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06.27.08

The Games Microsoft Plays in Portugal to Fight Free Software

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft, Portugal, and ‘ownership’ of government officials

Despite our attempts to steer away from politics, Microsoft plays this angle so persistently that it becomes foolish — if not even irresponsible — to ignore it. Some days ago we discovered that the monopolists’ friend, Commissioner Mccreevy, is pushing letters at Barroso's direction nowadays. It was also just weeks ago that Microsoft hired John Vassallo to handle things after the sheer OOXML abuses. Vassallo is somewhat of an insider.

At the moment, as part of the 'mad acquisition' strategy, Microsoft grabs more control in telecommunication. The American company is taking over the Portuguese phone program provider called MobiComp. And It’s not just about Portugal.

MobiComp’s customer base includes 11 mobile operators around the world, including Zain (Kuwait), ALJAWAL (Saudi Arabia) and Syriatel (Syria). The company says its services provide operators with ways of establishing closer (and presumably more profitable) relationships with their customers.

Now, have a look at the press release. [via Groklaw]

[Microsoft Portugal GM:] “It highlights the success of our prime minister’s economic policies and serves as proof of Microsoft’s commitment to the partnership signed between Portugal’s government and Bill Gates two years ago. Following several top companywide awards for Microsoft Portugal, this is further evidence of our visibility in Microsoft’s worldwide efforts.”

Pamela Jones wrote: “Here’s the press release about the meeting in 2006 in Lisbon. EC President José Manuel Barroso, who is Portugese, attended, incidentally. And Portugal was one of the countries where the OOXML delegation was headed by a Microsoft employee.” Remember Microsoft’s recent push to dump software on Portugal's schools (“free” as in “free shackles”), which face increased need for Free software substitutes they receive.

“‘Free software’ is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of ‘free’ as in ‘free speech,’ not as in ‘free beer’.”

Richard Stallman

To learn what Microsoft did for OOXML in Portugal, scroll down to “P” here. It’s rather appalling indeed.

From the older press release that Pamela Jones has dug up:

In addition to the new investments Microsoft is making in support of ICT education, the company also announced it is expanding its IP Ventures programme. This gives small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to licence Microsoft inventions that have untapped market potential.

Publicly launched in May 2005, IP Ventures provides a mechanism for selected Microsoft technologies, most of which have been developed in Microsoft Research labs around the world, to have a life outside of the company. Today’s announcement features new technologies available to licence and new relationships with European partners, including Enterprise Ireland and the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development (Sitra). Both are government-funded agencies that provide grants, investment, business counselling and office space to start-up companies.

“By working with groups that receive government funding for the purpose of spurring economic development, like Sitra and Enterprise Ireland, Microsoft is helping European companies to gain a foothold in the global IT industry,” says Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel in Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs division.

Barroso was there. It seems like part of the push for software patents in Europe. As we wrote at the start, Microsoft is playing politics. It’s one of the things it excels at (and most heavily invests in).

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A Single Comment

  1. Bruno Miguel said,

    June 29, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Gravatar

    Actually, the portuguese Prime Minister is José Sócrates, a Microsoft fan – or so it seems.

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