Criticism of Microsoft

Criticism of Microsoft has followed various aspects of its products and business practices. Issues with ease of use, robustness, and security of the company's software are common targets for critics. In the 2000s, a number of malware mishaps targeted security flaws in Windows and other products. Microsoft was also accused of locking vendors and consumers in to their products, and of not following or complying with existing standards in its software.[1][2] Total cost of ownership comparisons between Linux and Microsoft Windows are a continuous point of debate.[3]

The company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits, brought by several governments and by other companies, for unlawful monopolistic practices. In 2004, the European Union found Microsoft guilty in the European Union Microsoft competition case. Additionally, EULAs for Microsoft programs are often criticized for being too restrictive.[4]

Military ties

In February 2019, hundreds of Microsoft employees protested the company’s war profiteering from a $480 million contract to develop augmented reality headsets for the United States Army.[5]

Vendor lock-in

From its inception, Microsoft defined itself as a platform company and understood the importance of attracting third-party programmers. It did so by providing development tools, training, access to proprietary APIs in early versions, and partner programs. Although the resulting ubiquity of Microsoft software allows a user to benefit from network effects, critics and even Microsoft itself decry what they consider to be an "embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy of adding proprietary features to open standards or their software implementations, thereby using its market dominance to gain unofficial ownership of standards "extended" in this way.[6][7][8][9]

Microsoft software is also presented as a "safe" choice for IT managers purchasing software systems. In an internal memo for senior management Microsoft's head of C++ development, Aaron Contorer, stated:[10]

The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most Independent Software Vendors would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead... It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO (total cost of ownership), our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move. In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago.

More recently, Microsoft had their OOXML specification approved by the ISO standards body in a manner consistent with previous attempts to control standards.[11]

Copyright enforcement

When Microsoft discovered that its first product, Altair BASIC, was subject to widespread unauthorized copying, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an Open Letter to Hobbyists that openly accused many hobbyists of stealing software. Gates' letter provoked many responses, with some hobbyists objecting to the broad accusation, and others supporting the principle of compensation.[12] This disagreement over whether software should be proprietary continues into the present day under the banner of the free software movement, with Microsoft characterizing free software released under the terms of the GPL as being "potentially viral"[13] and the GNU General Public License itself as a "viral license" which "infects" proprietary software and forces its developer to have to release proprietary source to the public.[14]

The Halloween documents, internal Microsoft memos which were leaked to the open source community beginning in 1998, indicate that some Microsoft employees perceive "open source" software — in particular, Linux — as a growing long-term threat to Microsoft's position in the software industry. The Halloween documents acknowledged that parts of Linux are superior to the versions of Microsoft Windows available at the time, and outlined a strategy of "de-commoditize[ing] protocols & applications."[6][7][8][9][15] Microsoft stated in its 2006 Annual Report that it was a defendant in at least 35 patent infringement lawsuits.[16] The company's litigation expenses for April 2004 through March 2007 exceed $4.3 billion: over $4 billion in payouts, plus $300 million in legal fees.[17]

Another concern of critics is that Microsoft may be using the distribution of shared source software to harvest names of developers who have been exposed to Microsoft code, as some believe that these developers could someday be the target of lawsuits if they were ever to participate in the development of competing products. This issue is addressed in published papers from several organizations including the American Bar Association and the Open Source Initiative.[18][19]

Starting in the 1990s, Microsoft was accused of maintaining "hidden" or "secret" APIs: interfaces to its operating system software that it deliberately keeps undocumented to gain a competitive advantage in its application software products.[20] Microsoft employees have consistently denied this;[21][22] they claim that application developers inside and outside Microsoft routinely reverse-engineered DOS and 16-bit versions of Windows without any inside help, creating legacy support problems that far exceeded any alleged benefit to Microsoft.[23][24] In response to court orders, Microsoft has published interfaces between components of its operating system software, including components like Internet Explorer, Active Directory, and Windows Media that sell as part of Windows but compete with application software.

On 10 October, 2018, Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network community despite holding more than 60,000 patents.[25]

Licensing agreements

A common complaint[26] comes from those who want to purchase a computer that usually comes preinstalled with Windows without a copy of Windows pre-installed and without paying extra for the license either so that another operating system can be used or because a license was already acquired elsewhere, such as through the MSDN Academic Alliance program.[27] Microsoft encourages original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to supply computers with Windows pre-installed[28] by presenting their dominance in computer sales[29] and arguing that consumers benefit by not having to install an operating system.[30] Because the price of the license varies depending on discounts given to the OEM and because there is no similar computer that the OEM offers without Windows, there is no immediate way to find the size of the refund. In 2009, Microsoft stated that it has always charged OEMs about $50 for a Windows license on a $1,000 computer.[31]

While it is possible to obtain a computer with no or free operating systems,[32] virtually all large computer vendors continue to bundle Microsoft Windows with the majority of the personal computers in their ranges. The claimed increase in the price of a computer resulting from the inclusion of a Windows license has been called the "Windows tax" or "Microsoft tax" by opposing computer users.[33][34] The Findings of Fact in the United States Microsoft antitrust case of 1998 established that "One of the ways Microsoft combats piracy is by advising OEMs that they will be charged a higher price for Windows unless they drastically limit the number of PCs that they sell without an operating system pre-installed. In 1998, all major OEMs agreed to this restriction."[35] Microsoft also once assessed license fees based on the number of computers an OEM sold, regardless of whether a Windows license was included; Microsoft was forced to end this practice due to a consent decree.[33] In 2010, Microsoft stated that its agreements with OEMs to distribute Windows are nonexclusive, and OEMs are free to distribute computers with a different operating system or without any operating system.[30]

Microsoft does not provide refunds for Windows licenses sold through an OEM, including licenses that come with the purchase of a computer or are pre-installed on a computer.[36]

According to Microsoft's End User License Agreement for Windows 7 the ability to receive a refund for the operating system is determined by the hardware manufacturer:[37]

By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine its return policy. You must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the entire system on which the software is installed.

— Microsoft Software License Terms: Windows 7 Professional

Acer Inc. has a policy of requiring the customer to return items at his or her own expense, and the balance received by the customer can be as low as €30.[38] In other cases, vendors have asked that customers requesting refunds sign non-disclosure agreements.[39][40] Older versions of Microsoft Windows had different license terms with respect to the availability of a refund for Windows:[41]

By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit.

— Microsoft software license terms for Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate versions

Based on the updated language, vendors refused to issue partial refunds for Windows licenses, requiring that the computer be returned altogether. In some countries, this practice has been ruled a violation of consumer protection law.[42][43]


Microsoft has acquired several companies and products during its history, including some that competed with earlier Microsoft products.[44] Such acquired assets include DOS (Seattle Computer Products QDOS), FrontPage (Vermeer Technologies Incorporated FrontPage), WebTV (now MSN TV), Hotmail, Direct3D, Internet Explorer (Spyglass, Inc. Mosaic), Visio (Visio Corporation Visio), Windows Virtual PC (Connectix Virtual PC), and Windows Defender (GIANT Company Software, Inc. GIANT AntiSpyware). Microsoft rebrands the primary products of the companies it acquires, and in many cases offers them for free or bundles them with their operating system. Former Sun Microsystems chief executive Scott McNealy occasionally remarked that Microsoft never produced technology except by buying it: "R&D [research and development] and M&A [mergers and acquisitions] are the same thing over there."[45]


Microsoft's market dominance and business practices have attracted widespread resentment, which is not necessarily restricted to the company's competitors. In a 2003 publication, Dan Geer argued the prevalence of Microsoft products has resulted in a monoculture which is dangerously easy for viruses to exploit.[46]

Labor practices

While Microsoft's permanent workers enjoy some of the best corporate treatment, a large part of Microsoft's labor pool exists outside this privileged class. This includes the use of permatemp employees (employees employed for years as "temporary," and therefore without medical benefits), use of forced retention tactics, where departing employees would be sued to prevent departure, as well as more traditional cost-saving measures, ranging from cutting medical benefits, to not providing towels in company locker rooms.[47]

Historically, Microsoft has also been accused of overworking employees, in many cases, leading to burnout within just a few years of joining the company. The company is often referred to as a "Velvet Sweatshop", a term which originated in a 1989 Seattle Times article,[48] and later became used to describe the company by some of Microsoft's own employees.[49] This characterization is derived from the perception that Microsoft provides nearly everything for its employees in a convenient place, but in turn overworks them to a point where it would be bad for their (possibly long-term) health. For example, the kitchenettes have free beverages and many buildings include exercise rooms and showers. However, the company has been accused of attempting to keep employees at the company for unreasonably long hours and working them too much. This is detailed in several books about Microsoft, including Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire.

A US state lawsuit was brought against Microsoft in 1992 representing 8,558 current and former employees that had been classified as "temporary" and "freelance", and became known as Vizcaino v. Microsoft. In 1993, the suit became a US Federal Class Action in the United States District Court Western District Of Washington At Seattle as No. C93-178C. The Final Settlement[50] came in 2005. The case was decided on the (IRS-defined) basis that such "permatemps" had their jobs defined by Microsoft, worked alongside regular employees doing the same work, and worked for long terms. After a series of court setbacks including three reversals on appeal, Microsoft settled the suit for US $93 million.

A side effect of the "permatemp" lawsuit is that now contract employees are prevented from participating in team morale events and other activities that could be construed as making them "employees". They are also limited to 18-month contracts and must leave after that time for 6 months before returning under contract.

Microsoft is the largest American corporate user of H-1B guest worker visas and has joined other large technology companies like Google in recently lobbying for looser H-1B visa restrictions.[51][52][53]

Advertising and public relations

Critics have alleged that Microsoft has used funding to drum up support from think tanks and trade organizations such as the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI), the Independent Institute, and Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL). During the antitrust case United States v. Microsoft, ATL sent a poll to 19 state attorneys general purporting to show that "the public believes state AGs should devote their energy to causes other than Microsoft".[54] Also during the case the Independent Institute ran full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post defending Microsoft, which was later revealed to have funded the ad campaign.[55] The institute published Winners, Losers, and Microsoft: Competition and Antitrust in High Technology shortly thereafter.[56]

In June 2002, Champagne, an advertisement created by Xbox Europe, was banned by the Independent Television Commission after receiving 136 complaints.[57][58]

A press release for a 2002 report by the AdTI claimed "open-source software may offer target for terrorists."[59][60] The report itself does not mention terrorism or how it would target open-source software, but does allege that open-source software may be more prone to security holes than proprietary software.[61][62] It gives particular focus to GPL-licensed software, claiming that it is not cost-effective. In 2004 the AdTI announced a report, Samizdat alleging that the creator of the Linux operating system Linus Torvalds based it on MINIX.[63][64] MINIX creator Andrew S. Tanenbaum strongly refuted this claim.[65] Microsoft has countered that it funds many think tanks besides the AdTI, such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and The Heritage Foundation and that it does not fund any specific research.[60]

In August 2004, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of the United Kingdom ordered Microsoft to stop a run of print ads that claimed that the total cost of ownership of Linux servers was ten times that of Windows Server 2003. The comparison included the cost of hardware, and put Linux at a disadvantage by installing it on more expensive but poorer-performing hardware compared to that used for Windows.[66][67]

On January 22, 2007, Rick Jelliffe made a claim on his blog[68] that a Microsoft employee offered to pay him to make corrections in English Wikipedia articles concerning Office Open XML. Microsoft spokesperson Catherine Brooker expressed the belief that the article had been "heavily written" by IBM employees who supported the rival OpenDocument format, though she provided no specific evidence. Internet entrepreneur and Wikimedia Foundation founder Jimmy Wales described Microsoft's offer as unethical.[69]

In 2011, alleged that two "anonymous comments boosting their product"—one by a Nokia employee and another by a Microsoft employee—were posted on their review of Nokia Lumia 800, which was based only on the "technical specifications" and the reviewer "hadn't laid a finger on the phone".[70] In conclusion, Charles Arthur argued "Nobody has come out of the episode looking good. Sapkale was accused of breaking his own site's privacy policy by posting the IP and email addresses of the commenters, while the commenting duo's failure to declare any interest looked, at best, like astroturfing."[70]

In 2014 details on a partnership between and Microsoft came to light regarding a marketing campaign for Xbox One. Machinima would offer some of its users $3 per thousand views if the user showed 30 seconds of an Xbox One game and mentioned the system by name.[71] Controversy arose when it was reported that, under the terms of the promotion, participants were not allowed to disclose that they were being paid for said endorsements, which Ars Technica said conflicted with FTC regulations requiring recipients to fully disclose when such actions occur.[71] Machinima stated that the confidentiality clause only applied to the terms of the agreement, and not to the existence of the agreement, and Microsoft ended the promotion and directed Machinima to add disclosures to the videos involved.[71] In September 2015, Machinima settled with the FTC over charges that the ad campaign failed to comply with FTC endorsement guidelines; the FTC decided not to take action against Microsoft since it already has "policies and procedures designed to prevent such lapses".[72]

Blacklisting of journalists

John C. Dvorak said that in the 1980s, Microsoft classified journalists as "Okay", "Sketchy", or "Needs work" and targeted "Needs work" journalists in an attempt to have them terminated. Dvorak said that he was denied information about Windows because he was on a blacklist.[73] Mary Jo Foley stated that she was denied interviews with Microsoft personnel for several years following the publication of a story based on a memo describing the number of bugs in Windows 2000 at release.[74]

Censorship in China

Microsoft (along with Google, Yahoo, Cisco, AOL, Skype, and other companies) has cooperated with the Chinese government in implementing a system of Internet censorship.[75] Human rights advocates such as Human Rights Watch and media groups such as Reporters Without Borders criticized the companies, noting for example that it is "ironic that companies whose existence depends on freedom of information and expression have taken on the role of censor."[76]

Collaboration with the NSA on internet surveillance

Microsoft was the first company to participate in the PRISM surveillance program, according to leaked NSA documents obtained by The Guardian[77] and The Washington Post[78] in June 2013, and acknowledged by government officials following the leak.[79] The program authorizes the government to secretly access data of non-US citizens hosted by American companies without a warrant. Microsoft has denied[80] the participation in such a program.

In July 2013, The Guardian elaborated that leaked documents show that

  • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to intercept web chats on and gave it unencrypted access to and Hotmail email.
  • Microsoft provided the NSA with access to users' data on its cloud storage service OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive).
  • After Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through PRISM[81]

In a statement, Microsoft said that they "provide customer data only in response to legal processes."[81]

Worker productivity software

Microsoft has also come under criticism for developing software capable of analyzing the output of remote sensors in order to measure the competence and productivity of workers based on their physical responses.[82]

Gay reference controversy

Microsoft has come under some criticism for its attitude to homosexuality and Xbox Live. Users may not use the string "gay" in a gamertag (even in a non-homosexual context, for example as part of a surname), or refer to homosexuality in their profile (including self-identifying as such), as the company considers this "content of a sexual nature" or "offensive" to other users and therefore unsuitable for the service.[83][84][85] After banning 'Teresa', a lesbian gamer who had been harassed by other users for being a homosexual, a senior Xbox Live team member, Stephen Toulouse, has clarified the policy, stating that "Expression of any sexual orientation [...] is not allowed in gamertags" but that they are "examining how we can provide it in a way that won't get misused".[86][87] GLAAD weighed in on the controversy as well, supporting the steps that Microsoft has taken over the years to engage the LGBT community.[88]

Website concerns

Polish users of Microsoft's Business Productivity Infrastructure website[89] have noticed a white model's face has been photoshopped over the head of the African American model at center in the photograph on the main page of the Polish language version of the website. The website 'Photoshop Disasters' covered the story on 25 August 2009.[90]

As of 1:00 pm GMT on 25 August, this has been changed and the image on the Polish website now reflects the image on the English website. Microsoft later issued an apology regarding the incident.[91] Spokesman Lou Gellos stated that Microsoft was "looking into the details of this situation." The apology was later restated on Microsoft's official Twitter page:[92] "Marketing site photo mistake - sincere apologies - we're in the process of taking down the image."

Workforce diversity

Jesse Jackson believes Microsoft should hire more minorities and women. Jackson has urged other companies to diversify their workforce. He believes that Microsoft made some progress when it appointed two women to its board of directors in 2015.[93]

See also

Criticism of other software companies:

General mechanisms at work:


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  90. ^ "Photoshop Disasters: "Microsoft Poland: At Least They Left The Asian Guy In"". Website. Microsoft Corporation. 2009-08-25. Archived from the original on 2010-10-30. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  91. ^ "Microsoft apologizes for web photo racism". Website. CIOL News. 2009-08-26. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  92. ^ "The Official Microsoft Twitter".
  93. ^ Gross, Ashley. "Rev. Jesse Jackson Praises Microsoft's Diversity Efforts, But Urges The Company To Do More". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-03.

Further reading

  • Charles, John. "Indecent proposal? Doing Business With Microsoft". IEEE Software. January/February 1998. pp. 113–117.
  • Clark, Jim with Owen Edwards. Netscape Time: The Making of the Billion Dollar Start-up That Took on Microsoft. New York, Saint Martin's Press, 1999
  • Cusumano, Michael A.; Selby, Richard W. Microsoft Secrets: How the World's Most Powerful Software Company Creates Technology, Shapes Markets and Manages People. New York: Free Press, 1995.
  • Edstrom, Jennifer; Eller, Marlin. Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft from inside: How the World's Richest Corporation Wields its Power. N.Y. Holt, 1998.
  • Gavil, Andrew I.; First, Harry (2014-12-09). The Microsoft Antitrust Cases - Competition Policy for the Twenty-first Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-02776-2. ISBN 0-262-02776-3.
  • Goldman Rohm, Wendy (September 1998). The Microsoft File: the secret case against Bill Gates. New York, NY 10022, USA: Times Books. ISBN 0-8129-2716-8.
  • Lemos, Robert. (2003). U.S. funds study of tech monocultures. Retrieved December 20, 2003, from
  • Moody, Fred. I Sing the Body Electronic: A Year With Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier. New York: Viking, 1995.
  • National Science Foundation. (2003). Taking Cues from Mother Nature to Foil Cyber Attacks. Retrieved December 20, 2003, from
  • Bozman, Jean; Gillen, Al; Kolodgy, Charles; Kusnetzky, Dan; Perry, Randy; & Shiang, David (October 2002). "Windows 2000 Versus Linux in Enterprise Computing: An assessment of business value for selected workloads". IDC, sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. White paper.
  • In an article published by BusinessWeek, Dan Kunsnetzky suggests that study was stacked against Linux'.[1]
  • Groklaw portal on Microsoft litigation Microsoft Litigation
  • Matthew Newman "Microsoft Fined Record EU899 Million by EU Regulator (Update1)". Bloomberg, February 27, 2008
  • "EU says could have fined Microsoft up to 1.5 bln eur over antitrust decision". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
  • "Microsoft fined 899 mln eur by EU for failure to comply with ruling UPDATE". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
  • Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing by Dale Hudson "EU fines Microsoft record $1.35 billion". Reuters, February 27, 2008
  • "EU fines Microsoft record $1.3 billion". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
  • Parmy Olson "Q&A: Microsoft's Multi-Billion Dollar EU Fine"., February 27, 2008
  • Leo Cendrowicz "EC fines Microsoft a record $1.4 bil". The Hollywood Reporter, February 27, 2008
  • Mike Ricciut "EU slaps Microsoft with $1.35 billion fine". CNet News, February 27, 2008
  • "Microsoft fined 899 mln eur by EU for failure to comply with ruling UPDATE". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
  • Rory Watson "Microsoft hit by €899m fine for failure to comply with EU ruling". Times, February 27, 2008
  • "EU hits Microsoft with record 899 million euro anti-trust fine". AFP, February 27, 2008
  • Benjamin J. Romano "In the bad timing category: EU fine rains on Microsoft launch parade". The Seattle Times, February 27, 2008
  • Aoife white "Record EU Fine for Microsoft". The Associated Press, February 27, 2008
  • Stephen Castle "EU fine sends message to Microsoft and others". International Herald Tribune, February 27, 2008
  • Damon Poeter "EU Slams Microsoft With Record $1.35 Billion Fine". Channelweb Network, February 27, 2008
  • Ina Fried "Ballmer on EU, Yahoo". CNet News, February 27, 2008
  • David Prosser "Microsoft fined record €899m by EU over market abuse". The Independent, February 28, 2008

External links

Discussions of Microsoft's business practices:


Tax evasion:

User feedback:

Related media was a website created by Microsoft in March 2010 following a decision in the European Union Microsoft competition case. The case involved legal proceedings by the European Union against Microsoft and found that, by including Internet Explorer with their market-dominant Windows operating system, Microsoft had used this dominance to create a similar market position in the web browser market. The website was created to allow users that had not made, or were unaware of, a choice to try other browsers, and thus comply with the European Commission's ruling.

However, Microsoft's obligation to display the Browser Choice screen to Windows users expired in December 2014. The website was discontinued as early as the next year, showing a notice advising users to "[visit] the websites of web browser vendors directly," before going offline completely. As of March 2019, the site is still offline.

Criticism of Facebook

Criticism of Facebook stems from the company's prominence and has led to international media coverage and significant reporting of its legal troubles and the outsize influence it has on the lives and health of its users and employees, as well on its influence on the way media, specifically news, is reported and distributed. Notable issues include Internet privacy, such as its use of a widespread "like" button on third-party websites tracking users, possible indefinite records of user information, automatic facial recognition software, and its role in the workplace, including employer-employee account disclosure.The use of Facebook can have psychological effects, including feelings of jealousy and stress, a lack of attention, and social media addiction, in some cases comparable to drug addiction.Facebook's operations have also received coverage. The company's electricity usage, tax avoidance, real-name user requirement policies, censorship policies, handling of user data, and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program have been highlighted by the media and by critics. Facebook has come under scrutiny for 'ignoring' or shirking its responsibility for the content posted on its platform, including copyright and intellectual property infringement, hate speech, incitement of rape and terrorism, fake news, Facebook murder, crimes and violent incidents live-streamed through its Facebook Live functionality.The company and its employees have also been subject to litigation cases over the years, with its most prominent case concerning allegations that CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke an oral contract with Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra to build the then-named "HarvardConnection" social network in 2004, instead allegedly opting to steal the idea and code to launch Facebook months before HarvardConnection began. The original lawsuit was eventually settled in 2009, with Facebook paying approximately $20 million in cash and 1.25 million shares. A new lawsuit in 2011 was dismissed. Some critics make predictions of Facebook's end based on the problems which they identify.

Facebook has been banned by several governments for various reasons, including Syria, China, and Iran.

Criticism of Linux

The criticism of Linux focuses on issues concerning use of operating systems which use the Linux kernel.

While the Linux-based Android operating system dominates the smartphone market in many countries, and Linux is used on the New York Stock Exchange and most supercomputers, it is used in few desktop and laptop computers. Much of the criticism of Linux is related to the lack of desktop and laptop adoption, although as of 2015 there has been growing unease with the project's perspective on security and its adoption of systemd has been controversial.

Criticism of Microsoft Windows

The various versions of Microsoft's desktop operating system, Windows, have received many criticisms since Microsoft's inception.

Criticism of Windows 10

Windows 10, an operating system released by Microsoft in July 2015, has been criticized by reviewers and users. Due to issues mostly about privacy, it has been the subject of a number of negative assessments by various groups.

Criticism of Windows XP

Criticism of Windows XP deals with issues with security, performance and the presence of product activation errors that are specific to the Microsoft operating system Windows XP.

Criticism of Yahoo!

The multinational Internet corporation Yahoo! has received criticism for a variety of issues.

Embrace, extend, and extinguish

"Embrace, extend, and extinguish", also known as "embrace, extend, and exterminate", is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to strongly disadvantage its competitors.

File Explorer

File Explorer, previously known as Windows Explorer, is a file manager application that is included with releases of the Microsoft Windows operating system from Windows 8 onwards. It provides a graphical user interface for accessing the file systems. It is also the component of the operating system that presents many user interface items on the monitor such as the taskbar and desktop. Controlling the computer is possible without Windows Explorer running (for example, the File | Run command in Task Manager on NT-derived versions of Windows will function without it, as will commands typed in a command prompt window).

Ireland as a tax haven

Ireland has been labelled a tax haven or corporate tax haven in multiple reports, an allegation which the state rejects. Ireland's base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) tools give some foreign corporates § Effective tax rates of 0% to 2.5% on global profits re-routed to Ireland via their tax treaty network. Ireland's aggregate § Effective tax rates for foreign corporates is 2.2–4.5%. Ireland's BEPS tools are the world's largest BEPS flows, exceed the entire Caribbean system, and artificially inflate the US–EU trade deficit. Ireland's tax-free QIAIF & L–QIAIF regimes, and Section 110 SPVs, enable foreign investors to avoid Irish taxes on Irish assets, and can be combined with Irish BEPS tools to create confidential routes out of the Irish corporate tax system. As these structures are OECD–whitelisted, Ireland's laws and regulations allow the use of data protection and data privacy provisions, and opt-outs from filing of public accounts, to obscure their effects. There is arguable evidence that Ireland acts as a § Captured state, fostering tax strategies.Ireland is on all academic "tax haven lists", including the § Leaders in tax haven research, and tax NGOs. Ireland does not meet the 1998 OECD definition of a tax haven, but no OECD member, including Switzerland, ever met this definition; only Trinidad & Tobago met it in 2017. Similarly, no EU–28 country is amongst the 64 listed in the 2017 EU tax haven blacklist and greylist. In September 2016, Brazil became the first G20 country to "blacklist" Ireland as a tax haven.Ireland's situation is attributed to § Political compromises arising from the historical U.S. "worldwide" corporate tax system, which has made U.S. multinationals the largest users of tax havens, and BEPS tools, in the world. The U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("TCJA"), and move to a hybrid "territorial" tax system, removed the need for some of these compromises. In 2018, IP–heavy S&P500 multinationals guided similar post-TCJA effective tax rates, whether they are legally based in the U.S. (e.g. Pfizer), or Ireland (e.g. Medtronic). While the TCJA neutralises some Irish BEPS tools, it enhances others (e.g. Apple's "Green Jersey"). A reliance on U.S. corporates (80% of Irish tax, 25% of Irish labour, 25 of top 50 Irish firms, and 57% of Irish value-add), is a concern in Ireland.Ireland's weakness in attracting corporates from "territorial" tax systems (Table 1), was apparent in its 2017–18 failure to attract financial services jobs due to Brexit. Ireland's diversification into full tax haven tools (e.g. QIAIF, L–QIAIF, and ICAV), has seen tax-law firms, and offshore magic circle firms, set up Irish offices to handle Brexit–driven tax restructuring. These tools made Ireland the world's 3rd largest Shadow Banking OFC, and 5th largest Conduit OFC.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office (or simply Office) is a family of client software, server software, and services developed by Microsoft. It was first announced by Bill Gates on August 1, 1988, at COMDEX in Las Vegas. Initially a marketing term for an office suite (bundled set of productivity applications), the first version of Office contained Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown substantially closer with shared features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Microsoft also positions Office as a development platform for line-of-business software under the Office Business Applications brand. On July 10, 2012, Softpedia reported that Office is used by over a billion people worldwide.Office is produced in several versions targeted towards different end-users and computing environments. The original, and most widely used version, is the desktop version, available for PCs running the Windows and macOS operating systems. Office Online is a version of the software that runs within a web browser, while Microsoft also maintains Office apps for Android and iOS.

Since Office 2013, Microsoft has promoted Office 365 as the primary means of obtaining Microsoft Office: it allows use of the software and other services on a subscription business model, and users receive free feature updates to the software for the lifetime of the subscription, including new features and cloud computing integration that are not necessarily included in the "on-premises" releases of Office sold under conventional license terms. In 2017, revenue from Office 365 overtook conventional license sales.

The current on-premises, desktop version of Office is Office 2019, released on September 24, 2018.

Oddworld Inhabitants

Oddworld Inhabitants Inc. is an American video game developer founded in 1994 by special-effects and computer-animation veterans Sherry McKenna and Lorne Lanning. The company is primarily known for the incomplete Oddworld Quintology, a series of award-winning video games about the fictional planet of Oddworld and its native creatures. The series debuted with Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee in 1997 and continued with Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee in 2001 but the studio has also developed standalone titles Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus in 1998 and Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath in 2005.

Oddworld Inhabitants took a break from game development for a time following the release of Stranger's Wrath, even though it had already begun preliminary work on its next Oddworld title, The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot. However, it remained an active, operating company during this period, primarily through the development of a movie called Citizen Siege, though to this day it has not been released.The company returned to the video game industry with UK-based developer Just Add Water in resurrecting the Oddworld franchise through remastering existing titles and developing new ones. In the March 2011 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Lorne Lanning confirmed that a high definition rebuild of the studio's first game, was being developed by Just Add Water, called Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! It was released for the PS4 on 22 July 2014, 25 February 2015 for PC, Mac and Linux, 27 March 2015 for Xbox One, 21 April 2015 for PlayStation 3, 19 January 2016 for PlayStation Vita, and 11 February 2016 for the Wii U. On 14 March 2016, Oddworld Inhabitants announced their next title, Oddworld: Soulstorm, with a release aim of 2018. The release date has been pushed back to 2019, then again to 2020.

Outline of Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation is a multinational corporation based in Redmond, Washington, USA and founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing. Due to the scope and size of the company, it encompasses a broad range of topics mostly revolving around critical analysis and the company's products and services.

Privacy concerns regarding Google

Regarding privacy concerns with the technology corporation Google, Google's privacy change (March 1, 2012) enables the company to share data across a wide variety of services. These embedded services include millions of third-party websites that use Adsense and Analytics. The policy was widely criticized for creating an environment that discourages Internet-innovation by making Internet users more fearful and wary of what they put online.Around December 2009, after privacy concerns were raised, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt declared: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines—including Google—do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."Privacy International has raised concerns regarding the dangers and privacy implications of having a centrally located, widely popular data warehouse of millions of Internet users' searches, and how under controversial existing U.S. law, Google can be forced to hand over all such information to the U.S. government. In its 2007 Consultation Report, Privacy International ranked Google as "Hostile to Privacy", its lowest rating on their report, making Google the only company in the list to receive that ranking.At the Techonomy conference in 2010, Eric Schmidt predicted that "true transparency and no anonymity" is the path to take for the internet: "In a world of asynchronous threats it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it." He also said that, "If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go. Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos!"In the summer of 2016, Google quietly dropped its ban on personally-identifiable info in its DoubleClick ad service. Google's privacy policy was changed to state it "may" combine web-browsing records obtained through DoubleClick with what the company learns from the use of other Google services. While new users were automatically opted-in, existing users were asked if they wanted to opt-in, and it remains possible to opt-out by going to the "Activity controls" in the "My Account" page of a Google account. ProPublica states that "The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct." Google contacted ProPublica to correct the fact that it doesn't "currently" use Gmail keywords to target web ads.Shona Ghosh, a journalist for Business Insider, noted that an increasing digital resistance movement against Google has grown. A major hub for critics of Google in order to organize to abstain from using Google products is the Reddit page for the subreddit /r/degoogle.Google decided to conclude personalizing Gmail ads which is not a substantial change. Google Glass decided not to use facial recognition in the Google Glass Device. The choice not to include is to avoid questioning of privacy.

Satiric misspelling

A satiric misspelling is an intentional misspelling of a word, phrase or name for a rhetorical purpose. This is often done by replacing a letter with another letter (for example, k replacing c), or symbol (for example, $ replacing s, @ replacing a, or ¢ replacing c). Satiric misspelling is found particularly in informal writing on the Internet, but can also be found in some serious political writing that opposes the status quo.

United States v. Microsoft Corp.

United States v. Microsoft Corporation, 253 F.3d 34 (D.C. Cir. 2001), was a noted American antitrust law case in which the U.S. government accused Microsoft of illegally maintaining its monopoly position in the PC market primarily through the legal and technical restrictions it put on the abilities of PC manufacturers (OEMs) and users to uninstall Internet Explorer and use other programs such as Netscape and Java. At trial, the district court ruled that Microsoft's actions constituted unlawful monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed most of the district court's judgments.

The plaintiffs alleged that Microsoft had abused monopoly power on Intel-based personal computers in its handling of operating system and web browser integration. The issue central to the case was whether Microsoft was allowed to bundle its flagship Internet Explorer (IE) web browser software with its Windows operating system. Bundling them is alleged to have been responsible for Microsoft's victory in the browser wars as every Windows user had a copy of IE. It was further alleged that this restricted the market for competing web browsers (such as Netscape Navigator or Opera), since it typically took a while to download or purchase such software at a store. Underlying these disputes were questions over whether Microsoft had manipulated its application programming interfaces to favor IE over third-party web browsers, Microsoft's conduct in forming restrictive licensing agreements with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and Microsoft's intent in its course of conduct.

Microsoft stated that the merging of Windows and IE was the result of innovation and competition, that the two were now the same product and inextricably linked, and that consumers were receiving the benefits of IE free. Opponents countered that IE was still a separate product which did not need to be tied to Windows, since a separate version of IE was available for Mac OS. They also asserted that IE was not really free because its development and marketing costs may have inflated the price of Windows.

The case was tried before Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The DOJ was initially represented by David Boies. Compared to the European Decision against Microsoft, the DOJ case is focused less on interoperability and more on predatory strategies and market barriers to entry.


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