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Microsoft Scraps Windows 8 Major Updates. Bets The Farm On Windows 9

Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 23:24 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

It’s official, Windows 8 is a write-off . Sales for the operating system have been poor and now it is even starting to lose market share to Windows 7. To Microsoft MSFT credit it has bravely persisted addressing issue after issue. Most notable was the major Windows 8.1 Update 1 patch released in April which makes the OS a genuinely credible platform. Still it remains far from perfect and now Microsoft is prematurely pulling the plug.

In a blog post by Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc, he explains that there will be no more major update releases for Windows 8: “despite rumours and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 ‘Update 2’.”


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If you thought you were fucked for buying Windows 8, you don’t know half of it…

Posted on August 2nd, 2014 at 23:21 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Word has it that Windows XP, Vista, and 7 might be allowed to upgrade free of charge to Windows 9 in order to boost adoption of the new operating system and thus convince more users to upgrade. This would clearly help not only Microsoft, but also the PC industry, which is still struggling to boost sales despite the release of the Windows 8 modern operating system.

People who upgraded to windows 8 have been punished enough. Poor bastards.


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Microsoft ordered by U.S. judge to submit customer’s emails from abroad

Posted on August 1st, 2014 at 10:06 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft Corp must turn over a customer’s emails and other account information stored in a data center in Ireland to the U.S. government, a judge ruled on Thursday, in a case that has drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies.

Microsoft and other U.S. companies had challenged the warrant, arguing it improperly extended the authority of federal prosecutors to seize customer information held in foreign countries.

Following a two-hour court hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said a search warrant approved by a federal magistrate judge required the company to hand over any data it controlled, regardless of where it was stored.

“It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” Preska said.

So Microsoft can break US law by not handing them over, or European privacy laws by handing them over. Seems like this may be the end of off-shore data centers for US companies…


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Comments:

  1. This decision is on hold, pending appeal. In any case, the law of unintended consequences is certainly in action here!

  2. No problem, just do a corporate inversion and move Msft’s controlling incorporation offshore just as everyone is doing for taxes.

Microsoft layoff e-mail typifies inhuman corporate insensitivity

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 18:37 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

As a veteran of the aerospace industry, I’m very familiar with layoff notices. During the almost-decade I spent working for Boeing, I survived probably a dozen major reductions in force, and they all had two things in common: a plainly stated promise of an open and transparent process and a hilariously terrible lack of actual transparency.

Well, congratulations to Satya Nadella and the Microsoft HR and communications teams, because you’re stealing from the best—or maybe you all took the same course in corporate doubletalk and truthiness as part of your MBA programs. Microsoft this morning announced far and away the largest round of layoffs in its history, and Nadella’s e-mail drips with that familiar mixture of faux sympathy and non-information that is so typical of carefully managed corporate communication.

There’s a name for this kind of uninformative spin-talk: it’s known as “ducking and fucking.”

[..]

This, sadly, is not a Microsoft-specific issue; it’s standard all across not just the tech industry but essentially every large American company.

The first sentence of any story sets the tone—and look at the robo-sentence the Microsoft layoff notification e-mail starts off with:

Last week in my email to you I synthesized our strategic direction as a productivity and platform company.

Leading off with a sentence like this immediately creates distance between the reader and the speaker—the kind of distance necessary to dehumanize both parties so that the big blow to come hurts less. The corporate-speak continues with creaky euphemism after creaky euphemism, including using the phrase “workforce realignment” instead of simply saying “staff reduction” or “layoff.” People and corporations both use euphemisms to cloak unpleasantness; however, it’s much more honest and personal to simply speak the unadorned truth when dealing with people’s livelihoods. “We’re going to realign our work force” might sound a lot better than “we’re firing 18,000 people,” but the latter more properly informs employees that jobs are going to be lost and lives are going to be affected.

“synthesizing a strategic direction”, right? If you were up until that minute the person responsible for corporate strategic direction, that is the very last thing you care about. Because it has instantly become completely irrelevant to you. Forever. So, yeah, great way to start.

and don’t get me started on how you talk about Microsoft’s strategy is focused on productivity and our desire to help people “do more” and then listing XBox as an example.


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  1. [Quote]:

    Think of it this way — since Elop took over as Nokia CEO, the company has cut over 50,000 jobs (if you include today’s announcement.) That is just mind boggling. That bumbling strategy which was the hallmark of Elop’s Nokia tenure still continues — in other words, Microsoft doesn’t really have a Nokia strategy. From Elop’s memo today: “In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia.” That is precisely what Nokia guys used to say — we have the low end and we can grow our share. How did that work out?

  2. The job of so-called Human Resources (motto: “Our people are our most important resource!”) is hiring, firing, keeping angry employees out of the way of management and avoiding lawsuits.

    They usually use large numbers of women. Apparently they have the reputation of being able to fake empathy and sincerity more convincingly.

  3. Nokia was in deep trouble before Elop got there. They had featurephone marketshare and no momentum in smartphones. The Lumias are excellent phones, but the Nokia brand did not help sell them.

Microsoft offers $650 store credit for MacBook Air for Surface Pro 3 trade-in

Posted on June 24th, 2014 at 8:22 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft is offering a limited time Surface Pro 3 promotion via which users can get up to $650 in store credit for trading in certain Apple MacBook Air models.

surfacepro3macbookair

The new promotion, running June 20 to July 31, 2014 — “or while supplies last” — requires users to bring MacBook Airs into select Microsoft retail stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. (The trade-in isn’t valid online.)

“while supplies last” is probably the least of their worries…

Here recently I run by the store on the way home to pick up some
milk. Was in a rush and left my Surface Pro on the front seat, in
plain view.

When I came out, I discovered someone had broken into my car and
left three more Surface Pro’s :(


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Comments:

  1. I would love to get into the mind of someone who would do this trade-in. Even ignoring the rivalry and specific products in question, in order to get the full $650, you’d have to trade in a top-of-the-line version of Product A, and then still have to pay $150 for a bottom-of-the-line version of Product B. Why?

  2. @Mudak: ‘zactly! I’m not a Mac user, but even I wouldn’t expect anyone to take this trade.

    Apart from the financials, the psychology! All Mac users I know love their machines and you would have to pry them from their cold, dead hands…

  3. I don’t think Microsoft wouldn’t do a trade like this unless they thought a MAC was worth something on the resale market.

  4. An excellent way to fence a stolen macbook though!

  5. @Dickon: Wonderful! I’m clearly not cynical enough to have thought of that.

    But seriously, MS must be trolling for attention. Aren’t all you Mac persons really, really, flattered that the ancient enemy is trying to get you to part with your baby for mere money? And you love the thing(s) so it ain’t gonna happen.

  6. Just to clarify for you Sue, I’m a Linux person.

  7. @Gene: Oh sorry, Gene…I never did have a computer religion and I’m far too frugal and frumpy to be of any interest to Apple :-)

Microsoft Protests Order for Email Stored Abroad

Posted on June 11th, 2014 at 9:20 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft is challenging the authority of federal prosecutors to force the giant technology company to hand over a customer’s email stored in a data center in Ireland.

The objection is believed to be the first time a corporation has challenged a domestic search warrant seeking digital information overseas. The case has attracted the concern of privacy groups and major United States technology companies, which are already under pressure from foreign governments worried that the personal data of their citizens is not adequately protected in the data centers of American companies.

Verizon filed a brief on Tuesday, echoing Microsoft’s objections, and more corporations are expected to join. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is working on a brief supporting Microsoft. European officials have expressed alarm.

In a court filing made public on Monday, Microsoft said that if the judicial order to surrender the email stored abroad is upheld, it “would violate international law and treaties, and reduce the privacy protection of everyone on the planet.”

Sounds very noble of Microsoft, but it would be more honest to say that if they lose this one, everybody will stop doing business with companies that operate in more than one jurisdiction. Which would kill them.


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Xbox

Posted on April 8th, 2014 at 12:12 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

Systems and services are so insecure today that a 5 year old might bypass them.


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Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public

Posted on March 25th, 2014 at 22:33 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.

link


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Comments:

  1. Anyone remember Doonesbury’s first meeting with Windows 95?

    “It’s printing out its list of demands…”

  2. So, now they’re not the Evil Empire? Let me find my “Sex, Drugs and Unix” button (the T-shirt no longer fits :-)

  3. the T-shirt no longer fits

    I feel your pain…

Yahoo, Google and Apple also claim right to read user emails

Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 16:48 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

Microsoft is not unique in claiming the right to read users’ emails – Apple, Yahoo and Google all reserve that right as well, the Guardian has determined.

The broad rights email providers claim for themselves has come to light following Microsoft’s admission that it read a journalist’s Hotmail account in an attempt to track down the source of an internal leak. But most webmail services claim the right to read users’ email if they believe that such access is necessary to protect their property.


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Microsoft Employees Fondly Remember Days When CEOs Were So Big They Took Up Entire Rooms

Posted on February 6th, 2014 at 8:26 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Following Tuesday’s announcement that company vice president Satya Nadella had been named Microsoft’s new chief executive officer, many of the software giant’s older employees reportedly reminisced about an earlier era in the tech industry’s history when CEOs were so large they took up entire rooms. “When you look at our brand-new thin, mobile CEO, it’s hard to even imagine that these guys were once so gigantic that a warehouse-sized space was needed to hold one of them,” Microsoft senior developer Glenn Maloney told reporters, noting that despite Nadella’s impressive memory capabilities and ability to engage in complex operations, there was something “kind of charming” about relying on a bulky old CEO that weighed several tons and required an extended staff of engineers to maintain. “Sure, those giant executives were a little cumbersome and a whole lot slower, but I always liked being able to walk into a climate-controlled vault and see a humming CEO crunching numbers.” Maloney noted, however, that despite their difference in size and ability, tech CEOs of today were still essentially the same calculating, unfeeling machines underneath their exteriors.


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Snowden document reveals key role of companies in NSA data collection

Posted on November 3rd, 2013 at 1:57 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Microsoft

[Quote]:

The key role private companies play in National Security Agency surveillance programs is detailed in a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published for the first time on Friday.

One slide in the undated PowerPoint presentation, published as part of the Guardian’s NSA Files: Decoded project, illustrates the number of intelligence reports being generated from data collected from the companies.

In the five weeks from June 5 2010, the period covered by the document, data from Yahoo generated by far the most reports, followed by Microsoft and then Google.

Between them, the three companies accounted for more than 2,000 reports in that period – all but a tiny fraction of the total produced under one of the NSA’s main foreign intelligence authorities, the Fisa Amendents Act (FAA).

It is unclear how the information in the NSA slide relates to the companies’ own transparency reports, which document the number of requests for information received from authorities around the world.

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google deny they co-operate voluntarily with the intelligence agencies, and say they hand over data only after being forced to do so when served with warrants. The NSA told the Guardian that the companies’ co-operation was “legally compelled”.


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Comments:

  1. Heb jij laatst in mijn email ingebroken?

  2. If I was a conspiracy enthusiast, I might start thinking this whole dustup with the NSA is intentional theater.

Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned “Rockstar” sues Google

Posted on November 1st, 2013 at 16:01 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Intellectual Property, Microsoft

[Quote]:

Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset—a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies—at an auction in 2011.

Google bid for the patents, but it didn’t get them. Instead, the patents went to a group of competitors—Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony—operating under the name “Rockstar Bidco.” The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion.

Patent insiders knew that the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands, and a bit scary even if held by a “responsible” party.

This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.

Google probably knew this was coming. When it lost out in the Nortel auction, the company’s top lawyer, David Drummond, complained that the Microsoft-Apple patent alliance was part of a “hostile, organized campaign against Android.” Google’s failure to get patents in the Nortel auction was seen as one of the driving factors in its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola in 2011.

Rockstar, meanwhile, was pretty unapologetic about embracing the “patent troll” business model. Most trolls, of course, aren’t holding thousands of patents from a seminal technology company. When the company was profiled by Wired last year, about 25 of its 32 employees were former Nortel employees.

The suits filed today are against Google and seven companies that make Android smartphones: Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE. The case was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, long considered a district friendly to patent plaintiffs.


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Comments:

  1. I am still amazed that the *scoundrels* who ran Nortel into the ground managed to get away it.

Upgrade!

Posted on October 20th, 2013 at 10:30 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

8tB8Yf0


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Comments:

  1. Love this picture, especially since Win8.1 won’t fit on anything smaller than a DVD. However, the label stating that this is disc 1, 2, etc. of 3711 is a good one! Kudos to the creator. :-)

  2. If one floppy weighs about 20 grams, then this upgrade would weigh 74.22 kg, or about 163.6 lbs. I don’t want to think about the cost of postage.

    What I’m not as sure of, is whether 3711 is sufficient to meet the storage requirement for this upgrade.

  3. And disk 3708 will fail.

Steve Ballmer crying on stage during his last speech at Microsoft

Posted on September 30th, 2013 at 17:01 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft


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Browsers!

Posted on September 26th, 2013 at 17:31 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft

556585_10202021677089195_1131533175_n


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What A Difference Six Years Makes…

Posted on September 20th, 2013 at 22:55 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

[Quote]:

Steve Ballmer, 2007:

Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year.

Steve Ballmer, a few months later:

It’s sort of a funny question. Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody.

Now we’ll get a chance to go through this again in phones and music players. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.

Steve Ballmer, yesterday:

Mobile devices. We have almost no share.

And talking about 6 years of mobile phone history, ouch.


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How the feds asked Microsoft to backdoor BitLocker, their full-disk encryption tool

Posted on September 12th, 2013 at 9:08 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

In the case of Microsoft, according to the engineers, the requests came in the course of multiple meetings with the FBI. These kinds of meetings were standard at Microsoft, according to both Biddle and another former Microsoft engineer who worked on the BitLocker team, who wanted to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“I had more meetings with more agencies that I can remember or count,” said Biddle.

Biddle said these meetings were so frequent, and with so many different agencies, he doesn’t specifically remember if it was the FBI that asked for a backdoor. But the anonymous Microsoft engineer we spoke with confirmed that it was, in fact, the FBI.

During a meeting, an agent complained about BitLocker and expressed his frustration.

“Fuck, you guys are giving us the shaft,” the agent said, according to Biddle and the Microsoft engineer, who were both present at the meeting. (Though Biddle insisted he didn’t remember which agency he spoke with, he said he remembered this particular exchange.)

Biddle wasn’t intimidated. “No, we’re not giving you the shaft, we’re merely commoditizing the shaft,” he responded.


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Microsoft to acquire Nokia

Posted on September 3rd, 2013 at 9:43 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Whoa. Big news from the middle of the night. According to Nokia, Microsoft will purchase “substantially” all of Nokia’s device and service arms as well as licensing the phone maker’s patents and mapping know-how. The Redmond company will pay Nokia a cool 3.79 billion euros ($4.99 billion) for the business, and 1.65 billion euros ($2.18 billion) for its patent armory.

Microsoft hopes that allying with its biggest Windows Phone manufacturer will speed up growth (and improve its smartphone market share) — the company is already promising “increased synergies”. CEO Steve Ballmer added: “It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft’s share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services.”

Just a few short years ago this would have been unthinkable…


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Comments:

  1. Now it reads like that was Nokia’s plan from the beginning, bringing Elop on board to kill Symbian and ship WinMo exclusively.

  2. This’ll be interesting. Nokia makes nice hardware, and Win Phone is quite a decent OS that would do well if the market was less crowded. Putting the two together in one company leaves Msft with no excuse to not have *some* success in the mobile phone market.

    Microsoft also gets some seasoned hardware designers that can go to work on their tablets. Not a bad thing for them.

    One of the better comments I read about the deal is that the acquisition will be paid with overseas profits money, giving Msft effectively a discount equivalent to the profit repatriation tax.

NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies

Posted on August 24th, 2013 at 15:08 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Microsoft, Privacy

[Quote]:

The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency’s activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.

The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court.

And in the article, you can find Google basically admitting as much:

Google did not answer any of the specific questions put to it, and provided only a general statement denying it had joined Prism or any other surveillance program. It added: “We await the US government’s response to our petition to publish more national security request data, which will show that our compliance with American national security laws falls far short of the wild claims still being made in the press today.”

Falling short of “wild claims” is very easy…


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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months

Posted on August 23rd, 2013 at 16:07 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor.


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Comments:

  1. Steve Balmer RTires.

Evolution of Windows

Posted on August 14th, 2013 at 16:42 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

ku-xlarge


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Comments:

  1. It needs a picture of a building being demolished for Windows RT.

  2. a smoking crater for windows millenium?

Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies

Posted on August 9th, 2013 at 18:03 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft, News, Privacy

[Quote]:

Snowden, who told me today that he found Lavabit’s stand “inspiring”, added:

“Ladar Levison and his team suspended the operations of their 10 year old business rather than violate the Constitutional rights of their roughly 400,000 users. The President, Congress, and the Courts have forgotten that the costs of bad policy are always borne by ordinary citizens, and it is our job to remind them that there are limits to what we will pay.

“America cannot succeed as a country where individuals like Mr. Levison have to relocate their businesses abroad to be successful. Employees and leaders at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and the rest of our internet titans must ask themselves why they aren’t fighting for our interests the same way small businesses are. The defense they have offered to this point is that they were compelled by laws they do not agree with, but one day of downtime for the coalition of their services could achieve what a hundred Lavabits could not.

“When Congress returns to session in September, let us take note of whether the internet industry’s statements and lobbyists – which were invisible in the lead-up to the Conyers-Amash vote – emerge on the side of the Free Internet or the NSA and its Intelligence Committees in Congress.”

[Quote]:

U.S. President Barack Obama met with the CEOs of Apple Inc, AT&T Inc as well as other technology and privacy representatives on Thursday to discuss government surveillance in the wake of revelations about the programs, the White House confirmed on Friday.

Google Inc computer scientist Vint Cerf and civil liberties leaders also participated in the meeting, along with Apple’s Tim Cook and AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, the White House said in confirming a report by Politico, which broke the news of the meeting.

“The meeting was part of the ongoing dialogue the president has called for on how to respect privacy while protecting national security in a digital era,” a White House official said.

The session was not included on Obama’s daily public schedule for Thursday.


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How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages

Posted on July 12th, 2013 at 9:23 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.


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Microsoft’s New Strategy Doomed By Contradictions

Posted on July 11th, 2013 at 20:51 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft unveiled a long-awaited new strategy today in a public document titled “Transforming Our Company“ and an all hands e-mail “One Microsoft” In what is supposed to be a forward-looking, clean-sheet approach, the software giant ironically opened its transformation memo by reminding everyone how old is it, a child of the ’80s. In that context, it’s less surprising that the company’s plan took more than 3,000 words to lay out, is laden with contradictions and contains an old-school “ reorganization.” Oh and it has almost no chance to work.


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Comments:

  1. Anybody else reminded by this memo?

    Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion.

Microsoft issues partners Windows XP phase-out marching orders

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 10:49 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft and its partners would need to migrate 586,000 PCs per day over the next 273 days in order to get rid of all PCs running Windows XP, Visser said. Microsoft’s actual goal is to get the XP base below 10 percent of the total Windows installed base by that time, he said.

How on earth are these partners going to be able to sell that many Macs? I don’t think it is a realistic goal…


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Comments:

  1. One of issues is the degree of pain. To migrate upward, one needs to reinstall all non standard MS programs a company uses. Unless you have a tiny firm, that is a high degree of pain. Better companies go to a desktop VDI solution IMO. But that also comes at a price. MS should put XP in the public domain and let others support and enhance it. But pigs will first I believe.

Times certainly have changed…

Posted on June 21st, 2013 at 8:55 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

[Quote]:

A Microsoft representative urged the board to try more than one product and not to rely on one platform.


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U.S. Agencies Said to Swap Data With Thousands of Firms

Posted on June 14th, 2013 at 10:07 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft, Security

[Quote]:

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world’s largest software company, provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, according to two people familiar with the process. That information can be used to protect government computers and to access the computers of terrorists or military foes.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft (MSFT) and other software or Internet security companies have been aware that this type of early alert allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments, according to two U.S. officials. Microsoft doesn’t ask and can’t be told how the government uses such tip-offs, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

[..]

Michael Hayden, who formerly directed the National Security Agency and the CIA, described the attention paid to important company partners: “If I were the director and had a relationship with a company who was doing things that were not just directed by law but were also valuable to the defense of the Republic, I would go out of my way to thank them and give them a sense as to why this is necessary and useful.”

“You would keep it closely held within the company and there would be very few cleared individuals,” Hayden said.

[..]

If necessary, a company executive, known as a “committing officer,” is given documents that guarantee immunity from civil actions resulting from the transfer of data. The companies are provided with regular updates, which may include the broad parameters of how that information is used.

Intel Corp. (INTC)’s McAfee unit, which makes Internet security software, regularly cooperates with the NSA, FBI and the CIA, for example, and is a valuable partner because of its broad view of malicious Internet traffic, including espionage operations by foreign powers, according to one of the four people, who is familiar with the arrangement.

Such a relationship would start with an approach to McAfee’s chief executive, who would then clear specific individuals to work with investigators or provide the requested data, the person said. The public would be surprised at how much help the government seeks, the person said.


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Skype with care – Microsoft is reading everything you write

Posted on May 19th, 2013 at 22:33 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft, Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

Anyone who uses Skype has consented to the company reading everything they write. The H’s associates in Germany at heise Security have now discovered that the Microsoft subsidiary does in fact make use of this privilege in practice. Shortly after sending HTTPS URLs over the instant messaging service, those URLs receive an unannounced visit from Microsoft HQ in Redmond.


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Please Stop Fighting About Your Smartphone

Posted on March 23rd, 2013 at 8:05 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft

[Quote]:

BlackBerry just shipped a new phone that almost nobody has tried. But lots of people already have an opinion about it! Some people think it is great! Others are already making fun of it! That’s pretty typical behavior. People love to fight and fight about phone platforms; to toss around the term fanboi and other insults and invective. People love to lob polemic after polemic in the most boring argument since Mac vs. Windows ever.

Do you like Android? You should, it’s amazing. iOS? Wow, what a great platform, no wonder it started a revolution. Windows Phone? Seriously, it’s got a remarkable and beautiful interface. BlackBerry? There are plenty of great reasons people love it. And no matter which platform you adore, it’s shockingly possible to both have a preference and respect that other people may prefer an entirely different device. I know. Totally weird. But true.

Or, you can just call anyone who expresses a contrary opinion a jerk, or a fanboi, or butthurt, some other un-clever and deeply unoriginal pejorative that ends with the suffix “tard” and ultimately makes you look dumber than the person you’re trying, vainly, to insult.

The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up.


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Microsoft backs law banning Google Apps from schools

Posted on March 9th, 2013 at 10:45 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft is backing a bill in Massachusetts that would effectively force schools to stop using Google Apps, or any other service that uses students’ data.

“Any person who provides a cloud computing service to an educational institution operating within the State shall process data of a student enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade for the sole purpose of providing the cloud computing service to the educational institution and shall not process such data for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to advertising purposes that benefit the cloud computing service provider,” the bill states.

The proposed legislation was introduced by state representative Carlo Basile (D-East Boston), and Microsoft has said it is supporting it, using the old canard of wanting to protect children from harm. Blocking Google and other providers that use an ad-funded service model is just a side benefit, it seems.


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Comments:

  1. But didn’t Bill Gates just give money to a project that collects students’ data at a remarkable level?


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