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


Government Cronyism Watch: Microsoft Inside FCC, California, Washington, and Bahrain

Posted in America, Asia, Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Office Suites, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 2:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FCC logo

Summary: Latest examples of Microsoft entering the non-commercial arena and influencing decisions so as to help its bottom line

THE FCC family grows and the latest addition is covered by BusinessWeek, which says:

‘Sexiest Man’ Joins Navy Admiral, Microsoft Veteran at New FCC


Also among Genachowski’s recruits are retired Navy Rear Admiral James Barnett Jr., 56, who is chief of the FCC’s bureau of public safety and homeland security; Steven VanRoekel, 40, the agency’s managing director, who came from Microsoft Corp.; and Steven Waldman, 47, founder of beliefnet.com, which offers prayers and commentary to help users seeking spiritual guidance. Waldman, a former Newsweek correspondent, heads an FCC task force on the state of the media.


VanRoekel oversees the agency’s day-to-day operations. The former Microsoft executive and aide to founder Gates on speeches and strategy says he has worked to boost technology use since arriving to find an agency where “the status quo was the norm.”

We wrote about this tactless appointment before [1, 2]. The FCC took on Apple just weeks after VanRoekel had become the Managing Director of the FCC. But anyway, why does BusinessWeek care so much about a man’s appearance? It’s not as though people should vote for someone based on whether he is “Sexiest Man” or not.

Apropos, a couple of weeks ago Schwarzenegger put himself in Microsoft's pocket and now he’s getting bitten in the rear. From the San Francisco press we now learn:

Glitches in Microsoft’s California vouchers


Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Microsoft Corp.’s Silicon Valley campus to announce that the tech company would hand out more than 70,000 training vouchers through the state’s One-Stop Career Centers. The idea was to give Californians – whether unemployed or working – a chance to take online computer courses and get free tests to certify their skills.

This Microsoft-sponsored program, called Elevate America, mainly offers intermediate training in office programs – Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Vista – with some vouchers set aside to provide advanced online training to people hoping to work in computer administration.


Microsoft has run this same program in 12 other states and officials say the average completion rate has been just 30 percent – giving local workforce boards a chance to improve on that ratio by making sure that Californians follow through and take advantage of the training.

This is just nationwide dumping, as we have already explained. Microsoft tries to indoctrinate everyone by means of Windows and Office “training” that it “donates”. This programme is mostly being used in the US, but there are similar things going on in the UK. We gave examples.

To the US government, Microsoft is the tail that wags the dog. Last month we showed that a former Microsoft manager (Hunter) had entered the government where he is now helping Microsoft escape tax [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft’s darling press, the Seattle Times, still seems to be unwilling to cover this blunder; instead it says that “State tax break entices tech firms to build data centers”

Legislators and businesses have been worried about losing new data centers to other states since Microsoft, citing the state’s tax law, moved its cloud- computing platform Azure out of Washington to another U.S. data center. The news was distressing to the Grant County town of Quincy, where Yahoo, Microsoft and Intuit have built large server farms, drawn to the county’s cheap and green hydropower.

Server farms send data and software across the Internet to users and to Web sites around the world. Microsoft continues to operate a data center in Quincy but chose last year not to expand Azure there. Running a server farm requires large amounts of energy and bandwidth.

The Seattle Times should be shamed of itself for continuing to ignore a serious fiasco that hurts citizens of Seattle. Is this publication paid by Microsoft in any way (directly or indirectly)? There’s quite a déjà vu here because other Seattle or Redmond ‘publications’ are dedicated just to Microsoft boosting and some masquerade as government-oriented Web sites that offer impartial advice to governments.

“The Seattle Times should be shamed of itself for continuing to ignore a serious fiasco that hurts citizens of Seattle.”Here is the latest example of Microsoft promotion as an ‘article’ in one these Web sites; Microsoft seems to have gotten its own magazines to sell its products and deceive readers (under the the illusion that these are “news” sites). Here is one new example and another one. These new articles may seem like news, but they are embedded in sites that are named after Microsoft products. It’s an insult to real news sites and it dilutes authentic reporting as a whole. Shouldn’t the FCC look into such issues of misreporting (or improper media centralisation)? Oh wait, the FCC would not care because it’s partly run by a former colleague of Gates and Ballmer. It’s all just PR from a highly PR-dependent company that he used to work for, so why would he care?

Speaking of government influence, Microsoft will have a conference in Costa Mesa next week and we also learn that it has “workshops” in Bahrain, where these simply enable Microsoft to send instructions to people who make decisions:

Furthering its commitment to promote good government practices through the use of technology, Microsoft Bahrain today announced that it hosted a workshop for senior technology executives from the various entities within the Government of Bahrain.

This is wrong on very many levels. No wonder so many governments blindly sign contracts with Microsoft and sometimes get sued for it by their citizens. In some cases, the lawsuits come from competitors. Take Switzerland for example. We covered it in:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court

Microsoft’s manufactured ‘studies’ are another important subject that we mentioned last week (Microsoft uses these for government lobbying) and here is the latest example.

Microsoft’s Worldwide Utility Industry Survey 2010 is their latest attempt at doing this, and while this is not really a major study, there are a handful of meaningful conclusions that I think will – and should – resonate with utilities.

In the next post about the Gates Foundation we will show the latest ‘studies’ that they fund to serve themselves. This type of behaviour ought to be exposed because it only adds ‘noise’ to the debate and it harms citizens for the benefit of few large corporations.

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

A Single Comment

  1. your_friend said,

    March 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm


    Microsoft’s training programs are worse than dumping, they are state sponsored dumping. In all of these programs, Microsoft uses government resources like staff and office space. While they have spun their software donation as a gift, what they’ve really done is convince US states to fund Microsoft training. Even if 100% of state expenses were reimbursed, in cash not through phoney retail price software donations, it would be a bad deal for states because it excludes competitors from the same resources. Training is a private issue and Microsoft should be going through private colleges or through a very carefully monitored public University program.

What Else is New

  1. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  2. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  3. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  4. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  5. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  6. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day

  7. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  8. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  9. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

  10. The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

    As one last 'gift' from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive -- the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

  11. The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

    The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it's evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

  12. Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

    Links for the day

  13. Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

    Links for the day

  14. Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

    Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli's 'deputy' at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

  15. IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

    Having 'championed' lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM's practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

  16. The Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

    Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role

  17. Patent Trolls in the United States Increasingly Target Small Businesses Which Cannot Challenge Their Likely-Invalid Software Patents

    South by Southwest (SXSW Conference/Festivals in Austin, Texas) has a presentation about patent trolls, whose general message may be reaffirmed by recent legal actions in Texas and outside Texas

  18. EPO Staff Union Organises Protest to Complain About Inability “of the Office to Recruit the Highly Qualified Staff it Needs.”

    Having already targeted union leaders and staff representatives, the EPO may soon be going after those whom they passionately represented and the staff union (SUEPO) wants the Administrative Council to be aware

  19. Battistelli Likes to Describe His Critics as 'Nazis', Team UPC Will Attempt the Same Thing Against UPC Critics

    Demonising one's opposition or framing it as "fascist" is a classic trick; to what degree will Team UPC exploit such tactics?

  20. Session in Bavaria to Discuss the Abuses of the European Patent Office Later Today

    The EPO shambles in Munich have gotten the attention of more Bavarian politicians, more so in light of the Constitutional complaint against the UPC (now dealt with by the German FCC, which saw merit in the complaint)

  21. Links 12/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC5, KEXI 3.1, Karton 1.0, Netrunner 18.03, Debian 9.4

    Links for the day

  22. EPO Patent 'Growth' Not Achieved But Demanded/Mandated by Battistelli, by Lowering Quality of Patents/Services

    Targets at the EPO are not actually reached but are being imposed by overzealous management which dries up all the work in a hurry in order to make examiners redundant and many European Patents worthless

  23. Doubt Over Independence of Judges at the EPO Clouds Reason in Deciding Regarding Patents on Life

    With the growing prospect of a Board of Appeal (BoA) having to decide on patentability of CRISPR 'innovation' (more like explanation/discovery), questions linger or persist about judges' ability to rule as they see fit rather than what some lunatic wants

  24. Patent Academics and CAFC Make a Living Out of Patents, But Both Must Begrudgingly Learn to Accept That Patents Went Too Far

    A look at academic pundits' views on the patent system of the United States and where the Federal Circuit (a high patent court) stands on these matters after the US Supreme Court (highest possible court) lashed out at many of its decisions, especially those from the disgraced Rader years

  25. Patent Maximalists Cause a Crisis of Legitimacy for Patent Law

    The patent extremists who nowadays equate monopolies on mere ideas to "property" and "rights" gradually cause the public to lose respect for patents, more or less in the same way copyright maximalists (and copyright trolls) cause the population to seek alternatives (both legal and illegal)

  26. We Shall Soon Find Out Where Trump Appointees Such as Neil Gorsuch Stand on Patent Policies

    Staff shuffles at top-level roles will soon reveal what Donald Trump's changes mean to patent law and caselaw

  27. Trump's USPTO Changes Patent Designs, Changes Director/Deputy Director, and Anticipat 'Ranks' Patent Examiners Based on How They Deal With Section 101

    Today's USPTO isn't the same USPTO which was managed by Michelle Lee and anti-PTAB groups (proponents of software patents) have begun profiling examiners based on their stance on abstract/software patents -- a form of neo-McCarthyism

  28. Links 10/3/2018: Amarok 2.9.0, Debian 9.4, Sparky 5.3

    Links for the day

  29. Alice/§ 101 is Improving the Quality of Patents in the United States and Patent Law Firms Are Panicking

    Patent maximalists in the United States not only freak out over Alice but also distort the outcome of recent court cases (Federal Circuit) in order to make it seem as though Alice is going away

  30. Watchtroll is Back to Attacking Judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Because It Can't Tolerate Justice

    The attacks on judges at PTAB seem to be culminating again, perhaps mere weeks before the US Supreme Court delivers a decision regarding PTAB's patent review process (IPRs)


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