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It seems that Microsoft is now so threatened by Google that they have allegedly hired a high powered Washington lobbying firm to smear Google to government regulators. What's so interesting isn't that this approach is so petty and childish--although it is that--it's that Microsoft, rather than relying on the quality of its own products to grow the company, would rather "screw" one of its chief competitors. It's definitely a "wow" moment.

What They Are Doing

According to the AOL Daily Finance article--Microsoft Secret 'Screw Google' Meetings in D.C.-- where this story broke, the general purpose of this group of people is to talk trash about Google to government regulators and policy makers in order to throw road blocks in front of Google. Writer Sam Gustin says his sources describe the activities this way:

"...Microsoft is trying to harm Google in the regulatory, legal, and litigation arenas because they're having problems with Google in the competitive marketplace."

To Google's credit, the article goes onto say, when asked for a comment, they wouldn't bite (and why would they):

"Of course we keep an eye on what's happening in the industry," Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich says, "but the focus of our Washington advocacy has always been advancing good public policy for the Internet and our users."

Microsoft May Want To Be Careful on That Front

Microsoft has had its share of run-ins with government regulators both in the United States and in the European Union. One of the reasons they were so successful in the 90s was because of well-publicizied anti-trust activities around Windows sales, which the US Government forced them to stop doing. More recently, Microsoft has had even bigger regulatory headaches from the EU. You would think they might be a little sensitive to this approach, given their history.

They Could Try Making Really Good Products

I'm fairly sure that Google and Apple (and other tech companies) are also playing dirty pool behind the back of their competitors. The idea in any capitalist game is to do your level best to wipe out the competition. I get that, but instead of trying to "screw Google" in Washington or try to one-up Apple's 'Get a Mac' ads, Microsoft could just try making products that work, that people want because they're really good.

Instead, the corporate strategy recently seems to be to spend hundreds of millions of dollars hiring lobbyists or ad agencies with the goal of trashing their competitors. It's a sad testament to the current state of the organization, and it's really time for Microsoft to refocus its priorities on its products and its customers.

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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Last Post by kaninelupus
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I don't know why anyone should be surprised -- Microsoft hasn't been about quality products since they became the keepers of DOS. Look at the antitrust lawsuit, look at numerous EU lawsuits, look at ALL the stunts they have pulled. An early version of IE, when you ran it, reduced the working memory of Netscape so that ran incredibly slowly -- I suppose MS would call that "innovation".

Hiring lobbyists? That's mild for this crew. GW gave them a green light, they got to their judge somehow, the way is open for them.

rc

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I think it is quite scary how the world has let itself become so dependent on one companies product. What we do now without Windows?

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Thanks for the comment RC. I agree, I shouldn't be shocked by this development, but I still am. Seems like the resources would be better spent elsewhere.

Ron

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Casablanca,
No need to be dependent on Windows. There are alternatives if you really want to switch from Microsoft.

Thanks for leaving a comment.

Ron

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No one nowadays is forced to use Microsoft products, there are alternatives, altough I must say that Windows 7(rc) is an OS that has improved in many aspects, unlike Vista.

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The jury is still out on Win 7, but all reports indicate it's much better than Vista (although that wouldn't take much). I agree there are plenty of alternatives to using Microsoft products.

Thanks for the comment.
Ron

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Isn't it amazing how a person can read a single article, and base a whole rant off it. Keep ears posted to most of the major tech news sites, and hasn't even rated a mention. But given the way, as MS made efforts to clean up their act, that both Apple and Google have both ran their own dirty tricks campaigns, is not surprising MS has dished a little back!

I get that, but instead of trying to "screw Google" in Washington or try to one-up Apple's 'Get a Mac' ads, Microsoft could just try making products that work, that people want because they're really good.

If you'd spent time using Win7 instead of huffing and puffing, you'd realise they already have. Yes, in some ways they dropped the ball with Vista - although unlike the "hypists" such as you, actually have a fair understanding of what went wrong - they are well placed with their latest offering.

@rcook - you might like to notice that Google and Apple often lay their support behind said EU witch-hunts, even while blatantly flouting the laws themselves... says it all really!

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That's what bloggers do, my friend. We watch the tech news and when we find something interesting like this article, we react to it.

As for Win 7, as I said, let's just wait and see until it's in production and on desktops. It may be a decent OS. I have no idea, but Microsoft has been making bug-filled software for years and years. I've been using PCs and Microsoft software since the mid-1980s. I didn't just fall of the turnip truck and start leveling criticism at them. I speak from years of experience using their products.

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Every software you find will always have bugs, windows encapsulate many things from regular users so it is natural to find a lot of bugs, but I'll tell you that Windows 7 is actually very stable in that matter.

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From everything I've read, I've heard that's true, and I look forward to seeing it in action to find out.

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As for Win 7, as I said, let's just wait and see until it's in production and on desktops. It may be a decent OS. I have no idea, but Microsoft has been making bug-filled software for years and years. I've been using PCs and Microsoft software since the mid-1980s. I didn't just fall of the turnip truck and start leveling criticism at them. I speak from years of experience using their products.

That may be true, but have also been around more than a little while, and am yet to see an OS, or major piece of software that doesn't have it's share of bugs, especially when first rolled out. MS just seems to get slammed more than any other party.

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It's not so much when it first gets rolled out because as you say that's expected with an OS or major piece of software. It's how they deal with the aftermath. There is little doubt that Vista was a piece of crap at release and remains so. There are blue screens and auto shut downs and variety of problems even in XP, which after a long time was finally "stabilized." I've used a variety of OSs, Microsoft doesn't get picked on because of who it is, it gets picked on a lot of the time because the criticism is warranted.

Ron

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I always wonder about the many anti MS comments I see on forums, I've used many OS's and would probably describe myself as a MAC Fan boy back in the day, but this was in the time of DOS and I was using an apple LISA. We forget that OSes mature and they all are, in the days of Pre OS X people in support called the MAC OS Kackintosh (Anything sh*te in the UK is often described as kack for anyone not from the UK).

IMHO all of the big companies MS, Apple, Google et al are pretty much the same, none really subscribe to ethics in the same way an individual will or does. They are simply in it for the profit and they will flout the law if they think they can. Anyone remember the Google T's and C's you had to sign if you wanted to use Google Docs, basically you signed over ownership to them, imagine it, your writing a book/article you use Google docs to do this and you publish, next thing you get a letter from the Google lawyers saying you've stolen something that is theirs. Google went on to change this and said it was an administrative error. Administrative error, now that is the funniest thing ever, especially if you know lawyers and big firms. This will have been seen by an army of people and will have been signed off several times. It was simply Google trying it on and seeing if they could get away with it.

The latest round of Apple adverts claims they are virus free faster etc etc. Anyone remember OSX/Leap-A? and I have yet to see anyoen prove to me an Apple is faster. I also suspect an Apple is an idea target for anyone wanting to really do some damage. Imagine the number of designers out there who use Macs don't have Anti Virus software because why the hell should they pay £30 for a piece of software that they believe they don't need? Infect said computer, with something that will add an iFrame to any html files and wait for them to upload it to their clients site, suddenly you have websites all over the world infected and all the Fan boys are sitting in there smugness saying Macs don't have viruses.

As to Windows 7 I've used it since Beta and I like it, Vista was a total disaster, but their again maybe we should be thanking MS for this, it's the reason we now have very cheap hardware, because the likes of DELL, ACER ASUS HP and the legion of other companies selling laptops had to seriously discount their hardware to just shift them from the shelves. Here in the UK you can buy a really decent laptop for £400 it beggars belief as to how cheap they are now, dual core 4gb of ram and XP pro (All be it downgraded) for £400 not long ago you’d have paid double that for a well spec’d machine. While I'm writing this there is a Dell ad on this site that is advertising a dell Vostro for £399. If ony Apple could screw up thier OS in the same so I could get hold of an Airbook for the same price as the beautiful Samsung x360 so I could once again appear smug to my friends :-)

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Windows has always had the probelm of trying to work for everyone, this means lots of driver faults (which cause most of the windows crashes) whereas Apple only release products with hardware they know works with their o.s , linux is doing a good job of what windows is doing but has the advantage of not having to put many man hours into workng on security due to its lack of viruses.
Windows 7 is the best windows o.s ive ever used , xp is nice but outdated, osx is over rated and linux is the underdog that has yet to really shine
On a note of being childish ive always found the get a mac ads very childish by directing attacking windows rather than spending the time to big up their own product.
Thats just my opinion

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I suppose it depends on your perspective, and humor is a subjective thing, but I found the Get a Mac ads highly clever. I have to say also if OSX is so overrated, why does Microsoft keep trying to make Windows look like it? Finally, I agree it is a much steeper hill to climb when you are trying to create an OS to work across an infinite amount of hardware and software, but if you can have a machine without those headaches wouldn't you do it? I've used PCs for more than 20 years. I've used a Mac on a daily basis for the last 3. I would take the Mac any day. I'm not a Mac Fan Boy per se. I recognize it's imperfect, as is all technology, but it works much more consistently than any PC I've owned over the years (and there have been many).

Thanks for the comment. This has become quite a lively discussion, which I really love to see.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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Clever??? Hardly!

As a born cynic myself, I can tell you it takes a lot less imagination to poke holes at the competition than to actually advertise the quality of one's own product. As to "I have to say also if OSX is so overrated, why does Microsoft keep trying to make Windows look like it?", you do realise that in the six months btwn the announcement of then-Longhorn (and all the hyped features) and the initial release of OS X, many of those "hyped" features suddenly made their way into Apple's offering (as testified by the lucky chosen ones who actually had access to OS X test builds)? And how exactly is Win7 anything like OS X (do remember I teach IT and digital arts in a school with a spread of both Mac and PC systems)? At the end of the day, ideas do indeed get spread around... heaven forbid one is limited to a single OS, based on one or two unique features; but to use as a point for shot-firing is ridiculous... no-one is guilt-free on that account.

Also, you mention how things just work better on a Mac, and less hardware/driver issues... have you ever tried to run a non-Apple MP3/MP4 player on a Mac? Considering Apple actively prevents any other company from developing applications to support competing products from operating in the Mac-zone.

Am I anti-Mac... yup. All we ever hear about is the flaws with MS, while in the other corner is a company actively and deliberately practising more anti-competitive and more immoral tactics and methodology than any other player on the market; all while basing their marketing on poking fun at the opposition. Maybe it's time the EU and the like started pointing their peepers in Apple's direction... but maybe they're waiting for Apple to become a serious contender before they bother!

Edited by kaninelupus: n/a

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Windows makes it look similar to mac osx because thats what people one, the majority of the population see mac os x as the "best" so why would microsfot want to make their product look totaly different when its not what people want. like if you wanted a ferrari but can't afford it what good what it be if i was to offer you a ford , however if i was to offer you a audi tt which is nice and sporty but cheaper.
And I agree that current windows editions arn't exactly stable however from the RTM build of windows 7 i have to say that I am impressed in the improvements microsoft has made since vista.
And i never did find the get a mac adverts funny, i dont get what was suppose to be funny , it seemed more like it was aimed for already mac owners by saying all us "pcs" wearing nasty brown suits and are overweight which hurt me inside *sob sob*

Steve

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I actually run Windows Media player on the Mac without an issue, so yes I have tried to use Non-Mac native problems. I'm not going to get into a Mac-PC war with you, so let's just leave it at that. Thanks again for taking the time to comment

Ron

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Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was referring to iPod alternatives (ie, Creative Zen models, or Zunes). Getting anything beyond file uploading/dl'ing from device usually requires 3rd party (usually open source) apps and utilities, as the original vendors usually prevented from supplying equivalent apps themselves... was a major gripe from Creative.

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Have to agree with you Ron this is a lively thread :-)

I guess what irritates me about the adds (And also why they are considered clever by some) is because their adds are selling cool (and they do work) and in a free market nothing wrong with this, I'm just amazed so many people fall for this, for example a client of mine just bought 5 new shinny laptops £415 ex VAT pretty good spec, it's his daughters 13th birthday and she HAS to have a Mac (She's told him all her friends have one etc etc etc) now he's coughing up £745 for a 13 year old, now that's the power of the Mac marketing machine.

iTunes drives me insane, ever tried syncing your music to another computer? Or worse still your computer has died and you have your music only on your iPod? Plug it into another machine and you get a do you want to sync your files dialogue box. Any reasonable person would say YES of course I want to sync, at which point they say goodbye to their music, because it doesn’t really sync what it does is delete your music on your iPod. Now I know if you know about this and know a thing or two about computers and have a spare hour or two and want to buy a third party app then you can sort this, but this isn't exactly user friendly is it?. The same thing happens with my Zen I copy and paste it and it only takes as long as the copy itself no lost music and I haven't wasted hours of my life trying not to loose my music or recover something that has been deleted by something that should be protecting my music. However apparently iTunes is still cool; anything that deleted my music warrants termination, not adulation and this is not to mention the army of iPhone users who can't see that iTunes is NOT a legitimate piece of software in a business. I've lost count of the times I've had rants from people who absolutely MUST have iTunes. iTunes and roaming profiles really doesn't work.

As to how ethical Apple is, remember the IPod workers in China? Working 80-100 hour weeks living in dormitories with 100 other people, not allowed to have friends visit and all this for the golden sum of $80-$100 a MONTH apples excuse was they didn’t know about this because they outsource this. Sounds like the NAZI guards excuse to me. Getting an iPod made for $5 didn't ring any alarm bells as to how is it possible to make something so cheaply without making shortcuts? And all this escaped the main press; I'm still at a loss how this happened. I guess the media just thought; this won't sell us any magazines and if we do run this article all those shiny expensive adverts from Apple we get every year will disappear. This is very much like wearing a leopard skin coat because it's cool, stuff the cost hey?

Having said all this I would get an iPhone so not only have I sold to a company with very dubious ethics, but I'm soon to be in a whole world of pain with my music now.

David

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Thanks for the comment, David. I would suggest, however, that you are repeating the line offered by Microsoft in their ads. As I wrote in an earlier, post, Apple's Value is More Than Skin Deep, if you use a Mac, you would find that it's a lot more than just hype and glitz.

As for your iTunes/iPod issue, I agree it drives me nuts that the default is to write over the drive, but there is a setting in iTunes to make your iPod behave like a hard drive if that's what you prefer.

Yes, Apple is a corporation, so as such it's going to have ethical lapses, as I wrote recently in Good Apple, Rotten Apple, but I think the US Department of Justice has more than enough evidence to suggest that Microsoft clearly wins in the ethical lapse race. Apple, for the most part has let its hardware and software do the talking, while Microsoft used predatory practices throughout the 90s to sell Windows. The Ad wars are all part of doing business. Whether you like the Microsoft campaigns (which I've written that I don't) or the Apple ones (which I've written I do) are clearly matters of personal preference.

Finally, I own an iPhone and for the most part I love it. Is it perfect. No. It's a piece of technology and I've yet to find one that is, but Apple does a very good job with its products. It builds things people want, and it's not just about a good marketing machine because that only takes you so far. It's about building and supporting good products.

Thanks again, David. I'm really enjoying this discussion.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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Me too Ron, I'm not sure I would call the iPhone perfect but given I'll be getting one when I still have a contract with another Telco and I still have serious issues with the way the workers were treated in the iPod factory tells you all you need to know.

As to playing Microsoft's fiddle I like to think I can think for myself hence my intense irritation at the buy in on "Isn't it lovely" when you hear people talk about Macs. Horses for course I know I run several BSD servers and Ubuntu as well as Windows, so I'm not really talking as someone blinkered and wearing sunglasses because the Microsoft sun shines so brightly.

Back in the day I was acutely aware that the decision of Jobs to stop apple clones was a death bell for Macs as world beaters (In terms of numbers used). It was this and the irony isn't lost on me also the freely copied MS software (we're talking late 80's early 90's here that has led to their position today. Very simple really if you used a computer and someone "installed" a load software on your computer then you would use it, at the same time when your office finally got computers you'd probably say I used DOS/WFWG and there is this package called word it's amazing (and it was) then you've just influenced the company to buy into MS. I know this because I made this choice myself, my LISA died I could buy an apple classic for £1500 plus all the software, or else a friend of mine could help me build a 386 for £800 and he has all the software I needed. It’s how I started in I.T I tinkered and learnt. The problem for Linux is that the world of IT is way more mature and simply giving software away doesn’t work anymore, you need other more sophisticated ways of enticing people to move. Apple know this, which is why they spend so much time making things of beauty and then selling the story. It’s Hello magazine but about computers.


I guess my point about iTunes is the default setting should NOT be delete all files. I've worked in the support world since the days of windows for workgroups and prior to that I was a Mac Fan boy, remeber how expensive a LISA was? And in IMHO many people get as far as switching on and clicking on something as far as they are concerned there might as well be Magical Pixies (Disc world stylee) inside any type of computer so them knowing there is a check box somewhere isn't going to happen. Apart from anything deleting isn't even symantically correct. STOP NOW WE ARE GOING TO DELETE ALL YOUR IMPORTANT MUSIC IF YOU GO ANY FURTHER would be more correct. I do know someone that lost all of their music collection to this.

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David,
I completely agree with your last paragraph. It should NOT be the default setting and it's really stupid that it is. As for the rest, we'll have to save our Mac v. PC full out debate for another day. There are not enough hours in the day. :-)

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Ron, like you I do regularly have to use both PC and Mac, but haven't drunk the koolaid. To further qualify, till early this millennium was near-on a Mactard (certainly an evangelist) myself.

Now you mention the "predatory" behaviour of MS. Note that MS did much to clean up its image over recent years... mean-while Apple has run a blatant slander campaign, whilst maintaining a user-experience in "the bubble" (meaning they have total control over the hardware, as well as dictating what applications are allowed to run on their OS) - knowing full well that opening OS X to mainstream hardware would quickly blow away much of the fluff (did you know OS X actually runs faster on a generic PC than on their own over-priced hardware... look up the stats on OSx86 - and have seen the evidence first-hand by the way). Then we have Google with all their acquisitions, applying a Rebrand-or-Crush approach.

Now I'm actually not trying to turn topic into a MS V's Apple thread, but merely highlighting the fact that NONE of the players can claim the angelic halo in regards to their business ethics - they all have acted questionably in many an instance. What gets me is that many a media reporter/blogger focuses on MS, while ignoring the other elephants standing in the middle of the room.

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As I said, clearly in this article, I'm sure the other players do it, and if you read my body of work in the blog, you will see that I go after Google and Apple as well. While I don't necessarily agree that Microsoft has done much to improve its image in recent years--Vista anybody?--I do agree that all three players should and do face criticism from me as a blogger whenever I feel it's warranted. I write specifically about these three companies quite often, partly because they all product lots of news, partly because they each stumble along in their own way and partly because the dynamic between the three of them is so interesting. The idea for me is to find interesting connections and point them out to my readers as I see them.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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I agree Vista is an easy target... what seems quickly forgotten is the why, and the positives that have actually flowed on as a result of a could-have-been fatal disaster.

The WHY: you do need to remember that the Vista MS intended to release, and what we got were two very different beasts. Microsoft had then Longhorn ready for the first Beta releases in early-to-mid 2005, and of course enterprise/MSDN clients got the first look... the response was along the lines that Longhorn was not sufficiently compatible with those legacy apps which had been in use since Win 98 (or worse, Win 95), and heaven forbid forking out for any upgrades. Microsoft, knowing their Enterprise clients were and are their bread-and-butter, balked. The result... an OS released two yrs late (further entrenching many users in a by-then 7yr old OS), with most of those ideas plonked on an aging code-base never intended to be pushed so far - and we can all agree it was a disaster... no matter how pretty it looked!

Also, to be honest, I think some of those grand ideas simply lacked the hardware capabilities to make them a well-running viability... how quickly things have caught up.

As to the positives:
Look at the way, in just two and half yrs, the price of HDD's, vid cards, high-speed CPU's and RAM have come crashing down. Users of ALL OS's have benefited from that.

With Win7, we see a clear demonstration that MS learned from that mistake.

  • By offering "XP Mode" for those users still needing to run apps not post-XP compatible, they've been able to push further away from the older architecture, and massively fine-tune things; all without a loss of enterprise consumers.
  • Offering "XP Mode" has also freed up the resources to the point where they have managed to produce an OS which is not only more intuitive and user-friendly than Vista, but runs as light (in some case, lighter) as XP.
  • Closer collaboration with hardware vendors means that, this time, their ideas are actually feasible. The fact that nVidia recently declared Win7 new "gaming platform", due to the way the CPU and GPU work hand-in-hand to a level not seen before, says a lot.
  • One mistake they have made however is not using their clout to push the move to x64. IMO, they should have offered OEM's only x64 builds (except for Netbooks), whilst still offer ing the retail builds in both formats. Given the way many software vendors have dragged their heels in developing for x64, that kind of push would have made a huge difference.

As I said before, am not trying to stick a Halo on MS - to try and pin a halo to any of the big players would be a joke. Am more countering original claims as to MS offering only sub-quality software. The best testimony I can think of is this: the main critics who tore strips off MS over Vista, when they got their hands on Win7 and put it though its paces, were like "what are you waiting for? Get this out now!" Thus Win7 went from a due-date of almost mid next yr, to already at RTM and almost on the shelves... all due to extremely positive feedback. Using it myself, have found it a very usable, stable and resource efficient offering, as well as offer better hardware support than either XP or Vista (especially with all my BlueTooth peripherals).

As to their apparently undermining Google, ever think it might not be payback for their recent underhandedness? Remember, not that long ago, Google threw their weight behind the EU witch-hunt over the bundling of IE in Windows... then they announce their development of their own OS being built around, not just their own Chrome browser, but their entire "in the cloud" offering.

Ever think that Microsoft was giving Google a taste of its own medicine??

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