06.08.09

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What Microsoft Did to MKV, US Policy

Posted in America, Finance, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Suburban sprawl

Summary: Ill effects of Microsoft in positions of power

ONE OF our readers has suggested that we link to this new article which sheds light on how Microsoft treats developers.

Now we can argue over whether or not Microsoft had an evil intent when they choose to shut down part of the codec industry, but regardless of the motives, competition is hurt by their decision to close media player to third party vendors. When I asked Marlin whether this would hurt his company or whether it was a dam in the river that would fork around the issue, he had conflicting thoughts.

Remember the Firefox debacle from last week?

Well, when people develop for Windows, they become mere guests of Microsoft. Even the term “third-party” is rather demeaning. Read the post above in full and see what it’s all about.

Another reader independently told us about this new article, which explains what he calls “The Irish tax evasion.”

It takes an incredibly powerful company to threaten the U.S. government in hopes of impacting a significant decision, but that’s precisely what Microsoft is doing. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made headlines when he publicly attacked President Barack Obama’s plan to cut tax breaks on U.S. companies’ foreign profits, a plan which is currently awaiting Congressional approval. Mr. Ballmer suggests that if the tax succeeds, Microsoft may begin a significant move out of the U.S., taking with it tax revenue and jobs. He states, “It makes U.S. jobs more expensive. We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.”

[...]

Mr. Ballmer, perhaps the most outspoken critic, did acknowledge that the Obama proposal preserved research and experimentation cost tax breaks. He warned, though, that the cuts to foreign exemptions would raise the cost of Microsoft’s 56,552 U.S. employees. He says this could necessitate moving them overseas. Microsoft was previously embroiled in a controversy over whether it should lay off foreign workers before U.S. ones.

In relation to this news, the crude behaviour of Steve Ballmer is something we remarked on last week and tax evasion in general is still an issue that we constantly point out [1, 2, 3]. Are there no enforceable laws anymore? Or do these laws only apply to the ‘little people’ who do not wear suits and acquire private planes?

“The government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Government official

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A Single Comment

  1. Will said,

    June 8, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Gravatar

    I’m not really engaged in what’s happening with what’s happening with Windows Media Player and MKV enough to offer much, but I can say, at least from the people I know, that anyone that knows anything about codecs and media doesn’t use WMP. Even on Windows, they mostly use something like VLC. And whenever someone that doesn’t know about codecs has a problem, sooner or later they find out about VLC.

    I find it a little underhanded that Microsoft is crippling WMP, but then, if memory serves, they do have a patent on crippling software, right? If they want to do everything in their power to drive people to better software, good for everyone else.

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