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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. End-to-End Encryption and Facebook Cannot Coexist

    Projects that promise us privacy but take money (and sometimes staff) from Facebook and Google are sending or beaming the wrong signal



  2. Twitter is Hiding Techrights and Partly Shadowbans Yours Truly

    Based on many systematic (and reproducible) tests, Twitter has taken up yet another notch its covert censorship regime, which optimises — based on some vague criteria — what people can see and cannot see



  3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 27, 2021



  4. Links 28/1/2021: Stable Kernels and Sudo Bugfixes

    Links for the day



  5. Showing Solidarity With FSFE Survivors

    What does justice look like?



  6. IBM is Throwing Away Red Hat's 'de Facto Standard' Status in Servers, Wrongly Assuming People Can't (or Won't) Go Elsewhere

    This new video is over half an hour long and it’s a discussion of IBM’s self-harming (shot-in-the-foot) move, which it already seems to regret



  7. Why 6 Screens and 6 Virtual Desktops

    An explanation of how I use computers and how I distribute tasks (across screens and across virtual desktops)



  8. Red Hat Developer Network Promoting Microsoft's Proprietary Software, Sometimes by Mass-Mailing People

    Red Hat is doing a disservice to people who subscribe to E-mail newsletters; those people are almost never into Microsoft's proprietary software, which they want to get away from



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 26, 2021



  10. Links 26/1/2021: Mozilla Firefox 85.0, Tails 4.15, Zentyal Server 7.0, GNOME 40 Alpha

    Links for the day



  11. Instead of Making Access to COVID-19 Solutions Easier Bill Gates Has Made It Harder (Patent Profits)

    Counterproductively — and at a great cost to human civilisation — Bill Gates has once again put profits and monopoly ahead of global goals such as collective health



  12. We Need More Documents Leaked to Know Intel (From the) Inside

    We invite more leaks from the belly of the beast "chipzilla", seeing that it is becoming a drone of Microsoft again, yearning for the "Wintel" days instead of moving on to a world dominated by GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  13. Why GNU/Linux Users (and the Public at Large) Should Support Leaking/Whistleblowing Sites (Including Wikileaks)

    To demonstrate the value of "scientific journalism" (a term apparently coined by Wikileaks) we take a look at Red Hat's response to embarrassing leaks (demonstrating what a scam their certification and examination programmes really are)



  14. EPO President António Campinos is Still Not Listening, According to Internal EPO Documents

    Increasingly arrogant and unaccountable management of Europe's second-largest institution (EPO) has left staff disillusioned but still defiant; there's clearly unsuitable or unfit-for-purpose management at the EPO, self-selecting based on nepotism/loyalty so as to cover up abuses



  15. Why You Should Give Falkon (the Web Browser) a Chance on GNU/Linux, BSD, or Windows

    In this crazy new world where advertisers are the real customers and Web users ("audiences") have been reduced to mere products we need a browser that isn't controlled by a company; try Falkon



  16. Kluwer Patent Spin and Distortion of Facts (Regarding UPC and More)

    Kluwer Patent Blog disgraces the firm that puts its name on it; instead of sticking to facts they're distorting the facts and the sole/principal goal is to manipulate/mislead the public and public servants



  17. Links 26/1/2021: 4MLinux 35.1, GParted 1.2, Gnuastro 0.14

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 25, 2021



  19. It's Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

    The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say "collusion") between the two



  20. EPO Staff Representation Complains That EPO Management Exploits Pandemic and 'House Arrests' to Overwork Staff, Lower Quality

    The EPO keeps breaking its promises to workers; not only are key employees seeing their net salary cut (inflation factored in) but pensioners too are being robbed and in the meantime the total time spent on work is increasing



  21. Fake News is Not a 'Wing' Thing

    The two-party corporate-led system (and media) would have us obsess/bicker about accuracy of news based on some binary/dual system of blind loyalty rather than underlying facts and priorities



  22. Links 25/1/2021: Huawei on GNU/Linux, NuTyX 20.12.1, Whisker Menu 2.5.3, Lutris 0.5.8.3, Linux 5.11 RC5

    Links for the day



  23. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in ZDNet is the Norm

    ZDNet continues to emit lots of garbage 'journalism', in effect Microsoft PR and what's known as "black PR" for Linux; just like Bleeping Computer, which ZDNet hired this writer from, there's no adherence to facts, just smears and innuendo



  24. Truth Tellers Aren't an Enemy of Free Software

    There's a perpetual attack on people who speak out against actors and corporations in positions of great power, however subtle and indirect those attacks may seem on the surface (they don't wish to be held accountable for defaming activists)



  25. The Linux Foundation, With Over 124 Million Dollars in Annual Revenue, is in Trouble Because of the Pandemic, So It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as Training and Certifications Outfit

    With mountains of cash and a Public Relations (PR) or marketing business model the so-called 'Linux' Foundation became reliant on travel, lodging, booths and speeches on sale; COVID-19 is a great risk to that business model



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 24, 2021



  27. Our Move Further Away From the World Wide Web, the Browser Monopolies, HTTP, and HTML

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is going down a bad path and a clearly regressive direction; the solution isn't going 'retro' but exploring more sophisticated systems which are robust to censorship (localised or globalised) and downtime (related to censorship) while reducing surveillance by leveraging encryption at the endpoints



  28. Important Issues Not Entertained in the Community, Especially Critics of the Status Quo

    here's corporate infiltration inside communities (for oligarchy hunts volunteer, unpaid labour) and those who speak about that as a threat to our cause and objectives are painted as misguided outcasts who must be ignored



  29. Internet Origins of the Mob

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  30. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring


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

Recent Posts