Microsoft Buys LinkedIn for £26.2 Billion

msft+lnkd

LinkedIn’s 400 million users are worth some $60 each to Microsoft. The internet is not amused at the prospect of Microsoft-LinkedIn. Just as Microsoft’s purchase of Skype proceeded the explosion of rival messaging apps expect a surge when LinkedIn forces you to get a Microsoft login, use Outlook and becomes strangely incompatible with Apple products. It is the biggest tech deal this year and shows the game is not over in the tech bubble…

MPs Emails’ Accessed by GCHQ

MPS EMAILS HACKED THERESA MAY

MPs voting on the Snooper’s Charter next week might be swayed to oppose Theresa May’s anti-privacy laws by the revelation that GCHQ are already accessing their emails. New documents released by Edward Snowden show GCHQ not only intercepts MPs’ communications – it also scans them in bulk using security software installed to supposedly filter spam emails. GCHQ has been able to skirt around strict rules governing the interception of internal UK communications due to parliament’s decision to switch to Microsoft Office for its email service. This means private emails sent by MPs are routed through servers in Ireland and the Netherlands, with each one being scanned and recorded by GCHQ. MPs should remember they’re governed by the laws they create…

H/T Computer Weekly

Microsoft’s AI Twitter Bot Trolls WIth Sick Breivik Jibe

Microsoft’s pioneering Artificial Intelligence Twitter bot, @TayAndYou, recently came under fire for posting a series of incredibly racist tweets (subsequently deleted by Microsoft’s panicking geeks). It made the mistake of learning from the trolls who tweeted at it. Belatedly it would appear the out-of-control bot’s handlers didn’t quite catch everything, though, with @TayAndYou continuing to interact with users over sensitive areas, including joking about crazed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik:

tayandyou breivik

And even engaging in a sexually fuelled exchange with a complete stranger:

tayandyou butthole

Still more pleasant than some of the trolls on Twitter…

Taxpayers 1-0 Microsoft

Office-2013-vs-LibreOffice-4-featured

The Crown Commercial Service has signed a deal with an open source software company called Collabora Productivity that will make the Libre Office software available across all government departments. Libre Office is a free version of Microsoft Office, a software package that the government spends millions in license fees to use. Collabora will provide a specially tailored version of Libre Office for free and will provide technical assistance and support.

The CCS deal is their latest move in a long running campaign to stamp out the public sector culture of mindlessly funnelling taxpayer money to big software companies and comes on the back of Government Digital Service’s victory in forcing Microsoft into supporting Open Document Formats. Libre Office uses the ODF standard and by making Microsoft support the format, CCS have opened the door for a seamless switch to free opensource software such as Libre Office. Don’t expect Microsoft to go down without a fight…

Happy 20th Birthday Windows 95

old-pc-windows-95

Twenty years ago today Microsoft unleashed the Windows 95 operating system on the world. Complete with a start menu, minimizable windows and Internet Explorer, Techno’s childhood would have been very different without it. But perhaps Windows 95’s greatest gift to the world was this hour long “cyber sitcom”  starring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry that exaplined how the operating system worked:

Looks like they had the right Outlook…

London’s Coppers Still Stuck on Windows XP

Met-Police-logo

The Met Police are continuing to use 35,560 computers still running the increasingly vulnerable Windows XP. Microsoft don’t even officially support XP anymore…

The revelation that our nation’s finest are still relying on the antediluvian software, loved by hackers, comes just a year after the government was forced to shell out £5.5 million in order to keep public sector Windows XP machines “updated” by Microsoft. The Met have confirmed that they have their own “Custom Support Agreement” with Microsoft that will reduce the “risk” of their computers being compromised. Even Techno’s mum has upgraded to Windows 7…

Government Digital Service Beats Microsoft into Submission

digital gov

The Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service unit has triumphed in its long running battle to force Microsoft into supporting Open Document Formats. The Seattle giant conceded in a blog post that its next Office 365 update will include support the ODF format, ensuring that their popular office software will remain usable across government departments.

The software giant threw a hissy fit last year when GDS chose the ODF format as the standard for editable office documents to be used across government, launching a a formidable campaign to strong-arm the government into adopting a their own XML format. By holding their nerve, GDS appear to poker-faced Microsoft into backing down. Are we starting to see big software companies lose their grip on the public sector teat?

Microsoft Shakes Down Public Sector for Dosh

baseball-bat

Large software providers such as Microsoft and Oracle are stepping up their “audit review” raids on public sector customers, propping up their dwindling licensing sales with fines for licencing agreement non-compliance. According to a report by Cerno, 39% of local authorities have been subjected to review in the the last 20 months, with 60% of them forced to cough up heavy penalties. Paid for out of public funds.

Some public sector organisations are starting to see the benefit of moving away from expensive propriety IT solutions, with their moves to open source and in-house solutions forcing big software companies to find other ways of squeezing them for cash. The user rights of public sector IT contracts are extremely complex and often misunderstood, leaving the door open for software companies to swoop in and levy fines for arrears in licence fees and support.

Is the software mafia’s grip beginning to slip?

Google, Microsoft and Amazon Extorted By Adblock

shake down

Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft have been shaken down for an undisclosed amount of cash by AdBlock Plus, the world’s most popular adblock service. In exchange for a “fee”, AdBlock Plus will stop blocking adverts on their websites. With the ability to decide what adverts its 300 million users do or do not see, Eyeo, the owners of Adblock Plus have found themselves in the unusual position of being able to dictate terms to the likes of Google who depend on advertising for revenue.

Eyeo operates a “whitelist” of acceptable adverts that it doesn’t block. While joining the list is free for small websites, large companies are required to pay a “fee” to keep their advert revenue streams protected. While the amount Google, Amazon and Microsoft coughed up is unknown, one digital media company told the Financial Times that Eyeo had asked for  equivalent to 30% of the additional ad revenues that it would make from being unblocked.

 

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