06.06.09

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Does Microsoft Corrupt the Term “Netbook” to Belittle GNU/Linux on ARM?

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: A new pattern in the attack on GNU/Linux-based mobility is identified, dissected, and named

Microsoft’s “Slog” [PDF] against GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks had already begun, as we pointed out repeatedly [1, 2] using very extensive evidence. Carla from Linux Today has just published a short article that warns her readers about heightened FUD.

I may be more aware of current FUD, disinformation, and anti-Linux propaganda trends because of my job. I visit dozens of Web sites every day and read all kinds of blogs, news, articles, and reader comments.

[...]

The one big thing I don’t get is why anyone would be a fan of Microsoft? Is it billionaire worship, the idea that any random robber baron is worth worshiping? Microsoft hurts everyone. DRM, stifled innovation, collusion with hardware vendors, worldwide malware damage in the tens of billions of dollars every year, price fixing, hardware fixing, corrupting legislative and standards bodies, no real competition except Linux– why on earth would any rational person find that admirable?

According to The Inquirer, it seems safe to echo the sentiment that Microsoft’s relationship with Intel is on the rocks. It has been stated publicly for quite a while.

Why the WinTel axis is crumbling

[...]

Questioned by one Charlie Demerjian about Android, Chandrasekher said Intel was keen to enable all comers to run operating systems on MIDs powered by its chips. “It’s not that we don’t support Windows, he said separately, “we’re just following the action” (in the marketplace).

And in MIDs at least, that action is increasingly moving away from Windows and towards more open source offerings and that, in no small measure, is thanks to Moblin2.

Steve Ballmer once said, “The Unix phenomenon is scary. It doesn’t go away.” Indeed it doesn’t. In fact, Ballmer recognises that on the desktop too, GNU/Linux is a greater risk to Microsoft than Apple and disruptive trends like mobile computing prove challenging to both. Most of the world does not have Apple stores and commodity hardware rules the roost, globally.

Asked whether Microsoft can do much about a diversity of architectures (the elevation of ARM to new form factors), here is a reasonable new response:

Could Microsoft derail the smartbooks plan?

I don’t think so! The problem is that Microsoft does not have leverage on mobile network operators like it has leverage on computer manufacturers. The operators on the other hand have huge leverage on the device manufacturers: They are in reality their customers since they purchase the machines that will be sold or given away away to the final consumer. They can decide what they want to buy or not, and if they decide that they do not want to pay for Windows, they won’t. Since no manufacturer would refuse an order of half a million devices from AT&T or Verizon the manufacturers will do what they are told.

But why is it called “Smartbook” anyway? Apparently, as the Microsoft-faithful Gavin Clarke suspects, Microsoft strives to rename and reclassify devices so as to advance the perception that ARM-based devices with GNU/Linux are incapable of ‘real’ computing.

Qualcomm called the full Java SE port an important factor in delivering on its vision for “smartbooks.” That’s a phrase Microsoft used this week at Computex and that Microsoft defined as meaning a “low cost small notebook PC.” Microsoft has been extremely shy using the phrase that everybody else has used to describe the sub-notebook category of computer – netbook.

Vendors are now, it seems, starting to position smartbooks as somewhere between a smartphone and a netbook.

Qualcomm tried to explain Smartbooks as a: “New class of devices that bridge the functional divide between smartphones and laptops, delivering the best aspects of a smartphone experience on a larger-display form-factor.”

It is interesting to see how Clarke, who is on Microsoft’s side, takes something that is all about Linux/Java and puts “Microsoft” in the headline. Some days ago we highlighted a report about Microsoft's renaming of the "Netbook" and the reasons behind it. One of our contributors, Fewa, claims that “Microsoft is setting its rules on netbooks, making sure they can’t get cheaper, faster. Then it tries to create an illusion that it is in control, so that it actually does gain that control. That article put Microsoft on naming what different netbooks are called, because that suggests that Microsoft somehow is fit to regulate what netbook’s specs are. It’s total junk that they put that spin on a system that has nothing to do with Microsoft however. Microsoft will never have any sway over such systems.”

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