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08.09.10

IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 9/8/2010: Quake Live, Linux-powered Dell Streak

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Retail Has to Change

    One of the frustrations of promoting GNU/Linux is that retail sellers of PCs tend to ignore or are ignorant of GNU/Linux yet about 10% of retail customers are very familiar with GNU/Linux. That makes no sense. It may maximize current cash-flow but will cause retailers to lose customers as GNU/Linux grows and start-ups or smaller retailers cater to the business. The result is a chicken-and-egg situation where many who would buy GNU/Linux on price and performance do not have much choice and because most users of PCs are not do-it-yourself types GNU/Linux does not grow as rapidly as it could.

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs Did Regress Hard In The Linux 2.6.35 Kernel

      Chris Mason, the Btrfs lead developer, quickly responded that Btrfs is not being aggressive enough in allocating chunks of data, which is making the flusher come in and start data I/O. Chris is now working to reproduce and address this issue. No fix has yet been committed, but it’s expected that it will land within the Linux 2.6.36 kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.9 Is Hitting Ubuntu 10.10 Soon

        Ubuntu’s Christopher James Halse Rogers has just issued a notice that X.Org Server 1.9 is soon going to be uploaded to the Ubuntu Maverick repository for Ubuntu 10.10, which is part of Ubuntu’s X and Mesa plans. X.Org Server 1.9 isn’t going to be officially released until later this month, but the Ubuntu 10.10 feature freeze is coming up this week so the existing X.Org Server 1.8.2 release is being replaced with an X.Org Server 1.9 snapshot until the final release is made available.

  • Applications

    • Legal DVD Playback Coming to Linux?

      The next question is will Linux developers wish to test the waters by including libdvdcss in their distributions? While the libdvdcss available for Linux systems has never been expressly challenged, its DeCSS-like decryption prevents many distributions from including it for fear of legal issues. One would hope that Garcia’s decision will alleviate those fears, but given the Copyright Office’s lack of exemption for Linux, it certainly looks like users will have to continue to install the needed decryption software themselves.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Quake Live lives

        QUAKE PLAYERS REJOICE as ID Software has finally taken Quake Live out of beta and announced incentive packages.

        ID launched ‘Premium’ and ‘Pro’ services today for the web browser-based, ninja-speed frag-fest Quake Live.

      • Quake LIVE Pro and Premium packages

        Playing Quake, an all action First Person Shooter, inside your browser window was completely mythical five years ago. But the free game phenomenon now has some pay-to-play options for those wanting more from their browser based bangs.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Goodbye-Microsoft.com

        You click on the gNewSense icon on the page at http://goodbye-microsoft.com and start a download of the installer which you run to install a bootloader for the real GNU/Linux installer.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • New Video: Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Review

          Introducing: The best Ubuntu yet?

          Since its release a month ago I have been testing Ubuntu 10.04, Lucid Lynx, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the improvements in this version of my favorite distribution of Linux. It really is faster, better looking, and more feature-rich than ever. In this video review I give my thoughts about the operating system, and how it compares to Windows.

        • A Funny Thing Happened in the Shuttleworth Forum

          What was especially interesting about a recent conversation Mark Shuttleworth started with musings about tribalism and treating people with respect was the turn it took when blogger Mairin Duffy steered it in the direction of the “Great Sexism Debate,” in which Shuttleworth’s unfortunate remarks about women at LinuxCon played an incendiary role. “Did you ever end up apologizing?” Duffy asked.

        • An Update to the Ubuntu Light Themes

          One of our key objectives when we started conceptualising the new themes was their ability to be immediately recognisable as Ubuntu, even if represented as a small screenshot. As easily recognised as when it used to be brown – but not that brown… the incarnation that we initially launched was a bold new statement: a little unrefined maybe, but a good starting block on which to build.

        • Ubuntu Devs Discuss Backports Changes
        • Ubuntu: “We have no plans to fork GNOME”

          derStandard.at: Looking back at Lucid, are you happy with how the release turned out to be?

          Jono Bacon: Personally I’m really happy, Lucid is a really great release. With every release we try to invest more and more in building a really strong user experience and it felt for me that with Lucid a lot of this has been coming together. There are always things to be fixed – we are developers so we look at the defects as opposed to the things that work after all – but generally we’re pretty happy.

        • LoCo Team Calendars!
        • Ubuntu Global Jam – Coming very soon

          This year the Ubuntu Global Jam will take place over the weekend of 27th – 29th August and it’s a great opportunity to work together to improve Ubuntu. Everyone is able to contribute to the Jam, and everyone is welcome and encouraged to get involved. It’s for all levels so don’t be put off thinking it’s only about development and looking at bugs for the weekend, there are loads of areas to help.

          The Ubuntu Global Jam incorporates events that have been organized over the world to get Ubuntu contributors and fans together to have a great time and improve Ubuntu. Each event has one or more of our themes:

          * Bugs – finding, triaging and fixing bugs.
          * Testing – testing the new release and reporting your feedback.
          * Upgrade – upgrading to Maverick from Lucid and reporting your upgrade experience.
          * Documentation – writing documentation about how to use Ubuntu and how to join the community.
          * Translations – translating Ubuntu and helping to make it available in everyone’s local language.
          * Packaging – work on Ubuntu packages and improve them.
          * Other – other types of contribution such as marketing and advocacy etc.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Uberstudent: The students’ Linux

            There are so many Linux distributions out there it’s dizzying. Some are simply respins of various base distributions with a different theme or maybe one or two specific applications thrown in for good measure. Sometimes it’s hard to reason why someone actually created a new distribution because there’s so closely resembles the distribution they used as a base. And then there’s Uberstudent. Uberstudent is a Linux distribution, built upon Ubuntu, that targets students in higher-education settings. It’s goal is to become a perfect platform to aid in the process of education. It is, essentially, a learning platform and to this end it succeeds with aplomb, elegance, and power.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Dell Streak review

          There are two questions many people tend to ask when they first see Dell’s Streak. The first is usually “what is it?” And the second, following a slightly puzzled look, is “who’s it for?” On one hand it’s essentially a 5”-screen smartphone masquerading as a tablet device; on the other it’s a small-form-factor tablet pretending to be a phone. It’s a case of dual personality and whichever way you look at it, there’s no easy way to pigeonhole it. If you were to ask the folks at Dell they’d certainly err on the side of tablet, but this does little to change the fact that it’s basically a very large example of any of the latest Android-based Smartphones you can read about here or elsewhere.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Breaking down barriers for women in open source

    Recommendations for removing barriers and broadening membership among women in open-source projects were published July 16 by the FSF’s Women’s Caucus, which was formed nearly a year ago and was tasked to devise solutions to address the problem.

  • Feature: Customer Service and Open Source Software

    I am of the opinion larger open source projects (and companies) should make an effort to recruit developers who have good people skills and, at the same time, discourage their developers who lack people skills from representing the project publicly.

  • Business

    • The golden age of open source?

      Stephen O’Grady and Simon Phipps have both recently published interesting posts on the current state of open source, with Stephen pondering the relative growth of open source and Simon wondering whether the “commercial open source” bubble has burst.

      What they are describing, I believe, is the culmination of the trends we predicted at the beginning of 2009 for commercial open source business strategies – specifically the arrival of the fourth stage of commercial open source.

      What is the fourth stage of commercial open source? In short: a return to a focus on collaboration and community, as well as commercial interests.

    • An Open (Source) and Shut Case
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • How did Weather Data Get Opened?

        Weather data is one of the datasets the current administration loves to talk about. Indeed, it’s proof that transparency goes beyond accountability. The data from the National Weather Service supports a huge industry. According to the American Meteorological Society, the total size of the private sector weather market is greater than 1.5 Billion Dollars. Keeping in mind that it isn’t its core function to support industry, a federal agency that has a billion dollar annual budget is supporting a more than billion dollar private industry through the release of its data is a great lesson in the power of open data.

Leftovers

  • Dominic Raab MP Tells Constituents “Don’t email me…it’s becoming a real nuisance”

    Dominic Raab, Conservative MP for Esher & Walton is threatening 38 Degrees that if we don’t take his email address off our “contact your MP system” he’ll report us to the Information Commissioner.

    We’ve been in touch with the Information Commissioner and they’ve reassured us that because he is an MP and his e-mail address is in the public domain, he has no grounds to report us.

  • Media Campaign Against Craigslist Continues, As WaPo Writes Article About Its Own Anti-Craigslist Advertiser

    Last week, we wrote about how the misguided, politics-driven media campaign against Craigslist was ramping up again with a half-page ad in The Washington Post, obviously targeted at DC politicians. Paul Levy, who had sent over a scan of the ad now alerts us that the very next day, the Washington Post had a one-sided anti-Craigslist article, where it cites the ad. As Levy asks, has the Washington Post now stooped so low that buying a half-page ad gets you a one-sided story? Very disappointing move by the Washington Post.

  • Congress About To Pass ‘The ______Act of____’ (These Are The People We Elect?)

    This coming Wednesday I was supposed to be attending the Congressional Internet Caucus’ State of the Net West event, but late last week it was announced that the event was postponed, because for only the third time in the past twenty years, the Speaker of the House (in this case, Nancy Pelosi) has called the House back into session early to vote on pending legislation. With Congress back in session the Congressional reps scheduled to attend the event couldn’t make it, and it’s not much of a Congressional Internet Caucus get together without Congressional reps. Anyway, the last time the House was called back early like this, it involved emergency legislation to deal with Hurricane Katrina. So what’s so important this time around? Apparently, it’s The ______Act of____.

  • Will the Salahis sue us for calling them White House party crashers?

    Kudos to attorney Lisa Bloom, who last night blasted out one of our favorite press releases of the year. In it, she warns journalists not to refer to clients Michaele and Tereq Salahi as “party crashers” because “that statement is false and defamatory.”

    Bloom might have her work cut out for her. Our quick Google search for “white house party crashers” delivers 158,000 results, the first few pages of which all feature the Salahis. And we’re pretty sure we’ve never heard Ms. Salahi, currently starring on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” referred to as anything except “White House party crasher Michaele Salahi.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate change: helping nature survive the human response
    • Colombia must stop coca fumigations

      The impact of the widespread spraying on the local communities has been devastating. The planes have targeted not just illegal coca plants, but all vegetation, including staple crops that local populations depend upon. Rivers have been contaminated, and elderly people and children have been particularly badly affected by skin rashes and asthmatic attacks. There are also unconfirmed reports of congenital malformations occurring as a result of these herbicide fumigations. Many of us have a long-standing commitment to the communities in the region, which we have visited many times. We know what we are talking about.

  • Finance

    • What the £35,000 cocktail taught us

      When it comes to crises, this former IMF chief economist knows what he’s talking about. Nowadays, analysts who claim they spotted this bust coming far outnumber musicians who swear blind they saw the Sex Pistols play Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976. But Rajan really did, bravely telling America’s bubble-blower-in-chief Alan Greenspan just that at a 2005 conference.

      So when Rajan names as the first of his fractures the gap between America’s rich and the rest, it’s worth paying attention. The reasoning is simple: since middle-American families saw barely any increase in their wages over the last decade, they were forced to borrow dangerous amounts to buy houses, to keep up living standards – or simply to keep from falling behind. As he points out, Clinton and Bush allowed this lethal explosion in credit as it was “the path of least resistance”. Clamping down on all those dodgy home and car loans and credit cards would have been tantamount to sticking two fingers up at their own voters.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Lobbyists celebrate departure of White House ethics chief

      Champagne corks are popping on K Street as the White House’s ethics chief Norm Eisen is heading out with an appointment as ambassador to the Czech Republic. The New York Times reports that heavywieght Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta is calling Eisen’s departure, “the biggest lobbying success [lobbyists] had all year.”

      Eisen spearheaded major White House efforts to increase transparency and slow the movement from government to the lobbying sector. These projects included the online publication of White House visitor logs, lobbyist contact disclosure for Recovery Act projects and TARP money, the Open Government Directive and imposing tight controls on the hiring of lobbyists and the contacting of former officials turned lobbyists.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Israel releases Mordechai Vanunu after three months in prison

      After leaking secret nuclear details in 1986 Vanunu was kidnapped in a honeytrap set by Mossad agents in Rome.

    • Commentary: For reporters, the rules at Guantanamo change daily

      Guantanamo’s Camp Justice is a place where you can sit at your laptop or by your phone only if there’s a member of the military within earshot.

      It’s a place where you can go to court only in the custody of a military public affairs officer. Inside, if there’s only one escort — this happened recently — and somebody has to go to the bathroom, every reporter has to leave court, too.

      It’s a place where a soldier stands over your shoulder, looks in your viewfinder and says ‘Don’t take that picture, I’ll delete it.’

    • An obscene attack on Maltese culture

      In the last year, the Maltese government has banned the play Stitching from being performed, has arrested and put students on trial for writing and publishing an “obscene” story, and has prevented the artist Alexander Stankovski from exhibiting paintings which contained nudity. The updated criminal code will make public obscenity or blasphemy in public punishable by up to a year in jail, even if the words or sentiments are part of a work of fiction, theatre, or art.

    • National Conference of State Legislatures Calls for Major Reform of U.S. Trade Pact Model as Battle Looms Over Renegotiation of Bush’s Korea FTA

      The National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) approval today of a resolution calling on the Obama administration to make significant reforms to the past U.S. trade agreement model is yet another indication of the nationwide, bipartisan demand for the administration to implement the president’s campaign commitments to trade reform, Public Citizen said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • It’s Back: Totally Unnecessary And Damaging Fashion Copyright Bill Reintroduced

      So, of course, fashion designers and politicians keep doing it. Pretty much every year Chuck Schumer trots out just such a bill, and this year is no different. Reader Steve Phillips points us to the announcement of the bill being introduced and ReallyEvilCanine points us to a celebratory post by a professor who was involved in drafting the bill. This time around the bill has Senators Boxer, Feinstein, Hatch, Graham & Hutchison as co-sponsors, so there’s quite a bit of firepower, as they seek to build up protectionist policies that may benefit a few top designers, but will significantly harm up-and-comers. Just as we’ve seen throughout history, intellectual property protections lag innovation, rather than cause it. That’s because the top players in the space use those laws to reduce, not enhance, competition. This is no exception.

    • Copyrights

      • A Day In The Life Of Legalized Extortion: How The BMI Shakedown Works

        A bunch of you sent in this NY Times puff piece that basically follows around a BMI “enforcer,” for a day, watching as she tries to get restaurants, clubs, bars, skating rinks, etc. to pay up for playing music in their establishments. It’s all legal, but it has all the hallmarks of a pure shakedown — which is why operations like BMI and ASCAP are notorious for doing more harm than good, by making it much more difficult for up-and-coming musicians to find venues to play in. Many venues simply stop playing music, rather than deal with expensive BMI/ASCAP licenses. On top of that, because of the way these systems work, they tend to funnel money disproportionately to big name artists, again harming less well known songwriters. BMI, in fact, has been particularly obnoxious about this. Last year, when a songwriter who had not received any of the promised royalties was brought up, BMI responded that it wasn’t their problem, and “I would like to tell him is that he needs to write a hit song.” Nice, huh?

      • The Music-Copyright Enforcers
      • Access Copyright’s excessive $45 per university student proposed tariff – August 11, 2010 deadline

        This is the first in more to come about the proposed $45 per university student tariff – a more than 1,300 % increase over the current basic charge. Access Copyright (“AC”),the proponent, is probably Canada’s fastest growing and least understood collectives. It started out as a reprography collective right after the 1988 reform package was proclaimed. Its initial cash flow came conveniently from a lucrative multimillion dollar contact with the Federal Government. It has since managed, with little effective resistance, to convince Canadian provincial governments, school boards, colleges and universities to pay well over $30 million a year into its coffers. The only actual Copyright Board challenge to date that has gone to fruition resulted in a big loss for the K-12 school boards and the provinces ultimately behind them under the umbrella of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (“CMEC”). This loss was recently confirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal. More about this and whether this case will go to the Supreme Court of Canada below.

Clip of the Day

Lucid Dream


Techrights Just the Messenger Regarding Canonical-OpenSUSE, Neither Denies the Rumour

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, Rumour, Ubuntu at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grape

Summary: Reminder that the rumour about Canonical’s interest in OpenSUSE came as a word through the grapevine, not a speculation

LAST week we shared a rumour we had heard about Canonical having an interest in buying OpenSUSE. In one of the IRC channels I’ve asked Jono Bacon (from Canonical) if they could deny this rumour, which is not ours. Jono did not deny it, but he said he had not heard about it, either. As for OpenSUSE, its community manager told me that it would not work well for a community, but he did not deny the possibility, either (no party has yet denied it).

There is a new article about the subject and while I agree with Brian that there is a lot of overlap (redundancy) between OpenSUSE and Ubuntu, I was not attempting to explain the practical rationality of it, just to pass on what I had learned. If at some point it crossed Mark Shuttleworth’s mind, then maybe he inquired now that Novell is looking for a buyer, quite likely a buyer of parts of the company. It is very diverse in its portfolio, very much like Sun, so finding a suitable acquirer that can leave all projects alive and also pass antitrust scrutiny is hard. Here is what Brian wrote:

There’s a rumor running around that Canonical, for reasons that I have yet to fathom, is supposedly interested in buying openSUSE, the community distribution project that is currently maintained and staffed by Novell.

Now, it’s important right from the get-go to understand that the primary source of this rumor is Roy Schestowitz, blogger-manager of TechRights.org–a site that until recently was known as Boycott Novell.

I think it’s safe to say that Schestowitz has negative bias when it comes to reporting about Novell and openSUSE. Boycott Novell was started as a protest site after Novell’s sales and marketing agreement with Microsoft was announced–the same deal that infamously included patent protection from Microsoft for Novell customers. Schestowitz has not been shy about his contempt for Novell, and has even come after me as a Novell sympathizer.

He is an OpenSUSE user and in some posts earlier this year he did give the impression of not having any real problem with Novell. “Sympathiser” is not a negative word by the way (it probably depends on how it’s said, but text has no tone).

If Canonical bought OpenSUSE, it would probably be good news for the distribution. Here is a new article about the crown jewel of SUSE:

Although I love Yast and its graphical incarnation, I am yet to see innovations in the areas of simplicity and also with being current.

OpenSUSE also has a lot of KDE talent and it shows:

OpenSUSE 11.3, the best binary KDE distribution or best KDE distribution?

[...]

Interestingly, OpenSUSE 11.3 was released not so long ago and the performance is very nippy. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do.

My utter disappointment with OpenSUSE 11.2 (it was very sluggish) is what made me try out Gentoo.

Funnily enough, OpenSUSE 11.3 has changed some of my thoughts about Gentoo.

It is possible that Novell will also carry on with Wave where Google left it off. Not everything which Novell does is bad and especially when it comes to OpenSUSE, there is great importance to this project because it helps GNU/Linux as a whole.

“The Gates Foundation Has Bought TED (Technology Entertainment and Design)” (Conference)

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TED | Gates

Summary: TEDxChange will be co-hosted by the Gates Foundation, which serves it well having used TED to promote Gates’ own patent agenda earlier this year

“THE Gates Foundation has bought TED,” heralds Gates Keepers. This headline is ambiguous and not most accurate, but that may depend on the interpretation of the word “buy”, which needn’t mean an entire acquisition of physical property. What was bought here is the agenda and the venue; To put it differently:

Now the Gates Foundation has gone and bought TED. It was too good.

Earlier this year a lot of people linked to Gates’ advertisement which he presented in TED. Now he is just hijacking such platforms to use their name for self promotion. From Bill’s Web site: “Please join us on September 20, 2010 for TEDxChange, an event co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and TED. TEDxChange marks the anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals: Ten years in, where do we stand in the work to save and improve lives around the world? And what will the future hold?”

This means that TED receives Gates’ money. What does that say about its present and future integrity? Just watch how MSN-affiliated sites, for example, are already promoting this whole thing. This ought to be antithetical to TED. After all, what makes Gates unique is his attack on sharing, independence, democracy, and freedom (including free software). Gates is a big proponent of artificial scarcity. Speaking of MSN, watch what happens in China right now:

MSN China ‘remarries’

ChinaVision Media Group Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed media firm, will purchase 50 percent stake in MSN China from Shanghai Alliance Investment for about $100 million, a source from the latter confirmed Tuesday.

More here [via "Think of Microsoft as more like China"]

That has made the ascription of the 50% stake in MSN China more complex. Actually, NetEase.com Inc. (Nasdaq: NTES | PowerRating) is still talking with Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT | PowerRating) over the equity acquisition, according to a person in the know.

Gates is still controlling a lot of the media, which means channels of information. We wrote about this years ago. Watch this gem of news:

Link TV, the largest independent TV broadcaster in the country, is working on a new project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s called ViewChange.org, and it’s a next-generation website that uses the power of video to build a case for better global development initiatives.

It is funded by Gates again. There are also adverts/article like this one which says: “Bill Gates is as good with charity as he is with monopolistic software”

Actually, as we showed in the previous post, this “charity” is often about creating more dependencies for populations, i.e. monopolies.

Bill Gates Sells Drugs in Less Developed Nations (for Profit)

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Windows at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novartis logo of death

Summary: How Bill Gates — despite his manufactured glorification in the mainstream press — is actually commanding governments to hand over taxpayers’ money to pharmaceutical giants in which he invests; similar examples from GMO and Windows in public libraries

TODAY’s exploration of the Gates Foundation’s deeds is slightly different because of the atmosphere that’s in the news all around the world. Rich men from all walks of life have been feeling the heat amid this Great Recession, so they banded together and put up a nice show about giving (back half of what they have taken from the public). This post is not a criticism about the increasing gap between rich and poor, which is sometimes characterised as the destruction of the middle class. It’s not that the issue is not important, it’s just that Techrights does not deal with the topic (except in the IRC channels).

“Rich men from all walks of life have been feeling the heat amid this Great Recession, so they banded together and put up a nice show about giving (back half of what they have taken from the public).”In this post we are going to focus on Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates, who is considered the richest man (him and Slim swap places every now and then). Gates is not a scapegoat, even though he goes to great lengths to make it seem that way (saying how he wishes he was not the richest person in the world and how every critic of him must just be jealous, irrational, or “environmentalist”, to quote a word he actually used to belittle GMO sceptics).

Watch how the MSBBC (like MSNBC) is retelling fairy tales that are PR like suddenly it’s news again, trying appease the masses and make them love robber barons, including Rockefeller. Here are some valid points that help dispel common myths:

The billionaire boys: Beware of geeks bearing gifts

[...]

In other words, as a long critique in the American magazine Foreign Affairs puts it, the foundation gives with one hand and takes away with the other. In his book Small Change: Why Business Won’t Change the World, Michael Edwards, a former World Bank adviser, asks: “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?” In this sense, say opponents of the new philanthropy, the needy are being written out of their own story, with the world’s attention focused instead on the people doing the giving.

All of which raises the core question of why they are giving in the first place. Cynics would suggest that, at a time of recession, and given the extreme unpopularity of those perceived to be grasping capitalists who have brought the world to its knees, there is easy respite in giving a few billion to the less fortunate.

“If the rich really wish to create a better world,” complained a contributor to the Guardian last week, “they can sign another pledge: to pay their taxes on time and in full… to give their employees better wages, pensions, job protection and working conditions…”

Ah, but that wouldn’t get the billionaire boys around the lunch table with their cheque books out. And it might not help the world much, either.

In relation to Amazon, there is this new article about robber barons that include Gates:

But the same could have been said by the Robber Barons of old whose predatory pricing ushered in a host of antitrust laws designed to protect markets from monopolism.
Most famous was the price war between gigantic New York Central Railway and the Erie Railroad. The giant began charging only $1 per car for cattle transportation, less than cost, to drive others away from that business so they could eventually jack up prices. Erie did not back off then sued and won its case against NYCR.

Before that, there had been incidents involving other types of rail business where giants sold services below cost, thus driving smaller players into near-bankruptcy, at which time they were snapped up for bargains, a monopoly created and excessive prices were imposed.
A more recent case involved Microsoft’s inclusion of a free web-browser, Internet Explorer, which forced its browser competitor, Netscape, to give away its product and eventually go out of business. Courts ruled in Microsoft’s anti-trust trial that the “bundling” of Internet Explorer with its software was a monopolistic and illegal business practice.

Many of the giveaways from Gates et al. have return on investment. A lot of the time it makes them immune to taxation and public scrutiny.

“There were other people before Gates who were groomed in this way; some were incredibly destructive at the end.”We are saddened to find that Slashdot still advertises every word that Bill Gates utters as though he’s Mr. Know All (he did not even graduate). Last year we explained the failure of some mainstream media by showing that it quotes Gates extensively on matters of macro-economics (the global financial crisis), even though he is not an economist, neither by training nor profession. Gates is just a big “brand name”, but for accurate analysis people ought to approach doctors and professors in their respective fields, not self-glorifying celebrities (rich people do employ RP agencies and artists typically have their label assign PR agents to manage public perceptions). Watch Gates and his private longtime booster Ina Fried (shameless PR) pulling another Gates “Know-It-All” piece. There are dozens like these every week and it’s intended to give Gates a status of authority, perhaps to make him seem like a Jack of all trades whose opinion cannot and should not be questioned. Watch out for this type of stuff which suppresses challenging of authority. There were other people before Gates who were groomed in this way; some were incredibly destructive at the end.

In the previous post we showed the role of PR in Gates’ hijack of US eduction. He would never have managed to get this far without a lot of PR, especially having acquired the reputation of a felon during his days at Microsoft. In recent months we also showed how Gates was taking more control of public libraries across the US, putting Windows in them rather than GNU/Linux which makes a lot of sense in a lot of libraries. See for example:

Here is another timely story from the news:

Elaine Foster, the library director, told the board that the library policies regarding computer use and internet access are “obsolete” and need to be revised. The problem is particularly acute, she said, because the money will be in hand soon for the purchase of the second group of four computers through a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant. She expects to be ready to order the four new computers in October, Foster said.

Will those “four new computers” run GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org? Gates’ intervention in public libraries was also mentioned here some days ago:

The donation allowed the library to reach its goal of $19,500 for a matching grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The funds will be used to replace 38 computers in the main library in Waverly and branch libraries in Piketon, Beaver and Latham.

What actually happens to give more power and control is being portrayed as goodwill. It’s a reality distortion field at times. Underneath the façade there is a man so obsessed with rich men’s problems like technology in bathrooms (how out of touch he must be when it comes to world problems).

“This is still about trying to control the health agenda, determining which lines or research deserve funding and which ones do not.”A couple of months ago we showed that in Nigeria Gates is actually contributing to polio, but that’s not the story some of the press is telling [1, 2] (because PR staff of the Gates Foundation tells them so). By doing all this PR Gates is invited for some lobbying opportunities with another keynote spot in a health conference. Therein he will probably market one of the latest patents which he or his sidekick Nathan Myhrvold are trying to make money from. This is still about trying to control the health agenda, determining which lines or research deserve funding and which ones do not.

“The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function.

New York Times, 2008

Gates Keepers, a sceptic of the Gates Foundation’s actions (not goals, which are presented in a noble fashion), points to the Ghanaweb article titled “Columbia Professor accused of research misconduct/fraud”

“It’s about Monsanto in Africa (including Ghana specifically).”Scroll down to find the part which says: ‘”I was persistently ordered to omit information about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the main sponsors of the Research and also other contributors including the Columbia University and the Grameen Foundation from the Research Newsletter”, she said.’

For those who cannot remember the Grameen Foundation and its relationship with Microsoft, see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. “Ghanaweb has fifty comments on this article about research that may have been funded by the Gates Foundation,” Gates Keepers points out. “Misconduct” and “fraud” are some serious accusations, but given that the head of health at the Gates Foundation has serious scandals in his recent past (bullying researchers and coming under investigation for it too), it’s probably no big deal on a relative scale. Ghana has many reasons to be afraid of the Gates Foundation and we wrote about that in March. It’s about Monsanto in Africa (including Ghana specifically). For some background see posts such as:

  1. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  2. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  3. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  17. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  18. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”
  19. The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship
  20. Week of Monsanto

The Gates Foundation is now mapping the market in Africa, taking stock of the soil that can potentially be ‘infected’ with GMO patents (for Monsanto to have leverage over the African population in the long term).

The GlobalSoilMap.net project has received a US$18 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to begin mapping in Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on maintaining soil and landscape health and identifying the relationship of soils to food quantity and quality.

Notice that it’s part of the Green Revolution, which both Rockefeller and Gates work on (those two families reportedly meet sometimes). It empowers the West, not Africa. Don’t believe the hype or swallow the euphemisms.

In China — just like in Africa — Gates has some AIDS projects going on (Gates also has a relationship with Novartis, which possess AIDS patent/s). We explained the downsides of this before (it’s about what the foundation is not telling) and Gates’ staff seem to be calling the shots in China too. The foundation is intervening in China using its own staff and as Gates Keepers puts it:

What language did Ray Yip use in his warning to China’s gays? And did he also address the millions of non gay-identified men who are not part of “the community”?

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people,” said an AIDS organisation manager last year. That ought to give somewhat of a clue. China can probably handle its own issues, it needn’t rely on ‘rich uncles’ with patented drugs from the West (the foundation invests in some of the very same companies which produce these drugs). In short, this whole initiative in China is not without its share of critics. “HIV/AIDS Medicine Is Only One Piece Of The Puzzle,” says one headline from the Huffington Post. Watch this advert in the MSBBC for contrast (this is also mentioned in [1, 2], so it can enter literature too, as journal of record). The Canadian government, which is funded by Gates, is also caught up in some of the AIDS riddle and Gates’ involvement in it (Harper was lobbied by Gates back in June).

Harper, Aglukkaq singled out for stinging rebuke at AIDS conference

[...]

Critics who were in Vienna said the Gates Foundation was surprised to find that a large chunk of the new funding would go to the maternal-health initiative. But a representative of the foundation told The Globe it is very happy with its relationship with the Canadian government.

Bill Gates’ foundation built a relationship with Harper as though the foundation is a country now and thus deserves international lobbying rights. It is dangerous to national harmony because the foundation is not a real nation, it’s a wealthy family whose fortune was made by breaking the law internationally (with convictions). Watch this new article from The Economist:

Inspired by such successes, governments are now offering prizes. Britain, Canada, Italy, Russia and Norway, in co-operation with the Gates Foundation, are funding the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) to develop vaccines for neglected diseases in the developing world. The AMC is offering $1.5 billion to drugs firms that can deliver low-priced vaccines for pneumococcal disease, a big killer of children. GlaxoSmithKline plans to deliver such vaccines to Africa next year.

Notice how the Gates Foundation is rallying entire nations to pay money to companies like GlaxoSmithKline. The Gates Foundation’s Head of Global Health is from GlaxoSmithKline and Gates has close ties with this company [1, 2], which will now receive taxpayers’ money from nations like Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Russia, and Norway. Gates is still a brilliant businessman.

Bill Gates Chastised by Increasing Number of Newspapers and Dedicated Web Sites for Taking Over US Education

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 1:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates pyramid

Summary: Having created an abusive monopolist known as Microsoft, Bill Gates is now creating privatised education pyramid where Bill is seated at the very top with legions of PR agents beneath

THE Gates Foundation received a lot of publicity last week. In the next post we’ll explain why, but before we get to that, a roundup of Gates’ hijack of the US education system is in order. So, MSBBC is advertising their occasional writer, Bill Gates (and also MSNBC, which gladly explains how Gates is overriding the government as though it’s just an innocent thing to do in a democracy).

Both Melinda and Bill Gates contest the notion that there is anything amiss in the foundation’s relationship with the federal government. All the foundation wants is results, says Bill Gates, however they are achieved.

This is some poor coverage from MSNBC, but what else can one expect from a channel of information that’s partly owned by Microsoft? Well, even the Washington Post eventually got guts and complained about Gates for his hijack of US education. We wrote about this last week and it expanded quite nicely on a longer post from one week ago. More and more people — journalists too — are coming with grips with the threat which is Bill Gates. He is a threat to democracy and “the most dangerous man in America,” according to the headline of last month’s article from the Huffington Post.

It is not only journalists who are increasingly covering these serious issues and fundamental flaws of philanthrocapitalism. There is a whole new blog protesting the privatisation of education. We recommend that people read it. It contains many articles about the hijack of the education system (by private hands) and it even has a special name for what it calls not the Gates Foundation. It calls it the “Underground Department of Education” and it has many links there in the sidebar (some of which to articles we covered before). A lot of good links include criticism of Bill Gates, for example:

Fortunately, despite Gates’ many efforts so far, he is failing to put schools more literally in Microsoft’s own hands. This article about Microsoft’s “School of the Future” is summarised as: “How Microsoft’s and Philadelphia’s innovative school became an example of what not to do”

“Fortunately, despite Gates’ many efforts so far, he is failing to put schools more literally in Microsoft’s own hands.”For those who are not aware of Gates’ connection to it, there are posts from previous weeks such as [1, 2]. Microsoft is also trying to control education with a big bunch of new events that set educational agenda. And then there’s this in last week’s news: “InCommon is the U.S. trust federation in higher education operated by Internet2. Through InCommon, higher education institutions and their partners offer access to contracted and collaborative services — in a privacy- and security-enhanced method — to faculty, researchers, students and staff.” Will Microsoft ever leave education alone? Earlier today we showed that Bill Gates went lobbying for Microsoft in Vietnamese education, once again showing the foundation and Microsoft working side by side by pooling money together. That’s a “smoking gun” as they say…

Also from recent weeks (stories that we missed):

i. Jamie Gass: Monied interests try to seize public education

Public education has long been administered and paid for by state and municipal governments. That local focus has kept it largely free of the “Gucci Gulch” phenomenon of policy crafted by influential D.C. lobbyists.

But that’s all changing. Unelected trade organizations, fueled by tens of millions of dollars from private organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are working to persuade states to adopt proposed national education standards and assessments. Many of these organizations, like the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, have poor records when it comes to improving student achievement and are made up of public officials whose membership dues are taxpayer funded.

ii. The wrong partner for our schools

AS BOSS of Microsoft, Bill Gates steamrollered competitors, intimidated regulators and used his company’s quasi-monopoly status to foist deficient software on business and consumers alike.

Now, America’s richest man is using those skills to design a system to evaluate schoolteachers, and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is his willing–make that enthusiastic–partner.

The question is: Will more militant elements in the AFT–including the newly elected leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union–challenge the union’s direction?

[...]

Gates gave $100 million to Florida’s Hillsborough County school system–which includes Tampa–to implement a program that will pull 200 to 300 teachers out of the classroom to serve as mentors to new teachers. The mentors will be paid an additional $5,000 per year.

As in Pittsburgh, veteran teachers in Hillsborough County can opt out of traditional step pay increases in favor of merit pay–but can have their pay cut if they have subpar evaluations. Seniority will continue for job placement, but cease to exist for compensation. New hires will automatically be included under the new system. Forty percent of teacher evaluation will depend on test scores and other measures of student performance.

These union agreements are only the beginning of Gates’ efforts to reshape teacher evaluation to suit his agenda. As he noted in his speech at the AFT convention, the Gates Foundation is funding the videotaping of 3,000 teachers in six school districts. “The chief goal is to work with teachers–using technology, data and research–to develop a system of evaluation that teachers believe is fair and will help them improve,” Gates said.

This article speaks about Hillsborough, which is Gates’ special experiment that we wrote about in:

The above posts contain more stories about Hillsborough and there are new ones that continue to show what we already know about the candidates there: “We’ve been selected by Bill Gates to do what he says will transform American education.”

Amazing! They play monopoly with schools just like in the board game. To quote expansively:

Yes. We’ve cut $125 million in the past five years while still protecting the classroom. We’ve been selected by Bill Gates to do what he says will transform American education. We are always willing to listen and make changes when needed.

There are more new articles about it. Gates is playing with them like it’s just a bunch of toys in his bedroom. “Classroom by classroom, Hillsborough prepares for Gates reforms” says the headline of this news article which talks about “part of the school district’s reforms with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Whose district is it anyway?

There is similar experimentation in Memphis and we covered it in:

“Wave of support raises stakes for Memphis City Schools,” says this news headline. It’s about Gates buying another sort of franchise.

Memphis was one of four recipients of $290 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness last fall.

Memphis will receive $90 million over seven years. Only Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa received more.

On top of the Gates grant and the $68 million that will flow to Memphis as a result of Tennessee’s winning $500 million in Race to the Top stimulus dollars for innovation, the city schools also received nearly $600,000 last week in federal money to improve the quality of its principals.

This is not inquisitive journalism and it fails to capture the motives at play. It’s being obscured by fairy tales or PR and days ago we found other such PR in The Chronicle, which airs the headline: “Gates’s Millions: Can Big Bucks Turn Students Into Graduates?”

“He is not fixing education, he is taking over it…”This fails to include a critical point: the money is about changing the system, not supporting students (except a few examples used for PR purposes, ushering the massive lobby and reducing/diffusing resistance to it). Had Gates wanted to just help students, money would be given with no strings attached. He is not fixing education, he is taking over it, but PR agencies which the foundation hires (we gave examples of those) continue to flood the media with promotion of those lies (spin) that drown out the signal in this whole debate.

Watch what Seattleducation 2010 has to say about the Bloomberg/BusinessWeek coverage from a few weeks ago (there is also an open letter to Gates and his foundation):

The July 15 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek takes a look at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s checkered record on education reform and finds a fair amount to question.

Aptly called “Bill Gates’ School Crusade,” it indeed evokes the sense that Gates’ meddling in public education is more driven by some kind of zealotry than facts.

And that just sums it up nicely: “Gates’ meddling in public education is more driven by some kind of zealotry than facts.”

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft is a Threat to Privacy and Net Neutrality But Accuses Google of Those Same Threats

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Three surveillance cameras

Summary: The innovator of abuse of privacy (not Google) is trying to paint a key competitor (Google) as the real problem

THE software marketing giant from Redmond is up to the same old, same old. As people have come to realise, Microsoft puts advertisers (one type of customers) before Windows users (another type of customers). Here is the original report, which we mentioned last week. Fortunately it propagated to just about everywhere, so more people become increasingly aware of Microsoft’s hostile nature, which evidently never changed. Microsoft does not honour privacy (Microsoft is even in the surveillance business). It never did, but it pretended by hypocritically accusing/blaming others, hoping that nobody would spot the hypocrisy.

“Microsoft sold your privacy,” says this new item’s headline:

The WSJ just published the billy club for your weekly Microsoft beatdown. Turns out the company quashed internal efforts to boost online privacy in favor of making more money with advertising. Horrible, right? The Microsoft lynch mob is gathering on the Washington border. But before you start practicing your sideswipe, here’s an apologia for Redmond.

So again, although this story was mentioned here before it’s worth stressing that throughout the week it got reposted in many places (even Microsoft boosters covered it). There’s hope for truth, still. Watch some new spin:

Representatives of Comcast and Yahoo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comments on the letter. Microsoft spokeswoman Christina Pearson said the company “takes seriously our responsibility to protect people’s privacy when they are using Microsoft’s products and services.”

Microsoft looks forward to working with Barton and Markey on privacy issues, she said.

Groklaw has found this new article about what Microsoft is doing in MSN:

The Journal found that Microsoft Corp.’s popular Web portal, MSN.com, planted a tracking file packed with data: It had a prediction of a surfer’s age, ZIP Code and gender, plus a code containing estimates of income, marital status, presence of children and home ownership, according to the tracking company that created the file, Targus Information Corp.

Both Targus and Microsoft said they didn’t know how the file got onto MSN.com, and added that the tool didn’t contain “personally identifiable” information.

“Privacy Groups Call for Microsoft Investigation,” says this new report. Now it’s getting serious and it does not involve an AstroTurfing group like ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This one seems like a legitimate complaint.

Privacy groups have asked Congress to investigate Microsoft in the wake of a Wall Street Journal investigation of Web tracking and targeting.

Led by the Center for Digital Democracy, a half-dozen consumer watchdog groups sent letters to the heads of the relevant Senate and House oversight committees calling for an investigation of Microsoft’s decision to require users of its 2008 iteration of Explorer to have to activate a tracking blocker function each time the browser was launched.

“The article makes clear, moreover, that both political and marketplace considerations played a prominent role in Microsoft’s decision,” say the groups in their call for an investigation, including hearings. “The revelation of Microsoft’s complicity in an ad industry‐involved effort to undermine privacy protection in the latest version of the Internet Explorer browser, covered in a front‐page Wall Street Journal article….is sufficient grounds for a full committee investigation,” they argue.

It remains to be seen what comes out of that.

Regarding net neutrality, there is still a lot of disagreement over what Google does or does not do. We are finding speculative and contradictory reports. Consider for example:

  • If there is no net neutrality, is there now a new net liability?

    News of the new commercial tie up between Google and ISP Verizon made me think again. In the new deal, Verizon appear to be agreeing to prioritise Google’s internet traffic – removing so called “Net Neutrality” where all data is considered equal, and allowing Google’s information to move faster and more efficiently around the globe. But surely if an ISP can prioritise information in this way, they move from being a dumb pipe to a very smart pipe indeed – and surely this must lead to the conclusion that if they can ‘prioritise’ traffic (if paid) they could also do the reverse – and easily block infringing material. Of course asking an ISP to block or filter material brings up a host of question relating to human rights, censorship and privacy BUT – it does at least give the content owners some new ammunition in the fight to monetise their copyrights – and might take away one of the main props used by ISPs to excuse themselves from engaging in policing the web.

  • Google: We still back Net neutrality

    Google today denied reports that it is in talks with Verizon for a deal that could undermine Net neutrality.

    According to reports in today’s Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, Google and Verizon, both major online players, are close to finalizing an agreement that would have Verizon speeding some online content more quickly than other content if the content’s creators pay for it. YouTube, which is owned by Google, could greatly benefit by having its bandwidth-heavy videos get priority treatment.

    Google, however, told Computerworld this morning that there is no basis to the reports.

  • Google and Verizon deny net neutrality deal

    Verizon was also nonplussed about the story. It issued a statement denying the claims in the NYT report, calling it “mistaken”.

    Verizon said its goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation.

    “To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect,” a Verizon spokesman said.

Some of the above were quoted by Pamela Jones (Groklaw), who believes that Microsoft may have something to do with it. “Just because someone throws some mud at a Microsoft competitor, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true,” she wrote. “Haven’t you noticed that pattern?”

“Google is not selling out the Internet,” says Dana’s blog.

Fact is Google has no financial incentive to sell out net neutrality, but every reason to come up with a fair agreement. Unlike the telcos, Google provides data services and not just pipes. It also has more core assets, managed with more efficiency, than either Verizon or AT&T.

For the record, the one harming net neutrality is Microsoft, not Google. It would make little sense for Google to pursue tiered Web.

According to other sources that include Cringely, Google is not entirely sincere. [via]

And so in last week’s controversy over whether Google and Verizon are hatching a deal to undermine net neutrality, it pays to look closely at their words. Both companies maintain that there is no deal and that no money will be paid for faster transmission of data. This is probably true in a literal sense, though something is clearly happening between the companies. I think Google has just found a way to fool Mom.

Net neutrality is the concept that all data packets are created equal and Internet service providers should not give priority to one kind of data (say, video conferencing) over another (say, e-mail). Internet partisans love net neutrality while telephone companies tend not to. Why not allow e-mail to run a little slower, they argue, if that lets services that need higher performance run faster? The difference is payment: users and the Federal Communications Commission worry that once a differentiation is made, the service providers will start charging for faster service and poorer users will suffer as a result. It’s a slippery slope.

SJVN recommends this analysis:

The Truth About Google, Verizon and Net Neutrality

It’s true that there’s something going on between Google and Verizon regarding net neutrality, but it’s not a business deal. While neither company is commenting specifically on what their discussions have been about, the information Google and Verizon provided makes the direction pretty clear.

The bottom line is this: Google would like to see network providers make provisions for certain types of traffic so that it can be delivered in a useful manner. Google is talking to Verizon because its FiOS service is very hot these days and provides very high-speed networking where consistent delivery is important for things like video.

This means that Google is looking for a way to have material such as video and voice services delivered with their priority set so that the material is still useful when it gets delivered. For example, if voice traffic suffers from too much latency or jitter in transit, it’s nearly unintelligible to the listener. You’ve probably heard this kind of thing on a Skype call if you were on a bad connection or on a cell phone call when the cell user had a really crummy signal.

Speaking of Verizon, it happens to be Microsoft’s special KIN partner (disaster of unprecedented proportions [1, 2, 3, 4]) and the Microsoft-Verizon deal allegedly involved Microsoft paying $500,000,000 for Verizon to remove access to a Google toolbar [1, 2]. We also know that Microsoft is harassing Google in Japan [1, 2] because Yahoo!, which still struggles to introduce anything compelling, does not yet give Microsoft the entire world’s userbase, not even after Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo (staff-wise, with old executives still fleeing the company). From the news:

Microsoft Corp. is “evaluating its options” for filing a formal objection to Yahoo Japan Corp.’s recent agreement to use Google Inc.’s Internet search service, a company representative said Wednesday.

Here are some newer reports about Microsoft’s action in Japan [1, 2]. How dare Microsoft complain about “monopoly”? Once again, this is the hypocrisy we spoke about at the start.

Replacement for Ballmer From the Outside, Microsoft’s Inexpensive Outside Workforce Suppressed by US Congress

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer sweats

Summary: Difficulties that are faced by Microsoft may require replacement of leadership and expense-cutting through offshoring is now impeded by the US Congress, which would cause further difficulties for Microsoft

MICROSOFT’S CEO Steve Ballmer is exceptionally unpopular among the Windows/Microsoft crowd, so Glyn Moody wonders what would happen if they got rid of him.

For example, one future might be more of the same: broadly stable market share on the desktop, where its stranglehold is pretty unbreakable; continuing massive losses online; disappearance in the mobile sector; invisibility in new areas like tablets. But is that kind of no-brainer cruising mode really an option? Surely one implication would be a static or even declining share price, and increasingly angry shareholders? At the very least, Steve Ballmer would be ejected, and fresh management brought in, which brings us to the second option.

Assuming that shareholders decide that drastic action is needed, and a new CEO appointed, who should it be? Someone from within the company, to ensure continuity? Is there anyone with the requisite vision and stature? Top executives seems to be fleeing at an accelerating rate, and it’s not clear who is left that commands respect both within the company and with financial analysts. The latter are critically important because, absent a strong hand on the controls, they would probably write off the company completely, causing its stock to go into a death spin.

Maybe Microsoft needs an experienced outsider with no compunction in slaying the sacred cows of Seattle? And if so, from which industry? Another computing exec (I gather that HP may have one spare…), or from a completely different one? That was IBM’s approach when, in its desperation to save the company from a terminal decline similar to Microsoft’s, it brought in Louis Gerstner from Nabisco, a biscuit company….

Microsoft has already hired a CFO from the paper industry. The circumstances of his departures were mysterious.

What actually happens at the moment is that many US jobs are being sent overseas or workers are brought from overseas (on visas) to replace US workers. It helps Microsoft lower expenses as working conditions exacerbate too. This was made possible by lobbying from Gates and Abramoff.

According to the news in India, Schumer Charles from the US Senate is fed up with Microsoft's extension in India (Infosys).

Criticising companies outsourcing highly-paid American jobs, a US Senator has described Indian IT major Infosys as a “chop shop”, a place where stolen cars are dismantled and parts sold separately.

Wipro is named too (we last mentioned in it one alarming context). In general, the background to all this is the Senate’s decision to tax this practice which is used extensively by Microsoft.[ via]

The Senate measure increases the H-1B visa application fees by $2,000 per application on those firms that have 50% of their employees on this visa.

The fee increase will have the biggest impact on the large Indian offshore firms, such as Infosys Technologies Ltd., Wipro Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services, which use thousands of H-1B visa holders to service U.S. customers.

Firms such as Microsoft and Google also hire many H-1B visas holders, but they are relatively a smaller fraction of their U.S. workforces.

Notice the naming of TCS there. It’s not clear how this legislation will impede contracting. There is still this old illusion that Microsoft helps the American economy, even though it dodges tax.

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