, their products can still attract consumers from emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle-East.
As for Intel’s new Atom N550 processor, based on Acer’s internal testing, the new processor performs 50% faster than the previous generation model, but the price is at about the same range. Since new netbooks are priced at US$300-400, about the same as previous models, while having better performance, Lin believes the price/performance ratio should help attract consumers.
While a number of IT companies and handset vendors have unveiled tablet PC products, volume shipments are unlikely to hit the market until 2011 as most of the newly developed tablet PC products are still in sampling or small volume production, as well as low yields in lamination of medium-size touch panels, according to Lin Sheng-chang, president of Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT).
Another question worth asking is, what will happen to HP’s role in GNOME (Stormy Peters et al.) and Free software? Why would a SAP guy be committed to it? SAP hates GNU/Linux (not Ballnux), it loves Microsoft, and it loves software patents (it still lobbies for them in Europe). SAP has a very Free software-hostile history, with notable remarks that include some from Shai Agassi (see the top of this post). █
Is this the HP Windows 7 Slate? Let’s hope it’s a joke news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-2… #pcbuzz
BackWeb, which Microsoft paid some money to settle a patent case [1, 2, 3], is now suing IBM and HP:
Looks like IBM and HP have just been hit with patent infringement lawsuits. According to a release, BackWeb Technologies has filed separate lawsuits in the United States District Court in San Francisco, California against IBM and HP, alleging patent infringement.
The patents seems to deal with technology for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer and distributed client-based data caching systems. BackWeb alleges that IBM’s Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM’s recently acquired BigFix products infringe four U.S. patents owned by BackWeb. BackWeb also alleges that HP’s Client Automation product infringes three U.S. patents owned by BackWeb covering methods for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer.
When it comes to Android, Microsoft has been trying to put a patent tax on it. Dana Blankenhorn provokes a little by suggesting that Google cannot defend Android’s good name although he is not referring to the patents issue. He wrote:
“Don’t be evil” may drive cynics away, but it’s a powerful message many people believe nonetheless.
Google is risking nothing less than its brand through its passivity over Android. Carriers have hijacked the mobile Linux distro and turned it decidedly evil, sometimes even preventing buyers from accessing Google without jailbreaking their phones.
CEO Eric Schmidt’s response has been completely passive. Were we to restrict the use of the code, we’d be violating the principles of open source, he says.
It is being claimed that Google is now infringing on Yahoo! patents, because of Google Instant [1, 2] (trivial idea, just bandwidth- and server resources-consuming).
Yahoo! owns several patents covering Google’s new Instant search engine, according to Shashi Seth, Yahoo!’s senior vice president of search and a former search product leader at Google.
The Microsoft-dominated Yahoo! was said to be such an issue a couple of years ago. Some sites argued that Microsoft wanted control of Yahoo! only/mostly because of its patents.
The most effective solution right now would be to eliminate software patents. The FSF is working towards that and Stallman campaigned on the issue down in Australia this month [1, 2]. Here is some more coverage about that [1, 2] (the latter is a Slashdot discussion). Stallman carried other messages too, basically about the importance of sharing.
Digging deeper into the report, it looks at and tests a variety of different concepts around patents and litigation. In theory, if a patent is used in multiple patent cases, you tend to think that it must be a pretty solid patent, and one that has been vetted plenty of times. And yet, when the researchers looked at the 106 patents that have been involved in eight or more lawsuits since 2000, they found that the patent holder wins such cases only 10.7% of the time. For patents that have only been brought to litigation once, the patent holder wins 47.3% of the time — an astounding difference.
My first thought on hearing such numbers is that the data could be misleading in that many companies may be a lot more willing to settle when sued by a serial patent litigator. However, the researchers tested that and while they did find that a higher percentage of those sued will settle in cases involving a “most-litigated” patent as compared to a “once-litigated” patent, the higher settlement rates don’t offset the huge difference in win rates.
On the whole, the results certainly seem to suggest that patent trolls with software patents do very much view the system as a lottery ticket, and they’re willing to use really weak patents to try to win that prize. That is not at all what the patent system is designed to do, but it’s how the incentives have been structured — and that seems like a pretty big problem that isn’t solved just by showing how many of these lawsuits fail. The amount of time and resources wasted on those lawsuits, as well as the number of companies who pay up without completing a lawsuit, suggest that there is still a major problem to be dealt with.
Among the many, many nasty things done in the name of patent law is the rather disgusting practices of “pay-for-delay”, where a big pharma firm sues a generic pharma maker for patent infringement, with no legal basis, and part of the “settlement” that is then worked out is that the big pharma will pay off the generic pharma not to enter the market with a generic for a certain period of time. Basically, it’s a (by definition and government support) monopoly player in the market paying off competitors to keep the market exclusive. It’s difficult to see how that’s not a blatant violation of anti-trust law. But, alas, apparently the Second Circuit doesn’t see it that way. In April it tossed out a lawsuit over this issue, because the pharma companies involved put in a few worthless other things into the deal that acted as “cover” for the real anti-competitive move — and, since the “monopoly” was from a patent, the court didn’t see it as an anti-trust issue.
The trademark battle centers on independent entrepreneur Daniel Kokin (right), founder of startup Sector Labs, and his in-development video projector called Video Pod. Apple had previously filed oppositions against Kokin’s usage of “Pod,” alleging that it would cause customers to confuse it with Apple’s iPod products.
Apple, which sued Linux via HTC, is also using patents to exclude competitors right now. “Apple sues ‘HyperMac’ accessory maker over MagSafe, iPod cables,” reportsApple Insider:
Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sanho Corporation, maker of the HyperMac line of accessories, alleging violation of patents it owns related to the MagSafe charger and cables that use the iPod 30-pin connection.
TechDirtwonders, “Is It Patent Infringement To Reuse Recycled Apple Magsafe Connectors?”
AppleInsider has the details of yet another patent infringement lawsuit filed by Apple, who has become a lot more aggressive on the patent front lately. This lawsuit is against Sanho, a company that makes a variety of external batteries for Apple products. There are six patents listed in the lawsuit, but two are design patents, which are pretty narrow.
Football gear maker files for bankruptcy after losing patent-infringement suit
The phrase “bet-the-company litigation” is an overused metaphor to describe high-stakes cases. But once in a while the survival of a business is hanging in the balance, as in the case of Schutt Sports Inc.
The Illinois-based maker of football helmets and other sports gear filed for bankruptcy on Labor Day, a month after it was sacked with more than $29 million in damages for violating its rival’s helmet patent. Schutt Sports said in bankruptcy court papers that the verdict was the final hammer, as the company already was struggling with deteriorating revenue and profit margins and an overleveraged balance sheet prior to the jury decision.
Instrumental in blocking competition is the ITC (International Trade Commission), whose role we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is Sony meeting the ITC wall because of “alleged patent infringements” (mere allegations).
THE US ITC (International Trade Commission) will investigate complaints from a Taiwanese manufacturer about Sony regarding some alleged patent infringements.
The accusations about patent toe-stepping come from Chimei Innolux, one of the biggest LCD manufacturers in Taiwan, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, and Texas based Innolux Corporation, all of which appear to be related companies and are complaining that Sony has ridden roughshod over their patent rights on gadgets ranging from Sony’s televisions to its games console, the PS3.
With the coming of the Galaxy Tab and possible releases of a number of Android tablets at the end of the year, the question still remains: do most consumers really want or need a tablet device? We have seen the success of the iPad but have yet to see anything really go up against it, Android or otherwise. It’s a bit hard to judge sometimes what “real consumers” in the market place want as opposed to us Android fanboys, but a recent Zogby pole may clear some of this up.
Then there is the tablet-class device called “Slate”. Watch the following new video of Vista 7 choking on it:
But then HP bought Palm, and with it webOS. webOS may be a phone operating system, but ever since news of the purchase came out, there has been widespread conjecture about a webOS-powered tablet. The appeal of webOS on such a device is that webOS is designed around a touch-screen, and built for low-power hardware—ideal for battery life.
Earlier today we learned about this “Linspire on MeeGo” tablet thing, which is baffling as no other source seems to be covering it and it’s not clear what Linspire has to do with it.
The Linspire-MeeGo tablet will likely support touch-based input methods and gestures. Linpus will be creating touchscreen-specific apps to run on MeeGo, such as an eReader, maps, mail, a browser, and a media player. Linpus will also include a contact manager.
We were pretty sure Linspire (Ballnux) was in its grave by now; given that it was a Microsoft-taxed distribution, no love was lost. Is this “Linspire-MeeGo tablet” taxed by Microsoft for imaginary patent violations? What would Nokia say now that its CEO is a former Microsoft president (also see [1, 2, 3])?
Speaking of tablets, in our previous posts about the HP-Hurd scandal [1, 2, 3, 4] we explained that Microsoft entryism at HP seemed to have had the effect of making the company neglect Linux and bring back Vista 7 to the “Slate”, even after HP had officially abandoned it. According to this new video (“Supposed HP Slate prototype video”), Microsoft cronies at HP may have had their way.
It’s a Windows 7 version of the same old Microsoft Tablet PC form factor, but this time, with a finger instead of a stylus. They used to call these “slate”-type Tablet PCs. They were slaughtered in the market by the “convertible” type that had the flip-around laptop keyboards, because most Windows software simply works much better with a keyboard and trackpad.
This was brought to our attention by lnxwalt, who dented: “HP “Slate” video: http://cl.ly/2W0J via @email@example.com — should have killed it; #WebOS tablets should be *much* better. [...] Holy cow! That thing is awful! Is it Flash that makes it so slow?”
Well, Vista 7 is not suitable for portable devices. That’s why Linux/Android does so well on these form factors whose sales grow. █
Summary: Mark Hurd, who navigated closer to Linux and had Microsoft name HP as a competitive threat for this (in its SEC filings even), was not really ejected for his publicly-exaggerated situation with Fisher; MSI turns to Linux for slates and Microsoft starts turning to more Vista 8 vapourware
EARLIER this month we raised suspicions that Hurd got virtually fired (pressured to quit) for his policies rather than any particular scandal [1, 2, 3].
HP had decided to force this month’s resignation of chief executive Mark Hurd before he settled a sexual harassment claim from a former actress, according to sources close to the matter.
Hurd was forced out of the company because the board concluded he had broken HP’s code of conduct. While the directors found Hurd had not harassed Fisher, they found improper expense filing that allegedly deliberately failed to reveal the actress’ name on a number of occasions.
Hurd said he was not involved in filing the expenses and was not attempting to conceal any relationship. Fisher has also said that she and Hurd “never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship”.
Another week, another Windows 7 slate is cut from the list of those slated (pun intended) to ship in time for this holiday season.
This time, as Engadget’s PC reviewer extraordinaire Joanna Stern noted on August 23, the vendor didn’t decide to dump Windows 7 for Android. Instead, MSI has decided to delay its Windows 7-based WindPad so it can incorporate Intel’s Oak Trail processors that are expected to offer better power management and battery life. (MSI is also developing an Android WindPad slate, which is still on tap to ship before the end of this year, by the way.)
Windows 95 marks 15th birthday in uncertain Microsoft future
The company is also now facing long-term threats to its success. Apple and now Google both have much larger presences in the smartphone space where Microsoft has had to scrap Windows Mobile and start fresh with Windows Phone 7 to stay current. Attempts by co-founder Bill Gates and later Steve Ballmer to force acceptance of pen-based Windows tablet PCs have also been undermined almost overnight as the iPad has crushed tablet PC records; Apple sold more than twice as many tablets in three months than Microsoft was expected to manage all year.
“In January of 1994, Waggener Edstrom began recruiting 100 key editors, 32 analysts, and 150 third-party vendors for the Windows 95 bandwagon. Lining up the national media and the business press was easy. Edstrom had been massaging those relationships for over a decade, sending flowers and cartoons and reminding editors of their spouses’ birthdays and wedding anniversaries, earning her “Gates’s keeper” reputation. Not only would these people tout Windows 95, they would also be more inclined to show sympathy for Microsoft when competitors started ragging them. [...] In an unusual move, Edstrom’s minions had New York’s Empire State Building lit in the Windows 95 colors. [...] Waggener Edstrom claimed that Microsoft received more media attention than even the O.J. Simpson trial, which was going on at the same time.”
–Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed by the daughter of Microsoft’s Pam Edstrom
Internal candidates to replace Hurd include Todd Bradley, who turned around the company’s once-struggling PC business. Ann Livermore, who runs HP’s huge services business is another oft-mentioned possibility. Outside candidates include two Softies: Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and Stephen Elop, president of the company’s Business Division.
This is a reach, but one interesting possibility to think about is Robbie Bach, the outgoing Entertainment & Devices Division president at Microsoft. Bach has said he truly plans to retire, but given his history across business computing and mobile devices — and his impending availability — he would seem less of a long shot than the Microsoft execs floated by the Seattle Times last week: Kevin Turner, the company’s chief operating officer, and Bob Muglia, the Microsoft Server & Tools president.
Tim Bajarin, typically a stern Microsoft booster, says that “HP’s New CEO Must Embrace Palm,” but based on Murdoch’s rags/tabloids, “HP to Ship Microsoft Tablet This Year, webOS Tablet Next Year” (and notice the bits about Android):
Noticeably absent from Bradley’s list: that Android device that was supposed to arrive at market in the fourth quarter of 2010. As I reported in July that tablet has been tabled–at least for the time being.
“HP Officially Delays Tablet until 2011,” says this report, but at least it’s not cancelled [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here is one take on it:
Hewlett-Packard confirmed its tablet plans in a conference call on Thursday.
From a product standpoint, company executives said that a “Microsoft product” would appear in the “near future,” with a “WebOS product in early 2011.” That appears to confirm both reports of HP’s Windows tablet as well as the company’s plans to feature WebOS after HP purchased Palm.
OpenAmplify, the Semantic Web platform, today announced that Sanjay Parthasarathy has joined its executive board. Parthasarathy brings over two decades of experience to the OpenAmplify team, most recently serving as corporate vice president of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group (D&PE) and also the Microsoft Startup Business Accelerator.
Mark is Director of Strategic Relationships for Microsoft Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 24.23, -0.21, -0.86%) Media & Entertainment Group and has more than 13 years’ experience in developing innovative business and technology solutions for global media companies. He is based in Los Angeles.
Liarliarlist.com (http://liarliarlist.com), a brand new website that publishes members reviews of people who lie on their online dating profiles, has just appointed Microsoft Corporation alumni Adesh Desai as Chief Technology Officer and Deepak Sodhi as Chief Operating Officer.
Half of Microsoft’s (Anonymous) Employees Don’t Approve of Steve Ballmer
You’ve heard of this guy Mark Hurd, right? The Hewlett-Packard CEO forced to resign late last week because of a sexual harassment investigation? Lots of his employees apparently didn’t like him very much. At least according to his record-low approval rating of 34-percent on Glassdoor.com, a site that lets employees anonymously dish on their bosses.
It’s not impossible for Ballmer to replace Hurd, either. Earlier this year Ballmer was strutting HP’s gear (Slate) on stage. It did not really have a penguin on it; it had Vista 7. █
Summary: Microsoft loses its power struggle in the Free/open source community and the OEM channel; One of our readers opines that Microsoft may have been responsible for Hurd’s departure from HP
MICROSOFT is going through some tough times (unless one minds the PR). Fortunately, Microsoft is collapsing as even attempts to “embrace and extend” the free/libre competition bite the dust [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft Gavin spins it too weakly for Microsoft. “Microsoft has reportedly refused to comment officially on the changes,” he writes and “[r]eading between the lines, it would seem that Microsoft’s push for Microsoft-versions of dynamic languages has fallen victim to overall budget cuts and changing priorities.”
It’s kind of pathetic, really. Most of these arguments are premised on the notion that if you’ve already wasted most of your adult life using Windows, you’ll be more familiar with it than the Mac, so you might as well waste the rest of your adult life. Which is really the only reason why Microsoft continues to dominate desktop market share: It’s harder to switch than to stick with what you got, even if what you got sucks eggs.
“Yahoo was too independent company and they put Bartz. And SGI too. And HP of 90′.” –gnufreexnadege says: “Not sure Hurd was fired due to Microsoft Retaliation : HP & Microsoft are partners, and HP promote a lot the Microsoft products”
“HP does promote Microsoft, but Microsoft doesn’t forgive competition,” gnufreex tells nadege. “Palm is competition”
nadege responds with: “HP promotes Microsoft due to a special relationship. However, HP is still an independent company. So I don’t think Microsoft will put its own CEO at HP”
Someone who acts against the interests of the organization he’s with, often in favor of some other organization he may be secretly working for instead – a mole.
Those acts – along with the reward from Microsfot – got him the nickname “the microsoft mole” (google “microsoft mole Belluzzo”) in those companies, and occaionally the term “a belluzzo” is used to describe someone who seems to be acting in the interest of a different company than the one he works for.
For details about Yahoo! entryism, see our Wiki. Earlier today we showed that Newsweek‘s outgoing Managing Editor now works for Microsoft (MSN). Bartz could be just another Belluzzo.
“Also note what they did to IBM’s OS/2, IBM was special partner too,” gnufreex adds. “When you are Microsoft competitor, you are on their hit list [...] That is exactly why they are firing him [...] I mean, not they are not firing him, they are setting the harassment case”
“HP has to be close to Microsoft,” nadege confesses, “otherwise Microsoft will favour Acer or Dell, and HP will lose its leadership. It’s tough to be a Microsoft Partner [...] And believe me : Customers (Companies and end users) want Microsoft products. They won’t accept any huge replacement of Windows.”
Chips B Malroy says: “they will on tablets [...] just look at the iPad”
nadege responds with: “Tablets, OK. Android will perform well” and gnufreex adds: “Yeah, and that is why Microsoft’s want Palm dead, and they need CEO who will kill it. [...] When I said they need CEO to kill Palm, I mean new HP CEO. Hurd didn’t want to kill his product just to please Microsoft, and now has to go. But then again, he is maybe just a rapist and deserves to be fired, and Microsoft has nothing to do with it”
IDG has a new article titled “Did HP Board Have Hidden Agenda in Removing Hurd?”
Demi-disgraced HP chief exec Mark Hurd may have been the most-recent high-level exec to exit that company’s Palo Alto headquarters, but he’s not alone in his good-bye drive down US Highway 101.
Thanks to TechCrunch, we now learn that Peter Skillman, Palm’s now-former vice president of design — and the man who shepherded the design of the Palm Prē — has also bailed. An HP spokeswoman tells The Reg that his resignation came “about a month ago.”
Skillman’s departure is no small loss to HP. As the company expands beyond the security of the staid PC ‘n’ server ‘n’ printer markets and dips its toe into the turbulent ‘n’ trendy consumer products free-for-all, it’s going to need all the vision and design expertise it can get.
That cannot be good, can it? Hurd’s ‘Delilah’ says she is sorry and gnufreex writes: “I think Microsoft set him up [...] Because of his Linux related acquisitions [...] I think Microsoft want HP to kill Palm [...] some new Beluzzo might replace him [...] HP Enterpirse Software division (HP-UX and VMS) already got Microsoftie at helm”
The full IRC logs are available to see these claims in sequence. This theory says that they ‘pull a Bartz’ on HP, but evidence is not sufficient.
As the many questions around Mark Hurd’s departure continue to go unanswered, a key aide to the former CEO has also abruptly resigned this week.
The mystery deepens. Caprice Fimbres McIlvaine, formerly head of internal communications at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and a top aide to ex-CEO Mark Hurd, has left the company, following her boss out the door three days after his departure. Her exit is significant because, according to two people with knowledge of her former role, McIlvaine was the key conduit in hiring Jodie Fisher, the actress-turned-corporate hostess/”marketing contractor” who later filed a sexual harassment suit against Hurd, setting in motion the chain of events that resulted in the CEO’s resignation on Aug. 6. McIlvaine resigned effective Aug. 9, HP confirmed Wednesday.
Why HP was wise to put director Marc Andreessen forward as the board’s spokesman on the Mark Hurd crisis.
The delightfully jarring aspect to Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) bombshell news and investor conference calls last Friday was the board member the venerable company put forward as its public face: Marc Andreessen, not so very long ago the enfant terrible of Silicon Valley.
Mark Hurd’s silly exit has little to do with HP’s real problems. As an executive there about a decade ago, I saw a company that was giving up its differentiating value in the name of operational savings, not realizing that by now the Golden Goose of creativity would find greener pastures. But surprisingly, the classic HP tradition of building a great place to do engineering that results in a flood of excellent creative products is being followed…
Back we go to Cringely (the original one) who wrote about “Stupid CEO Tricks” — a post wherein he mentioned Intel for showing that “to a certain extent crime does pay. ”
This week brought two other news events worthy of comment — Intel’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and Mark Hurd’s sudden departure as CEO from giant Hewlett-Packard.
The Intel story is almost as it is being presented in the trade and general press. Yes, Intel has promised in very specific ways to no longer be evil. No, Intel isn’t being made to give back the money it made as a result of being evil, so to a certain extent crime does pay. Of course some will say the money damages were in part covered by Intel’s recent $1.25 billion settlement with AMD, but the FTC also doesn’t generally impose fines. So if you happen to be guilty of anti-trust I guess it is better to be sued by the FTC than by the DoJ, which does impose fines.
Either way, Intel got away with something and the graphics chip makers in particular should be pissed.
What is this case teaching our children? That a slap on the wrist is all one gets for abusing the market? Earlier today we showed that Apple too had been caught using kickbacks, so an Apple manager goes to jail (which is rare, they are usually just fined).
Everything about the Intel/FTC settlement screams of one thing — Microsoft. Redmond’s multi-year nightmare with the FTC, DoJ, and the attorneys-general of several dozen states wasn’t lost on Intel, which is a more rational company and doesn’t want a Microsoft-like anti-trust experience. Both companies are guilty and both are paying something for that guilt, but Intel clearly wants to avoid the decade of pain and distraction suffered by Microsoft.
Microsoft was paralyzed with the FTC breathing down its neck. Intel is not paralyzed.
Roughly $2 billion in payouts and Intel is a free bird — a rich free bird at that — having proved that crime does pay.
These settlements will effectively pay for themselves in two months at current Intel profit levels.
Had Microsoft been “paralyzed”, then its abuses would not carry on; but they do. █
“Fuck! It took you a year to figure that out!”
“That’s the dumbest fucking idea I’ve heard since I’ve been at Microsoft.”
Summary: HP’s CEO leaves amidst a new fraud scandal; Microsoft’s executives named among possible replacements and Microsoft’s own frauds are revisited
Microsoft’s financial situation is a matter of insincerity, for many reasons that we covered before. Adding to Microsoft’s problems we recently saw a downgrade, which we mentioned in [1, 2]. Here is the AP coverage of that:
Shares of Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT – news – people ) edged lower after Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry downgraded the software giant in part due to increased competition from Apple ( AAPL – news – people )’s Macs to its Windows operating system.
Apple has managed to grab a lucrative niche of the rich people’s market. It hardly means that Apple can ever attain dominance. As for Microsoft, it is being sandwiched by GNU/Linux and Apple while its shares are 10% within 52-week low, according to this financial news site:
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares closed the day at $25.37, which means they are now just 10.41% away from its 52-week low, is this finally the bottom for MSFT?
“Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Stock Flounders,” says another report and one last report bears the headline “Crash In Hindsight: Microsoft Currently 8.50% Below its May 6th Crash Low of $27.91 (MSFT)”; Based on this report, there are Microsoft layoffs/cuts in support and consulting.
Going some years into the past, a Macs-oriented Web site (which recently started praising GNU/Linux at Apple’s expense) speaks about “Microsoft the Ultimate Pyramid Scheme” (thanks to Tobin for the pointer).
According to an article at the Register, MS Website Trumpets ‘Pyramid’ Company, Microsoft has been featuring a case study about GoldQuest, a pyramid scheme company!
This, of course, is not Microsoft’s fault. Companies that use Windows to generate funds through pyramid schemes do not have to tell Redmond what they are up to any more than purveyors of spyware, adware, viruses, Trojan horses, networks of zombie computers belching up personal information to Mafia lords, spammers, or anyone else has to. These things manifestly do not have anything to do with Microsoft per se, any more than . . . some other analogy that I was thinking of but forgot.
Any way, the point of this article (and I do have a point) is that Microsoft itself is a kind of pyramid scheme.
In your classic pyramid scheme, you sell something of limited value and tell the seller that they can make money by selling the same valueless thing to friends for the same price less a minor finder’s fee. The “mark” is told that as more people join the pyramid, more money trickles down the pyramid to him through the finder’s fees, eventually making him rich with very little effort.
In the Microsoft version, the “mark” (an IT guy) is told that if they use Windows, they’ll be more compatible and more productive. Further, if they convince 10 users in their company to use Windows, then all the additional savings will be passed on to the IT department, which can hire more people to take care of the additional computers.
A case study on Microsoft.com is unwittingly promoting a company which has been accused of operating a pyramid scheme targetting people in south-east Asia and Africa.
This page on Microsoft’s website explains how Hong Kong-based GoldQuest International Ltd made big savings by moving to Windows Server 2003. The page proudly trumpets GoldQuest’s achievements and “500,000 active customers in 120 countries”.
“GoldQuest has grown into a ecommerce powerhouse, generating 70 per cent of its $200m annual turnover online,” the page gushes. Microsoft claims it has saved the company $82,000 a year in IT costs and helped it increase revenue by $10m a year.
Wow. That’s quite an embarrassment, more so than LSE as a “case study” (LSE eventually dumped Windows and went with GNU/Linux instead [1, 2, 3, 4]).
This whole discussion came about in IRC last night. Tobin sought information about Microsoft as a pyramid scheme (like many in the stock market) and Chips B Malroy wondered “what the resignation of the HP CEO will mean with WebOS? Will the next CEO go back to windows?”
For those who have not heard yet, there is fraud claimed at HP, not just Microsoft. Here are some articles from the news:
Mark Hurd, the man credited with reinvigorating Hewlett-Packard Co., resigned as chief executive of the technology giant after an investigation of his relationship with a female contractor found he violated the company’s business standards.
H-P said Friday that Mr. Hurd, 53 years old, didn’t violate the company’s policy regarding sexual-harassment but submitted inaccurate expense reports that were intended to conceal what the company said was a “close personal relationship” with the woman.
Mark Hurd, CEO of HP is resigning on the heels of sexual harassment charges by a former HP contractor. The company’s investigation concluded that there was no sexual harassment violation, however it did find that Hurd violated HP’s “Standards of Business Conduct.” Hurd said it was a “painful decision” and vaguely acknowledged that he displayed a lack of character.
As per the latest disclosure made by the largest computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ), the tech major has agreed to settle a lawsuit in principle imposed against it by the Department Of Justice (DOJ).
This lawsuit dates back to the year 2007, when Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) first initiated this lawsuit, and the Government agency with others to form a combined lawsuit against the three tech majors namely, HP, Sun Microsystems and Accenture.
Steve Elop, chief of Microsoft’s business division, which handles MS Office. He was formerly chief operating officer of No. 2 networking company Juniper Networks. Known as a no-nonsense taskmaster, Elop is a veteran in the technology industry, having served in senior positions at Adobe Systems and Macromedia.