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. Links 30/4/2017: Linux 4.11 Ready Shortly, Unreal Engine 4.16 Preview, Kirigami 2.1 is Out

    Links for the day



  2. High Courts in the United States Still Neither Grappling/Interfering With PTAB Nor Overturning <em>Alice</em>

    In spite of unprecedented pressure from Watchtroll, Dennis Crouch and other prominent elements of the patent microcosm in the United States, software patents continue to enjoy no backing from the courts while the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) accelerates its crackdown on such patents



  3. Hailo and Qualcomm Both Want to Profit From Software Patents Rather Than Actual Products

    The (mis)use of software patents for "easy money" is being challenged and it does not look particularly encouraging to those who rely on such patents in 2017



  4. “Spectator” and “The Patent Scam” (New Site/Movie) Tackle the Patent Trolls Epidemic

    The mainstream criticism of patent trolls, culminating even in movies like "The Patent Scam" and others, might be enough to sway public opinion on the subject



  5. Unified Patent Propaganda Courtesy of a Cabal of Firms That Constructed the UPC

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a proposed patent litigation system which would harm European industry for the benefit of law firms and their largest clients (abroad), is only being boosted by few selfish and patently dishonest stakeholders, including/enjoying the EPO's massive PR/lobbying budget (FTI Consulting)



  6. Twitter Shadowbans Critics of the EPO Now?

    Criticise the EPO's European Inventor Award 2017 (in a way that becomes visible), get shadowbanned by Twitter (rendering this criticism invisible)



  7. RecogniCorp v Nintendo is Another Nail in the Coffin of Software Patents in the United States

    A precedential new decision against software patents is terrible news for the patent microcosm -- something for them to spin or moan about for a long time to come



  8. Battistelli is Busy Securing the Vote of Countries Whose Support and Tickets Are Easy to 'Buy'

    Battistelli’s banana republic politics and tricks are viewed as his ticket to endless ‘leadership’ (domination by sheer force) of a sinking patent office, whose rules he repeatedly breaks (including lack of eligibility to run it, for multiple reasons)



  9. Patent Snake Oil From Brunel University London and PatentDive

    The ludicrous notion of replacing patent examiners (or searches by humans) with machines is seriously considered by some who should know better... but don't



  10. This is How 'Independent' the Boards of Appeal Are Under Battistelli

    A rather revealing new factoid about the interview that never happened (potentially contradicting a previous one with Battistelli), or why it did not happen



  11. Links 29/4/2017: Endless OS, Pinebook, and New Mozilla Foundation Board Members

    Links for the day



  12. Links 28/4/2017: Subsurface 4.6.4, GNOME Shell & Mutter 3.25.1

    Links for the day



  13. Kather Augenstein and Bristows Shift Attention to Germany in an Effort to Ram the Dying UPC Down Everyone's Throats

    Down the throat, hopes Team UPC, the Unitary Patent system will go, even though Britain cannot ratify, throwing the whole thing into grave uncertainty



  14. United for Patent Reform Defends USPTO Director Michelle Lee From Attacks by the Patent Microcosm

    Michelle Lee is finally (if not belatedly) shielded by a bunch of large technology companies; The deep-pocketed industry finally steps in line with our position, which is usually when things turn out the way we advocate for



  15. Team UPC and CIPA Are Lobbying, Publishing Puff Pieces, and Rewriting the Law for Unitary Patent (UPC) Behind Closed Doors

    A collection of the latest news and views on the UPC, which is being lied about by those who stand to benefit from it and is probably going nowhere because Brexit means that the UK stays out, in which case it must be reset and pertinent ratifications done all over again



  16. China's Suffering From Patent Maximalism Has Europe Forewarned

    The parasitic elements inside China -- those that just want lots of litigation (even if from patent trolls) -- are winning over, much to the detriment of the Chinese economy, and Team UPC threatens to do the same in Europe with help from Battistelli



  17. Links 27/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.5 RC1, Git 2.13.0 RC1, and Linkerd 1.0

    Links for the day



  18. The Latest Expensive PR Blitz of the EPO, Led by Jana Mittermaier and Rainer Osterwalder Under the 'European Inventor Award' Banner

    The PR agencies of the Corsican in Chief, who appears to be buying political support rather than earning any, are very busy this week, as yet another reputation laundering campaign kicks off



  19. Links 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  20. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  21. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  22. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  23. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  24. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  25. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  26. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  27. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  28. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  29. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  30. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays


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