01.07.11

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Microsoft Rebrands and Leans on Facebook While Goldman Sachs Enters the Scene

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lloyd Blankfein

Summary: Microsoft’s #1 cash cow still suffers on/from the Web, so Microsoft rebrands and also uses help from Facebook, which it partly owns

“Microsoft [is] trademarking ‘Be What’s Next’ slogan,” which comes as no surprise as the company craves an image makeover (there is a new Web site coming). A lot of people associate Microsoft with being “uncool” and the monopolist is aware of this. Even BPOS (which has the acronym “POS” in it) may be in the process of phase-out following many downtimes and failures that we covered here last year. “Microsoft Office 365″ is a new identity Microsoft introduces as part of a rename that’s necessary for competing with Google in online office suites. As the previous post showed, Microsoft uses many other methods against Google. It’s just abusive. Boys will be boys and Microsoft will be… well, Microsoft.

“Microsoft recently lost its Office president (he became the CEO of Nokia) and its ‘Web’ president left around the same time.”Even Goldman Sachs recognises Microsoft's imminent demise and the slow decline of cash cows is indicative of it. This whole B-POS business is not something which Microsoft can monetise like it’s used to and just slapping a different label on it (insinuating a 365-day uptime despite the many downtimes B-POS has had) is a case of evading bad reputation, not innovating anything. Microsoft is playing catch-up here, even in the office suites space. Who would have thought this could happen by transitioning from the operating system to the server room (SaaS) for workloads. Microsoft recently lost its Office president (he became the CEO of Nokia) and its ‘Web’ president left around the same time. Yes, that would be Ozzie, who expressed deep concerns after he had left and then started blogging atop GNU/Linux with Free software (WordPress).

Let’s put this more briefly again: for Microsoft to rebrand Office “Office 365″ amid shifts to the Web (Fog Computing or SaaS) is to imply uptime that cannot really be delivered using Windows and the rest of Microsoft’s underlying stack (ask Microsoft’s poster child the LSE about this stack). This is not going to work and the exodus of presidents indicates that they too are giving up. Before anyone yells, “but hey! There’s still Microsoft Office 2010,” well… read this new report which says that “Microsoft Office 2010 Migrations [Are] Delayed”:

Concerns around the complexity of migrating to the new productivity software in Microsoft Office 2010 will delay broad deployment until 2011, according to a global survey of 953 IT professionals conducted by market research firm Dimensional Research and sponsored by Dell’s Kace division.

Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla says that he finds Microsoft Office 365 beta “occasionally frustrating” [1, 2] and these rants are being noticed. Yet again we see Microsoft’s biggest cheerleaders ranting about Microsoft’s offerings.

Earlier this year we showed that the malicious site Facebook (partly owned by Microsoft) came to Microsoft Office’s rescue, promoting OOXML in the process. “Microsoft May Be Using Facebook as a Trojan Horse for Office” says one new headline:

The answer may have more to do with Microsoft’s priorities than Facebook’s. Outside of its Facebook collaboration, Microsoft has been experimenting with Docs.com, which has been a kind of proving grounds for its cloud-based Office suite, Office365. Docs.com is now piloting its own Facebook integration, but only with Facebook Groups. The idea is that a group of friends can collaborate upon a single cloud-based document, just as on Google Docs. (The Docs.com/Facebook Groups collaboration is a separate but parallel project to the Facebook Messages/Office365 support. Confusing, yes.)

Also see the very recent reports titled “Microsoft enhances Facebook partnership”; “Facebook opens up your data to Microsoft”; “Microsoft infuses Facebook data in Bing search”; “Docs.com Now Supports Facebook Groups”; Microsoft bolsters online document-sharing for Facebook” and “Microsoft’s Docs Now Supports Facebook Groups”.

“Facebook already shares its data with Microsoft.”Watch out as Facebook is not much different from Microsoft. A Microsoft executive recently confirmed that Microsoft tried to buy Facebook for $15 billion and some people still think that Microsoft should buy Facebook, which in some sense means acquiring many profiles of very many people. It would essentially make Microsoft more of a Big Brother than it already is. In reality, Microsoft doesn’t need to buy companies; it only needs to tilt them into Microsoft’s agenda (e.g. .NET, OOXML); see Yahoo!/Novell for recent examples. Older examples include Corel. Facebook already shares its data with Microsoft.

Over at Forbes, Microsoft’s agenda has been promoted quite a lot recently. One post said that “Facebook And Bing Threaten To Throttle Google’s Growth” and Quentin Hardy — a shameless Microsoft booster and Wikileaks basher on the face of it — promotes Bong [sic], advances/welcomes Microsoft’s case against Google, and bashes Chrome OS. It’s a consistent Microsoft booster on the face of it, but Forbes blogs are a fairly new addition, so the sample size is too small for judgment at this stage.

For those who argue there is legitimacy in Microsoft’s case for Google antitrust, bear in mind that “Microsoft has been funding anti-Google group since 2007″ while Google responds by arguing exactly that. IBM too says that Microsoft's “satellite proxies” are the cause of antitrust actions (yes, IBM used those exact words). Mind the sensationalism in “Google’s monopolisation of the internet” and the article posted by Google Watch in a couple of eWEEK sites (US and Europe):

Europe’s Antitrust Hunt of Google Smells Like Microsoft

Search engine experts are exasperated by the European Commission’s pending witchhunt of Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

As Microsoft might put it, why compete when one can cheat and use lawyers instead? Appalling.

“It’s very bad when people’s social platform is subjected to censorship by unknown people. It limits people thoughts and expressions among peers (or ‘friends’).”Back we go to Facebook, which is said to have just “remove[d] Gmail from “Friend Find” List”. That’s quite telling, isn’t it? Facebook is picking sides. It’s not as though Gmail can be ignored. Many people use it. Is Facebook engaging in a form of censorship to please its owner (in part), Microsoft? More and more people also use Google’s Web browser, which capitalises on the fact that Microsoft is asleep at the wheel and too incompetent to keep up (it insists on developing a rendering engine alone, the proprietary way).

Why is Facebook censoring Google? Some sites say that Facebook plays hard to get in order to rub Microsoft and Google off against each other and thus retrieve the best deal available on the table. There is this recent article titled “Should Amazon Censor? Should Apple? Facebook? Microsoft?”

Everybody censors these days, as it seems to have become worryingly fashionable. All large companies do this. Then again, Facebook censorship is a standard and frequent practice (Apple censorship, new Microsoft censorship, and Amazon censorship aside). It’s very bad when people’s social platform is subjected to censorship by unknown people. It limits people thoughts and expressions among peers (or ‘friends’). The whole idea behind Facebook is revolting and we wrote many posts to warn about the dangers.

For those who have not heard yet, the deeply corrupt and Bill Gates-funded Goldman Sachs comes under US probe after investment in Facebook. Here is an article that provides background:

Far from turning up the heat for Facebook to go public, Goldman Sachs’ $450 million investment, along with Digital Sky’s $50 million more, may actually delay the social-networking giant’s IPO, says David Kirkpatrick.

Francine McKenna from Forbes says that “Goldman Sachs Wants You To Invest In Facebook” (headline is almost instructive):

Facebook wants the public’s money – and their trust – with none of the disclosure and none of the regulatory scrutiny of a public company. Goldman Sachs strategy to raise $1.5 billion for Facebook from “sophisticated investors” and invest another $450 million of their own money is an example of wanton disregard for accountability to the securities markets.

P2PNet’s headline is “Facebook, Goldman, Sucks”:

Fa$ebook has “raised $500m from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investment firm, in a deal that values the social networking site at $50bn, according to people familiar with the deal”, said p2pnet in the January 3 headline roundup, quoting the Financial Times.

p2pnet hasn’t raised a dime but it, too, is worth $50 billion, according to me. And my valuation has as much validity as that of the Goldman Sachs / Digital Sky Technologies Facebook.

If you’re Goldman Sachs, come up with a figure – any figure — and it’s quoted just as though it’s really real.

Fortune/CNN has published “Five reasons why I’m not buying Facebook” and The New York Times asks, “Why Are Taxpayers Subsidizing Facebook, and the Next Bubble?”

Remember that Goldman Sachs is now a bank-holding company – a status it received in September 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, in order to avoid collapse (see Andrew Ross Sorkin’s blow-by-blow account in “Too Big to Fail” for the details.)

This means that it has essentially unfettered access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window – that is, it can borrow against all kinds of assets in its portfolio, effectively ensuring it has government-provided liquidity at any time.

Any financial institution with such access to such government support is likely to take on excessive risk – this is the heart of what is commonly referred to as the problem of “moral hazard.” If you are fully insured against adverse events, you will be less careful.

Goldman Sachs is undoubtedly too big to fail – in the sense that if it were on the brink of failure now or in the near future, it would receive extraordinary government support and its creditors (at the very least) would be fully protected.

Techrights covers several companies that disregard people and Facebook increasingly becomes one of these. It’s not because of its scale but because of its practices and their rather far-reaching effects.

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