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United States of Microsoft?

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Note: the title and image are intended to be purely humourous, even if text leaves that out]

Microsoft - US

Summary: Microsoft’s coup against independent US politics is a subject that mustn’t be ignored if the danger of government-imposed lock-in is to be properly understood and countered

IN ORDER to maintain some dominance, Microsoft relies a great deal on politicians (whom it sometimes funds). Microsoft’s influence in the United States government continues to increase thanks to spineless politicians who would rather help companies than help their people. According to this report (pointing to another), “state and local incentives” are being arranged for Microsoft in Iowa (venue of the Comes vs Microsoft trial). Forget about foreclosures; it’s poor Microsoft that deserves financial favours right now, correct?

Microsoft is in discussion with Iowa officials about restarting a stalled data center project in the state, although envisions a considerably smaller budget, according to local media reports. The company is seeking to rework state and local incentives to support a $100 million project, reports the Des Moines Register.

The state of Florida became a victim of American EDGI [1, 2] a few week ago. Andy Perez is selling out his state based on this new press release and Microsoft claims to ‘donate’ access to some Internet resources that indoctrinate citizens. Quite a donation, eh?

Heartland Workforce is working with Workforce Florida Inc., the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation and the Microsoft Corporation as part of a public-private partnership to provide free technology training to individuals across the state. The Microsoft Corporation, through Microsoft Elevate America, will donate 35,000 vouchers to the state of Florida for no-cost, online technology training and certification. This initiative will be implemented through collaboration with the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards.

Forbes Magazine has a new article titled “Tech’s Attack Of The Freebies”; Microsoft is mentioned in it and the author is insightful enough to interpret “donations” not necessarily as a blessing.

Once again we witness Microsoft using children to promote the financial ’cause’ of Microsoft (good PR to be named alongside “Boys & Girls Club”):

The Digital Arts Festivals are a dynamic component of the national Club Tech program, a partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of America, founding sponsor Microsoft and Comcast with the goal to provide youth with the skills needed to thrive in a technology-driven world.

Here is another press release which shows Florida giving Microsoft even more political power:

The Florida House of Representatives is making one final push over the next month for its state residents to be counted in the 2010 Census, through its MyFloridaCensus (http://www.myfloridacensus.gov) website and Web-based application. MyFloridaCensus is an innovative component in Florida’s overall effort to ensure a complete count of residents during the ongoing 2010 Census, supplementing door-to-door canvassing, which ends nationwide July 10.

This is part of a trend because Microsoft has been getting into politics with free-of-charge proprietary software since earlier this year [1, 2, 3] (starting around April). This now includes a platform for campaigning, based on several new sources [1, 2, 3] including the Microsoft booster Marius Oiaga. What are these candidate politicians thinking?

“This is part of a trend because Microsoft has been getting into politics with free-of-charge proprietary software since earlier this year.”Microsoft is now tightening its relationship with governments (covered in relation to an event that involved the The Economist too). More lock-in is promised and advertised by Mary Jo Foley. We previously covered Microsoft's plan of controlling government data. There is an ongoing race to control healthcare in the nation (lock-in proponents don’t seem to mind), but what makes it worse is that even Canadian healthcare is something which Microsoft tries to control. Here are the latest reports [1, 2]. Something ought to be done to stop this. The NHS is a lesson in Microsoft’s harms to healthcare.

Two years ago we warned that Microsoft wants to control healthcare data in case it goes bankrupt. If healthcare depends on Microsoft, then it will receive bankruptcy protection. Other companies have used similar tricks to reduce their risk, or rather to pass the risk to the public (socialism) while they make all the profits with outrageous bets that are secured by taxpayers.

“Microsoft Is Down 17.84% Since Reporting Quarterly Results 43 Days Ago” — that’s the title of this new report. We have also just learned about a possible shake-up coming to Microsoft now that Apple is worth more than Microsoft and there is no major new product over the horizon (Courier, for example, died prematurely [1, 2]).

Across the Atlantic we’ve held elections recently and a new government came to power, removing unnecessary bureaucracy like BECTA in the process. This will save a lot of public money that can instead be spent on developing/deploying Free software.

The closure of Becta will save £10m over the next year, the government said yesterday.

Former education minister and Labour MP Ed Balls tabled a parliamentary question in which he asked the Secretary of State for Education to estimate the cost and savings to the Exchequer expected from kyboshing the schools IT quango.

There is also news from New Zealand. Microsoft has had many problems there recently, so it may have become a matter of urgency and here is Microsoft’s apparent response:

Microsoft has officially designated this country “Tier One”, meaning Microsoft products will become available here at the same time as larger markets on the first launch “wave” such as the US, Japan, Germany, Singapore and Australia.

Microsoft has been trying to bring software patents to New Zealand. It probably won’t work. Microsoft may have a lot of political influence in the United States (and to a certain degree in Canada), but as the firm gets smaller, it also becomes more politically feeble. So, all in all, we are optimistic that change will come not from the United States but first from distant nations, which gradually move towards software freedom and in turn will help the US liberate itself from tyrants like Microsoft.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 16, 2010 at 6:33 am


    Would China or Israel let the US drop Microsoft from either government use or industry?

    What would Jerry Pournelle do if it means giving up free copies of Vista 7 in exchange for saving the country and the economy? Can someone send free copies of Fedora and OpenOffice.org on some fat hardware?

    The voting fraud problems have not been solved yet, we’re just between major elections. The machines still run M$ products on three layers. That leaves M$ with nearly full oversight of and control over the electoral process.

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