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10.06.14

Symptoms of Post-x86 Era: Even Intel Apologists Turn Against Bribes-Dependent Intel While Microsoft Continues to Deceive Journalists on Patents in Order to Create a Scare

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 3:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alternative (dirty) business models on the rise

Some roubles

Summary: The Wintel press, which is bribed by companies that it covers, is challenged by prominent developers and Microsoft continues to plant its patent propaganda in the Wintel-centric (and paid) press

Things are changing for the better as GNU/Linux, usually on non-x86 platforms, continues to gain. The Wintel monoculture is trying to use patents, lockdown (‘secure’ boot), bribes and other forms of abuse to maintain revenue.

“With some exceptions, especially desktops (not necessarily laptops), x86 can now be abandoned.”The many crimes of Intel have not, until very recently, bothered the UEFI apologists, notably Garrett, who now hates Intel (see “Actions have consequences (or: why I’m not fixing Intel’s bugs any more)”. UEFI is bad for several reasons that we mentioned here before and FreeBSD accepts it nonetheless. It is becoming part of an operating system that does not even need x86 because:

A new Beta version has been made available for the FreeBSD 10.1 branch, an operating system for x86, ARM, IA-64, PowerPC, PC-98, and UltraSPARC architectures. Users can now download and test it.

Who needs x86 anyway? With some exceptions, especially desktops (not necessarily laptops), x86 can now be abandoned. Samsung makes its own processors now and it has a thriving business based on Linux (Android and Tizen). When Samsung tried messing about with UEFI it ended up making a machine that was remotely brickable (a real problem that the NSA may exploit). Bricking is only one among numerous problems with UEFI. Our main concern about UEFI is that it’s designed to secure the monoculture known as Wintel.

“Microsoft does not receive a billion dollars per year from Samsung for Android; the deal works in two directions and the PR stunt is attempting to portray Android as very expensive.”Speaking of Samsung, the company is finally fighting Microsoft over patents (rather than sign secret patent deals) and The Mukt explained the insignificance of the latest news spin. As we noted at the time, not only Microsoft boosters relayed the deception but even some FOSS blogs repeated it (probably because of the former group, based on their links), including GNU/Linux advocates such as Robert Pogson and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Microsoft does not receive a billion dollars per year from Samsung for Android; the deal works in two directions and the PR stunt is attempting to portray Android as very expensive. This is propaganda that mostly (originally) comes from pro-Microsoft circles such as CBS and IDG.

Microsoft Reinforces Its Criminal Organisation Status by Bribing and Corrupting More Officials, Even in Europe

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some fingerprints

Summary: More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft’s dirty assault on Free software in France

Bribes can be passed in all sorts of ways (e.g. promise of a job for a spouse, revolving doors, nepotism with verbal contracts). We have given many examples of Microsoft bribes over the years and last year it was reported that Microsoft had bribed officials in some of the largest countries in Asia and there was an investigation into it; maybe Microsoft bribed or somehow silenced the investigators too has we have not heard anything about it since then (some of these countries, however, have in the mean time shunned Microsoft). Some of the bribes we covered involved OOXML, a deeply monopolistic ’cause’ which had bribes given to officials in many countries including Romania, where Microsoft routinely uses infiltration as a strategy. For Microsoft to impose NSA back doors on the whole world takes some audacity and it shows that no strategy is beyond the acceptable; just watch how the NSA took a whole country (Syria) offline, cracked the network of a national technology giant (Huawei), and actively supported assassinations, even of US informants. No nation should ever even consider using Microsoft anywhere in its infrastructure, but what happens when bribed are introduced? Now we have yet another example of Microsoft corruption in Romania:

‘Microsoftgate’ scandal rocks Romania

The Romanian National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) is currently seeking approval to begin criminal investigations for office misconduct and corruption in an unfolding scandal the press has dubbed ‘MicrosoftGate’. EurActiv Romania reports.

The accusations are related to public procurement procedures for Microsoft licenses intended for schools. Ministers are suspected of having taken bribes for facilitating the conclusion and ensuring the continuation of an illegal contract with Fujitsu Siemens Computers for leasing Microsoft licenses at over-inflated prices.

The case started last summer after the Control Body of the Prime Minister was notified about the existence of a series of irregularities at the Ministry of Information Society and the Ministry of Education concerning the leasing of IT educational licenses.

Several former ministers, heads of the Secretariat-General of the government, as well as Microsoft officials, have been questioned by Romanian prosecutors. More recently, the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA requested that the general prosecutor of the office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice seek approval from the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the Romanian president and the European Parliament to start criminal investigations against nine former Romanian ministers.

Microsoft is not quite a “company” per se; it is almost like a crime syndicate that uses rogue (tainted) contracts for revenue and bribes officials for them. A government delegate once compared Microsoft's methods to “Scientology cult” and this new TV programming from France shows just how far Microsoft “lobbying” goes.

Thanks to the working group transcripts of April we managed to get an automated translation too English. Transcript below:

Journalist : France today begins its digital. So we have to buy hardware: tablets, computers, interactive whiteboards, but also virtually non-existent in the hexagon educational software. The British market, however, is overflowing already. We are in London, BETT, the show for educational technology. Everyone from digital to school has given them appointment.

English students in uniform, singing around shelves.

Journalist : We find Mrs. Becchetti-Bizot, the new head of digital in Education.

Speaker : I present the company Education City.

Journalist : It came out what could soon equip our schools.

Jamie Southerington, commercial Education City : Let me show you what we can offer in French. We have activities for students of three years. If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, it was the software that allows children to learn the alphabet by singing. Well, just press here.

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot, responsible for the direction for the educational digital : I am very surprised by the richness and diversity of what is proposed by the vitality of small businesses that are there and really trying to adapt to the needs of the teaching community.

Reporter : Today the Department of Education is ready to provide all children in tablets?

Mrs. Becchetti-Bizot : The Department is not ready to buy for all, it would be impossible, can you imagine the price that would be! However it is ready to partner, to imagine consortia with communities and businesses, perhaps, perhaps! I do not know if we’ll do it, but we will try to do that, to effectively we can encourage, facilitate equipment.

Journalist : Partnerships who dream because the industrial market to win is huge. Globally, it is estimated at 100 billion euros and growth forecasts give the spin: more than 1500% in the next decade.

Today, the market leader in educational tablet is Apple. Yet the brand has no official stand on the show, preferring to highlight its suppliers of content, the famous educational software.

Why is Apple company absent the show?

Mark Herman, Albion : Because we no longer need to explain what an iPad. Everyone knows what it is. However one has to take people by the hand and let them demonstrations to show them the educational potential of our software. Then they can decide if they are interested or want to buy from our competitors and that is where we are useful. We are here to advise schools not to force their hand. But you know, we have equipped schools, there has been incredible changes and it’s a real motivation for us.

Reporter : For industry, this software is the best way to attract customers in their nets. Once purchased, you become dependent on their computer system. In most cases, your Mac software is usable by a computer or a Mac tablet. Ditto for the PC. We went to the other giant digital, Microsoft. To discover their marketing strategy, they invite us into a showroom software and educational materials to Paris. This place was named immersive class.

Teacher : That’s it. You sit in the pit there.

Journalist : Set up two years ago at the company’s headquarters here the teachers and students are invited to discover tomorrow’s school according to Microsoft.

Nao Robot : Hello. I’m Nao, a humanoid robot. I come from the planet Saturn.

Journalist : That day, a retired teacher, hired by the multinational, we made ​​a small demonstration in front of some guinea pigs.

Prof : What is it?

Kids : It’s the land.

Prof : We’ll have to write the names of the planets. You take this pen, here you choose a color.

Journalist : The goal: to seduce the students and their teachers to schools to sell a classroom of the future, turnkey.

Prof : Let’s go get a picture of a book.

Children : Oh! Lava and smoke!

Prof : Well, that comes out. After it comes out of where?

Journalist : The man who had the idea of this showroom is Thierry de Vulpillières, education manager at Microsoft France.

“…the law forbids to advertise in schools. So to get around the problem, Microsoft has found another strategy. We’ll show you how, for years, the American company infiltrates National Education to sell its products.”Thierry de Vulpillières, head of Microsoft France Education : We at Microsoft. Our subject is to help the passion for the education of teachers and students. 55% of French children are bored in school. It’s a shame. Well it’s because we will move the way we teach and we will involve more students these tools come naturally fit into this new way of learning. What we want is that indeed all students can benefit from digital. I would love there to be 11 million tablets in the hands of every student.

Journalist : The difficulty of Thierry Vulpillières: the law forbids to advertise in schools. So to get around the problem, Microsoft has found another strategy. We’ll show you how, for years, the American company infiltrates National Education to sell its products. The man who found out about roses is Alexis Kauffmann, a math teacher. In 2008 he went to the site Innovative Education Forum, a forum sponsored by the National Education, where teachers have educational projects. Alexis discovers a photo that plot, that of this little Asian girl sitting in a classroom.

Alexis Kauffmann, math teacher : I was able to show that the site of the first forum of innovative teachers using the images we found on the official websites of Microsoft. You could tell they were a little sloppy, they have not even taken the trouble to make up the task of changing images.

Journalist : Oh yes, they reversed.

Alexis Kauffmann : Yes they reversed.

Reporter : Alexis wants to know why a photo is featured on the Microsoft site. He then discovers that the multinational is behind these forums and continues to fund discreetly.

We went to the last forum for innovative teachers. This year it is held at the Regional Council of Aquitaine. In the lobby, teachers present their projects.

Teacher : There is no class, in fact, it is a space that is completely open to life. One lot in life …

Journalist : On the platform of representatives of teachers, the Regional Council and the Ministry of Education

Jean-Yves Capul, Deputy Director of Digital Development, Education : Management of Digital Education was wanted by the Minister as a direction for educational purposes. This is the pedagogy and not technology that is the heart of this direction, even if the aim was to combine the two aspects, education and information systems and technology.

Journalist : In the audience in the front row, sitting behind the plant, Thierry de Vulpillières, Mr. Microsoft. Alexis Kauffmann came asking for more transparency in the financial involvement of the multinational forum.

Alexis Kauffmann : What is the sum allocated by Microsoft for this type of event, for example?

Thierry de Vulpillières : Me I do not give a number. The sum is marginal today on the organization of this forum. Unfortunately. I’m glad you ask me …

Alexis Kauffmann : Since the first time, Serge Pouts-Lajus launched a number, it was almost 50% of the budget.

Thierry de Vulpillières : I think it has never exceeded 50%, but actually it was in the order of 50%.

Alexis Kauffmann : It’s hard, even when enough!

Thierry de Vulpillières : Absolutely! And we are very proud to support that event.

Alexis Kauffmann : Okay.

Reporter : Thierry de Vulpillières will not say more. Sponsorship remains discreet. Some teachers do not even have knowledge.

This is an event that is largely funded by Microsoft. It inspires you what?

Christophe Viscogliosi economics professor : That I did not know already, first. And secondly it would have been better than the national education fully fund this type of forum.

Journalist : Why?

Professor of Economics : There is a potential conflict of interest. I did not necessarily want to be forced to use Microsoft products in progress.

Reporter : Thierry de Vulpillières is the only industrial digital world present here. From stand to stand, it maintains its network with faculty.

Thierry de Vulpillières Laurence June This is not the first forum.

Laurence June, Professor of French : No.

Thierry de Vulpillières And paradoxically it seems that we are in a stand of handicrafts. You see son and wool. This is a teacher who was one of the first teachers to use Twitter.

Professor of French Twitter that allows students to communicate, that is to say we are in a classroom, but it opens. We did projects where communication was contacted politicians, writers and journalists. Short exchanges, which led us to do larger projects, meetings, writings and exchanges.

Journalist : Adept Internet, the teacher becomes a target for Microsoft representative. This morning he offered his ten tablets Professor of French class was fortunate to have five computer stations, this is not the case all the time. Perhaps we will have tablets.

Journalist : Microsoft?

Laurence June, a French teacher : Yes.

Thierry de Vulpillières : Small areas will land home.

Professor of French : The good news. The forums also allow these exchanges there.

Journalist : Ten tablets offered to try to take the market in an establishment of seven hundred students. Microsoft has set up a well-rehearsed with faculty and hierarchy lobby. We were able to get that invitation sent to certain officials of the Ministry of Education. The Academy of Paris invites them to discover digital innovation at Microsoft headquarters. Program immersive class. Remember, the showroom Microsoft invented for the promotion of the classroom of the future. Alexis Kauffmann is the neutrality of the school that is harmed.

Alexis Kauffmann : What is outrageous is that academic information day, training, study, around digital is found in Microsoft. It has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, simply. Do we imagine the Ministry of Agriculture organize study days at Monsanto for example? No!

Journalist : We went to present the invitation to the new director of digital education.

On May 28 there was the Academy of Paris organized a day of innovation at Microsoft headquarters.

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Yes, the rector of Paris made ​​the event at Microsoft headquarters.

Reporter : You do not see that it’s a bit much, it may be a collusion of interest.

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Yes, I found out the same day.

Reporter : Were you there?

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Ah, I was not there! I would not go there because I think there is a confusion of genres. I do not disagree with the President, I think there is a kind of naivete that there was no will to promote Microsoft. Reporter: But you are against?

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : I am neither for nor against. I think it is not a policy of the Ministry of Education to organize that, with Microsoft in particular, things of that guy, and it will actually fit. It’s also one of the immediate projects I have in opening this direction is clearly align our corporate partnerships.

Journalist : Multinationals have powerful lobbies and nothing seems to stop them in their conquest of the school of the future. Recently they attacked an amendment to the law of rebuilding the school. The amendment proposed that our school prioritizes the use of free software. Free software is the bane of high-tech enterprises. They can be created, shared, and modified by anyone and they are almost always free. A system that competes digital giants. It’s Green MP Isabelle Attard offering this amendment to the Assembly in favor of free software.

Isabelle Attard, MP for Calvados : This amendment has been fully validated by the Culture and Education Committee for first reading in the Assembly, the Senate also. And when the text comes in second reading in the Assembly, we see that the union of the digital sector, Syntec, just sent a press release to alert precisely this amendment accepted by the Assembly and the Senate, on the overhaul law school.

Reporter : Here’s the press syndicate of digital companies. A very alarming statement: “These provisions will handicap seriously most firms already in this industry.” He was sent to the press, all members and to the Minister of Education at the time, Vincent Peillon. While Isabelle Attard amendment would have allowed the state to make significant savings, Vincent Peillon back.

How do you explain this?

Isabelle Attard : Because there is a lobby and incredible pressure from the largest proprietary software and, as I said, Microsoft is the biggest.

Journalist : We have tried repeatedly to contact the former minister for him to explain his reverse. He refused.

Anyone who still treats Microsoft like an ordinary company does this at his or her own peril. Microsoft is a criminal organisation and it should be regarded as such.

10.04.14

Corporate Media Repeats Microsoft Propaganda About Patents by Claiming Microsoft Makes Billions From Android

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is spreading the myth that Android is not free (and is in fact very expensive) while its staff and boosters continue to deceive the public in other ways

ANYTHING that is repeated often enough, especially by seemingly credible news networks, may in turn be treated as truth without much further scrutiny. Microsoft is an expert at doing that. We gave dozens of examples over the years. This is sometimes known as “reality distortion”.

Claims about Microsoft profit from Android are overstated and often reliant on just a single person (with Microsoft ties) along with folks who repeat his claims (usually Microsoft boosters). Even some FOSS-friendly sites like Muktware got bamboozled, whereupon we explained to them that this is just another divide-and-rule approach, much like Novell’s. Microsoft wants the industry to believe that GNU/Linux (or Android) is not free and that any company that sells devices with GNU/Linux will be punished severely by Microsoft. Behind the NDAs and behind the illegal extortion there is often lots of smoke but not fire. Microsoft may charge a few cents for something like FAT patents and then issue a face-saving press release (imposed on the victim) to pretend there was some massive patent deal that taxes “Linux”. For “Android” it’s usually something like Microsoft Exchange (ActiveSync). We spoke about this with OIN’s CEO, so we say this based on a professional opinion from one whose livelihood depends on it and one who knows what happens ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak.

“Microsoft may charge a few cents for something like FAT patents and then issue a face-saving press release (imposed on the victim) to pretend there was some massive patent deal that taxes “Linux”.”Yesterday we found an ugly piece that’s basically a Microsoft propaganda piece. It’s basically propaganda from Microsoft’s ‘former’ chief patent counsel. The crudest pro-software patents site (IAM) quotes the biggest patent troll in the world, Microsoft (by extension), as saying that “US has not come close to abandoning software patents”. That’s a straw man; nobody said that the USPTO (or the US) is “abandoning software patents”. It just gradually cuts down, both at the examination level and at the court level. Evidence of this is very extensive. It just seems like Microsoft is afraid of losing its last remaining ‘product’: patent racketeering.

There is currently an ugly whisper campaign in the corporate media. It claims that Samsung paid Microsoft a billion dollars for Android. It’s simply untrue. Thankfully, Swapnil Bhartiya has already written a strong rebuttal. He says that “some news outfits are projecting it as if Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion solely for Android patents. Some headlines go like these – “Lawsuit reveals Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion a year for Android patents” or “Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in Android patent-licensing royalties in 2013″. These claims start and end with the headlines, you won’t find a single mention of ‘Samsung paying Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents’ in any of those stories.

“Organizations like BloomBerg and ReCode are refraining from such misleading headlines. The court filing is available publicly which you can read on Scribd. Microsoft says in the document that Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in second financial year of their patent deal. From what I understand that is *the* total amount Samsung paid Microsoft under the deal. What we don’t know is what all is covered in these patents. The court document doesn’t specifically says that ‘Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents.’

“I didn’t find a single sentence making such a claim. Please correct me if I am wrong, I would appreciate that.”

Bhartiya correctly dubs this a “PR stunt” and he explains why: “It seems to be nothing more than a PR stunt. Every-time someone creates such a headline, Microsoft scores a PR point. Microsoft drops the keywords Android, Chrome and Linux every-time it signs a deal with a company even if the deal is about using ancient technologies such as FAT 32 in devices running Linux.

“We never heard of any other deal between the two companies (Samsung and Microsoft) so it can be logically concluded that the deal also covers the use of Microsoft technologies in non-Android or non-Chrome devices such as point-and-shoot cameras, DSLRs, music players, photo-frames, BD/DVD players, TV sets and dozen of other things that Samsung sells.

“Those crisp $1 billion bills are not just for the Android powered devices, right? Samsung does a lot of thing, in 2013 the company raked in over $54.95 billion in revenues. Only half of that revenue came from the IT and mobile division.”

Finally, adds Bhartiya: “It’s not a one way traffic. Microsoft also pays Samsung annual royalty for using Samsung’s patented technologies and this amount it credited against the amount Samsung pays to Microsoft.”

Yes, this is an old trick. Microsoft still uses it to flood the press with lies (or half-truths), which its booster are just too happy to spread. It’s like a tumbleweed of lies and it gathers momentum. Soon enough the lies become the equivalent of a reality; it’s an attempt to induce surrender. It’s an attempt at self-fulfilling prophecies. The time seemed right for Microsoft because it fights with Samsung in the courtroom. Microsoft knows it might lose and the defendant is the biggest possible target because Samsung sells the lion’s share of Android-powered phones.

The Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke is meanwhile warning that trolls may try to attack OpenStack. He uses OIN as a source:

A group established to shield Linux from patent trolls has warned OpenStack will be the next big target for intellectual property hoarders.

The Open Invention Network (OIN) reckons the open-source cloud is ripe for the plucking by trolls, who would easily be able to box off and claim core technologies as their own.

That would see developers and customers using OpenStack forced to hand over fistfuls of cash in royalties – following either cases or, more likely, closed-door deals that avoid the expense of court.

This may be a legitimised concern, but Clarke does not name Microsoft’s own behaviour. By these standards, Microsoft too is a troll, not just by proxy. In fact, Microsoft is perhaps the biggest threat here.

As a side note, Techrights is under DDOS attack )since yesterday). The attacks are all coming from Windows NT (various versions) machines and they are hammering on the site, sometimes to the point where the site is no longer available. This seems to have spread from Tux Machines, so these attacks are clearly personal. This was done to us also 5 years ago (see the report “Burying the truth? Boycott Novell hit by Denial of Service attack”).

Software Patents’ Demise Includes Exceptional Defeat for Microsoft-Connected Trolls, But Bar Still Lowered for Patents

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The rule of low, not law

Team work

Summary: The USPTO continues to lower the bar for patents’ acceptance, but on the other hand, many software patents are increasingly being rejected at the courts

Software patents may be on their way down, but patents as a whole are not going down, only their standard goes down. As a relatively benign patent lawyer put it the other day: “The fight for patent reform isn’t about trying to trample on inventors’ rights. It’s about trying to deal with the reality of thousands of bad patents and trying to prevent people from collecting money (and hindering innovation) based on patents that should never have issued.”

On another day he shed light on this troll:

And an Acacia subsidiary was ordered to pay NetApp’s legal fees after suing on patents that turned out to be licensed already.

“Software patents may be on their way down, but patents as a whole are now going down, only their standards go down.”The roundup links to this article about Acacia and it says that this “subsidiary of the patent aggregator had brought suit despite already striking a licensing deal with RPX.”

RPX is another kind of troll, but not quite the aggressive one. Here is some more coverage:

NetApp sticks biggest “patent troll” with $1.4M fee sanction

This summer, the Supreme Court made it easier for defendants to collect fees when they win patent cases. The decision is starting to have an effect—the nation’s largest patent troll just got slapped with an order to pay $1.4 million in attorneys’ fees to NetApp, which it sued in 2010.

The case brought by Summit Data Systems, a branch of Acacia Research Corp., hinged on an accusation that NetApp infringed when its server-based software interacted with an end user on a Microsoft operating system. The two patents-in-suit, 7,392,291 and 7,428,581, relate to “block-level storage access over a computer network.”

Notice the Microsoft connection. Some consider Acacia to be somewhat of a Microsoft proxy for several reasons that we covered before. This again is a software patent. This patent got defeated. Here is the EEF writing about another software patent, dubbing it “stupid patent of the month”:

Blue Spike LLC is a patent litigation factory. At one point, it filed over 45 cases in two weeks. It has sued a who’s who of technology companies, ranging from giants to startups, Adobe to Zeitera. Blue Spike claims not to be a troll, but any legitimate business it has pales in comparison to its patent litigation. It says it owns a “revolutionary technology” it refers to as “signal abstracting.” On close inspection, however, its patents turn out to be nothing more than a nebulous wish list. Blue Spike’s massive litigation campaign is a perfect example of how vague and abstract software patents tax innovation.

EFF is calling out software patents now, not just “stupid patents”.

According to some new numbers, the stupidity of patents only gets worse as it gets easier to have them granted:

Dennis Crouch over at Patently-O reports that for Fiscal Year 2014 (which just ended), the USPTO granted a record number of utility patents, over 300,000. Dennis determines that this results in an allowance rate of about 70%.

“Think about that – 70% of patent applications result in a patent,” says this article, but the real number may be 92% because some reapply until 'success'. This is ridiculous. A patent lawyers’ site says 300,000 patents got granted in one fiscal year. Good luck keeping track of so-called ‘infringements’.

Well, only recently we gave many examples of software patents being eliminated by US courts. Steven Seidenberg, writing for Intellectual Property Watch, claims that the “US [is] Cracking Down On Software Patents” and in his own words:

The US courts are aggressively applying the ruling. So is the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Thanks to their common interpretation of the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, it is now open season on software patents.

Software patents are definitely suffering a major blow right now, but the overall problem is far from over. As TechDirt put it yesterday, the USPTO‘s standards are so low that a “Design Patent Granted… On A Toothpick”. It’s not satire. The EPO is corrupt, but the USPTO may not be much better. They are not providing public service; they are a front for corporations and increasingly trolls too.

The Capture Continues: Yet Another Microsoft Marketer Gets Hired by CBS for ZDNet ‘Reporting’

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 3:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Unembarrassed about its sheer bias, the CBS network continues to offer propaganda and placements for a fee (even after Gamergate) and it hires people from the corrupt company (Microsoft) they will soon cover

CBS has just hired YET ANOTHER guy from Microsoft. It is becoming some kind of a sick joke. What is ZDNet becoming? Microsoft News? Shadow journalism for Microsoft? Is this another Gamergate in the making?

“After CBS took over some networks it also laid off prominent FOSS journalists whom we named here before.”The CBS-owned ZDNet (stuffed with Microsoft staff and CBS ‘News’ (also hiring from Microsoft) both recently added staff from Microsoft to attack Microsoft’s rivals and praise Microsoft. Technology news would soon be distorted and reality be rewritten. Here comes another new writer and guess where from? In his own words:

Howard spent 14 years in the tech industry working as a programmer, evangelist, and community manager for Microsoft.

Now he does AstroTurfing (oops, we mean "evangelism") for Microsoft. It is all about deceiving and openwashing Microsoft. Here is a new ugly article which tries to openwash Microsoft in a very deceptive way:

Microsoft Malaysia developer experience and evangelism director Dinesh Nair said Microsoft was committed to advancing the company’s investment in interoperability, open standards and open source.

Really? Standards? FOSS? Well, a lie might stick is thrown around often enough. This is an example from the corporate media in Malaysia.

For anyone who still believes that CBS is a news company, watch this page from the CBS-owned CNET. It does not even hide its business model: “CNET helps marketers develop messaging strategies and advertising programs that resonate with their target customers. Whether launching a product, generating awareness, or driving sales, we have the programs to fit your advertising needs.”

Shun CBS and moreover complain about its lying; the network spends far too much time attacking FOSS and glorifying Microsoft, Bill Gates etc. It is very simple to see why. After CBS took over some networks it also laid off prominent FOSS journalists whom we named here before. Remember who paid CBS over the years; it wasn’t FOSS players.

09.28.14

CBS Continues to Get Heavily Occupied by Microsoft Staff to Spread Microsoft Propaganda

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”

Wired Magazine

Summary: The CBS-owned ZDNet continues to hire people who have worked or are currently working for Microsoft and unsurprisingly enough they use their newly-acquired positions to praise Microsoft and bash Microsoft’s competition, usually with no disclosure of their conflict of interest

Microsoft’s infamous strategy (which it privately admits to) of conquering the technology media has evolved. A week and a half ago we showed how CBS had hired yet another Microsoft person to cover Microsoft matters (or Microsoft's competition). We have lost count of the number of people with such a conflict of interest, especially in CBS (far worse than any other large network). As a side note, CBS also hired senior people from the CIA, which helps explain its grooming of Microsoft’s super-special partner (the NSA) and the pro-war agenda, especially as of late.

Having taken control of ZDNet, the CBS network has become absolutely flooded with Microsoft staff past and present (some work for both at the same time) and days ago we noticed Eileen Brown writing for ZDNet. What’s not evident in the page (not in her intro, but in only in her disclosures, a page away) is that she too comes from Microsoft. The separate page (not even HTML) clearly states that “She worked at Microsoft from 2001 to 2009.” So CBS has essentially hired yet another Microsoft propagandist for articles that cover Microsoft, like this new example. Bing marketing. How much marketing and grooming should CBS be allowed to get away with? How long before it’s widely recognised that CBS is not a serious news network but corporate media working for selected corporations?

Here is another new example.

Longtime Microsoft booster Mary Branscombe ridicules people who self host and promotes “cloud” lunacy. Much of the time she just spends promoting Microsoft and it should be no surprise as she has done that for decades. To quote her own intro:

Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

In her blog there is not even a effort at providing information. She is making an effort to appear balanced and historically she has also smeared Microsoft’s rivals. There are many more examples like that and no site demonstrates that quite as clearly as ZDNet (with about a dozen Microsoft-connected writers); CBS is bad, CNET is worse, but ZDNet is by far the worst and all are operated by the same company. It’s like advertising and agenda disguised as “news”. It runs 24/7 in many countries. One might even call that “AstroTurfing“.

It’s one thing when Microsoft promotes Microsoft, but it’s another when a media company pretends to be a source of news but actually promotes Microsoft and employs people from Microsoft. Here is a new example of Microsoft staff bamboozling the media. It is Michel van der Bel, not to be confused with ECMA’s Microsoft mole, van der Beld. Here is what Ahonen has to say about him:

Microsoft Lies. Then there is the perennial Microsoft propaganda and lies machine. On May 23, 2011, the Microsoft mafia decided to spin a story about Nokia Lumia Windows success in China. They picked the wrong target when they compared the supposed success to the iPhone in China. Microsoft mouthpiece Michel van der Bel (Microsoft COO of China) got himself quoted in the press claiming that Windows Phone smartphones like Lumia 800c were outselling the iPhone in China. You don’t spread lies like that on my watch! So I debunked that sillyness with 18 separate items of proof. When the numbers came out two months later, I was of course correct and Mr van der Bel has not been seen in the press about this ever again. But for a brief moment there as this alternate reality created by the Microsoft Imaginarium. Who debunked them comprehensively and immediately for you to keep your Apple facts straight? Yeah.

It is very common for sites like those of CBS (which owns a lot of influential news sites) to parrot such technology disinformation and unsurprisingly, as CBS hires many people from Microsoft, it is inevitable that these lies from Microsoft will be relayed to the press, enter news feeds, and ultimately change perceptions based on lies.

Avoid CBS. It’s not journalism.

09.27.14

Microsoft Fakes ‘Charity’ and Uses Religious Groups to Acquire Lock-in in the Public Sector

Posted in Microsoft at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s motto unchanged

Love tag

Summary: Microsoft’s involvements with NGOs and with governments lead to more distrust, more surveillance, less freedom, and ultimately systemic corruption

THE CORRUPT TECHNOLOGY giant known as Microsoft won’t be too shy to distort the meaning of “charity”. Like Bill Gates, who spins business as 'charity' (for tax exemptions and PR), Microsoft presents ‘free’ back doors (and lock-in) as though it’s “goodwill” and some gullible ‘journalists’ do Microsoft’s heavy lifting, deceiving the Australia public whose children may be forced to have surveillance and ‘free’ Microsoft samples (like drug dealers and drug users). “Funny money, not dollars. Lock-in, not opportunity,” calls it the reader who sent us the link. Here is a quote:

Microsoft and World Vision Australia have teamed up against global poverty, announcing a $4 million software donation described as World Vision’s largest corporate partnership.

Pro-lock-in mixed together with “global poverty”. No wonder Microsoft and Bill Gates use some of the very same PR agencies (we named these before). They are lying through their teeth. They don’t care; all they care about is money.

Why is World Vision Australia foolish (or corrupt) enough to do this for Microsoft? It’s clear what Microsoft will gain from this and unless some money changes hands (incentive/bribe/favours), it is not clear what World Vision Australia has to gain here. As we showed in the previous post, atheist Gates exploits the Christian community right now in order for it to lobby for Gates and Microsoft profit (Common Core). Based on Wikipedia, World Vision Australia too is a Christian organisation, so Microsoft is exploiting religion for profit yet again. How clever.

Secrecy and corruption in government and NGOs, as in the above case, have long been a vector of Microsoft influence. Well, Microsoft is their friend only when they can help Microsoft gain more money. Those who are wilfully blind do a disservice to the public, especially if they produce puff pieces like the above.

Watch this new article from the British press, “Microsoft gets flack over ‘rubbish’ UK data” is the title and it speaks about how Microsoft helps secrecy among the corrupt. “It said people should contact their Microsoft supplier if they had any issues,” says the article, but as our reader put it, “They should contact Red Hat or Canonical or local FOSS users/consultants.”

Here are some relevant parts of the report:

UK spending data was “horrendous”, Jeni Tennison, technical director of Berners Lee’s Open Data Institute, told Computer Weekly.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said.

Even when computer experts tried to link this data they had to jump though such hoops that it was “shocking”, said Tennison, who got an OBE for her work last year and sits on the Cabinet Office Open Standards Board and Open Data Panel.

“It isn’t like we are in a state where the data is basically okay and it just takes a bit of effort to put it together. We are talking about a state where it’s basically rubbish,” she said.

Companies that set themselves up to do innovative things with UK spending data had to spend 80 per cent of their time simply tidying it up so they could even start to work with it.

UK spending data rubbish was rubbish because it had incompatible encoding. Staff were largely powerless to do anything about it. Because their software was at fault.

Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet has got most of the blame for this.

The problem, according to Tennison and other experts, and just about any forum that addresses the subject online, was Microsoft’s atrocious handling of UTF-8, the character encoding widely favoured as the lingua franca of open data.

UTF-8 became encoding-of-choice for the UK government as well as the world wide web. But most of government was using Microsoft software. Microsoft’s UTF-8 incompatibilities have long been condemned by experts. The problem was inherent to both Microsoft Windows and its applications, most notably Excel. Users could circumvent them by following complicated instructions. But the workarounds were arduous. This was problematic for government, where most staff use Microsoft software but were apparently not shown how to get to work with UTF-8. More recent versions of Microsoft software employed codecs related to UTF-8 but not compatible with it.

In more positive news, which comes from the European Commission’s Web site: “The government of the United Kingdom is seeking comments on its plans to transpose the new EU Procurement Directive into the country’s laws and regulations. On 19 September, it opened a consultation on implementing the 2014 EU Procurement Directives in the UK.”

Perhaps rather than rely on a corrupt company like Microsoft (with its bribes to government officials), there will be opportunities given to local businesses that deploy, maintain and support Free software. It is bizarre — not just counter-intuitive — that some non-profits make use of proprietary software.

09.22.14

Home Depot Confirmed a Victim of Microsoft’s Bad Security, Microsoft Lays Off Security-Related Staff

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News reports circulate showing that Home Depot was knowingly careless with its Windows dependency while Microsoft lays off staff focused on security

Microsoft is not a company that cares about security. It seems to care about the security state (i.e. surveillance), which is why it makes its products so easy to infiltrate (by the “Good Guys”). As we showed before, Microsoft’s layoffs focus in part on security-related staff, or staff that’s associated with security state type of stuff (restricting operation of computers, back doors, etc.).

Microsoft uses secrecy as a weapon against fear-induced exodus because layoffs are company-wide and it's not about Nokia but about parts of the company which Microsoft would rather keep secret. To quote one source:

In a statement sent to Channelnomics sister-site CRN UK, Microsoft said the staff reductions in the latest round have been “spread across many business units and many different countries”, but did not go into specifics as to where it is swinging the ax.

“Trustworthy Computing group” is one of the affected units, based on Seattle-based press. Reportedly, according to this press (heavily biased in Microsoft’s favour), the group was “folding into other units”. It’s a clever and rather classic way to disguise layoffs (like the term “reorg”). “A spokesman confirmed that an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated from the Trustworthy Computing group as part of the changes,” said the report that we cited last week. So by “folding into other units” he basically meant “layoffs”.

It is rather amazing that given all that is known, some businesses and even governments continue to procure and/or purchase more stuff from Microsoft. It’s worse than irresponsible, it’s suicidal. Ask Home Depot why it should not be using Windows anymore. According to reports such as [1], this retailer faces a massive security breach and it’s all the fault of Windows. Staff knew about it and also ignored the issues. It makes it both
irresponsible and suicidal. The company’s name is now tarnished.

Increasingly here in the UK I see businesses that move to Free software and GNU/Linux, usually for security reasons, not just cost savings (the migration itself can be pricey). Some months ago staff at Ryman (a large UK chain) told me that they had moved from Windows to Ubuntu GNU/Linux due to virus infections.

Now that Microsoft is eliminating security jobs people will hopefully realise that Windows security is not improving. It’s only going to get worse. Time to move to GNU/Linux…

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Home Depot ignored security warnings for years, employees say

    Former information technology employees at Home Depot claim that the retailer’s management had been warned for years that its retail systems were vulnerable to attack, according to a report by the New York Times. Resistance to advice on fixing systems reportedly led several members of Home Depot’s computer security team to quit, and one who remained warned friends to use cash when shopping at the retailer’s stores.

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