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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points 681

DesiVideoGamer writes "Over at, a user has posted screen-shots from Microsoft's 'ExpertZone' training course entitled 'Linux vs. Windows 7.' This course is available to BestBuy employees and will make them eligible for a $10 copy of Windows 7 upon completion." The screenshots linked show at least some creative interpretations of the state of Linux vs. Windows on a wide range of things, from media playback and video conferencing to ease of updates to (of all things) keeping your PCs "safer." Most of the claims, though, aren't concrete enough to be perfectly refuted. Writes DesiVideoGamer, "I think I now know why, when I enter BestBuy, the employees say the odd lies that they do."
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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points

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  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:30PM (#29325323)

    This course is available to BestBuy employees and will make them eligible for a $10 copy of Windows 7 upon completion.

    I'll take the damn course if it'll get me a $10 copy of Win 7.

    • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:33PM (#29325339)
      I can get a free copy of windows 7 and I don't have to take any bullshit propaganda course.

      It's completely unethical for bestbuy to go along with microsoft on pushing this course onto their employees. Though I can't say I'm surprised.
      • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:12PM (#29325781) Homepage Journal

        Why is parent modded troll? If this were the Catholic Church, or the Church of Mormon proselytizing for members, Americans would go after them for violating our freedom of religion laws. If this were a Democratic maneuver for market share, the Republicans would be up in arms. But, it's alright for MS to recruit people to lie to consumers. Parent should be applauded for exercising restraint when he uses the word "unethical".

        • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:17PM (#29325851) Journal
          I noticed several mild comments in this thread hit with -1, Troll. I think the MS astroturfers have mod points. The joke is on them; if they use up their points now, there will be nothing left later when the really nasty anti-MS stuff comes out.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:01PM (#29326285)

            Like Windows 8...

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:41PM (#29325421) Homepage

    I'm thinking of buying a netbook as a second machine for net access and mobile broadband. Should I get one with XP or can I run Linux? []
    M Shuttleworth

    Linux has an apparently friendly front end, but is very demanding if you go any deeper. Linux is like the Mooncup: a nice idea, but messy and not for the squeamish. In fact, Linux can be likened to a Mooncup-using redhaired hippie girlfriend who lives in a house in the country she built herself from twigs and has very strong ideas on how everything should be and has all her original body hair. The sex is fantastic, but only if she thinks the astrological conditions are perfect. The house has a hand-dug latrine, so she's propped a toilet bowl on top and thinks that's "user friendliness."

    No, no. You would far prefer Windows. That's like a nice normal bottle-blonde girlfriend who has a proper office job and dresses cleanly from Primark and has a sweet smile and lives in a proper bedsit and knows everyone and how to act normally and is accepted in society. She gets headaches a lot and fits of rage where she smashes everything and there's an odd smell of decaying human flesh coming from the drains and the toilet backs up every now and then filling the entire block with sewage and bits of bodies, but this is entirely normal and nothing to worry about.

    My four-year-old PowerBook G4 is putting itself into sleep mode and refusing to wake up. It gives a very unfriendly beep and a black screen when it is turned on. Taking out and replacing the memory will eventually bring it to life.
    S Jobs

    This is a known fault in the Macintosh line, where the keyboards were dipped in vats of herpes virus before being shipped. Mac OS X is well known to induce symptoms similar to tertiary syphilis in long-term users -- ask anyone with Mac-using friends. The G4 has an old PowerPC chip, and is obsolete because Apple has long since moved to Intel chips. So at least you can run a proper operating system like Vista on the new ones.

    I have a PC bought from Dell, a proper computer company, and am running Microsoft(tm) Windows(tm) Vista(tm) Service Pack 1(tm). It's the best operating system ever in the entire universe and I can do anything those annoying Mac users and Linux nerds can. And Windows 7(tm) will be even better! I don't have a problem, I just wanted to tell you this to piss off those annoying anti-Microsoft trolls who keep commenting on your Guardian column.
    J Schofield

    This is an excellent start to a perfect computing experience. Make sure you have only genuine Microsoft software on the system, and donâ(TM)t ever use Firefox in case your penis shrinks -- Internet Explorer 8 guarantees you will get many useful email offers for a greatly increased penis with incredible sperm production capability. Also, Google will invade your privacy and put pictures of you masturbating on Google StreetView, so only use Bing. Happy surfing!

  • by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:42PM (#29325443) Homepage

    Sales and Marketing people have always been people incapable of coherent thought or doing honest work. They'll do whatever they can to get more money. The only thing worse than them are Executives.

    But that's just how the world works, there's no use in lamenting this. It's certainly interesting to see this, but there's no need to act like this was some big surprise. Every company acts like this. A society composed of only honest people doing honest work probably wouldn't work - nobody has tried yet, though.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:47PM (#29325483) Journal
    The way to refute an inconcrete reply is with an answer that is equally inconcrete. For example, in one of the slides, they say "Windows is safer than Linux." The quickest way to refute it is to laugh. You don't even need to answer. If they try to hit on an emotional level, hit back on an emotional level. Once they come back with a more concrete assertion, you can begin refuting it on a more concrete level.

    "Windows is safer because it has parental controls." Ooh, check out that argument, a clear attempt to change the subject. A typical geek will start by trying to think of any Linux software that can handle parental controls, and if there isn't one, start thinking of ways to write scripts and set permissions that will simulate it. Easier way to handle it is to smirk slightly, and say, "yeah, like that will keep hackers out." Roll your eyes. Don't let them get away with ridiculous arguments.

    On the other hand, Microsoft is right in some of their points, Linux has fewer games available, Linux has less software available, Linux has fewer drivers available. Those are my biggest complaints with Linux too. In fact, they may be my only complaints.
    • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:08PM (#29325729) Journal

      I liked this one:

      Linux is safer than windows

      The Real Facts:

      • There's no guarantee that when security vulnerabilities are discovered, an update will be created. Users are on their own
      • There is no ability to set parental restrictions

      Are they talking about Linux or Windows? I thought it was quite clever that they could be referring to either, while implying that linux is the inferior one.

  • by Statecraftsman ( 718862 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:49PM (#29325511) Homepage
    If anyone's interested in going to a local Best Buy on 9/19/09 with CDs and flyers and encouraging people to try gnu/linux on their laptops before they buy, visit []

    If Microsoft thinks it's a worthy battleground, perhaps we should as well.
    • by cwgmpls ( 853876 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:59PM (#29325623) Journal
      Nice idea. But your "Software Freedom Day" is two weeks away, and you don't even have a proper website? That is why Windows and Mac will always win over Linux, they both have some concept of marketing. Linux struggles with marketing. Not that marketing has anything to do with the quality of software. But marketing has everything to do with people knowing about it.
      • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:21PM (#29327645)
        while(marketing > quality){
      • by Draek ( 916851 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:12AM (#29329157)

        It reminds me of the RIAA and indie labels. You may have a better product, for a better price, available under less restrictions and in more convenient formats, and Joe Average *still* buys the other guy's product simply because he assumes that more money spent on marketing means a more polished end-product, and when he finds out how shitty the product they bought is, they only think "gee, if this is so bad, the other product must really suck!".

        Like many indie labels, however, while Linux would benefit from the extra market-share of the drooling masses, they're doing just fine so far and so there's little practical reasons for us, people who know better, to worry about it.

        Best of luck to the guys participating in Software Freedom Day. I appreciate the work you guys are making, but personally I'd rather laugh at the incompetent masses rather than educate them. I'm an elitist, lazy bastard like that.

  • what is this 'buy' (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:53PM (#29325553) Homepage Journal
    I didn't think you 'bought' MS Windows, so how can some have confidence and know exactly 'what they are buying' when they are buying nothing, but licensing a product that can be revoked, or modified, or additional constraints can be placed on the use of the product. MS Windows is licensed, and one of the greatest benefits of *nix, to use the vernacular, is that one has choices. One can take out features that are not needed and recompile the kernel. One can add device drivers.On can even move to another machine without fear of the MS police going after you.

    I recently updated a machine that had not been used in about a year. This machine is on a site license, using the standard MS products. In the update i was greeted wth the MS Office anti-piracy update, and warned that if I did not update I would not know if I had a pirated copy, and that if I did there might be security implications. Of course we had spent a great deal of money acquiring the software, and the update reminded that no matter what, MS could pull the plug at any time, and they would not consider this properly licensed software valid until I added this spyware to my machine.

    The cool thing is that Google is taking this licensing deal to the next level with the cloud. The cloud, at least in it's free form, is not all that useful for people who want a little more control over their computers, but for those who are raised MS, it is the next logical step. For all those that have focused on the simplified MS development model, and MS controlled software and hardware, I wonder what they will do in if google has all the software on the backend, and users just have chrome laptops.

  • by DaveM753 ( 844913 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:11PM (#29325771)
    It's great that BestBuy wants to make money and that one of the ways they can make money is to "partner" with companies, like Microsoft, that will pay them to lie. That's Capitalism for you.

    It's also a prominent reason that I, and most of my friends, don't shop at BestBuy. We all know we'll be lied to from BestBuy. It'd be great to go up to a salesperson and feel confident that any questions will receive carefully considered, honest responses. But, what we get are push-products-sold-by-Company-X-because-they're-our-partner responses. So, unlike 1999 when I went to BestBuy once a week, now I go there maybe once every year. I just don't like their B.S.

    Well, that and their policy to DEMAND I listen to their spiel about extended warranties, with no regard to whether or not I, the customer, want to hear that crap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was at best buy the other day and i heard of the the sales people almost scaring the lady customer into buy their "geek squard" services.... stating that her machine would have the blue screen of dead and would be unsecure allowing hackers to get into her machine if she didnt get the service.... the customer asked if this happens to all computers, and she was like "yes" i almost felt like going over and saying, you dont get that on a mac or linux machine, but i was in a rush
  • DOJ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:14PM (#29325803) Journal

    Isn't this against the spirit of DOJ's settlement with MS? This shouldn't be allowed when on anti-trust probation.

  • My problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:16PM (#29325849)

    I don't have much of an issue with the list itself. Obviously it's heavily biased, but I see nothing on there that can be called an outright lie.

    My problem is the purpose of BestBuy sending staff to a presentation like that. It's specifically intended to give staff arguments to persuade customers to buy Windows. When the real goal of the staff should be to identify each customer's needs and guide them based on that.

    It's one thing to make mention of a more expensive product to see if there's a chance of an upsale, it's quite another to be as one-sided as this presentation is. Whether the staff will recite that presentation to any and all customers, or simply use it as input for any customer that asks for examples of why to pick one over the other, remains to be seen. But I have a feeling....

  • The fact that this course is offered to BestBuy employees - and apparently only BestBuy employees - says something about consumer electronics retail in 2009 in the US. When I worked at CompUSA (pre - 2000) I frequently went to vendor-sponsored "classes" where they would give us food, beer, free hardware/software, etc, for listening to their pitch. We generally went there and found that there were also BestBuy, CircuitCity, and even OfficeMax or OfficeDepot employees, depending on what was being sold. Now of those five retailers (including CompUSA) only BestBuy remains a significant factor in consumer elecrtonics sales.

    I'm surprised that Microsoft apparently didn't even think highly enough of Microcenter to invite them. I guess they are still rather small fish (in terms of market presence) at the moment.
  • by Johnny Loves Linux ( 1147635 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:36PM (#29326029)

    they don't believe in their own product.

    Why do I say that? Because you don't see BMW giving free training videos to car salesmen comparing their cars to say GM or Chrysler or Ford, do you? BMW lives or dies by the quality and reputation of their products; they don't need to "educate" salesmen about their products. This smells of a desperation move where Microsoft must believe their Windows 7 doesn't compare favorably with Linux on netbooks, so they have to try to convince the Best Buy personnel, who let's face it, don't know as much about hardware and software as they know about marketing products, to push the Windows 7 stuff onto customers.

    There have been some studies of performance of Windows 7 beta vs. Linux on netbooks which either have not have been clear win for Windows 7 or worse, have shown Windows 7 in an unflattering light. As for citations, the web sites that I can recall are, and

    I mean trying to "educate" Best Buy sales people and having Windows 7 "House Parties" sounds a little pathetic don't you think? Did Microsoft do something similar when XP came out or even Vista?

    • Why do I say that? Because you don't see BMW giving free training videos to car salesmen comparing their cars to say GM or Chrysler or Ford, do you?

      You won't see the BMW training video unless you are a BMW salesman.

      But BMW does "educate" their sales force.

      That is instinctive in any business that has a sales force - and the automobile manufacturers have been masters of the game since 1896.

      New BMW Adds Put The Competition In Their Place []

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:25PM (#29326945) Journal
      I don't know about that, but I do know when my brother was working at a Ford dealership, after about three months he was 100% convinced that Ford cars were the best cars out there. On every level. The Ford GT was better than a Corvette. A Ford Focus was better than a Toyota Corolla. The Mustang was better than any other muscle car in the world. He still didn't have much good to say about the T-bird.

      A few years after he left, he is now willing to consider other cars, like the Mazda speed-3. So I don't know what they do in dealerships, but it's sure working.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DavidD_CA ( 750156 )

      That's because people who sell BMWs tend to work for... BMW dealers.

      There isn't much of a threat of a BMW salesperson selling an Audi or Lexus.

      A more accurate comparison would be an electronics retail store that sells Sony, Panasonic, and 10 other brands. And in that case, you can bet that the manufacturers do everything they can to get them to sell their product.

      When I worked for an Internet Service Provider, we sold circuits from many other first-tier companies such as NewEdge and Covad and AT&T. Yo

  • by supersloshy ( 1273442 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:39PM (#29326051)

    "Aww, dangit! I got a BSOD again! Well, I knew it'd happen..."

  • when is Windows... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:42PM (#29326091)
    When is Windows not like Windows?
    When Microsoft ships a new version.

    When is Windows just like Windows?
    When Microsoft ships a new version.

    You all know that Windows 7 is not like any kind of Windows most people are running but as you should have seen if you RTFA, Microsoft's army of marketing droids still likes to tell people that it's Windows so you know it.

    Besides this telling the world+dog that Microsoft is fighting Linux, look at the first mention of netbooks and Linux. The page title is about netbooks but the bullets are on PCs. They are being real careful to not allow the netbook to be labeled a special device or market segment and want it to be considered a limited function PC. The reason why is because if people think of the netbook as another device like say, an iPhone, they know that all the smoke and mirror tricks claiming having Windows is better goes out the windows. Peg the netbook as a little computer and people will think that having Windows on it is a good thing to do and if you put anything else on it, you'll have less functionality. The reality is, these resource constrained devices do more with Linux because Linux and OSS does better and can do more in these small devices. Think about it, you don't see Window XP, Vista, or Windows 7 on smartphones or MIDs devices.

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:58PM (#29326259)
    i am going to go in to bestbuy every week and wear down the employees with every talking point i can muster showing Linux is better, they will be running to mcdonalds asking for employment applications after i get done with them.
  • Microsoft Expert (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:18PM (#29326413) Journal
    FUD Factory.

    Pity the bandwidth of the site was exceeded - could not see the piccys.

  • by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:25PM (#29326481)
    Yeah, that's right. Because this means that MS is that something the whole FOSS community has done these last years has worked and MS now actually feels threatened by it and the need to train salesman into fighting it. It is also good news because after all, there is no such thing as bad advertisement, and this is just going to spell out "Streissand effect".
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:05PM (#29327191) Homepage

    Seriously if MS has to teach BestBuy employees sales pitches to keep people from LINUX you know LINUX has made an impact on the average joe. All this will do isput the name LINUX into more peoples minds. It'll make people ask questions like.. Whats up with LINUX if BestBuy is trying to show me how much better W7 is VS LINUX? If they are trying to tell me W7 is the best compared to LINUX then LINUX must be up there? Maybe its good enough for me to try it out?

  • good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jipn4 ( 1367823 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:44PM (#29327431)

    This is a good sign. The fact that Microsoft feels it necessary to attack Linux at the retail level shows that Linux is becoming more and more of a factor in the computing mainstream as well. Thanks, Microsoft, for supporting Linux.

  • by originalhack ( 142366 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:56PM (#29327501)
    I've been using Linux on servers for years but always used M$ on the desktop. When my MB blew and XP wouldn't run on the new one, I started using Ubuntu Desktop. Everything worked... generally with less drama than Windows. My DVD writer with Lightscribe worked, my laser printer worked of course. My Brother 5890 MFP scans and prints even though I can only get it to print from XP (It won't scan to XP... who knows why?).

    I've been using Openoffice every since Word 2000 inexplicably stopped working on my XP machine even with a full reinstall. The only thing that was missing was Visio. Fortunately, my old version of Visio (which won't work on Vista) will work just fund under Wine on Linux... also without any messing around.

    I used to be an advocate of Linux for people who didn't mind fiddling. Now I would suggest it for people who don't want to have to fiddle, so long as they don't need to get help from their local Windows-Geek.
  • by bootup ( 1220024 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:31PM (#29328693) [] I thought while we're talking about it 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. The learning curve for GNU/Linux is generally not as high as it is for MS Windows Vista. Unlike what they claim MS Vista and MS Office 2007 software which customers would buy if they got Vista is more cumbersome, has a reduced feature set, is slow, lacks important features like PDF support, and so on. GNU/Linux has better support generally than MS Windows. GNU/Linux supports stuff out of the box whereas with MS Windows users hand to install lots of bloated software, drivers, and waste time figuring out how to use it. GNU/Linux on the other hand can generally be had without such support headaches. Once you're introduced to shut down, applications menu, saving in different formats, and exporting to PDF it is just simpler. Getting devices to work in MS Windows can require modification/and or troubleshooting. Hardware rarely works out of the box. Microsoft want's you to believe that GNU/Linux netbooks have a higher return rate. The fact is that some manufacturers screwed up their GNU/Linux introductions to customers and their particular return rates were higher. Overall GNU/Linux is on par with MS Windows.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.