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I don’t understand the stock market

Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 10:54 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

Microsoft earnings reports:

$7.6 billion write-off on Nokia, no big deal.

$1 billion Xbox writeoff, no big deal.

$900 million write-off for Surface RT, no big deal.

$6.2 billion write-off for Aquantive, no big deal.

Apple earnings reports:

Record profits, stock price takes a nose dive


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  1. It’s a matter of expectations more than anything else. MS did pretty much what people thought, so it’s ok. Apple didn’t earn quite as much as expected (record income and profits be damned), so it gets hammered… Go figure!

  2. Re. Apple. Actually, this is called “an adjustment” in the stock price, as in theory the price is bid up before the announcement in anticipation of results, since investors were expecting better results than they got. So, the result is that the price goes down to, in theory, where the price should be. Hence we have “contrarian” investors. They see people bidding up a stock before the quarterly announcements, figure the company won’t do as well as expected, so they sell short in anticipation of this price drop. The price drops, they cover their shorts, and make a fortune! Often these short positions are in the form of put options. IE, they can sell the stock at the shorted (higher) price and only pay the newer (lower) price. Risky, but potentially very lucrative. If the price goes the right way, they are only out the option costs (10% of the actual stock price when bought) plus brokerage fees. So, you buy puts on 100,000 shares (1000 contracts) at $5 / share – you pay $5000 + costs. The stock drops to $4 / share creating a $1 / share profit. You basically buy the stock at $4 / share and sell it back at $5 – an instant $100,000 profit on costs of about $6000. Works great if you can do it.

    However, if the stock were to go up, say to $6 / share, you may be on the hook for that $100,000! There are mathematical formulae that compute your risks about this stuff, so you can “hedge” your bets, potentially earning less than that $100K, but not at risk of losing that same $100K. I am somewhat aware of this stuff as I used to write risk-analysis software for the options industry market makers and professional traders at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (biggest options trading house in the world). We had to recompute their portfolio exposure when any trades or price changes that may affect their positions had occurred, and within 60ms we had to rebalance their positions and execute risk-offsetting trades for them! This was about 10 years ago. Now, 60ms is about 10x too slow! I recently interviewed for a position at a low-latency trading company in Chicago, and they had engineers to design and build their own FPGA ethernet / TCP-IP chips that handled the trading network connections and filtered the data stream from the various exchanges for the data they were interested in. Normal high-performance network cards and high-end servers could not handle the load at the latencies required. This is indeed the “rocket science” of stock trading!

  3. The high-speed stuff is unfair because only a select few can do it. “Flash Boys” by Micheal Lewis is a great read on the topic.

    Wall St. has never understood Apple – probably because Apple is unlike any other company.

  4. @johno – don’t disagree with the high-speed trading comment. Until there are appropriate regulations in place, and enforced, this will continue to be a decided disadvantage to all other traders who cannot afford such tools. I’m not in that field any longer – the pay is great, but at what cost?

Microsoft starts prompting Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to ‘reserve’ their free Windows 10 upgrade

Posted on June 1st, 2015 at 7:39 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote:]

Reddit user p4block spotted the new “Get Windows 10″ message on his Windows 8 computer earlier today. Other users, including those running Windows 7, confirmed they received the message too (shown below).

So let me get this straight. They ARE able to reach everybody to send them a free popup advertisement, but they are NOT able to reach those same people to send them a free upgrade (using the same mechanism) and they need your e-mail address. I can’t help but think that’s shady as hell.


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Comments:

  1. As is the case with many shady *free* installers these days, there is an option to skip the ‘enter your email now’ bit, and continue the free upgrade. It’s in very small print and thus hard to find, and you won’t get the ‘you can upgrade for free now’ msg in your inbox on the day it’s downloadable, but you still get the upgrade for free.
    The more experienced users of *free* software know how to look for the ‘skip this amazing bundled offer of spamware’ or ‘register for perks’ bits, although I admit that even more experienced users never bother with this software in the first place, so I’m not surprised you missed it :)

Intel: PC sales weak as many businesses stick with Windows XP

Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 8:44 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

One reason the chip giant cited for that weaker demand: a slowdown in companies upgrading from Windows XP systems. What’s particularly interesting about this is that the move away from the ancient OS helped drive some of Intel’s better results in 2014.

What that suggests is a potentially intractable problem for both Intel and Microsoft: businesses that still manage to operate fine, thank you very much, with an operating system that’s nearly 15 years old. It’s the desktop equivalent of the guy who still uses a flip phone and doesn’t care if you have an app that can identify a song on the radio in three seconds or can stream the Super Bowl live on your smartphone.

But it’s even worse, actually, because that inertia isn’t one guy: It’s firms with potentially dozens or hundred of employees that have their productivity disrupted while new systems are installed and training is implemented. Then there’s the issue of the need for an updated OS. What does Windows 7 or 8 (or 10) do that compels these stragglersto upgrade? If they’re fine with whatever version of Office they’re currently using, and have a decent enough web browser, then most workers are set (though maybe not overjoyed).


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Comments:

  1. Presumably this is why MS is giving away Windows 10. And Intel is investing in low power devices.

  2. Since ms ceased security patch updates expect to see millions of zombie xp machines under botnet/NSA control soon. MS is freeing ver. 10 because Linux is free (and better).

  3. Because MS ceased security patch updates, millions of soon-to-be pwnd XP win-systems will join botnets/NSA. No matter, “the cloud” triumph ensures no security at all. Convenient for TLA community.

Microsoft CEO to women: Don’t ask for a raise

Posted on October 10th, 2014 at 21:49 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

A lot of advice is thrown at women to be considered equals in the workplace — lean in, speak up, be confident, demand raises and promotions, don’t dress “slutty” — which in itself is problematic because it places the onus on women to correct the culturally entrenched male dominance in workplaces.

(Companies should be the ones working to demolish the “old boys club,” and putting practices into place including strict policies on sexual harassment, equal pay, mentorship and paid maternity and paternity leave, for starters.)

However, advice given by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hit a new level of terrible: Don’t ask for raises, trust that your “super powers,” “the system” and “karma” will get you what you want. I’m not sure what mystical world Nadella is living in, but I imagine that there, raises gallop magically into a woman’s bank account via a unicorn.

Update: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella issued an apology, which an be read here.

Steve was too limited when he said it:

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”

Because, really. If you’re trying to rephrase something that came out inartfully the first time, don’t try to fit it into one tweet. Take up all the goddamn space you need so that it comes out better the second time. A petri dish has more culture than Microsoft..


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Comments:

  1. A tweet is the modern way to make sure a lot of people see (and read) your statement. Sending out a link to 5,000 words isn’t going to somehow be more helpful.

    He was clear about the parts that mattered: he fucked up, and he now understands why and how. Seems pretty sane and healthy to me.

    (People have commented that there isn’t a culture at Msft of asking for raises (just promotions or review scores) and that Nadella was commenting from that narrow perspective. It’s not an excuse, but it’s perhaps an explanation for the tone-deaf response.)

  2. Also, you’re citing Steve Jobs in a discussion of how to treat employees? Really? Steve Jobs who was a notorious nasty asshole to his employees? Yeah, I’m sure him screaming at people how much they sucked created an environment where women thrived. Not.

  3. The difference, @Desiato, is that Steve treated men and women pretty much equally cruelly.

    The discussion here isn’t how to treat employees in general; it’s how women should be treated as equals to men.

  4. Exactly. Steve could be a huge asshole to individuals, and did scream at people. But this is the company he created.

  5. Awesome. This is the company that Gates and Ballmer created. So what’s with that culture now that you claim Msft doesn’t have?

    Whereas Apple has culture, you say? Culture that engages in backdating of executive stock options? Culture that makes it OK to conspire with competitors to not recruit each others employees, thus keeping salaries down? GREAT culture. Yeah, walking in the pride parade totally makes up for that stuff.

    Go ahead and keep cherry-picking, John…

  6. John, please watch what the woman who interviewed Nadella has to say about the incident. (She is the President of a prestiguous technical college and a role model to women entering engineering fields)

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DOOy0R5rVHE

    (Interesting bits are in the first ~4 minutes I think.)

My guess is…

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 at 9:58 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

Microsoft had a few internal builds calling it “Windows 9″, and they started testing all kind of third party software and ran in to this.

And that’s when they decided to call it Windows 10….


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Comments:

  1. Blimey! That has the ring of reality – “the sins of the fathers” (and mothers)…

  2. Innnteresting. But does OS.name not return the NT version instead of the marketing name? I don’t have any Windows anymore, so can’t try it.

  3. Well, even if it does, you can trust people to do the wrong thing in code anyway…

  4. ….uh?

    If it returns “NT 7.x” or whatever they’re up to, how does this kind of code create a problem?

10 new features of Windows 10

Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 20:39 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Late last night, Microsoft unveiled the next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 10. The company says that the new operating system is designed to run across a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, servers, as well as tiny Internet of things devices. “Windows 10 will deliver the right experience at the right time on the right device,” Microsoft’s operating systems chief Terry Myerson said. However, Windows 10 isn’t fully designed yet. At the event, Microsoft demonstrated several new features of the operating system, but noted that this is just the scratch of the surface it plans to ship with the final version of Windows 10, which ships next year.

In that case, you’d better not install it on your surface, right?


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Nein! Nein! Nein!

Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 13:50 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft is to put some numerical distance between its poorly received Windows 8 operating system and its replacement by calling the new version Windows 10.

The new operating system, expected to be released next year, comes three years after the launch of Windows 8. It was announced at an event aimed at business users in Seattle.

“Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever,” Terry Myerson, head of the operating systems group, told the audience. “It wouldn’t be right to call it Windows 9.”


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Comments:

  1. Let’s look at the numerical history of Windows (desktop) releases:
    Windows 95 (odd number): good
    Windows 98 (Even number): meh
    Windows 98 SE (Released in 1999): better
    Windows ME: awful
    Windows XP (Windows 5?): Good
    Windows Vista (6): OUCH
    Windows 7: Good
    Windows 8: meh

    The fact that Microsoft is jumping to Windows 10 means even they know it’s going to be awful.

Sep 18, 2007, seven years ago

Posted on September 18th, 2014 at 9:27 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft


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Comments:

  1. Of the characters in this wee psychodrama a couple are deceased; Mr. Jobs and Nortel. I guess you could also say that Mr. Ballmer and Microsoft are gone from the game.

  2. 2007?? Now way, this is late ’70s or earyly’80s. Jobs sais Apple has 500 people working. He talks about the Apple II. This is pre Mac (i.e., pre 1984).

  3. Sorry, I must have clicked on some link after the Balmer video. :-) It’s good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxxRKBgos8

  4. @Jan-Mark: Hmm…1970’s…Did Mr. Ballmer have hair?

Minecraft

Posted on September 15th, 2014 at 21:46 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

H4vqsCs


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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

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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?


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