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08.22.14

Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 3:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences

AS one who works with the British public sector, I personally happen to know some of Microsoft’s very dirty (if not criminal) tricks. There are all sorts of ways by which one games these systems, especially by “lobbying” (to put it politely) those who make decisions. I have heard stories and also seen incidents, some of which I cannot share publicly. Microsoft simply refuses to play by the rules. To obey the law is some kind of a joke to Microsoft. Tomorrow we will give examples from Chile and Germany, but today we’ll focus on the UK.

Microsoft just loves to exploit British taxpayers. The UK is a relatively rich country that is most notorious for its excessive spendings on public IT. It is no wonder that Microsoft worked so hard to impede ODF adoption in the UK.

Microsoft is now trying to impose its surveillance ‘cloud’ (proprietary software with NSA access) on British transportation. How amazing is that? They label lock-in “modernisation”:

MICROSOFT HAS TEAMED with British internet systems installation company Telent and IT consulting company CGI in a bid to modernise London’s tube network using the Internet of Things (IoT).

Announced in a UK government blog post, the partnership will look to modernise the London Underground monitoring systems, which oversee critical rail assets with data from thousands of devices and sensors, by integrating Microsoft’s Azure Intelligent Systems Services software.

Why does the British government continue to throw away so much money, giving it to foreign companies with such a poor privacy record that they resemble moles with back doors and espionage tendencies? Local SMEs could do far better. This should be causing outrage, but there is apathy.

The NSA’ partner wants to conduct mass surveillance in London’s Tube and technical problems are sure to come. Just see LSE. Look what Microsoft had done to it before it moved to GNU/Linux.

A reader asks: “Is this just a bid or has a contract been signed?”

The article above merely links to a Microsoft marketing-esque blog.

In other news from the UK, some euphemistically-named “Microsoft Ventures” (for “the children” of course, just like the Microsoft- and Bill Gates-bankrolled Intellectual Ventures) is preying on children when not spying on them. Interestingly enough, this was posted under “Politics” by the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nast.

“Microsoft will provide funding, mentorship and workspace through its London startup accelerator, Microsoft Ventures. It will also develop a dedicated open skills badge for iDEA,” says this report. Got that? Open. Yes, lock-in is “open”.

When will Microsoft finally get out of the UK and stop pretending that it helps “the children” and “modernisation”? Lock-in in sheep’s clothing is all it is, and adding insult to injury, this is mass surveillance on British travelers (not a choice) and children who must attend schools.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft’s leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted

Not only Microsoft is laying off nearly 20% of its staff after years of gradual (but mostly concealed) layoffs. Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll that Bill Gates and Microsoft created, is not quite managing to survive, not even with extortions coordinated and perpetrated en masse. We heard about Intellectual Ventures’ financial issues before, but this is a pleasant surprise:

Intellectual Ventures, the company Silicon Valley loves to despise, is laying off about 20 percent of its employees, Bloomberg Businessweek has learned.

On Tuesday, IV sent a memo to its workers, notifying them of the cuts. The company has been employing 700 people, which means about 140 will be let go. “We are making operational changes that are consistent with this reduction and will enable us to maintain and expand our leadership in the market for invention,” the company said in a statement. “Our assets—both people and intellectual property—are among the best in the industry.” Now, let me try to translate that.

Not too long ago Microsoft threw it a lifeline. This uber-troll, the world’s biggest and most vicious troll, is finally announcing layoffs and it is a major deal because it might come to show what will happen to other trolls like it. This Microsoft- and Gates-funded nuisance cannot go far without Microsoft subsidies, apparently.

Times are tough for a patent troll, apparently. A year ago, we noted that Intellectual Ventures — the world’s largest patent troll, who brought in billions of dollars by getting companies to pay up a shakedown fee to avoid lawsuits over its giant portfolio of patents (mostly cast off from universities who couldn’t find any other buyers) — was running out of cash. While IV did convince Microsoft and Sony to dump in some more cash, IV’s litigation strategy is in shambles. Various lawsuits are dropping like flies without any of the big wins that IV promised.

Now that SCOTUS sheds doubt on a lot of software patents things definitely improve. As one lawyers’ site put it a few days ago:

The Supreme Court has not attempted to “delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category.” In other words, the Court is essentially saying “we will know it when we see it.” This presents a significant problem to inventors and patent attorneys working in the software industry.

In effect, the Supreme Court is proposing a syllogism such as the following:
- Patents shall not be granted on abstract ideas.
- X is an abstract idea.
- Therefore, a patent shall not be granted on X.

The problem is that the Court has not defined “abstract idea.” Furthermore, “abstract idea” is not self-defining and is not a term that is agreed to by everyone. In fact, an endless chain of assumptions must be followed in arriving at a definition. For example, a court might say: “A general purpose computer executing this software is an abstract idea.” A patent applicant then challenges this statement by saying, e.g., “how is this computer with a claimed memory, processor, input/output unit, and a specific software program “general purpose?” The Court then points to the holding in Alice that the particular claimed computer (system claim) is merely carrying out a method that is an abstract idea and the patent attorney is just re-writing the same general purpose method as a system claim and that including hardware elements does not transform the system claim from an abstract idea. This is circular reasoning.

What patent lawyers wish not to accept or even to grasp is the simple fact that, as we have explained before on numerous occasions, all software patents are inherently abstract. Patents do not cover code but only algorithms, which are conceptual. Code is covered by copyright law. As this gets realised by more judges and they make rulings based on this realisation we are likely to see software patents ebbing away. But don’t expect patent lawyers to give up easily, especially not Microsoft and its extortion strategists. Extortion with patents is Microsoft’s last hope. Here is alawyers’ publication publishing propaganda by a “registered patent agent”:

The Supreme Court has declared abstract ideas unpatentable, but there are structural and other ways around the restrictions, writes Christopher Hall.

Christopher Hall is a registered patent agent in the Silicon Valley office of Womble Carlyle. He has 17 years of industry experience as a professional engineer and is named as sole inventor or co-inventor on 15 granted patents.

Pointless self promotion and not even any content in this article, just an advertisement of vapourware. A bit like Intellectual Ventures…

08.20.14

Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile’s Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always

Windows, the common carrier of Microsoft, is such a sordid mess that it suffers regular glitches and conducts mass surveillance on users. Microsoft knows that without Windows it cannot survive, so dirty tricks resume in a very big way. This is not a beep on the radar but somewhat of a surge.

Bribing politicians in numerous countries is not enough for Microsoft (it got caught), so moles too seem to be rolled into action. Microsoft Peter says that the chief criminal (behind bribes to officials) is distancing himself from Microsoft, but the corruption itself is not stopping:

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he’s stepping down from the company’s board, effective immediately.

Don’t think for a second that it means the crimes will stop. Under his leadership Brazil was attacked by proxy for its ODF policy and many other nations that are cheap to bribe or corrupt suffered from Microsoft intervention. It is digital imperialism. Consider the Philippines, which has been the victim of colonialism for hundreds of years. In 2008 we wrote about what Microsoft had done in the Philippines to derail a Free software policy and bill. Now Microsoft does something similar in Santiago, writing or changing legislation by proxy, if not bribing people as well (the modus operandi of Microsoft against public officials). In 2008 we wrote about what Microsoft had done in Chile and Ernesto Manríquez tells us that it is happening again. “Microsoft bought local politician Daniel Farcas to neutralize a resolution forcing Chilean gov’t to use FLOSS,” he told me, adding that “Farcas was involved in a corruption scandal with his university, UNIACC (controlled by Apollo Group)”.

Finally he shows an article where, according to him and his translation “Vlado Mirosevic reveals sabotage by MS to res promoting FLOSS usage in Chielan gov’t. “MS RAPED us””.

The article from Renato Garín says (in English): “To understand the debate is necessary to observe the sequence of events. The Mirosevic MP, the Liberal Party of Chile, intended to introduce a bill regarding free software and encourage its use by the state. The draft agreement submitted by Deputy Mirosevic was also signed by nine other legislators seeking the State to take into account the alternative of free software versus software license, which is paid over 36 billion a year, according to the detail built by the team of deputy. Aware of the threat to their interests, representatives of Microsoft came to interview Mirosevic to persuade him down this motion. In these efforts, Microsoft was accompanied by a strategic communications company called Factor C, whose website service lobby is not mentioned and whose executive director is Javiera de la Cerda, UDI lady mayor of Las Condes, Francisco de la Maza.”

On it goes: “Having described the case of free software, it seems clear that this conflict between Mirosevic Microsoft has an edge and lobbying that can not be overlooked. The regulation of lobbying, we know, is already stipulated in the Law 20.730 which comes into operation yet, because we are waiting for the issuance of the respective regulations. In the short term does not seem plausible to have the law in place, since then the rules have to mount a digital system which enables meeting of parliamentarians and other authorities involved. However, the team has put into operation Mirosevic equivalent minuta to which shall be constructed under Law 20.730. minuta In this, the role played by the company Factor C is seen as a representative of Microsoft and ACTIS. On the website of Factor C mention the lobby as such does not appear. Factor C ¿Understand that what they do is lobby?

“All this leads to the icing on the cake if exposed by the report of Fluxá. It turns out that, in the negotiations in the Senate, an indication is included for companies producing software that will work in practice as a subsidy. That is, the original draft of Mirosevic candid unleashed lobby eventually pushed the project Farcas and then the indication in the tax reform bill. This shows the effectiveness of carambola lobby, the ability to promote and neutering bills and motions, ending leading to direct benefits to large companies. In parallel, an alliance orchestra with small producers to align interests and negotiate together. The result is obvious: to legislate his pint. The logic and the project know as the Fisheries Act, which was dubbed ” a picnic Lobby “by Senator Carlos Montes.”

Ernesto Manríquez shows us another new article. To quote an English translation of the headline: “Deputy Mirosevic reveals sabotage project that promoted free software: “Microsoft violated us””

Here is some translation of the article’s body:

A multimillion-dollar business, in fact nothing less than 36 billion dollars that the State of Chile paid annually to companies by the concept of “software licenses”, ie, authorization to use such common programs such as the Windows operating system or Office programs, Word and Excel.

But did you know that this -upper the amount required to build a hospital of high complexity-pocket is mostly unnecessary? This is because in recent years, countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Russia, China and Brazil have joined the trend of free software, a mode in which programs developed jointly used by hundreds of people, who then distributed for use at no charge.

Following this policy, the deputy Vlado Mirosevic introduced in May this year a bill ordering the Chilean State to prefer free software over proprietary software. The legislation specified that only when a department submit a written justification, may purchase a license.

“We are not against the state hires Microsoft license or other services, but we are breaking this trend in the culture of the state to hire proprietary software because it is the one most on hand. The idea is that the state is obliged to seek alternative services that are free, that will mean significant savings, “he said at that time the deputy Arica daily La Tercera .

Soon, Mirosevic realized that large software companies had accused the coup. As explained by a news magazine Friday picked up by The Desk , Alex Pessó, manager of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft, traveled to Congress to join him, to expose studies and arguments rebutted the project that had submitted .

However no parliamentary traded. Quite the contrary, received immediate support from other former student leaders as Giorgio Jackson and Gabriel Boric, who were more akin to the ideology of community development. In the case of the other congressmen, he realized that most of them did not understand the topic.

“Half the people had no idea what we were talking. I’m not saying the free software concept, rather the software, but as we had calculated, the rest followed those that had understood, “said Mirosevic publication.

This is becoming a hot article in Chile at the moment. Further down it says:

“Microsoft violated us. And worse, it was a rape that ended in pregnancy, “he snapped.

This is because under the new draft Farcas, not only no longer promotes free software in the state, but a tax break for companies that hire or subscribe technology services through the Internet is established. “It’s a tax benefit to companies to use proprietary software. It encourages buying and state, instead of saving, subsidizing ends, “he added.

Chile would be foolish to stay with Microsoft, especially given public knowledge about espionage by NSA, Microsoft’s “special” partner. It is a matter of national security. Likewise in Germany. Right now Microsoft (through its partners and embedded pseudo-journalists) is libeling Munich's migration to GNU/Linux (see our update with refutation) and one Romanian journalist says that it is “Proof That Microsoft Is Still an Evil Company”. Microsoft has tried so many dirty tricks against Munich and the latest is perhaps a mole of Microsoft. To quote the journalist: “Reports about the city of Munich authorities that are considering the replacement of Linux with Microsoft products mostly comes from one man, the Deputy Mayor of Munich, who is also a long-term self-declared Windows fan.

“Munich is the poster child for the adoption of a Linux distribution and the replacement of the old Windows OS. It provided a powerful incentive for other cities to do the same, and it’s been a thorn in Microsoft’s side for a very long time.

“The adoption of open source software in Munich started back in 2004 and it took the local authorities over 10 years to finish the process. It’s a big infrastructure, but in the end they managed to do it. As you can imagine, Microsoft was not happy about it. Even the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, tried to stop the switch to Linux, but he was too late to the party.”

Even after refutation some Microsoft boosters continue to repeat the propaganda and the lies (no need for links to examples here, as that would feed them). They will probably continue to do this for a while, totally ignoring refutations that are not convenient to this Microsoft brainwash attempt (trying to scare those who wish to mimic Munich and follow its example). Bribes go a long way and Microsoft has clever ways of distributing them. We gave numerous examples from Munich (‘soft’ bribes).

Microsoft is a highly corrupt company, but it is unlikely that its staff will be sent to jail. Microsoft exploits this perceived immunity (laws do not apply) to act recklessly. As Pogson puts it

Of course, the mayor might get a different result if he accepts voluntary labour from M$ or hires his nephew to do the research, but the council is wide awake and understands the issues, so I doubt there will be some coup in IT.

Nothing is going to change in Munich, but Microsoft is trying to maintain an international/universal perception that the migration to GNU/Linux was a disaster. Numerous anonymous blogs were created to attack Munich over this and provocateurs of Microsoft loved citing them, only to be repeatedly proven wrong. Microsoft is trying to make an example out of Munich in all sorts of nefarious ways. We need to defend Munich from this malicious assault by the convicted monopolist and corrupt enterprise that’s acting as though it fights for its very survival (while indeed laying off tens of thousands of employees).

Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Vista 9, Windows at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Esther Dyson
“Influential writer Esther Dyson (pictured here in 2008) popularized the term “vaporware” in her November 1983 issue of RELease 1.0.” — Wikipedia on vaporware (image originally posted to Flickr by eirikso)

Summary: Microsoft’s Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft’s vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)

A few days ago Windows showed why it is widely recognised as a piece of trash. Even Microsoft cannot manage it as Microsoft Azure failure got reported. All it’s good for is mass surveillance by the NSA. At the same time we learned about the latest Vista 8 failure. When not promoting Microsoft at the expense of Linux Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke wrote about Microsoft bricking Windows: [via]

Patch early and patch often is the advice of security professionals when it comes to software updates.

After all, who needs to be left wide open to hackers and malware writers when the solution is delivered by the software’s maker?

Yet sysadmins will be increasingly leery of applying such an approach to Windows systems following Microsoft’s latest botch job.

On 12 August Microsoft released 40 updates for Internet Explorer, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro.

Vista 8 is such an utter mess (worse than Vista) that the editor of InfoWorld at IDG, Eric Knorr, decided to start advertising Microsoft vapourware. Shame on IDG and Knorr. As we showed before, Microsoft had started Vista 8 vapourware half a year before Vista 7 was even released. This was done through known Microsoft boosters. Gavin Clarke was the first.

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

08.19.14

After Microsoft’s Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich’s lead

IT has been quite a while since we last saw such an ugly propaganda effort by Microsoft. Looking carefully at where the propaganda started or came from, we can be pretty sure that Microsoft’s disgraceful and unethical PR agencies are not passive. They are exploiting non-news and something of little significance to make it sound as though something pretty big is happening. They want the public to believe, yet again, that Munich’s migration (which saved a lot of money and was defended by officials repeatedly) is a failure. Microsoft did this many times before and even tried using bribes, bogus ‘reports’, proxy attacks etc. We covered dozens of examples over the years. Munich is dangerous to Microsoft because it sets an example; it shows how a whole city can completely abandon Microsoft and do a lot better thereafter, not just for privacy/autonomy/security reasons but also for technical reasons, not to mention all the local jobs this creates (economic gain).

Microsoft Peter played a role in the propaganda, as one ought to expect. He did, however, reveal that Microsoft bribery against Munich (just like in Norway) seems likely. Microsoft likes to offer facilities in exchange for political favours. We showed how it was done before in numerous countries which were planning too abandon Microsoft. To quote Microsoft Peter: “Microsoft announced last year that it was moving its German headquarters to Munich. This move is planned to take place in 2016. While Reiter was involved in the deal that precipitated the move and describes himself as a “Microsoft fan,” he says the criticism of LiMux is unrelated.”

Everything is related. People don’t compartmentalise their minds like this.

The above is not news; we saw that almost a month ago and reports (English) about it were numerous. “One single *opinion* is causing all the articles,” a reader told us. It was true back then and it is true this week. We must remember that this is not even a new thing, as the German press covered it almost a month ago and the only new thing is Microsoft’s amplification and distortion of the opinion. The Microsoft propaganda machine kicked off; that’s what’s “news”. As we continued to observe the news over the past 24 hours we found that the propaganda pieces came mostly from Microsoft fan sites, all cheering for Microsoft and inciting against Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux. Microsoft must be very afraid after China and Russia announced their plan to abandon Microsoft, so Microsoft ‘fan’ sites (or veiled marketing sites) do their thing, distort the facts, and then post “corrections” (after pressure from readers perhaps). Here is one Microsoft fan site that corrected its propaganda piece by stating: “While the deputy mayor of Munich seems to suggest in the article that the government will strongly consider a return to Windows, it appears a final decision to move from the Linux OS has not yet been officially determined.”

Exactly, there is no news. There’s just some old opinion of one person. But don’t let facts get in Microsoft’s way. Here is the Microsoft-bribed Ed Bott (one of the worst Microsoft boosters, but one who enjoys a platform of CBS and therefore enters “news” aggregation) disseminating the propaganda to a large audience. He has not even corrected his errors yet. The propaganda remains standing the editors let it be.

For now, we are done collecting examples of this Microsoft propaganda output. It’s not news and it’s not about Munich. A deputy mayor is not Munich and his opinion does not have so much weight. He is not a technical person.

It is rather clear that a lot the propaganda about Munich originally came to the English-speaking press from people like Ed Bott (backed by Microsoft) and brought to wider attention in the CBS propaganda network. Prior to that it was possible to find incorrect reports (probably not bad translations) which dared not say that Microsoft is bribing officials again (Microsoft already tried to pay Munich to abandon its Free software project).

The first article we saw about this (in English) came from Geek.com [1] and cited this article in German. An automated translation states: “End of 2013, the Munich City Council had to switch from Windows to Linux declared to be successfully completed and announced the regular operation of Linux systems to nearly 15,000 jobs.”

OK, so what’s the fuss? The migration is complete, people are generally happy (no nightmare stories in the press), and only shoddy marketing groups like Gartner (which recommends Windows on Microsoft's behalf) continue to badmouth the migration behind closed doors, as we covered numerous years ago. Also behind closed doors, HP attacked Munich’s migration with a report (this was uncovered a couple of years ago), reminding us that HP is only pretending to be competing with Microsoft. As this rebuttal to a piece from the chronically Linux-hostile Verge reminds us, HP too is among the factors antagonising GNU/Linux:

First of all dear, The Verge, it is *not* a Chromebook Killer, because you need to understand what a Chromebook is before calling a low-end laptop with an OS no one wants as a killer laptop.

Now coming back to the news: HP is supposedly working on a low-cost Windows 8.1 laptop which will be sold for $199. It seems like ‘netbook v2′ strategy of Microsoft to hurt Linux. This time it’s not going to happen as we have a heavyweight like Google and not smaller Canonical.

I already regret buying an HP mouse yesterday afternoon. Recalling how HP tried to derail Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux (secretly) should be another reminder of the many US-based forces aligned to destroy an escape from Microsoft, the NSA, the back doors, and PRISM. Munich would have to be insane to go back to Microsoft knowing everything it knows about Microsoft and the NSA, as well as the NSA’a attacks on Germany (espionage).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 10 years later, Munich may dump Linux for Windows

    A few years ago, Linux sites were buzzing that the city of Munich, Germany was going to kick Windows to the curb and roll out a Linux-based OS on all their government desktops. […]

Update: Munich has fired back at what it claims to be false reports:

Munich city council demonstrated to the world that an organisation employing thousands could ditch Windows and move to Linux and free software.

When the project finished late last year about 15,000 staff at the German authority had been migrated to using Limux, a custom-version of Ubuntu, and OpenOffice.

But is the council’s move to open source about to be scrapped in favour or returning to Microsoft?

No says the council, in spite of numerous reports to the contrary. Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.

He said the council’s recently elected mayor Dieter Reiter has instead simply commissioned a report into the future IT system for the council.

“The new mayor has asked the administration to gather the facts so we can decide and make a proposal for the city council how to proceed in future,” he said.

“Not only for Limux but for all of IT. It’s about the organisation, the costs, performance and the useability and satisfaction of the users.”

The study, being conducted by internal IT staff at the council, will consider which operating systems and software packages – both proprietary and open source – would best satisfy this criteria. The study is not, as has been reported, solely focused around the question of whether to drop Limux and move back to Windows, he said.

08.18.14

Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software

One might think that the Gartner Group paid attention to revelations about Microsoft complicity and active collaboration with the NSA’s crimes. Apparently, however, being a rogue marketing operation (disguised PR), Gartner is seemingly unable to learn what a lot of the public (and CIOs, CTOs etc.) already know. Let’s face it. Bill Gates’ ‘investments’ in Gartner and Microsoft’s payments to this marketing (‘analyst’) firm did not fail to cloud its judgment. In world of Gartner, even though Vista 8 is a total disaster and the future of Windows is quite uncertain, the only choice one has is between versions of Windows, not between operating systems. To Gartner, anything other than Windows is not even an option. Back doors are here to stay and defects too are “necessary evil”, apparently.

Why is it that so many people continue to treat Gartner with respect? Any morsel of credibility should have been long gone, even by checking who subsidises this firm. It’s like a think tank or a collective lobbying group (for its corporate client who seek to sell, not to buy); that’s not what analysts are supposed to do.

John C. Dvorak published this column the other day, highlighting the fact that Windows is defective and remains defective even decades down the line. He wrote: “You would think that after 30 years of Windows, many of the obvious and consistent flaws would be fixed. Are they unfixable? Or are the people at Microsoft who can fix them uninterested?

“There is a belief within the tech community that Microsoft lost control of Windows years ago as the company turned over personnel—including the programmers who actually knew the base code of Windows itself. It has long since become what people call spaghetti code—a tangle impossible to unravel. Every patch has to be run through a regimen of tests to see if anything breaks. One thing is fixed and soon something else does not work right.”

Incidentally, see this new report about Microsoft bricking Windows with the latest patches. To quote:

Since Patch Tuesday this past week, Microsoft has been receiving reports of severe system errors caused by one or more of the updates.

Yes, that’s Microsoft ‘quality’. This spaghetti code is impossible to manage, apparently. Simon Phipps, the OSI’s President, also wrote quite recently for “Linux Voice. He wrote about Microsoft’s inherently defective software, inadvertently echoing some of Dvorak’s observations:

The action law enforcement services have taken against the GameOver-Zeus malware syndicate is great news for a change. In the UK, this was communicated with typical tabloid alarmism, framed as “two weeks to save the world” instead of “unusually effective action by law enforcement”. As a result, UK publications have been posting self-preservation information for their readers.

This is a Windows-only issue and since Microsoft does facilitate back doors (bug doors to be precise), Microsoft deserves at least some of the blame here. As Phipps concludes:

So actually it’s somewhat appropriate to blame Windows versions prior to Windows 8 for being vulnerable to many viruses which exploited bugs in this way. The existence of the vulnerability was a conscious choice and a marketing decision; in OS/2, which had no legacy to accommodate, the ring 0 separation was enforced.

Yes, Windows also offers a larger attack “surface” because of its wide adoption, and yes, there are other exploit mechanisms. But this tolerated technical vulnerability is the root cause of a large number of exploits. So while it’s true that malware authors are directly to blame for malware, there’s also a culpability for Microsoft that can’t be ignored.

For Gartner to be advocating the use of such rubbish spaghetti code (in binary form) is worse than incompetent; it’s utterly irresponsible. Why will any serious CIO or CTO ever listen to Gartner again?

Based on publicly-available evidence, even BIOS cracks require Windows. To give “BULLDOZER” as an example: “The technique supports any desktop PC system that contains at least one PCI connector (slot) and uses Microsoft Windows 9x, 2000, 2003 server, XP, or Vista. The PCI slot is required for the BULLDOZER hardware implant installation.”

To give “DEITYBOUNCE” as an example: “DEITYBOUNCE supports multiprocessor systems with RAID hardware and Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 Server.”

No wonder China and Russia are banning x86 and/or Microsoft Windows. It’s not because they’re “anti-American” but because Microsoft Windows and some US-made hardware are anti-users. In Germany, for example, ‘secure’ boot was banned for similar reasons. Perhaps they have not been taking Garner’s advice then. In Munich, Gartner notably tried to derail (with words) the migration to GNU/Linux, as we demonstrated some years ago.

08.17.14

The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies

A NEW article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols talks about patents. “Patent trolls under attack, but not dead yet” is the article’s headline. It does not necessarily speak about small trolls but also a corporation, Microsoft, which created several patent trolls, armed several patent trolls (to harass Microsoft’s competition), and is engaging in racketeering against successful producing companies, just like all patent trolls do. One glaring error in the article from Vaughan-Nichols is this bunch of numbers which are not substantiated (no link, citation, or even a source). He says: “It’s not just the trolls seeking to make a fast buck from honest companies that are abusing the broken American patent system. Microsoft has used its “Android” patents to profit from Android OEMs since 2010. Indeed, Microsoft’s most profitable mobile operating system, to the tune of approximately $3.4 billion, was Android, not Windows Phone 8.”

Where does this number come from? This may be completely bogus.

“Now,” he adds, “thanks to China, we finally know what’s in Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio. And it appears that Samsung, at least, is saying, “Wait a minute!” about paying Microsoft for these patents.

“Slowly, way too slowly, the Supreme Court is starting to rein in patent abuse. In Nautilus v. Biosig, the Court ruled that for a patent to be valid, its creators had to describe its essential elements of their invention clearly enough that an expert in in the field could understand it with “reasonable certainty.”

“Yes, that’s right, before this decision, even if an expert couldn’t figure out how the heck a patent was supposed to work, you could still patent an idea.”

Vaughan-Nichols then mentions other landmark cases and the apparent gradual-but-undeniable demise of software patents.

But where does that leave us? Even if Microsoft did not engage in all this FUD and extortion, it would still be able to do it by proxy. Vaughan-Nichols mentions SCO at the start of the article; Microsoft still uses such a strategy. In order to eliminate the threat as a whole we need to eliminate the patents.

Well, in prior years we showed how Microsoft had armed Vringo with patents which it then used against Google. According to this news, after wasting much time and money, Google is found innocent of infringement: “Google Inc. (GOOG:US) won its bid to overturn a $30.5 million patent-infringement verdict, a reversal that sent shares of Vringo Inc. (VRNG:US) down 72 percent.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington determined that the Vringo patents in the case were invalid, according to an opinion on the court’s website toda”

Here is how a patent trolls expert put it:

Vringo’s win over Google was one of the biggest and most public jury wins for a “patent troll” in recent years. It won $30 million from a jury verdict in 2012, far less than the half-billion-dollar verdict it was seeking.

But last year, the judge overseeing the case revived Vringo’s hopes, ordering Google to pay a running royalty amounting to 1.36 percent of US AdWords sales. Those additional payments could have been more than $200 million annually, pushing Vringo investors toward the billion-dollar payday they were pining for.

These articles should outline more clearly Microsoft’s role in the lawsuit. This was, as alleged by numerous sources (not just us), somewhat of a proxy war by Microsoft. It’s reminiscent of the SCO case, which Microsoft helped fund.

Then there are the trolls who funded and armed by Bill Gates. One of these, Monsanto, is mentioned in this article about counter-action:

Today, just three companies – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – account for about half of all commercial seed sales. More and more, agricultural patents are used to increase the control these and similar companies wield over access to the seeds with which farmers feed the world and – especially in the Global South – themselves and their families.

Bill Gates has profited by monopolising seeds. He lobbied for the seeds monopolies while investing in them (for profit). His good friend Nathan, the world’s biggest patent trolls (who was bankrolled by Gates), has also done this for profit along with Gates, especially when it comes to the energy sector. They are profiting by lobbying politicians to adopt energy methodologies from which they would profit. There is new right now about Intellectual Ventures (Gates-backed) hoarding patents on wind power:

Analysis: Patent trolls target wind power

One of the biggest “patent trolls” is moving into American wind technology for the first time. Intellectual Ventures (IV) of Bellevue, Washington has quietly applied for at least five high-quality and widely applicable patents for reducing noise and birds strikes at utility-scale wind projects.

A response has been posted about this in TechDirt:

Wind Power Monthly (I had no idea such a thing existed) has an article about how Intellectual Ventures is apparently targeting its patent trollery towards wind power, having filed a bunch of patents on very broad and basic concepts related to wind power. Of course, IV is trying to hide its involvement here by using one of its many shell companies. For reasons that are beyond me, Wind Power Monthly declines to name the shell companies. It’s not clear why it does this — even withholding the name after it got IV to confirm that it’s an IV shell. There seems to be no journalistic reason for withholding the name, but Wind Power Monthly still does it.

The Microsoft-funded CCIA is meanwhile focusing a lot of its efforts going after trolls, urging the government to launch subpoenas. The CCIA’s Levy writes: “We’re also looking forward to seeing what the FTC learns about patent privateering. The study could be our first real chance to expose the tactics of companies who have been quietly using patent trolls to do their dirty work.

“There’s no time to waste. Patent trolls won’t stop on their own, and we need all the ammunition we can get.

“Launch subpoenas!”

Several years ago there was pressure on the FTC. It seemed too reluctant to do anything about patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures, which had heavily lobbied the government along with Bill Gates. Hopefully things are about to change.

The bottom line is, the resolution lies within patent scope. But it’s also important to comprehend how Microsoft attacks Linux by proxy, not just in secrecy by means of extortion.

08.14.14

Shameless Microsoft Spin is Blaming China for Microsoft’s Misconduct and Back Doors While Justifying Massive Losses in Hardware (Made in China)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates speaking about China

Summary: A new look at how Microsoft-friendly media takes negative Microsoft news and turns that news into some kind of scandals where Microsoft is the victim

Following the well-overdue Microsoft raid which targeted Microsoft for its abuses (allegedly back doors, but perhaps also racketeering, tax evasion, conspiracy against users and bribes to officials) there was yet another raid. Microsoft is laying off many people in China (they are protesting as some used to work for Nokia) and as Pedro Hernandez put it:

With a new round of raids that have ensnared Microsoft partner Accenture, the Chinese government takes a closer look into the software giant’s dealings in the country.

Chinese government officials returned to Microsoft this week in an antitrust probe that has spread to the company’s partner Accenture, a technology services and consulting firm.

On July 28, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) announced that the agency’s anti-monopoly investigators had seized computers, documents, emails and files from Microsoft’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The SAIC is looking into allegations of anti-competitive behavior by Microsoft.

Accenture is a disgusting company that we wrote about before. It acts as somewhat of a Microsoft proxy and it is a patent shark.

Well, the Microsoft media is trying to distract from it either by smearing China or changing the subject. This is typical and we have noted this before.

Microsoft is undeniably facing some serious problems and this includes losses in many areas, not just bans of Windows and Office (the online version) in the biggest market. According to this analysis, Microsoft is losing billions in tablets:

Even the most diehard of Microsoft fans will admit its old Surface RT tablet was an unmitigated disaster. From lackluster sales to massive inventory write-offs, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s efforts to make a splash in mobile devices and services didn’t exactly start off with a bang. And catching tablet sales leader Apple with the Surface RT? Not even close.

Apple is not the leader, Android (collectively) is. Watch the Microsoft booster Lance Whitney trying to incite against Android by citing the frivolous complaint from Microsoft and its proxies (like Nokia). The Microsoft booster writes:

Still finishing up its antitrust probe of Google’s search practices, the EU is now looking into allegations regarding the company’s control over Android apps, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The author is poor on disclosures. He is still reliant on Microsoft as by his own admission (must click to view) he wrote for “Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, “Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time,” was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.”

Being CBS (parent of ZDNet), this bias is typical. It is very pro-NSA, pro-CIA, and pro-Microsoft (top NSA partner). Many writers there came from Microsoft and continue to serve Microsoft, often by smearing Microsoft’s rivals. Vista 8 boosting is quite common from the man above and his colleagues who came from Microsoft do this too.

Here in Reuters is some “naked PC” propaganda (“naked PC” is a propaganda term from Microsoft and its allies) trying to shift public opinion against China, pretending it is indebted to Microsoft. Towards the end it dares to admit that alternatives to Microsoft do exist in China: [via]

The result is that up to 60 percent of PCs shipped in the emerging markets of Asia, says IDC research manager Handoko Andi, have no Windows operating system pre-installed – so-called ‘naked PCs’, which usually instead carry some free, open source operating system like Linux. That compares with about 25 percent in the region’s developed markets like Japan and Australia.

Reuters is at least writing “so-called ‘naked PCs’”, implying that the term itself is dubious. It’s intended to make PCs without Microsoft software tightly bundled onto them seem socially inadequate, inherently incomplete, and gross/rude. It is actually very trivial to install one’s GNU/Linux distribution of choice. It’s a lot easier than doing that with Windows these days.

“Reuters is at least writing “so-called ‘naked PCs’”, implying that the term itself is dubious.”Microsoft fails not only when it comes to software sales but also hardware (made in China, which Microsoft is heavily reliant on). Based on some new Xbox numbers, “Microsoft’s Xbox One Is Failing” with hundreds of millions in losses incurred by lacklustre sales. As one author put it: “Microsoft has reported that its next-gen console, the Xbox One, has lost the company over $400 / €298 million, since it was released in November last year.”

This will only lead to yet more layoffs (maybe Xbox manufacturers in China), but cover-up from Microsoft- and Gates-leaning media calls it “Perfectly Fine”.

That’s yielded a collection of startled headlines about how Microsoft has dropped the ball with their new console by losing $400M already.

Then comes the usual spin. This is a pattern we see a lot of; Microsoft-friendly media would bend backwards to put a positives spin on something which is inarguably bad.

Microsoft had lost billions on Xbox 360 before it chose to make yet another Xbox incarnation. The money continues to go down the drain; Windows and Office (the main cash cows) won’t be able to make up for it for much longer.

Microsoft depends on China in many ways. China does not depend on Microsoft unless China continues to fall into Bill Gates’ trap by using Windows.

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