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04.27.08

Comes, Iowa, Suppression of Truth, Collusion and Tax Evasion

Posted in Antitrust, Finance, Hardware, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vortex or misconduct and hints of favour-making

A reader has just sent us a pointer to this recently-modified Web page, suggesting that Microsoft might be getting an easy ride in Iowa. Watch and judge this one for yourself (the formatting and layout make it somewhat of a necessity anyway). The Microsoft items on the list are the only ones highlighted in red.

This listing is an attempt to track tax bills for Iowa’s 2008 legislative session. While we will do our best to keep it up to date, we appreciate any updates or corrections our readers may have. Direct them to Joe Kristan (jkristan -at- rothcpa.com).

[...]

HF 2233 Great big sales and property tax giveaway to Microsoft Signed into law 2/28/08 Sure thing HF 2233c

[...]

SSB 3184 Senate version of Microsoft giveaway; same as HF 2233, which was signed 2/28/08 Introduced 2/14 Sure thing

The reader’s interpretation: “I’m guessing based on almost no data that Microsoft folded in the Iowa case (Comes v Microsoft) when all that material was posted publicly. In one earlier case (was it Corel or Caldera?) the settlement required that the court records be destroyed. So this one is probably some way get back at Iowa or at competitors based in Iowa.”

“Last week Microsoft failed to prevent the court from divulging some more damaging information about Windows Vista collusions.”You can find a bit of background about Microsoft in Iowa here, with more pertinents details right here. Microsoft was seemingly suspected of tax games in Wisconsin recently (broader picture here). Our reader adds, with respect to the find above, “perhaps [it is] in retribution for Comes v Microsoft.” And speaking tax evasion, another new case was noted just days ago. It’s systematic and endemic.

It is worth adding that Iowa has also been trying to kiss and make up with Microsoft recently. It was hoping to put pressure on the monopoly to build a datacentre there (you know, give some jobs to locals), having been compensated with some software coupons (‘funny money’) to escape prosecution last year. It suppressed disclosure, as usual (terms of settlement withheld initially, then followed by the prompt closure of the site with court evidence), just as it currently tries to do in a 2008 case. Last week Microsoft failed to prevent the court from divulging some more damaging information about Windows Vista collusions. This is nothing new because Microsoft has done this for well over a decade it has gone almost unnoticed and virtually unpunished.

But Microsoft’s pricing strategy has seldom been considered a criminal act, an act of monopoly price-fixing intended to squeeze more money out of computer buyers by raising prices. Microsoft has been able to “spin” the arguments to avoid the non-price issues while keeping its long-term pricing strategies a secret.

Until now.

Read carefully the following excerpts from an internal Microsoft memo released during the ongoing federal antitrust case…

[...]

Could things be any clearer than that? Microsoft is apparently engaged in a conspiracy to commit price-fixing in the market for personal computers. Read that again: price fixing not merely in the OS marketplace, but in the PC marketplace itself. Note also that Microsoft is not practicing collusion with any OS competitors because it does not have to. Microsoft has a literal monopoly on the price of PC operating systems; otherwise, this scheme would require collusion with their competitors.

It continues to fascinate how Microsoft never changed its ways. It only became more prudent when it comes to allowing truths to go public. The Vista scandal is just the more recent illustration of it.

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