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09.09.08

Microsoft Against Apple and Google, By Proxy?

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Google, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell, Acacia, SCO, and those other suspected proxies

This particular type of issue is a known one and by no means something rare. Companies frequently use allies and partners to partake legal action on their behalf. It helps absorb the bad reputation and deflects attention from motives and dependence. This lends credibility to the attacks and attacker, whose real source (or funding source) is sheltered away. Hours ago we mentioned Sisvel/Simens, which is a relatively small but very new example.

A news item that was mentioned yesterday (no direct link) is an attack on Apple’s CEO.

Knowing that Microsoft may have launched lawsuits against Apple in the past (by proxy), it was curious to find that the author of the article is Dan Lyons, who has been fighting against GNU/Linux, being the Microsoft/SCO ally that he is (with a proven track record, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]). He has already attacked Apple in a variety of ways beforehand, typically under the pseudo-identity “fake Steve Jobs”. Groklaw was a typical victim of his ‘poison pen’ and yesterday Pamela wrote: “What a coincidence. Just as Psystar launches its antitrust counterclaim, here comes Dan Lyons with supportive media stuff, claiming Apple is becoming a monopoly. Anyone want to bet that his articles will show up in the court case? Some of us remember the SCO saga and how Lyons’ coverage of SCO’s claims were used. If you’d like to see the ad that Apple can’t run in the UK, here it is in its, to me, innocuous totality.”

Over at USENET, Nessuno writes: “This is some more of the same Microsoft propaganda strategy: What we do is not so bad, everyone else does it, too.”

“Apple’s not perfect by any means, but I never heard the attorney general of any state refer to Apple by saying, “This is not a company that appears to be bothered by ethical boundaries.”

“First Thurrott, now Lyons. Funny how they start squawking just as the $300 Million anti-Apple ad campaign begins. How much of that $300 Million do you suppose they got? Want to bet others will start piping up soon?”

The Thurrott incident is separate and there is already a strong rebuttal to it (we’ll return to this later). In relation to the brainwash used above and in addition to spin around Windows Vista, Grouch wrote
this comment in Groklaw:

Microsoft — the Ministry of Misinformation, producing innovative inveracity for more than thirty years. Is deception for dollars patented yet?

Also in Groklaw, progress on the Caldera trial [1, 2, 3] and on recovery of evidence is being made. Here are some ‘missing’ court documents. As a recap, shortly after a secret settlement, Caldera/SCO turned against Linux. Novell received tens of millions of dollars in the process.

The traces of such proxies are everywhere, but it needs analysing. For a fact, Microsoft is fighting Yahoo/Google by proxy with the help of AstroTurfing agencies such as LawMedia Group. The news now contains evidence of backlash, which is surely motived by such ‘pressure groups’ that work at Microsoft’s behest. The last example is ANA. Pamela Jones writes about it briefly: “For a little background, here’s a speech Steve Ballmer gave at an ANA conference about the future of advertising in October of 2007. Another Microsoft person describes Silverlight in some detail as well. And here’s how they work together in connection with AdID.” Here is the article she refers to:

Advertisers seem to be finding strength in numbers when it comes to Google. Individual companies have been hesitant to criticize the search giant’s partnership with Yahoo since it was announced in June, but the Association of National Advertisers came out against it yesterday.

The ANA, a trade group that represents companies including Procter & Gamble Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and General Motors Corp., sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett yesterday recommending that the deal be blocked.

More information on Microsoft’s legal harassment against Google can be found in [1, 2, 3, 4]. There’s a lot more to it though. Microsoft may be using typcial ‘talking points’ to scrutinise not only Google but to slam Apple as well (labeling it “equally bad”). Roughly Drafted has the details on that. It generalises well to non-Apple incidents, so a few portions are quoted beneath.

Was Thurrott addressing the US Department of Justice, who convinced
the US District Court to convict Microsoft as a monopolist obstructing
competition? Was he defending Microsoft from “bad guy” complaints
raised by a number of US states which successfully presented a case
that the company was cheating customers? Were the “bad guys” European
Union regulators who insisted Microsoft not use Windows as a way to
force PC makers to bundle Windows Media Player? Or how about Iowa,
which sued Microsoft for falsely advertising that PCs that could not
really not run Vista were “Vista capable”? …

[...]

The real secret behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the tech world comes
from Microsoft, which has ghost written a blizzard of white papers and
surveys that attempt to point out that users are simply wrong and that
Vista’s problems are the fault of those pointing them out, and that
free software costs more than expensive software, and that Vista PCs
with a reduced security crisis are less vulnerable than Macs with no
security crisis.

[...]

If Mojave’s false pretense sounds like “bad guy” behavior, it’s
nothing in comparison to the astroturf (fake grassroots populist
efforts) Microsoft paid Ralph Reed to orchestrate during the monopoly
trial, where supposedly upset citizens, some of whom were actually
dead, filed complaints with the DoJ on Microsoft’s behalf.

[...]

The judge presiding over the monopoly trial wrote that Microsoft’s
executives “proved, time and time again, to be inaccurate, misleading,
evasive, and transparently false. [...] Microsoft is a company with an
institutional disdain for both the truth and for rules of law that
lesser entities must respect. It is also a company whose senior
management is not averse to offering specious testimony to support
spurious defenses to claims of its wrongdoing.”

Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch called Microsoft’s astroturf
campaign “sleazy,” saying, “This is not a company that appears to be
bothered by ethical boundaries.”

In a company of lawyers and marketers, has hope remained for decent technology?

“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products. It’s not a bad product, but bits and pieces are missing.”

Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager

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