Summary: Microsoft’s history of bribing government officials teaches us that a chain of accountability is needed if Europe really wishes to emancipate itself from Microsoft/NSA trespassing
A Polish watchdog has just come out in favour of monitored IT procurement . Having watched what happened in France, Quebec [1, 2, 3], and Switzerland, it is easy to see why. To use just Switzerland’s case, recall posts such as the following:
- Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
- Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
- 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
- Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
- Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
- ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
- Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
- Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
- Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
- Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
- Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
- Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
- When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”
Europe is moving towards Free software [2,3,4], which makes perfect sense amid the NSA scandals. Let’s just hope that the IT procurement steps are totally transparent; without transparency, Microsoft will just carry on bribing government officials in exchange for lucrative deals. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Public procurement of IT solutions must be monitored for violations, the Polish Free and Open Source Software Foundation (FWiOO) concludes in its final report on its public IT procurement project PPPIT, published this summer. After having studied hundreds of procurement procedures by Polish public administrations, the organisation infers that requests and specifications can be formulated seemingly without breaking the rules.
Isn’t that refreshing? Instead of pouring more $billions into M$’s coffers for permission to run IT, European governments are actually switching to FLOSS and GNU/Linux because of open standards, lower costs and higher flexibility. Good for them! Now, about Canada…
Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission (EC), has a website called Comment Neelie to initiate and maintain a two-way conversation between herself, as a politician, and the public, as citizens. Kroes says that it’s “a channel to communicate, not just broadcast.”
Germany’s upcoming government coalition of CDU, CSU and SPD is to encourage the use of open source software in public administrations. In its coalition treaty, leaked last Monday evening, the government describes open source is an alternative to ‘closed digital ecosystems’ and says it will commit itself to open source at a European level.
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Summary: Protesting against financial fraud is now a crime, punishable as though it’s worse than the fraud
I GENERALLY don’t believe in borrowing from the future (or speculations regarding the future). A lot of society now treats going into debt as a normal thing (sometimes inevitability), but we should remember that calling oneself a “house owner” when it’s actually a bank the owns the house while the so-called “house owner” is just a “mortgage payer”, i.e. debt slave, is a form of brainwash for the impatient — a shortcut to cushion an illusion of ownership.
In recent years adolescent were pushed into the debt treadmill. It weakens or even paralyses tomorrow’s adults. The tuition fees were increased rapidly and price hikes like that just make education a luxury of debt takers or rich children, not a human right (in some nations higher education is still free). In the US, this has turned into a federal business  and in the UK it is now being privatised  (essentially corruption). This is one among many injustices, induced by lobbying from the financial pseudo-industry.
Those who speak out against financial injustices have mostly enjoyed their freedom of speech… until now. Based on , protest now leads to prison. Sad times. So the criminals (of the most expensive form) don’t go to jail; those who protest against the criminals go to jail. Wall Street (institutions of wealth) has useful alliances with institutions of power and it shows. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Billy Talen to stand trial for preaching on bank’s environmental record accompanied by choir members wearing toad hats
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And prison sentences, too
Summary: What really would have happened if there was justice in this world; bankrupt Microsoft, executives with long jail sentences, rapid restoration of fair competition
Microsoft is pretty much forced to ‘cooperate” with a probe over its bribery tactics, which Microsoft is seemingly trying to hide by distraction. To quote The Register, “Microsoft says it will cooperate with US investigators probing alleged bribery of foreign officials. It’s claimed Redmond’s resellers bunged cash to apparatchiks in Russia and Pakistan in return for contracts with state-backed businesses.”
As Pogson put it:
Ever wondered why M$ manages to sell licences to all kinds of folks even when GNU/Linux is a better option, with a lower price, better performance and fewer problems? It just may be that big businesses, governments, schools, and organizations that have large numbers of system, are being manipulated by a few well-placed bribes.
Remember EDGI and remember what Microsoft did to government and schools in Russia. It is a serious case of corruption, even by Chinese and Russian standards.
As put by Nokia observer Tomi Ahonen the othe day, “I have tried to be ‘fair’ and ‘open-minded’ about Microsoft in my writing and on this blog. However, this is the tech company with the nickname ‘The Evil Empire’. That term comes with plenty of cause – over the past three decades Microsoft has been fined countless times huge sums for crushing competitors with illegal methods, using its monopolistic position like a bully. I personally have been a user, supporter, registered developer, and/or authorized trainer for many of the various victims of Microsoft from WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 to Novell Netware, Mosaic and Netscape.”
Here is part 2. Microsoft apologists may say that “Ballmer Successor Must Apologize to Partners”, but we don’t agree. Microsoft should apologise and also compensate its rivals which it bribed against, even if that means the immediate bankruptcy of Microsoft (they should pull out more money — earned by criminal activities — from bank accounts of Microsoft executives past and present, including Gates and Ballmer).
Sadly, given false (or mutually similar) choices offered by the corporate media, this perfectly legitimate option is rendered “not worth entertaining”; big banks show this to be the norm. Those who commit crime, even if caught, are made the richest and most powerful people, hence they can continue to harm society and whitewash their reputation. █
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Financial fraud continues, without the ‘Bernard Madoff’ treatment
Summary: The latest crimes of Microsoft lead to a class action lawsuit filed by its own shareholders
Microsoft is no stranger to financial fraud, which goes a long way back at the company. The software monopolist, Microsoft, habitually defrauds investors. I can say that with confidence given my decade or so of research into it. Traditionally, Microsoft has bribed the accusers, but what happens when class action is at stake? Microsoft paid, while entering debt/operating at a loss, millions of dollars to one employee who had blown the whistle on financial misconduct (also see [1, 2]), but can Microsoft afford to bribe millions of people?
The press release about this new class action lawsuit says:
The complaint charges Microsoft and certain of its officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Microsoft is the world’s largest software company, primarily as a result of its near-monopoly on Windows personal computer (“PC”) operating system software and its Microsoft Office collection of productivity programs.
The complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial performance and its tablet computer, the Surface RT. Specifically, defendants misrepresented and failed to make public the following adverse facts: (i) that the Company’s Surface RT product was experiencing poor customer demand and lackluster sales; (ii) that the Company’s Surface RT inventory experienced a material decline in value during the quarter ended March 31, 2013; (iii) that the Company’s financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 were materially false and misleading and violated Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Microsoft’s publicly disclosed policy of accounting for inventories; (iv) that the Company’s Form 10-Q for its third quarter of 2013 failed to disclose then presently known trends, events or uncertainties associated with the Surface RT product that were reasonably likely to have a material effect on Microsoft’s future
operating results; and (v) that based on the foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the Company’s Surface RT product during the Class Period.
“It’s a pretty clear case about lying,” iophk says. “It’s there in black and white and registered with official sources. Not much chance for a normal company. However, there are people that help Microsoft avoid the regular rules of business.”
We have covered some examples of that before. iophk continues: “Will they still make a special exception for Microsoft even in the case of defrauding investors and the government?
“Wasn’t there a good quote from an authority that criticised Gates for equating being forced to follow the rules with an attempt to destroy Microsoft?”
‘A government official involved in the case said: “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.”‘ (source)
Here is some further commentary on this news:
No, they’re not being cooked, just sued for misrepresenting their financial situation in public statements upon which some investors base their decisions.
Pro-Microsoft sites like Neowin covered this with apparent concern:
The exact sales of Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets are the subject of a newly filed class action lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft has issued “false and misleading statements” concerning the sales of its first PC hardware product, which Microsoft launched in October 2012.
The law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiff, Gail Fialkov, and Microsoft is named as a defendant in the case. In addition, the lawsuit names CEO Steve Ballmer as a defendant along with former CFO Peter Klein; Corporate Vice President Frank Brod; and Tami Reller, who served as the head of business and marketing for the Windows division until the company’s recent restructuring, when she was then named as head of all marketing.
The lawsuit claims that Microsoft failed to state how bad sales of the Surface RT have been and that the company’s inventory of the tablet “experienced a material decline in value during the quarter ended March 31, 2013.” The lawsuit also alleges that Microsoft’s financial statements for that same quarter were “materially false and misleading” and violated both general accounting practices along with Microsoft’s own “policy of accounting for inventories.” The law firm is seeking an unspecified amount of damages from Microsoft.
“Pogson covered it yesterday,” wrote iopkh, “Microsoft got caught lying to the SEC. PCWorld [part of IDG] is trying to cover for them now.” Here comes IDG with Microsoft-leaning promotional language that belittles the case:
Microsoft couldn’t be reached for comment at press time.
The promotional language is not hard to see. Apparently crime is not taken seriously anymore, especially when rich people commit the crime (unless they’re lone wolves like Bernard Madoff and not Goldman Sachs, hence easier to prosecute and use as a whipping boy to appease the public). █
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Entering the same league as Enron’s
Summary: How Microsoft staff engaged in insider trading while the company taunted Yahoo! (before entryism was complete)
Several years ago we wrote about insider trading at Microsoft. Nobody goes to jail despite a lot of money getting stolen using fraud. It seems like wearing a suit and calling oneself an “executive” is now immunity against jail terms.
Todd Bishop says that amid the destruction of Yahoo by Microsoft some people in Microsoft made a killing and even Microsoft’s actions acknowledge this:
Microsoft has put an unidentified employee on administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation related to charges of insider trading against a financial analyst who allegedly received advance word about the company’s Yahoo search partnership agreement in 2009. The charges are connected to the high-profile case against SAC Capital Advisors.
The Redmond company, which has not been accused of wrongdoing in the case, said in a statement, “As a company we have zero tolerance for insider trading, and we assisted the government with this investigation. We have strict policies that prohibit insider trading, and we expect our employees to adhere to them.”
Lies therein and other PR which is BS. The company is all about financial fraud. This is a rigged market and Microsoft participates in the rigging, with financial fraud going even decades back.
For those who are not sufficiently familiar with Microsoft, the above PR statement might seem reasonable, even a legitimate defence. But Microsoft is a criminal corporation with a long record of crime, including financial offences, so it deserves no tolerance from regulators.
So, will anyone go too jail this time around? Unlikely. White-collar crime has cells only for some scapegoats and symbolic sacrifices like Madoff. Goldman Sachs is free, despite ‘pulling a Madoff’ at a vastly higher scale of magnitude. Enron’s corrupt CEO Jeffrey Skilling (shown at the top) is almost released now, showing that sacrifices too get pardoned providing they’re called “executives”. █
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White-collar crime is a crime, but enforcement a rarity
Summary: A look at Microsoft’s extortion against Linux and Android as well as means by which Microsoft keeps law enforcement (e.g. RICO ACT) at bay
Collusion and conspiracy to harm are white-collar crimes, but the law is rarely enforced against very large entities such as Microsoft and Nokia, especially when they hide behind a Linux-hostile troll such as MOSAID. B&N complained to governments about MOSAID, but Microsoft essentially bribed B&N to stop doing this (Microsoft did the same to discourage Novell’s participation in the Samba case).
Crime has always been part of the business model at Microsoft and the crooks from Redmond are unwilling or unable to play fairly. With their former colleagues and lobbyists inside the government, they need not worry, either. Murdoch’s paper belittles Google’s antitrust complaint as merely “point[ing] the finger”, but it does say that:
Google Inc. said it filed an antitrust complaint Thursday in Europe arguing that Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp. are using proxy companies to brandish patents and hurt the prospects of Google’s Android mobile-phone software to the advantage of Microsoft’s technology.
Google also plans to share its complaint about patent “trolls” with U.S. competition regulators.
Microsoft is trying to tax the competition, thus depressing it and discouraging participation in it. Nokia cannot quite explain why it has become a Microsoft vassal (like Yahoo!), so it’s clear that is has an alter-ego:
Nokia Tries to Explain Why it Handed Patents to Alleged “Troll”
Nokia and Microsoft shared 1,200 patents with a notorious patent troll MOSAID
Here is another report:
Google has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Microsoft and Nokia’s patent activities.
In a statement sent to El Reg, a SpokesGoogler said “We haven’t shared the complaint with anyone — it’s not customary to make these docs public,” but offered the official line…
We shall see the complaint later. We saw the one from B&N before Microsoft gagged the company. In a sane world, people like Horacio and Steve (Ballmer) would be behind bars for the same abuses that the mafia is guilty of, but in a nation run by corporations this type of behaviour is glorified and rewarded (national heroes are the wealthiest people). It’s a matter of perspective and through a gradual process of normalisation crime can be called “business as usual”. We at Techrights go against this brainwash process which in the course of 6 years quieted down the masses in the midst of Novell-like patent deals, not to mention patent wars by proxy (like SCO and now MOSAID and others).
When the law ceases to be enforced, what we are all left with is corruption as a matter of norm. It leads to the raising of a generation of self-centred sociopaths. The population suffers while the wealthiest people out there pillage and plunder without fear from the police. Watch Paul Allen turning into a troll and seeking to tax the whole industry (the tax trickles down to everyone). The latest from Groklaw says:
Time to catch up on some of the other cases we have been following. First up, the cases brought by Interval Licensing (Paul Allen) against Google, AOL, Apple … (the World). In June of last year the Court issued a stay of the cases pending the outcome of the pending reexaminations of U.S. Patent Nos. 6263507, 6034652, 6788314, and 6757682. (Allen v. World – Strike One!) Interval immediately sought reconsideration of that stay, but reconsideration was denied. (Allen v. World – RECONSIDERATION DENIED! Interval Down in Flames)
In April of this year Interval filed a motion to life the stay. (261 [PDF; Text]) Interval’s argument is that the ’652 patent has already been confirmed and the ’314 patent, from Interval’s perspective, will soon be confirmed as well.
Allen came from Microsoft, so anti-social behaviour is almost a job requirement and the neglect to sue Microsoft just very unsurprising. Allen targets Android with patents, too.
The success of Linux continues to depend on the success of justice. Foes of Linux are often criminal companies with a lot of influence over the press, so the public remains largely uninformed/misinformed and therefore apathetic. █
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“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”
–Steve Pepper (just days ago)
Summary: The OOXML scandals return to the press, reminding people that corruption is still at the heart of Microsoft Corporation
RARELY do we find journalists with guts these days, but Mark Ballard has been the exception for quite a few years and by addressing Microsoft's "fuckwittery" he helps bring to light again a lot of the corruption surrounding OOXML — a systematic abuse of massive scale which the press almost forgot about. Based on one who seems to have conspired with Microsoft, standards just don’t matter and here is what Ballard has to say about that:
A senior member of a leading British tech standards body has launched an excoriating attack on Cabinet Office efforts to implement the central plank of its ICT Strategy.
The outburst has opened a crack into the secretive world of formal tech standards, suggesting it may be convulsed in a fit of pique not seen since Microsoft got its derided OOXML document format passed by standards bodies around the world in 2008.
Alex Brown, British Standards Institute committee member infamous for overseeing OOXML’s approval, said in his personal blog how he had become exasperated with government efforts to bring ICT standards in line with its policy of easy interoperability of public computer systems.
The failure and, it was alleged at the time, susceptibility of that process to corruption may have been demonstrated by the OOXML affair.
The alleged corruption was never confirmed, to this correspondent’s knowledge. But it has for more substantial reasons left the process with a stigmata that goes right to the heart of government policy.
The culture of transparency that has swept along in the wake of Sir Tim Berners Lee’s open data initiative has in addition made the BSI look anachronistic.
We wrote about the BSI in posts such as:
The good thing about OOXML is, it helped show that Microsoft never changed. █
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Summary: Apple employee took bribes and Microsoft is still said to be bribing companies in order to distort the market
SEVERAL months ago we wrote about Apple bribery, noting that an employee of Apple had been caught “conspiring” against the firm. He has just been found guilty, according to the MSBBC:
A former employee of computer and phone firm Apple has pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges and admitted he took bribes from Asian suppliers.
Paul Devine is accused of providing confidential information to suppliers so that they could negotiate favourable contracts.
Mr Devine admitted that the loss to Apple from his actions was more than $2m (£1.2m).
Microsoft too yields its share of bribes (we have a lot of examples in this Web site), so an occasional contributor, Slated, is preparing a complaint against Microsoft's market distortion (to reach the Advertising Standards Authority at a later date) and now he mentions similar intentions to also use antitrust material (which Microsoft tried to hide) to prove bribery and file a similar complaint, possibly as part of a wider campaign. From his blog:
I’ve only just heard about something that’s actually quite old news, but may be relevant in future dealings with Microsoft. Apparently: “Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Howe of Aberavon has criticised the government for “delaying” the implementation of legislation on bribery.”
“Legislation on bribery”?
Well it turns out the UK is on the verge of bringing something called the “Bribery Act 2010″ into force. This might have happened sooner, had it not been for a delay due to mysterious “meetings with a wide range of bodies” … no doubt to forewarn corrupt businessmen that their unethical bizniz® practices were about to be exposed and shut down.
The Bribery Act 2010 (c.23) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that covers the criminal law relating to bribery. Introduced to Parliament in the Queen’s Speech in 2009 after several decades of reports and draft bills, the Act received the Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 following cross-party support. Initially scheduled to enter into force in April 2010, this was changed to April 2011. The Secretary of State for Justice has yet to publish guidance on the interpretation and use of the Act and has announced that it will not come into force until at least three months after such guidance is made available. The Act repeals all previous statutory and common law provisions in relation to bribery, instead replacing them with the crimes of bribery, being bribed, the bribery of foreign public officials, and the failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery on its behalf.
The penalties for committing a crime under the Act are a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, along with an unlimited fine, and the potential for the confiscation of property under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as well as the disqualification of directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. The Act has a near-universal jurisdiction, allowing for the prosecution of an individual or company with links to the United Kingdom, regardless of where the crime occurred. Described as “the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world”, concerns have been raised that the Act’s provisions criminalise behaviour that is acceptable in the global market, and puts British business at a competitive disadvantage.
Let’s read that again:
“behaviour that is acceptable in the global market“
LOL! I bet.
Well, it’s about time bribery wasn’t “acceptable in the global market” then, isn’t it?
So what does this have to do with Microsoft?
Need you ask?
Bear in mind the FTC’s prosecution of Intel last year, for bribing Dell to exclude AMD processors, and I think you’ll begin to see the picture. And that’s in the good ol’ US of A, part of the “global market” where bribery is supposedly “acceptable”.
Given the scope of this tough new law, it’s possible, indeed highly probable that Microsoft’s “Incentives Programme” may actually violate it. I certainly hope so anyway.
Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft’s racketeering methods are well documented, so it remains to be seen what else this law catches them out with. For example, if Vole’s minions had done in the UK (after April) what they did in Sweden (OOXML bribery), somebody at Microsoft would be doing hard time in prison.
Interesting time ahead…
Prepare for interesting campaigns to come (more details in the IRC logs). This one is all Slated’s , but we too hope to get involved. █
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