Microsoft is monetizing EVERYTHING in their software arsenal. The OS, as well as Edge, Outlook, Teams, in fact all of Office 365 is data gathering and setting up virtual “auctions” of your data to third parties (including governments). I know all of you are thinking how naive is he to think it is otherwise, but when I saw this week’s Windows Weakly, Thurrott really did open my eyes on how pervasive this is and will become even more…and be sure to stay in the video until you get to the part about Microsoft is all in on delivering half-baked software solutions, particularly in AI, to stay ahead of the pack…the first 25 minutes of the program is scary to me…
I guess maybe Steve Ballmer was the first non-founder CEO of Microsoft; but he had a lot of early shares that made him rich. Satya clearly had far fewer early/original shares that he could profit from. This monetization effort drives up his shares, and those of the institutional investors that now control Microsoft.
I’m all for freedom of contract, and minimizing government regulations, but at some point doesn’t the lack of serious commercial alternatives to mega vendors like Microsoft Apple and Google. render our “consent“ virtually meaningless?
It will be interesting to see what Apple has to disclose in this manner. If we go by what they say–and initiatives like ADP, then it shouldn’t be much.
But if it is like MS? Then we are really screwed…
I’ve been a good little capitalist all my adult life, but this makes the early robber barons look like pikers. Worst of all it is universal - NOT ONE OF THE BIG BOYS give a flip for their customers, not even Apple (in fact if you look objectively at Apple vs the others, what they are really promising is that third parties won’t mine your date through them - only APPLE gets to mine your data).
Okay…, finally got through that. (Too much going on in the house today, so I had to listen in pieces. And I checked out at the whiskey tasting portion.)
What a great podcast! I’d never heard of these guys. Or “Twit.tv” for that matter.
For the couple years when I was trying to get in on the podcast scene myself, I was really finding my speaking brain amping up and becoming quite agile as a direct result. Whereas over the last year where I’ve done very little in front of a camera, I can feel that same part of my mind sliding away. It’s somewhat alarming. Listening to these guys throws that feeling into sharp relief. -All of which is to say…, they’re really good at it! Very easy listening. I’m going to tune in regularly.
As per the subject matter…
Very little of that stuff regarding privacy or information harvesting surprises me. -Though, some of the numbers do! Billions of dollars in revenue through app sniffing? That’s a lot of clams!
Of course, I tend to not require much in the way of confirmation when it comes to my suspicions about Big Tech and Government. I’ve long been content to operate under the assumption that Microsoft and Apple and Google and everybody else are thoroughly corrupt and that their technology is monitoring everything and everyone through every available sensor, and I conduct my affairs accordingly.
-Why some people choose to give the benefit of doubt and offer plausible skepticism to those criminals is beyond me! Sadly, a lot of those same people tend to have also gotten all their boosters and subscribe to all manner of silly ideas, so the likelihood of their being around to keep me aggravated is diminishing by the day. (Choosing to believe in lies is rapidly becoming an unsustainable survival burden.)
The podcast crew pointed out that humans are really great and really awful at the same time. Human nature and Power leads to corruption, and it pays to assume the worst.
-As it happens, I’m currently re-reading through my old collection of real world spy books. Two of which stand out; “The Secret Team” (by Fletcher Proutey) -covering the birth and development of the American government secret agencies (mainly the CIA) from the 1940’s through to the 1980’s, and “The Lost Hegemon - Whom the Gods Would Destroy” (F. William Engdahl) which covers the CIA and their antics from the 1970’s through to 2010-ish…
The upshot being…, you must not only always assume that surveillance and social engineering are happening, and that they are being used in malign ways, but that it is being handled with epic levels of both mastery and incompetence at the same time.
-Mastery in the granular engineering level. (Those phones sure are clever and hard to make and program, but boy do we ever do that well!) and Epic Incompetence in the “Why, Wherefore and WTF?” department. Nobody is acting in a responsible manner, nobody is properly in charge, and if they are, their minds are full of stupid, short-sighted ideas which can be counted on to crash all the ships into all the icebergs. Everything is Bay of Pigs, all the time.
To explain that reference to those of you who haven’t been immersed in obscure history books for the last month…, each component of the CIA’s secretly planned U.S. invasion of Cuba of which the President had no idea was even happening until after the fact, (true!), -from the months of troop training and weapons readiness and flight plans, etc., all of that was put together by the best of the best experts, but the final coordination was such a complete clusterduck with no oversight and no objective other than mindless forward momentum, that thousands of brave men died pointlessly on a beach because of a series of comically stupid reasons and absent leaders who didn’t stop at any point to wonder, “What exactly are we doing and why are we doing it, and who exactly is in charge of all this?” It was a headless beast galloping at full speed ahead to… where?
I see the same kind of madness going on today in the information/consumer tech sphere.
There’s no brilliant evil overlord with a sinister plan. It’s just a lot of sinister small time management goons who can’t coordinate, and a bunch of exceptionally talented techs bent over their work desks obsessively crafting their individual little grommits and levers which make the whole thing possible.
The moral of the story being: Don’t trust that somebody “Up There” is in control, plug all the holes you can, and plan your life around the expectation of critical systems exploitation at every level, and that nasty people who want to hurt and steal from you exist in key positions and are having a grand old time right now.
We’d be giving a naive level of doubt benefit to think that the most important chips in our devices are not compromised on the hardware level for the job of surveillance. The only glimmer of relief from that is the people doing that listening aren’t selling your info to advertisers. (They don’t need to make money from adverts. Their money comes from poppy sales.)
FIRST AND FOREMOST - @thatcomicsguy this is an epic post and will stand as the best of 2024…
What struck me the most (and hardest) was Thurrott’s revelation that even HE could not successfully block this spying and keep it blocked. Microsoft has exercised such control at the OS level that they CAN’T be stopped. That is scary…
For a moment I thought you were talking about Nadella and AI…
The short answer to @dstrauss question is of course they are, they have no choice.
That’s an interesting point. But where/when/how? For instance, as much as some here think it was a good thing that the EU mandated the use of USBC connectors, I’m not sure in the long run it’s a good thing as it has the potential for stifling innovation IMHO. And in some ways lightning was/is still a superior connection as you haven’t seen a certified lightning connector cable burn up. Or crack the case of the iPhone as often as the USBC now appears to.
Or for that matter what if the EU way back when had mandated the use of the IBM PS2 connector for mice and keyboards?
As to the broader topic at hand, MS is doing what they are supposed to do as all good capitalists do which is maximize revenue and thus shareholder value.
Is Apple certainly any different in the broad sense? Or is it just that their methods are different eg. refusing to put MacOS on the iPad Pro.
And MS can’t go back to charging for upgrades directly as Apple saw to that with them stopping the practice albeit when they realized early on that they could do that by locking the OS to only their products which truly have a significantly higher premium than on the Windows world even with the addition of a semi annual paid OS upgrade.
And while they need far more polish in many cases, some of the “AI” additions truly provide new and beneficial features that in the past MS would have charged as a version upgrade.
Arguably MS is just being more open about it.
As to the data harvesting and privacy issues, my opinions on this are still evolving.
For instance I’m still struggling to find tangible meaningful differences between what MS is now doing and what Apple has been doing for years with their use of customers photos to train the computational photography algorithms in the iPhone. Albeit I will accede that the potential for abuse seems higher with MS approach…maybe, as we know much more about what Apple says they are doing versus what they may possibly be doing (eg. it’s been reported in multiple places that iCloud data streams are significantly larger than just the sum total of the files being uploaded.
Last but not least, everyone here wants (and complains when they don’t) improvements to the product. And I don’t think most have a true sense of how expensive ongoing support of something as complex as an OS is.
In other words the money has to come from somewhere.
My $.02 at the moment ,as obviously much of my thinking is still evolving on this. eg. I also don’t want to go back to Ask Jeeves, or using paper maps to navigate to my next business meeting
I think MS can save some costs if they just stick to a certain style and just modernize that when needed (instead of doing overhauls like W10 to W11, people generally do not like large changes in interface anyway). Some kind of change was needed from W7 (because of touchscreens/new form factors etc.) but not as many overhauls as MS did.
I don’t think this is a “have no choice” issue. As Thurrott pointed out in Windows Weakly Microsoft is scrapping an “additional $20B” on top of their $40-50B base profit by doing this. I don’t defend Apple either, as I pointed out the only difference instead of everyone getting access to your data “only” Apple does - so it is monetized as well.
So is the only alternative the YouTube/Weather Channel model of pay us a premium for dropping the annoying ads? That will just lead to insertion of “minimal ads” as that model breaks down as well.
I’m not a pollyanna either - I know this is the present/future, but TRANSPERANCY means just as much to me - another reason not to store your data in the could (whoever’s cloud it is)…
First, the argument of “you don’t have to consent because you don’t have to use our products” is problematic when all vendors make the same demand.
Second, one simple regulatory approach could be customers are opted out by default, and tying feature access to consent is prohibited - like tying copiers to particular paper and toner was decades ago.
My thinking is evolving too.
I was thinking this same thing, but obviously HP and Canon still disprove this daily, with some models even failing to run without “official” toner cartridges. I don’t think regulators, or governments, will get those big of cojones, but maybe the EU will prove me wrong.
Totally agree on that point.
My thought at the moment is around what can actually be done that will benefit or protect users.
To me a good start would be at least laws requiring complete transparency around the data the vendors collect and even more importantly how and where and with whom it’s actually used/shared.
I think the shame factor alone might inspire some change…cough FACEBOOK cough
Printer driver support is also bad. Eg update from W10 to W11 where suddenly a fairly new HP printer does not print in color anymore. But at least printing is less important now, as far as I can see in the EU most is shared digital.
Great, I literally switch completely back to just windows because I can’t handle the restrictive nature of a company that refuses to allow a person to put a ram chip or, God forbid, upgrade an SSD to a larger capacity.
I get tired of the sanctimony that has completely permeated the entire culture of Apple. I realize that if I can inhibit my own OCD tendencies, I already have everything I need in a simple gaming laptop and SP9. I don’t use all the shared clipboard and phone crap on my mac or ipad anyway. So once I can get used to just Windows and let everything go, I am golden. Back to 1 TB capacities for cheap. Back to adding RAM! HERE WE GO!
***And in comes @dstrauss from the top rope! I watched that podcast and while I couldn’t read the follow up from Paul Thurott about what he intends to do (Premium only article), I did see a tag word of “NextDNS”. So I go down a DNS rabbit hole.
In the process I realized some things. It isn’t really all that much better that Apple is magnanimously not selling our data to third parties but simply keeping it for themselves. And that is if we trust them when they say that aren’t selling any of it.
At least MS’s sins are out in the open now. I am going to continue on the path I am on. I am forced to use Windows for work anyway, and I certainly can’t game on a Macbook LOL.
So I am going to defense-in-depth. First, I opt out of everything possible, then I use Shutup 10, add Portmaster Notifier, and finally either NextDNS or Adguard DNS. Then at least it is out in the open. Also, I haven’t used Onedrive in years–which helps. I use Nextcloud on a local LAN only server.
Yes. I wish I still had the hope they could be shamed.
I’m truly vexed and perplexed at the same time.
Our data has been monetized from the very beginning of the internet (did I really think the internet was “free”?). Google knows when I sneeze, and as Richard Campbell pointed out in that same podcast (anecdotally) he and and friend, in a car trip, purposely discussed topics they had never discussed before and AMAZINGLY Google threw up ads for the products next time his friend logged on (Alexa eavesdropping?) …it’s NOT paranoia if they are out to get you…
And now that they let the AI genie out of the bottle, they can mine you deeper, wider, and more thoroughly project when you’ll run out of deodorant in your bathroom vanity - how convenient. Speaking of which, MS and all the others are running down the hall with buckets full of AI just like a toddler running with a pair of scissors…
PS - you’re right @Eltos - Apple is the WORST in many ways, especially the “You third parties can’t use the data we have collected on our customers - IT IS ALL OURS!”
Sanctimonious much - not to mention the legalized theft of their memory/storage amounts and pricing - an open license to steal…ok Strauss - STOP - they do block cross-site tracking (at least by anyone other than Apple).
WHAT GALLS ME - I have to spend inordinate amounts of time securing and protecting my devices form hackers - and Microsoft IS THE MOST SKILLED HACKER OF ALL.
So what in the world can be done? Maybe I’ll have to pony up for Thurrott’s premium membership and take a look, but even he was pink faced when discussing that his site is monetized but “He’s” not doing it, it’s the service provider - huh?
In fact, is there even anything that CAN be done about all this. You want to play with our tools, then you play by our rules, and that means we own you. Is that so different than the software that you really don’t own, you just license from the vendor? About the only thing they fear is government interference…
Ahhh - maybe all along I’ve been wrong that “The best government is the least government” because all that does is setup the robber barons for unbelievable (trillions of dollars) of success…
OK - time for me to follow Alice and get a meeting with Satya and Tim
Maybe I missed this here, but I would expect that major corporations would demand a complete stop of any sharing of employee data for security reasons.
Example, you don’t want it to come out what files your engineers are looking for on their machines (e.g. SurfaceProY design.docx) by sending anything they type into Search (or start) to Bing.com.
So my guess is there will always be group policy settings etc to hammer this shut.
But… it still seems like users must take draconian measures to achieve some of this. Personally I have start menu search behind an outgoing firewall rule. Is this what major corporations also have to do, or are there foolproof group policy settings that stop Win11 from monetizing/spying/leaking?
FWIW (which is very little) I have stopped wanting windows to do well. I used to give feedback, and actually cared when they made bad moves. At this point I use it because I must, but I say go Apple, grab those users, because MS has turned back into the bad guy that it was in the nineties.
Most of this appears to be sorted out by the use of LTSC or Enterprise versions of Windows which don’t have much to any telemetry.
That said, more and more of this is in the purview of Microsoft directly–such as Teams.Microsoft.com and then you use your credential, etc., so it will be interesting to see long-term where it goes with big corporations and the government.
Just an honest mistake (or bug)? yeah, right…another form of data mining…