Proprietary software companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle etc. want lawyers to run their business
Summary: A decade after Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) surpassed its proprietary counterparts on technical terms/merit it is facing an increasing number of patent challenges, as well as disruptive takeover attempts
TECHRIGHTS was born out of the need to tackle Microsoft’s patent war on GNU/Linux. Back in 2006 Microsoft saw innovations such as Compiz whilst it had a lousy operating system called Vista (which even Microsoft executives were internally ranting about). It knew it was only a matter of time until Windows loses dominance outside the server room. Fast forward to 2016 and Android is expected to have nearly 90% of the market. Windows is in a state of disarray and Microsoft now tries to force people to use it, even if they don’t pay for it and don’t want it at all.
“Microsoft promotes lawyers to high management and tries to make patent extortion its new cash cow.”Microsoft tried to evolve, but it was all in vain. Remember the Microsoft Stores? Remember Surface (both the old and the new)? Microsoft is losing a lot of money in the hardware business (faulty by design ) and the online business (promises are being broken now in an effort to raise money ). Microsoft is now borrowing money — a lot of money in fact — to pay debts , confirming what we knew all along about Microsoft’s real financial situation.
As a result of Microsoft’s panic (losing billions of dollars) the company launched patent assaults on various companies (OEMs) that distribute Linux/Android. Microsoft promotes lawyers to high management and tries to make patent extortion its new cash cow. It is also disrupting Android from the inside, in an effort to better control it. Last month we wrote about Xamarin‘s (Microsoft proxy) takeover of RoboVM [1, 2, 3, 4] (still a subject of critical debate). Paul Krill wrote that “Hammond sees the bigger issue as Xamarin’s acquisition of RoboVM and its desire to support RoboVM iOS apps in the Apple App Store, which has taken a dim view of GPL licenses to date.”
Apple — like Microsoft — is also attacking Android backers like Samsung, using software patents that are inherently incompatible with the GPL. Apple is still bickering over patents in an effort to derail the dominant Linux-based platform, Android, according to this new report.
We expect the last remaining barrier for the triumph of Free software everywhere to be patents, and especially software patents. We are changing our site’s focus accordingly. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
IFIXIT HAS taken Microsoft’s first laptop apart and found that it’s probably not a good idea to try to fix it yourself.
Microsoft’s latest device went on sale last week in the US and has yet to see a UK release, but the people at iFixit have cracked it open and explained exactly what’s going on inside. And it’s not good.
There’s already a backlash against Microsoft’s surprise announcement, and it’s not a good look for the company given its impressive focus on mobile and the cloud. Microsoft is fighting a war against Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and many others for the business side of the cloud, but its consumer efforts are starting to look a lot more like Apple’s iCloud offering. Apple offers the bare minimum of free storage and entices consumers to pay more for iCloud by making its apps and operating system make the most of the cloud. Microsoft is now bullying OneDrive users into paying for the free storage it is now taking away.
It’s kind of embarassing to have to borrow money to pay debts… but that’s what M$ continues to do. It has $100 billion in liquid assets but it can’t repatriate them to USA without forking out a ton of money to Uncle Sam for taxes, so it borrows money at this end to pay for what it does day to day. The problem is chickens come home to roost. When the day inevitably comes that the world sees M$ has no clothes and that M$ is not the one true source of IT, the gravy train ends but the debts will have to be paid. At the last 10-Q quarterly report, M$ reported $36billion in short+long term debt. Now about half it’s liquid assets will be needed just to repay that debt.
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Remember these words from Microsoft itself (click for source PDF):
Summary: Analysis of Microsoft’s abysmal state and what it has been trying to do as a result of its inability to compete fairly with Free (as in freedom) software such as GNU/Linux, Android, Java, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL etc.
TECHRIGHTS has been a critic of Microsoft for a very long time; never before have we seen Microsoft in such poor form. The attempts to derail GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software from the inside are part of a fight for the company’s very survival. Its cash cows are losing their luster and the only way to keep their momentum/inertia is to force companies to bundle them; Microsoft now does this forcing (or blackmail) using software patents (Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS and Dell are the main examples of this strategy, so far).
Microsoft’s history of cooking the books and avoiding taxes has led to the perception that Microsoft is very rich, but after the losses announced in the last quarter (in the billions of dollars) comes another poor quarter and the signs are on the wall. As Robert Pogson put it:
The monopoly is not dead yet, unfortunately, but it is on its death-bed.
Parts of the monopoly are already dead and formats lock-in too is being loosened, in spite of Microsoft’s OOXML crimes. Several countries recognised what Microsoft had done and moved to ODF, sometimes to Free/libre software as well. See last week’s example from the British government.
“Parts of the monopoly are already dead and formats lock-in too is being loosened, in spite of Microsoft’s OOXML crimes.”Microsoft cannot sell hardware (potentially a profitable business) and finds ‘creative’ accounting tricks to hide it . This huge failure, which has become a massive embarrassment for the abusive monopolist, shows no signs of reversal because products keep dying and are not at all recognised by the public [2,3]. Putting speech recognition, which does not even work properly [4,5], on devices such as phones won’t work, primarily because Microsoft has no presence in mobile and not even in cars, despite tall ambitions  (where poor speech recognition can result in fatalities).
With internal cultural problems and costs associated with litigation (e.g. sexism lawsuits ) Microsoft falls back on an evil business model similar to that of Facebook (as Vista 10 serves to show), namely turning users into “products”, then selling their private data to many companies or malicious entities such as GCHQ, NSA etc. Microsoft continues to be a leading proponent of the NSA while working for the military and war complex  (they call it “information-sharing partnership”, but what it means is mass surveillance plus data-passing). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
The inclusion of the typically very profitable Windows in the MPC division offsets and hides the profitability, or lack thereof, of Microsoft’s hardware endeavors, Dawson added.
In one of the most highly anticipated games of the season, quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday to kick off the National Football League (NFL) season. The first game of the season is always popular, though this particular match-up drew interest from fans wondering how Brady would fare after being dogged in the media for the past seven months over something known as Deflategate. With all that attention, Microsoft can’t be pleased that on-air commentators are still referring to its sponsored Surface tablet as an iPad.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has possibly the most outstanding reputation for its products and services. The company is synonymous with quality, and it is hard to think about the technology sector without Microsoft. However, Zune is another story altogether. The music service, which was started to counter the growing popularity of online music streaming services, has always played second fiddle to the more established players in the market.
Satya Nadella was delivering a keynote address at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference. The Microsoft CEO was in the midst of demoing some productivity tools and also also occasionally showing off Windows 10 capabilities when he attempted to showcase Microsoft virtual assistant Cortana’s ability to understand voice commands and to deliver relevant results.
Nadella could immediately see that Cortana was not getting it. “Come on,” he implored, the annoyance showing in his voice.
Finally he gave up and said, “No, this is not going to work.”
A Microsoft-connected car, reportedly in trial mode, would let you issue commands using the Cortana voice assistant.
Microsoft has been hit by a gender discrimination lawsuit by one of its ex-technician
Microsoft and NATO have agreed to renew a longstanding partnership that will see the tech giant provide the intergovernmental treaty group’s Communications and Information Agency with details of Microsoft products and services, as well as new information about cybersecurity threats.
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Summary: The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions
AT the end of last year we wrote about the IRS setting its sight on Microsoft, in spite of Microsoft’s influence in the United States government. Microsoft then attacked the IRS using its lawyers, for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job), thus wasting taxpayers money in the courts. Can anyone not see the sheer arrogance of Microsoft? Having already been caught engaging in serious financial fraud (reported to the authorities by an insider) and despite being notorious for taxation/tax violations, Microsoft thinks it has moral ground and believes it can sue the IRS for merely investigating a criminal. Criminal companies with the “God complex” apparently believe that they don’t need to pay tax (because they are very politically-connected) and if you say that they do, they threaten you and bully you. It’s a form of SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation). Microsoft already loses billions of dollars and it sued the IRS for alleging that Microsoft owes billions of dollars to US citizens (easily provable).
This new article from The Register, based on legal documents, reveals the latest in this saga:
The ongoing squabble between Microsoft and the US Internal Revenue Service is heading to court, beginning with a hearing to take place in a Seattle federal court on Tuesday.
The case is gearing up to become one of the largest-ever legal battles between tax authorities and a US corporation over the practice of shifting assets to overseas subsidiaries as a way of avoiding US tax.
The IRS has alleged that deals Microsoft struck with subsidiaries in Bermuda and Puerto Rico between the years of 2004 and 2009 have potentially cost the US Treasury billions in tax revenue. But Redmond thinks the top tax agency’s snooping has gone on long enough and it should either produce a hard figure or drop the whole matter.
Microsoft also claims the IRS acted improperly when it hired two outside law firms to help it in its investigation, which the software giant describes as improperly delegating a government function to a private firm.
Microsoft has filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to see documents exchanged between the IRS and the law firms it contracted, including Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Boies Schiller & Flexner. The IRS has provided some such documents but Microsoft thinks it should be compelled to produce more.
Even if Microsoft goes bankrupt (it suffers losses already), people like Bill Gates, who became rich owing to the company’s criminal activities, should be able to (if not forced to) pay what was looted from the public. More of the corporate media should have the courage to cover the above news, but seeing how Microsoft uses SLAPP against the messengers, maybe the media chooses to stay silence and let only official documents (buried behind paywalls) speak. █
“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”
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Summary: Few remarks on Microsoft’s latest admission that it is losing a lot of money
The latest Microsoft layoffs, which are misleadingly being framed by the corporate media as a “Nokia” thing [1, 2, 3], have financial impact as well. Microsoft has just publicly admitted that it is losing billions of dollars.
“Recall how Microsoft bribed its own staff (a whistleblower) after getting caught in financial fraud…”British media claims this to be “biggest loss in [Microsoft] history”, but the biggest losses are perhaps in the past, as there’s fraud that is many years old. We have written a lot about Microsoft’s financial misconduct for many years. It is not speculative. Recall how Microsoft bribed its own staff (a whistleblower) after getting caught in financial fraud [1, 2] — an often-overlooked issue these days (Microsoft is claimed to have lost $18,000,000,000 in 1998). This may seem like very old news, but it is definitely relevant to today’s massive Microsoft losses. Microsoft has paid millions of dollars to gag several CFOs since then. They must keep up the dodgy accounting.
Nokia is destroyed because of Microsoft, but Microsoft’s losses aren’t to be blamed on Nokia. What kind of a Nokia “CEO” is being appointed with the formalised promise of a $20 million bonus to sell the company? Only Microsoft’s Elop, probably the world’s most famous mole, managed to do this together with Ballmer. Microsoft now pays the price for misguided entryism that has achieved nothing but destruction of Nokia’s Linux efforts. █
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Summary: Debunking the myth of Microsoft as a US company or even an international company, as opposed to globalist (lacking loyalty to anything but its own bottom line)
Microsoft is not a US company but a globalist company when it comes to taxes. It just doesn’t want to pay taxes and this new article calls out Microsoft for hiding money in offshore account so as to avoid tax. The headline names Microsoft although Microsoft is no longer unique in the area of technology. It’s just the worst. To quote the opening part: “So it is with companies that keep massive stockpiles of cash in foreign countries in order to avoid paying US corporate tax rates. In fact, the only thing that prevents this issue from being relentlessly bleak is the absurdity of what some of these companies get away with. For example,according to the advocacy and lobbying group Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), American corporations claim to have earned so much profit selling goods in tax-free zones like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda that the figure amounts to 16 times these countries’ total GDPs — which defies reality.”
Microsoft basically evades not only US tax. It evades tax everywhere. It’s globalism; it’s the plutocrats’ sovereignty (broderless and above international regulations).
Apple and Microsoft, as the article above goes to show, have more offshore cash and pay lower foreign tax rates than most any other Fortune 500 companies. Microsoft and taxes are two words that only go hand in hand when it pertains to taxation of users of Windows, Office, etc.
Considering how Microsoft helps the US government (among other governments) spy on US citizens, one cannot consider it a US company. It helps espionage against US citizens, which is inherently against US law. This is done not just because Microsoft loves and embraces surveillance but because it wants lucrative government contracts all around the world and it is willing to betray users of its software for these contracts, even in Russia, as we showed half a decade ago. Microsoft even works for Putin when it suits its agenda, helping to imprison Russian dissents by framing (through surveillance) and misuse of law enforcement privileges, however unjustified. Microsoft is loyal to nobody except Microsoft and lobbying operations such as the Gates Foundation, which helps Bill Gates evade tax and rapidly increase his personal wealth.
Microsoft has just dumped ‘Do Not Track’, showing that Microsoft has perhaps grown tired of pretending to care about privacy. Only a fool would ever choose a ‘cloud’ for government, especially a proprietary software ‘cloud’ from a foreign company that engages in espionage activities or at least facilitates them. Using a Web browser from Microsoft is worse than reckless.
Microsoft likes to pretend to be a national company in every nation by creating subsidiaries like “Microsoft UK”, but it’s a lie and a sham. There is an ODF debate in the UK at the moment. Microsoft pretends to be an ODF company and a British company after attacking it through British proxies (like partners), though we’ll soon see how that worked out. Microsoft once tried to frame ODF as anti-American, as if Microsoft itself was pro-American (it’s pro-whoever-pays-Microsoft). As Glyn Moody pointed out the other day, the latest moves seem to make it likely that Microsoft will get altogether dropped, at least Microsoft Office. “Back in July last year,” says Moody’s article, “I wrote about an incredible opportunity for the open source world. After years of disappointments, and despite the usual lobbying/threats by a certain large US software company [Microsoft] against the move, the Cabinet Office announced that it was officially adopting the Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents. At the time I exhorted everyone involved to do their utmost to make this work, since it was the biggest chance to show that open standards and open source were not just viable as a government solution, but actually better than the alternatives.”
Moody just calls or alludes to Microsoft as “a certain large US software company”, but not naming it is playing into Microsoft’s hands and Microsoft should not really be described as a US company, it’s just a pariah that views itself — much like Gates himself — as Napoleonic and thus above every international law.
As Moody put it at the very end, “there’s no timetable for this development, which means it might be a while before we can actually use this software. Still, it’s further testimony to the fact that the ODF ecosystem is one of the most exciting places in free software at the moment. Much of that can be attributed to the boost given by the UK government’s high-profile decision to adopt the format last year, for which it deserves recognition and our thanks.”
The sooner the world recognises how Microsoft views the world, the more swiftly it will unburden itself from abuse, including systemic looting (tax evasion, taxes on citizens), extortion (e.g. with patents), and bribery. █
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Summary: After the infamous IRS brawl comes another confrontation between Microsoft and the SEC, which is unhappy with Microsoft for seemingly cooking the books again
AS OUR longtime readers may know, Microsoft’s financial fraud is a good example of how certain companies with strong government connections essentially exist above the law. According to this new SEC correspondence (regarding filings), Microsoft tricks — same ones as those we have covered here for years — upset the regulators. Robert Pogson has already written about it and it comes at a time when Microsoft is under investigation by the IRS too. “I’ve been reporting that for years now and the SEC is concerned that investors may not be getting the full story because of the layout and detail of Microsoft’s filings,” he wrote.
Microsoft got caught by the SEC even in the 1990s, whereupon it bribed the whistleblower to escape true accountability. It’s a “too big to jail” scenario. Microsoft’s financial practices have historically reaffirmed its status as a criminal, corrupt entity. Perhaps we are going to see more of that in months or years to come. Perhaps not, assuming Microsoft can pull some strings inside the government (with moles or nepotism, like those who help the Microsoft dodge tax). █
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Summary: The nerve of Microsoft wasting taxpayers’ money in addition to evading tax, costing many billions of dollars to the US economy and countless billions outside the US while bullying regulators who dare to investigate the matter
ONE of Microsoft‘s very many abuses is avoidance of tax, not only in the US but also in Europe, Asia, and so on. The company hardly has a track record of obeying the law, so why make an exception when it comes to taxes?
“Microsoft continues to thrive in and promote lawlessness.”Microsoft really showed how arrogant it is when it attacked the IRS for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job). It’s unprecedented bullying that one can expect from no company other than Microsoft because Microsoft has a past of criminal tax violations. It bribed people to make the charges go away and eventually settled with the investigators. Even Microsoft whistleblowers get bribed by Microsoft. Rich companies can get away with just about everything, provided they have government connections and enough money to bribe with.
Based on this new report, Microsoft is already abusing the IRS to the point where the IRS needs to spend millions of dollars on lawyers:
The software behemoth is battling the agency over whether it pushed profits offshore to skirt taxes. It’s the latest case to test IRS firepower in cracking down on similar tax maneuvers by other technology companies, which can save hundreds of millions using the tactics.
Both are playing hardball: The IRS, which is spending $2 million on outside legal guns to fight the case, also issued a summons to compel former CEO Steve Ballmer to testify, while Microsoft shot back with legal demands of its own, accusing the agency of hitting it with a “fusillade.”
The legal fees paid by the IRS are basically derived from tax budget. The bills are passed to the very same taxpayers which Microsoft deprived; so by attacking the enforcer over tax violations (over its own crimes) Microsoft basically wasted yet more tax money. How insidious is that? In Spain, a banker sued the judge who punished him for his crimes. This is even worse because the public pays the legal bills. Microsoft continues to thrive in and promote lawlessness. █
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Summary: Piketty is approached by Bill Gates, who bemoans the idea that the plutocrats too should pay tax like the rest of us
BEST-SELLING author Piketty reveals some interesting details about the mindset of Bill Gates, the man who created — using criminal activity — software monopolies and is now preoccupied with monopolies in education (public sector), a GMO monopoly, etc.
“This relates to the whole “job creator” myth — a myth more harmful that that of the “free market”.”As mentioned the other day, Gates is increasing his personal wealth very quickly. He is not giving away or back, except in the form of media distortion and spin (he bribes a lot of publications and channels for this distortion and spin). The money he acquires is not earned through hard work; some of it is essentially stolen from taxpayers (through bamboozled politicians), taken by force from poor and exploited people, and on top of this Gates evades tax using the Gates Foundation.
A reader sent us this article about two of the most famous people for supposed ‘charity’ (actually investing tax-free in large corporations that exceptionally harm society and the planet). The article says that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett became $21.1 billion richer in just one year (last year). To quote: “The fact that wealth begets more wealth was illustrated once again last year by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, currently the two richest people on Earth. According to Bloomberg, the pair finished 2014 a combined $21.1 billion richer than when the year began. (Gates’ fortune rose $8.1 billion to a total of $86.6 billion. Buffett’s rose $13 billion; he’s now worth $73.8 billion.)”
A lot of gullible people think that Gates is feeding the world with wealth rather than hoarding at the world’s expense (this money comes or is generated by other people’s labour), so to them the idea of Gates dodging tax may seem appealing. This relates to the whole “job creator” myth — a myth more harmful that that of the “free market”. Gates and Buffett happily let their bribed papers tell us they are “givers” and the Wall Street press (Bloomberg), owned itself by a plutocratic billionaire, reveals what Gates thinks about paying tax:
“I had this discussion with Bill Gates a couple of weeks ago,” Piketty, the author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” said today at an economics conference in Boston. “He told me, ‘I love everything that’s in your book, but I don’t want to pay more tax.” A tax on wealth is one of Piketty’s key recommendations for addressing inequality.
The famous thief Bill Gates literally tells Piketty: “I don’t want to pay more tax”. what a ‘generous’ guy, eh?
“Minor Gates apology going on there,” wrote to us a reader, “and emphasized in articles based on the Bloomberg post.”
Never expect balanced coverage of Gates from Wall Street papers that are themselves owned by famous billionaires. This includes the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. These newspapers exist to serve power and depreciate privileges of all except the super-rich. █
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