10.19.09

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Taking it Personal: Sarkozy and Steve Ballmer

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents, Steve Ballmer at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bush and Sarkozy

Summary: Microsoft’s CEO meets Prince Jean in what seems like a continued affair between Microsoft and France’s leadership

FRENCH PRESIDENT Nicolas Sarkozy has just made headlines internationally for his sheer hypocrisy. Suffice to say, Sarkozy is a big promoter of the causes of the RIAA and MPAA. He protects some oligarchs whose impact on culture is more negative than positive and in the process he is harming the Internet, which represents a democratic force. Despite all this, the population of France has managed to spread Free software rather successfully. Not bad for the origin of the great historical revolution.

We are particularly interested in Sarkozy’s personal agenda because more often than not, Sarkozy serves Microsoft’s agenda. He is a threat when it comes to intellectual monopolies (including patents) and he received support from Microsoft. He was actually caught on camera when he spent a vacation at the luxury home of a Microsoft executive and last year Sarkozy lobbied for OOXML. The list goes on and on.

What is actually new is the following article from The Times:

WHEN Steve Ballmer, the head of Microsoft, visited Paris earlier this month to open a new French headquarters, he agreed to hold only three private meetings.

Two of them were with cabinet ministers. The third, to the dismay of distinguished politicians and businessmen who had put in bids for a word with the executive titan, was with a 23-year-old undergraduate known in the French press as “Prince Jean”.

The meteoric rise of Nicolas Sarkozy’s son Jean — about to take charge of one of the biggest business districts in Europe — has prompted comparisons to a banana republic, fuelling outrage at the French president’s increasingly high-handed ways.

Sarkozy and Microsoft are no strangers and accusations of “banana republic” (as above) are not new, either. The phrase was previously brought up when the OOXML debate in France reportedly became akin to a “bar brawl”. We alluded to the AFNOR incident in [1, 2, 3] for example. It seems like a fight between the rich elites and the vast majority of the people, whose needs differ tremendously.

Speaking of the rich, here is the latest from Paul Allen:

St. Louis-based Charter is controlled by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen. It filed for bankruptcy protection in March, struggling under $21.7 billion in debt accumulated as it made a string of acquisitions. The tight credit market prevented it from refinancing its loans or getting new ones.

Paul Allen’s funding of things is relevant for reasons and causes that indirectly affect Free software and Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4].

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