“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”
The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game
Summary: The financial affairs of Microsoft and its former chairman raise serious questions which the public demands addressal of
WHETHER one calls it a “tax dodge” or “tax evasion” (Microsoft was found guilty in India, for example), it is clear that poor Microsoft (and poor Bill) would rather let all those rich taxpayers take the bills. Yes, the same goes for the Gates Foundation, which is profiteering through investments while not paying tax (it is registered as a charitable establishment). We wrote quite extensively about Microsoft and income tax in, e.g.:
- Microsoft is Still Massively Evading Tax, Insider Trading Revisited
- Microsoft in Trouble with the Law Again
- Microsoft Debt and Tax Evasion
- Microsoft Tax Avoidance, by the Numbers
- Number One Lobbyist Gets Tax Breaks, Government Deals, Innocent Children
- Is Novell’s Pal Cooking the Books as Well? (Microsoft)
- Comes, Iowa, Suppression of Truth, Collusion and Tax Evasion
- Summary of Microsoft Tax Evasion Stories
- How Microsoft Harms American Workers, Taxpayers, and the Environment
- Microsoft, a Notorious Tax Evader, Takes Money from Taxpayers to Help Its Own Business (Updated)
There is a new call for citizens of the United States to contact their representatives and complain about Microsoft’s tax dodge, which has cost the mostly-impoverished population billions of dollars all around the world (it is them who paid from their own pockets for what Microsoft ought to have paid). From a concerned and informed citizen:
When you buy Microsoft software in a box for personal use, you pay sales tax at the point of delivery. But, when large corporations purchase Microsoft software, they are actually buying an electronic download with the right to install that software on a pre-determined number of computers. The same goes for PC manufacturers such as Dell that preinstall Microsoft Windows 7 on its computers.
Aren’t there laws against this?
According to the Department of Revenue, to avoid this tax, a company, like Microsoft, would need to “effectively transfer the property to a related company (e.g., parent and subsidiary corporations) located outside Washington” and recognize income from the value of the transfer on its Washington taxes. It’s not clear that Microsoft has done this – and there are legal doctrines to charge a corporation if it illegally evades its taxes:
1) The doctrine of Nexus represents ties or links that a corporation has with a state. Microsoft clearly has nexus in Washington given its 40,224 employees, 9.8 million square feet and 79 physical sites. Its software also has nexus here as most is built, tested, marketed, sold and distributed from these facilities. Microsoft’s historical use of the laws of Washington to govern its licensing contracts, its Washington-based lawyers and its use of Washington’s courts to defend it also contribute to the nexus of its licensing business.
2) The Step Doctrine focuses on whether steps of a transaction may stand alone or, rather, whether the transaction should be treated as a whole. It can be applied when a corporation creates additional artificial steps to appear as if it is not liable to pay tax.
Do Microsoft’s Practices Constitute Illegal Tax Evasion?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asking Washington’s Department of Revenue to publish a finding on the legality of this kind of tax practice. The department is required to protect the privacy of taxpayers and therefore cannot answer specific questions about Microsoft only questions about specific practices in the abstract.
From Slashdot’s summary of the above:
For tax purposes, Microsoft reports that it’s earned its estimated $143 billion in software licensing revenue in Nevada, where there is no licensing tax, as we discussed a few weeks ago. However, for legal purposes, Microsoft relies on Washington law and its underfunded courts to defend its contracts as it did in Microsoft Licensing GP vs. TSR Silicon. Application of common legal doctrines such as nexus, the step doctrine, and alter ego theory may lead to findings that Microsoft owes the state more than $1 billion in taxes, interest, and penalties.
Not enough attention is being paid to Bill Gates’ stash of questionable investment funds that he shelters inside a supposedly-philanthropist body, just like other people with his type of wealth. They have found a loophole, so even if laws are ever passed to effectively tax the upper class, most of their money will be kept away from applicability of such laws.
People must begin asking themselves these important questions and learn about the subject using the means and time available. The mainstream press is the friend of those who are buying/funding it, so rarely does it have the courage to expose those who fund it; doing so would essentially drive them out of business because money comes from business (advertisers), not readers and viewers. To press/broadcast, readers and viewers are the products that they sell to advertisers, i.e. businesses that are the real clients. To whit:
“Truthfulness with me is hardly a virtue. I cannot discriminate between truths that and those that don’t need to be told.”
In response to our last post on the subject, namely the one about the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, one person replied with the following:
Just look at who all the food-related groups which the Rockefeller Foundation funds:
CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) – the “food police” who back in March 1988 said that trans fats were “relatively harmless”
* Consumer Federation of America (CFA) – used to be headed by Monsanto shill Carol Tucker ForemanMonsanto
PETA – animal “rights” group which kills most of the pets they “rescue” (actually funded by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors)
* Nutrition Action newsletter, March 1988, “The Truth About Trans – Hydrogenated Oils Aren’t Guilty As Charged”
There is also this new gem about the Gates Foundation:
The Financial Times last week ran a story titled “Bill Gates shifts focus to hunger”, covering a major speech by Gates detailing a new emphasis by his foundation on food security and agricultural output in developing countries.
Second, will the Foundation invest in the type of engagement and advocacy on trade policy issues (exhibit A: subsidies to developed world agricultural industry) that deeply influence food security, especially in sub-Saharan Africa? While the development of new technologies and tools is critical and has often been the Gates Foundation’s sweet-spot, major progress will be held back without a serious shift in the global economic system around agriculture and food.
Here is more information about what the Gates Foundation is doing in Africa [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. █
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Summary: Real customers get their hands on Vista 7 and not all are pleased; some ponder moving to GNU/Linux, which is perceived as better
RIGHT from the start we have warned that the reality behind Vista 7 was very different from what the mainstream press was perpetuating. This post accumulates new evidence of an important realisation.
Back to Earth
Here is a new post that quotes Reuters, hitting the nail on the head.
Reuters reminds us that, “Like Windows 7, Vista got good reviews too: As Microsoft Corp’s Windows 7 release approaches, early reviews are generally positive. But so were reviews for Windows Vista just before its launch…. Vista got high marks before its release as well, with writers back then praising a new visual design — and glossing over quirks that later became common gripes.
This included fake reviews and reviews written by the Microsoft ecosystem, i.e. those to whom the success of Windows is vital to income.
When it comes to Vista 7, people who fancy Windows have reviewed it a lot (ahead of release) but not passive consumers who don’t know much about setting up their computers — people who are poor at adapting to change because they only use their computers minutes per day and never set anything up themselves.
“Is Windows 7 the Greatest OS Ever?”
That’s the question addressed by IDG. The answer is that nobody knows and it remains to be seen. People used to say the same things about Vista. The article ends as follows:
Given that Windows XP users outnumber Windows Vista users almost 4 to 1, and that three out of four users still use the older version of Windows, the reigning champ in this area has to be Windows XP.
The bottom line though is that only you can determine what is the best operating system for you. Determining the ‘best’ operating system is, in fact, a matter of subjective opinion. Surveys and statistics may be useful, but what matters is how it works for you to do what you want a computer operating system to do.
It is too early to measure Windows 7 against most of the factors I listed, but I do think given time it could emerge as the best version of Windows and maybe even the best operating system.
As pointed out here, Vista 7 might not even be an “upgrade” for Windows users, especially those who use Windows XP and can thus run the most applications and games (leaving alone the other advantages they may have).
Thing is, upgrades don’t actually exist in the Windows world. They don’t. This is not an opinion. This is not up for an argument. Windows Upgrades do not exist.
It is, however, possible to crossgrade across different versions of Windows. What you can do is trade the problems of one Windows system for the problems of another Windows system. In Windows 95 you traded the small size of the Operating System for increased bulk. I don’t mean just amount of space taken up on the hard-drive, I mean the performance of the OS as well. Windows 98 didn’t have high system requirements… but it couldn’t run on some really low end computers that Win95 could.
Early buyers of Vista 7 are starting to discover what Microsoft would love to hide. Yesterday we wrote about some serious technical issues and yesterday we also found several more of them. From The Register:
Microsoft has been flooded with complaints from hundreds of disgruntled university bods who have struggled to download or successfully install Windows 7 files supplied by Digital River.
Also from The Register: “Windows 7 – The Reg reader review redux”
A 6 weeks down the line, it’s a dog. I need to make clear, this test machine only has Corel X3, Inkscape, and Filezilla installed. 7 has been slowing down terribly though. I’ve been through the Start up settings, and there is nothing starting up in the back ground. Yesterday I got to the log-in screen in 30 seconds, and then after putting in my password, it took 20 minutes to give me a desktop. I actually waited (well, went out for a fag and a tea), and kept an eye on it.
Programs are loading slower and slower, the response from mouse clicks is taking longer and longer.
I’ve been all over the machine with Viri scanners, I’ve checked the boot sequence, I’ve done everything in my knowledge, and I see no obvious reason for the slow-down. It just strikes me that 7 is the same as ever with the Windows Cruft Effect.
I’m going to wait before applying it across proper ‘production’ machines. As usual for at least Service Pack 1, but I’m now watching carefully. I think in a few weeks, we’ll see a lot of stories about 7 starting to grind to a halt. Many will be attributable to 3rd party software, but I know in my case there is sweet FA on this machine, and it’s still grinding to a halt.
Interesting times ahead. How long will the honeymoon last I wonder….
BusinessWeek emerges with the headline “Windows 7: The First Blue Screen”
My main Windows 7 system, which has been rock solid since I installed the shipping version of the operating system in early August, presented me with my first Blue Screen of Death this morning. The system had been acting a bit cranky for an hour or so when it suddenly crashed.
IDG has another batch of common issues that are being raised: “Windows 7 Upgrade Woes Mount: Endless Reboots and Product Key Problems”
Users began to complain about endless reboots on Friday, posting messages to the Microsoft suwindows 7pport forums stating that the Windows 7 upgrade would hang two-thirds of the way through the upgrade. Microsoft says it is investigating user problems regarding “endless reboots,” but downplayed them as “isolated issues,” according to reports.
Here is a sample complaint from the forums:
“On the last step of the upgrade (transferring files/programs/etc.), my laptop rebooted and came to a screen telling me the upgrade was unsuccessful and my previous [Vista] OS files would now be restored. My laptop is now in what seems to be a loop of restarting and trying to restore the files,” wrote one user, JSchneider21.
Product Key Problems
Other angry users are saying that Windows won’t accept product keys supplied with Windows 7 upgrade disks. “The product key is not valid. Please retype the product key,” Windows 7 tells them.
More complains: “Beware the 20 hour Windows 7 upgrade”
This machine was no slouch, being an ASUS Lamborghini with beefy specifications. The laptop was set up how I liked, loaded with applications and data running on top of Windows Vista.
This time I chose to perform an upgrade to Windows 7, believing the end result would be a seamless migration to Microsoft’s new operating system, but with my programs and settings as they were.
In contrast to the previous Windows 7 installations this upgrade took a surprisingly long time. It literally ran all night. Nothing in the Windows 7 installation process indicated that hours and hours would be required.
When I booted sure enough my settings and documents were preserved but the system performed worse than ever.
As I was to find out, this was not unexpected by Microsoft.
My grunty laptop had become sluggish to boot and Windows itself ran like everything was covered in molasses. It was an embarrassment to show people when they enquired about “this new Windows 7 thing” they’d heard about.
The Aero theme continually locked up forcing a reboot. Switching to a basic display theme got me further but still reported kernel mode faults and blanked the screen on a regular basis.
The experience I had with an upgraded Windows 7 installation was horrendous.
GNU/Linux in Comparison
In Linux Today, readers who tried Vista 7 are not impressed. For instance:
If this is the best that Microsoft can do, and don’t forget that the Vista launch had all the same “reworked from the ground up” marketing spew, then the only thing required for Linux to triumph is to be there as MS comes crashing down.
In response to the above:
But the biggest blow came when I played a while with the OS. After a while I realised I was just sitting in front of the screen with a blank stare. There was nothing exiting about it! No “WOW” feeling at all. When I first tried XP I felt interested. And now I have a feeling saying “well – it runs… so what?”. Maybe I am spoiled with things like Mandriva 2009.1 and KDE4, but I did not feel the smallest bit of enthusiasm or excitement when I got Windows 7 running.
An advocate of GNU/Linux, Jack Wallen, is still unable to find compelling new features in Vista 7.
What I do dislike is the marketing coming out of Redmond. Why?
Once again Microsoft is claiming creation of features that have been in other operating systems for a while now. This happens nearly every time Microsoft releases a new operating system. And in this week’s open source blog, I thought I would illustrate that point with regards to Windows 7. It is not my intention to do a feature-for-feature comparison, but point out the features Microsoft are claiming to be “new” that have actually been in Linux for a while.
I want to make a point, though, of saying this is not an article cutting down one operating system while supporting another. I am just pointing out the errors of the PR machine at Microsoft. With that said, here we go.
Aero: We all know this isn’t new. And we all know that Linux has had every feature displayed in Aero for some time now. This is one area that really burns my cheeks. Microsoft claims to have redesigned the desktop experience, when in fact they just took ideas from Compiz and OS X and claimed it as theirs.
The lack of new features in Vista 7 leads Notebooks.com to wondering about GNU/Linux as a viable option.
The only appealing thing, for me, about Windows 7 is that reports have indicated that it is generally faster than Vista. But why not go with a free alternative like Linux? I could easily download and install a Linux distribution today, for free, and it would probably run just as fast, if not faster than Windows 7. So what am I really paying for with a Windows 7 upgrade? Speed over Microsoft’s previous OS? Why not just go back to XP, which I already own, and is just as fast for the most part?
Fake, paid-for hype (as we last showed yesterday) is not getting promoters of GNU/Linux demoralised.
Honestly, I am suspicious. Then again, if you’re one who’d be likely to think that it’s better to risk the ire of a seemingly small group of users of Linux than to risk your business then it’s your decision. But please back it up with better reasoning than “Windows® helps you quickly and easily get online and connect to your devices and services – without dealing with an unfamiliar environment or major compatibility issues.” If you’ve got someone who was using Windows XP switching over to Vista or Windows 7, things will be different. It looks somewhat familiar but not quite. Not everything’s the same as before.
So yeah, with the advent of Windows 7 I am expecting more FUD against Linux and free and open source software in general. But I know that the community is improving on the kernel as well as the distros and the other applications that come with it.
In many ways, GNU/Linux is ahead of the latest Windows. For example:
This is most discussed issue between the two operating systems. No doubt Windows 7 boots faster than Vista, but Ubuntu 9.10 has a breezy boot up.
“Microsoft plays another round of blame the user,” tells us a regular reader, pointing to the following interesting observation.
‘The Windows 7 Was My Idea’ Campaign
…the very next barrage from Microsoft revolves around the sale of the idea that all of what appears in Windows 7 was the idea of the public.
No doubt we shall be seeing many more push-backs from early adopters of Vista 7, which was more of a marketing phenomenon. Desktop GNU/Linux is still in a great position with KDE 4.4 and GNOME 3.0 around the corner. █
“Acer and Intel, for example, are already complaining that Windows 7 Starter Edition simply won’t sell.”
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