…and Paying People to Shut Up About It
Games around credit are painfully familiar to many. As background, consider Novell’s serious financial issues, which may have led the company to selling its soul to Microsoft within months. In a previous post from yesterday, Novell's latest problems were highlighted. The losses continue to widen as the cash cows run thin.
Novell’s history when it comes to fraud is well documented. Consider this old report for example.
After more than seven years in the courts, Novell will spend $13.9 million to make a securities fraud class-action lawsuit go away.
Attention is needed here. Novell’s cronies were not cleared of charges; instead, they bailed out. This does not make the behaviour acceptable. According to yesterday’s article from the Register, “th[e latest] was turned into a loss of $15m for the period because of a debt write-off.”
Did anyone spot that? Yes, debt.
Novell has previously admitted — albeit in private — that it is 'cooking the books'. This indicates that not much has changed since that class-action lawsuit over fraud.
Such things might not be rare, but it does not make them justified, either. Here are a couple of examples.
Former Apple CFO, Fred Anderson, made accusations against Steve Jobs. According to Associated Press, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray said “It gives the appearance that, ‘I had a partner in crime and it was Steve Jobs.’” Here is an article from The Register.
Apple’s Board of Directors is backing CEO Steve Jobs after former CFO Fred Anderson accused Jobs approving the company’s stock option backdating. Anderson settled civil charges against him Tuesday without admitting any guilt, but agreeing to pay back approximately $3.5m to make up for personal gains in the scandal.
Eventually, they managed to sneak away from justice, assuming these allegations were true in the first place, which is likely. Welcome the juridical system of the 21st — a system where you can commit a crime and get away with, provided you are wealthy enough and can buy people’s silence.
After presiding over a 50 percent rise in Apple’s stock over the past year, CEO Steve Jobs can afford to shrug off shareholder questions about stock option backdating and environmental policies.
Microsoft too has paid for skeptics to take their claims of fraud elsewhere. This includes a Microsoft executive that accused Microsoft of fraud. Microsoft paid money for these claims of fraud to just go away.
What about regulation? The SEC proved its impotence when it let SCO off the hook just a while before they declared their surprise bankruptcy.
Tomorrow’s IRC logs will contain a lot more information about it. This requires tidying up. Meanwhile, watch this new comment from Linux Today:
Generous Gates has yet to give away money to match the huge amounts that the Foundation saved in taxes (ie, the bill you and I pick up).
This is only the tip of the ice-berg of Generous Gates’ generosity.
PS. Generous Gates is converting his paper money inflated wealth into safer currencies courtesy of means such as Ma’s and Pa’s savings (including their pension funds). Secrecy and tricks (such as using a nonprofit Foundation) ensure Ma and Pa buy MSFT real high, kind of like those Enron folks that bought real high, too.
PS2. Gates private investments are benefiting mightily from the Foundations’ donations. Of course, the more billionaires that participate, the more difficult it is to trace down the back-scratching.
The Gates Foundation is a sensitive subject that was covered before, e.g. here. There’s not much goodwill out there, except for in the minds of those that live in a fantasy world. The same goes for other companies and individuals, but one has to be intimately familiar and backed by verifiable proof to make the proper allegations.
Microsoft’s past stock options practice poses questions
Microsoft in 1999 announced that it would end a policy of awarding options at monthly lows and said it would take a $217 million charge, though many details of that discontinued practice haven’t been widely known, The Wall Street Journal said Friday.
Those details raise questions about how Microsoft began the practice, what prompted the company to end it and whether the way the options were dated–at 30-day lows the month after they were granted–influenced other companies, it said.
If S.u.S.E. was acquired by a corrupt company, which seem true based on the citation at the top, then it can hopefully isolate and dissociate itself from Novell some time in the future. OpenSUSE could do this.
Microsoft may now be injecting money into Novell in order to keep its strategy against GNU/Linux, ODF and Free software going. Suffice to say, Novell is provably a friend of Microsoft more than it is a friend of Free software. Novell is not SUSE. It’s broader than SUSE. █
Update #2: Another comment on the article above (from the Internet Archive):
Lessons of Enron
I’m not going to jump on the microsucks band wagon. I would point out that if the enron scandal held any lessons for us, it should be that questionable business practices should be dealt with harshly. I wonder how many other companies are well on their way down the enron road? What will it do to the economy when the s*** finally hits the fan?