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07.12.12

The End of the Road for Windows Amid Losses, Security Flaws, and Unstoppable Android Expansion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Vista 8 at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Form factors revolution

Smartphone

Summary: Bad news for Microsoft and its monopoly, which lies atop Windows with all its problems

Microsoft’s financial state was discussed recently in light of the losses. One former Microsoft executive calls for the company to be broken up, probably splitting it into the part which should be decommissioned and the one that can somehow live on, notably the Windows and Office franchises (illegally-obtained monopolies). To quote CNET: “Microsoft has lost its way, says Kirk Eichenwald, who talked about his Vanity Fair piece on “CBS This Morning.””

CNET also says that “PC shipments continue downward trend” based on Microsoft’s friends at IDC and Gartner. Christine Hall goes further by invoking the “end of the Windows era” (without Windows, Office too can fade away). “I thought about this the other day while reading an article somewhere online about Windows 8,” Hall writes. “The author wrote something about how at this stage of the game, Windows 8 with its Metro interface was facing the same uncertainty that Vista faced right before it was released. I almost found myself in agreement, until I remembered my friend Phillip in those last days before the release of Vista.

“There was a big difference between the pre-release days then and the current situation as we wait for Windows 8′s big official debut. Back then, all the Windows fans were actually looking forward to Vista. XP had been a big hit, and the Redmond fan boys thought Vista would be even a couple of notches better. After all, they’d been working on it for ages; all that work was bound to turn into the most super duper operating system ever.

“Windows 8 with its Metro interface was facing the same uncertainty that Vista faced right before it was released.”
      –Christine Hall
“The rest, of course, is history. Vista turned out to be an even bigger embarrassment to Microsoft than ME had been six years earlier. It wouldn’t run properly on anything but the latest NASCAR rated processors. It needed gazillabytes of RAM. Worse, a massive number of peripherals, from printers to scanners, were turned into toast because they couldn’t be installed due to a lack of drivers. Very quickly the Windows fanboys came to see that the new best-of-breed was basically a lame horse.

“Now, Microsoft is only a few months away from the official release of Windows 8. This time, all we hear from the Windows fans is that they don’t like it. They’re unsure of the Metro interface on the desktop and worry about the wisdom of offering the exact same OS to do duty on the desktop and on tablets. They’re wary, with many convinced they won’t like the new, improved and better than ever operating system. I don’t hear anybody at all anticipating this will be the Windows to beat all Windows, a trophy that still goes to XP. At this point, all I hear is some hopes from Ballmer and his friends that the new OS will keep them from entirely loosing in portable devices and whatever comes next in the new computing zeitgeist.”

There are some further comments in her site and outside the site. She has clearly struck a nerve. It’s usually proportional to the amount of pro-Microsoft trolling.

In other news, Microsoft is besieged by malware. It takes radical measures now: “Microsoft has revoked more than two dozen digital certificates used to prove its wares are genuine after discovering some of them could be subject to the same types of attacks orchestrated by the designers of the Flame espionage malware.

“Tuesday’s revocation of 28 certificates is part of a much larger overhaul of Microsoft’s cryptographic key management regimen that’s designed to make it more resistant to abuse. The housecleaning follows last month’s discovery that some of the company’s trusted digital signatures were being abused to certify the validity of the Flame malware that has infected computers in Iran and other Middle Eastern Countries. By forging the cryptographic imprimatur used to certify the legitimacy of Windows updates, Flame was able to spread from one computer to another inside an infected network.”

This is related to Stuxnet, based on some researchers. It’s a Windows-specific problem, and that’s all that matters. Incidentally, there is some story going around about alleged “malware” for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. The Microsoft booster at IDG spins it as merely a Linux story, spinning it as dishonestly as he typically does (link omitted). All this security FUD serves a broader agenda, such as the political agenda of the US versus Iran. Moreover, based on a new conference, Microsoft runs another campaign to promote online censorship, using the “child porn” excuse. This is how Microsoft’s poor security record ultimately leads to the erosion of human rights and civil liberties. For Microsoft, it is not even possible to implement GUI features without leaving massive holes. The outcome is severe: “Microsoft has advised Vista and Windows 7 users to put Gadgets and the Windows Sidebar to the sword, following the revelation of yet-to-be-detailed remote code execution vulnerabilities in the features.”

Ryan Naraine calls it “early death” and this is far from the first security menace in Vista 7. “Microsoft is pulling the plug on the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets platform ahead of news that security vulnerabilities will be disclosed at this year’s Black Hat conference,” notes the journalist. It sure looks like Microsoft is gradually being pushed to the sidebar in this age when Android/Linux grows rapidly. How come Android, despite its popularity, does not have so many security flaws?

Here is more from the news: “On its July Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released nine security updates to fix a total of 16 vulnerabilities in Windows (XP SP3 and later), Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Basic for Applications and Sharepoint Server. Three of the updates close critical holes, among them an XML Core Services vulnerability that has been actively exploited for over a month.” As The Register put it “Microsoft has patched an under-attack zero-day vulnerability in XML Core Services as part of the July edition of Patch Tuesday.” [via]

03.07.12

Microsoft Buys Vista 8 Reviews by Bribing Journalists Again

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8 at 3:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

House gift

Summary: Microsoft reassures us that bribes are not a mistake but a deliberate act of marketing

THE MARKETING company known as Microsoft just cannot learn a lesson, or maybe there is no lesson to be learn when bribery is simply the business model rather than a “rotten apple”. Previously in this Web site we wrote all about Microsoft bribes that we are aware of. Vista 8 will be no exception because it is already happening. Ryan from #Techrights (IRC) writes: “They did something like this when Vista and Vista 7 went out. In that case, they sent out Alienware laptops to bribe favorable reviews for Vista from the people that got one. LINK (Archive.org copy, the original was disappeared)

“Now it appears they are promoting Vista 8 like this as well, only it’s tablets this time.”

Vista and Vista 7 had bribes as well. One former Microsoft manager wrote at one point: “I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.” The blog post is titled “bribing bloggers,

10.22.11

Survey: In 2 Years, Vista 7 Enters Just a Quarter of Businesses

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 sticker
“The hardest thing about replacing Windows 7 with Linux is getting the damn sticker off,” Tim wrote. (credit: OpenBytes)

Summary: More evidence of the declining impact of Microsoft Windows

IN OUR page about Vista 7 we have accumulated many reports about the variant of Vista that enjoyed a huge marketing budget. Pogson writes about the desktop monopoly sinking in relation to Vista 7, which according to this report does not received a warm welcome from businesses, still. To quote:

Computerworld’s survey reveals that only one quarter of businesses have migrated to ’7′ and most are still using XP. The reasons are many, but they all boil down to one thing. The migration to ’7′ is not a good investment.

In relation to Vista 8, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols adds that it is a “bad bet” for the following reasons:

Given my choice of desktops, I’m running Linux, but over the years Windows has gone from being a bad joke of a desktop operating systems–Windows ME and Vista–to being a reasonably good choice-Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7. But Windows 8? What the heck is Microsoft thinking?

After looking at Metro, Windows 8’s default interface, for the last month, all I see a lame, reactionary response to iPad and Android. In a broader sense, it’s Microsoft’s response to the move away from the desktop to smartphones and tablets.

This is why we choose to focus on Apple quite so increasingly. Microsoft is still chasing a form factor that is not quite growing. Within a few years it seems likely that Microsoft won’t be around to hurt Linux/Android as much as Apple does. We used to focus more on Novell as well. The goal has always been the same — to defend software freedom, whoever its greatest foes may be.

06.02.11

“Windows 8 Sounds Like It’s Basically Windows Phone 7 on a PC”

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mojave 2.0

Open road

Summary: The farcical version/derivative of Vista known as “Windows 8″ gets ridiculed even in the corporate press

YESTERDAY we quoted Dvorak on Windows 8. As we argued all along, it turns out that Microsoft does not have a new version of Windows. A DRM-laden shop is not an operating system feature and the current build lacks compelling features to actually make many sales (sales to OEMs should not count, as the end buyer makes no actual choice). “So Microsoft has demonstrated Windows 8,” wrote Will in IRC. “Sounds like it’s basically Windows Phone 7 on a PC.” Or worse than that: as Wired Magazine puts it, this is “Just Windows 7 With a New Skin”. To quote:

Microsoft has shown an early look at Windows 8. The upcoming OS is designed to run on any machine, from a tablet to a desktop PC, and while it has some genuinely clever features, it is at heart yet another skinned version of regular old Windows. Here’s a video of it in action. Skip to a minute in if you don’t care to hear about how tired the poor Windows 8 team is after so much work.

Vista, “Vista 8″ and “Vista 7″ as we call them (because Windows 8 is like Mojave and Windows 7 to Vista) sure looks like it is too little, too late in a world of mobility. Microsoft has resorted to hardware bribery — not just OEM kickbacks — in a desperate attempt to slow down the inevitable. GNU/Linux and Android are rising and overcoming Microsoft’s crimes against the industry.

05.20.11

It’s Not a Virus If the User Needs to Actually Install It

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Virus

Summary: Rebuttal to security FUD from the Microsoft crowd amid attack on the US Energy Research Lab, which got cracked because of Windows

GOOGLE abandons Windows due to security reasons. It’s really quite simple. But if enough Microsoft people (e.g. former staff) manage to enter news sites, then “news” becomes just agenda-filled propaganda. That’s what happened in the BBC, which we call the MSBBC. Not too surprisingly, Microsoft's Bought Bot and MSBBC, which loves to post FUD about Android every time someone is able to do something to break it (we covered just one such example recently even though there are more), are at it again. In order to fight the perception that Windows is insecure by design (which it is, even by Microsoft’s own admission) they try to paint other platforms as “inseucre”, by improperly naming malware “virus” or something along those lines. This usually requires that the user should be actually be installing it (not drive-by), in which case the software is granted permission to do exactly what it was designed to do.

SJVN writes a rebuttal to the Bought Bot by noting that “One in fourteen Internet downloads is Windows malware” (not the same as viruses):

Yes. It’s true. For the first time, Mac users have a significant malware problem. But, hey, it could be worse. You could be running Windows. After all, Microsoft, not some third-party anti-virus company trying to drum up business, has just admitted that based on analysis gained from IE 9 use, “1 out of every 14 programs downloaded is later confirmed as malware.”

If I may quote from Matthew 7:5, the King James Bible, “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Window PCs has far, far more malware trouble than Macs, and I can’t resist mentioning that after in twenty-years of Linux, we’ve not seen a real-world example of Linux malware–not counting the Android malware mess. Ironically, these latest appalling Windows malware numbers are shared in a Microsoft blog about how well SmartScreen Application Reputation is working in IE9.

There is another new pattern of FUD at the moment, where a weakness that affects virtually all phone platforms is ascribed only to Android. Linux is winning, so it is becoming a prime target for FUD. One of our reader supplies this recent link on “Wild Android Growth”. It says that “100 million Android devices have been sold, more than Apple… 36 OEMs, 215 carriers, and 450K developers push Android/Linux, 310 different devices sold in 110 countries, 400K activations daily, 4.6 per second, 200K available applications exist, and 4.5 billion installations of applications have been done, an average of 45 per device.”

Suffice to say, there is also patent as well as copyright FUD against Android and it comes from someone whom Microsoft Florian has been repeatedly interacting with recently. He used to work for Microsoft. “I think it’s more likely not about press for himself for himself as for press on the issue,” writes Pamela Jones, “preparatory to more hijinks filing of bogo-complaints against a Microsoft competitor.” It’s like mercenaries galore.

In other news, “U.S. Energy Research Lab Still Recovering From Internet Explorer Exploit,” says this report:

The Department of Energy’s largest science and research lab in Tennessee is still recovering from a sophisticated attack from hackers intent on stealing information from the lab in early April.

The attack left the lab in a communications limbo for two days as technicians dealt with its aftermath.

“Most of the staff are back up, and the business functions are performing as usual,” said Barbara Penland, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s director of communications. “But as you can imagine, when we were trying to get everything back up in a hurry, there were some shortcuts taken, and now the IT folks are rebuilding things in the background, and building some things that will make us more secure.”

“US nuclear materials lab, Oak Ridge, and RSA done in by Windows and IE attack in April,” explains a contributor of ours. “The only common “Advanced Persistent Threat” shared by the two is Windows,” he adds, quoting:

To deal with the attack, Oak Ridge lab’s technicians had shut down access to its e-mail systems and some of its servers for more than 48 hours. They found that it was an attack that relied on a combination of social engineering and an unknown security hole in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. … the attack is noteworthy because it was clearly an attempt to steal information from a facility that is at the heart of America’s materials, national security and energy research. …

The characteristics of the this latest attack also appear similar to those used in the widely-publicized SecurID phishing attack, which compromised the computer security company RSA’s widely-used product. In the RSA attack, a malicious Flash object in a scam Excel file was used to infect recipients’ computers with malicious computer code.

Incidentally, he add that “NSA tells people to buy Vista/Windows 7 or OSX instead of moving to free software. They probably justified the omission based on perceived OS prevalence but most of the measures recommended are useless and real security is easier to find in freedom than in jail.”

We wrote about the NSA issue quite recently [1, 2]. To the FBI, for example, malware is not a bad thing, it's just business as usual. To them, insecurity at the user level is an advantage. Security means “securing those in power from the population” when it comes to secret agencies.

05.13.11

ES: La “Función” Principal de Vista 7 Es Permitir el Acceso a Intrusos

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Back door

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: El nuevo sistema operativo de Microsoft Windows recibe elogios de los organismos -opresivos- secretos, pero una tarjeta de informe negativo sobre la seguridad real.

LAS ANTIFEATURES son totalmente gratuitas y vienen con todas las ediciones del sistema operativo que la NSA está recomendando[http://techrights.org/2011/05/11/windows-vs-activists_es/], por razones particulares. Sí, Vista 7 no es seguro como lo hemos demostrado en las entradas más antiguas, tales como:

1. La ciberdelincuencia Aumenta y Vista 7 ya está abierto a Criminales[http://techrights.org/2009/01/01/vista-7-not-secure/]
2. Vista 7: Roto Antes de su Llegada[http://techrights.org/2009/02/01/windows-7-banned-insecure-uac/]
3. El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional ‘envenenado’ por parte de Microsoft, Vista 7 esta abierta a Secuestradores de nuevo[http://techrights.org/2009/03/12/phil-reitinger-in-dhs-vista7-awol/]
4. La Seguridad de Vista 7 “no puede ser arreglado. Es un problema de diseño.”[http://techrights.org/2009/04/23/vista-7-cannot-be-fixed/]
5. ¿Por qué Vista 7 Podría ser el sistema operativo menos seguro que nunca[http://techrights.org/2009/04/27/vista-7-least-secure-os/]
6. Periodistas Sugieren la prohibición de Microsoft Windows. Tal vez una demanda por los ataques DDoS[http://techrights.org/2009/08/09/ddos-attacks-and-microsoft/]
7. Vista 7 vulnerables a las últimas “Defectos Críticos”[http://techrights.org/2009/08/13/vista-7-rtm-was-vulnerable/]
8. Vista 7 Al parecer, afectado por varios de las más “críticas” fallos este mes[http://techrights.org/2009/09/09/flaw-paid-for-launch-parties/]
9. Razón # 1 para evitar la Vista 7: la inseguridad[http://techrights.org/2009/08/14/vista-7-insecurity/]
10. Vista 7 Hackeable Una vez más (casi una repetición mensual)[http://techrights.org/2009/10/09/vista-7-hijack-risk/]
11. Trend Micro: Vista 7 menos seguro que Vista[http://techrights.org/2009/12/11/vista-7-insecurity-2/]
12. Vista 7 menos seguro que sus predecesores? Remoto BSOD Ahora Posible![http://techrights.org/2009/09/08/vista-and-vista-7-bsod/]
13. Vista 7 inaceptable para las grandes empresas y Windows XP no es todavía seguro[http://techrights.org/2010/03/11/intel-and-win7/]

Un sitio Web de Windows dice que en “Windows 7, la tasa de infección de malware sube, mientras que cae la de XP[http://www.winbeta.org/?q=news/windows-7s-malware-infection-rate-climbs-xps-falls]” (muchas gracias a Willie por el enlace). Para citar a:

Microsoft publicó hoy los datos mostrando que Windows 7 es la tasa de infección de malware ha aumentado en más del 30% durante el segundo semestre de 2010, mientras que la tasa de infección para Windows XP se ha reducido en más del 20%.

Como los informes de ComputerWorld, durante el segundo semestre de 2010, los datos muestran que de 32 bits de Windows 7 computadoras fueron infectadas a una tasa promedio de 4 equipos por cada 1.000, en comparación con 3 equipos por cada 1.000 que tuvieron lugar durante el primer semestre de 2010. Se trata de un aumento del 33% en la tasa de infección. Los que ejecutan Windows 7 64 bits había más posibilidades de evitar problemas con una tasa de infección de 2,5 PC por cada 1.000.

¿El sistema operativo más seguro? Que se lo digan a la NSA, que en realidad tiene razones para tratar la inseguridad como algo bueno. La propia seguridad del gobierno depende de su capacidad para mantener el ojo en los equipos de sus ciudadanos y sabemos que ese poder está siendo mal utilizado[http://techrights.org/2009/04/21/cipav-and-microsoft-windows/].

Katherine Noyes tiene este buen artículo nuevo sobre el tema[http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/The-Linux-vs-Windows-Security-Mystery-72433.html]. Cita el Sr. Robert en los lugares:

“La NSA (Agencia de Seguridad Nacional) recomienda Vista para seguridad en el hogar no es más que un reflejo de la realidad del monopolio en el espacio al por menor,” que ofrece blogger Robert Pogson. “En el probablemente tan sólo 2 a 3 por ciento de los usuarios de EE.UU. el uso de GNU/Linux, así que una recomendación es casi inútil.”

Los que son serios acerca de la seguridad “ya son conscientes de SELinux, un producto de la NSA”, agregó Pogson. “La NSA se limita a recomendar que la gente pase de XP, un sistema operativo pobre con escaso apoyo por M$. La gente que hace caso a ese consejo, probablemente ni siquiera saben GNU/Linux existe.”

Recomendar algo cuyo funcionamiento es un secreto es siempre una mala idea. Nadie puede saber lo que está realmente hay en él.

La conclusión es, Vista 7 NO ES SEGURO, pero la “seguridad” en la seguridad nacional significa casi lo contrario de lo que la gente asume que signifique. La seguridad nacional es acerca de entrometerse encubiertamente en la vida de las personas, es decir, violación de la seguridad, no reforzarla. Cualquiera que sea lo que la NSA diga, considere hacer lo contrario, si usted se preocupa por la libertad.

“Las relaciones del Gobierno es una prueba de cómo usted maneja la frustración” ~ Anónimo

Translation produced by Eduardo Landaveri, the esteemed administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

05.12.11

Vista 7 Top ‘Feature’ is Access to Intruders

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Back door

Summary: Microsoft’s back door-friendly operating system receives praise from the secret agencies but a bad report card regarding actual security

THE ANTIFEATURES are totally free of charge and they come with all editions of the operating system which the NSA is recommending for peculiar reasons. Yes, Vista 7 is not secure as we showed in older posts such as:

  1. Cybercrime Rises and Vista 7 is Already Open to Hijackers
  2. Vista 7: Broken Apart Before Arrival
  3. Department of Homeland Security ‘Poisoned’ by Microsoft; Vista 7 is Open to Hijackers Again
  4. Vista 7 Security “Cannot be Fixed. It’s a Design Problem.”
  5. Why Vista 7 Could be the Least Secure Operating System Ever
  6. Journalists Suggest Banning Windows, Maybe Suing Microsoft Over DDoS Attacks
  7. Vista 7 Vulnerable to Latest “Critical” Flaws
  8. Vista 7 Seemingly Affected by Several More “Critical” Flaws This Month
  9. Reason #1 to Avoid Vista 7: Insecurity
  10. Vista 7 Left Hijackable Again (Almost a Monthly Recurrence)
  11. Trend Micro: Vista 7 Less Secure Than Vista
  12. Vista 7 Less Secure Than Predecessors? Remote BSoD Now Possible!
  13. Vista 7 Unacceptable for Large Businesses and Windows XP Still Not Secure

A Windows site says that “Windows 7′s malware infection rate climbs, XP’s falls” (many thanks to Will for the link). To quote:

Microsoft released data today showcasing that Windows 7′s malware infection rate has climbed by more than 30% during the second half of 2010, while the infection rate for Windows XP has dropped by more than 20%.

As ComputerWorld reports, during the second half of 2010, the data shows that 32bit Windows 7 computers were infected at an average rate of 4 PCs per 1,000, compared to 3 PCs per 1,000 that took place during the first half of 2010. This is a 33% increase in the infection rate. Those running Windows 7 64bit had better chances of avoiding problems with an infection rate of 2.5 PCs per 1,000.

Most secure operating system? Tell that to the NSA, which actually has reasons to treat insecurity as a good thing. The government’s own security depends on its ability to keep on eye on the citizens’ computers and we know that such power is being misused.

Katherine Noyes has this good new article on the subject. It quotes Mr. Robert in places:

“NSA recommending Vista for home security is merely a reflection of the reality of monopoly in the retail space,” blogger Robert Pogson offered. “In the USA probably as few as 2 to 3 percent of users use GNU/Linux, so a recommendation is almost useless.”

Those who are serious about security “are already aware of SELinux, a product of the NSA,” Pogson added. “The NSA is merely recommending that folks move on from XP, a poor OS poorly supported by M$. Folks who would heed that advice probably do not even know GNU/Linux exists.”

Recommending something whose workings are a secret is always a bad idea. Nobody can tell what’s actually in it.

The bottom line is, Vista 7 is not secure, but the “security” in national security means almost the opposite of what people assume it to mean. National security is about intruding people’s lives, i.e. breaching security, not blostering it. Whatever the NSA says, consider doing the opposite if you care about freedom.

“Government relations is a test of how you manage frustration” ~Anonymous

04.21.11

The World According to ZDNet: Vista 7 a Whole Area of IT

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 1:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…or just paid placement? You can be the judge.

Summary: ZDNet UK puts up Microsoft-endorsing elements in ‘news’ pages and nukes comments that expose Microsoft’s PR department, Waggener Edstrom

THE MONOPOLIST from Redmond loves injecting trademarks into people’s consciousness. We already know that Microsoft was 'incentivising' hundreds of Korean bloggers to write a lot about Vista 7 . That’s just one example among others for which there is ample evidence.

The screenshot at the top (annotated) helps show circumstantial evidence which may suggest there is a paid endorsement in the editorial part of ZDNet UK. What is “Windows 7″ doing there? It is totally out of place, sitting there among actual areas of IT. “Windows 7″ is not “Windows” or even “Microsoft”. Why is this a whole category? This seemed suspicious, so I raised this question while they tried to silence me for posting politely my opinions in ZDNet UK (they also threatened to remove my account, even though I did nothing wrong, as people can judge by comments I reproduced and see for themselves).

My question, which was not deleted by the way, sought to discover whether the site’s marketing side was affecting editorial sections without disclosures. There is no need to be inflammatory about it and I was very polite. I also pointed out that ZDNet’s Twitter account is summarised as “All the latest business technology news, covering security, mobile, Microsoft and much more” (Microsoft is the only trademark mentioned). It’s basically the same pattern as the above. Microsoft is the only trademark to be mentioned by what claims to be a technology site. Here is what I wrote to ZDNet:

Upon closer inspection, this gets even more interesting. I see that the said twitter account follows 33 people and also an account called “(http://twitter.com/)/ZDNetUK_Win7″. I notice that alongside menu items at the top of *all* pages in ZDNet UK there is an oddly out-of-place section called “Windows 7″ (and again, it’s the only brand mentioned). I clicked on and it’s purely promotional therein. It says: “ZDNet UK’s special report covers a range of content, including reviews, articles and videos, to help you discover the key features in Microsoft’s latest operating system, as well as the pitfalls you should be looking out for.”

But more interestingly, all comments that mention Microsoft’s PR department, known as Waggener Edstrom, were removed. When one wants to do paid Microsoft endorsement, it’s natural to go through Waggener Edstrom. Microsoft.com refers such queries to Waggener Edstrom.

What was conspicuous to me was that ZDNet became extremely panicky and very defensive of this firm, whose named was removed along with all comments that even mentioned it. In fact, the response from ZDNet (which came late, around the time we complained about censorship) only dealt with the Waggener Edstrom claims, not rebutting the remaining evidence but instead throwing everything away by just using Waggener Edstrom as an excuse (it was not even mentioned in all the comments).

“The claims about ZDNet UK were not removed, just the ones about Waggener Edstrom. What is this irrational fear of criticising Waggener Edstrom?”We do know that Waggener Edstrom was pressuring British publications like The Inquirer to change their coverage. The Inquirer wrote about it. Is ZDNet fearful of criticising Waggener Edstrom? And if so, why? It’s just Microsoft’s marketing department. Why is this such a sensitive subject?

We only encourage people to explore this and to take these questions further. Where there is smoke there is often fire.

Look again at the deleted comments, in particular Comment #6 and Comment #7. Both of these are the ones which mentioned Waggener Edstrom. None of the 7 comments were deleted until comments #6 and #7 got posted; it’s as though we blew a dog whistle and the E-mail response to us further validates such a theory because it only defended Waggener Edstrom and ignored all the remaining evidence. Is a sacred cow the trigger? Watch the response from ZDNet: “In addition, they make unsubstantiated harmful suggestions about companies – about ZDNet UK, for example. Some of these comments may place this site at legal risk,” said Karen Friar only after I had mentioned Waggener Edstrom (and their name got wiped off the page). I did provide links, e.g. documents from Comes vs Microsoft, to support my claims. Karen ignored this court exhibit. The claims about ZDNet UK were not removed, just the ones about Waggener Edstrom. What is this irrational fear of criticising Waggener Edstrom?

To summarise, we would like to leave an open question: what is the relationship — if any — between Waggener Edstrom and ZDNet? I sent ZDNet’s editorial team this question. Even though they did write to us before, to this question they did not reply. It has been 2 days, so we assume that “no comment” is their stance. The top of all Web page in the site (which possibly reaches a million per day) is still an endorsement of “Windows 7″. It validates the product in a strange context.

“In honor of the event, Pam Edstrom, who had since left Microsoft to cofound her own agency, Waggener Edstrom, and handle Microsoft’s PR from the outside, sponsored a “Windows Roast.” Gathered at the Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas, Gates and Ballmer made fun of themselves and not so subtly apologized for the Windows delays. “To Dream the Impossible Dream” was the theme song playing in the background. With three hundred analysts and members of the press invited to these festivities where Gates and Ballmer let it all hang out, it was another coup for “Gates’s Keeper.” Gates joked that Ballmer had insisted, ” ‘We just gotta cut features.’ He came up with this idea that we could rename this thing Microsoft Window—and we would have shipped that thing a long time ago.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by Pam’s daughter

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