Summary: Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10
IN TERMS of sales and technical weaknesses, Vista 10 is a huge disaster, doing probably worse than its predecessor, which also did worse than the mythically ‘great’ Windows Vista. It really is a total disaster, but Microsoft employees won’t say this to the media for fear of personal retribution (firing).
“…Microsoft is putting Bing inside Cyanogen OS, not just from the company Cyanogen but also in OnePlus.”The unprecedented spyware problem is no longer limited to just Vista 10, so users of Windows on PCs are all affected. They should escape all of Windows as soon as possible because even older versions have spying features silently added to them. Well, this has actually been known for a while and we wrote about it several weeks ago. Now it appears as though more people become aware of it (the latest headline says “Updates Make Windows 7 and 8 Spy On You Like Windows 10″). Based on [1-3], Microsoft is putting Bing inside Cyanogen OS, not just from the company Cyanogen but also in OnePlus. This company, OnePlus, should dump Cyanogen OS, for reasons we covered here before [1, 2].
Mind this new article titled “Windows 10 automatically sends parents detailed dossier of their children’s internet history and computer use”. To quote just the opening paragraphs: “Windows 10 sends a weekly “activity update” on childrens’ internet browsing and computer history to parents, by default and without telling anyone. The feature could be dangerous as well as embarrassing, users have pointed out, allowing parents to watch everything their children do on the computer.
“Microsoft has become just a surveillance company and Windows the surveillance platform.”“The operating system sends a weekly note that includes a list of websites children have visited, how many hours per day they have spent on the computer, and for how long they have used their favourite apps, according to reports.”
Microsoft has become just a surveillance company and Windows the surveillance platform.
Vista 10 lies (“marketing”) now grow in lieu with Munich propaganda (anti-GNU/Linux myth-making, in order to scare CIOs who are fed up with Windows). Beware Microsoft’s fake vista 10 figures. These are being pushed by Microsoft into its boosters and moles in the media right now. The company has a long history gaming numbers to lie about number of ‘sales’ or ‘useds’ [sic]. Here is one Microsoft booster disseminating what it essentially Microsoft marketing with a sloppily-made image that cement the Big Lie (carving it in stone, within an image that cannot be edited for correction). “The only question,” wrote to us iopkh, “is how they are fiddling the stats.”
These claims are pulled directly from Microsoft, or rather, they are being pushed by Microsoft onto gullible journalists or complicit ‘journalists’. The author is a known Microsoft booster with history. Microsoft’s own figures hysterically debunk some early claims that the media cited a lot (between 45 million and 55 million ‘upgrades’ after 3 days). We warned that these were baseless claims from the rumour mill and Microsoft’s trolls army.
This time too we cannot trust the figures since they come from Microsoft. Based on how it has always gamed the numbers (‘sales’ not meaning actual sales or even users), we know these are lies. Look at web statistics from some of the more respected sources. Maybe 5% market share (or less) is what Microsoft’s latest beast has got at the moment, which given the price and other exceptional factors, is truly (and quite frankly) pathetic. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Send this to a friend
Microsoft cannot compete with zero-cost Free/libre software anymore
Summary: Microsoft is failing to convince people to ‘upgrade’ Windows, whereupon business models are being altered and migration to Linux-based platforms (like Android) continues uninterrupted
WHILE Microsoft-connected media like the BBC persists with Microsoft propaganda like this nonsense or this one puff piece (a couple among several articles we found, all singing along the lines of Vista 10 being the last version of Windows), it is becoming abundantly clear that the era of Windows is ending. People refuse to adopt the latest versions of Windows, so now comes spin like this: “Reiterating the company’s “Windows as a service” philosophy, Nixon said the firm is planning no new OS version launches in the future. “Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10,” he added.”
The name Nixon is just so perfect here. Trust Nixon.
Vista 8 was so bad (worse than ME and Vista in terms of adoption) that only a fool would think Vista 10 can change that. Remember that hype/PR ahead of Vista 8; it’s all promises and bribed-for reviews. Several years after Vista 8 came out there is still a rush towards an operating system more than half a decade old (Vista 7) or some variants of GNU/Linux. The largest branches of the British government are still struggling with a 14-year-old version of Windows and refuse to move on with the upgrade treadmill. See this new report which says: “UK government departments still running Windows XP are now doing so entirely on their own. A framework support agreement between the Crown and Microsoft guaranteeing the release of special security patches for PCs still on Windows XP has ended after one year. That deal – revealed here – expired on April 14 and it’s been decided it will not be rolled into a second year, Microsoft has told The Reg.”
For Microsoft it has become impossible to charge for Windows and expect to gain at the expense of GNU/Linux, Android, etc. Now, as Pogson put it, they need to compete on price. “No longer will the price be hidden,” he wrote. “Consumers who can do the maths will seek alternatives if for no other reason than comparison shopping. GNU/Linux will prevail because there’s no OS out there that gives as great a service for $0 as GNU/Linux. Amen.”
The “PC” is dying based on figures that are derived from sales and Google, whose flagship platform (Android) now commands the lion’s share of the mobile market, says that mobile search tops desktop “Google says that more people now use Google Search on mobile devices than they do on desktops,” to quote just one report. The delusion that Windows will always be around and be used by a majority is a sort of paid propaganda Microsoft still relies on. █
Send this to a friend
Great example of Microsoft PR agencies distorting the news via moles
Summary: A timely look at how ‘former’ Microsoft writers — not just current ones — help manage perceptions at Microsoft’s behalf, infiltrating the media and even forums
AS WE last explained yesterday, there is some ugly pattern of deception emanating from Microsoft boosters. They try to shift liability for the failure of Vista 8 — a failure that not even they cannot deny any longer. There are ‘former’ Microsoft writers (as in, people who used to work for Microsoft) who continue to promote Vista 8 in various ways. This one, who works for CBS right now, does this trick by saying that low-cost gadgets are “to energize the PC market”. This may be true and Microsoft is totally out of this game, right? Well, not based on his framing. The article by this Microsoft booster mentions “touch-screen laptops” to give the illusion that Microsoft is still relevant in the future. This is how propaganda works. And by citing numbers from Microsoft’s partner Net Applications in the former article he also helps give the illusion that Vista 8 adoption is wonderful. Lies so big that they can make one vomit, eh? With Windows Blue (vapourware) being the focus of Microsoft right now, it is clear that Microsoft is already giving up on Vista 8 (retreat), but the boosters carry on with their deceptive ‘reports’. Well, there are more examples like that, involving many other writers, but we just focus on this one writer (formerly of Microsoft) with his two latest articles which are flawed in order to make the point. Vista 7 relied on similar tactics, including bribery of bloggers.
There is a fairly new article which covers this fascinating and troublesome phenomenon as a whole. Charlie Demerjian’s analysis is summarised as “Unleash the astroturfers to blacken the forums ASAP” (AstroTurfing is perpetually a strategy at Microsoft).
“Given the echo chamber effect of the internet where no one seems to think about the numbers they are reporting much less actually fact check them, it is really easy to manipulate the press and create “truth”. Microsoft is quite adept at this technique.”
–Charlie DemerjianTo quote: “So when Microsoft has good news, they shout it from the rooftops loudly. It is usually picked up by anyone that will listen and printed in just about every news outlet out there. Given the echo chamber effect of the internet where no one seems to think about the numbers they are reporting much less actually fact check them, it is really easy to manipulate the press and create “truth”. Microsoft is quite adept at this technique.”
Microsoft moles in the media are managed by Microsoft PR agencies which pass them material to publish in respective publications. That’s how it works. Demerjian continues as follows: “If change in PCs was needed to spur sales, that didn’t happen during the launches of Vista and 7. Sales rose. It did happen during the launch of Windows 8 and sales plummeted. Before you point out that change may be the actual cause of this plunge, think about one other little thing. You can still get Vista/7 form factor PCs now, you just can’t get them with those OSes. See the logical problem?
“Sadly though the damage control team, agency more likely, did their market research right. The whole fairy tale about PC makers being at fault seem to be getting some legs if not showing early signs of going viral. This is a really well thought out campaign given what they have to work with, cynical, unethical and anti-consumer though it is. Make no mistake though, it isn’t organic and is very manufactured. Things like this don’t go from nowhere to everywhere overnight without lots of backing and low wage forum drones to astroturf on your behalf. That said, it seems to be money well spent on Microsoft’s behalf.”
Be wary of the well-coordinated disinformation campaign, the deception centred around the idea that hardware companies — not Microsoft — are to blame for Vista 8′s poor adoption. Microsoft is trying to play with people’s minds, as always. █
“The first wave will attack the perception that Linux is free.”
–Brian Valentine, Microsoft
Send this to a friend
Summary: People charged twice for rejecting what they never asked for in the first place
CONVICTED MONOPOLIST Microsoft has lost staff and money because Vista 7 and Vista 8 are not changing anything and because Windows generally assumes the ‘desktop’ will always dominate. Android proved otherwise, so Microsoft tries to profit from Android via extortion. A big news item in blogs these days is this stampede:
Hey, Microsoft? Just a little heads up. If customers despise your latest and ostensibly greatest operating system so much that businesses are offering a downgrade service, you might want to take that as a sign that something has gone wrong. Because while we can understand having to pay for an upgrade, ponying up cash just to take a step back on your new laptop with pre-installed software is well, it’s a step back.
People pay a lot of money to escape Vista 8 while Microsoft calls it a ‘sale’ and make more money this way, claiming two sales for one PC Valve now urges Windows users to install Ubuntu. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Desperate and expensive measures include AstroTurfing tactics and blocking of Linux by subversive technical means
IN ORDER to avoid clutter and repetition we no longer post many articles about Vista 8 like we did Vista 7. Vista 8 is also self-destroying (there’s some short burst of links about it in Twitter, Identi.ca, etc. for those who follow me more closely).
As Cringely put it over the weekend, “Windows is doomed.”
To quote further: “Having not invented any of the products it is known for, why should we expect Microsoft to invent its way out of declining markets? We shouldn’t.”
Microsoft has begun doing what it does best with a budget of (reportedly) a billion and a half dollars. Through its PR proxies, which have astroturf patents, it is planting favourable coverage and there is aid from former Microsoft staff with a “journalist” hat (offering no disclosure of that conflict of interests). Microsoft also fakes excitement. It knows it won’t get sued for it.
Additionally, Microsoft has made it harder to install or run GNU/Linux and it shows:
This is how SecureBoot is managed in Ubuntu and Fedora. Debian is still unclear as how they will manage SecureBoot.
The second stage features a GURB2 bootloader which does usual tasks as before. Earlier Canonical had plans to use a non GPL bootloader here, but they were thrashed.
Langasek says that they will backport the secure boot mechanism to Ubuntu 12.04 release as well, so that the LTS version can be installed in Secure Boot devices. So the next major service pack of Ubuntu Precise (12.04.2) will include support for SecureBoot.
Steam, in the mean time, targets Ubuntu because Vista 8 sucks. Microsoft is alienating developers further and further on all fronts, not just the desktop:
Microsoft annoys developers with Windows Phone 8 secrecy
The company is accepting requests for the Windows Phone 8 software development kit (SDK), but only from a select few. The rest will have to wait, as Microsoft is trying to keep some of the OS’s features secret for now.
This closed-source nonsense in due course annoys developers, many of whom already move to Android. Open Source and Free software empower developers. giving them greater advantages. No wonder Android is taking over and becoming the dominant OS. Windows revenue is down sharply. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Antifeatures that are associated with spying have been included in Vista 8, raising concerns for those who need protection in their private lives
THERE are many reasons to believe that Vista 8 will fail just like its predecessors (after XP).
Vista was not just horrible but it also introduced massive violations of privacy, which ought to deter and scare businesses. Having Vista or later installed is like having Stalin on your hard-drive. It ‘phones home’ a lot, gathering information about the users. This information is stored remotely and indefinitely.
“It ‘phones home’ a lot, gathering information about the users.”Now we learn that Vista 8 goes much further than Vista. It uses insecure means to help Microsoft spy on the users’ activity. To quote: “There are a few serious problems here. The big problem is that Windows 8 is configured to immediately tell Microsoft about every app you download and install. This is a very serious privacy problem, specifically because Microsoft is the central point of authority and data collection/retention here and therefore becomes vulnerable to being served judicial subpoenas or National Security Letters intended to monitor targeted users. This situation is exacerbated when Windows 8 is deployed in countries experiencing political turmoil or repressive political situations.”
See what Microsoft did in Russia. Remember the sound bite: Stalin on your hard-drive. █
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Send this to a friend
Summary: After very poor adoption of Vista and Vista 7 (especially in businesses) it is expected that Vista 8 will bring more of the same
THE failure of Vista 8 is foreseen by many. It is profound enough for OEMs to complain about it already [1, 2] and Dell joins the antagonists by making its stance known.”In the earnings call to discuss its latest financial results,” says The Register, “Dell’s CFO Brian Gladden said the introduction of Windows 8 in October would have a limited effect on Dell’s results at first, since the company is really focusing on enterprise systems, and he expects the new OS to have limited appeal early on in that sector.”
“Our guess is that Linux, the kernel, which is common to all these platforms, will thrive on desktops just as it does on phones, servers, and increasingly tablets too.”The interface of Vista 8 makes it unsuitable for serious use. To quote another new article: “Though Windows 8 is winning rave reviews for its touch-friendly tablet experience, many feel that the operating system’s “Modern-style” UI makes life more difficult for PC users. Count usability expert Raluca Budiu of the Nielsen Norman Group among these critics. Though she has not conducted any formal studies on Windows 8, the former Xerox PARC researcher and user experience specialist has used the new OS enough to conclude that, for productivity tasks on the PC at least, Windows 8 is less user friendly than its predecessors.”
GNU/Linux is alive and well, but Android too is looking for growth at the expense of Windows while Chrome OS gains a more favourable position among OEMs. Our guess is that Linux, the kernel, which is common to all these platforms, will thrive on desktops just as it does on phones, servers, and increasingly tablets too. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: The main pillar of Microsoft’s monopolistic power is shaken and battered
THE myth Microsoft created out of Vista 7 is that it’s good; in reality, it’s just better than Vista. Now we learn from the Microsoft booster that 3 years after Vista 7′s release only about 20% of large businesses use it. To quote: “Windows 7 is running in just 20 per cent of large enterprises with the most difficult migrations yet to come.” As Pogson puts it: “There are lessons to be learned from this. Why not rewrite those web applications in FLOSS and use FLOSS clients to prevent a repetition?”
Microsoft’s encryption has just been cracked, assuring that Windows security will continue to be poor:
Security researcher Moxie Marlinspike has turned his attention to VPNs based on Microsoft’s MS-CHAPv2 protocol, demonstrating software at Defcon that can capture and crack passwords.
Chapcrack  parses the credential information out of MS-CHAPv2 handshakes, which are then sent to Cloudcracker . Cloudcracker will then return a packet that can be decrypted by Chapcrack to recover the password.
As noted by ThreatPost , MS-CHAPv2 is an old protocol that should have been replaced, but hasn’t: criticisms go back as far as 1999.
This affects all versions of Windows.
Microsoft in general is declining as Windows declines. Despite whitewash pieces like this one, the reality remains clear to see; it is not just a lost past but also a lost future. As one pundit put it, Microsoft is in a “downward spiral”:
In essence, Microsoft was unwilling over the last 12 years, since Ballmer took over as CEO, to give new technologies a gestation period without demanding that they prove their worth in dollar terms. Technology companies come up with a great many ideas, 90 per cent of which prove to be ghosts in the dark. The 10 per cent that do succeed make the big bucks.
But it all takes time. And, from Eichenwald’s article, it looks like Ballmer is always in a big hurry – though he does not appear to have a clue about his destination.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates himself was more of a marketing man than a technology person; he was interested in the money and did not mind selling mediocre products that he convinced himself were the best. None of his minions ever dared to contradict him.
That culture has been taken to its logical extension by Ballmer. Some technologies like the e-book were looked at by Microsoft in 1998, well before other companies did; yet Gates did not have the patience to give developers their head to go off and create the right kind of hardware for such a product. No time was given for consolidation of the product because it did not look like a Windows product. It had to immediately had to have a business plan, a projected profit and loss statement.
This is a surprising development because it indicates that Microsoft did not learn from its own history of never getting anything right except on the third try.
And then, Eichenwald writes, there was the stack ranking system for evaluating its workers. When a given group was evaluated, there was a predetermined outcome. Some people had to get lower rankings than others, the evaluation wasn’t objective. Which meant that some people just could not progress in career terms.
People, in short, became dispensable. If you were in good with your manager, you got ahead. The incompetent were encouraged by this, the competent (read less mainstream types) were discouraged.
Microsoft’s monopoly is a “house of cards” in the sense that without Windows monopoly Office too will suffer. In a later post we’ll show new studies which suggest declining market share for Windows. Things change rapidly and Linux gains the most through Android right now. █
Send this to a friend
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »