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Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

Android and Microsoft
Image from Android Beat



Summary: Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe

WHAT can we say? Cyanogen's latest move is very troublesome. We have warned about this for a very long time, but much of the press played along with Microsoft's plot (covering Office for Android), propping up Cyanogen etc.

So, what do we do now? Microsoft has nothing to fear but an informed public (or truth itself). The sooner people realise what Microsoft is up to, the sooner they will reject Cyanogen and stop buying from Samsung (we called for a Samsung boycott way back in 2007, right after Samsung had signed its first Microsoft patent deal covering Linux).

"If Microsoft bought Cyanogen, as some people had speculated, it would harm its ability to pretend 'independence'."Several readers have sent us links about Cyanogen. My wife says Cyanogen's interest is "just making money, they don't care about privacy or people's concerns." Richard Stallman asked me today for more information (having read my previous articles) and the better familiar we are with this circumstance and the underlying facts, the more effectively we can challenge this "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" (EEE) manoeuvre from Microsoft.

A Microsoft-linked site weighed in on Friday, explaining to readers how Cyanogen is essentially a Microsoft proxy. The article titled "3 Companies Are Helping Microsoft Corporation Steal Android From Google Inc." It also names Samsung and Amazon (many executives from Microsoft moved there, including those who manage the Linux efforts, such as Kindle, and ended up paying Microsoft for Linux). The section about Cyanogen is titled "Making Android-powered Windows Phones". That's a good description of Microsoft's goal.

As a kind of FUD advisory, one ought to know that Microsoft has gone "full frontal assault" mode on Android. It's usually done through proxies, e.g. biased publications with Microsoft boosters who are shamelessly misleading audiences. Here for example is some Microsoft propaganda from Microsoft's booster Matt Rosoff (yes, he is still around). It was published yesterday. It used deception/false charts, big lies, shameless PR, and ultimately sought to mislead Google, mischaracterise Google, and incite readers. It's disguised as analysis, but being from Rosoff (a loyal Microsoft 'analyst'), one oughtn't expect it to be honest.

"Deceptive charts," called it iophk, "using 'shipments' rather than activations. Microsoft market share gets the illusion of being more than double that way. In reality it is less than 2% and shrinking."

What Rosoff provides is not advice for Google (the headline says "It's time for Google to throw 'open' Android under the bus"), Rosoff has been a Microsoft propagandist for many years and his words should be treated accordingly. Rosoff is offering a trap, misguided 'ideas' that would essentially help his friends at Microsoft and get Google in a lot of trouble (e.g. in China, where promises have been made).

The anti-Android propaganda (not just the above) is all in sync; in Europe there's talk of antitrust (after Microsoft lobbying and pressure through proxies like Nokia) and then there's the bribe for Cyanogen to sell out (official announcement here). They want to pretend that 'evil' Google must be destroyed and Microsoft will be our 'saviour'. All of this happened almost on the same day, so there is probably no coincidence in timing. It looks like a strategic alignment of announcements that exploit people's emotions and put forth a misleading storyline; while Microsoft lobbyists are misleading regulators Microsoft is proposed as the 'solution' by Cyanogen and while regulators slam Google over many things (some legitimate, e.g. privacy) Cyanogen steps forth to 'help'. Microsoft is trying to pressure OEMs -- using threats of litigation or bribes -- to preinstall Microsoft (and thus drop Google), all whilst EU press (and by extension the international media; see the New York Times article "Microsoft, Once an Antitrust Target, Is Now Google’s Regulatory Scold" further down in this post) attacks Google for being so unbelievably evil (even compared to Microsoft). Microsoft is about as evil as ever, if not worse. The fact that it hides this behind a grin and massive PR efforts (lies) won't change that.

We already see some large media sites helping Cyanogen (explaining to people how to replace Android with 'Microsoft Android') and promoting Microsoft's narrative. We, in response, ought to work hard to make sure Cyanogen has not a single partner and that people don't ever install it. We called for a boycott quite some time ago and shortly afterwards OnePlus dumped Cyanogen (there is more to be done by OnePlus and its users).

Over at the Microsoft-friendly ZDNet one does not get the full story. Microsoft's Mouth at ZDNet/CBS, Mary Jo Foley, downplays the evilness of this move. As one site reminded readers: "There were rumors before of a potential synergy between both companies especially when Cyanogen initiated its funding round. Although at that time Microsoft did not invest, but rumor mill announced a potential team up between the two, which has now been realized."

Wired shamelessly labelled Microsoft spyware 'choice', saying that "[the partnership, as detailed by Cyanogen yesterday, will allow the budding mobile OS to integrate Microsoft apps like Outlook, Office, Skype, Bing, OneDrive, and OneNote. The subtext here is that these apps can act as a replacement for the ones that Google appends to its Android releases, such as Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, and more."

Further down it says: "That’s a lot of upside with not much to lose, especially given the recent cross-platform push. And an arrangement like this makes more sense than the $70 million investment Microsoft was rumored to make back in January. Cyanogen doesn’t have to feel beholden to one software suite, and Microsoft limits its financial exposure and Windows Phone conflicts."

That's untrue. Cyanogen is imposing or at least pushing Microsoft software, it is not offering choice.

In response to this article from Wired (titled "Microsoft Just Took Android’s Future Out of Google’s Hands") one person published a post titled "No, Microsoft isn't taking Android's future out of Google's hands -- here's why". To quote the conclusion: "Microsoft isn't taking Android's future out of Google's hands, it is likely taking Cyanogen's future out of Cyanogen's hands."

Exactly!

Cyanogen is now a proxy of Microsoft. If Microsoft bought Cyanogen, as some people had speculated, it would harm its ability to pretend 'independence'.

What Microsoft does here with Cyanogen is similar to what Microsoft did to Yahoo! (Yahoo! shows signs of regaining some independence now). All that Microsoft can do right now is try hard to bamboozle politicians, developers and users, pretending it is all about "choice" rather than destroying competition, much as it did when it took over (before shattering) Novell, Corel, and Nokia. Microsoft does not need to complete an acquisition in order to destroy the competition. Microsoft's proxy war on Android is very much similar to other Microsoft plots to "knife the baby", to use Microsoft's own words (in reference to Linux). And for anyone still gullible enough (or amnesic) to believe that Microsoft no longer hates GNU/Linux, revisit the following series:



We urge readers to keep track of where many people who run Cyanogen are from; many come from Microsoft's back yard in Seattle. "The startup that wants to take Android 'away from Google' just struck a deal with Microsoft" is a new report that helps put it in perspective. "The move," says the report, "comes months after The Wall Street Journal and The Information reported that Microsoft had considered investing in Cyanogen, but the company opted to strike a partnership with the company instead."

Wall Street Journal's owner Rupert Murdoch (a close friend and business partner of Bill Gates) gave the money instead and Microsoft is then making the investment 'worthwhile'. Clever accounting tricks are likely to be at hand. Microsoft potentially reassures "return on investment" by making promises of deal before some third parties funnel money into Cyanogen. Larry Goldfarb from BayStar, a key investor in SCO, once said that Microsoft's "Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would 'backstop,' or guarantee in some way, BayStar's investment.... Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar's investment in SCO."

Learn from SCO history.

"Microsoft has kept its coffers full for the fight," says the New York Times on the same day as the Cyanogen deal, "spending more on lobbying here than any European company."

The timing cannot be a coincidence. The report from the New York Times is titled "Microsoft, Once an Antitrust Target, Is Now Google’s Regulatory Scold" and it serves to demonise Google at a very strategic time. It says "Microsoft has founded or funded a cottage industry of splinter groups. The most prominent, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, or Icomp, has waged a relentless public relations campaign promoting grievances against Google. Icomp hosts webinars, panel discussions and news conferences. It conducted a study that suggested changes made by Google to appease regulators were largely window dressing."

Microsoft is still using lots of proxies, some of which we wrote about before, and it is giving politicians the wrong impression that Android (Free software) is 'abuse'. This is clearly a proxy fight which blends with the "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" (EEE) manoeuvre that Microsoft has made famous. Fight back or be extinguished.

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