EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.30.08

Buying Consensus Short of Classical Bribery

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Europe, Finance, Fraud, FUD, ISO, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Briberies too have variants

A reader contacted us last night having been “studying police action on the case of Norway.” For those who missed the story about Norway, here is a new article that speaks about it very briefly.

In the run-up to this vote, there have been accounts of Microsoft employees or partners having undue influence on the results of national standards bodies, including Norway. Groklaw has a translation of a Computerworld Norge article, as well as accounts of close votes in Germany and Croatia.

Even before the end of voting on Saturday, participants and technology enthusiasts complained that Microsoft and other Open XML backers have exposed flaws in the ISO process. Ecma chose an accelerated fast-track process, which many view as inappropriate for a weighty technical specification that has what some consider unresolved legal questions.

Earlier stages of the multiyear standards bid reportedly raised questions with European Union antitrust regulators. The Wall Street Journal in February reported that the EU has looked into whether Microsoft misused its desktop software dominance in influencing the first attempt to certify Open XML at ISO in September, a measure which did not pass and precipitated Saturday’s follow-on vote.

We will touch on that latter point in the next post, but meanwhile let us consider what allows Microsoft to ignore votes just as it did in Norway. It was a hugely scandalous story.

Further, tells us the reader, “some commenter referred to this post on Slashdot. It mentions Durusau (c/f [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) and Miguel (c/f [1, 2, 3, 4]).

“Quite concerning. Its quite simple social-financial engineering any unscrupulous big business can play upon us if there is enough at stake.”

We’ve looked at this comment and so should you. Its title is: “How this kind of thing works – Soft Bribery”

I’m gonna repost this comment from another ooxml “sudden flipflop” story – I posted it too late to get any attention then but I still wanted it visible. AC for obvious reasons! Also please bear in mind that all numbers are just for example’s sake, but the general point is all too accurate. Also bear in mind I have no “inside” information on Durusau at all, I am just trying to tell you some backstory on how these deals can go down, including one I have specific knowledge of.

——-

I want to tell you Slashdot people something about how this kind of thing works. I don’t really know the name for it, but I call it “soft bribery”. You might also call it “economic alignment” or whatever. Here’s what happens.

A large, rich stakeholder wants a particular outcome – in this case, MS wants OOXML to be ratified. They have some adversaries – respected leaders of the OSS movement or ODF foundation, in this case. Note that there are always certain people with disproportionate voices – these people are really hurting them. How can they turn them around?

They can’t outright bribe them. That’s illegal and probably wouldn’t work anyway – people would feel insulted. So what they need to do is ensure that the “thought leader”‘s economic interest is aligned with their own.

We see this happen all the time – a previous strong advocate against something, in this case pro ODF and against OOXML, will suddenly get more concilatory. See Durusau’s change of tone for an example. Now I don’t know him, but I’m pretty sure here’s what happened.

He would be in constant contact with the OOXML team in MS just as a matter of course. One day, though, they’ll tell him to expect a call from a VP or higher – big guns. He’s excited to be able to reach higher up in the company. Finally, they’re taking him seriously. He might be talking to a billionaire!

He’ll get the call. “Wow, we’re really impressed with your work on this. My team is always telling me what a smart, together guy you are”, says the VP or Partner or whatever. “I just wanted to tell you that we really appreciate the work you’re doing and we can learn a lot from you. Say, when this is all over, if OOXML finally gets accepted – we’d love to get you in for some interoperability training and consulting, our staff could really use your insight. We pay pretty well, $500 an hour, and we estimate the contract would last for a year fulltime, but we’re flexible with your current work – we just need you on call. What do you think?”

There you go. That’s it. A year’s worth at $500/hr is close enough to a million bucks, the guy’s got a mortgage, game over. Of course MS wants it kept quiet or the deal’s off – that’s their “standard business practise”, and the contract has an NDA clause.

Game over. I’m sure this is what happened to Durusau. I’m pretty sure it’s what happened to Miguel. Unless you’re independently wealthy, not many people can say no to a few hundred thousand in “consulting”. Needless to say, he’ll never step foot in any Microsoft building. Hell, maybe it’s a lot less than a million – it was for someone I know.

I am going to be very vague here – sorry if you think I lose credibility, but I don’t want to burn my friend. He was the CEO/CTO (same guy) at a small systems integrator in the educational sector “somewhere in Asia”. A largish school deal was in the works, his company advised decision makers in favour of linux. A respected company, had a lot of sway with the local suits, it was looking like going their way. One day he gets a call to the cell phone – wow, one of the big guns!

“We really like the work you’re doing. Say, it looks like this deal isn’t going to go our way – but if it does, we’ll need a partner to help us interoperate with the existing infrastructure – you installed a lot of it, so you’re first in line and we’d like to book you in advance just to make sure we can get you. What are your rates? Well, we’d like to make sure we have you for at least six months and we actually pay a set rate in this area of $$$. Is that OK? We’ll fax over our proposed contract right now, we’re pretty eager to go ahead with this, so just to lock in our booking we’ll deposit the first 25% of the contract as soon as you fax it back to us, is that good with you? Refundable if we don’t get the deal of course. Commercial in confidence, naturally. Let us know ASAP, and good luck with the deal!”

The contract was over triple what the linux deal would have earned. He has a wife and kids – I’m not going to cast the first stone. They dropped their opposition, recommended the MS deal, and got paid a quarter of a million (equivalent) to do sweet fuck-all for 6 months. My friend feels like a sell-out, but his daughter’s now in a better school.

I don’t know how to stop this happening, but until it does, MS (or GM, or Exxon, or whoever) will win and win and win. Ask yourself how much your advocacy would sell for. Ask yourself how you’d explain to your wife that you were turning down enough money to send the kids to college because of your preferences for which software to use.

This is how it’s done people.

Interestingly, that seems to resemble the Burton Group story [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24]. Remember Peter O’Kelly's consulting work for Microsoft. He did some media brainwash too, resulting in, e.g. [1, 2]. Shortly after their ‘study’, this firm, which was already close to Microsoft and tied to its technologies, did a lot of Microsoft consulting on the face of it.

That story is rather unique and different from IDC’s OOXML/ODF report (not to mention misinformed former 'analysts'), which was practically paid for by Microsoft. It was Microsoft-commissioned, but disclosure was quite the ‘unimportant’ detail. IDC is deliberately sloppy with disclosure and sometimes willing to hide these altogether.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document

“Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up.”

Microsoft, internal document

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The UPC is Dead. But Bristows is Now Fully Engaged in Necrophilia.

    In an effort to float a dead project the deceiving folks from Team UPC pretend that everything is ready to go (commence) because they've managed to find some gowns and robes



  2. Links 19/1/2019: Wikipedia Cofounder Moves to GNU/Linux, Wine 4.0 RC7 Released, Godot 3.1 Beta 2, NomadBSD 1.2 RC1

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/1/2019: Mesa 18.3.2, Rust 1.32.0

    Links for the day



  4. Links 17/1/2019: ZFS Debate Returns, AWS Pains Free Software

    Links for the day



  5. US Patent Lawyers Will Need to Change Profession or End up Becoming Abundantly Redundant, Unemployed

    In the age of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and 35 U.S.C. § 101 it’s too risky to sue with dodgy patents; moreover, the Federal Circuit‘s growing adoption of Alice means that no recent cases have given hope to patent maximalists and litigation frequency has fallen again (at double-digit rates)



  6. Links 16/1/2019: Deepin 15.9 Released and Mozilla Fenix

    Links for the day



  7. Brexit Has Failed, But So Has the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Even though all signs indicate that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will never become a reality spin is to be expected from Team UPC, still looking to profit from more litigation and expanded scope



  8. IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe

    Even days apart/within confirmation of IBM's takeover of Red Hat IBM makes it clear that it's very strongly in favour of software patents, not only in the US but also in Europe



  9. Team UPC on Dead UPC: Choosing Gowns for Corpses

    The campaign of lies, long waged by Team UPC in order to manipulate politicians and courts, hasn’t stopped even in 2019 (IAM threw in the towel, but some of Team UPC is still ‘embalming’ UPCA)



  10. Links 15/1/2019: MX Linux MX-18 Continuum Reviewed, Mageia 7 Artwork Voting

    Links for the day



  11. Council of Europe (CoE) Recognises There's No Justice at the EPO

    It’s now the Council of Europe‘s turn to speak out about the grave state of international organisations that exist in Europe but aren’t subjected to European law (which they routinely violate with impunity)



  12. Dominion Harbor -- Armed by Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll -- Goes After the World's Biggest Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung

    Dominion Harbor, the patent troll that gets bucketloads of patents from Intellectual Ventures (a patent troll strongly connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates), is still suing using shell entities



  13. Links 14/1/2019: Linux 5.0 RC2 and DXVK 0.95 Released

    Links for the day



  14. Only the Higher Courts -- Not Trump's 'Poster Child' -- Can Bring Back Software Patents

    Software patents are not making a "comeback" as some like to claim; in fact, the latest court cases and notably their outcomes suggest that nothing has changed



  15. “Uniloc is a Lawsuit Factory”

    Apple is a very secretive company, so it is hard to know what goes on with the patent troll Uniloc



  16. European Patent Office a Textbook Example of Lawless, Rogue Institutions

    The tyrannical nature of the EPO is still being demonstrated by the sad fate of Patrick Corcoran; technical judges at the EPO are feeling intimidated by nontechnical politicians and bankers



  17. No, Software Patents Are Not Poised to Make a Comeback Under New US Patent Office Rules

    Poor understanding of the difference between patent courts and patent offices is to blame for widely-spread misinformation from Ars Technica (part of Condé Nast)



  18. IP Kat Has Turned From EPO Critic (to the Point of Being Blocked by the EPO) to EPO Whitewasher That Gags EPO Whistleblowers

    The EPO tried to forcibly gag (block) IP Kat like it blocks Techrights (since 2014); failing that, the EPO got the blog to just act as a whitewashing operation for Team Campinos (more or less the same as Team Battistelli)



  19. Linspire 'Reborn' is Still Working for Microsoft and Facilitating Surveillance on GNU/Linux Users

    GNU/Linux spyware scandals may be back (and it's not about Canonical and Amazon but Linspire and Microsoft); Microsoft is meanwhile exposing innocent kids to pedophiles and it refuses to explain or defend this



  20. Links 12/1/2019: Wine 4.0 RC6, X-Plane 11.30, SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta, LibreOffice 6.2 RC2

    Links for the day



  21. The EPO's Low Patent Quality Can Kill the European Software Industry and Kill People Too

    The patents granted by the EPO are often invalid as per courts' decisions, which means that fake/illegitimate European Patents saturate the market and discourage development (e.g. of software and life-saving drugs)



  22. The Fiction That Spain (or Italy) Can Salvage the UPC

    The proponents/lobbyists of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), firms that make money from patent litigation (we collectively call these "Team UPC"), are nowadays backpedaling, having come to grips with the death of the UPC, realising it's time to save face by pretending everything they said in the past wasn't a lie



  23. Links 11/1/2019: IBM-Red Hat Obstacle Cleared, Toyota Chooses Linux

    Links for the day



  24. EPO President “Campinos is Wasting His Credibility With “Sweet” Communiqués Full of Hot Air and Storytelling”

    EPO insiders insist if not demand that all those responsible for the corruption and the abuses be removed; Campinos has done the opposite by promoting those who caused harm and turning his overseer into his subordinate



  25. The Emptiness of the Linux Foundation's Commitment to Linux and Its True Openness... to Corporate Cash (in Exchange for Influence)

    Like Pence and Moreno, who exchange a political refugee for loans, the Linux Foundation abandons its commitment to GNU/Linux in exchange for maximisation of financial contributions



  26. Links 10/1/2019: Linux 4.20.1, GNOME 3.31.4 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 9/1/2019: Qubes OS 4.0.1, Bash 5.0

    Links for the day



  28. European Patent Office Saga in 2019: “95% of the People Responsible for the Misery Are Still in Place and Have Not Even Been Rebuked”

    No signs of reformation at Europe's second-largest institution, which still suffers from justice deficit and blatant corruption



  29. Links 8/1/2019: Godot 3.1 Reaches Beta, Tidelift Gets Money

    Links for the day



  30. EPO Corruption is Helping Patent Maximalists in the United States

    The law firms that promote abstract patents in the United States (in the face of growing opposition from courts) adopt the EPO as a sort of 'poster child' because quality of European Patents keeps decreasing and lawlessness is increasing


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts