09.08.10

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Seattle Weekly: Microsoft May be Breaking the Law in California (Again)

Posted in Antitrust, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of California

Summary: Microsoft’s walking on the fine line of crime and disorder continues unabated, but some publications call out the issues

ASTROTURFING DISGUISED AS ACTIVISM ASIDE, MICROSOFT has already been charged in the state of California and it settled using a stunt which only punished Californians even more. To compensate someone using software licences or training is worse than nothing at all. At this moment, in many places across the world (based on word of mouth and evidence we got today), Microsoft implements the equivalent of American EDGI [1, 2, 3, 4], which includes California. It’s a rich man’s dumping technique which is anti-competitive and thus should be illegal (with actual legal action incurred). To put a long (ish) story short, Microsoft is portraying the exploitation of the population (wasting their time making them addicted to Microsoft products) as “donation”, extending this already-absurd state of affairs in education systems, which it turns into indoctrination systems thanks in part to the Gates Foundation. When Microsoft says “donation” it usually means the very opposite; it means that people donate their minds and bodies to the Microsoft movement.

According to the Seattle Weekly, “Microsoft’s Plans for Windows Phone 7 Are a Clear Violation of California Law” and here’s why:

All of which sounds like business-as-usual in the competitive tech industry. But, in fact, Microsoft’s gambit is clearly illegal under California law. How do I know? I read the recent decision by a California Court of Appeal in the lawsuit against Village Voice Media.

VVM (which publishes Seattle Weekly, as well as papers in a dozen other cities) has been sued by a competitor in California called the San Francisco Bay Guardian–and quite successfully. The Bay Guardian accuses VVM of unfair business practices, saying VVM’s paper, SF Weekly, has engaged in “predatory pricing.” The Bay Guardian won a $16 million judgment against VVM at a jury trial two years ago–and that decision was upheld last month by the First District Court of Appeal in California.

The lengthy written decision by the appellate court judges makes it clear that everything Microsoft is doing–investing in the creation of an improved product and selling it at less than its true cost, with the express intent of harming a California competitor–is completely prohibited in the Golden State.

Under California code, it is against the law for a business there “to sell any article or product at less than the cost…or to give away any article or product, for the purpose of injuring competitors or destroying competition.”

Sounds slightly archaic in the Internet age, right? By this logic, SF-based Facebook broke the law when it started up its free social-networking service, thereby causing irreparable harm to fee-charging Classmates.com, which had been in business for years. Nonetheless, the ruling stands, at least while it’s appealed further.

Microsoft will continue to disregard the law (plausible deniability or witch hunting, regardless of what the law says), but either way, Microsoft will never succeed in mobile. The race for developers is lost.

“The government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Government official

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