Bonum Certa Men Certa

Eye on Microsoft: Feeling the Pinch Again

"Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise."

--The antitrust case: a timeline



WITH Microsoft's shares falling to their lowest level in over a decade, it's clear that those heavy buybacks can't work miracles. The stock fell very sharply after Intel's sudden scare and more layoffs seem possible as the monopolist approaches debt. MSFT hovers consistently below $20 in today's trading.



Microsoft declines (stock)



Dana Gardner ponders, along with others, the future of Microsoft.

Dana Gardner hosts a BriefingsDirect roundtable discussion with experts in IT. The topic is Microsoft's future. Gardner's groups of experts is split over whether Microsoft is growing increasingly irrelevant or poised to ride new trends to further dominance.


The remainder this post is a summary of Microsoft's latest failures, which easily escape the attention of the 'big' press. A reader wrote to us a few days ago to make the following point: "I remember in years back that whenever an article praising FOSS or even any other competitor or especially an article critical of Microsoft got on any magazine's web site, by 8am ET there would be a burst of new articles, often MS-related to push it off the start page. The converse was as good as never true."

Shutting the Windows



In many ways, the truth about Vista 7 [sic] has already been exposed [1, 2] and more people are beginning to catch up. Here is a funny new post about Microsoft's greatest threat: journalists (with integrity, i.e. truth). This post is a shrewd parody.

ZDNET.MICROSOFT.COM, Blogosphere.NET, Wednesday (NNGadget) — As Microsoft continues to prepare for the 2009 2010 launch of Windows 7, it today issued a plea through its network of objective opinion-shapers: Don’t let the journalists near it.


Here is a call from April to boycott Windows Vista.

Ogg Theora





Direct link



Bugs



One of the selling points of Free software is that the user can always fix bugs (or hire someone to fix bugs, potentially along with other users who require the fix). It can be done regardless of the main vendor and copyrights holder, which may simply ignore polite pleas and urgent requests.

"How long does it take Microsoft to fix bugs," you ask? Well, here is one news report about Microsoft resolving a security flaw almost 2 years late. It knew about this all along, but it chose to leave hundreds of millions of computers vulnerable nonetheless -- until now.

MICROSOFT has finally got around to patching security flaws for Windows and Office, including a critical bug that had been publicly disclosed nearly two years ago.


Two years sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Well, Patch Tuesday saw the fix of a bug seven years late. Got that? 7 years! Like Vista 7. The holy number, 7. The Register wrote a report about it.

Microsoft's light sprinkling of patches yesterday includes a fix that reportedly goes back seven years or more.


This was also covered in CNET.

Security by Castration



The old, insistent fairy tail is that those who purchase security software have nothing to worry about. Aside from the fact that such software is ineffective when it comes to battling threat (as noted before), it can cause a lot more harm than good.

Windows users frequently boast that security software need not cost money and many are using products from AVG. Well, look what just happened.

An update for the AVG virus scanner released yesterday contained an incorrect virus signature, which led it to think user32.dll contained the Trojan Horses PSW.Banker4.APSA or Generic9TBN. AVG then recommended deleting this file; this causes the affected systems to either stop booting or go into a continuous reboot cycle. So far, the problem only appears to affect Windows XP, but there is no guarantee that other versions of Windows don’t have the same issue.


They fixed the problem a short while later, promised to compensate paying customers with an extended subscription, but no more than a few days later they screwed up again.

AVG, the popular anti-virus package, has falsely identified Adobe Flash as potentially malicious. The snafu comes just days after AVG slapped a bogus Trojan warning on a core Windows component.


Would it not be easier to just never require such 'bolted on' security?

Cracks



There are many zombies out there. Some estimate that nearly one in two Windows boxes is part of a botnet. So why on earth do banks continue to make such bad choices? The international financial institution has just been cracked.

Another major international financial institution has had its computer system attacked by unknown cyber-hackers, FOX News has learned.

The discovery of the assault last week threw into crisis the Washington, D.C. based International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers emergency financial aid to countries faced with balance-of-payments problems, and provoked a shutdown of IMF computers that lasted for several days.


That's what happens when one gambles on Windows and Microsoft. Crackers have also begun exploiting IP streams, too.

The flaws were found in Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Office Communicator and Windows Live Messenger, which Microsoft said could impact as many as 250 million people. The flaws also affect many other applications and systems that use the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP), including those from Avaya, Cisco and Nortel, according to the report.


We'll return to Nortel in a moment.

XBox360: Trouble Ahead



The troubles for XBox360 are already severe and the losses are massive (estimated at $7 billion for this division alone). Now comes a Microsoft MVP (Steven Bink) warning that more troubles lie ahead.

A trusted source working as a customer service rep for Microsoft has revealed that there will be some bad drama when the Xbox 360's Fall update hits on November 19th. He says the update could bring the dreaded "three red lights of death" issue roaring back to life.

The rep said that there has always been an influx of calls from owners of bricked Xbox 360s after every major Xbox 360 software update. Most of the complaints come from owners of launch consoles.


Microsoft Sued for Hypnosis



Here's a bizarre story. it's not Microsoft's deceptive marketing that's to blame. It's some mambo jumbo that lands the company in court. Why did the judge even invite anyone for a hearing?

Judge hears $2-billion lawsuit against Wal-Mart, Microsoft over brain control



A judge has refused to dismiss a "bizarre" civil suit brought by a Nanaimo man, who is seeking $2 billion in damages from Microsoft, Telus, Wal-Mart, the RCMP and other defendants over alleged brain-wave control, satanic rituals and witchcraft.


Bleak Future



Microsoft believes in future with its partners, but do these partners have a future?

Nortel's rocking financial situation and announced layoffs this week of 1,300 people likely won't have much short-term impact on the company's four-year unified communications alliance with Microsoft, including before the deal's expiration in 2010, according to experts.

[...]

Kerravala says Nortel's current trouble shouldn't impact its partnership with Microsoft in the next 16 months, but he thinks by 2015 the alliance will be gone.


Nortel has already considered migrating its staff's desktops to GNU/Linux. For the time being, however, it remains a prisoner of Microsoft.

The article above says nothing about Microsoft's cancellation of products, services and some staffing reductions, not to mention shutdown of groups like Ensemble Studios. Microsoft's future is no so promising, either. Nortel's pain is shared by many.

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