ballmer

Bad boy Ballmer’s bonus busted – Microsoft CEO in for a rough time?

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Hot on the heels on the “Humble Indi Bundle” where customers pay what they think an item is worth, it appears Steve Ballmer is experiencing what it is like to be a “Bumbling CEO Bundle” and having his bonus cut for the third year running.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT -1.68% board reduced the bonus awarded to Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, citing factors that include the company’s unprofitable online division and the its failure to hew to an agreement with European regulators.

Source: Wall Street Journal

The report continues to Ballmers misfortunes with the only “positive” I can see being the completion of Windows 8 which hasn’t even gone to market.  I expect Ballmer’s woes would include the apathy from consumers as a whole to Windows Phone 7, that languishes in the doldrums of the smart-phone market.

What was particularly interesting in the article over on the Wall Street Journal (and I recommend you follow the link) was some of the first few comments which appeared:

He earned a bonus? If I had an interest in the company, I’d be clawing back his base salary.

or

Nothing innovative has emerged from Microsoft since Gates left. Balmer is not a visionary and Microsoft needs to terminate his employment.

and

MSFT will jump 5 points if Ballmer resigns. This guy is a millstone around the company’s neck. If he doesn’t leave soon, MSFT will not be around in 3 years.  They’ve missed every wave since 1999: search, social media, cloud computing even email……

Again, I recommend people paying a visit to the article.

I on the other hand celebrate Steve Ballmer.   Why? Because I think his “leadership” has led to the creation of openings for competitors in the marketplace.  Windows Phone failed to stomp over everyone, online services are spread through a diverse range of providers.  I think Steve Ballmer is to thank for the loss of stranglehold on the tech market and as the mainstream consumer is shifting to new form factors, Microsoft’s Windows legacy holds little sway.  If for a minute we look at say Apple (collective boo heard in the background) they have managed to engage their customers with their products, satisfy the demand for new tech/form factors and made (to say the least) many loyal customers who quite probably would purchase a wet toilet roll if it had the Apple logo on it.

Android too is enjoying great popularity in the market and grasped the hearts and minds of the consumer.  When we look at the Smartphone market, there isn’t really a 3rd player and Microsoft is now finding itself in an almost impossible battle with Apple and Google.

Steve Ballmer was alleged to have said “I’m going to f*cking bury Google” – It now seems quite the reverse is true and it will be Google that buries him.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com

Skype: tim.openbytes

Canonical – To Skype or not to Skype?

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My good friend (and co-host) Roy has recently been writing about Canonical and its promotion of the now Microsoft owned Skype.  As usual with TechRights it’s a very interesting read and whilst I have other commitments taking me away from this digital world of wonder, I do have time to put a slightly different angle to the whole “to skype or not to skype” question.

The article I refer to is here: http://techrights.org/2012/08/01/software-center-spyware/

So now that Microsoft owns Skype (and as we will see has a plethora of snooping allegations against it) should we turn our heads away in disgust? or should, as I believe stop and consider that maybe its not so much an issue.

I use Skype. Whilst the TechBytes show in the future may not be facilitating it on my return, the fact is I have relatives who do, so why not just get them onto an alternative? – well for me (and I expect many others) its not that simple.  My relatives have people on their contact list who aso use Skype and those contacts have contacts (ad infinitum) so in order to migrate my contacts from a communication tool such as Skype is far more convoluted than merely offering them a different method, especially when we are dealing with the type of user who is not prepared to have a plethora of apps installed all doing the same thing.

If we also look towards the allegation of snooping – which has hit the mainstream press, we have to consider that if it is true, then its hardly a secret and people are going into Skype with full knowledge of the allegations towards it.  If they choose to accept that caveat in return for speaking with their contacts, then fine, there is no issue – as long as they are aware of the implications of using.

Whilst it seems a bizarre world where Microsoft, hardly friendly towards competition has its app in the forefront of the Ubuntu app store and a given that many people would feel put out by a Microsoft product getting exposure on a Linux OS (and a damn popular one),  on the other-hand if we look say at one of my relatives, Skype (rightly or wrongly) is an important part of their online life and to boycott/remove it from the Ubuntu ecosystem would be a barrier to them if they are considering a move to Canonical’s offering from Windows.

Knowing that Skype is spyware, will Canonical remove it from the software center and its main homepage? Those who really want it installed will find a way; it’s opportunistic for Canonical to use proprietary software to lure in users.

Source: http://techrights.org/2012/08/01/software-center-spyware/

To which I’d remark that possibly the includsion of Skype would prove to encourage more to enter the Linux world.  Those who really want it probably won’t have the level of knowledge required to install it, so to remove Skype, in my view would effectively “kill” it for the majority of mainstream Linux users (as well as giving a potential issue to some who use Skype and wants to migrate from Windows)

I’d be interested to hear others views on Canonical’s Skype decision.  For me, if it acts as a “selling point” to replace Windows, then thats a good thing and whilst we know of previous dirty tricks allegations against Microsoft, so long as users are aware of the implications of using Skype, I cannot see the harm.  To remove, would (as in the case I’ve highlighted above) potentially harm a decision to move over to Linux by your average consumer who needs/wants Skype.

Whilst considering the issue of “snooping” it may be worthy of note that casting an eye over your mobile phone contract will reveal quite a robust set of agreements.  For me, the fear of any particular individual being intruded upon, is no more or less serious than the situation we have in the mobile phone world already.

On the Ubuntu marketplace, the Android marketplace and from my circle of friends/relatives, Skype is up their with the most popular apps.  Surely for Canonical to refuse such an app would be far more disastrous than to keep it in situe?

We must also consider that whilst Microsoft hardly has a good image in the minds of many, Skype was merely bought by Microsoft.  The popularity of the app is has little to do with what Microsoft has achieved since it was bedded into the market by others.  I certainly, in the case of Skype don’t feel tainted by using this particular “Microsoft” product.  Do they want to listen to my calls? Do they listen to my calls? I’ll keep that in mind next time I have a conversation.

As for proprietary, I think that’s a personal decision for each Linux user and I would say that using any software with the knowledge of its implications is fine (providing you agree with those caveats)  I would also like people to consider that whilst they may find Canonical’s inclusion of Skype distasteful, they also include Dropbox, which unless I am mistaken is competition to their own Ubuntu One.  Presumably they do this as they want as much choice available to users as possible in order to bring them to Ubuntu.

Application choice on the back of informed choice – there’s no problem with that at all.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com

Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

It’s rebranding time again for Microsoft! – Hotmail gets a new name & DanceFailLIVE

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Every so often when the moon is full and perspiring Ballmer is in its third phase, Microsoft takes one of it’s products and changes its name re-brands it.

I can’t be the only user who refuses Hotmail as part of their email filters – its usually junk, often a scam and occasionally a throwaway mail address for the purposes of insult.  Either way, Hotmail is about as welcome in my in-box as a pork chop at a vegetarian conference.

It is being reported by several sources that the aforementioned Hotmail is to now be called “Newmail” – Not really so much new (although as you will see by the comments it appears to be trying to emulate another Google product):

It’s a minimalist new look for Hotmail, looking closer to Gmail’s redesign a few months ago……

Source: Cnet

It will come as no surprise to many that the observation of Microsoft imitating is rearing its bald sweaty head again, although in the case of Hotmail, is there a point? Does anyone trust a Hotmail email? – I’ll let you answer that.  I suggest you follow the link above,  I don’t think anymore time needs to be devoted to this tot.

DanceFailLIVE – Nobody does it better than Microsoft!

Since Microsoft seems to love the word “LIVE” let me introduce you to DancefailLIVE (patent pending ;)) We’ve seen many times in not only the products but the PR excercises behind them, that Microsoft is rather clueless when it comes to knowing what people want or how they behave.  Its very similar to the “reaching out” that the Advocates do (who talks like that in the real world?) and infact the origins of my observations of this bizarre way the Microsoft Advocates have of talking goes back to 2008 when one certain MVP (who liked to back up his own arguments here with multiple accounts) over on Microsoft Watch, when I repeatedly remarked “Who on earth actually talks like this?”

I digress.  We’ve seen failed PR stunts of Microsoft before.  From the silly shoe commercial which nobody seemed to find funny to the fake funeral for the iPhone when Windows Phone 7 was announced. Oh dear.

Not deterred by the stage antics of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft seem to have outdone themselves this time in the #stagefail stakes, which is why I give you DanceFailLIVE which was meant to promote updates to Azure platform, it consisted of live dance on stage for attendees.

As if dancing girls and cheesy techno music weren’t bad enough, the song contained a number of drugs references and lewd lyrics, among them: “CSS is my LSD”, and: “The words Micro and Soft don’t apply to my penis”. Seriously, who gave this the green light?……Perhaps a little patronised, several of the attendees took to Twitter. One tweeted: “As a former #NDCOslo organizer I must say I don’t stand behind that azure dance act. What were they thinking? It’s not ironic, it’s just bad.” “The dancing girls, hokey song, and marketing speak to MS’s Azure announcement at #ndcoslo shows how much they misunderstand their audience………Microsoft has shown just how spectacularly out of touch it can be.

Source: Cnet

But maybe its not all that bad, according to Cnet, Microsoft made a groveling apology and maybe it will take the focus from that older stage production by Microsoft that has been popular for so many years:

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

Microsoft take-down requests – needs its own house in order first?

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By now its common knowledge that Google has released publically, figures on the takedown requests it has recieved from copyright holders and their affiliates.  Microsoft figured heavily in this release which is what I wish to look at a little closer and maybe offer some alternative reasoning to the requests themselves.

Firstly, this article is not about the rights or wrongs of IP.  Regardless of your views on file-sharing and copyrighted material/law, I ask those be put to one side for the moment.

I think the one thing we can all agree on is that there are alot of searches (possibly through Google) whereby users are looking for “warez”.   Lets consider something else (again in the ethos of common ground) – as the current law stands, it is perfectly reasonable for Microsoft to make a take-down request of Google, like the idea of copyright or not, currently there is nothing to stop Microsoft (or indeed anyone else) requesting that material/link or whatever gets removed.  Now here though is where further consideration asks some questions which don’t seem to make sense.

Lets say Microsoft is concerned about copyright infringement and file-sharing – whilst they can (as stated above) make requests of Google, one would expect then that they would have cleaned up their own house first (or at least at the same time) – let me explain.  Try a Bing search for MS office on PirateBay – you get a direct link.  If Microsoft is so concerned about its IP then surely its own product should be a top priority to purge of such links?  But then if you consider it further, possibly not.

If we are agreed that Bing would like a slice of the pie that Google has in terms of search numbers and we agree that there are a considerable number of people using Google to search for “warez” – would it be suspicious minded to think that if Microsoft can make numerous takedown requests of Google, whilst keeping Bing “intact”, those that search for warez will be more likely to move over to Bing and thus bring value in terms of usage to Bing?  Whilst that may simply be a creative idea in respect of the recent news, it strikes me as strange that after all those take-down requests of Google, that Microsoft hasn’t even done something so simple as remove all PirateBay entries from its own product.

Maybe there’s someone who can explain why Microsoft hasn’t even seemed to take the most simple steps in keeping its own house in order whilst it is busy tackling Google?  Or maybe someone could say what it actually is that Microsoft is asking Google to take-down?

Personally, I think Microsoft products are moody enough without using a “cracked” version.  I remember the misery of being a Windows user with all the malicious code out there (and I was using a genuine version).  To use Microsoft products and trust in the integrity of a “cracked” version, is akin to putting your wedding tackle into a lions mouth and flicking its love-spuds with a wet towel (Credit for quote: Arnold Rimmer, Red Dwarf)

Do as I say, not as I do!

Some Microsoft Advocates often refer to Linux/FOSS users with the derogatory term “freetard” and even if we look past at the apparent double standards Bing employs in comparison with requests made of Google and we ignore the millions of Windows users using the uTorrent client and downloading copyrighted material, we need only look to Microsoft themselves and a very interesting article by torrent freak, who, after researching a few Microsoft IP addresses, find that records show, their machines have been very busy downloading copyrighted material for free too.  Hypocricy? Would we expect anything less from a company that employs a man someone like Steve Ballmer?

In relation to piracy, it’s alleged by TorrentFreak:

Look up a range of IP-addresses assigned to Microsoft and enter those into the search form on YouHaveDownloaded one by one. While we expected that it might take a while to find one, we already had a handful of offenders after two dozen tries.

Source: http://torrentfreak.com/busted-microsoft-harbors-bittorrent-pirates-120527/

Priceless, but hardly surprising.  And in light of “warez” seemingly ok if they are linked in Bing results, should we have expected anything less from Microsoft? – I’ll let you decide.

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

Microsoft products banned from German market!

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Whilst Microsoft has been busy creating Android “licenses” with an untested patent claims under secrecy of NDA, one initially could be forgiven for having very little sympathy for Microsoft.  It is being reported that a German court has taken steps to remove Microsoft products from the shelves most notably the 360 and Windows Phone 7 due to infringement claims by Motorola.

In respect of Windows Phone 7, I don’t suppose it’s much of a loss, its failed to grasp the market interest in the same way as Android and Apple and now it looks that even if you did take the chance on WP7, WP8 will be released soon with an apparent lack of ability to upgrade – No surprise to me as I would suggest yet again its Microsoft throwing its hands up in defeat at another product to the expense of the few customers who were unfortunate enough to buy it and acted more like guinea pigs for Microsoft’s latest scheme to get into the smart-phone market.

A court in Mannheim ruled on Wednesday that Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility’s patents and ordered Microsoft to remove its Xbox 360 gaming consoles and Windows 7 operating system software from the German market.

Source: Rueters

Now whilst it’s tempting to say Microsoft (after its own patent aggression) is getting just what it deserves, it does highlight the bigger picture of why the only winners in these insidious patent cases are the large corporations & lawyers.  The person suffering will be the consumer who has choice removed, prices increased to accommodate these dirty tricks.

One cannot argue that the Xbox360 is a popular product.  How popular? It depends on which country/market you look towards, but suffice to say there are a great many people who have the system.  Now it appears as if German consumers right to choose will be hampered.   Microsoft, I presume, will ultimately have to take this on the chin, they can hardly play the “woe is me” line when they themselves are tackling other markets with similar tactics.

You live by the sword, you die by the sword, so they say.

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes

Nokia’s IPcom patent problem

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If it wasn’t bad enough that Nokia backed the three legged horse in the smartphone race (Windows Phone 7), its now got another problem on its hands.

It is reported by the Wall Street Journal that a court has ruled Nokia is infringing a patent belonging to IPCom:

The ruling means IPCom could seek an injunction to force Nokia to halt sales of its third-generation mobile phones in Germany unless Nokia pays a license fee for the patent.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Can things get any worse?

Elop’s “burning platform” seems to still be burning…. How long before it burns out?

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes

Nearly half a billion $ lost online – Microsoft’s continuing tale of woe

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Throwing money down the drain - no, we are not talking about consumers who took a leap of faith on an MS project like the Kin, we are talking about Microsoft and its online woes!

Despite what Microsoft advocates may claim about Windows 7 sales or office sales (lets face it there’s no bragging about WP7) they can’t seem to talk up  their online efforts.

It is reported over at Business Insider that this quarter Microsoft lost $476 million on line, with the only light seeming to be they are throwing away less money now than before.  Maybe its a testament to what Microsoft is, in that it can suffer a loss like this without obvious issue and maybe suggests Microsoft will be getting out its patent portfolio very soon to top up its coffers.

With the news that Microsoft is also seeing a decline in 360 sales with an excuse that people are holding back for the 720 it would seem that there will be many a sweaty shirt day for Steve Ballmer in 2012 – he’s going to have to dance like he’s never danced before to get Microsoft going in a product sense.

And take a look at the comments for Windows 8, are you seeing anticipation or excitement? – I’m not, Microsoft are still rumbling at people to “upgrade” XP.

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes