“A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me… It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this…”
–Andrew S Tanenbaum, father on MINIX
In a previous post we showed that it would be foolish to ignore what Microsoft constantly does to sabotage and stifle competitors. At times, the company stumbles and falls. It fails to defend itself after leaving too many fingerprints or leaving in tact the trail of evidence which shows how it pulls strings in order to secretly attack it worst of fears.
Recent examples include Google, possibly IBM and possibly OLPC. And never mind SCO (Goldfarb declaration), the many possibilities surrounding Acacia and what PJ (of Groklaw fame) has just revealed thanks to a large community of investigators and experienced lawyers. She calls it — quite sarcastically in fact — just a coincidence. Microsoft is apparently suing Apple by proxy, just as it recently did with other companies and Linux. We will get to this in a moment.
Groklaw links to some recent articles of interest. Here are the accompanying remarks:
[PJ: Hey, is this sue-your-competitor-by-proxy-thing getting more and more transparent, or is it just me that finds it hard to believe a consumer wants her music protected Microsoft's way enough to sue over it ... bit of a stretch, no? That reminds me: Microsoft's Silverlight uses Windows Media Video:
"We depend on Microsoft Windows Media technologies, and we’re excited about Microsoft Silverlight as a platform to enable instant watching of great content for all our members, on multiple platforms.”
"Silverlight customers will also enjoy compatibility with the broad ecosystem of Windows Media-enabled tools and solutions, and the proven scalability and reliability of the Emmy Award-winning Windows Media technologies. At the discretion of content providers, Silverlight will also deliver digital rights management support built on the recently announced Microsoft PlayReady™ content access technology — with feature parity on Windows and Mac....
Microsoft Expression Media Encoder, which will be a feature of Microsoft Expression Media, enables rapid import, compression and Web publishing of digital video imported from a variety of popular formats, including AVI and QuickTime, into WMV."
So, anyone see a possible tie-in to this litigation? Microsoft might want to clear that up right away. I'm guessing that Microsoft wants to own the Internet. And I'm sure we can all trust *them* to do the right thing with it.]
Further, in reference to another item she adds:
[PJ: If this is Stacie Lynn Somers, the attorney, then go to PACER and plug in her name, and you'll find there is some class action history there, including a reference to Lerach Coughlin, in an entry in an earlier case against Nextel that reads, "FAX number for Attorneys Theodore J Pintar, Stacie Lynn Somers, John J Stoia Jr with the Law Firm of Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia and Robbins is [redacted].”
The firm is no longer associated with William Lerach who pled guilty last September to kickback schemes regarding getting plaintiffs for class action lawsuits. I don’t see Ms. Somers listed at Coughlin Stoia now. But here’s what the firm is doing including another Apple antitrust case:
“The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litig., Case No. C-05-00037-JW (N.D. Cal.). Coughlin Stoia is one of two firms appointed lead counsel for the proposed iPod direct-purchaser class – a class of several million people. Plaintiffs assert that Apple illegally tied the purchase of digital music and video files from its iTunes Store to the purchase of an iPod by making it impossible to play music and video purchased on iTunes using other portable players, and unlawfully monopolized the market for portable digital music players.” Probably just a coincidence.]
Okay, so you get the picture now. Mind the bit about kickbacks, which even Intel was caught engaging in on several occasions with several different companies. It is a form of bribery.
There is nothing conclusive in the Apple case, but it just happens to be the most recent investigation, backed by a pool of evidence and facts. While there’s no hard evidence, it makes a decent start.
Let’s repeat again what we’ve seen in recent weeks:
- Google went under attacks while Microsoft urged publishers to sue Google. Microsoft also used lobbyists to almost intercept an acquisition that Microsoft pursed itself. Hypocrisy greater than this is very rare and hard to find.
- Possibly a by-proxy lawsuit against IBM — an antitrust case in Europe courtesy a Microsoft partner/client/collaborator
- Tanenbaum proxy story — we will get to it in a moment
- Did Microsoft offer Sun Microsystems money to sue Linux?
- Possibly OLPC/LANCOR — a convicted felon launched a lawsuit in Nigeria just shortly after a Microsoft bribery incident in Nigeria, along with empty threats of testing junk patents in America as well (FUD)
- SCO — Goldfarb's declaration pretty much confirms that Microsoft fueled SCO financially
- Possibilities to consider which involve Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], a company comprising former Microsoft employees which is now suing Linux companies, with others like Intellectual Ventures (also founded by and consisting former Microsoft employees), which is lurking around the corner openly expressing Linux disdain or dismissal
- Apple antitrust lawsuit with some Silverlight in the midst of it. See the notes from Groklaw (quoted at the top).
This brings us back to Bruce Byfield’s screed and his complaint about this Web site’s coverage. It’s a vague piece calling us to not worry about Microsoft and suggesting that there are merely ‘conspiracy theories’ out there.
“Those who watch Microsoft at play are being (mis)labeled using stereotypes like “conspiracy theorist”, which is almost synonymous with “loon”.”The piece is essentially encouraging people not to look at Microsoft’s business practices. Those who watch Microsoft at play are being (mis)labeled using stereotypes like “conspiracy theorist”, which is almost synonymous with “loon”. It does make one wonder if he got the special Redmond treatment just like another person from linux.com (Roblimo accepted a gift from Microsoft). They are both in linux.com, which has Microsoft’s “Get the Fact” banners featured in Linux articles. I don’t believe any of these accusations personally (that would be the real ‘conspiracy theory’), but it’s a case of throwing ideas out there. Those Microsoft adverts do, after all, pay some of these writers’ wages.
PJ is rightly concerned (she asked me about it because she thought Byfield was accusing her, not me), but then again, Bruce Byfield response seems to be making a mention of the LANCOR case, which we barely ever cover here.
The next time someone attempts to convince you not to keep an eye on Microsoft, consider many of the stories we already know about, including these:
- The whole Mandriva-Nigeria-Microsoft bribery incident, which is recent. Bribery is no acceptable way to intercept done Linux contracts.
- The OLPC story, which contains quite a lot of hints and quite a few coincidences. It remains clear that at least one party was actively scheming to take the charitable project down, ensuring it does not take off the ground and benefits from low costs associated with mass-production.
- Lawsuits by proxy, e.g. the Tanenbaum story:
Andrew S Tanenbaum: A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me, from Minix, and therefore the intellectual property rights are unclear and therefore companies shouldn’t use Linux because I might sue them.
It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this — and I defended Linus. I wrote on my Web site saying that this guy Brown came through, visited me and I gave him the [correct] story.
There are no coincidences here. We have real stories. We have hard evidence from those who were involved. In some circumstances, the ‘smoking gun’ is still absent, but it might be out there.
As someone wrote to me by E-mail yesterday: “Yeah, sure. The people who said the Gulf of Tonkin incident was staged were called conspiracy theorists. Same goes for those who said the US had a hand in pulling the Soviets into Afghanistan. Ditto for those who said the Pearl Harbour attack was known about in advance.”
Finally here is an interesting video which ought to teach us a lesson about that politically-correct press we are so frequently educated to trust too blindly.
Unfortunately, we cannot produce an Ogg version of this video because there may be copyrights attached to it. █