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

03.22.10

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

    Gravatar

    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 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  3. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  4. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  5. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  6. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  7. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  8. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  9. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  10. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  12. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  13. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  14. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  15. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  16. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  17. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  18. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  19. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    Links for the day



  20. Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)



  21. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Originators of Software Patents Will Undermine the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

    Now that the actions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which have been consistently upheld by the CAFC in precedential decisions, are suddenly being questioned the patent microcosm gets all giddy and tries to undermine PTAB (again)



  22. That Time When the Administrative Council Helped Battistelli Crush Oversight (Audit Committee) and What ILO Said About It a Month Ago

    Things are becoming ever more troublesome at the EPO as the Administrative Council enjoys inaction from the International Labour Organization (ILO), in spite of its role in destroying much-needed oversight at the behest of Battistelli



  23. The EPO's Administrative Council Keeps Postponing Debate About Grounds for Firing the President

    A recollection of events prior to the latest Administrative Council meeting, where Benoît Battistelli's failings and accountability for failing to correct them never even came up



  24. A Surge of Staff Complaints About the European Patent Office Drowns the System, Disservice to Justice Noted

    Self-explanatory graphs about the state of the justice [sic] system which is prejudiced towards/against EPO workers, based on internal reports



  25. Links 16/8/2016: White House Urged by EFF on FOSS, Go 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Links 15/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC2, Glimpses at OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

    Links for the day



  27. Clawing Back the Staff Benefits at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Staff of the EPO is leaving (or retiring) in droves as abusive management continues to be the norm and staff benefits are being taken away or gradually revoked



  28. The Patent Microcosm is Panicking and Spinning Alice/§ 101 Because US Software Patents Are Still Dying

    A look at recent developments in the software patents scene in the United States, with increased focus on (or fear of) the Patent Trial and Appeal Board



  29. 21,000 Posts in Techrights in Less Than a Decade

    This post is the 21,000th post and the next one will make it more than twenty-one thousand posts in total. We are turning 10 in November.



  30. Patent Microcosm Shuts Out the Poor: Unified Patent Court (UPC) Promotion by Practising Law Institute (PLI) Only for the Wealthy

    The people who are profiting from patent feuds, disputes, lawsuits etc. are still trying to muscle their will into European law and they keep the general public out of it by locking down (or pricing out of reach) their meetings where they influence/lobby decision-making officials


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