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11.09.07

Off Topic: Microsoft Crime/Dirty Tricks Watch (Updated)

Posted in Africa, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Law, Mandriva, Microsoft at 8:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Know thy rival

About a week ago we mentioned an off-topic (for this site) story. It was about Mandriva getting betrayed in Nigeria and we sort of predicted that the the full story was yet to be revealed.

Well, some answers are beginning to be brought up to the surface. Mandriva is able to roll back the corruption, so to speak.

After public statements from Mandriva officials implied the marketing deal is legally questionable, Microsoft said last week that it complies with international law and the law of the countries in which it operates.

Be aware of another bit of news that I spotted yesterday. The two abusive monopolists, Intel and Microsoft, are doing it again in Russia.

1999 China government got concerned with dependence on Microsoft, so it decided to develop its own open source software on the basis of Linux, called Red Flag Linux. In Russia a similar program has just been launched. Up to 2009 end all Russian schools are to be supplied with the open source software package, created by the Russian programmers.

That’s a classic example. It is case where two wealthy companies sieze control of territories by “dumping” (in the econonics sense) cheap products onto a market that chose a competitor’s product (GNU/Linux in this case, because over 10,000 Russian schools are to embrace Linux). They try to suppress and eliminate rivals in this way. It’s like a totalitarian regime which is chasing down citizens that deviate from the norm. Remember OLPC? Intel and Microsoft take the spotlight, again. Bill Gates’ charity often emerges as a pawn in this game (we have seen this many times before).

Other recent stories of interest:

Microsoft CIO Stuart Scott is out

Stuart Scott, who joined Microsoft in 2005 as Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, has left was ousted from the company, as of November 5 for violating company policies, Microsoft officials said.

Ecuador Tax Agency Closes Microsoft Branch Offices For 7 Days (link expired)

“We have twice requested balances, payment reports and complete tax information, but the company hasn’t given it to us, so in accordance with our laws we have proceeded with the closure,” the SRI official in charge of the proceeding said.

Microsoft Office raid in Hungary

“Such behavior could lead to the exclusion of competitive products from the market and violate European Union rules, according to the authority known as the GVH.”

Even a Vice President at Microsoft was recently accused.

Microsoft exec dumped stock prior to Red Ring announcement

To make matters more murky, the sales were not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission within the mandatory two days of the transaction, a result of an alleged “administrative error.” Microsoft has since remedied the issue by following the “procedures required of late-filers.”

Microsoft’s Bach sold more stock before Xbox news

Microsoft Corp. executive Robbie Bach sold $3 million more in company stock during the period leading up to an announcement about a costly flaw in its Xbox video game console than previously reported, according to a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Insider Trading Hasn’t Affect Microsoft Stock – Yet

MarketWatch.com reports that Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division, sold $6.2 million of Microsoft stock just prior to announcing that Microsoft was going to have to extend XBox 360 warranties to three years because of extensive failures. The filings note that this was not part of any scheduled diversification or selling program; this was a conscious, unscheduled sale by the guy in charge of releasing news that could affect the value of Microsoft stock.

[...]

Insider trading is a very serious violation of the law; just ask Martha Stewart, who served five months in prison for avoiding losses of $43,000 through trades that just had suspicious timing (no insider trading was actually proven). This is $6.3 million that went straight into Robbie Bach’s pocket.

When you control the Department of Justice, then you can do just about anything. I could go a little further and find many older stories that illustrate corruption at Microsoft. OOXML-related stories are excluded in this post as well because they already exist somewhere in our archives. And let’s not get started with Intel and with Disney, which are completely off-topic for this Web site.

Monopoly

Update: just hours ago, an article was published which described another (new) ‘anti-GNU/Linux’ initiative.

Microsoft fights Linux and piracy with cheap Windows for second hand PCs

Observers say MAR also attempts to ameliorate another risk: that refurbishers, frustrated by the high cost and difficulty of following Microsoft’s arcane Windows licenses to the letter, will simply install a free Linux operating system on renewed PCs instead.

Some resellers “are saying, ‘We’re just going to ship this stuff out with Ubuntu Linux,’” said Adam Braunstein, an analyst with the Robert Frances Group.

There is probably no law against practices that Microsoft uses here, but this well-coordinated suppression of competition ought to invoke the wrath of observers such as the European Commission, which strives to restore competition and revert back the market to a healthier state. Mind the Cringely quote which started off a similar post. It was published just a couple of days ago.

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