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09.18.14

More Microsoft Layoffs

Posted in Microsoft at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mouse

Summary: More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete

Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft (probably using shares rather than real money) is baffling a lot of people and Wired calls it a sign of “desperation”. Something must be terribly wrong if Microsoft claims to be spending billions of dollars on some lousy game while laying off a lot of existing staff.

More Microsoft layoffs are now being confirmed, according to Microsoft’s unofficial spokesperson Mary Jo Foley, who wrote:

Microsoft will continue with its planned layoffs of 18,000 with job cuts across nearly all divisions of the company with its second wave of cuts later this week.

Earlier this year when we covered the latest Microsoft layoffs we showed that it was not about Nokia; the layoffs go well beyond Nokia and these recent layoffs may be part of a bigger wave to come because Microsoft struggles in many areas of its business.

Microsoft has destroyed many jobs when it engaged in criminal activities that sank rivals; a lot of ethical jobs would be created if Microsoft declared bankruptcy.

09.16.14

The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism

TECHRIGHTS has published dozens of articles — including some “exclusives” — about the UK and its dangerous dependence on Microsoft. The UK is a lot more dependent on Microsoft than other nations and it’s a huge problem because such dependencies facilitate spying on lawyers and journalists, not to mention politicians. Being one’s “ally” does not mean exclusion from the “targets” list, as revelations about Germany and Turkey served to show. Microsoft is as bad as one can get when it comes to privacy and it habitually colludes with the state (the United States, not Britain).

The other day a reader sent us this link about Microsoft Office spying. “Delve pulls content from within your organization’s OneDrive, SharePoint, and Yammer accounts,” says the article. The scary thing is, CTOs and CIOs in the UK are sometimes using stuff like this on the government’s Windows-running PCs, which can cost $10,000 per year (per PC) merely to maintain. Have we learned nothing from Stuxnet? Is the UK begging to be a vassal of another nation?

Dependence on Microsoft Windows also leads to virus epidemic in the UK right now. It turns out that British businesses are now struggling with a so-called ‘undetectable’ Windows virus. So much for ‘competitive advantage’, eh? To quote the Torygraph: “A Peter Pan pantomime in Bournemouth is being used as part of a sophisticated hacking attack from Eastern Europe that is targetting thousands of British businesss.

“An email claiming to be a £145 invoice for nine tickets to a performance of Peter Pan at the Bournemouth Pavilion theatre contained an attachment that if opened installs a virus onto the receipent’s computer.

“The malware, which the email claims are the tickets for the pantomime performance, captures highly sensitive personal and commericial information including passwords and is almost “undetectable” by current anti-virus software.”

It is baffling to see the London-based Canonical still feels comfortable putting GNU/Linux under/alongside a surveillance platform. As one Microsoft-friendly article put it: “Ubuntu’s popularity with the OpenStack crowd can’t be lost on Microsoft, and Microsoft has learned that it must play nicely with Linux in its virtualization and cloud product lines. Now, Canonical has reported that it has completed work with Microsoft on tools for Windows Server to run on top of OpenStack and Ubuntu.”

This is unwise because putting Windows in the stack is the same as granting the NSA access to the stack. Microsoft should in principle be purged, along with its software. The company has already proven that it is the best friend of illegal surveillance, espionage, political sabotage and other shenanigans. How much evidence need one see before it becomes crystal clear that Microsoft has no place in the public sector, except perhaps in the United States?

CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing

PROPAGANDA giant CBS (notoriously selling to the public wars of conquest and mass surveillance) has been a target of our criticism also because it hires people who have worked or are still working for Microsoft to cover Microsoft positively and slam Microsoft’s competition. It’s not news, it’s advertising or agenda, if not propaganda.

Microsoft boosters are everywhere at CBS, with several in CNET and several in ZDNet; some are still Microsoft employees, not former employees. They are attacking Microsoft rivals and planting PR for Microsoft. Later on when they chat to me in Twitter they still pretend to be “objective”. They don’t say much; they just know they got caught in a conflict of interest.

Anyway, CBS has apparently just hired yet another (there are many more) “former” Softer to put Microsoft puff pieces disguised as articles. This guy, Dave Johnson, works neither in CNET nor ZDNet (CBS-owned) but more directly writes for CBS sites. There are quite a few articles like this one and it’s an epidemic that ought to raise concerns and draw criticism. Watch his stream of Microsoft propaganda (even vapourware at the moment).

Meanwhile it’s reported that Microsoft paid almost half a billion dollars for NFL to pretend to endorse Microsoft (advertisement disguised as recommendation), but even this has not worked like Microsoft hoped. As TechDirt (among other publications) put it, “Marketing Failure: Microsoft Pays NFL To Use Its Surface Tablets — And People Still Call Them ‘iPad-Like Tools’”:

Over at The Verge, Vlad Savov has an amusing post about how NFL announcers this weekend referred to the sideline tablets that players are using as “iPad-like tools.” Microsoft Surface tablets are being allowed on the sidelines as part of a $400 million deal between Microsoft and the NFL. And Microsoft is promoting the Surface as “the official tablet of the NFL.” And, in the end, all anyone remembers is that it’s an “iPad-like tool.” I wonder if the guy who signed that deal for Microsoft has lined up a new job yet…

There have been quite a few articles like this one.

Embedded advertisements or fake endorsements are only some of the tools in Microsoft’s arsenal of AstroTurfing tools, used by proxy much of the time. But again, what CBS is doing is much worse than most. It’s corrupt means of providing what CBS pretends to be “news”.

CBS is not news; neither in politics nor in technology. It needs to be shunned. It’s corporate press, not news.

Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around

Microsoft likes buying companies just to kill their GNU/Linux versions (unless a program spies on the users, like Skype does). We have given many examples over the years. Minecraft seems to be no exception.

Some days ago it became quite apparent [1, 2] that Minecraft was on its deathbed. As OpenSource.com put it: “A lot of very big, very reputable sources are claiming that Microsoft is acquiring Mojang, the makers of the astoundingly popular sandbox game Minecraft, and that the deal could be finalized as early as next week.”

Watch this appalling hogwash. “Spinning Microsoft continued destruction of the industry as only “not cool” rather than the malice it is,” told us one of our readers. “Notch’s objections to Vista8 might be partially behind the discussed takeover.”

“Passionate Players Fear Acquisition of Upstart Videogame Maker Will Destroy Its Indie Spirit” says the summary. Here is another article from the same publication. It shows the times “When Minecraft Founder Markus Persson Blasted Microsoft”.

Despite all this, Markus Persson sold out. Minecraft will probably never release GNU/Linux versions anymore. See also this old article about “GPL Non-Compliance” in “Minecraft Plug-Ins” and this old page where Mincraft’s Persson states: “I will release the game source code as some kind of open source.”

Nonsense. Microsoft killed off this possibility. Persson threw away his principles and completely sold out. He sold out a community.

“Minecraft for Linux Conveniently Missing from Mojang-Microsoft Deal” says one article’s headline [1, 2] as “Microsoft acquires Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5 billion”. In our IRC channels Sosumi says he “never played minecraft nor I am interested in playing it” (it was always proprietary).

MinceR says that “Mojang is dead now… like terminal reality and ensemble studios” and Sosumi replies with “I’ll probably follow the same line as it did with bungie… with support dropping for non-Microsoft platforms as new releases come”

XFaCE says: “Expect an immediate rewrite to C#”

This is not “greener pastures”, it is a deathbed. But Persson enriches himself in the process.

“Microsoft asserts that it “plans” to continue distributing Minecraft across PC, Xbox, PlayStation, iOS, and Android, but obviously the game’s cross-platform future is called into question by this acquisition,” says the article above. Notice how GNU/Linux gets omitted. It is not a coincidence.

Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux

Boycotting Intel is not hard to justify. The company is deeply corrupt. We spent over two years explaining why its UEFI antifeatures too should face a boycott and Silviu Stahie provides yet another reason in this article about a new petition. It says: “The Intel Atom Bay Trail tablets have been out for a few months already, but none of the hardware vendors is providing 64-bit firmware builds for them, which means that you can’t install any Linux distros.”

Here’s more: “In fact, you can’t install Linux on any 32-bit UEFI PC, because the boot loader only supports 64-bit, and this is a major issue for people who really want to used their Intel Atom Bay Trail-powered devices with a Linux OS.”

The solution is quite simple; avoid Intel, potentially dodge x86 (where practically possible), and definitely avoid anything with UEFI on any kind of device. It is not only a patent trap but also means for securing Microsoft’s monopoly. In addition, it’s a potential back door for bricking computers remotely. Intel should be shamed of itself.

Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft’s ‘Partner of the Year’, Microsoft Focus

Posted in Microsoft, Novell at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors

Many GNU/Linux sites have not properly covered — if at all — the news about Microsoft’s very special partner (with a long track record) buying what’s left of Novell and SUSE after Microsoft took the patents.

Microsoft Focus, or Micro Focus, would soon be in charge of SUSE. One GNU/Linux-centric journalist said: “Micro Focus announced today its intention to acquire privately-held Attachmate in a deal valued at approximately $2.3 billion.

“The deal includes the issuance of 86.60 million shares of Micro Focus to Attachmate’s parent company, Wizard Parent LLC. Micro Focus states that the value of the granted shares is approximately $1.19 billion. Micro Focus also will take on Attachmate’s net debt of $1.17 billion.

“Micro Focus is an enterprise application modernization and testing software vendor with a long list of products in its portfolio. The company’s core products include its Visual COBOL, Enterprise Analyzer and Enterprise Developer platforms.

“Attachmate is an amalgam of multiple companies, including a namesake company that provides enterprise file share and legacy application management products, and the NetIQ business for networking application visibility software. Attachmate also owns Novell, which it acquired in a $2.2 billion deal in 2011. Following the acquisition of Novell, Attachmate spun out SUSE Linux as its own operating division.”

Oddly enough, nothing is being said about the Microsoft connection or even the mysterious sale of Novell to Attachmate via secretive proxies.

We are probably going to revisit this acquisition very soon.

09.06.14

Software Patents ‘Quality’ Debated in Courts, Microsoft’s Biggest Patent Troll Still a Chronic Liar

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ largest patent proxy, continues to spread lies about its motivations, claiming that patent assessment is among the goals when in fact only the courts and patent offices do this

Law 360, a site for lawyers, says that the EFF now uses the SCOTUS ruling against many software patents. The article, which is behind paywall (common practice among lawyers and legal sites), says: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Alice Corp. decision means that thousands of software patents that claim abstract ideas must be found invalid, including an online advertising patent owned by Ultramercial Inc., the Electronic Frontier Foundation has told the Federal Circuit.”

As we recently showed, sites that are pro-software patents admit defeat in the sense that they acknowledge software patents are indeed affected. The remaining question is, his many of them are affected? Some patents are already being rejected based on the recent ruling.

“Some patents are already being rejected based on the recent ruling.”
The significance of all this is very high. It is a game changer. Things are changing for the better. Despite that, The National Law Journal, a site for lawyers, goes with the headline “No, ‘Alice’ Wasn’t a ‘Death Knell’ for Software Patents” and another lawyers’ site (links in page 6) to “Getting your software patents approved”, which is basically the voice of patent lawyers who can’t accept the new reality. Here we have a very vocal software patents booster speaking with Mark Lemley. His article starts as follows:

My immediate reaction was that this would be extremely bad for software patents. Many others thought I was engaging in extreme exaggeration. Since then, however, the Patent Office has started issuing Alice rejections where no previous 101 patent eligibility rejection stood, they have been withdrawing notices of allowance after the issue fee has been paid in order to issue Alice rejections, and the Federal Circuit is strictly applying the nebulous “Alice standard” to find software patent claims patent ineligible.

It is now clear that the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice fundamentally changed the law and future of software patents, at least those already issued and applications already filed, which cannot be changed without adding new matter. Those applications were filed at a different time and under a substantially different regime.

So let it be established that even many software patents boosters don’t fight the fact that new quality-related constraints are now in place.

The Bill Gates-connected Intellectual Ventures recently made headlines again due to massive layoffs and due to its blatant lies. The troll rewrites history now, pretending that its goal was to create products or to assess quality of patents. Everyone who knows even a little bit about this troll would have no doubt that it was all along about extortion. Watch this latest PR offensive:

Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll and a general tax on innovation, diverting over $6 billion away from actual innovators, has always been really stunningly good at getting the tech press to repeat questionable claims about its “real intentions” and how it’s helping to “drive innovation.” Every time the negative press catches up to IV’s really nefarious practices, it comes up with a way to try to spin the story around again, like that time it tried to claim its real goal was to help everyone sort through good and bad patents.

Trolls do not create anything and they do not assess patents. They are predatory opportunists who try to maximise profit based on a business model of the Mafia. What’s amazing is that there are enough gullible (or corruptible) journalists out there who continue to pump out lies for the trolls, pretending that these trolls are somehow “misunderstood” (or something along these lines).

All in all, it seems like both patent trolls and patents on software are going down. It’s generally good news that would encourage real innovation.

Microsoft Sued for Large-scale Copyright Abuses

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft reveals its disregard for copyright law which it loves so much to wield as a weapon against its competition and clients

Microsoft, which gives everyone’s personal and very private data to the NSA, likes talking about ‘IP’ and simultaneously claim to have a higher moral ground when it engages in bullying, extortion, and intimidation. Thanks to this pointer linking to ZDNet‘s Microsoft booster (former Microsoft staff), we now know that Microsoft is a copyright abuser. That’s what Getty alleges anyway:

A new Microsoft Corp product that allows website publishers to embed digital photographs on their sites is a “massive infringement” of copyrighted images, Getty Images Inc [GETTY.UL] claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York on Thursday.

The “Bing Image Widget,” released on Aug. 22, gives publishers the ability to create a panel on their websites that displays digital images supplied by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, according to the lawsuit.

Rather than draw from a pool of licensed images, the lawsuit claimed, the product grants access to the billions of images that can be found online, without regard to whether the photos are copyrighted.

Microsoft wants people to forget these situations where Microsoft shows sheer hypocrisy or double-standard. Microsoft does not care about so-called ‘IP’; if it did, it wouldn’t have shared billions (or trillions) of bits of data collected from individuals using Windows, SKype, and online Microsoft services such as Live/Bing search.

Microsoft is a lying scam.

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