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06.07.10

Wishy-Washy ‘Open Source’ Microsoft

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laundry room

Summary: A look at reputation laundering from Microsoft and how easily it can be refuted, by showing that Microsoft still attacks software freedom, abuses US/international law, and harms programmers in general

IT has become either comical or upsetting to see the number of articles from authors gullible enough to be blinded by PR. One type of articles would say that Microsoft changed its behaviour and the other type would say that Microsoft is leaning towards Open Source. As we will show in another post (probably later today), Microsoft’s CEO has just equated “Open Source” to “Linux” and he is fighting both as competitors of his.

Our reader Satipera has found this short post which falls under both categories/types. It’s one of the many white-washy articles and the disclosure says: “Although we work closely with many mega software vendors, we want you to trust us more. Microsoft is currently a retainer client of Altimeter Group but not a client of Insider Associates, LLC.”

“Microsoft says it has changed, competing companies would beg to differ.”
      –Satipera
The post/article is basically one of those typical opinions that conveniently leave out Microsoft racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and other very aggressive behavioural patterns that continue to evoke antitrust complaints filed against Microsoft (we gave the latest example just hours ago).

“Microsoft says it has changed,” writes Satipera, “competing companies would beg to differ.” To quote Mark Shuttleworth regarding Microsoft’s patent racket: “That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

How can Microsoft call itself a friend of Open Source?

It’s easy for Microsoft to make such indefensible claims when .NET dependants are described as “open-source”, such as in this new example from ZDNet:

An open-source Anti-XSS Web Protection Library, from Microsoft

The WPL, which is a set of .NET assemblies, is being offered as part of a defense in depth strategy to add an extra layer to any validation or secure coding practices.

It is rather laughable to call this “open-source” and also a bit of a stretch.

As for Microsoft’s behaviour in general, recently we revisited corruption when dealing with the Pequot case [1, 2]. Here is another new article on the subject:

The S.E.C. only began looking at trading by Pequot in 2005, including some well-timed investments in Microsoft in April 2001. When it takes that long to start reviewing trades, evidence of how information may have been passed might not be available and the memories of witnesses can fade, making it difficult to put together a case.

[...]

Pequot and its chief executive, Arthur J. Samberg, settled with the S.E.C. by agreeing to pay nearly $28 million as disgorgement and a penalty, without admitting or denying liability, for trading in advance of a favorable earnings announcement from Microsoft. A former Microsoft employee hired by Pequot right around the time of the trading, David E. Zilkha, was named in an administrative complaint filed by the S.E.C. as being the source of the information.

Fortunately, Microsoft has been declining over the past 10 years (more evidence of that in a later post). A shift in computing slowly began to occur with the advent of the post-MSIE Internet (returning to the days of innovation on the Web, circa Netscape) and Free software that supported it and thrived in it (collaboration and sharing of code depended on the Internet). The Microsoft fan press has this story about a former Microsoft employee who left in 1999. Here is the cause:

When the Microsoft team dwindled, he moved to Colton’s club based in Wallingford. In 1999, he left his job, in search of a new career.

Microsoft’s neglect of US workforce is another subject we regularly cover. Let’s not forget Microsoft's legalisation of its own tax evasion. How is that an example of Microsoft improving its behaviour?

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