12.07.09

Microsoft Makes Even the MPAA/RIAA Look Good by Starting a War on Customers, Vendors

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 7:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pirate
Microsoft is being a hypocrite

Summary: Microsoft insults the very same customers and businesses that make up the majority of its users

Microsoft is shedding crocodile tears again. It has issued this insulting press release, which is charged with curse words like “piracy”.

Yes, the bullies from Redmond are now attacking many businesses for spreading their software. Only weeks ago Microsoft admitted that it does not mind this, having previously said that it benefits from it. “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not,” said Bill Gates in 2007.

“Microsoft declares ‘consumer action day’ to help fight piracy [sic],” says this article.

Software giant Microsoft declared yesterday to be a consumer action day, and took part in a global effort to clamp down on software piracy.

Microsoft uses shameless propaganda language like “pirated” and it has announced 300 legal cases against companies. There are already stories about some cases, e.g.:

i. Epic Computer must pay Microsoft for pirated software

A Lubbock judge has ordered a Plainview businessman to pay Microsoft more than $1,000 in damages after the court ruled he violated Microsoft copyrights and trademarks, KCBD-TV reported.

ii. Fresno firm BC Tech Gear sued by Microsoft

Microsoft is suing a Fresno tech company in federal court, accusing it of copyright and trademark infringement and software piracy.

iii. Microsoft sues local man & wins

Microsoft asked for nearly $1 million in punitive damages. The judge said in his written order that Microsoft’s request was excessive. Instead, the judge ordered Rose to pay $1,500 in actual damages and $3,000 in attorney fees.

Microsoft is attacking the very same people who helped Microsoft be more ubiquitous. What if they had sold GNU/Linux? What would Microsoft do then?

Well, maybe it’s time for these shops to rethink their relationship with Microsoft. “Microsoft throws book,” says this article, whereas the Seattle press plays along with Microsoft and does absolutely nothing to dispel the propaganda, which is filled with insults and tells only one side of this story.

“Microsoft attacks counterfeiters,” says The Inquirer and there are even scare tactics.

Microsoft is running out of steam (it already borrows money), so it is not surprising that it behaves like the MPAA/RIAA. Why does anyone still do business with this company? It treats its customers like criminals.

Microsoft Seizes Control of Grameen and Uses it to Dump Against Free/Libre Software; Microsoft Dumping Comes to Latin America and Maryland

Posted in America, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tires
Microsoft ‘donates’ proprietary wheels, without the cars

Summary: Attacks on adoption of Free software continue as Microsoft claims to be “donating” software using entities that its former staff occupies

MICROSOFT is dumping software again. As usual, Microsoft describes it not as “dumping” but as “donations”. The way it comes about is particularly interesting.

First, another Microsoft person takes over an external group (very typical, as we recently wrote about Microsoft and NGOs), this time the “Grameen Technology Center”. He is pretending to help the poor whilst only tying the Grameen Foundation to his beloved Microsoft.

Grameen gets new tech center director, partners with Microsoft

The Grameen Foundation today named David Edelstein as the new director of its Seattle-based Grameen Technology Center.

Edelstein had been the director of information and communication technology innovation at the center, and like his predecessor, also has experience at Microsoft.

Another "pawn" for Microsoft. Then came this press release which shows that they will use this relationship to dump Microsoft software on a country where Free software adoption has been rising.

Grameen Foundation and Microsoft Announce Initiative to Expand Value and Use of Technology for Microfinance

Software giant Microsoft Corp. (Microsoft) is giving $1 million worth of software grants to non-government microfinance institutions (MFI) to help them modernize and expand their financial services to more poor households in the Philippines.

More shallow coverage here:

MICROSOFT Corp. said it’s willing to give away for free more than $1-million worth of software to encourage microfinance groups to adapt technology and make poverty alleviation programs and services more efficient.

They haven’t learned what happens when hiring from Microsoft, have they? This is similar to what Microsoft did to NComputing before capturing it and then using it to dump Windows on developing countries. As BNET puts it this week:

So why are the folks in Redmond working with NComputing? For the same reason that they have to make a go of the growing disaster known as Windows Mobile: They don’t have a choice.

Actually, NComputing did have a choice. About 40% of their deployments were based on GNU/Linux. Maybe that’s why Will Poole had to come from Microsoft; eventually, those two companies married.

Speaking of bad recruitment, hi5 has just hired a Microsoft AstroTurfer (“evangelist”) for the CTO position.

St. John, founder of online game firm Wild Tangent and a former Microsoft games evangelist, will serve as president and chief technology officer at hi5. He will be responsible for its product development, technology, network operations and audience acquisition.

Moving on to other new examples of dumping, recently we used Nicaragua, Argentina [1, 2] and Brazil [1, 2] to demonstrate the rapid migration to GNU/Linux in Latin/south America. Well, Microsoft has just announced that it’s dumping (“donating”) software on “Latin America and the Caribbean”.

“This is again marketed to the public as “Unlimited Potential”, which is just a euphemism for EDGI.”What a coincidence!

This is again marketed to the public as “Unlimited Potential”, which is just a euphemism for EDGI. They are dumping something that blocks competition and costs nothing, then call “charity”. What a nerve they have.

Look who they target — exactly the same places that Microsoft sees as strategic and they equate copying of software to “donations”.

Twenty-five nonprofit organizations in the region will receive a combined $1.925 million (U.S.) in cash, and another 155 institutions will receive software donations equivalent to $5.413 million (U.S.) in an effort to support regional work-force development, promote micro-entrepreneurship through professional and technology skills training in CTCs, and strengthen the nonprofits’ own IT infrastructure.

Over in the United States, Microsoft does something similar under the banner of “Elevate America” (American EDGI). Microsoft is now dumping vouchers on Maryland.

About 13,500 total vouchers are available at Maryland offices, with 6,000 vouchers each for the certification exams and basic training and 1,500 vouchers for professional training.

Microsoft Elevate America is providing more than 1 million vouchers throughout the country as part of its effort to train 2 million people over the next three years, according to Microsoft’s Web site.

Microsoft has also just captured Western Governors University.

These rich online learning resources, including virtual labs, provide hands-on experience with Microsoft software.

They are getting them “hooked” on Microsoft software while pretending that this is something beneficial. Why don’t journalists start covering this properly by highlighting Microsoft’s motives?

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft and AARP Join Hands to Spread Propaganda, Other New PR Stunts

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brighton people

Summary: A look at some of Microsoft’s latest publicity tricks and deceitful moves

MICROSOFT has just found an interesting entity to collaborate with. That would be AARP, which someone once described to me as a politically-motivated organisation. “Keep in mind that there are many “charities” that are politically motivated organizations masquerading as 501c corporations,” he wrote. “Focus On the Family, Planned Parenthood, and AARP are just a few “pet charities” of politicians who encourage would-be “big dollar contributors” to make contributions to these organizations who won’t “tell you who to vote for” but will “deliver a message consistent with our own”.

AARP spends a lot of money lobbying and our reader Ryan mentions the political actions a lot [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] because of their viciousness. He compares AARP to the RIAA.

Here are Microsoft and AARP doing joint ‘research’ and bragging about it. What’s the motive? Well, whenever Microsoft does such studies, there is usually a financial motive (e.g. IDC to help with government lobbying around the world using Microsoft-sponsored surveys, like those which we saw last month [1, 2, 3]). Here is another “Microsoft-sponsored” survey, found only a few days ago:

AccountMate Software Corporation received a PERFECT score on the latest Microsoft-sponsored Net Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty survey in Customer Loyalty Segmentation, Revenue Impact and Net Satisfaction areas.

Microsoft finds other means of cheap PR and it sponsors all sorts of new events.

She has been selected as one of five semi-finalists in a contest sponsored by Microsoft to obtain official press passes to the games and access to all the Olympic skating stars.

Here is a more dubious new example. Microsoft’s Jan Muehlfeit, who last month we described as an “allegedly former communist [1, 2] [...] now the European chairman of Microsoft [...] lobbying in Europe [1, 2, 3, 4]” is now swapping favours and lock-in in Albania, potentially getting access and gaining control of national data.

Berisha briefed Muehlfeit on the government’s Digital Albania plan and welcomed consultancy services from Microsoft in project fields including education and health, the government said in a statement.

Here is some more PR from the company which deliberately tries to produce more waste [1, 2] and sell more bloated software, not just computers. A group of Microsoft employees went to Copenhagen and wrote about it. Hypocritically enough they also participated.

Next week, I and a dozen of my Microsoft colleagues will be in Copenhagen as a delegation of issue and technology experts supporting the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP15). We are participating in a series of briefings, events, and partnership launches to showcase the power of information technology to help address the daunting energy and climate challenges the world faces.

It is interesting that this Web site is publishing Microsoft material as “news” (see author/source). There are other new examples and Microsoft is now using Copenhagen to “attack” Google based on pseudo-moral grounds.

Microsoft-Backed Green Search Engine Attacks Google

[...]

The Ecosia search engine announced this week in the run up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen is being billed as an environmentally friendly application which donates 80 percent of the income generated from sponsored links to help preserve rainforests.

Another PR move from Microsoft appears to be this damage control over IE6 [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft recently refused to just kill IE6, which causes a lot of trouble and distress to webmasters. There were protests.

As one last example of PR, in order to keep afloat Microsoft devalues all of its products, including the top cash cow, Microsoft Office. They give something away free of charge (like Vista 7 beta) and then pretend there is huge demand for it. They control the image of the product through selective disclosure of information (PR). This time it’s Office 2010 beta*. Regarding retail price, one of our readers reminds us of “student edition, where everyone is a student.” There is clearly a decline in margins and now that Microsoft is giving away Office, the competitive pressure is clear to see.
____
* There is no Office 2009 as they promised, but they keep delaying, pretending it’s right around the corner (now they say June 2010).

Xbox 360 Still in the Gutter as Innocent Customers Get Banned, BBC Deal Falls Through

Posted in Europe, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scratched Xbox disc
Disc that has been scratched by the Xbox 360
console (source: Wikipedia, GFDL-licensed)

Summary: Many buyers of Xbox 360 find themselves banned from Live despite the fact they did nothing wrong; Xbox Live suffers another new setback

PREVIOUS posts about Microsoft’s banning of its own customers [1, 2, 3, 4] were just the tip of the iceberg as far as Xbox failures are concerned. We showed that sales of Xbox 360 dropped around the very same time and based on this new report from Ars Technica, not much has changed.

Wii, PS3 crow over Thanksgiving success, Microsoft silent

Thanksgiving week is a boon for retailers, both on- and offline, and the big three are starting to share their sales data on their respective consoles. Nintendo is strong, the PS3 did very well, and the Xbox 360… isn’t giving us anything to talk about.

Even in the United States, Xbox 360 fell to a bottom position as Japanese consoles grew in popularity and gained appeal. This is relevant to us because Xbox is a big hole in Microsoft’s budget, having already amassed about $6 billion in losses. Microsoft’s CFO has just decided to quit.

Microsoft’s en masse Xbox bans recently led to lawsuits and a class action is likely on its way, too. Based on this second report from Ars Technica, a lot of innocent people got banned.

Microsoft: difference between cheat, exploit? None. Banned!

Microsoft has begun issuing temporary bans to players taking advantage of an exploit in Modern Warfare 2, while Infinity Ward works on a patch to fix the issue. While the servers may be kept slightly cleaner for the efforts, the amount of control Microsoft holds over owners of their consoles, and the arbitrary way they are able to wield it, is troubling.

TechDirt asks, “does it make sense to ban players from Xbox Live just for using a glitch?”

In DailyTech it says:

Banfest: Microsoft Now Banning Players Over COD:MW2 Glitch

[...]

Console maker Microsoft claims bans are necessary to keep the gameplay fair, but should it ban gamers for the mistake of programmers?

On top of all this, there is trouble at the BBC [1, 2, 3], which won’t add iPlayer to Xbox Live.

Unfortunately, it appears the BBC wasn’t in the position to make its iPlayer a premium level service, and now the two giants have reached a disagreement. The result is that the official iPlayer launch on Xbox LIVE has been delayed until further notice.

It is rather surprising that there is a disagreement because the BBC and Microsoft UK share some of the same staff. It is actually similar to the NHS, which is influenced heavily by the Microsoft ecosystem [1, 2, 3, 4]. The BBC indicates that the trouble caused to the NHS (in part by Microsoft software) may finally come to an end.

The government is to scale back its £12bn NHS IT system in what the Tories are calling a “massive U-turn”.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said he would be delaying parts of the scheme in Wednesday’s pre-Budget Report as it was “not essential to the frontline”.

When will they learn to just never get involved with companies like Microsoft? The London Stock Exchange learned it the hard way [1, 2, 3].

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 6th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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