06.29.09

What People Say About Microsoft’s Alleged Anti-Linux Lawsuit (via T3)

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Servers at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

T3 lawsuit IBM
Screenshot of T3′s Web site (from January)

Summary: Thoughts and analysis of the T3 lawsuit

LAST WEEK was the last time we wrote about the T3 lawsuit, having pointed out that it is part of an innovative pattern. Over at Groklaw, in relation to the T3 lawsuit, Pamela Jones wrote: “Microsoft rivals end up defendants in litigation with Microsoft showing up somewhere in the background? How could that ever happen? Kidding. We saw SCO, which also targeted IBM and Linux. Google has been targeted. Apple is getting hammered. Is it coincidence? Or antitrust? Hopefully, we’ll find out someday. But remember when SCO first started and Larry Ellison said about the litigation that Microsoft was innovating? Think of the damage to the economy. No. Really. Think of the loss of productivity, the money that could have gone into jobs not lost, into research and development instead of being wasted on bogo litigation. Look at the SCO saga. Was it legitimate litigation? You tell me. Here’s what Ellison said in 2003 when the news first hit that Microsoft had licensed something from SCO, paying them millions: “Bill [Gates] is innovating. Microsoft has always had incredible innovation. You’ve had advanced bundling, and what you see now is extreme litigation. They have a lot of experience with extreme litigation, actually.” Maybe someday a regulator will take a look at what happens to competitors of Microsoft, and the extreme litigation innovation, as Ellison courageously put it.”

Here is yet another article about the T3 lawsuit — a lawsuit which one of our more apprehensive readers interprets as follows:

Few more details [see] the CCIA press release. They say ground are product tying and interop.

I checked the E.C. DG Competition news site. Nothing there yet about the complaint. Suspect it got filed just before close of business Brussels time on Friday. DG Competition is normally very prompt in cranking out press releases acknowledging receipt of a complaint.

A bit of context. Microsoft is building whopper server farms to rival those being built by Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. See e.g., this. What’s driving all that is big-time bets on cloud computing becoming the next big thing, with big money in wheeling data center capacity to big customers on demand. Google, Microsoft, et ilk are building around massively parallel x86 processors. IBM presently has a lock on the mainframe part of the cloud market to be.

Interop in the cloud is emerging as a big deal for customers. They don’t want to be locked into a single cloud service provider. There’s been a lot of talk about it in the trade press but not much progress on developing *software* standards for interop in this area that would enable customers to switch. I don’t know what interop barriers, if any, might exist at the hardware level. But I suspect the gripe is at the software level, perhaps at the server operating system level because IBM has its own operating systems for its mainframes.

But the really big point here is that there’s a whole new major branch of the computing industry emerging with gigantic investments and everyone involved trying to grab early market advantage. This probably won’t be the only legal action that flies out of that struggle.

I might have stated my major point more finely. I doubt that this initiative is just Microsoft retaliating for IBM having instigated the ECIS DG Competitition complaint re the Office software stack. Not that there aren’t people at Microsoft would wouldn’t like a bit of revenge, but I do think this is aimed at the struggle for advantage in the cloud services market.

In relation to another article, Pamela Jones later added: “Ed Black, CCIA’s chief executive, mentioned in the article is the man who received $9.75 million in a settlement with Microsoft in 2004, when CCIA pulled out of the EU antitrust action against Microsoft, leaving FSFE and the SAMBA guys all alone to pursue the matter to a successful conclusion. CCIA got the rest of the $19.75 million settlement money.”

Microsoft’s Assault on the Web, Rival Web Browsers, and HTML

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Standard at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Writing spider
Predator on the Web

Summary: Microsoft uses aggressive, dishonest marketing to promote proprietary software that interferes with standards

Microsoft has gone very aggressive in its fight against all Web browsers other than its own [1, 2, 3]. It is a repetition of “Get the Facts” as applied to Web browsers, not operating systems. As Savio Rodrigues puts it:

But this comparison table treats me like a moron, especially when you consider that I’m using Firefox and have pre-existing views on many items on the comparison table. Only IE8 gets a check for security, privacy, and ease of use? Really? At a minimum, Microsoft should have used Harvey Balls to show that the competitors have capabilities, which may not be as strong as IE8. Microsoft could have posted videos that show how easy it is to carry out a common task in IE8 and compare it to Firefox with the relevant add-on installed.

This actually begs for the story about Microsoft "sabotaging" Firefox to be brought up again [1, 2]. Here is how Microsoft’s ‘malware’ can be removed from Firefox.

Several journalists have independently been complaining that IE8 causes them great trouble. From the past week in the press we gather:

i. Thinking about upgrading to IE8? Think twice

For example: One day last month Cringester D. L. discovered when he logged onto the Net, he couldn’t get to his e-mail or view Web pages. He then enjoyed several quality hours on the phone with Dell tech support, which determined the cause: His daughter had clicked a button and updated the browser to IE8 without telling him. The support tech logged onto his computer remotely and downgraded it to IE7. Problems solved.

ii. Collateral Damage & The Browser Wars

After I downloaded IE8 two weeks ago, my Sony audio programs got hung up and wouldn’t load. When I went to the Microsoft and Sony sites and found no help, I decided I didn’t need nuanced improvements to my web surfing, and did a system restore. Oops. Then IEx wouldn’t run at all. Somehow, the update had destabilized somethingoranother. I was out of luck.

iii. Microsoft IE8 Hype Is Beyond Belief

Internet Explorer 8 is a very good browser, especially when compared to IE7 and (ugh) IE6. However, it still lags behind most of the other browsers in both performance and standards compliance. That doesn’t seem to bother Microsoft, which has been pushing IE8 using hype that they rarely use even for Windows or Office.

[...]

There is no way that Microsoft can claim anything close to parity with standards compliance of the other major browsers. For example, IE8 retains a non-standard event model that does not get anywhere close to the W3C standard published in 2000. Just a few examples: Form elements don’t bubble events. There is a global event object instead of an event argument passed to the handler. Rather than document.addEventListener, IE uses the non-standard document.attachEvent method.

As the following new article shows, Microsoft lied to the court about IE being impossible to remove from Windows. Microsoft was too busy ‘extending’ the Web in order to turn it into another vector of operating system lock-in. Nothing has changed since. Last week we showed that this serious violation came from Bill Gates himself. He wanted to make E-mail and Web pages dependent on Microsoft Office. People are still furious over this, but Microsoft is ignoring their pleas. From the news:

i. Microsoft, Outlook Is Broken, Says 6,000 Tweets (And Growing). Fix It.

While it is pretty much the standard email client, Microsoft Outlook has long had problems rendering HTML correctly in emails. And the latest version, Outlook 2010, due sometime in the next several months, doesn’t look like it’s going to be any better — and it actually may be worse. And a lot of users aren’t happy about it at all.

ii. Microsoft misses the Outlook point

Continuing a decision made in 2007 to render HTML with Word in Outlook, Microsoft confirmed that Outlook 2010 will also use Word. In response to this decision, the fixoutlook.org campaign was created in an attempt to change Microsoft’s mind.

iii. Microsoft rebuffs Twitter protest over Outlook’s rendering of HTML e-mails

Showing again the power of Twitter for quick social organizing, Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday was forced to defend itself against complaints that its market-leading Outlook e-mail program wreaks havoc on rich-HTML e-mails.

Outlook 2007 and the upcoming Outlook 2010′s use of Microsoft Word to display rich HTML content is to blame, according to blog posts by Dave Greiner, the Sydney, Australia-based organizer of the protest.

iv. Microsoft shows once again how it doesn’t listen

There’s been a lot buzz on Twitter about a movement to try and get Microsoft to backtrack on its decision to use the Word rendering engine for HTML based email in Outlook. So far some 22,000 plus Twitterers have heeded the call and visited fixoutlook.org to register their vote on this.

Antitrust regulators should grill Microsoft over it. The motives are crystal clear and they are anti-competitive. Even E-mails that were standards-based (and intended to be a commodity) are being subverted by Microsoft, which deliberately reduces interoperability between mail clients and across operating systems.

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

“Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 28th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Windows and Advertising

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pen on calendar

Summary: The latest look at marketing hype that surrounds Vista 7

LAST NIGHT we wrote about press coverage that Microsoft was essentially buying. It is no exaggeration to say that the news is driven by money rather than the importance of news. Both Apple and Microsoft have colossal marketing budgets, so in many ways they can be considered marketing companies for mediocre products that they adopt and sometimes build. It’s about branding.

“Among the headlines, “Vista” is seen mentioned only 3 times this week, in conjunction/overlap with Vista 7, which has 44 matches in the headlines.”Windows Vista is hardly covered in the news anymore. We have just looked at 800 Microsoft headlines from the past week (in the same way that we do this every week). Among the headlines, “Vista” is seen mentioned only 3 times this week, in conjunction/overlap with Vista 7, which has 44 matches in the headlines. That is a 15:1 ratio in favour of vapourware, a product which is not even available. So it becomes very clear what Microsoft is marketing out there in the news and which products it prefers not to mention. Free upgrades from Vista to Vista 7 (Windows 6.1) indicate that Microsoft wants to bury Vista and restart afresh.

Speaking of advertising, here is an advertising-oriented Microsoft product which our reader ZiggyFish claims to be a dead product now.

A Microsoft Office spokesperson whom I contacted this week said Microsoft is not building an Office for Advertising SKU.

Does that counts as yet another Microsoft product which is axed before arrival?

One of our readers, who goes by the name of Goblin, has carried on experimenting in order to understand how Microsoft manages public perception in Twitter. He draws in people whose role — whether voluntary or not — is to defend Microsoft products and the latest findings are rather amusing. Here is his tease for Vista 7 AstroTurfers.

Too lazy to upgrade to 7?

[...]

Its another one of those general articles that implies there’s great features of 7 but never goes into any real detail. Maybe its posts like his that are encouraging some users to try alternatives? Or maybe those users are, as Mr Hussain says, just ignorant and lazy for daring to be happy with an OS that “just works”?

Mr Hussain would be welcome to come here and justify himself, but I wont ask if he wants a right of reply, I really don’t believe there is anything that can salvage the rubbish he’s posted. (IMO) An excellent reason in my opinion why if you are considering upgrading you should at least try Linux first. It wont cost you anything and it will certainly take you away from a platform that seems to always want to sell you things.

Ive posted on Imran Hussain’s blog, but as is usual in these cases, moderation is in place so the comment doesn’t appear. What are these posters so worried about?

There is a followup here.

MicroPirates, Censorship & Openbytes to be “ripped apart”?

[...]

Sunday has been rather interesting. I hope you enjoy this light relief, tongue in cheek look at the silliness some will engage in whilst promoting a Microsoft cause. Remember the girlfriend of a faithful MS poster coming here? I can’t promise you anything as funny or tragic as that (it will be difficult to beat) but heres a little entertainment. Today we met some new “characters” in the World of baseless Windows promotion.

As another sign that Vista 7 will disappoint many (and Microsoft knows this), XP availability is extended yet again, making it an operating system that survives for at least a decade due to strong competition from GNU/Linux.

Microsoft Extends XP Downgrade Option Until 2011

We’ve been here one or two times before (read: six times – see links below) but just like a champion who doesn’t know when they are beaten, Windows XP has again had its lifespan extended…

Glyn Moody writes about more reasons why Vista 7 starts on the wrong foot.

Call me cynical, but I don’t think that’s going to wash with the punters. They will rightly see this as Microsoft throwing a pan-galactic strop, and doing all it can to be as nasty as possible to the European Union – forgetting in its rage that the ones it will most upset are those people formerly known as locked-in users.

Except that nowadays, they aren’t so locked in. Improved cross-platform compatibility for apps means that alongside GNU/Linux (admittedly still something of an acquired taste), there’s also Apple’s hardware, which is becoming increasingly popular on the desktop. Or why not simply stick with XP and forget about Windows 7 *just* like everybody forgot about Windows Vista?

People may not recall this, but ahead of Vista’s arrival, the atmosphere in the press was similar. Vista was hailed as the next great operating system and bribed bloggers led to it being praised on the Web. Microsoft spends hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring a warped consensus (it is called “perception management” [1, 2]). It manufactures people’s feelings and thoughts about Vista 7. Many people won’t try it, so they rely on hearsay, a lot of which is either bribed for or simply comes from Windows enthusiasts who install beta software for posing.

“I receive an e-mail from Julie McCormick at Waggener Edstrom in which she extends a “special save-the-date” invitation to attend a “unique, invitation-only” event being hosted by the Windows Client team. She labels the subject matter as “confidential”…”

Randall C. Kennedy

Microsoft’s Anti-competitive Dumping of Software Faces Challenges in Africa and in Indiana

Posted in Africa, America, Finance, Microsoft at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No dumping

Summary: Uganda, Ghana, Illinois and Indiana as victims of Microsoft

THIS post is an accumulation of news regarding harmful giveaways.

As part of the growing campaign to send partners to prison, Microsoft is preparing for lawsuits against Windows users/distributors in Uganda, Africa.

MICROSOFT, the world’s leading software manufacturer, has contracted Kampala Associated Advocates to fight software piracy in Uganda.

The reason Uganda was made dependent on Windows in the first place is something that we last wrote about when the BBC published an article covering Microsoft’s colonisation of Africa.

Africans understand to need for autonomy and freedom. As the following new article shows, the Kofi Annan ICT Centre advocates GNU/Linux, but Microsoft is still trying to get Africa (Ghana in this one particular case) to use Windows exclusively. There is a clear reference to MOU, aka "Project Marshall".

Microsoft has been criticised for committing African governments into purchasing its software, denying them the chance to explore other alternatives.

But speaking to Joy News, Mr Iddrisu said government is exploring its options before concluding any such agreement.

“Government has a collaborative relationship with Microsoft to which there is an earlier MOU on the training of public servants in IT skills and IT related matters,” he told Joy FM’s Cobby Graham.

He hinted that his ministry is considering the possibility of using open source as against enterprise software from Microsoft, stressing “We will take a decision which is in the best of our national interest.”

Meanwhile an IT expert at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre, Fred Yeboah, has advocated for the use of open-source alternatives like OpenOffice – a rival to Microsoft Office – and Linux, a competitor to the Windows operating system.

Let it be added that Bill Gates lobbies the UN, probably to have it drop its Free(dom) software favouritism.

United States

There is actually a similar struggle going on the United States. A case in Arizona has just been concluded with more coverage here, in addition to a press release. Last week we wrote about Illinois and Indiana falling victim to Microsoft's dumping and there is more new coverage from Illinois, as well as vocal resistance in Indiana.

An educational software platform consisting of different products from many vendors is the best strategy; it allows for both free and expensive proprietary enterprise products to be used when they are appropriate. It also avoids exactly the kind of lock-in that Microsoft is surely hoping IU falls into by signing this new agreement. If all you know is Microsoft software and your file formats can only be opened by Microsoft software, then what choice do you have but to continue using Microsoft’s products?

My advice to the University administration would be to strongly consider limiting expensive Microsoft deals to Kelley in the future – they’re really the only ones who benefit anyway. Between lock-in, security problems and sheer costs (both upfront and ongoing maintenance and support), everyone loses with a Microsoft-dominated campus.

This is another university that signs a deal with Microsoft — a deal whose purpose to turn students into Microsoft customers. Microsoft is now bragging about this in a press release, neglecting to mention that Live@edu involves bribes to those whose academic institutions they hand over to Microsoft. It is a vicious, vicious strategy. Regulatory authorities ought to look at it.

Microsoft Prepares a Bogus Study to Defend Abandonment of American Workforce

Posted in America, Asia, Finance, Microsoft at 2:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sailing

Summary: The visa catastrophe goes further than ever before, Nortel’s relationship with Microsoft is on the rocks

IT IS WORTH emphasising well in advance that the problem at hand is not one of nationality; this broad and well-recognised problem is the degradation of working conditions and wages, which is turn makes the rich even richer and the working people (the ‘masses’) more coerced. Microsoft is rather unique in its area when it comes to offshoring, but to describe this as a problem pertaining only to technology is simply to forget that digital goods transcend borders at low costs, so the economic rules differ tremendously.

Who can ever forget how Microsoft laid off its own employees? The following new article about MySpace serves as a timely reminder.

Of course, MySpace isn’t the first company to botch their layoffs. Earlier this year Microsoft asked some of its laid off employees to send back part of their severance checks. Microsoft’s goof was perhaps more insulting because the company didn’t realize its mistake until after many employees had cashed their checks, so the company actually wanted employees to return money that was already in their bank accounts.

This was a true insult to employees of Microsoft and such mistreatment continues to this date as Abramoff visas actually discriminate against American workforce, not just put it on par with ‘imported’ workforce.

A pro-Microsoft publication is now pushing out there Microsoft’s new ‘study’ that falsely suggests “America is stupid,” to put it intentionally bluntly. That’s the type of message that Microsoft and Intel have been pushing out there for years and now it comes from a Microsoft-commissioned study, which means its goal since inception is to promote this one party line — a self-fulfilling hypothesis by some measures.

Redmond, Washington – Budget constraints mean American IT professionals are spending less on innovation than their counterparts in the UK, Japan and Germany, according to a new survey.

While many IT professionals are investing in specific areas of IT infrastructure, 55 percent say the economy has changed the role of IT and 51 percent say that budget constraints are the biggest barrier to their innovation, according to the Harris Interactive study, commissioned for Microsoft.

It gets worse. There is another new article where Microsoft’s partner in India (one among several) mocks the American workforce.

CEO of Microsoft’s Indian Partner Complains American Grads Are ‘Unemployable’

The CEO of a major Indian corporation sounds off on what he sees as educational inadequacies

HCL Technologies is one of India’s most powerful and respected tech firms. The company scored a massive $170M USD outsourcing contract from Microsoft last year. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer lavished them with praise, stating, “That extra mile walk by the team (at HCL) has increased our mutual trust and has taken our relationship to newer heights. ”

They just try to justify offshoring. Microsoft has recently shown that it is moving more of its workforce to India and Steve Ballmer would even blackmail Obama to make such trade conveniences happen.

Speaking of Microsoft and layoffs, Nortel’s people who were working with Microsoft are to be pushed away. An IDG report suggests that the Microsoft-Nortel partnership is at jeopardy, despite new reports of materialisation.

Nortel has laid off senior staff in the UK who were responsible for the company’s unified communications partnership with Microsoft, according to sources.

This article can be found also here in BusinessWeek, which apparently starts just buying articles, like the New York Times.

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