Cringely Says Microsoft Should Fire 50,000 Employees; More Dead Teams Surface

Posted in Microsoft at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


IN OUR PREVIOUS ANALYSES of Microsoft’s tough situation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] we supported the allegation that Microsoft is in effect firing a lot more than just 5,000 people. The company has a handle on its peripheral workforce whose contracts it need not renew.

Pseudonym Cringely, in another one of his spectacular stabs at the subject, points out that another methodology for quietly firing people may be the company’s routine of discarding the least-performing tier of employees, some of whom may leave voluntarily. In Microsoft’s HR department, significant reductions have already been reported, which suggests that new hires will be left at the backburners. Here are some other portions worth quoting:

Next let’s consider how big a layoff this really is – 1400 people right away and up to 5000 by sometime in 2010. Microsoft has, depending on how you count it, about 100,000 employees. If the average time in service is 10 years that implies that 10 percent of the Microsoft workforce leaves every year, which feels about right. That’s 10,000 folks leaving of their own accord EVERY YEAR. So what does this layoff mean, anyway? “Over the next two years we’ll be eliminating 5000 positions.” It means nothing.


So unlike every other public company, Microsoft traditionally manages its earnings not by cutting expenses but by increasing spending. It’s a legacy technique invented years ago by legendary CFO Frank Gaudette and embraced by Bill Gates and Jon Shirley because it accomplished the task of meeting Wall Street expectations, allowed the company to hide spectacular true profit margins, while still generally keeping anti-trust officials off Microsoft’s back.


Instead of 5000 positions, the company should drop 50,000. It should decide what businesses it is in and close or sell the rest. It should be a lot better than it is at running its true core – the muscle that’s been hiding beneath all that fat.

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft projects, division, services or products that had been rendered dead. Here is another one which was caught by Mary Jo Foley.

It looks like Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services (GFS) team is, indeed, among those taking a hit.

This won’t be formally announced until later in the week. They must be working out a way to perfume, embellish pr beautify it somehow.

“Microsoft’s perspective is best reflected by Bob Herbold, Chief Operating Officer, to whom the CFO reports. Bob very sincerely replied, “Bill, everyone is doing it.” My response was that Microsoft is a leader and that others are now seeking to emulate these fraudulent practices they have legitimized. Naturally Bob was not pleased by this perspective and that was our final conversation.”

Bill Parish

Links 26/01/2009: More Government Moves to Free Software; Copyright Circus

Posted in News Roundup at 8:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • $200 Laptops Break a Business Model

    The makers of open-source software also continue to benefit from the growing appeal of their often cheap, if not free, products. Sun Microsystems distributes 65,000 downloads a day of its MySQL database, which has turned into the favored business software of new companies. The job search engine Indeed.com shows a thriving job market for MySQL and Linux developers.

  • “We’re Linux” – Linux Foundation video contest

    The Linux Foundation has formally announced the kick off for its “We’re Linux” video contest, which will be comprised of user-generated video entries to promote and “elevate the strengths of Linux.” The Linux Foundation is hoping that this campaign will help to demonstrate what Linux means to its users and that it will inspire others to try it.

  • NetWitness Broadens Network Security Monitoring Infrastructure with New High-Performance Linux-Based Network Appliance

    NetWitness Corporation, the leading provider of next generation network monitoring and threat analysis solutions, today announced the release of NetWitness Broker, a high-performance Linux-based network appliance that extends the reach of NetWitness NextGen™ across the enterprise and facilitates real-time and historical reporting and alerting. For the first time, comprehensive network and application layer detail can be analyzed across multiple capture locations and made available to NetWitness NextGen’s automated and interactive analytic applications.

  • 3 ways to turbocharge your Linux desktop

    Manufacturers and PC vendors would have you believe that there’s only one way to speed up your machine: buy new kit.

    And then, in 18 months, buy new kit again. However, it’s usually our software that’s the real bottleneck.

    If you’ve been using Linux for a while, you’ll already have discovered lighter alternatives to some of the platform’s bloatfests – for example, using AbiWord and Gnumeric in the place of OpenOffice.org.

  • Microsoft’s Future: as a Games Company

    That’s what makes the current news so important: it’s the first time that the inner faultlines have spread to the surface. Now, anyone can see that Microsoft is in trouble. Not in the sense that the company will go bankrupt or disappear: I fully expect Microsoft to be around – and even *thriving* – in ten or twenty years’ time, just as IBM is thriving today, despite it’s near-death experience in the 1992, when it lost $5 billion. But in trouble at a much more profound, hard-to-fix level.

    There are even signs of this in the Microsoft announcement, where it attributes a decline in client revenue to “a continued shift to lower priced netbooks”. Netbooks, of course, were a category that would probably never have been explored without the ready availability of GNU/Linux: its zero cost, high performance, small footprint and customisability were major factors in driving the surprise success of the first Asus machines.

  • A conversation with Bdale Garbee

    It’s difficult not to notice Bdale Garbee, the chief technologist for open source and Linux at Hewlett-Packard, when he attends the Australian national Linux conference.

    You can’t miss the tall figure with the well-maintained beard, holding, like a plaything in one hand, a little laptop that has a prominent Debian sticker on it.

  • Keith Tokash and Ubuntu

    I’ve been wanting to write this for some time, but aside from wanting to use Ubuntu for a reasonable amount of time, I’m pretty lazy. What finally prompted me to write this was Amarok, a music player I liked so much better than iTunes that it bordered on being difficult to express. At any rate, I’ve now been using Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” as my only work box for over six months, running it on a Compaq nx6325 laptop. I tried running Ubuntu at home as well, thus freeing myself from the annoyance of having to buy or steal most of the interesting pieces of software I like, but I pretty much just use that box for gaming so that wasn’t worth it. It was still nice looking for the short time I used Ubuntu though – my brand new NVidia card powering my 30″ LCD at some ungodly resolution, the same resolution Windows calls “native” for the monitor.

  • Lugaru Released for Windows and Linux on Archive Games

    Lugaru is designed to run well on a wide variety of machines and is available for both Windows and Linux. While not requiring much hardware horsepower, Lugaru is detailed in key areas that make a big difference to gameplay — for instance, wolves can smell blood on your blade if it is not wiped off, or smashing enemies into walls can crack the surface.

  • Welcome to our project, providing kids with computers for education.

    We are setting up a computer lab for a school in Mexico and we are looking for computers as well as money for shipping.

    We’ve selected the “18 de Marzo” elementary school in the town of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico. The school we’ve selected is on the outskirts of the town and is located in a poor neighborhood.

  • National

    • Open source question for school

      Andrew Miller asks whether open source software can help schools use their budgets more efficiently

      Looking around the British Education Training and Technology show, BETT 2009, it was clear by the sheer size of the event, that an awful lot of money is being spent on technology in education.

      With Open Source Software (OSS) freely available, covering almost every requirement in the national curriculum, a question has to be asked why schools do not back it more fully, possibly saving millions of pounds.

    • UK Schools forced to go open source

      I think we can take it as read that there is a shortage of money as credit withdrawal directly impacts on the major school refurbishment programs and the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) programs. All of the Goverment’s schemes in this sector are joint Public and Private ventures and the private sector is squeezed dry by the lack of Bank lending.


      ..Go for the big company for safety? I think not, see point 1 above; being bigger now simply means falling faster due to poor debt-to-equity ratios*. Who would have thought Microsoft would be laying off 5000 staff as anounced this week and are unable to forecast future profits?

    • Obama and the Open Sourcing of the US Government

      For example: Earlier this month, as faithful readers will remember, we noted the new mandate in Vietnam that all government computers move to Linux.

      Then, late last week, news emerged that the Russian government may be planning to build a Linux-based national operating system of its own as a way of reducing its dependence on licensed foreign software.

  • Red Hat

    • QLogic Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Converged Network Adapters Qualified With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3

      QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq:QLGC), a leading supplier of high performance network infrastructure solutions, today announced qualification of its 8/4/2 Gb Fibre Channel, 1GbE iSCSI and 10GbEE converged network adapters with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3. QLogic Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) converged network adapter technology is included in the latest distribution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3. FCoE allows customers to leverage native virtualization, clustering and security capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, while reducing hardware port requirements.

    • Red Hat Solutions Deliver Performance and Cost Savings for CQUniversity

      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that CQUniversity, an Australian university with ten campuses and more than 21,00 students and staff, has migrated its critical IT systems to Red Hat solutions. CQUniversity implemented Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Network (RHN) Satellite and has since realized significant cost savings, increased performance, ease of management and reliable, ongoing support.

  • Ubuntu

  • New Releases

    • Vixta 2009 (Aero 3D)
    • CrunchBang Linux 8.10.02 released

      The final 8.10.02 builds of CrunchBang Linux, CrunchBang Linux “Lite” and CrunchEee are now available. The new releases contain numerous changes and many fixes provided by the CrunchBang community

    • Webconverger 4.2
    • Greenie 4i R2
    • Granular 1.0 Released

      Major packages include Kernel, KDE 3.5.10, Enlightenment 0.16.999, Firefox 3.0.4, Thunderbird, KOffice 1.6.3, CompizFusion 0.7.6, Gimp 2.6.3, Wine 1.0.1 to name a few. This release builds upon plenty of bug fixes and feature improvements over the last development release (RC).

    • Sabayon Linux 4 “LiteMCE” Released

      On the behalf of the Sabayon Linux Team, I am happy to announce the immediate availability of Sabayon Linux 4 “LiteMCE”. If you want a simple, effective and multimedia oriented environment, that’s the matching flavour!

    • Gentoox: New Releases!

      Well, it’s been about 21 months, but here they are… the “You’re still doing this?!” releases. I don’t really know if there’s any demand for Gentoox anymore, but I figured I’d put these out there just in case people do still use it.

      Home edition has been upgraded to v7.0, Pro to v5.0, Resctoox to v6.0 and Sparkle to v4.0. You can grab the downloads from the Downloads section.

    • Parted Magic 3.5

      This release of Parted Magic includes many new features and updated programs. The first thing you might notice is the dramatic increase in size. We are now using a squashfs image instead of a 7zip archive. This once again allows for a “live” option for older computers. Parted Magic doesn’t use any additional RAM with the default boot option, the compression was just decreased. With the Linux 2.6.28 kernel comes the first stable ext4 file system release. We are using a highly tested SVN version of GParted to give you full control of your ext4 partitions. This includes all features for ext file systems found in previous releases. Jason Vasquez has vastly improved support of wireless devices. We hope you have a better experience with your wireless networking. Last but not leased we have added some new programs. gsmartcontrol-0.8.3, xfce4-screenshooter-1.5.0, fsarchiver-0.3.5, and squashfs-3.4 are now part of the Parted Magic program list.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Embedded Masterclass workshop to address Linux in embedded systems

      “We had to turn down some requests for the workshop last year, because we have a limited number of development systems,” said Richard Blackburn, the organiser of the Embedded Masterclass event. “Those who did attend the course spoke very highly of it, so we’ve decided to run it again for those that missed it last year and for any other engineers that wish to explore using Linux for realtime and embedded systems development.”

    • Phones

      • iPhone Linux!

        The iPhone is certainly known for its elegance and beauty, but around these parts it’s also known for being closed and proprietary. The Open Source community does a little cheer when we hear about jailbreaking the iPhone — but soon we’ll have even more to party about. Led by planetbeing (a member of the iPhone Dev Team), the project has successfully booted the 2.6 Linux kernel on one of the little beasties. It’s still very much in the early stages, but now the forbidden fruit will be able to run Linux under its peel.

      • Multi-Touch Running On Hacked Googlephone

        How does it work? Luke has patched the Linux kernel of the Android OS to tweak the (Synaptics) touchpad driver. As this is a software only modification, we assume that the abilities to sense multiple fingers are built in to the hardware already.

      • Sparsh: An open source multi-touch display

        A group of engineering students in India have come together to create a multi-touch display that looks very similar to what Microsoft Surface can do. The display is called Sparsh and can be see in action above.

        There are some key differences to Surface, however. For one, this was created by a group of students in just eight weeks. On top of that it is open source meaning the technology can be developed and used by anyone suggesting a potential competitor to Microsoft Surface is already viable.

      • Multi-touch appears on G1 Android- proves value of open source
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Five Applications for Netbook Bliss

        Want to beef up the software bundle that comes with your Linux-based Netbook? Here are five nifty applications and tools that are worth a closer look.

      • Intel Readies Push into Mobile Internet Devices

        The jabs stopped and Intel publicly backed off its comments. But the episode is a reminder of Intel’s larger ambitions for handheld computers and mobile phones, and how those plans could put it at loggerheads with some longtime partners. Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is readying new chips and a version of the open-source Linux operating system specially designed to run a new class of “mobile Internet devices,” or MIDs. Consumers could use the devices to play high-definition video, make Internet-powered phone calls, or download directions and local business listings on the go. The effort could presage an attempt by Intel to land its products in pocket-size smartphones, a category where Apple (AAPL) has sold 17.4 million units.

      • Jolly new cloud computing netbook OS seeks to bring market back to Linux

        Out of nowhere, an independent software developer has produced his own fast and fancy netbook operating system. It promises lightning boot times, an iPhone-esque icon-studded interface, modern cloud apps. The secret ingredient is Linux.

        Netbooks are a way of life. Who’d have thought even just two years ago that what punters really wanted was low-cost dinky little laptops? Yet, since the release of the original 7” ASUS Eee just before Christmas 2007 the market has exploded.


  • HU: Government withdraws tender requesting proprietary software

    The Hungarian Central Board for Services, the country’s public procurement authority, this Tuesday withdrew a tender requesting Microsoft and Novell software, worth 25 billion HUF (about 100 million euro). The organisation did not provide an explanation.

  • Eagle Mode is an advanced solution for a futuristic style of man-machine communication.

    Eagle Mode is an advanced solution for a futuristic style of man-machine communication, in which the user can visit almost everything simply by zooming in.

    It has a professional file manager, file viewers and players for most of the common file types, a chess game, a 3D mines game, a multi-function clock and some fractal fun, all integrated in a virtual cosmos.

    By featuring a separate popup-zoomed control view, help texts in the things they are describing, editable bookmarks, multiple input methods, fast anti-aliased graphics, a virtually unlimited depth of panel tree, and by its portable C++ API, Eagle Mode aims to be a cutting edge of zoomable user interfaces.

    This project is distributed under the GNU General Public License version 3.

  • Mozilla Grant will help Wikipedia Support Video

    The proliferation of standards-based video sharing and collaboration is set to take off with a $US100,000 grant from the Mozilla Foundation to fund the development of the Ogg Theora video codec and server-side streaming software.

    Wikimedia developer Michael Dale announced the sponsorship during a presentation on Wikipedia’s video content initiatives at this year’s Linux.conf.au conference in Hobart.

  • About Free Software

    Ordinarily, when you think of the phrase ‘free software’, the definition that comes to mind is a piece of tool that can be used or modified freely without any restriction.

    However, when you think of ‘free’ in terms of the Internet, you must verify that the software in question is actually free, because ‘free software’ has different definitions.

    Free Software Foundation definition of Free Software

    Free software is made available to users without restrictions. This means that, you as a user is ‘free’ to modify the software; you can use it as you please, copy, share or distribute the software freely, you can study and improve the software if you so wish. You can also sell it (some developers request for voluntary donations for their work or place a price tag on it), but you must release the source code to the user. All users of free software have access to the source code. In other words free software is free, not ‘as in price’, but ‘as in freedom of use’.
    Note: the software definition mentioned above is the definition approved by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

  • Free Software is not a Threat to the IT Industry

    Free software does not have the ability to cause catastrophic damage to the software industry. Proprietary software that spies on and restricts the freedoms of users will be eliminated, but such a change is for the better. More jobs will be created for programmers by companies who want specific changes made to their software. Such jobs are currently not available under the use of proprietary software. Now if a company decides it would be in its best interests to have a piece of software modified to better suit the companies needs, they cannot simply hire a programmer to make the changes. Under proprietary licenses, the company does not have the freedom to modify software that they own. And the programmer who could make the changes doesn’t have a job.

  • “In the post-industrial scenario, free software is the key to economic development”

    What does the use of free software give to the public?
    In a direct way it’s freedom, the freedom to use a computer without being watched, the freedom to be able to modify the programme etc. This is freedom. The second is the possibility of using a computer program which benefits the whole society: the chain of production, local businesses, universities and schools. The direct and indirect benefits are very important to the citizen.

  • Mark Your Calendars: Times Open, Feb. 20

    Announcing Times Open, a day-long event for developers interested in working with NYTimes.com as a news and information platform. When we started this Open blog, we also embarked on a mission to share more of what we do on the development side of The Times. So far, we’ve done that via conference presentations, open-source software, blog posts and (most recently and probably most importantly) our APIs. Times Open is the next logical step in our vision of NYTimes.com. We see our site as more than just a source of news and information: it’s a platform on which news and information become building blocks.

  • Talend Secures $12 Million in Funding

    Talend has just raised a new round of funding. Round C, for a total of $12 million, was led by Balderton Capital, one of the leading Venture Capital firms in the world. Most notably, Balderton was an early investor in MySQL, one of the most successful open source vendors. Historic Talend investor AGF Private Equity also participated into this round. I am also thrilled to announce that Bernard Liautaud, a General Partner with Balderton Capital, and also the founder and former CEO of Business Objects, will now be seating on our Board of Directors.

  • Open Source’s Moment is Now

    There are number of factors coming together that lead me to believe that open source’s moment is right now, today, this year. Open source already runs so many things and just last week as Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, he asked Scott McNealy of Sun to prepare a report on open source technologies as a first step toward exploring the use of open source in government.

    When you combine this with the current economic crisis, the maturation of open source products in general, and a willingness to explore FOSS (free and open source software) as a reasonable alternative, these factors are coming together at this one moment in time and it’s time for Open Source to step up.

  • Sun Enhances Java Mobile Platform

    Emphasizing the growing importance of mobile device applications, Sun Microsystems is readying two technologies to better enable the mobile trend: Java On Device Portal (ODP), for widget applications, and the JavaFX Mobile runtime, due next month as part of the JavaFX rich Internet application platform.

    Sun officials detailed the company’s plans last week at the Java Mobile, Media and eMbedded Developers Days conference at Sun offices in Santa Clara, Calif.

  • FTF releases legal infrastructure guide for Free Software projects

    FSFE’s Freedom Task Force (FTF) is pleased to announce the release of a guide to assist with establishing legal infrastructure for Free Software projects.

  • Touch targets small businesses

    OPEN source solutions provider Touch Solutions Inc. is ready to provide Oracle Enterprise Linux solutions even to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with 50 computers and a server or two.

    These software offerings allow enough flexibility so users can blend proprietary software such as the Microsoft Windows operating systems and programs that run on Windows, with open source Oracle applications and software based on the free Linux operating system software.

  • 21 of the Best Free Web Content Management Systems

    A web content management system (WCMS) is software designed to simplify the publication of Web content. In particular, it enables content creators to submit content without requiring technical knowledge of HTML or the uploading of files. A CMS is most commonly used in creating an intranet or in establishing a presence on the Web.

  • Google plans to make PCs history

    Google is to launch a service that would enable users to access their personal computer from any internet connection, according to industry reports. But campaigners warn that it would give the online behemoth unprecedented control over individuals’ personal data.

    The Google Drive, or “GDrive”, could kill off the desktop computer, which relies on a powerful hard drive. Instead a user’s personal files and operating system could be stored on Google’s own servers and accessed via the internet.

  • Open Source Vendor Hippo Launches Hippo CMS Version 7 with New Core Technological Features

    Hippo, a leading vendor of open source Enterprise Content Management and Portal technology, has launched version 7.0 of its Content Management System, Hippo CMS.

  • Deutsche Telekom spawns cloud vendor Zimory

    Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has issued a plea for more enterprises to contribute to open-source communities. Deutsche Telekom Laboratories has gone one step further: it has spun off its own open-source cloud-computing start-up called Zimory.

  • Lucid aims to be top open source enterprise search player

    Lucid Imagination wants to be to enterprise search what Red Hat is to Linux.

    So says Eric Gries, CEO of the open source enterprise search software company, whose platform is based on Apache’s Lucene and Solr open source projects.

  • Open Source Updates OpenEdit DAM

    OpenEdit DAM is a web-based, open source digital asset management system integrated with web content management. Licensed under a royalty free, perpetual and transferable GNU LGPL license, OpenEdit is free to download and use, including all upgrades.


  • Filming an illegal event is… illegal?

    Will recording or filming of events which are considered illegal in law now itself be considered illegal? This is what the Home Affairs Ministry seems to propose to amendments of the Films Act.


    An Indymedia server was seized by police in Manchester yesterday (22nd). This comes after somebody had posted the address of the judge in the SHAC trial on Indymedia, leading to Kent Police requesting that the relevant posts be removed, and the IP address of their author be divulged (eg the unique number given to each internet connection, which can be used to trace the user). The posts had already been pulled, in line with IMC UK policy protecting privacy, but because Indymedia don’t log the IP addresses of people publishing on it, they couldn’t help police with their enquiries.


    The seizure hasn’t affected the running of Indymedia as the server was one of several mirrors. It’s just an inconvenience and has been taken as a general attempt by police to attack IMC infrastructure. Several sites were temporarily affected including London Indy, and sites for an anti-GM group plus a Canadian campaign against the 2010 Olympics.

  • New Zealand copyright law changes shortsighted says head of Open Source Society

    The New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS) believes the upcoming changes to New Zealand copyright law are shortsighted.

    “Copyright law underpins all free and open source software (FOSS) licenses” says Society President Don Christie. “It is an enormously important area of law for the FOSS community the Society was established to represent.”

    Just as is the case with the works of all artists, copyright is created automatically when any computer software code is written. FOSS code is licensed so that it can be freely redistributed and used by others, and also for new software to be derived from the original code.

  • EU data protection authority confirms privacy threat in “Telecoms Package”

    The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) released his opinion on the current state of the Telecoms Package. His views on the ePrivacy directive confirms La Quadrature’s analysis: If nothing is done, article 6.6(a) will allow any company to collect and process traffic data from any Internet user, for an undetermined period of time. This disposition is harmful and unacceptable. MEPs must react by strongly reaffirming citizens’ right to privacy and the interests of society as a whole during the second reading of the package.


    NO2ID has been warning since 2006/7 about the stated intentions of government “to overcome current barriers to information sharing within the public sector” [1]. Now the Ministry of Justice has launched an extraordinary coup. It is about to convert the Data Protection Act into its exact opposite, a means for any government department to obtain and use any information however it likes.


    With support for the ID scheme crumbling, even in the Home Office’s own skewed polls – the last of which showed a 5% drop [4] – trust in the government’s handling of our personal information is at an all-time low.

  • Music pirates will not be disconnected from the internet

    Internet service providers will not be forced to disconnect users who repeatedly flout the law by illegally sharing music and video files, The Times has learnt.

    Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, said last year that the Government had “serious legislative intent” to compel internet companies to cut off customers who ignore warnings not to pirate material.

  • More Bands Suffering From Warner Music’s YouTube Demands

    We’ve already covered how some Warner Music musicians are pissed off about Warner Music demanding more money for its music showing up on YouTube, and now it’s also causing additional problems for musicians. For example, the band Death Cab for Cutie has YouTube videos of its music on its own website… but not after Warner Music’s actions forced them offline.

  • Obama DOJ pick was anti-piracy enforcer

    President Barack Obama’s choice for associate deputy attorney general will likely please supporters of tough copyright laws and rile those who favor a more liberal stance.


    Obama has already found an associate attorney general in Tom Perrelli, a lawyer who has represented the Recording Industry Association of America on high-profile cases, and Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, has a long history of supporting the RIAA, CNet points out.

  • British Library fears loss of history

    Lynne Brindley, director of the British Library, said that data and information on our time that has been entrusted to the web is being lost as some sites close or the technology they have stored the information on becomes obsolete.

  • ASCAP Working To Shut Up Free Culture Supporters

    Well, gosh darn it. Apparently, folks who believe that freeing up your music can help you make more money are actually the enemy of musicians everywhere. At least that appears to be the opinion of ASCAP, the group that’s supposed to represent songwriters’ interests — but often does the exact opposite. The latest is that ASCAP has put together a private luncheon for February 3rd… and on the agenda: “working together to counter the growing prevalence of the ‘copy left/free culture’ pontificators in the public discourse about creators rights.”


  • Score one for public openness

    The internet makes openness in politics not only possible but unstoppable, says Bill Thompson.


    Unhappy with the outcome, the Government proposed to exempt MPs from the Freedom of Information Act and offered instead to publish a more detailed breakdown of how allowances are spent.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

John William Templeton looks at Free Open Source Software and African American culture and innovation 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Microsoft’s “Talking Point” Memo and the Anti-GNU/Linux Studies

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mechanic conversations

IN A PREVIOUS SERIES of posts, we showed that Microsoft had exploited analysts’ lack of integrity to generate case studies and other material against GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. In the following antitrust exhibit, Exhibit PX08887 (September 2004) [PDF], we find evidence that relates to this. It arrived a couple of years after Microsoft had planned to produce some ammunition against GNU/Linux.

This set of documents contains “talking points” that relate to the “Get the Facts” campaign against GNU/Linux (see page 12). As we showed before, using another antitrust exhibit, “Fear Uncertainty Doubt (TALKING POINTS)” is part of the game at Microsoft.

Today’s exhibit starts with an E-mail from Larry Cohen to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. He is writing or assembling talking points for them. Here is how it’s titled:

Microsoft Company Meeting
Draft Talking Points

It’s a phony debate that they must be prepared for.

It starts with a lot of ‘fluff’ about “innovation”. Bill Gates has people writing answers, such as:

What was the reason for cutting WinFS from the Longhom release? Are we abandoning the whole LH Wave concept?

  • Vision and commitment to LH has not changed
  • We are still on a path to deliver advances well beyond the magnitude of our prior innovation leaps.
  • Prioritizing and getting it right
  • Outline Customer & ISV benefit
  • Specifically highlight commitment to WinFS

In many of the answers, almost everything revolves around the theme of “innovation, innovation” or “R&D”. It’s funny how they get spoon-fed answers and all sorts of buzzwords that are intended to appeal to viewers or readers.

Then it moves on to Ballmer, who is being prepared to answer questions about the massive buybacks that will soon put the company in debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. He is also asked about GNU/Linux, which they lump in with OSS (Open Source software). It’s worth emphasising because Microsoft is now pretending that it’s a friend of OSS.

4. How are we doing vs, Linux? Can you give us some specific comparables so we know where we are winning, holding our ground and still losing ground? Do you see a threat from Linux in the home PC market?

(Core question: Winning: Will we win in our competition with OSS?

  • We are hitting our stride in understanding how we meet the challenge
  • Competing with Unix through innovation, quality support execution, and facts-based customer education.
  • Confidence for our success- OSS evolution and the commercial model
  • Need for flawless execution
  • Getting traction- The facts are speaking for themselves
  • The home market threat- customer value, our investments and partner ecosystem

Later on in this document, answers are listed in greater depth.

4. How are we doing vs. Linux? Can you give us some specific comparables so we know where we are winning, holding our ground and still losing ground? Do you see a threat from Linux in the home PC market?

(Core question. Winning: Will we win in our competition with OSS?

  • Hitting our stride in understand how we meet the challenge
    • We know how to compete with Linux through innovation, quality support execution, and facts-based customer education.
  • Confidence and strategy
    • I have a for of confidence in how we stack up competitively with Linux in terms of strategy, sales and marketing, and our product offerings. As terms of Linux distribution model matures, we see vendors like IBM and RedHat adopting a commercial model around Linux, which, due to high services costs, is quickly putting to bed the notion that there is a cost advantage over Windows.
    • But we have to keep making sure we’re doing the right things:
      • Where we have a good story to tell vs. Linux are we telling it well?
      • Are we talking to customers and engaging on the right fronts?
      • Where Linux has traction, are we delivering the dght products forthe workloads?
    • With single-purpose server scenarios such as file/print/web server, it’s a battle, no question, but we are responding with very strong workload-specific SKUs such as Windows, Server 2003 Web Edition, Windows Server 2003 Storage Edition and an upcoming High-Performance Computing offering.
  • The facts are speaking for themselves
    • We now have independent studies from respected analyst firms like Forrester, IDC, Yankee Group and Beading Point underscore the advantages over Windows over Linux in key areas such as TCO, performance, reliability, interoperability, security, support, indemnification and a worldwide partner network. Our Get the Facts campaign is focused on educating customers about these facts
    • Customers are taking notice- we’re making significant strides. (invite employees to look at the site.)
  • Specifically, the home market
    • In the home market, OSS products simply do not provide meaningful customer value on the client compared with our offerings. Customers are demanding easy home networking, great integration with digital media, games, etc., and here, we and our partners are absolutely in a position of leadership. I am confident that will continue as long as we continue to execute well.
  • Most importantly, nobody is really making the investments to completely understand the customer in the home and also investing to make the PC experience easier and easier.

Ballmer is asked to say that they have “independent studies from respected analyst firms like Forrester, IDC, Yankee Group.” But who paid for these studies? There were controversies before which involved “independent but Microsoft-commissioned studies.” Those affected were rightly outraged.

We already know that Microsoft pays Forrester for slime on GNU/Linux. IDC and Gartner are the same [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], not to mention the Yankee Group [1, 2, 3].

This entire “Talking Point” routine is a cheap stunt, fueled by an expensive smear campaign against GNU/Linux.

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px08887, as text

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 25th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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