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09.07.11

Cablegate: Microsoft Uses US Diplomats to Pressure Oman to Intimidate Population Using Newspapers

Posted in Asia, Deception, FUD, Microsoft at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: A rare glimpse at a common phenomenon where Microsoft uses national papers to spread fear and the advertisers in newspapers are said to be playing a role

Microsoft and its slaves in the Government of Oman (who gave Microsoft taxpayers' money) have only led to further criminalisation of the population, which Microsoft loves calling “pirates” (an inappropriate term). Occasionally Microsoft and its bully, the BSA, organise intimidation campaigns which even cables reveal are just intended to create a scare. In the following Cablegate cable there is concern that the newspapers did not do as Microsoft and the BSA please; they didn’t spread enough fear by naming the country targeted as an "enforcement showcase":



VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMS #0938 2810622
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080622Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8838
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS MUSCAT 000938 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP, EEB/TPP/MTA/IPC 
COMMERCE FOR COBERG 
COMMERCE PASS TO USPTO (PFOWLER) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, KIPR, MU 
SUBJECT: MICROSOFT SETTLES WITH OMANI SOFTWARE PIRATES 
 
 
1. (U) On October 7, Econoff discussed Microsoft's conclusion 
of an out-of-court settlement with four Omani companies 
engaged in software piracy with Jawad al-Redha, Microsoft's 
Gulf Anti-Piracy Manager and Co-Chair of the Business 
Software Alliance.  Redha noted that the settlement was the 
product of over seven months of work in negotiating with the 
violators, identified as al-Madina, al-Rafraf, al-Arabiya, 
and World IT.  Under the agreement, each company will pay 
Microsoft USD 3,000 in compensation and pledge to refrain 
from selling illegal software in the future. 
 
2. (SBU) Redha expressed optimism that the agreement will 
create momentum in enforcing IPR in Oman.  He was quick to 
point out that Oman's purported software piracy rate of 62% 
was still high for the region, but that concerted efforts 
such as this would help bring that statistic down several 
percentage points each year.  Redha said that improvements 
need to be made on the public relations front in reaching 
this goal.  As an example, he noted that the press release on 
the settlement was only published in the English-language 
daily Oman Observer, and only after the government cleared on 
text that did not include country-specific references.  Redha 
speculated that the publishers of Oman's Arabic-language 
dailies, which declined to publicize the settlement, were 
worried that they would lose advertising revenue from the 
companies cited in the text of the announcement. 
 
3. (SBU) Comment:  Microsoft's settlement comes on the heels 
of change in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the lead 
Omani agency in promoting intellectual property rights. 
Econoff learned on October 3 that the director of the 
Intellectual Property Department has been reassigned to a 
lower-level position in a different office of the ministry, 
and that his deputy has been transferred to an unrelated 
department as well.  Post suspects that the director's 
ineffectiveness during the implementation stage of the 
U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement may have precipitated the 
reshuffle.  End comment. 
FONTENEAU 

They are trying to use newspapers as a propaganda tool. Advertisers affect the content of newspapers.

Cablegate: Microsoft Uses Drug Addicts in Ski Lanka to Spread Microsoft, Liaises with American Chamber of Commerce to Change Laws (Updated)

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Colonisation in Ski Lanka using Microsoft and the American Chamber of Commerce, who make the poor country dependent on American rules and proprietary/non-free software from America

IN THE FOLLOWING promotional Cablegate cable (remember that these are US officials in foreign countries), Microsoft is described as using miserable people to spawn new ‘microdrones’, i.e. people whose main skill is serving the Microsoft monopoly, with supposed knowledge in “computers” (Windows). The same type of thing is done to turn teachers in Ski Lanka into 'microdrones' and last but not least, the abhorrent front group known as Chamber of Commerce helps Microsoft change Ski Lanka’s law to be more in alignment with the conqueror, the United States. This is consistent with what we have seen in other countries; the embassies and consulates use Microsoft to expand their empire and made foreign countries assimilated even when it is against their interests (e.g. being dependent on proprietary software from another country). Here is the promotional cable:


VZCZCXRO5985
RR RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0852/01 1660321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150321Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6272
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1098
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0208
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7191
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 5298
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2204
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7777
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 5437
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2130
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000852 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EEB/EPPD NSMITH-NISSLEY AND SCA/INS 
DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER 
MCC FOR S. GROFF, D. TETER, D. NASSIRY AND E. BURKE 
TREASURY FOR LESLIE HULL 
GENEVA PASS USTR 
 
FOR EEB ASSISTANT SECRETARY SULLIVAN FROM AMBASSADOR BLAKE 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS:  ECON, BEXP, ETRD, ELAB, KSEP, SENV, AMGT, CE 
SUBJECT:  SRI LANKA - NOMINATION OF MICROSOFT FOR CORPORATE 
EXCELLENCE AWARD 
 
REF: A) STATE 47222 B) COLOMBO 754 
 
1.  I am pleased to nominate Microsoft-Sri Lanka for the Secretary's 
Award for Corporate Excellence in the multinational enterprise 
category.  While meeting all eligibility requirements for this 
award, Microsoft-Sri Lanka has demonstrated outstanding corporate 
citizenship by enabling reformed drug addicts to obtain better jobs 
through information and communication technology (IT) training.  It 
has helped contribute to the advancement of Sri Lanka's scientific 
and technology policies by conducting seminars for developing 
IT-enhanced curricula and counseling students in their career paths. 
 Microsoft-Sri Lanka has contributed to rule of law by sponsoring an 
intellectual property rights (IPR) training program for judicial 
officials. 
 
CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP:  EXPANDING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND 
OBJECTIVES OF EX-DRUG ADDICTS 
 
2.  In 2005-06, Microsoft-Sri Lanka partnered with the Sri Lanka 
Anti Narcotics Association (SLANA) to attempt to integrate ex-drug 
users back into society, by providing them with IT skills to 
facilitate employability.  Microsoft donated $113,000 to help SLANA 
set up three centers and directly train 400 people.  This project is 
designed to positively influence over 1,500 people over two years. 
The plan has already begun working.  A 25-year old former heroin 
addict wrote that the program "made me realize that I could pursue 
numerous avenues...I further understood what I could do with the 
support of new technology."  A 20-year old ex-drug user who 
completed the program wrote, "I realized that there is a world 
beyond drugs.  [The program] exposed me to many things I could do in 
life.  It also created a special interest in computers." 
 
CONTRIBUTING TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL 
POLICIES:  CURRICULUM REDESIGN AND IT TRAINING; PROMOTING IT CAREER 
OPPORTUNITIES 
 
3.  Sri Lanka has identified IT as a potential growth sector, and 
seeks to encourage its growth.  In Sri Lanka, mainly upper-class 
urban residents have access to the Internet, while rural communities 
are left without IT training or access - tools that are essential 
for economic advancement in today's world.  In 2004-05, 
Microsoft-Sri Lanka provided a grant of $110,000 to set up 12 
telecenters island-wide, to enable rural youth to access IT and to 
receive training.  Microsoft estimates that the grant has trained 
3,500 young people, and affected the lives of an additional 10,000 
people. 
 
4.  In 2006, Microsoft-Sri Lanka urged and coordinated with other IT 
companies, including IBM, HP, IDM, and Suntel, to contribute to the 
development of four rural IT projects.  This practice has evolved 
into a Global Best Practice for Microsoft, which has adopted it in 
over a dozen countries within the past year. 
 
5. Microsoft-Sri Lanka also identified the need to reduce "fear of 
technology" among Sri Lanka's teachers. The company, together with 
the Ministry of Education, launched the National Teacher PC Drive, 
aimed at enabling 50,000 teachers to own PCs. It provided several 
subsidies for this initiative, including provision of free training 
to any teacher who buys a PC, and free lesson plans.  Approximately 
6,900 teachers have received this training delivered by the company, 
in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.  This represents a 
total classroom size of approximately 332,000 students. 
 
6. Microsoft-Sri Lanka co-sponsored with USAID/Sri Lanka a job fair 
in June 2007.  The fair featured prominent Sri Lankan local and 
internationally based businesses, seminars on applying for jobs and 
where opportunities lie in the job market, and counseling services 
on how to interview and which technical fields are most appropriate 
for the skills of the students.  One of the 900 student participants 
commented that this job fair provided him with more knowledge and 
practical experience about the job market than all of his years of 
education combined. 
 
COLOMBO 00000852  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
CONTRIBUTING TO RULE OF LAW:  JUDICIAL TRAINING IN INTELLECTUAL 
PROPERTY LAWS 
 
7. Microsoft-Sri Lanka partnered with the local American Chamber of 
Commerce in a multi-pronged intellectual property rights campaign. 
In addition to its non-publicized financial contributions to a 
public-awareness component of the campaign, Microsoft staff 
conducted training on Sri Lanka's Intellectual Property Act and the 
importance of IPR enforcement for judiciary staff who rule on 
intellectual property rights cases.  One American Chamber of 
Commerce member reported a significant increase in the size of fines 
imposed on IPR violators following the training.  Due to the success 
of this program, Microsoft executives have expressed interest in 
supporting continuing training programs within the court system. 
Additionally, the Embassy requested funding (Ref B) to support 
continuation of this program. 
 
BLAKE 


When they write “IT TRAINING” and “IT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES” they actually refer to helping Microsoft.

Update: The same US-backed, self-congratulatory ‘honour’ can be seen emerging in Brazil as well. it’s very promotional and they also use kids for their marketing. One cable (advertisement) goes like this:



VZCZCXRO8659
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1131/01 1691742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181742Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9268
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 0161
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 4605
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 6823
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001131 
 
SIPDIS 
 
EB/CBA FOR SMITH-NISSLEY 
RM FOR PINEDA 
WHA/EPSC FOR SALAZAR 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, BEXP, ELAB, ETRD, BR 
SUBJECT: AMEMBASSY BRASILIA NOMINATES FORD AND MICROSOFT BRAZIL FOR 
THE SECRETARY'S 2007 CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARD (MULTINATIONAL 
ENTERPRISE CATEGORY) 
 
 
1.  (U)  Based upon their leadership and commitment to corporate 
social responsibility (CSR), Ambassador Sobel nominates the U.S. 
multinational companies Ford and Microsoft Brazil, as 
representatives of the 50 U.S. multinational companies that support 
the U.S. Embassy Brazil CSR Initiative, for the Secretary's 2007 
Corporate Excellence Award. 
 
2. (U)  Begin Text of Award Nomination 
 
In October 2006, the U.S. Ambassador, together with Microsoft, Ford, 
and a select group of American companies founded a U.S. Mission 
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, aimed at 
leveraging the assets of U.S. companies doing business in Brazil. 
This initiative, which has expanded and now brings together 50 U.S. 
companies, has focused on encouraging CSR partnerships and joint 
investments while increasing the visibility and recognition of U.S. 
development efforts overseas.  It has shown that partnerships have 
the power to increase both the effectiveness and efficiency of 
public and private sector development assistance. 
 
This whole effort began when the U.S. Mission in Brazil sponsored a 
CSR roundtable, in conjunction with 31 U.S. companies in Brazil and 
the Sao Paulo American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).  That 
represented the first step towards the development of an innovative 
Public/Private-based model for corporate social responsibility. 
However, none of this would have been possible without the 
commitment of the movement's principal private sector leaders:  both 
Microsoft and Ford Brazil.  These two companies chair initiative's 
two main committees: visibility (Ford) and partnership (Microsoft). 
Accordingly, the Ambassador nominates the U.S. multinational 
companies Ford and Microsoft Brazil, representing the group of the 
50 U.S. multinational companies that currently support this 
initiative.  Their exemplary efforts in guiding this group have been 
key to making this campaign a best practice to be replicated 
worldwide. 
 
-------------------------- ----------------------------- 
Corporate Citizenship and Exemplary Employment Practices 
-------------------------- ------------------------------ 
The group of 50 companies sponsors a wealth of social responsibility 
projects, in such diverse fields as education, the environment, and 
health.  Combined annual investments are estimated at $250 million 
(cash) and another $250 million in in-kind contributions. 
Additionally, 48 of these companies support a volunteer network of 
over 100,000 individuals.  Their 200+ projects benefit all of the 26 
Brazilian states and the country's Federal District. 
 
Specifically, the group has: 
 
-- Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the AmCham to promote 
employment of "Youth Ambassadors" - a U.S. Embassy-funded program 
targeting young leaders from low income families/schools across the 
country that has produced outstanding results.  Over fifteen 
companies are now in the process of hiring several Youth 
Ambassadors. 
 
-- Collaborated in the establishment of the U.S.-Brazil Higher 
Education Program, yet another example of the power of partnerships. 
 This program, jointly funded by Ford, Microsoft, and the USG, aims 
at revitalizing vocational education.  This effort has been welcomed 
by the Government of Brazil's Ministry of Education and is already 
serving as a model of how industries and governments can cooperate 
to meet social and economic needs in a sustainable way. 
 
--  Sponsored a highly-regarded speech/media event, featuring noted 
economist Jeffrey Sachs, for companies participating in the 
initiative.  We have invited Microsoft CEO Bill Gates as the next 
speaker. 
 
Several other activities are currently being designed under the CSR 
Initiative and will be launched soon.  These include: 
 
--  the design of a CSR Challenge Fund, which will combine USG and 
private sector resources for programs in youth employability, 
entrepreneurship, and the environment; 
 
--  the development of a CSR Best Practices Catalogue; 
 
--  a survey of member companies on their individual CSR activities 
and willingness to partner with the Mission and others  (this series 
of surveys resulted in a matrix of CSR activities by member 
companies); 
 
--  a volunteer day during which Consulate Sao Paulo personnel can 
participate in community activities (planned for July 2007); and 
 
BRASILIA 00001131  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
--  a CSR Workshop, which would bring together the 50 member 
companies with speakers from local/international institutions such 
as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation. 
 
------------------------- ------------------------------- 
Contribution to the Overall Growth and Development of the Local 
Economy. 
-------------------------- ------------------------------ 
Member companies are highly committed to the development of the 
Brazilian economy. 
 
--  the group of 50 directly employs an estimated 1 million 
workers; 
 
--  they lead several value chains in Brazil across the entire 
economy; 
 
--  the combined annual income of this group is estimated at US$100 
billion; 
 
--  their presence in Brazil is on average 50 years.  Companies like 
Ford have been responsible for the development of an entire 
industry; 
 
--  newcomers such as Microsoft have taken the lead in key areas 
such as education. 
 
Many of these companies have established policies to promote 
minority suppliers, and the group is working towards 
institutionalizing the following new activities: 
 
--  the implementation of a minority suppliers development program. 
This work will be launched in August during the visit of the head of 
the American Minority Suppliers Development project. 
 
--  there are several ongoing initiatives related to responsible 
sourcing, including a partnership between the U.S. Embassy and 
Wal-Mart to source fair-trade coffee from Brazilian small farmers. 
 
-- In addition, work is proceeding on the design of an innovative 
minority suppliers development program focusing on cooperatives of 
people living with HIV. 
--------------------------- ------------------------- 
Development of Competitive and Innovative Activities 
--------------------------- ------------------------- 
Other group activities aimed at fostering competitiveness and 
innovation include: 
 
--  the development of a report to measure the combined social and 
economic impact of the CSR projects supported by the U.S. corporate 
sector in Brazil; 
 
--  planning for a joint volunteer day to take place in August 2007; 
 
 
--  the design of a public outreach web site within the U.S. Embassy 
Brasilia portal; and 
 
--  various CSR-related meetings and planning sessions  to take 
place in CY 2007. 
 
End Text of Award Nomination 
 
Sobel 



Here is another bit of promotion of the company from around the same time in Hanoi. Watch how US diplomats serve as Microsoft de facto PR agents:




VZCZCXRO8620
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1451 2251734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131734Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6089
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3526
UNCLAS HANOI 001451 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EAP/MLS AND EEB/EPPD NSMITH-NISSLEY 
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OPB/VLC/HPPHO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: AMGT, BEXP, ECON, ELAB, ETRD, KSEP, SENV 
SUBJECT:  DUE DILIGENCE: MICROSOFT 2007 AWARD FOR CORPORATE 
EXCELLENCE 
 
REF: STATE 109403 
 
1. (SBU) Could there possibly be any downside or embarrassment 
caused by the selection of your post's nominee? 
 
Embassy Vietnam is not aware of any information that might prove 
embarrassing to Post, to the U.S. Department of State, or to the USG 
with regard to the nomination of Microsoft for this award. 
 
2. (SBU) Do you have any information concerning job creation in the 
United States resulting from the operations of the company you 
nominated? 
 
Microsoft had 20,561 employees in 1996.  In 2007, the company 
employs over 76,000 employees worldwide with 46,700 employees in the 
United States.  Microsoft is a leading software developer whose 
bread and butter is its intellectual property.  By expanding its 
activities in Vietnam, it is promoting the export of U.S.-origin 
product, which creates jobs, directly and indirectly, in the United 
States.  Just recently, Microsoft concluded an agreement with the 
Government of Vietnam (GVN) under which government offices will buy 
legitimate software from Microsoft for hundreds of thousands of 
computers.  While this means a direct increase in sales for the 
company, Microsoft's success has wider implications for all U.S. IPR 
interests because it shows the GVN can improve the situation for IPR 
when there is political will. 
 
3. (SBU) What is your assessment of the company's trade and 
investment activities with regard to helping stimulate economic 
growth in the U.S. and increasing American exports 
(what is the U.S. content of its products)? 
 
In 2006, Microsoft earned $12.6 billion on global revenues of $44.28 
billion.  Microsoft is the world's leading software developer with 
products such as Microsoft Office, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. 
Founded in 1975, Microsoft has played a major role in establishing 
the global dominance of the U.S. software and information technology 
sectors. 
 
4. (SBU) What is the state of labor conditions in the company's 
facilities and are workers unionized? 
 
Labor conditions are generally excellent for Microsoft Asia Pacific 
employees.  Microsoft Vietnam employees are nonunion.  The company 
has low employee turnover, pays high wages (typically $1000-$1500 
per month for a mid-level manager), and has employee benefits that 
include health insurance, education reimbursement, and work/life 
balance considerations. 
 
5. (SBU) Are you aware of any litigation pending in local courts 
involving the company? 
 
Post is not aware of any Microsoft-related litigation pending in 
local courts. 
 
6. (SBU) Please confirm that the Chief of Mission and others 
involved in the nominating process do not hold shares of stock or 
have other financial interests in the company. 
 
Neither the Chief of Mission nor others involved in the nominating 
process hold shares of Microsoft stock or have other financial 
interests in the company. 
 
MARINE 


Cablegate: Microsoft and Government of Oman Inseparable

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Cable from Oman shows how Microsoft is steering the government and making the population Microsoft dependent

We recently looked at Oman and onwards, reaching Ukraine in the north and Vietnam in the south. All across the world we find evidence of government-assisted Microsoft deals which at times reveal misconduct. Many of the same tricks are used everywhere, so it is worth learning these. The following Cablegate cable is also one from Oman.

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMS #0580/01 1601237
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091237Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8362
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS MUSCAT 000580 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP, EEB/CBA 
COMMERCE FOR COBERG 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, BEXP, ELAB, ENRG, KSEP, AMGT, MU 
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARD: 
MICROSOFT OMAN 
 
REF: STATE 47222 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. Embassy Muscat is pleased to nominate Microsoft Oman for 
the Secretary's 2007 Award for Corporate Excellence. 
Microsoft Oman's strong commitment to actively supporting 
government efforts to promote greater computer literacy in 
the Sultanate makes this company the right choice for the 
2007 Corporate Excellence Award.  End Summary. 
 
---------------- 
Nascent Industry 
---------------- 
 
2. Oman's information communications technology (ICT) sector 
currently is not well-developed.  According to a Booz Allen 
Hamilton study commissioned by the Department under the 
Middle East Partnership Initiative, the industry overall 
employs only 1300 people, with most positions concentrated in 
a few large corporations.  Compared to the population as a 
whole, the figure represents 0.4 IT employees per 1,000, 
which lags behind the EU-25 average of 5.5 IT employees per 
1,000.  Booz Allen Hamilton further estimated that the number 
of university students graduating from computer science 
disciplines reached only 386 in 2004. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
Background: Government Focus on Raising IT 
------------------------------------------ 
 
3. In an effort to boost public awareness of Oman's need to 
move increasingly toward a knowledge-based economy, the 
government launched its "E-Oman" campaign in 2006.  Under the 
slogan "Transforming Oman, Empowering You," Maqbool bin Ali 
Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, officially 
unveiled the government's plans regarding Oman's e-government 
programs, as well as other initiatives designed to promote 
Oman's transformation to a knowledge-based economy. 
 
4. Under the direction of the recently created Information 
Technology Authority (ITA), the Omani government embarked on 
a pilot project electronically linking four ministries 
through one computer network, a plan that will eventually be 
expanded to include all ministries.  In addition, the 
government is working on developing an electronic national 
registry system, smart ID cards for citizens and residents, 
and a one-stop-shop for business registration. 
 
------------------------- 
The Microsoft Partnership 
------------------------- 
 
5. In 2006, Microsoft concluded a three-year, five million 
USD per year agreement with the Omani government for the use 
of the company's licensed products on over 22,000 terminals. 
The contract, which includes a commitment by Microsoft to 
invest two million USD per year in training programs for 
government employees and the general public, represents the 
beginning of a valued relationship between the two entities 
as they both strive to improve computer literacy in the 
Sultanate. 
 
6. As part of its plan to foster this relationship, Microsoft 
has committed to investing in Oman's IT capabilities. 
According to Microsoft country manager Abdullah al-Lootah, 
this commitment is essential to efforts to raise technology 
usage in government operations, which currently is very low. 
In terms of promoting knowledge transfer opportunities, 
Microsoft will sponsor six-month visits by government 
officials to the company's Dubai office to educate them on 
"best financial practices."  Coupling with the government's 
E-Oman initiative, Microsoft is reaching out to the Omani 
people by installing computer laboratories in 10 schools for 
public use during the evening hours. 
 
----------------------- 
Training for the Future 
----------------------- 
 
7. Microsoft demonstrated its strong, continued commitment to 
building Oman's technical capabilities in March 2007, when 
the company concluded an agreement with the ITA to launch an 
innovation and support center to be housed at Knowledge Oasis 
Muscat (KOM), the government-run technology incubator.  The 
agreement calls for a joint investment of six million USD in 
establishing the center, one million USD of which is to come 
 from Microsoft under its investment partnership accord with 
the Omani government.  The center will host resident 
Microsoft engineers, who will train between 20 to 40 Omanis 
on technology solutions to deliver services to government 
entities under the "E-Oman" initiative.  Graduates would then 
form IT steering committees within their respective 
ministries. 
 
8. This initiative is one of several Microsoft is pursuing to 
"bridge the technology skills gap" in Oman.  In addition to 
the innovation center, Microsoft will partner with Knowledge 
Oasis Muscat and other selected entities in training 300 
Omani government professionals per year.  The trainees will 
work with Microsoft engineers to develop and implement 
solutions to promote efficiency in delivering government 
services electronically.  Salim al-Ruzaiqi, Chief Executive 
Officer of the ITA, praised Microsoft's efforts in the media, 
noting, "This new center will create more quality job 
opportunities for local Omani graduates in the ICT sector." 
 
--------------- 
Assisting Women 
--------------- 
 
9. Microsoft also has been active in supporting efforts to 
raise computer literacy among women through a partnership 
with MEPI's "Women in Technology (WIT)" program.  The company 
is currently working with the Oman Women's Association in 
Muscat to train women throughout the Sultanate on IT skills. 
Under a "train the trainer" initiative, Microsoft donated its 
"Unlimited Potential" curriculum to the organization to allow 
participants to pass along skills taught by Microsoft 
trainers to women residing in the secondary cities of Oman. 
Microsoft further donated over $50,000 worth of software and 
90 refurbished computers to support the continuation of the 
initiative. 
GRAPPO 



In short, Microsoft is indoctrinating government employees so that they come to depend on Microsoft technologies, at taxpayers’ expense. For those who do not know what “Unlimited Potential” is (a euphemism to say the least), see our posts about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Bill Gates is Still Stockpiling Patents Along With Microsoft Friends

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates in Poland - Monsanto added in

Summary: Bill “monopoly” Gates is still collecting new monopolies and his friends who attack Linux/Android with patents are at it as well; Kroes comments on the EU as a safeguard from trolls

Microsoft’s co-founders are both patent trolls. One has a patent troll called Searete (Bill Gates) and the other one’s patent troll is called Interval (Paul Allen). In addition, Bill Gates bankrolled the world’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures (headed by Microsoft’s former CTO). These trolls are very much loathed for their actions (including extortion against Linux), but one person, Microsoft booster Todd Bishop, has been whitewashing their characters for several years. He is boasting about more patents (monopolies) from patenting maximalist Bill Gates (see the comments in Slashdot) in this week’s news. Maybe it’s time for him to move on and stop this reputation laundering of sociopaths. These are the same people who taunted the industry and extorted much of it over the years. Former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz starts warning about patent lawsuits (Microsoft proponents amplify his words) and according to other reports, RIM’s patents might soon be up for sale as well. “Research In Motion,” says this report, “should consider seeking a buyer or spinning off its patents to boost investor returns after a slump in its stock price, investor Jaguar Financial Corp. of Toronto said Tuesday.” Microsoft, its cartel (which includes Apple), or one of its trolls might be going after these patents. Microsoft’s interest in RIM goes back as far as 2008.

Currently, developers can avoid much of the hassle by staying outside the US and not selling anything there. Neelie Kroes has just blogged the following about Europe (her blog is composed by her speechwriter too): “we have a less litigious and costly patent system, an issue currently troubling many US companies.”

See the responses to it in the comments, including one from the FFII’s president who argues:

Europe has right now plans to make the patent system more litigious, notably via specialized patent courts, a central patent court and EU-wide damages.
There are risks to make things worse, since it might be more attractive for patent holders to file lawsuits in Europe then in the US, due to the bigger market size.

It’s better this way, too. Kroes could use some more feedback from non-lawyers. From an economic point of view, Europe has little of nothing to gain from patents in general. Nokia’s patents have just been passed to a patent troll in Canada.

Government Married to Mega Corporations, No Genuine Patent Reform Planned yet

Posted in America, Patents at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wedding vows

Summary: Why most mentions of a “reform” in the USPTO are misleading for the time being

THE NEWS on the patents front quieted down this month. We are not ignoring any of it. But it interesting to see that preservation of broken systems seems to strike a nerve with the public, yet officials mostly ignore it. What does that say about the government allegedly elected by the people (with corporate campaign funding)?

The truth of the matter is, based on news reports [1, 2] only a fake ‘reform’ is being put forward and sites like TechDirt correctly slam it:

With Congress and the President pretending that a bad patent reform bill is all about “creating jobs” even as there’s little evidence that the reforms will actually do anything, Congress appears to be poised to approve the bill. Of course, the bill does almost nothing to address the real problems of the patent system, but that won’t stop the grandstanding. More important, it won’t stop the political back-scratching. While Congress won’t debate the bigger issues, they will be considering amendments that benefit a particular constituency rather than looking at anything that will actually benefit innovation or the economy.

Brian Proffitt is being pessimistic in his new post, “The bottom line of software patent reform”. In this somewhat defeatist post he argued that: “Critics of software patents argue that it would be great if all the extra legal overhead of this litigation could just go away. But if the bottom line says that it’s cheaper to just hire better lawyers rather than suffer the potential risks of young upstart competitors stealing even more revenue and customers, then businesses will opt for the former every time.

“This is why lawmakers only make half-hearted efforts to examine patent reform. They may listen to the latest big company that complains (like Google), but if and when that company moves on to pursuing their own litigation, why bother listening? Not to mention lobbying pressure from all the lawyers who are getting paid quite well to pursue these cases on behalf of their clients.”

Google is a tricky one because it is not doing the right thing by choosing the expensive and ineffective path. Clint Boulton says that they bought junk patents and we already know that Microsoft plans to attack Google through patent trolls like MOSAID. Google cannot use patents defensively against patent trolls.

Proffitt continues: “It’s a depressing situation all the way around, in all business sectors, at all levels of government. Litigation is a business expense that many businesses are willing to put time, effort, and money into if it can give them an edge over a competitor.

“Can software patents ever be reformed? Possibly, if enough lawsuits lose and companies realize that there’s no percentage in the game.

“It won’t be an ethical decision that drives reform, sadly, but a financial one.”

Boycott Novell and Attachmate

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 4:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Attachment

Summary: Small update on Novell, Attachmate, SUSE, and Xamarin

OUR “Boycott Novell” initiative was a true success and right now we are starting to track quite closely the actions of Attachmate, which officially bought Novell a few months ago. Amid the sale there was separation that put SUSE aside, later to become Microsoft sponsored. It also put Xamarin, which keeps pushing Microsoft development tools aside entirely. Attachmate later gave its blessings to Xamarin (along with so-called ‘IP’), but it still owns the “OpenSUSE” trademark and Microsoft has not promised not to sue Xamarin clients or Xamarin itself. The whole thing is a tad dodgy and Attachmate also owns UNIX, which can complicate things further. Here is a new report about Attachmate trying to approach Novell partners in Sydney. From SUSE we have a not-so-imminent release and a pizza party (Microsoft’a pizza? They help fund SUSE) preceding the conference.

,

Our position on the subject is still the same. Novell, Attachmate, SUSE and Xamarin are still more like tentacles of Microsoft. They ought to be avoided.

Wikileaks Cablegate: We’re Only Getting Started

Posted in Cablegate, Site News at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stairs

Summary: Status report on Cablegate at Techrights

THANKS to those who are helping us with Cablegate. An hour or so ago we asked a question about Econoff and soon afterwards found out that it’s an unnamed economic officer, who is referred to not as a collective but a person (this was stated in one Web page). It is interesting to see what role government plays in promoting Microsoft’s agenda. The term Econoff is mentioned a lot when one lobbies for interests of Microsoft.

“This whole effort pays off as it received mainstream coverage that helps expose Microsoft, e.g. in Tunisia.”Currently we are focusing mostly on Microsoft cables, but that will change quite soon. The plan is a strategy of one-at-a-time, as at some stage we’ll turn to other subjects and go through them one by one, e.g. cables about open source. “These cables from a search of “open source” and software,” explains Mr. Love who collected many, “plus additional searches using the terms Linux, FOSS, Ubuntu and “free software.” I have included excerpts to relevant sections of the cables, as well as links to the full cables, for additional context. I will be adding more cables as I find them.”

We found that there are also dozens about Linux and assigned these to those who are willing to give a helping hand. This whole effort pays off as it received mainstream coverage that helps expose Microsoft, e.g. in Tunisia. To help us out, please join the IRC channels.

Links 7/9/2011: Linux World Domination, China Picks IBM’s GNU/Linux Mainframe

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Project of the Month September 2011 – GCompris
  • New on the site: Open source resources

    We’re happy to announce a new open source resources section. To kick things off, we’ve added pages that highlight open source conferences and events, organizations, and projects and applications. It’s not much, but it’s a start. We have lots of ideas, and want to make this more robust and improve functionality. But for now, let’s see if this idea catches on.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • A Way off the Ranch

      In February 2011, Eben Moglen gave a landmark speech to the Internet Society titled “Freedom in the Cloud”, in which he unpacked the problem. In the beginning, he said, the Internet was designed as “a network of peers without any intrinsic need for hierarchical or structural control, and assuming that every switch in the Net is an independent, free-standing entity whose volition is equivalent to the volition of the human beings who want to control it”.

  • Databases

    • NoSQL Benchmarking

      NoSQL is the talk of the town. And we have already covered what it is for in one of our previous blogs. Today I would like to share the NoSQL benchmark test results we have recently conducted. It will help you to understand if the soon to develop system is compatible to NoSQL, and which NoSQL product to select.

      In this article we will reveal the characteristics of Cassandra, HBase and MongoDB identified through multiple workloads.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Board Elections: Nominations Open
    • Developing LibreOffice

      Not being stopped by that knowledge, LibreOffice developers take a strong bite deep in the code base for improvements now and even better future LibreOffice development. I’m not only impressed, but also get more and more confident in the future of this project.

  • CMS

    • Octopress: Create Static Sites with a Full-Featured Framework

      Static sites have better performance than dynamic sites, but you lose a lot of features by giving up a content management system (CMS), right? Maybe not, if you have a framework like Octopress.

      Last week I looked at static sites and cloud services, but even Todd Hoff’s excellent coverage put me off a bit. Then I ran into the Octopress 2.0 announcement.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF’s Star Turn in the Android FUDathon, Part 2

      The people and companies … who disregard the Internet “don’t be a dick” rule … need more incentive to comply. However, even they don’t lose the right to use the code permanently unless they decide to “be a dick” permanently. In those cases, it doesn’t matter how many copies of the code they get — each new license for each new copy would be terminated as soon as they attempted distribution outside the terms of the license.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Federal Court may share its DMS as open source, parliament says

      The Swiss Parliament’s control committee for the Federal Court is allowing the publication as open source software of Open Justitia, a document management system developed in-house by the court. The software will be made available under the GPLv3 licence soon.

    • NSA Extends Label-based Security to Big Data Stores

      “There is a need for a flexible, high performance distributed key/value store that provides expressive, fine-grained access labels,” the developers stated on the proposal page submitted to Apache. “We have made much progress in developing this project over the past [three] years and believe both the project and the interested communities would benefit from this work being openly available and having open development.”

    • Open government policy developments in Australasia

      Last week in New Zealand, the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs adopted a statement detailing a new Declaration on Open and Transparent Government. The Declaration has been approved by Cabinet, and directs all Public Service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; encourages other State Services agencies; and invites State Sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process. More information on this statement can be found at the CC Aotearoa New Zealand blog.

    • Publicly Releasing Open Source Software Developed for the U.S. Government by Dr. David A. Wheeler

      This article summarizes when the U.S. federal government or its contractors may publicly release, as open source software (OSS), software developed with government funds. This section is intended for non-lawyers, to help them understand the basic rules they must follow.

      This article was previously published in the Journal of Software Technology (aka Software Tech News), Vol.14, No.1, February 2011. It is part of “Open Technology Development (OTD): Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Military Software”, and thus is released under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA) License. A one-page summary of this paper is available from MIL-OSS, and the MIL-OSS 2011 conference had a presentation on releasing OSS.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WS-Calendar 1.0 adopted by OASIS Committee
    • The Next Internet: What’s Holding Us Back?

      Tim Berners-Lee, to his credit, did not invent the Internet. He did have one good idea. He was not the first person or even the twelfth with the same idea, but he did make it work. Yet most of the underlying work – the bringing together of dozens of communications systems with slightly or wildly varying protocols – was done before him. He just plugged it in, and for that, he gets most of the credit.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Provides Proof that UK is Eradicating Turks and Caicos Islanders Since Early 2000s
    • Talks over Egypt-Israel gas deal took 10 years, says Wikileaks

      Negotiations over the natural gas deal between Egypt and Israel dragged out over 10 years because of “political concerns in Egypt,” a recently revealed Wikileaks cable said.

      A partial extract from cable number 05CAIRO4972 of a confidential document prepared by the US embassy in Cairo one day before the deal was signed said the US described the deal as “the most lucrative ever.”

      On July 1, 2005, then Egyptian Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer signed the agreement to supply 1.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) starting October 2006.

    • Addressing confusion about PFC Bradley Manning’s case

      In online discussions attributed to PFC Bradley Manning, he says that he hopes his actions will spur “discussion, debates, and reforms” and that he “want[s] people to know the truth, no matter who they are, because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” This is the classic definition of a whistle-blower (a person who tells the public about alleged dishonest or illegal activities/misconduct occurring in a government department).

      Unfortunately, the government is charging PFC Bradley Manning with “knowingly [giving] intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means,” under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — an allegation of treason and a capital offense. By this rational, scores of service-person-posted blogs, photos, and videos, would now be punishable by death—simply because they are accessible on the Internet. The charge against Bradley Manning appears to be about sending a message to other would-be whistle-blowers.

    • 2011-09-06 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Wikileaks has shown us a world we need to know

      Wik­ileaks has its share of crit­ics – the or­gan­i­sa­tion is too cen­tred around Ju­lian As­sange and a per­son­al­ity-type cult ex­ists – but surely the vast bulk of in­for­ma­tion the group has re­leased since 2006 makes it a major force for good (not least be­cause it’s forced gov­ern­ments and many jour­nal­ists on the de­fen­sive about their in­sider tac­tics)…

    • Dolphins call each other by name

      Dave the dolphin whistles, and his friend Alan whistles back. We can’t yet decipher their calls, but some of the time Dave may be calling: “Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan!”

      Stephanie King of the University of St Andrews, UK, and colleagues monitored 179 pairs of wild bottlenose dolphins off the Florida coast between 1988 and 2004. Of these, 10 were seen copying each other’s signature whistles, which the dolphins make to identify themselves to each other.

    • Girl’s sex spy saga shocks staid Swiss

      Even by Romanian standards, the plot beggars belief. A hot-blooded young seductress masquerading as a journalist is order- ed by her masters in the Romanian Intelligence Service to lure the Swiss ambassador into bed.

      Once there, her task is to find out anything and everything she can about “Ceausescu’s Gold” – the millions of dollars Romania’s late dictator is believed to have stashed away in Swiss bank accounts just before his fall.

      Afternoons of passion in the Bucharest penthouse she would persuade him to buy her were to be followed by gentle probing as to the real intentions of ex-King Michael, the former Romanian monarch now exiled in the ambassador’s Swiss homeland.

      And far from keeping the affair discreet, the agent is to make sure that she and her consort – a married man with two children – are frequently seen together wining and dining in public and at diplomatic functions. Just for good measure, the exercise will be called “Operation William Tell”.

  • Finance

    • NY Approves Goldman Sachs’ Sale of Litton with Stipulations

      The New York Department of Financial Services and Banking Department is including several stipulations with its approval of Goldman Sachs’ sale of its Litton Loan Servicing, LP, to special servicer Ocwen Financial Corp.

    • All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup

      ON A BRIGHT SPRING DAY in a wisteria-bedecked courtyard full of earnest, if half-drunk, conference attendees, we were commiserating with a fellow journalist about all the jobs we knew of that were going unfilled, being absorbed or handled “on the side.” It was tough for all concerned, but necessary—you know, doing more with less.

  • Copyrights

    • Universities flee Access Copyright

      In the wake of a proposed fee increase, universities across Canada have opted to leave contracts with once-popular copyright licenser Access Copyright.
      Many schools, including York University, the University of British Columbia and almost every school in the prairie region have abandoned their contracts with Access Copyright in favour of steering the waters of copyright legislation on their own.

    • MPAA Unsurprisingly Behind Australia iiNet Case

      Hid Behind Scenes to Avoid Impression of Being a Bully

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