Photo by Aaron Greenberg
Summary: Amid problems inside the abusive monopolist, Microsoft, key people continue to leave
Microsoft’s CIO left Microsoft amid very negative publicity and also revelations about large-scale AstroTurfing by Microsoft. It is harder to find optimism about Microsoft’s future these days. When the latest CFO quit it looked like Microsoft was trying to gag him (like prevention of an Enron moment [1, 2]). No layoffs per se were announced on Monday as some expected, but the Xbox chief joined many others who are quitting Microsoft in droves. To quote just a few reports:
Struggling games company’s shares soar in anticipation that chief executive Mark Pincus would be replaced by Don Mattrick
Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment Business, has been the focus of a lot of backlash recently. The Xbox One has been a huge PR nightmare for Redmond, and it seems it’s taking a toll on the man heading up the Xbox team. Reports are now coming in that Don Mattrick plans on leaving Microsoft in favor of taking on an executive role at Zynga — the troubled casual gaming company.
Here is a better headline (“The Man in Charge of Xbox Is Leaving Microsoft”) which does not obey Microsoft’s face-saving spin. Zynga can’t do much to harm GNU and Linux (maybe just Android), so threat of entryism is not so relevant here. █
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Summary: The University of California is still feeding patent trolls
Several years ago we wrote about universities that sell patents to patent trolls. This is an injustice as taxpayers pay for those patents and then get taxed by these. Intellectual Ventures is most notorious among hoarders of universities’ patents. It is a known problem that people use public funding in universities (research grants) to gain private monopolies with which to make private businesses and monopolies. Those patents that should have been public domain (if any are gained). But to sell those monopolies to trolls is far worse. Here is a rebuttal to this practice:
At the end of last year, we wrote about an extraordinary attempt by the University of California (UC) to resuscitate the infamous “Eolas” patents that were thrown out earlier by a jury in East Texas. Clearly, the University of California likes patents, and the way that they can be used to extract money from people with very little effort. In fact, it likes them so much it is trying to privatize research produced by taxpayer-funded laboratories so that even more patents can be taken out on the work, and even more money obtained through licensing them…
People should be more open to criticise universities that hoard patents. I used to challenge my employers over it. More people need to challenge them in order for this culture of monopolisation (at the public’s expense) to stop. I would never file for a patent even if I got paid for it. It’s like preparing a weapon rather than a product like software anyone can download, improve, and share. Universities should fundamentally defend a culture of sharing. █
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Bill Gates monopolises population issues
Summary: Criticism of Gates’ ambitions of controlling the world, including the world’s poorest people (which is insulting because Gates is richest, at their expense)
The Gates Foundation is shy about a eugenics-like agenda that it quite openly promotes, always using some PR spin and planted ‘articles’ that utilise Melinda as a well-groomed front. Sometimes the grooming is done by a publication right after Gates is paying this publication, e.g, The Guardian. Depopulation, no matter how one puts it and whether it is necessary, should never be an issue for the world’s richest people to decide on. Therein lies the big issue and lots of sexy headlines about contraception are not going to change that. History shows that when those in power (wealth and political control) police population growth we end up killing based on race, political inclinations, etc.
Bill and Melinda keep bribing the press and lobbying for the plutocrats. They are controlling the corporate press also through panels, think tanks, so-called ‘studies’, and selective funding whose purpose is to characterise them as heroes we depend on rather than people with agenda, striving for power and gain of more wealth (investing in what they lobby for).
Gates was recently described negatively using the same argument I have made for years: “These organizations do not seem to understand that eliminating poor people is not the same as eliminating poverty.”
“Depopulation, no matter how one puts it and whether it is necessary, should never be an issue for the world’s richest people to decide on.”To quote in context: “Melinda Gates either does not know or does not care about the work she is funding. Even if there were no argument surrounding contraception, giving abortion and population control platforms at a development conference would create one. These organizations do not seem to understand that eliminating poor people is not the same as eliminating poverty. Given her promotion of contraception, perhaps she has also confused the two. Until Gates and her foundation recognize the gulf between her words and her actions, she cannot hope to avoid controversy.”
FAIR, a good organisation dedicated to accuracy in journalism (exposing a lot of corporate media bias), recently published those two recommended articles:
Corporate and foundation money often comes with an agenda
Mainstream journalism is, we’re often told, in a state of severe crisis. Newsroom employment began to decline as a result of corporate takeovers in the 1990s. Then the digital revolution destroyed the advertising market, plunging the industry into serious doubt about its very business model.
But times aren’t rough all around. There are many pundits and TV anchors who are doing very well in the media world, racking up millions of dollars from their media contracts, book deals and lucrative speaking fees. Though they don’t generally approach the compensation packages awarded to network morning show hosts like Matt Lauer or evening anchors like Diane Sawyer, they’re not exactly hurting.
Having gone through thousands of headlines about the Gates Foundation (seeded by its peripheral PR agencies) I think I am sufficiently familiar with all their marketing tactics in most areas. That’s not to say they never do anything positive, but most of the time they simply do what they derive power and profit from. They just know how to shrewdly disguise and market it. █
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Summary: Company buys leading news sites just to bury them, rejecting bids to buy those sites to keep them alive (like buying a perfectly inhabitable house just to demolish it)
The weak side (among several) of the Internet/World Wide Web is that all information has a single point of failure, unlike a series of peers or libraries around the world. Put in simple terms, when the host or the domain is pulling the plug, copies of the data are unlikely to be accessible to the public (maybe just to the owner and the NSA). The Web Archive is a remedy only for relatively large sites, but it too becomes a single point of failure. Moreover, a lot of people cannot search it properly or even navigate there for backups (most people know nothing about the Web Archive).
“It’s almost as if the purpose of buying those two sites was to silence them and then delete history.”When we archived Patent Troll Tracker we hoped to preserve information which took a lot of effort to accumulate and make public. A patent lawyer from Cisco ran the site anonymously. We still have the data and it is searchable. But recently we learned about a couple of important sites (news sites that covered Linux and GNU matters very regularly and exceptionally reliably) going dark after some obscure, idiotic company took over. Those sites had over one decade of accurate news and insightful commentary, requiring tens of thousands of hours of research by journalists. Those were not corporate news sites, One of those sites, DesktopLinux, will hopefully be archived by SJVN, its common contributor (who told me he would do this in his own personal site), but search engines might not index the material and the old inbound links will remain broken.
It was always mysterious that a company bought the site just to shut it down. Recently I contacted someone from a sister site, LinuxDevices, which is a lot bigger than the former site, probably accommodating over 10,000 long articles. What he told me was eye-opening. He said that he had offered to buy the site, but the company which owned it chose to kill the site rather than sell it to a regular writer. That is telling. It’s almost as if the purpose of buying those two sites was to silence them and then delete history. Who benefits from this deletionism? Take a wild guess. This deserves further investigation. I suggested to the person who wanted to save these sites that he should ask for the archives to be reposted in his own site. We shall soon find out what the company says, if anything.
A building adjacent to mine is being demolished this month (I can see the process through my windows right now), so the analogy of house demolition seems to apply here. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone want to buy a site just to keep it offline and also reject offers of money from someone who wants to keep it online? This isn’t a closed case as we are searching for answers, still. █
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