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01.22.15

Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft’s Outlook Cracked

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 10, Windows at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Journalists currently under heavy barrage from Microsoft marketing (outsourced and in-house)

Office of telemarketing

Summary: Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up

IF YOU believe the hype (Microsoft has been talking about it for nearly 2 years), you will easily believe that Vista 10 is the return of Windows monopoly and supposed OS ‘leadership’, even though Microsoft is shrinking along with its notorious back doors and criminal behaviour (less Microsoft means less crime).

Those of us who have watched Microsoft closely for years saw a lot of the company’s boosters ebbing away. Microsoft laid off a lot of marketing people. It’s a ‘luxury’ it cannot afford anymore as breaking/infiltrating the media is not cheap. Last week we learned that Paul Thurrott left as well; he had been one of Microsoft’s leading boosters and now, according to a source of ours, he “[p]robably moved to be able to change focus, adding FUD against non-Microsoft stuff in the guise of coverage. This is how far he has gone.” (notice the usual and typical propaganda we have been seeing for weeks now).

Some falsely claim that Android is losing share and others try to paint Windows as running Android apps even though it cannot. That is the type of FUD we have been debunking here for years. This FUD is not dead yet. Just notice the patterns, part of the PR campaign perhaps. If many people repeat the same lie in unison, then the lie gains legitimacy. Just watch Microsoft’s propaganda network 1105 Media trolling FOSS yet again over ‘security’ (only yesterday). A lot of this PR/FUD started last April when a Microsoft-connected firm gave a name and a logo to a bug in OpenSSL. It did it exactly when Windows XP ran out of support (i.e. left totally vulnerable to crackers).

“A lot of this PR/FUD started last April when a Microsoft-connected firm gave a name and a logo to a bug in OpenSSL.”Either way, Microsoft boosters continue to be dissolved. We used to see many more FUD attacks on GNU/Linux or Free software several years ago and as Soylent News put it: “Longtime Microsoft-centric journalist and blogger Paul Thurrott has left Supersite for Windows, and the website he founded sixteen years ago, and its sister site Windows IT Pro, for reasons explained in his farewell post. The sites (the former of which is still branded ‘Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows’ for now, but that will surely change) will be maintained by a staff of journalists employed by Penton, an information services conglomerate.”

Microsoft very much relies on propaganda agents who blame Google for Microsoft's failings and incite against Microsoft’s top competitors (Chromebooks seem to be Microsoft’s nightmare at the moment, not just Google Docs and ODF). Consider this rebuttal from Thom Holwerda:

First, this article makes the usual mistake of calling these vulnerabilities “zero day”. They are not zero day. They are 90 day. A huge difference that changes the entire context of the story. Microsoft gets 90 days – three months – to address these issues.

The accusations against Google were repeated later, at around the beginning of last week (second time) and the end of last week (third wave). This is totally insane an accusation to make, but given that those blaming Google are longtime Microsoft boosters, one can expect it.

In other news, a new Bloomberg puff piece glamourises Microsoft privacy violations, milking the Paris shootings for Microsoft PR. What an unbelievably shallow puff piece; then again, it’s Bloomberg. In similar news, Outlook has been cracked [1]. Even Microsoft cannot maintain a state of security. “Clumsily done” labelled it our source. Maybe the back doors have taken their toll in the wrong country. That won’t be good for business.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Outlook hacked following Gmail block in China

    Microsoft’s Outlook email service was subject to a cyberattack over the weekend, just weeks after Google’s Gmail service was blocked in China.

    On Monday, online censorship watchdog Greatfire.org said the organization received reports that Outlook was subject to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack in China. A MITM attack intrudes on online connections in order to monitor and control a channel, and may also be used to push connections into other areas — for example, turning a user towards a malicious rather than legitimate website.

01.13.15

Microsoft’s Strategy for Dealing With Back Doors: Blame Google

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Closed doors keep the back doors out of sight and resistant to change

Closed doors

Summary: Microsoft willingly leaves Windows users exposed to costly attacks and surveillance, but its propaganda blames the messenger that warned Microsoft about the problem 3 months ago

BASED on Microsoft’s own actions, the company is not at all interested in security and as we last noted the other day, the company is now pulling out of (withdrawing) notifications of back doors, except for the NSA. One might guess this would appease British Prime Minister Cameron, who now openly calls for back doors in everything and a ban on everything without back doors, but will this appease the rest of us, including journalists (never mind banks) who require encryption for secure communication? We have put some related articles in our daily links for those who wish to know more.

“One might guess this would appease British Prime Minister Cameron, who now openly calls for back doors in everything and a ban on everything without back doors, but will this appease the rest of us, including journalists (never mind banks) who require encryption for secure communication?”For those who missed last week’s news, here is what the British press wrote: “MICROSOFT HAS ESCHEWED the first Update Tuesday, or ‘Patch Tuesday’, Advance Notification of the year to announce that it is killing off the Advance Notification Service (ANS) for the general public and, as such, from next month there will be no Advance Notification.”

This basically means that while the NSA, GCHQ etc. know about back doors (or bug doors) that are not patched, the rest of us will know nothing. Since it is secret proprietary code, there is nothing that can be done about it either.

Earlier this month there were also report about Microsoft knowingly failing to patch a serious Windows flaw. It took Microsoft 3 months to actually do anything and when it did do something it was after Google had forced it to. It was Google that originally told Microsoft about this flaw 3 months ago. Here is what a reader of ours insists on calling “Microsoft apologists” wrote about it. They basically blame it all on Google rather than chastise Microsoft for leaving a lot of Windows users vulnerable due to Microsoft’s own laziness. It is worth emphasising that “the problem was not fixed within 90 days.” That’s how much of a priority security is to Microsoft.

Amid the calls for encryption bans in the UK it is clear that everyone who cares about privacy should move to Free software. Software freedom is imperative for privacy because only when the code is free can one be sure there are no back doors and also remove any that exist. Proprietary software exercises unjust power and control over its user, as Richard Stallman said all along, and the calls to ban encryption in the UK reinforce Stallman’s views. Microsoft’s negligence and reluctance to patch known flaws which are very serious also prove Stallman’s point to be valid. It is almost as though Microsoft actually chose to leave users exposed. Remember that the so-called ‘Sony hack’ was due to use of Microsoft Windows, based on numerous reliable reports. Also remember that about half a decade ago Google prevented its staff from using Windows. That was due to recognition that Windows was Swiss cheese when it comes to security.

01.09.15

Dear Microsoft: Windows-Only With DirectX is Not ‘Open Source’

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another misleading piece (a puff piece) from Beta News helps Microsoft openwash itself and promote proprietary software, proprietary APIs, etc.

AN OCCASIONAL Microsoft boosting site, Beta News, published a misleading PR piece that reads like it was ghostwritten by Microsoft (not just embedding Microsoft quotes).

Suffice to say, when Microsoft talks about “open source” one need to take a boulder of salt; in this particular case, as in many other cases, it is Windows only, DirectX-dependent, etc. It is more like openwashing than “open source” because without proprietary software this code just won’t run. In other words, you have to be a paying client of Microsoft (paying a bunch of thugs) to use the code and you have to support Microsoft APIs. To quote right from the source: “Version 5.1 Gold runs on Windows 7 or Windows 8, in either 32- or 64-bit mode, depending on your operating system. It also supports native DirectX 11, DirectX 10, and has some support for down-level DirectX 9 hardware running through the DirectX 11 API.”

Yeah, that has “open source” all over it!

Perhaps it’s time for Beta News to give coverage to some real Free software projects rather than drive Microsoft’s agenda.

01.05.15

Windows Becoming Less Relevant and is Not Even a Target Platform for Microsoft Anymore

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Spiral of death” clings onto Microsoft for a change

Nautilus

Summary: The demise of Windows is demonstrated by various data sources and Microsoft now makes its bread and butter available to Windows rivals before even bothering with Windows itself, showing Microsoft’s own recognition of this trend

IT was Vista 8 that really killed the Windows franchise, following the already-terrible Vista. Is Microsoft saving the other cash cow, Office, now that Windows is quickly becoming irrelevant, thanks to a large degree to Android and other mobile operating systems? It is evident that Google — not just Free software office suites — gives a big challenge not just in operating systems but also in office suites, especially now that it is embracing OpenDocument Format (ODF).

The demise of Windows is measurable. The other day we showed a Windows- and Microsoft-friendly firm, Net Applications, demonstrating quick demise of Vista 8. It’s not just Net Applications indicating this. “StatCounter reports that 8.* has peaked and is in decline,” notes Robert Pogson today. He has followed StatCounter closely for several years now and produced perhaps hundreds of graphs based on StatCounter. “I have some influence in my family’s choices,” he writes, “but I was teaching up north most of the year when my family was growing up, starting professional careers and making choices in IT. Most of them use GNU/Linux. Most of them use Android/Linux, but none use that other OS, not one.” The same is true in our house.

“There is no denying that Microsoft is in serious trouble.”Windows is becoming such a fringe player that even Microsoft starts to ignore it. According to this new report:

Range of Office and Windows Phone announcements coming soon following iOS and Android launch

A senior Microsoft Office spokesperson has reassured Windows Phone fans that, despite a dearth of new products recently, the company is still very much behind its mobile platform.

What it basically says is that Microsoft brings Office first to Google’s and Apple’s platforms. There is not yet a version for Windows (Phone)! Over the past few weeks I have been speaking a lot with a Microsoft developer who told me that Microsoft was silently shrinking, cutting ties with external workforce (does not count as layoffs) and squeezing about a dozen people in a single office (they used to all have an office of their own). The company even moves into smaller buildings. There is no denying that Microsoft is in serious trouble. The common carriers — and hence the cash cows — are dying. The company’s friends at IDG now badmouth a move [1] from Windows XP (a lot of people still use it) to GNU/Linux for the most ridiculous reasons, showing the company’s great reliance on propaganda and non-technical brainwash.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Migrating from Windows XP to VDI, Linux or BYOD. Is it a Non-Starter?

    While VDI, Linux and BYOD might look like an attractive alternative to trudging down the Windows Client path once again, they all come with considerable baggage.

01.03.15

Microsoft Does Not Want to Make Windows Secure

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Barbed wire

Summary: Windows is not designed to be secure and Microsoft is not even trying to make it secure when advised on how to make it so

YESTERDAY we wrote about the latest extensive evidence that Skype is a spy. Microsoft knows damn well that it is being used to spy on people, but it does not bother hardening the proprietary software program or even fix critical bugs that facilitate wiretapping (e.g. through weak encryption). Security is simply not the goal.

“Security is simply not the goal.”Today we learn that the NSA, which Microsoft tells about flaws before even fixing them (hence providing the NSA with back door access), sure is enjoying access to the latest version of Windows even if it is fully patched and up to date. For several months now Microsoft just didn’t bother patching the holes. Google, which banned Windows for internal use but remains negatively affected by Google users who are on Windows-running PCs, shows Microsoft a serious flaw (local back door) in the very latest Windows. Microsoft just simply does nothing for three months (except showing the NSA, as usual), whereupon Google increases pressure on Microsoft: [via]

Google has made public the details of a security vulnerability in Windows 8.1 a mere 90 days after disclosing it to Microsoft, sparking debate over the wisdom of the online giant’s Project Zero security initiative.

The bug, which was privately reported to Microsoft in September, can potentially allow a logged-in user to execute code on Windows 8.1 machines with administrator privileges.

What we learn from this is that Google tried responsible disclosure, as was the case when the OpenSSL flaw was discovered by Google, well before a Microsoft-connected firm gave it a name, a logo, and very irresponsibly sent out the word, even before OpenSSL’s own site was patched.

Google waited patiently for months, but Microsoft is simply not interested in the security of Windows. Those who are using Windows are not able to patch the flaw themselves because it is proprietary software. It serves to show why every company — not just individual — should shun Windows where security is a priority (it’s a top priority everywhere). Sony is being severely hit by a doxing problem that reportedly started with cracking of Microsoft Windows.

01.02.15

Microsoft Windows is Dying Based on Data From Windows-Friendly Firm

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows is yesterday’s problem

Windows

Summary: Even the most Microsoft-friendly Web surveys (where Windows-oriented sites are grossly overrepresented) show a sharp decline in Windows usage and gains are attributed to Chromebooks

IN THIS GNU- and Linux-dominated world (except in desktops/laptops) we need not write so often about the demise of Windows. In fact, we have not been doing that for months. Windows is rotting on its own while platforms like RHEL and Android thrive.

“Windows is rotting on its own while platforms like RHEL and Android thrive.”Watch how Microsoft spins the latest figures that demonstrate the collapse of Windows, even on desktops/laptops. As one blogger put it, “I woke up today, on the first day of January, and read Mechatotoro’s post about the jaw-dropping December 2014 market share statistics for Windows 8*.

“While the optimistic Winbeta site claims the market share loss is due to the traction gained by Windows 10, I doubt it.”

That is complete nonsense. Vista 8 was probably the worst-performing version of Windows since the 1980s (adoption rates worse than Vista) and the next vaporuware (Vista 10) started 20 months ago and is still not released. To say that Windows usage is declining because of some experimental build is simply delusional, but then again, these are Microsoft boosters we’re talking about. Their loyalty to Microsoft transcends logic and facts. The boosters cannot shoot the messenger either because Net Applications is closely connected to Microsoft. Therein lies the great irony.

One blogger has complained the the press (e.g. the Wintel-friendly corporate media) is not covering this major finding:

December Was a Disaster for Windows 8.x…Why Aren’t We Hearing about It?

[...]

Windows 8 and 8.1 combined seemed to have lost a whooping 7.07% market share! They went down from 18.65% in November to 11.58% in December. That is something! Why aren’t we hearing about this in all the (pro-Windows) tech sites??

For those who wonder what has been gaining at Windows’ expense (other than mobile devices where Android reigns supreme), “Data reveals Chrome OS might have been a roaring success in December”. To quote this report: “Stats published earlier today by analytics company NetApplications suggests that Google’s operating system, Chrome OS, might have a bumper month thanks possibly to Christmas sales.

“Data compiled for the month of December 2014 shows that Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 suffered significant dips while Windows XP and OSes classified as “Other” have increased significantly.”

We too bought a Chromebook, but we installed GNU/Linux on it. Chromebooks are significantly cheaper than ‘fat’ laptops with Windows, so no wonder Microsoft is so nervous and afraid of Google.

12.21.14

The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games

GNU/Linux sure is a growing force in the world of gaming. The embrace by Steam helped a lot, but it did not single-handedly change things. Other companies foresaw the demise of Windows. Microsoft knows what’s going on as its domination slipped away and gamers are now able to move to GNU/Linux by the millions while games get ported to GNU/Linux by the hundreds (if not thousands). This includes some very high-profile games.

According to this new article from Sam Machkovech, “Bluetooth on Windows is a mess.”

The article from Machkovech is titled “Microsoft tells J.S. Joust devs their game is “NOT possible” on Windows” and our reader said: “Development on Windows is hard to the point of being impractical if not impossible. The mono-culture for years kept that flaw hidden. People realize that as they are now getting back into cross-platform development.”

So here we have a game for GNU/Linux that won’t be available on Windows. That’s quite a twist of fate. Windows is now the neglected platform. Developers find it hard to work with.

Microsoft recently found itself buying a company that makes cross-platform games, killing the GNU/Linux versions. So Minecraft drops the platform which Microsoft publicly claims to ‘love’ (it’s a lie) after Microsoft takes over, based on this report: “Minecraft: Story Mode is a brand new adventure being created around Minecraft, but sadly Linux has been left out in the cold it seems.

“Minecraft: Story mode will be a narrative-driven video game created by Telltale Games. It will be about Minecraft. Telltale have made some pretty highly rated games, so for general gamers this will probably be exciting news.”

Microsoft, which lies about “loving” Linux, sure is not showing any love.

On the contrary, as the Windows monopoly is eroding, largely thanks to Android, which uses Linux, Microsoft is now openwashing its Windows-only games, misusing the “open source” label. IDG appears to have just hired one of Microsoft’s most fanboyish person as ‘reporter’ to do this openwashing and there were plenty of Microsoft puff pieces after that, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. What Microsoft calls “open source” here is the server side (not desktop side) of a Windows-only proprietary game. Compare that to truly Free software games or games for GNU/Linux (not just through Steam) and Android. Microsoft’s PR fooled a lot of its moles inside the media, including apologists like Adrian Bridgwater, but it should be clear that this is fake “open source” (just like .NET). It is about deceiving the public and changing perceptions.

12.20.14

Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The cost of cheap and/or underqualified staff?

Summary: Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming

Jason Evangelho said that “New Windows 7 Patch Is Effectively Malware”. This is how he put it in the headline at Forbes, showing just how “professional” Microsoft has become. It is so “people-ready” that it bricks computers. A Microsoft booster told the story like this: “Microsoft withdraws bad Windows 7 update that broke future Windows 7 updates”. Actually, it’s not just about future updates. It’s a a lot worse than that. Vista 7 becomes like a brick, unable to change. The full details are found further down in smaller fonts:

One of this week’s Patch Tuesday updates for Windows 7 has been withdrawn after some users discovered that it blocked installation of software containing digital signatures, including first- and third-party software, and even other Windows updates.

[...]

With Windows Update so important to keeping Windows users secure, a loss of confidence would be very bad news. But if this kind of problem continues, that seems like an inevitable outcome. While IT departments might be able to test updates in a lab before deploying them, providing some protection against faulty fixes, home users have no such luxury. Users have to have confidence that installing an update won’t break their machine. Broken, withdrawn updates shake that confidence.

Years ago (more than half a decade back) we warned that Vista 7 was basically just a lump of hype, perceptions distortion, and shameless lies. Now we see more evidence of this.

Microsoft Peter’s praises of Vista 7 and other Microsoft spyware continue nonetheless. Even when there is a serious problem he is belittling the problem rather than giving Microsoft a hard time. That is the role of Microsoft boosters. “Botched KB 3004394 triggers error messages, but no response from Microsoft” said the heading from IDG, showing that Microsoft is silent on such a serious matter. They’re speechless! Years ago we warned that a lot of key Windows developers were leaving and then often being replaced by cheap or poorly qualified staff. We said this would harm the quality of patches, not just of future versions of Windows. We were right.

Perhaps it is time to switch off Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter. Over the years he has done little more than mock Microsoft’s critics, including regulators (he still publishes revisionism about Microsoft’s browser abuses), so if we ever pursue the truth, we need to steer away from Microsoft’s media moles.

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