Watch IBM Slink Away
Summary: IBM runs away from bad publicity after making a poor decision and sending a Free software-hostile nastygram
JUST as we predicted, IBM does the usual PR thing and backtracks when the public backlash becomes too great. It happens every time IBM obtains or applies for patents that are so trivial that they are insults to the patent system and to the intelligence of everyone around.
This post relates to a development that we covered in (chronologically sorted):
- Microsoft Proxy Attack on GNU/Linux Continues With TurboHercules
- Eye on Security: Windows Malware, Emergency Patches, and BeyondTrust’s CEO from Microsoft
- IBM Uses Software Patents Aggressively
- IBM’s Day of Shame
IBM has lost a lot of credibility, even if the provocation came from a proxy of Microsoft (several sources suspect so, based on information they cannot share).
IBM partners from Red Hat and Canonical are trying to defend IBM’s actions. Some are in denial, including Matt Asay from Canonical (not direct link because of the comments). IBM may have a promise for developers and not for companies. In any event, IBM shows its affair with software patents, which is not a good sign. The president of the FFII hypothetically quotes “Ubuntu’s Matt Asay” as saying: “TurboHercules is violating IBM’s patents, shame on it” (we ought to remind readers that Asay has been flirting a lot recently with Gartner‘s de facto software patents lobbyist [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).
He also asks, “Ubuntu/Canonical is now pro swpat [software patents]?”
Pieter Hintjens, FFII’s former president, also replies to Matt Asay angrily by writing: “Matt, shame on you. Every single open source project, including all of mine, infringe on at least one IBM patent somewhere. IBM hold 50% of the world’s software patents. You know this. How can you defend IBM’s use of its patent portfolio (knowing as you should that IBM finagled software into patent law both in the USA and in Europe) against an open source project, indeed against any software project?
“Has Canonical’s position changed since Mark spoke at Eupaco-2 about the need for freedom for the new economy? Are you doing some deal with IBM that makes this particular monopoly of ideas OK?”
–Pieter Hintjens“Software patents are evil, because they allow the powerful and rich to exert undue control over the small and the weak in the marketplace. Your company exists thanks to the small and the weak. IBM has never been a friend of open source, always just a “so far, so good”.
“Has Canonical’s position changed since Mark spoke at Eupaco-2 about the need for freedom for the new economy? Are you doing some deal with IBM that makes this particular monopoly of ideas OK?
“Shame on you, Matt, shame.”
The short answer is basically “yes”. Canonical and IBM collaborate on at least one project. As one person writes in response to Hintjens, “Are you inferring that Matt is using this Blog to help the company where he is the COO?”
Matt Aslett from the 451 Group writes: “The OIN promise actually covers open source software “Distributed with, or for use with, the Linux Kernel (or is the Linux Kernel)” and so is pretty broad. The full list, here http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_linuxdefpop.html, includes MySQL and OpenOffice.org, for example (although no Hercules, so the wider point still stands).”
That’s not of much use if IBM is attacking. OIN (Open Invention Network) is essentially IBM and some companies that huddle around it after they have wasted money filing for software patents and putting them in a pool (what a wasteful process!). Here is a new OIN joiner:
Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended the Linux ecosystem with the signing of Ooma as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, Ooma has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.
OIN is in favour of what it calls “high-quality” software patents, based on its CEO. It’s a bit like Peer-to-Patent, which does not genuinely help the ending of software patents.
IBM obviously broke its promise and IBM is in denial.
The open-source software community is up in arms over claims that IBM has broken a promise by asserting its patents against an open-source project. IBM denies that it has done so.
This does not agree with reports [1, 2, 3] that the source of the backlash (Mueller) brags about with a summary of resultant posts and articles, such as:
Australia’s iTWire writes that IBM has broken its 2005 promise. In the discussion part below the article, a reader (Richard Chapman) gives a vivid description of the situation: “Having IBM at your side in the land of Open Source is sort of like having a large carnivore as a pet. They may play and cuddle with you but you never know if or when they will revert to their natural ways and have you for lunch.”
Here is the original. ECIS is tied to IBM, so it is making the following claims (an assertion that’s likely true, but does not excuse IBM):
Thomas Vinje, the founder of the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which ranks IBM among its members, said that “Microsoft lies behind the antitrust complaints against IBM.” Mueller can in turn be linked to Microsoft, he said, because he joined forces with Microsoft to oppose the Oracle-Sun deal, which was approved after an in-depth investigation by the Commission that ended in December. Vinje acted for Oracle in that case.
We have attempted to see what led IBM to the nasygram and the following excellent article from LWN answers many of the questions.
The problem is that systems like z/OS and z/VM are proprietary software, subject to the usual obnoxiousness. In particular, IBM’s licensing does not allow these systems to be run on anything but IBM’s hardware. So when TurboHercules tried to get IBM to license its operating system to run on Hercules-based boxes, IBM refused. TurboHercules responded by filing a complaint with the European Commission alleging antitrust violations. According to TurboHercules, IBM’s licensing restrictions amount to an illegal tying of products.
One need not agree with IBM’s position to understand it. IBM understands well the power of commoditizing its competitors’ proprietary technology – that’s what its support for Linux is all about, in the end. Emulated mainframes running on generic Linux or Windows boxes can only look like an attempt to commoditize one of IBM’s cash cows. The fact that this product requires running IBM’s proprietary software gives the company a lever with which to fight back. Whether one feels that refusing to license that software in this situation is a proper action or not, one should agree that it’s unsurprising that IBM exercised that option.
TurboHercules evidently sent IBM a letter questioning whether IBM actually owned any useful intellectual property in this area. IBM responded with a letter listing 175 patents owned or applied for, all of which are said to apply to IBM’s mainframe architectures. Two of these patents, it turns out, are on the list of patents which IBM explicitly pledged not to assert against the free software community.
This is the best explanation we’ve found so far. TurboHercules is probably being dishonest, so we have ignored their attempts to contact us (they send PR people). Even if IBM is being provoked and teased by a company that’s possibly linked to Microsoft (even before officially joining the Microsoft lobby), IBM’s response is not acceptable. It even gave Microsoft MVPs like Miguel de Icaza ammunition against IBM and Eruaran says that “Miguel De Icaza has got some nerve tweeting about IBM’s behaviour given his own activities.” Yes, he does a lot worse himself [1, 2], and knowingly so [1, 2, 3]. Check out the following new post that’s titled “Microsoft and Patents”:
Microsoft initially started this patent crusade about 3 years ago, and after the initial wave of accusations the Redmond giant seemed to slumber. All was well for a while. Sure, we all felt as though Novell, Xandros, and Linspire had sold their souls to Satan, but we didn’t really care. There were no real effects of the deals seen. Microsoft claimed that 235 patents had been violated, but to date they have yet to say who violated those patents and in what way. To me, this seems like a massive FUD campaign.
Rather recently in the Microsoft crusade against Linux, Microsoft approached Amazon. The Kindle’s embedded OS is Linux based, OH NOES! This leaves a striking pattern. As soon as you start making money with Linux software, and Microsoft doesn’t get your money they attack you in some way. Amazon also paid Microsoft some money during the patent exchange, which raises my suspicions… If this kind of treatment continues, I hope that someone will have the ire to stand against Microsoft at some point, and demand that the accusations and the specifics of the violations and violators be made public. How can anyone comply if the information isn’t made public?
Amazon is indeed paying Microsoft for GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4] and IBM cross-licenses with Microsoft. That’s why they can’t quite sue each other. As far as Novell is concerned, Microsoft has made it clear that those who are making money from OpenSUSE are at risk of being sued and Microsoft already ‘taxes’ SLED and SLED.
“As far as Novell is concerned, Microsoft has made it clear that those who are making money from OpenSUSE are at risk of being sued and Microsoft already ‘taxes’ SLED and SLED.”Responding to the post above, Penguiniator writes: “Microsoft is not looking for compliance. The Linux kernel developers have made it clear to Microsoft that they will remove any infringing code if it is pointed out to them. Microsoft cannot make money on code that does not infringe.”
Going years back, we have already pressured IBM (and sent mail to the relevant people) asking them to take advantage of In Re Bilski and put an end to software patents (the current head of the USPTO is from IBM, which wields a lot of power in the patent system). IBM bloggers deleted comments on the subject and never replied. It’s what Pieter Hintjens called the “conspiracy of silence”, topped with censorship too (deleted comments).
According to Professor Eben Moglen’s essay for a new Red Hat Web site, the Bilski case and the end of gene patents are a stepping stone towards ending software patents.
In reaching his legal conclusions, Judge Sweet relied significantly on the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has primary responsibility for interpreting the nation’s patent law, In re Bilski, 535 F.3d 943 (2008), now pending in the Supreme Court. Bilski, as readers here will know, raises issues concerning the patentability of business methods and computer software, on essentially the same basic ground: that, as the Supreme Court has said, “phenomena of nature, though just discovered, mental processes, and abstract intellectual concepts are not patentable, as they are the basic tools of scientific and technological work.” Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63, 67 (1972). Judge Sweet’s opinion may be said to raise the stakes on Bilski slightly, but the parts of the Federal Circuit opinion on which Judge Sweet relies are not about the “specialized machine or transformation of matter” test adopted by the Federal Circuit to distinguish patentable from unpatentable inventions involving computer software and methods of doing business. Judge Sweet followed the Federal Circuit closely in its expression of the settled law of patent scope, making it more unlikely that the Federal Circuit, which will hear the inevitable appeal from Judge Sweet’s judgment, will be inclined to disturb the conclusion.
The FFII sometimes accuses IBM of stopping short of elimination of software patents. IBM wants to remove business method patents but to keep software patents in tact. The FFII’s president also says that the “European Commission [is] trying to promote High Quality software patents with the PATQUAL study.” That’s what IBM has been trying to do with OIN. IBM is part of the problem because it not only encouraged patenting of software; here in Europe, IBM is said to be part of the movement that helps legalise software patents.
Even if IBM retracts the threat (as some sources already suggest), it cannot be trusted again. And until IBM makes it clear that it had no software patents in its agenda, IBM deserves to be seen as a fake friend of Free software. It was already called just that even months ago, primarily by other sites that seek to end software patents. Yes, to end them, not to blend with them. █
“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”
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Summary: Misconceptions in the press and blind faith in Hollywood-friendly DRM prisons from Apple
WE have already written many posts about the iPad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], putting aside the fact that Apple is arrogantly suing Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].
What we find rather curious is that Apple enthusiasts sometimes fail to understand what GNU/Linux is all about and what “open source” means (some think that Apple is “open source”).
Well, Gizmodo, which was possibly bribed by Microsoft for some rave reviews of Vista 7, is currently mocking Doctorow for his criticism of the iPad. Some writers at Gizmodo have zero understanding of GNU/Linux, as shown in the following part of the new rant that’s also cited elsewhere.
Who brought Linux to the mainstream? Google. Giant, corporate, rule-bending, corruptible Google.
The funny thing is that Canonical’s new COO, Mac [sic] Asay, is also among the iPad apologists who antagonise Doctorow. He writes:
Cory Doctorow believes the iPad signals an end to innovation. It doesn’t. Apple’s iPad actually points to a beginning of innovation in personal computing.
Asay does not believe in ‘his’ own products and the associated philosophies, which also resonate with the clients. Why again does he work for Canonical? It becomes embarrassing when a self-proclaimed “open source” champion is salivating over proprietary software, just like Miguel de Icaza.
Here is another piece of utter nonsense from Apple apologists who speak about GNU/Linux:
Consider Linux, which still doesn’t have a user-friendly GUI.
While we’re at it showing or debunking FUD, here is another piece of inaccurate description from the press.
Nokia has finally ditched Symbian in favour of Maemo, which, like Android, also borrows its design heavily from Linux.
There are at least 3 mistakes in that very short sentence.
In another short piece with an Enderle-like headline (“Microsoft, Apple, Google – The Battle for Domination”) the following statement is made:
Contrary to Apple’s iPhone, Google has been the pioneer for open source technology.
Here we go again. Google is not even an open source company (let alone “the pioneer for open source technology”).
Finally, Gizmag has this to say:
Although open source software is playing an increasingly important part in our digital lives, most of still use commercial applications where the code running them is locked down tight and rarely caters for too much uncontrolled tinkering.
They probably mean “proprietary”, not “commercial”. Microsoft deliberately fails to make a distinction between the two. █
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Summary: With the aid of US newspapers — including for example the Melinda Gates-influenced Washington Post — the Gates Foundation tells us how the world should be operated for the benefit of few mega-corporations with patents and heavy investments from Gates himself
Philanthro-capitalism as an investment
The Gates Foundation continues making money from illness. A lot of people do not know about the foundation’s investments, so they probably look at a simplified model, wherein there is simply a donation of cash. It is a lot more complicated than that. To reference a new article about wireless: [the highlight in red is ours]
Gates also states that he’s not looking for the fund to make money in the short term, but he wants to see this as an investment for the fund that will ultimately repay itself and feed into the fund for further roll-outs…
This is not unusual when it comes to philanthro-capitalism. It’s not a problem that’s exclusive to Gates, either. As Mark Shuttleworth said rather clearly, Ubuntu is not a charity. The idea is one of doing good but not without a reward. Selfishness typically plays a role and it comes at the expense of someone (finding the exact externalities might be the tricky part, but they always exist).
“Read my sources”
Bill Gates is currently recommending publications that he partly controls or speaks to. He spoke to Scientific American quite recently (to address an example that he gives) and made a visit to the New York Times. His wife has some control in the Washington Post and she uses this control to 'plant' stories that promote her financial agenda. A new article from Rick Cohen, titled “Quit Corporate Boards”, says:
Melinda Gates serves as a director of the Washington Post Company in addition to her work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
There were other hard questions from the same source, addressing the Gates Foundation specifically.
“The Gates Notes on being poorly informed,” writes GatesKeeper:
Gates Keepers rarely read The Gates Notes as they are rather like many high school student blogs, but written by a celebrity.
This one is especially facile. Bill reads Slate which he owns and he reads the Washington Post where Melinda sits on the board and watches TED talks where he appears. That is a bad start for someone who hopes to think outside the box.
Nothing written outside the US, no foreign language publications, and no sources outside of print and video. It is no wonder he is poorly informed.
We won’t go through the complete list of publications, but we do see a pattern in them. it is a widely-known fact that Gates does not pay attention to his critics. We previously showed PR campaigns and policing of the messages (we gave many examples where Gates funds journalists or books that glorify his work).
Watch who else is coming out in defence of Gates:
“No pesky senators or members of Congress” or others accountable to their constituents show up when the Gates Foundation funds the entertainment industry to advance the Foundation’s point of view. Go Mariska!
A funder of the Kaiser Family Foundation, publisher of the second article, is … the Gates Foundation.
We’ll come back to the Kaisers later on. Here is the corresponding article from Melinda’s Washington Post:
The whole thing was weird and self-congratulatory, yet deeply shrewd. Baer, a Harvard-trained physician, brought the show’s star to brighten up a deadly earnest discussion. The TV watching was lent a certain gravitas by the presence of the University of Southern Cal’s Hollywood, Health and Society project (which gets funding from the NIH and CDC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And no pesky senators or members of Congress turned up to explain how many other worthy issues are competing for their funds and votes.
More celebrity treatment:
Hargitay and Baer were joined by Sally Canfield of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to an HH&S press release. HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington moderated the discussion (3/24).
Education the Gates way
We have written quite extensively on how the Gates family takes greater control of the education system, especially in the United States. Posts on the subject include:
- Bill Gates Puts in a Million to Ratify His Role as Education Minister
- How the Gates Foundation is Used to Ensure Children Become Microsoft Clients
- More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
- Microsoft Builds Coalitions of NGOs, Makes Political and Educational Changes
- Microsoft’s EDGI in India: Fighting GNU/Linux in Education
- Microsoft’s Gates Seeks More Monopolies
- Gates Foundation Funds Blogs to Promote Its Party Line
- Microsoft Bribes to Make Education Microsoft-based
- Lobbyists Dodge the Law; Bill Gates Lobbies the US Education System with Another $10 Million
- Gates Investments in Education Criticised; Monsanto (Gates-Backed) Corruption Revisited
- Latest Vista 7 Failures and Microsoft Dumping
Gates’ latest study for education agenda can be seen again right here.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently released a poll of teachers who unquestionably are underpaid for the work they do.
This is an example of private intervention in education, changing the system using one’s own ‘studies’. The Tallahassee Democrat says: “Working with a $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation, the district sat down with union representatives to design a program.” There is more coverage of that in [1, 2, 3, 4].
Only Hillsborough County gained a potential exemption, thanks to the $100 million teacher effectiveness grant it won from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Legislators said they want to let that seven-year reform effort run its course.
“Grant lost, Hillsborough seeks to boost Gates money,” says this new report (also here).
Hillsborough is concerned that Florida failed in this first round of stimulus grants, in part because it would have helped further reforms financed in part by the private Gates grant.
Florida education is at stake and another key point comes from Memphis:
The Gates Foundation funding is focused exclusively on reforms in teacher hiring, evaluation and retention.
This is “focused exclusively on reforms.” There are strings attached.
Since when is the Gates Foundation the nation’s policy maker? Also from Memphis:
In November, Memphis City Schools secured a $90 million, six-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle. The private money is for reform efforts in the evaluation, hiring and retention of teachers.
Later on we’ll show what the big problem is. The ‘studies’ that people are citing in these articles [1, 2, 3] are all paid for by the Gates Foundation for its own purposes. It’s never a good thing to rely on a single source.
More from the news:
The idea of a grade 10 diploma is the latest brainchild of the National Center on Education and the Economy, the originator of the unsuccessful school-to-work initiative in the 1990s. The project is funded by the Gates Foundation, which has abandoned its initiative to create small high schools as a way to get more low-achieving students through high school.
Here is Gates laying the foundations for his GMO business that he invests billions of dollars in.
A Search for Regulators and a Road Map to Deliver GM Crops to Third World Farmers
The school, called the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), has been set up by the African Union and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In many past writings we have explained Gates’ interest in colonising Africa through the seed supply and other means. One must not confuse criticism of GMO for health reasons and reasons which are tied to use of the patent system to monopolise seed supplies. We’ll come back to it towards the end.
One Microsoft Way Per Library
Looking at the United States again, the Gates Foundation ‘study’ on libraries [1, 2] (mentioned in recent weeks) is still being promoted by Gates’ new friends a the Huffington Post [1, 2, 3, 4] (background is very important here). They carry on spreading the deception without any scrutiny that’s deserved.
Did the Huffpo or Donna Blankinship do the math on the Gates Foundation funded library study?
It doesn’t take a Bill Gates to do the math on this library study. Someone is lying.
The report states on page 26 that “one out of three Americans 14 years or older (35 percent) visit once a week or more often”. So there are 85 million people in America who go to libraries at least once a week. And there are 16,000 library buildings in the country. An average library in an average week would receive five thousand regular visitors. (This does not include all the people who do not go to their library every single week.) If this average library is open seven days a week then it welcomes seven hundred regular visitors every single day it is open, and welcomes all the other people as well.
Over SEVEN HUNDRED visitors per average library per day? Someone is lying.
Using these pseudo-studies, some people already find excuses to advance their own agenda, sometimes just paying to put Windows computers in libraries:
A $23,400 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will pay for nine new computers for use by library users, as well as software and other accessories for the machines.
Money available from the Gates Foundation to buy computers represents only a fraction of the spending the library trustees hope to undertake over the next year.
A study undertaken last year concluded the library needs $400,000 to $600,000 in exterior renovations, including front steps repairs. Two ornate lamps stored in the library boiler room for years will be restored and installed on the stairs. Renovation plans also call for installing a ramp into the basement children’s library.
Because of security issues and cost, more and more libraries install/deploy GNU/Linux and have many people exposed to that platform (each machine has many users attached to it over time). The Gates Foundation can stifle this and its study is also cited here (where Gates gives money to change the library’s computing facilities) and near Red Hat’s headquarters there is something similar going on.
The economic development group’s board voted Thursday to award $136,000 for the State Library of N.C. federal grant proposal as matching funds. The Gates Foundation also provided matching funds.
Libraries have many different expenses, but money from Gates is allocated just for computers running Windows. If they can make libraries standardise on Windows (without exception), then the small ‘donations’ merely become investments or sponsorships.
There is a telling interest in Gates giving money to put his computers there but not assisting with other costs encumbering those libraries. Here is a Gates ‘study’ combined with other factors:
The computers, which were purchased during the past two years through a 50/50 matching grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, allow people to keep in touch with others and access information that helps them in many areas such as finding employment, Paul said.
Nobody questions the accuracy and motivation of the funding source [1, 2, 3, 4]. The Washington Post promotes this under the “Post Tech” section, alongside other new lobbying efforts from Microsoft.
And the policy implications of cloud computing was the subject of debate last night at a roundtable dinner discussion at the Aspen Institute, hosted by Microsoft.
It’s clearly aimed at policymakers, just like those Gates ‘studies’ which edweek.org says are “Aimed at Swaying Policymakers” (that’s the headline).
“Public Libraries Gain New Ammunition from Gates/IMLS Usage Study,” says the American Libraries Magazine. More here:
Librarians love the new library study even if it is not true. Jill Nishi of the Gates Foundation encourages them.
Separately, GatesKeeper also puts it like this: “Seattle is sometimes used as a euphemism for the Gates Foundation.”
More pseudo-studies on the way
Going back to schooling, Gates has more ‘studies’ lined up already. Education Week News says: “The Gates Foundation plans to conduct several follow-up studies homing in on areas of interest in its own survey…”
These surveys are taken without doubt:
Nearly half of students between the age of 22 and 30 say they felt like they were just another face in the crowd to their high school guidance counselors, according to a study conducted by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Also in the news:
In 2004 there was an idea of starting a new school, CamTech High School. This school was only an idea, or a possibility, maybe even a “what if”. The North Carolina New schools Project (NCNSP) partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to open several redesigned schools in North Carolina. Model schools from across America visited North Carolina; and administrators and teachers from Camden County decided to replicate a new school after the New Tech High School in Napa, California.
Service provision intervention
Last week we wrote about Melinda's tour in India (video here). No hard questions are being presented with regards to motive; instead, in the Indian press it reads like advertisements [1, 2] about “saving babies”. Behind all the PR there is usually a financial agenda that nobody is able or willing to explore.
Just like with Monsanto [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and some oil giants, Gates family members try to pass a similar agenda to India that they already have in Africa (and India is suing Monsanto, so this is a serious issue that’s already realised by some).
GatesKeeper has a “question about the Gates Foundation funded study in India”:
Melinda Gates was recently in the Indian press advocating for this Indian intervention to be implemented in Africa. She calls it an educational intervention. It is actually a service provision intervention with community motivators.
Why did neonatal mortality and perinatal mortality almost DOUBLE in the control group? To these Gates Keepers this the most interesting finding of the study.
This is why we do not trust so-called ‘studies’ from the Gates Foundation. With tens of billions of dollars invested in the very same companies that benefit from these studies, the conflicts of interest are just too vast and they were realised by professional journalists, such as those from the Los Angeles Times. This really deserves more attention, not just from the PR industry.
PR Week says that “Citigroup taps NYC deputy mayor to lead comms” and watch the following part about the Gates Foundation:
Citigroup named Edward Skyler, deputy mayor of New York City, its EVP of global public affairs, effective May 3. He reports to CEO Vikram Pandit.
He replaces Kate James, who started as the chief communications officer for the Gates Foundation in January…
We could not repeat this often enough, but the Gates Foundation makes money with its investments in and promotion of the pharmaceutical cartel. No wonder Gates is advancing their agenda among politicians.
If the tests are successful, PrEP distribution programs could begin in developing countries in 2012, said Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both of Seattle. He spoke to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about global health priorities on March 10. The Gates Foundation is sponsoring three PrEP trials.
More on PrEP:
If the tests are successful, PrEP distribution programs could begin in developing countries in 2012, said Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is sponsoring three PrEP trials.
PrEP is big money for corporations that Gates has money in, including some that are hugely corrupt. Just weeks ago we saw Pfizer found guilty of racketeering.
Pfizer Inc. has been socked with an eye-popping $141 million penalty for unlawfully promoting its epilepsy drug Neurontin for unapproved uses for which, the plaintiffs said, it didn’t even work.
A federal jury in Boston on Thursday concluded that the pharmaceutical giant had violated federal racketeering laws in promoting the drug for so-called off-label uses that were ineffective. The jury’s verdict was actually $47 million, but the penalty was automatically tripled under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
“Pfizer Pays Out Millions to Doctors,” says PR Watch:
Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug company, says it paid 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals about $20 million total in professional fees for services like consulting and speaking on behalf of the company, in just the last six months of 2009. During the same period, Pfizer also paid $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centers and other research groups for clinical trials. The payments to medical professionals were required by an agreement the company signed last August to settle a federal investigation into the illegal promotion of drugs for off-label use.
There is more information here and some ugly background here. A couple of weeks ago we showed that Pfizer is connected to Gates. It’s murder with patents sometimes. Now, to be fair, Gates is connected to many companies in the pharmaceutical cartel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and this connection is further increased by the new appointment of a Merck executive who shall inherit the Gates Foundation’s CFO position:
A former Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) executive is to be the new chief financial officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations.
This is also covered in:
For those who do not know about Merck’s latest corruption, here is a place to start. Merck also has a relationship with Microsoft. The addition above shows the real agenda of the Gates Foundation, which already accommodates Monsanto employees and other questionable people, including one who faces criminal charges (Dr. Yamada who came to the Gates Foundation from GlaxoSmithKline). Some of the people in the Gates Foundation come from the very same companies that the Gates Foundation lobbies for and serves. Coincidence or opportunism? Correlation or causality?
Since we’ve mentioned Monsanto, it’s worth ending with the news about agricultural research that Gates funds with sights on Africa.
The Gates Foundation’s arrival on the CGIAR scene has provided a financial boost to the consultative group — an international network of governments and organisations that funds 15 renowned agricultural research centres, together credited with spearheading major improvements in crop productivity, such as those responsible for the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 70s.
Just to be clear here, “green” = “patented”. Gates tries to make Africa embrace the Monsanto model, wherein all seeds must be bought from a US corporation that claims to be owning the seeds, even if nature helps them be reproduced. Gates receives help from his friends at Kaiser (see above) and with contraception PR in the region [1, 2, 3, 4] there is also the opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to ‘donate’ patents at a “discount” (vaccines for example), having been paid by taxpayers to do so. The public usually pays for patents on medical remedies (huge margins for investors like Gates to pocket), but public relations strategies serve as deflectors.
To summarise this long rundown through the past week’s news, there are many issues worth exploring because some people make a lot of money while claiming to be serving poor people. Those who are served best are proprietary software vendors, owners of patents on seeds, and an industry that charges the public for patents on drugs which are given to other people under the guise of “goodwill”. The Gates Foundation employs a huge PR team (here is a new example of Gates Foundation PR in China), but those who are intimately familiar with the works of the Gates Foundation sometimes feel differently about its goals. Bill Gates made well beyond $10 billion over the past year. █
“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”
–Chinese AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)
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Summary: Microsoft is spinning security problems and uses the press to pressure people to buy a newer version of the same operating system while one Microsoft MVP still comments using a pseudonym (multiple accounts)
WINDOWS TRENDS are usually quite telling. In 9 days of news*, not a single headline was about Vista and there were under 20 clusters of headlines about “Windows 7″.
Microsoft’s Seinfeld ads are still being brought up by Microsoft-rewarded 'news' sites, leading to some complaints:
I’m not quite sure what this was important to someone, but Todd Bishop of TechFlash sat down with Microsoft to discuss those crazy Seinfeld ads from way back in ought-8. He essentially asked Microsoft “What were you thinking?” and got some interesting replies.
Seinfeld is said to have dumped Windows altogether [1, 2].
“It’s secure. Really! Our former employees say so.”
Last month we saw Vista 7 falling at Pwn2Own. Mozilla was the first to provide patches.
Mozilla beats Apple, Microsoft to Pwn2Own patch punch
Mozilla late yesterday patched a critical Firefox vulnerability used by a German researcher to win $10,000 for hacking the open-source browser at last week’s Pwn2Own contest.
In a repeat of 2009, Mozilla was the first browser maker to patch a bug exploited at Pwn2Own. In fact, the company improved on its performance by fixing the newest flaw only eight days after Nils, a researcher who works for U.K.-based MWR InfoSecurity, hacked Firefox. Last year, Mozilla took 10 days to come up with its Pwn2Own fix. Nils also successfully exploited Firefox at 2009′s contest.
On the other hand, Vista 7 remained vulnerable, but this would not be the first time. Consider for example:
Microsoft issued an emergency patch which came around the same time as “damage control” addressing Pwn2Own.
Just days after a pair of researchers outwitted major Windows 7 defenses to exploit Internet Explorer and Firefox, Microsoft said the measures aren’t meant to “prevent every attack forever.”
Yes, this is an excuse, but a lot of sites gave that coverage [1, 2, 3] and there were also many headlines about the security PR delivered by BeyondTrust, which is headed by a former Microsoft marketing person. It is almost as though Microsoft hijacked the news for PR purposes. Almost all the headlines about Vista 7 simply brag about it being secure, even though the real news is about the operating system’s defenses being breached. That’s real perception management at work. Over in Asia, Microsoft is said to be reviewing its PR business. As we have shown before, Microsoft typically employs AstroTurfers where laws are weaker and these practices can go on without punishment. Techrights was attacked by a paid Microsoft AstroTurfer from Singapore (he harasses other Web sites critical of his employer from Redmond) and Microsoft is very open about bribing hundreds of Korean bloggers to improve the image of Vista 7. In general, as we have shown before, Vista 7 coverage involved many small bribes. It also benefited from the many Microsoft boosters who present themselves as “journalists”.
“First one’s free!”
Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft Nick, and other Microsoft boosters like Paul Thurrott and Gavin Clarke are advertising an old marketing scheme where Microsoft gives time-limited copies of Vista 7 that ‘self-destruct’ and hold people’s data as hostage. Trial versions have no appeal to wise people, but some people are gullible enough to be persuaded by the proposition of something cheap in the short term. GNU/Linux is free to try and also to keep indefinitely, so why is Microsoft’s 90-day ‘free’ enterprise trial of any use? Microsoft might eventually be forced to give Windows away for free. This has already happened in sub-notebooks because of strong competition from GNU/Linux.
The aforementioned hostage situation is also being promoted by others [1, 2] who include Ina Fried acting as a Microsoft advertiser (talking to proper Microsoft advertisers) and hyping up an “upgrade deal”. This is also being hyped up by Microsoft Emil and a few others [1, 2] who sometimes provide evidence that Microsoft actively pressures Windows users to ‘upgrade’.
It’s impossible to know for sure, given Microsoft is continuing to decline to comment, but it’s looking like Windows Live Wave 4 — like Internet Explorer 9 — isn’t going to support Windows XP.
Another known Microsoft booster, Harry McCracken, is advertising for Microsoft ‘upgrades’ over at Fox ‘News’ and over at IDG he revisits the past. Ed Bott, who is another extension of Microsoft's staff, makes it seem like some kind of a new Microsoft campaign urging to leave XP and buy Vista 7. Those who participate in this shameless push are assisted by a new ‘study’ from Forrester, which Microsoft is routinely paying for studies (even to slam GNU/Linux [1, 2]).
Yesterday we wrote about the latest "piracy" propaganda from Microsoft (relying on more fake ‘studies’) and now we are seeing more coverage of that. [via]
Another survey gives the break-up of illegal software country-wise. These figures show that most of the software users are criminals or ‘Pirates,’ as Microsoft loves to call those who use their software illegally.
It’s funny that Microsoft also knows that it relies on those people, who it is trying to derive the choice of GNU/Linux.
Watch this Windows promotion from Ina Fried, one of Microsoft’s most prominent (yet shameless) boosters. The post has just one comment, coming from Andre Da Costa [1, 2, 3, 4] (he is there in the comments, using a pseudonym, “Mr. Dee”). For those who do not know, Microsoft rewarded this guy with gifts and an MVP title. Under this one pseudonym alone he has already left 1774 comments in CNET. Under normal circumstances, that would be just plain Microsoft AstroTurfing, but this chap also trolls other writers in CNET, particularly those who cover Free software. In sites like CNET and ZDNet they create this kind of “theatre” of Microsoft-sympathetic people.
“The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.
“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.
“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”
CNET keeps adding Microsoft people as writers, such as Microsoft analysts that we have shown before. And now there is also Lance Whitney, who says he’s “a contributing editor for Microsoft TechNet Magazine and writes for other computer publications and Web sites.” Over at NewsWeek it’s just as bad, with the likes of Daniel Lyons [1, 2] attacking Microsoft’s rivals and boosting Vista 7. These publications’ selection process is obviously flawed. Identity hijackers have no room in serious magazines and writers seem to be appointed based on advertisers. █
* Google News search is being used as a reference.
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