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

01.19.09

How Microsoft May Deal with European Antitrust: Mouthpieces

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, FUD, Microsoft at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post

EDGI - Microsoft - talking points

Source: Microsoft internal memo [PDF], labeled “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL”

SEVERAL YEARS ago Wired Magazine published the following article:

The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.

“Bizniz® as usual for Microsoft,” says Slated. We wish to present his message regarding this incident because Microsoft is again under fire from the authorities, so it’s likely to be using similar tactics. According to this new article from Roughly Drafted, it currently uses talking points from Dan Lyons and Paul Thurrott:

Two notorious Microsoft shills, Dan Lyons and Paul Thurrott, have sunk to new lows of historical revisionism order to decry that “the media” is conspiring to uncritically fawn over a company other than the one they have uncritically fawned over as paid flacks over the last decade. They’re wrong, here’s why.

Below is the take of Slated on this former issue about Microsoft employees battling the government anonymously (or via pressure groups [1, 2]):


Note the carefully constructed and wholly evasive response, by Microsoft’s hired mouthpiece, Heidi Rothhauser of Waggner Edstrom:

“Microsoft has never had an employee by the name of Michelle Bradley,”

“Note that “not aware” is not synonymous with “does not exist”.”Well naturally, after all, Microsoft’s shills have been instructed to “use fictional names”.

“We are not aware of any memos or verbal directives of this nature.”

Note that “not aware” is not synonymous with “does not exist”.

“It is against Microsoft policy for any employee to misrepresent him or herself by email or any other means.”

Again, this carefully evades the truth. I’m quite prepared to believe that such a policy really does exist (after all Sweaty needs something to show the auditors), but it’s likely this policy document is currently being used as an “Out of Order” notice in a disused toilet somewhere at Redmond HQ. The “official line” and “working practises” are not necessarily the same, and given ‘s documented history of hired shills (i.e. “Technology Evangelists”), it’s pretty obvious this “policy” is just a sham.

Here’s the truth that Waggner Edstrom won’t tell you:

Here’s what happened. In January of this year, a newcomer popped up in
the Canopus forum named Steve Barkto. He said he was from Oklahoma City
and had been an IBM customer for seven years. He wasted little time
before attacking IBM, Dave Whittle, and your fearless reporter over
issues we had previously discussed with Rick Segal.

This Bartko character had a writing style which was so similar to that
of Rick Segal’s that it immediately caught my eye. In fact, I responded
to his first message to me by asking if he were Segal in drag. Nobody
(including myself) took my question seriously. At least not at first.

Then one of the forum Sysop’s noted that instead of calling from
Oklahoma City, where he claimed to be from, Bartko’s calls were
originating from the node closest to Microsoft’s headquarters in
Redmond, Washington. This led Will Zachmann, who ‘owns’ the forum and is
Wizop there, to look more closely.

What he found was incredible: Barkto’s account was in fact owned by
Microsoft. It had been opened with a corporate credit card belonging to
Rick Segal. Will sent a letter to the Microsoft Board of Directors
demanding an investigation and explanation, but no explanation has ever
been forthcoming.

And, of course, this:

Effective Evangelism
James Plamondon, Technical Evangelist

[...]

Our mission is to establish Microsoft’s platforms as the de facto
standards throughout the computer industry…. Working behind the scenes
to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of
the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent”
analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning
the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should
write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate
stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the
new technology, available for just $200/hour).

Apropos:

“Between 1992 and 2000, I was a Technology Evangelist (TE) with
Microsoft, where I was widely considered to be its leading TE theorist
and practitioner. For example, in the late 1990′s, I was the only
Microsoft employee to design and lead TE training seminars that all of
Microsoft’s newly-hired TE’s were required to attend.” ~ James Plamondon

So, which one of these two Microsoft representatives is lying (“it is against Microsoft policy for any employee to misrepresent him or herself by email or any other means”) … Microsoft’s hired PR firm, or their ex-head of Technology Evangelism?

Hmmm…

Note also that if they do astroturf for Microsoft, then they’re violating more than just company policy. In the EU they’ll be breaking the law:

The European Union’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (PDF),
enacted in May, 2005, already bars companies from “falsely claiming or
creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes
relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely
representing oneself as a consumer”

And (from that same page):

“Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make
anonymous posting online illegal. The bill would require anyone who
contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail
address with that site. Their full name would be used anytime a comment
is posted.

If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if
someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be
five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for
each offense after that.”

Soon nowhere will be safe for Microsoft’s shills.

[Ed: Also see coverage here]

This is why I’m so sceptical when (supposedly) ordinary Microsoft staff protest “but we’re not evil!”. Like this guy here, Charles Carmine, self-described “spiritual advisor to Channel 9″ [*] (transcript of minute 23):

So I guess, you know, one of the things that I find interesting is, is,
you know, what is it about Microsoft, I mean you mentioned, Miguel, that
your friends called you, like they said “gee, you can’t do that, it’s
Microsoft, man”? I get the same sort of vibe from people, you know, when
I say that I work for Microsoft, that they’re immediately like “oh
man!”, you know, and these are, again these are developer friends of
mine that don’t work on our stack, which, and they’re good friends of
mine. So what is it about the community out there, that you’re
definitely, you /know/ these people, I mean why are we so evil? That’s
my question, why are we so evil?

Answer: See above.

If Microsoft staff follow these off-the-record “verbal” memos, which naturally “don’t exist” because they are “against Microsoft policy”, then at the very least they are complicit in Microsoft’s “evil”, if not actually supportive of it. IMHO the two acts are indistinguishable, both in terms of morality and outcome. So clearly this “evil” extends far beyond the boardroom. That goes for de Icaza and friends, just as much as any “official” Microsoft employee.

_____
[*] Referred to:

C9 started as a grass roots effort on a team of evangelists. It got
going with some help of a lot of people. Now that it is up and moving,
some people move on to new jobs and others come in and join us.

Charles and Scoble are the driving forces behind the day to day. You
have to love their dedication to this site. We love to hear what we can
do better, so keep the feedback coming.

As for me being a “kingpin” ?

Carmine … I prefer “spiritual advisor to Channel 9″

PS: Carmine’s constant “interesting, interesting” responses, delivered in a tone of perplexity and scepticism, to de Icaza’s crystal-clear definition of Open Source and Free Software, as if the concept of Freedom was completely alien to him (Carmine), is both frightening and hysterical. It’s right at the start of that video. I recommend you take another look, and give yourself a good laugh (or the shivers, whichever).

Also check out the bit (a few minutes later) where Carmine tries to redefine “open source” (“we recently open sourced the base-class libraries”), and later on protests (paraphrased) “Sometimes … you’ve got IP. It’s mine, it’s mine, I don’t want it to be yours. It’s my IP.”

LOL!

Want a bib with that dummy, Carmine?

Also note the sly little jibe he slipped in, after de Icaza’s protracted explanation of FOSS, spelled out in words of one syllable for Carmine’s benefit:

de Icaza: “…you are in control” Carmine: “Should you care to”

IOW in Carmine’s limited imagination, the only possible reason for the existence of Free Software, is to benefit those “few” with the necessary programming skills to capitalise on it. This is someone who apparently has no concept of the principle of Freedom, or principles in general. If someone asked him to vote for the reintroduction of legalised slavery, I wonder if he’d vote “yes” based purely on the fact that there was no one waving a banner and actually protesting against it outside his building (“Nobody cares to protest against slavery today, therefore, you know, I’ll, like, vote ‘yeah’ on this form thingy”).

It’s at times like this that I’m reminded of one of PK’s sigs:

“You’re not my type. For that matter, you’re not even my species”

What species is Microsoft?

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

3 Comments

  1. amd-linux said,

    January 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Gravatar

    Sometimes I think MS is just an orchestrated entertainment vehicle for us bored geeks, just like SCO was.

    I mean, please, this worse than a conspiracy novel from Tom Clancy. Unfortunately, the results are real…..

    I wonder why there are no law enforcment agencies in the US which step up and on the toes of Ballmer and Gates?

    Since the US authorities even feel responsible to tell us how we do business here in Europe, fining companies like Siemens for alleged bribery, I wonder why they are so blind with Microsoft?

    I hope the new government will have the balls to finally stop this ridiculous mafiaesque MS game – but from what I heard, they are already on the payroll of MS (Silverlight, donations for the inauguration).

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 19, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Gravatar

    Some Linux backers upset about selection of Silverlight to stream Obama inauguration events

    “Some”?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Gravatar

    This is now confirmed:

    Belkin boss ‘extremely sorry’ for cash-for-good-reviews plan

    According to an open letter from Belkin big cheese Mark Reynoso, the “unethical practice” was conducted by “one of our employees”, who offered cash in exchange for good reviews.

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/01/20/belkin_prez_apologises/

    The CEO tried to deny it earlier. IOW, he lied to the public!

What Else is New


  1. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  2. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  3. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  4. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  5. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  6. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  7. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  8. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  9. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  10. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  11. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  12. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  13. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  14. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years



  15. When the EPO is Run by Politicians It's Expected to Be Aggressive and Corrupt Like Purely Political Establishments

    António 'Photo Op' Campinos will have marked his one-year anniversary in July; he has failed to demonstrate morality, respect for the law, understanding of the sciences, leadership by example and even the most basic honesty (he lies a lot)



  16. Links 16/6/2019: Tmax OS and New Features for KDE.org

    Links for the day



  17. Stuffed/Stacked Panels Sent Back Packing After One-Sided Patent Hearings That Will Convince Nobody, Just Preach to the Choir

    Almost a week ago the 'world tour' of patent lobbyists in US Senate finally ended; it was an utterly ridiculous case study in panel stacking and bribery (attempts to buy laws)



  18. 2019 H1: American Software Patents Are as Worthless as They Were Last Year and Still Susceptible to Invalidation

    With a fortnight left before the second half of the year it seems evident that software patents aren't coming back; the courts have not changed their position at all



  19. As European Patent Office Management Covers up Collapse in Patent Quality Don't Expect UPC to Ever Kick Off

    It would be madness to allow EPO-granted patents to become 'unitary' (bypassing sovereignty of nations that actually still value patent quality); it seems clear that rogue EPO management has, in effect, not only doomed UPC ambitions but also European Patents (or their perceived legitimacy, presumption of validity)



  20. António Campinos -- Unlike His Father -- Engages in Imperialism (Using Invalid Patents)

    Despite some similarities to his father (not positive similarities), António Campinos is actively engaged in imperialistic agenda that defies even European law; the EPO not only illegally grants patents but also urges other patent offices to do the same



  21. António Campinos Takes EPO Waste and Corruption to Unprecedented Levels and Scale

    The “B” word (billions) is thrown around at Europe’s second-largest institution because a mischievous former EUIPO chief (not Archambeau) is ‘partying’ with about half of the EPO’s all-time savings, which are supposed to be reserved for pensions and other vital programmes, not presidential palaces and gambling



  22. Links 15/6/2019: Astra Linux in Russia, FreeBSD 11.3 RC

    Links for the day



  23. Code of Conduct Explained: Partial Transcript - August 10th, 2018 - Episode 80, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest

    "Ask Noah" and the debate on how a 'Code of Conduct' is forcibly imposed on events



  24. Links 14/6/2019: Xfce-Related Releases, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha

    Links for the day



  25. The EPO is a Patent Troll's Wet Dream

    The makers of software and games in Europe will have to spend a lot of money just keeping patent trolls off their backs — a fact that seems to never bother EPO management because it profits from it



  26. EPO Spreading Patent Extremists' Ideology to the Whole World, Now to South Korea

    The EPO’s footprint around the world's patent systems is an exceptionally dangerous one; The EPO amplifies the most zealous voices of the patents and litigation ‘industry’ while totally ignoring the views and interests of the European public, rendering the EPO an ‘agent of corporate occupation’



  27. Guest Post: Notes on Free Speech, and a Line in the Sand

    We received this anonymous letter and have published it as a follow-up to "Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF"



  28. Links 13/6/2019: CERN Dumps Microsoft, GIMP 2.10.12 Released

    Links for the day



  29. Links 12/6/2019: Mesa 19.1.0, KDE neon 5.16, Endless OS 3.6.0 and BackBox Linux 6

    Links for the day



  30. Leaked Financial 'Study' Document Shows EPO Management and Mercer Engaging in an Elaborate “Hoax”

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) lies to its own staff to harm that staff; thankfully, the staff isn't easily fooled and this whole affair will merely obliterate any remnants of "benefit of the doubt" the President thus far enjoyed


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

Recent Posts