05.11.10

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Microsoft as Threat to National Sovereignty

Posted in Asia, Australia, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Windows at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”

Philippe Kahn, Founder and former CEO of Borland

Summary: Microsoft wants to conquer the world and it tries to embed itself in federal elements of the system, the latest examples being banking, politics, and healthcare

THE previous post showed how Panama and Argentina risked becoming more enslaved to the monopolist from the north. But this problem is not unique to America of course. Earlier this month we’ve scooped up some other examples we wish to share here.

Microsoft in Jordan’s Monetary System

PBS Columnist ‘Robert X. Cringely’ (pseudonym) once said that “Microsoft’s goal is domination of the global information business, which is to say all business. Phone companies, cable television companies, post offices, stock exchanges, banks, treasury departments — all of these are viewed by Microsoft as future competitors.”

Microsoft’s recent moves in Jordan give reasons for concern. Apparently, those who manage ICT in the country don’t mind just letting Microsoft control everything, including banks.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Microsoft Jordan will provide the necessary resources to Jordan Ahli Bank to build IT capacity and develop areas of competencies, which, in return, will drive increased user productivity and customer-satisfaction, as well as maximise profits and reduce costs.

This is also covered in:

We have already seen many situations where banks’ reliance on Microsoft ends up with major disasters [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This leads us to suspecting that Jordan Ahli Bank’s decision was not at all based on logic. What else might it be? Deception and bribed officials (Microsoft acknowledges bribery as an acceptable business practice) are not out of the question.

Also on a related subject, this month’s news included:

Equinix Inc., the data-center operator for companies including Microsoft Corp., expects to sign a $200 million loan to expand in Asia, after commitments from five more banks, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft Goes Directly to Politicians

Two weeks ago we showed that Microsoft was targeting politicians rather than people whose work involved technology. That’s just typical Microsoft. It acts more like a political movement and less like a technology company. Windows is a mindset, not a product. And Microsoft is trying to get around technical people and get the gullible officials to tactlessly sign deals.

Just watch what Microsoft is doing these days:

Microsoft Introduces Social Media Directory for State and Local Government

[...]

How many states’ motor vehicle departments have a Facebook page or a Twitter account? In order to find out, you might have to browse a search engine and visit the DMV websites one by one.

But someday soon, that answer could be only one click away on a new website launched by Microsoft State & Local Government (SLG) that aims to aggregate and make searchable the social media platforms and projects coming from state and local governments.

More here:

Designed for political campaigns, the suite works by letting candidates connect with constituents via TownHall, while Microsoft’s online collaboration and advertising tools help campaign workers communicate with each other and spread their messages.

Calling this “TownHall” seems to imply that Microsoft is now running town halls. Does Microsoft really deserve such power? That’s what it wants. Politicians become more dependent on Microsoft that way; they even get influenced by Microsoft’s tools (advertising and such artifacts).

Microsoft Insists It’s Good for Your Health

In the United states, Microsoft has been hiring top lobbyists in order to take over the healthcare system. Microsoft is now planning something similar in Australia.

Software giant Microsoft hopes to pilot its Health Vault system in Australia within the next year to 18 months and is seeking partners to launch the service locally– and in turn hand the Government a get-out-of jail-free card as far as big bang spending on e-health systems is concerned.

This is a colossal mistake — giving control of people’s lives to a foreign company with secret, user-hostile code and a criminal past/present. In India, Microsoft is even trying to manage the ID system.

The world needs Free software to prevent such an abuse of power, instead empowering the users that include independent nations.

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3 Comments

  1. mmercuri said,

    May 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Gravatar

    Regarding Microsoft TownHall, I run that project for Microsoft and wanted to provide some clarification on some comments that you made in your post.

    Microsoft TownHall is software that we provide with a $0 software license and that other people (campaigns, agencies, non-profits, elected officials) use. We don’t run townhalls for third parties nor do we see any data from these sites.

    Microsoft isn’t TownHalls. Microsoft is democratizing access to software to allow more people to harness the power of software and the cloud to engage with their communities. Instead of having to raise hundreds of millions to be able to do this as in recent elections, anyone can now do this and do so cheaply.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What does Microsoft get out of this? [I think I know the answer]

    your_friend Reply:

    Thank you for commenting, but you are either lying or confused about what your company does when you say this:

    Microsoft is democratizing access to software to allow more people to harness the power of software and the cloud to engage with their communities. … Microsoft TownHall is software that we provide with a $0 software license and that other people (campaigns, agencies, non-profits, elected officials) use. We don’t run townhalls for third parties nor do we see any data from these sites.

    Microsoft’s network neutrality and software freedom record are both so dismal that people would be wise to avoid all software from your firm.

    In the first place, you are trying to give Microsoft credit for the benefits of online community organizing and publishing. This is laughable given Microsoft’s decades old struggle to force “client server” architecture on the web and otherwise create centralized services and control against the broader community. There is lots of good community organizing software, such as WordPress, that’s free and useful and there are lots of good ISPs that resist Microsoft’s instructions to block ports and break services users would provide for their neighbors. The world wide web would be a brighter and freer place had Microsoft fallen into Pugent Sound fifteen years ago.

    Second, Microsoft “democratizes” software like the US democratized Iraq. Unless Townhall is free software no one can be sure that Microsoft is not mining the data or doing anything else wrong. If Townhall is anything like other Microsoft software, users are unable to run it for any purpose, share it with their friends, change it to fit their needs or share their changes with their friends. Microsoft reserves the right to turn it off at any time for any reason. Gratis non free software is not so much a gift so much as it is an extention of control which gains the software owners something else they want. Microsoft stands head and shoulders above other software owners when it comes to exclusion of competition, so communities that want to consist of more than Windows users should refuse your gift even if they believe it is good intentioned and free of spyware as you promise. Instead, it is likely that Microsoft will engage it’s usual campaign of harassment and intimidation against those who would refuse this particular gift of Microsoft’s terribly restricted and technically inferior software. There’s a long list of ruined careers that are the result of that kind of work by your company. Tim Bray, Peter Quinn, PJ and others can tell you what it’s like to say “no” to Microsoft.

    If Microsoft wanted to be a good neighbor they would start by GPLing their code. Real communities are built on mutual respect of a kind that non free software does not provide.

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