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

02.17.10

Nobody is Born a Microsoft Employee

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu, Windows at 7:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baby

Summary: Response to a poor defense of Microsoft’s immoral and sometimes illegal behaviour

IT is extremely important to tell apart voluntary and involuntary. Some things are not genetic. It is a “choice versus condition” situation. One can quit company that he or she once joined. Case of point: Mr. Reifman.

Reifman used to work for Microsoft, but having left the convicted monopolist, he is currently blasting Microsoft’s management for its tax evasion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. He really puts a lot of effort into it and we applaud him for it. He is doing a real service to citizens of his state. “Former Microsoft manager engineers tax break,” says The Inquirer’s headline, which was probably made possible thanks to the investigation by Reifman.

IT SEEMS THAT old loyalties carry a lot of weight for a former Microsoft manager who entered politics.

Facing a $2.8 billion deficit and pending insolvency, Washington State’s House of Representatives has pending Bill 3176, which mysteriously proposes changes to the state B&O royalty tax that would give Microsoft an estimated $100 million tax cut annually and possible amnesty for more than a billion dollars in alleged past tax evasion.

[...]

While the shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims that the Vole honours its local communities by providing transparency in its business practices he doesn’t say much about the company’s Nevada tax dodge.

This is a development that we mentioned yesterday and here is an interesting new comment which says: “The subsidies cost Washington taxpayers approximately $10,000 per student per year. The bill’s high income beneficiaries earn an average $92,000 per year, double the state’s per capita income. (Source: USDOL ETA 2008)…

Microsoft is in some sense stealing money from the public (yes, money can be stolen, unlike ideas) and it becomes abundantly clear that Microsoft is still a sociopath unworthy of defense. As our reader Wayne Borean puts it, Microsoft is “Tax Evader Par Excelence”.

Microsoft plays a good game, trying to market their company as a responsible corporate citizen. Using the rules to avoid paying taxes by having an office in another state to collect one type of revenue may be legal (I’m not familiar with the local rules). It may not be legal. But avoiding taxes when your home state as a horrible budget deficit is not the act of a responsible corporate citizen.

Who would possibly defend such a company? Well, usually it’s those who work inside the company or those whom authorities called “useful idiots” in the Soviet era. Here is a video that covers it (direct link). In it, Yuri Bezmenov speaks about propaganda (mirroring today’s experiences too).

Now, sticking to the original point, Microsoft relies a great deal on spin and those who are falling prey to this spin or hoping to receive a reward for playing along with it. In a new post titled “Shuttleworth on Microsoft”, The Source explains why Mark Shuttleworth’s defense is a poor one (although given the context and circumstances, it is understandable that he had to say something).

It seems to me that Microsoft vigourously opposes this “core philosophical ideal” of Ubuntu. I fail to see how you can have a “common cause” with an entity that is diametrically opposed with your core philosophical principles.

This is why I am always disappointed when people attempt to frame opposition to Microsoft as “hate” – because that falsely implies the difference is irrational and emotional instead of the philosophical difference it is. I appreciate my freedom and want to increase my freedom. Microsoft appreciates controlling me and wants to increase its control. There’s not much room for “common cause” there, and its not because I hate Microsoft or Microsoft hates me – it’s a fundamental difference of philosophy and goals.

We prefer not to repeat erroneous information from other Web sites, but either way, here is part of what Shuttleworth said. It is being framed and addressed:

I’m also quite disappointed to see Mr. Shuttleworth break out this:

I think it is as wrong to demonise the people who work at a company as it is to demonise people of a particular colour, nationality or other demographic

Excepting the very top-level executives – people who are personally responsible for Microsoft’s actions – I question the premise that anyone is demonising people who simply work at Microsoft. Criticism of Microsoft as an entity is most certainly not demonising its workers.

I draw special attention to this point because it is a 2-for-1 fallacy: not only is the premise incorrect, but if it were true the converse would be true – yet the converse is never acknowledged.

Okay. Now it’s our turn. This is a very bad analogy because working for Microsoft is not something you are born with and can neither choose nor change. One can do something ethical for an ethical company and even criticise unethical elements. But then again, we know that those who speak out against corruption are usually subjected to personal abuse (at times directly from the criticised entity). Sometimes it makes life easier to just accept the criminals and say nothing negative about anyone. Maybe it’s good for business, but it’s not necessarily healthy for society.

“It’s like saying that the policeman is full of “hate” for the criminal he chases down the street…”The premise about tolerance as it’s posed above is very fallacious. It’s like saying that the policeman is full of “hate” for the criminal he chases down the street and the poor analogy from Shuttleworth can actually mislead some readers who are trying to relate to co-existence (which Microsoft never wanted). People can choose who to work for, whereas they do cannot or can very rarely choose something like the examples he mentioned (“colour, nationality or other demographic”). So, it’s a straw man argument relying on improper (unmappable) parables.

Nobody must work for a serial convicted villain and the most important point is that some people are actually choosing to become members of the Microsoft One Way/Club, which is widely known as unethical and even illegal. “But I want to make a lot of money” is a very poor defense that lacks any sense of morality. Shuttleworth hired at least one person from Microsoft, so maybe there is another dimension to this debate/conflict. Maybe it’s to do with hypocrisy. Novell has the same type of trouble because its employees brag about spreading Mono (the Microsoft API conundrum, being brought up in relation to the latest update from Pinta [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

“The last thing this company needs is another fucking [computer] language.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

To address some other claims from Shuttleworth, there is no hate here. The reaction doesn’t mean “hating” and “demonising” Microsoft, because rejecting and avoiding Microsoft isn’t a matter of hatred or daemonisation – it’s simply the most effective and rational action to take based on a factual and historical review of Microsoft’s actions.

Alan Lord complains about Sam Varghese misrepresenting his views:

Sam, your article paints me with a brush 22which I do not believe to be fair or accurate.

Adam Williamson (from Red Hat/Fedora and formerly from Mandriva) adds in the comments: “There is an error in your title – it contains an entirely superfluous question mark.

“ If you have anything to complain about them you’re a Microsoft hater and as such your points are not valid anymore, no matter how relevant or accurate they may be in themselves.”
      –Daniel
“(‘Sam Varghese Got It Wrong’ is up there with ‘Dog Bites Man’ in the realm of the non-story. There’s an unofficial club of those who have been magnificently inaccurately attacked by Sam, in fact. We’re thinking of getting t-shirts printed…)”

Daniel correctly says: “Standard Microsoft way of dealing with any and all criticism really. If you have anything to complain about them you’re a Microsoft hater and as such your points are not valid anymore, no matter how relevant or accurate they may be in themselves.”

This whole “Hater” label is one that we addressed before [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are variants of this label, but the ideas and intentions remain the same. Critics of Microsoft’s actions (that deserve criticism if not severe punishment) are invalidated in the usual way using labels and PR. Critics of the Gates Foundation are usually being labeled “just jealous”. Critics of foreign relations in some countries get assigned labels like “unpatriotic” or “anti-Soviet”.

I have personally met important people who privately admit disliking or hating Microsoft for its crimes, but they also say that they cannot talk about it in public as that would discredit them. This means that Microsoft’s daemonisation tactics (of its critics) have worked in the sense that they created a state of self-censorship or peer censorship (one person telling off a colleague for example).

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

What Else is New


  1. The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts