All the usual hype is flowing about Vista 8. This mostly means that Vista 7 was a failure, but I decided to log it for laughs. Vista 7 did not sell as well as Vista did and Vista 8 won't sell any better than Vista 7. Vista failure has really killed Microsoft. The upgrade inevitability myth is six feet underground, traditional desktops are becoming a thing of the past and everyone looks to Google, Apple even IBM for cool and reliable computing. Despite that, Microsoft brings out the same old lines and strategies.
As the Linux Foundation wins new friends and influences people, sharp reporters at PCWorld notice that Windows sales as a fraction of PCs shipped are in a steep and accelerating decline. Woody Leonhard of Infoworld does the math on Microsoft's numbers,
Between launch and June 30, 2010 -- a period of 251 days -- Microsoft sold 0.78 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold. Between July 1, 2010, and April 22, 2011 -- a period of 275 days -- Microsoft sold 0.67 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold: 175 million Windows 7 licenses, and 260 million new PCs. To turn the numbers the other way around, in the past nine months, more than one-third of all new PCs sold didn't have Windows 7.
... it's entirely possible that 40 percent of all new PCs in the past nine months shipped without Windows 7. Maybe more.
So, the Windows 7 PC sales "refresh" is over. Business adoption rates are still under 10%. Kanthryn Noyles of Computer World interprets that as a Win for gnu/linux
I think it's fair to assume that a good number of them are running Linux instead. Preloaded options, after all, are increasingly common, and the reasons to switch are more compelling with each passing Patch Tuesday.
Android/Linux, is another reason for the decline. Why sit around mom's basement with a big, noisy PC when you can drop the net in your pocket? PCs are less important and Windows is downright archaic.
Microsoft's bottom line sags with its cash cow. There was good evidence in 2010 and January of this year that Windows 7 was not driving sales. Roughly Drafted now looks at Microsoft's quarterly report and shows that Windows profits are down since 2008 back when they were trying to sell Vista which many people dumped in less than six months.
Florian Mueller has thrust himself into the news a lot over the last couple of years, mostly to the detriment of Microsoft competitors, and has been particularly successful at getting Slashdot to copy his message. Roy Schestowitz, of Techrights, noticed him early because Boycott Novell was on Florian's journalist mass mailing list. So was Groklaw. Both rejected Florian's message and both are now smeared by him. Techrights has this index and PJ has this about bad behavior in 2005, this, this and more. Florian waged a Twitter/Social Media FUD campaign against both "Groklie" and Techrights in retaliation. Even Slashdot submitters have called Florian a "gadfly" and noticed he's behind anti-Google FUD. All of Florian's media manipulation has earned him special mention by actual lawyers who advise those threatened by lawsuits to ignore him and people like him.
The best way to understand what Florian has been doing is to make a list of it. Here then, is a list of what he's been telling Slashdot readers over the last year or so, with context and links to refutations as time allows.
Red Hat FUD
Novell's Patent Hoard.
Reframes Microsoft's attempt to tax Motorola's use of GNU/Linux and Android.
This issue should not be separated from general anti-Google FUD but Florian does this.
That's 16 articles in less than a year and each represents dozens of Microsoft press echos. All of it says something bad about Google, Red Hat, IBM and other free software users. When he's not busy smearing Microsoft competitors, he's telling us that they Love Microsoft and are working with them towards some noble goal.
People speculate that Muelller is fed inside information as part of Microsoft's coordinated campaigns against free software and Microsoft competitors. PJ of Groklaw thinks that Microsoft hoped that a community of deluded coders would form around Florian, but only Novell employees and Mono boosters pal around, while the larger free software community ignores him. His recent praise of the SCO Gang and smears of PJ places him among the most disgusting of Microsoft company.
I am in Atlanta for PyCon, and you're on Slashdot reading about it. So there. Neener neener neener.
I simply can't believe how awful Windows is, and (unfortunately) how gullible I am. [my laptop] came loaded with Vista Business, and a "fallback" DVD for XP Professional. I tried running Vista on it. I really tried, I really wanted it to work, and I said exactly that in my blog here. But it didn't. Every time I tried it, things started out looking promising, and after a month or two it would go belly-up. Three or four times I reloaded Vista from scratch and tried again, hoping that the latest Microsoft Updates would fix it. Eventually I gave up, reloaded one last time with XP Professional, and ran that with no problem for two years.
A month or so ago, through my own carelessness, I wiped the disk on this laptop. I had to reload everything from scratch, so (like a fool) I thought well, Vista SP2 is out, everyone says that it is "all fixed up now and works great, and reliably", so I'll try that again. I loaded Vista from scratch, added all the updates to SP2 and beyond, and I've been running it that way since. Until today.
... Windows is unreliable garbage, it always has been, it always will be, and if you use it you should be willing to accept that risk. I am no longer willing to accept that risk, even part-time as a secondary operating system on this laptop. Windows is gone, it has puked all over its disk for the last time here, and I will not reload it. I am in the process of transferring the data to one of the Linux partitions - yes, Linux is quite happy to read the partition that Windows says is hopelessly corrupted.
Please, PLEASE, unless you want to hear a very long string of words that I learned during my military service, do NOT tell me that the "solution" to this problem is to give Microsoft even more money and "upgrade" to Windows 7.
... if Vista is not stable, or reliable, then Microsoft should withdraw it and either offer a free "upgrade" to Windows 7 or offer a refund of the purchase cost. ... I absolutely don't believe the Windows 7 is any better, any more stable or any more reliable than Vista. They come from Microsoft, they are utter garbage...
Digitimes has another reason for Windows 7 sales to be low.
PC replacement demand is not driven significantly by the consumer market, but rather enterprise and government purchases
... most enterprises in Europe and North America are expected to start planning annual purchasing budgets for the year in March and April of 2010, actual replacement demand is not expected to spur until the second half of the year.
Companies and government might buy computers next year, but they should already be buying orders placed in March and April of this year. There are already accounts of corporate rejection of Windows 7, so that OS is not likely to have anything to do with corporate buying and government won't be a big market because UAC still does not meet government security standards . Back in January, retailers at CES remembered being "burnt by Vista" and saw nothing to change their minds about the contracting PC market. Perhaps OEMs and retailers could deliver the gnu/linux netbooks and desktops that people actually want to buy.
Who decided that all story submissions would be tagged with user email addresses? You might as well demand and publish people's real names.
This is a breach of trust that will drive away long standing users such as myself. Email addresses were collected under the promise of never being published. Now I have the choice of submitting things as AC, publishing my email address or just giving up. I'm leaning towards giving up. Boycott Novell has been more fun anyway.
Despite all the hype, it is easy to predict that Windows 7 will go the same way Vista did. Vista was a failure in every way, so a pretty new face was made to sell the same buggy and customer hostile core and the Microsoft hype machine was turned on full blast. Now that Vista 7 is RTM, we no longer have to make predictions, we can simply watch the results. Here is a collection of Vista 7 failures found on YouTube. Enjoy what I found in a few minutes:
Update 1/2/2011 Real users have been forced to buy Vista 7 with their new computers for more than a year and it's Vista all over again. They tell the story better than I can.
Here are videos that have collected at YouTube over the last year. Windows 7 is no less a pig and no more secure than Vista was, everything the Microsoft boosters say is a lie. All of these videos were made after the RTM date and most after the October 22nd, 2009 shelf date. The best have bold dates.
This ZDNet opinion piece has got to be the worst defense of unethical business practices I've see to date. Basically, the author admits M$ bribes and punishes OEMs and that's AOK with him. Let's preserve this gem:
a company gets twice as much from a PC with their brand on it as one they make for someone else. MSI needs this money to survive in a world where its Chinese partners can undercut them. The margin justifies MSIs existence.
It is also true that Linux cannot afford a presence in the channel. Its not how we roll. You cant invest in retailing if your product costs nothing. There is nothing to invest. Thats why Linux and open source depend on the Internet.
A monopolistic practice occurs when two sides are offering the same deal and one side gets all the business. But in this case both sides were not offering the same deal. Microsoft offered channel support, Linux a hearty handshake and rhetoric about freedom.
... What Linux needs to succeed is a way to offer more than was offered MSI. The question is, how would you structure a deal?
Well, that's a good question. What besides an OS that works and costs zero dollars does free software offer? OK, it can cost up to half what Windows costs if you get it customized and maintained by a company like Xandros. "Channel Support" is just a code word for exclusion of competition by bribes and threats, the very definition of anti-trust conspiracy. Lately, "Channel Support" has come at a terrible cost to companies like Asus. Retail partners like CompUSA, Circuit City and others who got themselves channel stuffed with Vista. This is what Li Chang, vice president of the Taipei Computer Association, was complaining about and it's worth a DOJ investigation. People don't want Windows, they want computers that work. Retailers and OEMs that don't deliver are going the way of other M$ partners and M$ themselves.
Ordinarily, I don't pick on language and style but the phrase, "how we roll," references to his parents' national origin bring special disgrace on ZDNet and the Wintel press. It's hard to tell if he's being cynical or if M$'s culture has really degenerated so far. This single article earns Dana a place in my Poison Pen Collection.
Roger Grimes makes this startling admission of public perception:
Youll often read similar recommendations to dump Microsofts Internet Explorer (I work full-time for Microsoft) and use any other browser instead. To completely protect yourself, theyll advise moving off of Microsoft Windows all together.
He goes on to make some long winded excuses and insult users in a way that's completely torn apart in the comments. His readers sanely point out that Window's endless problems have been well demonstrated. What's interesting about this article is not the same old blame the user and "popularity" excuses, it's that M$ is no longer able to pretend to the general public that "computer experts" still trust Windows. They don't and neither does anyone else any more.
I enjoy gloating, so a pair of articles, 1 and 2, from the M$ employee known as Mini Microsoft were quite enjoyable. It sucks to work for a big dumb company that's being raped by greedy and stupid people at the top of the org chart. It must suck even more at a company like M$, which long ago became a parasitic cult, loathed when people have the inclination to care. Mini's observations come through rose colored glasses, but there's no mistaking the lack of motivation and useful leadership.
He's got mood swings the size of Steve Ballmer's ego. He swings from wishing everyone well to wanting people fired, now - damn it! Desperately, he seeks a simple solution for his broken company but realizes none is can be found. This is typical of the emotional rollercoaster employees of a failing company ride.
Do you think that the concept of shared sacrifice would work at Microsoft? If it still felt like a company driven by the employees, probably so.
... if we still felt like the drive and ambition of the front-line employees shaped the company and defined it, then helping one another would make sense. But the huge growth shattered that sense of employee ownership, abetted by the abysmal Microsoft stock performance we've had since, yes, Mr. Ballmer became CEO.
Microsoft gorged itself at the buffet bar of mediocre hires. And now we're bursting at the seams and deadlocked. We are stagnant right when we have two major product releases coming in for landing
... Zero attrition. Stagnation. Organizational constipation. Nothing good comes out of that but corporate sepsis.
He proposes a crazy plan where people can move freely in the company but crashes hard the very same day. He celebrates the fifth birthday of his blog by basically saying, "I was right, M$ is stupid and hopeless. All of my efforts have been wasted."
Soon to be five years ago, I started this blog up because I felt Microsoft was a train not only off-track but also heading straight for a cliff. We were massively expanding and incapable of dealing with the exponential complexity that a fast growing Microsoft required of us. It appeared as though we were growing for growth's sake and without a particular elegant plan in mind. [twitter note: most people think they were just buying revenue to keep their stock price from collapsing.]
... Early 2009, we publically reached that cliff and went flying off.
... all the publicity this blog has garnered and the awkward questions it forced to be asked, none of it helped to avoid that cliff we've been steaming towards the last five years. My reality check has been cashed.
Yes Mini, you were right. Non free software quit making sense about a decade ago. Everything M$ has done since then has been to perpetuate a lie to enrich top leadership at M$, broadcast media and other fraudulent companies. Vista is non free software's crowning achievement in treacherous and disfunctional computing. Re arranging the org chart won't make Windows 7 any better. The non free software development model will never be able to provide enough resources to code production to make it competitive. This is true even if M$ were to quit wasting billions on Zune, Xbox, advertising and executive toys like the world's larges private yacht and failed private resort towns. But they won't do that any more than they will divest NBC, CNBC or any of the rest of the news organizations bought by M$, the Gates Foundation or funded by M$'s massive budget. The lies will go on till the company falls over like Enron did. M$ has entered the same death spiral it created for so many more worthy companies over the years. M$'s demise alone won't bring the owners of those other companies justice. That will take many protracted lawsuits to strip the ill gotten wealth from those who think they have gotten away with it. A country of ruined worker bees will be more than happy to see it happen.
To: Microsoft Internal
From: Walmart/Linux Taskforce: Robin Bradshaw, Christine Briggs, Mark Croft David Hoffman & Tom Perrier
CC: Rogers Weed
Date: May 16, 2006
Microtel PCs without an operating system ("naked") first started appearing on Walmart.com in CY 01. We responded by workding with Walmart.com on the language that was used to market those PCs. The focus was on "anti-piracy" messages.
The first Microtel Lindows PCs appeared on Walmart.com in June 2002. We are responding with a taskforce and coordinated efforts to understand the situation and intentions of all parties involved.
To date, there has been a lot of press about the Linux PCs selling on Walmart.com (See attached list of articles.) The media has been mixed, some telling a positive story about the Linux efforts and some pointing out the flaws in the offerings. One consisten message is that these are "substandard" PCs based on todays technology advances.
There is one critical data point we are missing: volume. Walmart will not disclose the volume of Microtel PCs they are selling, and Microtell has told us they are under a "non-disclosure agreement with Walmart." We have been working on some tactics so attempt to obtain volume estimates, but at this time, we can't confirm any numbers.
- We understand that Microtel is shipping approximately 100 units per week on Walmart.com orders.
- We understand that most of the volume is at the $199 price point.
- We understand that most of those systems are shipping with NO OS. (Naked Systems)
- We understand that there has not been a customer satisfaction issue. Walmart sets fairly strict standards for customer return rates and service calls.
The PR activity and focus from Walmart has definitely increased out efforts to understand the Linux threat on the desktop. Several Linux PCs were purchased and evaluated. See the summary of those findings below.
Linux on the Desktop
Microtel is a small system builder in the City of Industry California. A couple of principles in the company came from a previous OEM Mitsuba. Microsoft filed suit against them in _____ for piracy and they went out of business. They haven't been proponents of Microsoft, their volumes haven't warrented direct account management, and we just began to engage and build a relationship with them in 2002.
We started to engage with Microtel in the beginning of FY02, but the AM was met with a closed door and had little if no success. When the Lindows issue broke, Tom Perrier (tperrier), Microsoft System Builder RSM, discovered that Rich Hindman was their VP of Sales/Marketing (from Mitsuba). Tom had worked with Rich prior at AST Computer. Tat got us in the door and Rich is open to work on the relationship with Microsoft and Tom, but isn't sharing any information regarding their plans of volume. This is a summary of his progress with Rich:
1.) Continue the engagement with Rich Hindman to focus on strategies to differentiate the offerings as Microtel introduces a new wave of SKU's. This will seperate the offerngs and focus on the added value of the Windows based systems. (Avoid the current situtation where the $299 Windows Home SKU is the same config as Lindows model but $100 more for the same model with XP Home, with no other differentiation). This can be accomplished with scenarios like the Office XP 20-Day trial (in place today).
2.) They are still very "non-disclosure" oriented. I tried and tried, but could not get Rich to divulge any shipment data. I continue to think that the shipments out of their facility in City of Industry are small. In addition, Rich would not give me any real data for the current PRM Account Profilling that we are doing.
3.) All of the conversations with Microtel are centered on growing their Microsoft business, and improving the relationship between Microtel and Microsoft. We avoid any direct conversations on Linsows.
4.) Rich realizes and states that Microtel is getting increased focus and attention based upon their offerings on the Wal-Mart.com site. He will continue to take advantage of these opportunities as they arise.
5.) In developing the relationship with the local VIA Sales Rep, Roger Goh (rogergoh), System Builder AM was able to determine that the systems built for Walmart.com are build somewhere on the east coast, and the volume is approx 1000 a week. He was not able to get the mix.
Tom has been working closely with the taskforce team and David Hoffman on driving a longer term strategy with Walmart.com. Microtel seems willing to do the implementation.
Retail relationship efforts have been historically focused on Walmart corporate and not walmart.com. There is a high level of autonomy at walmart.com. They are not managed under the same guidelines and processes as Walmart corporate. They are making their own decisions about product offerings. Luke Ellison is the Technology Manager at Walmart.com. David Hofman, Microsoft HRD Account Manager, has developed a relationship with Luke. He is eager to work on some additional Microsoft programs with David, but isn't sharing too much regarding their Linux plans. This a summary of his meetings with Luke:
1.) Luke is concerned that Microsoft is mad at them for selling Linux PCs.
a. He wanted to make sure that we knew that www.wal-mart.com is very "pro-Microsoft"
b. They feel that customers that purchase Linux PCs were never a "Microsoft" customer anyway, and that by offering Linux PCs, they were broadening their customer base
c. Their goal with Lindows was to hit a very low price point - if it sold, they would keep it, if it didn't they would dump it after 90-120 days. It's selling.
2.) "Naked PCs" (no O/S) are still outselling Linux PCs (but not by much)
a. They plan to start selling Windows XP OEM (bundled with mouse) as a standalone product (technically this is legit)
3.) All the machines are build-to-order and that www.wal-mart.com carries no inventory.
4.) They are currently working on a way to offer additional software bundles with all of their PCs (like Office, Anti-Virus, etc.)
5.) He mentioned that Microtel was upset about the E-machines deal with Wal-Mart retail, but that Wal-Mart didn't think Microtel could handle being a retail partner - it was just too big of a job for them.
David is working with Walmart.com to help them promote the Windows XP PCs that are listed on walmart.com today. In an effort to differentiate the Windows XP PC from the Linux PC, we are working on a consumer software title bundle to promote as part of the purchase of the Windows XP machine.
1.) Continue the relationship efforts with Microtel and Walmart.com. (Tom Perrier & David Hoffman)
2.) Develop a deeper understanding of the Linux efforts at other System Builders and OEMs in the US. (Datel, ZT Group, MEI etc) (Tom Perrier & Ken Goetsch)
3.) Work with Windows Team to understand options for a Windows XP eval solution. (Mark Croft)
4.) Stay close to HP and eMachines (tow OEMs selling PCs at Walmart) to understnd their efforts and position in the account.
http://biz.yahoo.com/fo/020821/doesn t do windows 3.html
Wal-Mart Sells Windows-Less Computers
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/review/2002-07-17-walmart-computers x.htm
Linux finds fans at Wal-Mart
Sun, Lindows.com Strike Deal
Mandrake on Lindows
Ever wondered how the tech press all ends up talking about the same stuff at the same time and why so many stories look like dupes that make Slashdot look original? There was an editorial revolt against PR practices by TechCrunch and Wired spills all the beans. TechCrunch is tired of "Embargos", a practice where talking points are issued to everyone who's willing to wait till a specified date to publish. Both TechCrunch and Wired are fed up with spams by people too lazy to build propper relationships. Both report ugly details of abusive manipulation by the PR firms and their masters. Though TechCrunch apparently fears Waggener Edstrom, they were happy to show off an ugly letter from someone from a weaker firm. The arrogance displayed is breathtaking.
Lois is one of the most obnoxious PR people you'll ever meet, and the poster child for everything that is wrong with the industry.
... Lois takes pleasure in making people miserable, and her specialty is spamming. ... [here's what she wrote someone who asked to be removed from a list] "CES publishes a list of press. You are one of a few thousand. ... I have seen nasty people like you melt away faster than a snowball going up hill in the rain. I am waiting for an apology. Maybe we can meet at CES for a hug or a slug. P.S. I just visited your web site. I would hardly call your blog a publication, However, you do have very interesting content ...."
Translation: eat my spam or die. TechCrunch thinks the PR firm's days are over,
As the economy turns south, PR firms are under increasing pressure to perform and justify their monthly retainers which range from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. In short, they have to spam the tech world to get coverage, or lose their jobs.
It's good to revolt against these practices but they only scrape the surface of what's wrong with tech writing. Neither deals with OEM manipulation that always backs up the worst of hack writing. PR firms are also engaged in a whole other world of abuse, astroturf and heckling designed to stifle academic and professional conversations which fall outside of market force control. The sooner these games end, the better informed all of us will be. Traditional news has long failed to inform, now much of it also fails to make money.
Story also submitted to firehose.
Yet another reviewer is tempted to Vista's annoyances and finds it still lacking.
Yes, I finally slowed down enough to let the Microsoft Vista steamroller catch me.
Although this PC is aimed at home and small business users, the Out Of Box Experience would make many of the people I know in those categories uncomfortable. First, the network connection didn't work.
... Second, the HP TotalCare and other setup crap gets really annoying. I'm almost certain I will delete most of these helper programs, but I'm going through all the standard steps just so I can feel the pain of all the users getting new Vista PCs this holiday. ... I had to download four big update files. I don't think these were for Microsoft, but for HP's software. Even more aggravating, while the main download popup windows sat in the middle of the screen, the task bar popups alerted me to start the exact updates that were already in progress. Speaking of progress, there doesn't seem to be much in this installation sequence over XP, at least not so far. ... Remember when nag screens were what you got from trial software, not purchased products? ... No sound from the speakers during installation, even though HP put a volume setting on the display like there should be sound. [he had to download drivers to make it work]
Elswhere, he describes his frustration with Vista networking.
Now that my sound function works, and I vented about the User Access Control, let's get to a serious problem: networking.
... Microsoft's bizarre configuration change turned DHPC into a source of incredible frustration. I've been fighting networks for over two decades and never, ever had to worry about DHCP before, but that was before Microsoft's incompetence with Vista.
Too bad he did not buy an HP system with GNU/Linux instead.
The most important early product on the way to developing a good product is an imperfect version.