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Microsoft's Latest Anti-GNU/Linux Moves Are Sign of Agony

"I'd put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1."

--Steve Ballmer, 2001



Summary: Microsoft goes ever more aggressive against the growth of GNU/Linux on the client side

LESS than a year ago we showed how Microsoft actively fought GNU/Linux at Wal-Mart, later remarking that similar tactics may have been used against OEMs that carry GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks. Now we find these leaked pages which show very vividly how Microsoft is training Best Buy staff to vilify GNU/Linux. Here is the opening statement.



So I work at Best Buy (insert boos and hisses) and I was doing some Microsoft ExpertZone training.

Well, the new one for Windows 7 allows me to get a $10 retail copy of Windows 7 after completing the courses. So I figured I'd get it and sell it for a quick buck. Now, during my training modules, a "Linux vs Windows 7" module appeared.


Here is just one of the screenshots (down-scaled).

Anti-Linux shot



One of our readers laughs at what he calls "Vista 7 training", adding that "Vista 7 provides none of the four promised things, choice, compatibility, familiarity or peace of mind. It's a DRM upsell with a minor facelift that blows your old software away and confuses the crap out of the user for zero security gain." Exposing and calling it what it really is, this reader summarises the situation as follows: "Windows 7 propaganda is laughed at in public by Best Buy employees." Here is a Slashdot submission which calls it "Anti-Linux Training at Best Buy":

Best Buy is one of the few national computer retailers that has survived Vista and the recession. Here's how Microsoft is training their employees. It's like a throwback from the badly discredited "Get the Facts" campaign.


"Microsoft themselves try to teach Best Buy employees to lie about Windows 7, and are called on it in public," he adds.

Another person, Oiaohm, writes in our IRC channel: "Notice something funny about that training. Microsoft is mentioning Linux. You only do that if you fear your competitor, otherwise you just talk about your own product and hope the staff don't know about the other."

“Microsoft is mentioning Linux. You only do that if you fear your competitor, otherwise you just talk about your own product and hope the staff don't know about the other.”
      --Oiaohm
"I hope this guy has covered his identity," says the former person, as "Best Buy and Microsoft will fire him for sharing [...] employees are fired for such things. There are plenty of people in line for the job. [...] Vista pushed many retailers into bankruptcy. Windows 7 will challenge what's left. Best Buy is going the full Microsoft route and will pay a terrible price. They think they have it easy because no one else is left selling computers brick and mortar."

The latter reader adds: "The best part of it [is] Microsoft screwed up. Always a percentage of people giv[en] a briefing will question it."

"The question is," he concludes, "will Microsoft have to cut their price before release? Microsoft has dumped out more free copies of Windows 7 than any other version of Windows. And it's not even released yet."

Well, guess what Microsoft is doing right about now? It is offering small bribes (in the form of Vista 7 licences) to people who help Microsoft hype up the release. There is already a parody about it and another rather sarcastic take.

So lets now look at the party idea. http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/02/get-windows-7-[...] and see the title “Get Windows 7 Ultimate for free…..by throwing a party”. They say:

Sure, you’ll have to suck up your pride and invite your friends to a party with a theme like “setting up with ease” or “family friendly fun,”

[...]

Windows 7 party time? In my opinion the only thing to celebrate will be the end of the hangover from the Vista one. Will history be repeated with 7? Dip into your wallet and find out!


Incentives for people to hype up Vista 7? We have seen that before.

Going back to the Best Buy folly, Microsoft is clearly building an army of Microsoft salesmen even in other companies, not just Microsoft Stores. It's a very medieval approach where suppression of minds and conformity are a live-or-die crossroad. In addition to obedient salespeople, Microsoft is now recruiting marketing people to throw house parties for a piece of software. How pathetic is that? Does anyone remember the "Show Us Your Wow" campaign that Bill Gates was hyping up? They called for contributions from volunteers who would hype up Vista, only to take down the "Show Us Your Wow" Web site a short time later (the contributions all vanished along with it).

Microsoft is bordering the edges of the realm of grassroots (ethical) and verges AstroTurfing yet again. Let's remember yesterday's Vista 7 article/advert from The Register.

In more uplifting news about GNU/Linux, despite attempted derailing by Microsoft, GNU/Linux makes big strides in Russian education:

60 Thousand Russian Teachers Will Learn Linux by the End of 2009



[...]

As part of the initiative, Russian schools have already received CDs with Linux and other open-source tools distribution kits so that such solutions could be installed even in the schools with no broadband internet access. But of course such a large-scale deployment is not that easy to carry out without help of qualified professionals who can make it possible.


Russia also investigates Microsoft for misconduct while this new report from Business Week says that "even the software giant [Microsoft] has tried to tamp down expectations for the new operating system."

“Businesses will all but ignore Windows 7 and most uptake will come from consumers.”
      --Anonymous
"In other words," explains one person in USENET, "Windows 7 will be another dud and its release will NOT result in another PC upgrade cycle. Businesses will all but ignore Windows 7 and most uptake will come from consumers. This would be disastrous for Microsoft's credibility in the marketplace."

Going a little sarcastic, he adds: "I wonder what Microsoft will come up with after the failure of Windows 7, a Windows XP Second Edition? I'm pretty sure another incremental Vista update won't cut it with Wall Street so they'll have to try something radical. How about porting the Windows UI to Linux or (more likely) FreeBSD? Might work, but far from certain."

In exchange for these blows of reality, the Microsoft crowd strikes back by attacking GNU/Linux. Watch this one for example. It is the second such attack (almost identical) from the same author this week. We wrote about the first one right here. The author is collaborating with Microsoft (by his own admission) and he has a pattern of attacking Free software and GNU/Linux. Attacks on GNU/Linux are typically based on false market share statistics, whose connection to Microsoft we wrote about in:

  1. Net Applications Has Former Microsoft Employee, Also a Microsoft Investor?
  2. Three New Articles Question Net Applications' Integrity
  3. Net Applications: the Big Lie, Boosted by IDC|IDG et al
  4. Summary: Lies, Damn Lies and Net Applications (Fake 'Statistics')


According to statistics from one other source, GNU/Linux carries on gaining market share whereas OS X remains quite stagnant. Microsoft's very own statistics (see Ballmer's presentation slide below) show that GNU/Linux exceeds Apple in terms of market share on the desktop. Microsoft also considers GNU/Linux -- not Apple -- the #1 rival. It has repeatedly admitted this (even openly because it must) for many years. Linux has partly won the embedded market and the servers, but these days, desktop opportunities are within sight too.

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer's presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

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