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back to article Smoked by Android: Microsoft coughs up free laptop

An Android user who reckons he beat Microsoft's speed challenge fair and square will be getting his free laptop and phone after Microsoft's PCGuy stepped into the fray. Sahas Katta admits he won the promotional race, which pitches a staff member wielding a Windows handset against challengers in a test of speed, by sheer luck – …

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BenThePCGuy

He's pretty fair. I think he paid up more than twice at CES, too.

Lucky shot, Android guy. Shitty behaviour, shop-drones.

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Re: BenThePCGuy

pretty fair my foot.......every one of these competitions are stacked in WP favour

He's far from alone, read about the blackberry owner, his challenge was to send a email to 5 people, the MS guy had a 5 contact group already set up in his phone so only had to pick one "contact" while BB owner had to pick 5.....

Thy *really* are desperate and their market share has been #smokedbybada

Ben might be looking for a new job soon.......

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Re: BenThePCGuy

It's an advertising campaign

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FAIL

If Microsoft ran a 100m dash

If Microsoft ran a 100m dash to show they were fastest, they would:

1) Tell all other competitors to show up at 13:00, when the race was to start at 12:00

2) Microsoft would start out at the 99m line....

3) ...In a Ferrari...

4) ...at 200km/h

5) The competitors would be visited the night before by Bruno and "Bent-Nose" Mike, who would introduce the competitor's kneecaps to a tire-iron.

And in the unlikely event that the competitors still finished the race ahead of Microsoft, Microsoft would still claim to have "beaten" them (with the tire-iron, of course).

True, once caught, Microsoft "apologized" and made good, but, if you look at the Reddit version of this story, several other people have identified other malfeasance such as forcing the competitors to use the store's WiFi, which curiously enough seems to be throttling non-WinPhone devices.

"Smoked by Windows Phone" indeed - as in, a bunch of smoke blown up your nether orifice by Microsoft.

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"throttling non-WinPhone devices"

er....

Not actually possible. Good FUD though, I can see you getting a free Apple t-shirt sometime soon.

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Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

> er....

> Not actually possible. Good FUD though, I can see you getting a free Apple t-shirt sometime > soon.

Please justify this comment.

The obvious way to throttle no windows clients is by MAC address range, why wouldn't this work?

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Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

forcing the competitors to use the store's WiFi, which curiously enough seems to be throttled, while the Win Phone is connected to a separate secure and fast WiFi.

Would be possible, I'm not saying that's what they actually did.

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MAC address range, why wouldn't this work?

A couple of reasons. First, because the wifi chipset in WP7 handset is not unique to WP7 phones. As far as the router is concerned, it's a wifi radio and the router does not care what it's attached to. Could an Android phone use this chipset? Yes. Many of them actually do.

Second, it's a Microsoft store, not a phone shop so they're selling other hardware. This means that even if routers were smart enough to recognize the OS of the wifi radio they're establishing a connection with (and they're not) then all Windows devices must be able to connect. I doubt if Microsoft want embarrassing headlines like "Smoked by Windows Mobile 6.5".

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JDX
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Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

Cannot see your typical phone-shop staff being able to set this up, considering keeping their demo units on the web is often past them.

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Vic
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Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

> Not actually possible

I think you mis-spelled "not actually very difficult"...

Vic.

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IT Angle

Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

<- You do understand the subject, don't you?

There is of course no way that the in-store phones are all fixed-IP, and on a separate subnet with full QoS, while every other phone has to use DHCP to gain access to a shaped-traffic subnet, with all HTTP/HTTPS traffic bandwidth limited. That would be unfair!

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@Vic

Given that The local wifi must offer non-throttled access to all Windows devices, including PCs, XBoxen, Win8 slates (they have those for demo purposes, apparently) and all OEM versions of WP7 hardware

and that

MS employees and customers will be connected to the same wifi network (it's a part of the T&Cs)

and that

The majority of WP7 functions do not send a browser user agent as they are baked in and we can confidently state that many apps on other platforms also do not send user agents

Exactly how would you go about it, if it's "not actually very difficult"?

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@pinky

I'll take you seriously when you show me the shop-drone that can set up a WP7 phone to use a fixed IP address.

Good luck.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MAC address range, why wouldn't this work?

Edit bandwidth rules to allow blazing fast for MAC addresses assigned to store demo phones, slow for anything else.

Chipset matters not, I can program any PHY with a MAC from any other PHY (as long as I have access to the EEPROM or whatever other method is used to store it)

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Re: MAC address range, why wouldn't this work?

@AC: Granted, that would work.

However....

Anyone wandering into the store with a WP7 phone would very quickly be able to spot the cheating. Such visible cheating would hardly be an effective marketing tool.

I really think anyone suspecting networking foul-play is clutching at straws to try to back up a belief that either a) anything Microsoft must be bad or that b) their dual-core OS is efficient.

Bizarre behaviour, either way.

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Vic
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Re: @Vic

> we can confidently state that many apps on other platforms also do not send user agents

We can confidently state that most browsers on most non-Winpho platforms will send a UA string that is not Windows[1]. I know this because I own several such devices, and my web servers see hits from many more.

Thus we have a very simple task of intercepting the first HTTP GET and associating the MAC address with a non-Windows client. This can then be tarproxied. It's easy stuff.

And that assumes that the challenge is between two random devices. If the store staff get to use known devices, they've already got the MAC addresses that need to be "assisted". Everyone else gets the tarpit.

See? Two methods of doing what you said can't be done.

Vic.

[1] There are all sorts of other heuristics you can grab as well. The ARP traffic from certain flavours of Android is particularly identifiable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MAC address range, why wouldn't this work?

"Such visible cheating would hardly be an effective marketing tool.Such visible cheating would hardly be an effective marketing tool."

But...having someone beat the staff within the rules and then hustling them out of the door claiming they broke a newly made up rule, isn't visible cheating and is an effective marketing tool?

Interesting!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

When your device connects over WiFi it will send a DHCP request for an IP address.

This request will contain details about your phone's model and OS. As an example, when my phone requests an IP address it tells the server it is a Touch Diamond running Microsoft Windows CE (yes, I know it is old and out of date).

This can then be used to tell your phone the IP address, routing and even what proxies your phone should use. It would be simple enough for the shop to force all of your requests through a proxy that deliberately delays the response, whilst their phone does not have any delays.

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Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

"Not actually possible. Good FUD though, I can see you getting a free Apple t-shirt sometime soon."

Eh, I can think of two ways of doing it without putting any effort into it.

1) Throttling by MAC address range

2) Using request headers on HTTP traffic, especially the user agent (granted that one only works on HTTP traffic, but it still works).

Both are easily done on enterprise grade networking equipment. Heck, you can even do MAC address throttling on some high end consumer grade equipment.

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Pint

Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

In this situation I wouldn't bother with a MAC level throttle. A transparent HTTP proxy on the wifi network, which identifies clients (and hence OS) based on user agent, would be enough to get the job done!

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Re: @pinky

@dogged - who says the drones had to set the phones up.

"Here, Drone, these are the phones to use in the "Smoked" competition - don't touch any settings or you're fired".

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@Dogged

Um, could you tell us where in the T's and C's it says that customers and staff will be on the "same wi-fi network" ?

Those 3 words don't appear in the T's and C's at all, individually, let alone in that precise combination. Nor can I see any other combination of words that would have the same meaning.

Clutching at straws is one thing. Making sh*t up - that's just pathetic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

Total FUD. You're forgetting that the whole #smokedbywindowsphone campaign got started at the trade conference MWC, where WP won 90% of the contests.

Now are you going to me that MS paid the MWC organisers to throttle non-Windows phones?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

> campaign got started at the trade conference MWC, where WP won 90% of the contests.

And you really think that Microsoft would take the chance that they had to give 10% of challengers a free laptop? You would have people queueing up around the block to take part.

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Linux

Re: @Vic

using DHCP fingerprinting, works like a charm

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FAIL

Re: @pinky

QOS

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Throttling non-Windoze phones

No need for fancy schmancy QOS or bandwidth shaping or fixed IPs.

The in-store drones' unfair advantage lies in knowing the WiFi password.

<coat retrieval>

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Thumb Up

Fair play!

Preparation is the foundation of success and it seems as if Sahas Katta was better prepared than the Microsoft chap!

I reckon all Windows mobiles issued to Microsoft PCGuys will now have the screen lock disabled and the weather widgets preloaded.. after all defeat is often part of the learning curve

Kudos to MS for keeping to their side of the deal, albeit through some justified protest by the winner..

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Windows

Re: Fair play!

As for the screen lock disabled, that is customization of the phone, and WindowsPhone frowns upon customization.

But as for the widgets, check the original story, the store guys already had the phone configured with two weather tiles (while by default it has none), that is one of the reasons why they didn't believe that they had lost, after all they had rigged the competition...

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Re: Fair play!

MS basically cheated by setting their phone so that all they had to do was turn it on. In other "contests" where they upload a photo to facebook, what's the betting that the guy who decides on the challenge has his camera set to the lowest picture size and has a facebook tile right where his thumb ends up when he finishes sliding the unlock? The "smoked" android phone, on the other hand, is just some guy who turns up.

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Re: Fair play!

Read the article again...

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WTF?

Re: Fair play!

Be a bit more specific...

(and read coverage on other sites if you need more details)

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WTF?

How can swapping the “smoked” phone for a Windows phone be a prize? Surely if your phone was “smoked” that means you lost. Do you get the Windows phone just by taking part, ie a phone for losing and a laptop for winning?

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I think the deal is that you get some kind of discount for trading in your phone (and agreeing to be photographed, which is a condition).

But if the challenge is to find the weather in two cities and the Microsoft guy does it in 2 second because he has the apps pre-loaded, is that actually going to impress anybody? If anything it would make me suspicious that if they had to pull stunts like that their phone probably isn't that fast.

That said, with my phone (10 quid Asda special) if I wanted to know the weather I would have to phone my wife and ask her to check on her laptop.

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'your laptop AND phone' was ready - ie he'd have to give up his phone to get the laptop

It seemed to have gone over everyone's head that the Microsoft guy was willing to make things correct as long as the guy gave up his Android phone and took the laptop AND the Windows Phone phone.

well, almost everyone. ;-)

Now I wonder if he'll take the deal and trade the new phone for some other Android phone. And besides, we know Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T are basically paying people to take the Windows Phone phones to gain market share. Aren't they still below 2% after a year of Windows Phone 7 being on the market? Not good and with Windows Phone 8 in the pipeline it's not going to be an easy message to get across.

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Re: 'your laptop AND phone' was ready - ie he'd have to give up his phone to get the laptop

Windows phone hasn't really been "marketed" for a year. Verizon in the US still has exactly ONE handset for sale and it's not being promoted by Verizon. It's a long road to gain market share when the carriers are all promoting something else. Slowly but surely, Windows phone will gather steam in the marketplace. Hero handsets are appearing. The future is bright!

I've had my very simple HTC Trophy for over a year now and I have not had a single lockup. I can't say that about any prior cell phone I've owned. Even after a year I continue to garner new appreciation for the ergonomic feature set. I really can get in and get out quickly with all the information I need. The People Hub is brilliant in it's simplicity and depth.

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>That said, with my phone (10 quid Asda special) if I wanted to know the weather I would have to >phone my wife and ask her to check on her laptop.

Wouldn't it be quicker to look out of the window?

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FAIL

Re: 'your laptop AND phone' was ready - ie he'd have to give up his phone to get the laptop

And you probably still believe Zune and the Kin were great products as well.

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Anonymous Coward

The bigger picture

I'm sure cancer is more worried about catching you.

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Anonymous Coward

Reddit article

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/rdgtz/i_won_the_windows_phone_challenge_but_lost_just/

I find it interesting that this is no longer on the main page over there....

So I'll put the link here so it can be found.

As for "throttling non-Windows phones": There's lots of ways to achieve that:

Look at the OUI part of the MAC and throttle any non-Nokia devices.

Look at the browser ID on the first HTTP transaction.

Throttle everybody, have Windows phone on different WLAN.

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Re: Reddit article

Non-Nokia won't help you with HTC, Samsung, ZTE, LG et al. It would look really if WP7 users in the store found their wifi throttled.

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er, "really bad". Edit button plz.

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I was following this as well

If pre-loaded apps weren't allowed then the Microserf also broke the rules since that person also had 2 preloaded weather apps!

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Re: I was following this as well

I thought that, but apparently not. You can make separate city tiles from the inbuilt weather app, which is a part of the OS. So they tell me.

(disclaimer - my HD7 would require dicking about the HTC Hub, which is definitely a preloaded app because you can uninstall it).

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Re: I was following this as well

They don't come loaded on the homescreen when you buy the phone - he configured it that way for the competition. I have a weather widget which came with my HTC phone so I'd have to touch the widget and swipe upwards. You don't get much faster than that but I'd have "lost".

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Stop

Re: I was following this as well

>"!You can make separate city tiles from the inbuilt weather app, which is a part of the OS. So they tell me".

Just like IE is part of the Windows OS. Oh, wait...

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Anonymous Coward

And The first Thing To Do With The Laptop

Wipe the hard drive and install Linux

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Windows

This isn't about MS but a moronic shopkeeper

I own a Windows Phone myself since a couple of days (Samsung Omnia W which replaces my Samsung Jet) and because of that I've been following the news around the Windows Phone very critically during the past months. When it comes to stuff like this I don't decide on impulse but on thorough research. Especially since I plan to use this phone for the next 4 - 6 years (my next subscription period is going to be "SIM only" which will save me quite some cash).

Alas; I've came across these (IMO silly) commercials too and I noticed that MS is also happily admitting defeat. Better yet: they are not afraid to publish this on the official Winphone page as well. See here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/cmpn/smoked-by-windows-phone.aspx

Last video, around 2:10, the guy on the left "smoked" the Windows phone. And there are more examples in those videos where someone else actually won. Can't point 'm all out because I never watched all the movies (I don't think its /that/ funny). But honestly; MS also admits defeat and aren't afraid to show it in public either.

So this isn't about MS IMO, but a moronic shop keeper who probably feared losing customers or something. Dumb move.

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