EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.08.09

Best Buy Has Collusion/Racketeering History with Microsoft, Anti-GNU/Linux Training Comes to Staples Employees Too

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Summary: A set of rebuttals to Microsoft’s hostile actions and reports on some new actions of this type

ALTHOUGH it has been a long weekend in the United States, everyone is talking about the Best Buy incident. Here is a mirror of the original Best Buy post (Photobucket did not serve the images at the most critical moments).

“This isn’t the first time Microsoft and Best Buy have colluded in racketeering,” remarks Slated, who reminds people of events from 2007:

Best Buy, Microsoft Accused Of Racketeering

When you think RICO you think Al Capone, or maybe Tony Soprano if you watch too much HBO. You don’t really think of Best Buy and Microsoft, do you? James Odom does. He’s the original plaintiff in a now 4 year old class action lawsuit that just won’t go away for Best Buy and Microsoft, one that now includes racketeering charges.

Are they warranted? Maybe. If what Odom says is true, some seriously shady business was going down between MSN and Best Buy—specifically, Odom accuses the store of taking money from Microsoft to sign customers up for accounts with MSN using their credit or debit card numbers without their consent.

For those who did not follow the recent events, Daily Finance has this summary.

Microsoft (MFST) is “indoctrinating” Best Buy (BBY) workers to sell its highly anticipated Windows 7 operating system using outright lies about the performance of open-source competitor Linux, according to Linux experts and at least one Best Buy employee who has seen the alleged Microsoft training slides.

Is it all true? Microsoft is certainly not denying it.

Microsoft has been asked about the memos but has neither confirmed nor denied their legitimacy. However, the material is both consistent with Microsoft’s visual style as well as its frequent attempts to discredit Linux as a threat, which in the past have involved paid-for studies that allegedly show Windows as superior to Linux for servers.

Our reader Ryan wrote a good long post on the subject.

There’s a certain demographic that will pay any price because they have lots of money to set on fire. These same people buy Hummer H2’s. The rest spend about a month’s salary every year or two on Microsoft software and partner products under the mistaken impression that they simply have to. They don’t want to, they’re not evil people, they’ve simply been led astray by the sales associate, the lowly peon making $8 an hour at the Best Buy store, the unwitting foot soldier in Microsoft’s propaganda battle. Exactly what’s in it for the sales associate if people continue maxing out their credit cards on shit they don’t need? They may be able to come back to work next Monday, or Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or whenever they’re expected to show up for their 4-8 hours shift so they can continue making the $8 an hour. It’s how retail treats people.

Rami wrote a technical rebuttal to Microsoft’s points that are erroneous.

In an effort to thwart Linux sales on netbooks, Microsoft has started a training program at Best Buy to “educate” their “experts” on Linux. And true to their fashion, MS resorted to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and straight out LIES! However, Microsoft still maintains that Linux is not a threat to their market, they are just spending all this money to “help” people make an educated decision. Funny thing, is that they ended up promoting Linux.

Another stronger rebuttal (warning needed about language) comes from this blog:

No iPod support? Really? And the Zune doesn’t work on the Mac either although there has been some progress from the Linux community. And I’ve never had any problems pulling pictures from cameras.

I’ve yet to see a printer that doesn’t have a driver. You might have to download it from the products website though (gasp!).

Yeah yeah. Software. Although WINE has been vastly improving lately (we even got around that stupid Secu-ROM).

There are free alternatives to all of the Windows Live “essentials”.

A UK perspective from our reader Goblin addresses the problem with similar shops in the UK (Microsoft would not get away with it all in the UK because of the law and the ASA).

“Stupid Customers” say PCworld/Currys staff? & FUD Training for retail?

[...]

The post is from a Best Buy employee who underwent Windows 7 training to sell Windows 7. The author of that post has provided commentary and it shows IMO a very good example of the sales techniques that some use to promote Windows on the net. Many lies are put about Linux on the net and my advice to any interested Linux user is simply to download a Live-CD and try it for yourself.

The danger being though, on the net its harder to tell a salesperson from an “ordinary user”.

Everyone is talking about Best Buy, but it’s not just Best Buy where this type of routine is being done. Here is what Staples employees are being exposed to.

I thought I’d post these images of Microsoft’s propaganda they’ve been distributing to Staples employees.

Numerous lies like greater compatibility than GNU/Linux-when most of the older hardware won’t work with MS Windows Vista. GNU/Linux is compatible with more hardware than any operating system in history. It may not work with some of the latest and greatest-but for the most part it works better. I don’t spend 3 hours fiddling with installing my printer drivers. I plug it in- and it just appears as an option in whatever program I need to print with.

“Microsoft has gotten them thinking about all the extra sales they can make,” explains Ryan, “selling you the software Windows doesn’t come with and “services” like when your Windows PC gets pwned by spyware, they can charge you $75 an hour to fix it. As far as extra software sales, they failed to mention that people like me still buy video games and such with the intention of running them in Wine [...] or MP3 players, because Linux does recognize all of them, except the Zune. [...] Microsoft slipped some Zune “training modules” into the Walmart employee training system. [...] They were hosted on their corporate intranet and the kiosked copy of MSIE was all you could run.”

“It looks like they’ve passed the “ignoring” stage…now they’re just fighting…badly.”
      –Wallclimber
Will says that “The best way to handle it would be for the salespeople to be like “Linux, what’s that? Never heard of it.” The fact that MS is having to train sales people against Linux means that people must be talking about it.”

“I agree,” says Wallclimber, “they are making way too much noise about it. It makes people more curious. It looks like they’ve passed the “ignoring” stage…now they’re just fighting…badly.”

Microsoft is giving itself a reputation of a bully again, helping us all forget about the legendary “new Microsoft”.

Will adds: “I’m not sure how to put this, but It still feels a bit odd that MS is simultaneously training people not to sell stuff they don’t offer anyway, as well as not to sell stuff they do offer.”

I’ve asked whether going to shops and trying to forbid sales of rivals would be illegal. Ryan raised the “Truth in Advertising” flag, arguing that “they probably word their arguments vaguely enough to get away with it.” Will wrote: “Like I saw somewhere (maybe here, maybe /., can’t remember), ‘Does BMW send stuff to train other car dealers not to sell GM, Chrysler, what-have-you?’ [...] BMW relies on its reputation to sell stuff. Apple does the cute ads, but in general they expect people to come to them. MS doesn’t have that kind of reputation or rapport.”

Microsoft is resorting to similar practices elsewhere, as noted by one of the regular contributors of ZDNet UK here:

MS-BS Quotient Off the top of the Charts.

Those numbers touting an 11 second boot time are from HIBERNATION files. Not from a cold start. As a result, they are total crap. I did my own “tests” on Win 7.

The reality behind Vista 7 proves that there is a lot of false advertising. On top of that, in order to suppress GNU/Linux use in sub-notebooks, as well as sub-notebooks as a whole, Microsoft pressures OEMs. It is about the sub-notebooks market. It’s just too troubling to Microsoft's profitability.

With limitations on hardware and pressure on OEMs, Microsoft is able to eliminate low-end machines, which in turn harms consumer choice. Where are those $199 sub-notebooks these days? As pointed out here, gaps were blurred such that Microsoft can restore margins.

Can we all agree on something? There’s no longer a difference between a netbook and a notebook. Thanks to netbooks’ move to more features and larger-size screens, the distinction between the two can now be considered little more than marketing speak.

It is sad to see a software company (but also Intel) telling OEMs how to sell computers; it should be the other way around, but there is no monopoly in OEMs, so Microsoft can discriminate and ‘punish’ those who do not obey demands.

Related posts:

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. David Gerard said,

    September 8, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Gravatar

    I’d *love* to see Microsoft being caught trying to pull this stuff in the UK. Conspiracy to defraud the consumer does not go down at all well with Trading Standards.

What Else is New


  1. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  2. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  3. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  4. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  5. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  6. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  7. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  8. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  9. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  10. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  11. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  12. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  13. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  14. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  15. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  16. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  17. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  18. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  19. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  20. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  21. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  22. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  23. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  24. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals



  25. Operating Systems Usage Based on Technical Site Statistics

    ome numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)



  26. Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

    Links for the day



  27. Proprietary Software on Top of Proprietary Software (AV on Windows) Only an Illusion of Security

    Remarks on the recent revelations about code and communication interceptions targeting insecurity firms and Microsoft's claim that 'transparency' alone would be enough to assure security



  28. The EPO's Circus of Nepotism, Corporatism and Gross Abuse is Promoting the Unitary Patent

    The shameful management of the EPO, which Benoît Battistelli constructed based on his nefarious self-serving agenda, keeps pushing forth in a direction that greatly harms European citizens while mistreating the EPO's technical staff (scientists and examiners)



  29. Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

    Links for the day



  30. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Staff in Munich Demonstrated Against EPO Management Yesterday Afternoon

    Earliest coverage of yesterday's protest against EPO corruption and abuses


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts