Amazon’s crackdown on pay-to-play reviews (where companies basically bribe customers to leave positive reviews) seems to be continuing. The latest company caught up is Choetech, maker of a range of devices including charging accessories and USB hubs.

The company’s Amazon storefront is still accessible, but there are no products available for purchase.

Meanwhile, smartphone maker OnePlus has been caught cheating in a different way – the company has admitted it’s using software to throttle performance of its OnePlus 9 series smartphones when running many popular apps… but not when running benchmarks. That means the phones notch high scores in benchmarks, but real-world performance may be lower.

This isn’t a new problem. But apparently it’s not an old one either – it rears its head from time to time.

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

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  1. A bunch of people remote desktop-ing into VMs at a datacenter isn’t really a huge deal, but only if it’s an unaffiliated service.
    When it’s Microsoft doing it however, it invites a whole host of problems. Windows cloud is in direct conflict with desktop Windows and by controlling both Microsoft gets to rig the game and pick the winner. And I would expect it to be the cloud. Here’s why.
    1. Computers are expensive. They’re getting more expensive. Everything is getting more expensive. But even if you live paycheck to paycheck, you can afford 10 bucks a month, right? It’d take 8 years before you could save up to afford a decent Thinkpad. Even longer for something with an actual graphics card. VMs that float around between servers however are cheap.
    2. Microsoft gets a real time video stream of everything you do and say and has the infrastructure to process all of it for marketing purposes, and for putting you on secret illegal industry blacklists if you get too out of line (in ways that don’t violate TOS). Encryption on one of these things is useless. If they say they don’t, assume they do and are lying. How are you going to prove it?
    3. Since they own the VM, they own any files on it too. Even if they don’t look at them, once you fall into this trap, they can keep you paying because if you don’t, you’ll lose access to the files. Now I remember being able to download files I’d saved on a remote PC via remote desktop, but if they don’t use the remote desktop client and make you download the “windows cloud app” instead they could remove that option.
    4. The TOS and other limits on what you can do can be shaped to their established advertising/social engineering customers desires. Shadow has no such customers AFAIK. If Microsoft decides that advocacy for the talking points of some political party in your country is “otherwise objectionable” they can lock you out of your computer, so you won’t even try to type a blog post for that. They could do that on desktop Windows too but at least you could recover your files from an unencrypted NTFS drive, and the customers would need to get ChromeOS and MacOS to do the same thing simultaneously or people would switch.
    I’d say try to avoid it, but eventually our budgets might not leave people any choice.