Summary: News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft’s crimes in China
THE WORLD is moving away from Microsoft. It starts with countries like China, which makes its own hardware (as well as much of the world’s), and then there’s Russia, which abandoned x86 (Wintel) and will make its own chips on which only GNU/Linux will neatly fit. We covered all that earlier this year and it’s clearly not just rhetoric; these things are already happening as the wheels are in motion. Microsoft is desperate to keep up with the changes, but Wintel is like an order of magnitude more expensive than Linux with ARM. It’s game over. Android is dominating many areas, along with its derivatives or other Linux-based operating systems.
The other day there was plenty of press coverage (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]) about Microsoft being raided by Chinese authorities. “Chinese regulators swarm Microsoft offices over antitrust concerns,” said some headlines (focusing on competition issues, not back doors), but most reports were a lot more vague with claims [1, 2, 3] ranging from nationalism to concerns about Office tie-up. The plutocrats’ media tried to blame it on China and make the Chinese government look irrational (watch what Microsoft boosters say, another one that’s Gates-washing it, and ludicrous claims that “China steps up the arms race in the digital cold war”). The English-speaking Chinese press says that 4 Microsoft offices were visited in the raid. One summary says that “[r]egulators claim Office, Windows illegally tied” while mostly, instead of speaking about recent success stories with Linux, including Android, the article looks backwards and says: “While there have been several attempts to get Chinese punters to switch to Linux – including Red Flag Linux and the unimaginatively named China Operating System – none have been particularly successful at shaking off Windows’ dominance.”
Now, remember that Microsoft was raided in other countries before (e.g. Hungary) and in 2013 the “US probe[d] Microsoft China bribery claim”, as we covered at the time. There is a criminal element to Microsoft’s conduct in China. One of our readers asked, “pressing for more bribes, discounts and backdoors?” Watch China demonised in Western media for protecting itself from espionage (terms like “Microsoft Chinese burn riddle” don’t help).
As Charlie Demerjian reminded us a short while ago, Microsoft is now extorting Windows users:
Microsoft decided to extort Windows 7 users too
Not content to blow both feet off with a shotgun, Microsoft is going for the kneecaps now by blackmailing it’s customers. If you are still dumb enough to use Windows, you are about have your wallet shaken down by Microsoft in a familiar yet still unwelcome way.
We don’t feel the need to sugarcoat this much because the company’s behavior is so blatant and uncaring it is almost staggering. Worse yet the victims, that would be almost all Windows users, have only themselves to blame because the pattern has been well laid out for years now. Microsoft has been unapologetically blackmailing users for years, anyone who bought one of their products in the last few years should have known better.
China has an issue like this; even in the UK the NHS has faced similar issues and is constantly being pressured by Microsoft, as we showed some weeks ago. Office (online) and Windows (the platform for Office on the desktop) are both banned by the Chinese government now.
Leading Chinese media, the New York Times (trend-setting in the US) and BBC (trend-setting in the UK) covered this and have ended coverage by now, so we saw no urgency to point out the news immediately (unlike some bloggers), only to add some background information which has been omitted by the media. A year after Microsoft came under investigation in the US (over allegations that had bribed Chinese officials) it got a visit from Feds, so what is the likelihood that these raids are at least partly related to criminal activity? Microsoft bribery in China is nothing new; it’s how Microsoft does business and the investigation dealt with numerous countries in which Microsoft was alleged to have bribed officials. The BBC says:
Microsoft has confirmed that officials from China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce – the body responsible for enforcing business laws – have visited some of its offices.
It sounds like bribes would fall under this category. This comes amid shrinkage of Microsoft’s presence in China:
Microsoft Corp’s biggest reduction in company history could cost China more than 1,000 jobs, analysts warned on Friday.
Apple too is laying off employees, 200 people in fact, so let’s not treat Microsoft alone as the problem. Moreover, based on today’s (and yesterday’s) news [1-7], Russia may be close to banning or kicking out Apple and SAP, due to the fact that their software is secret (proprietary) and thus cannot be trusted. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Russia has suggested that IT-giants Apple and SAP disclose their source codes to Russian state specialists in order to clear up information security issues after the chain of spy scandals undermined trust in foreign products.
Russia has made a bold request for both Apple and SAP’s source code to make sure that neither company’s software contains any sort of spy tools.
To ensure that SAP and Apple products aren’t vulnerable to spying, Russia suggested last Tuesday that the companies give Russia access to their source code, Reuters reports.
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OOXML: When crime pays off
Summary: Reports from the European Commission’s Web site reveal the degree to which OOXML is successfully derailing migrations to Free/libre software in the public sector
SOME of the criminals involved in the OOXML festival of corruption have already left Microsoft (e.g. Oliver Bell, who joined a Gates-funded Gates grooming operation) or joined Microsoft (e.g. Peter O’Kelly), so holding them accountable would be hard, especially now that years have passed and conditions have changed. Microsoft got away with a lot of crime, including bribery. Nobody was sent to jail or even put on trial. Microsoft is above the law, no doubt. It’s an international problem that we find also in the case of large banks, not just software companies with strong ties to the NSA for example.
According to this new report from the European Commission’s Web site, “Open source [is] hindered by OOXML incompatibilities” (as intended and planned by Microsoft). To qoute: “The mixing of outdated and incompatible versions of OOXML, an XML document format, is hindering implementation in open source office alternatives, according to a study published on the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR) today. The different OOXML versions also pose difficulties for public administrations that use different proprietary office suite versions, and the inconsistencies are causing problems with older documents. The OOXML document format is hindering the interoperability of suites of office productivity tools.”
There is also this accompanying report titled “Complex singularity versus openness”.
“Does not even mention ODF,” pointed out one of our readers about this article. “When M$ forced it’s XML file-format on the world for office suites it deliberately created lock-in,” wrote Pogson.
This once again reminds us why Microsoft went as far as criminal activities. It sought to prevent people all around the world from taking their data to better platforms or even create new data in formats that would continue to make the data accessible. To us at Techrights is has always been somewhat of an outrageous mystery that nobody was sent to jail for it. It shows that the system which purports to uphold justice is very arbitrary and unjust, with Microsoft positioned on the side of immunity while it helps secret agencies illegally violate rights of citizens. █
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Summary: Canada among the countries where Microsoft or its partners are caught bribing officials in exchange for pricey deals and lock-in
TECHRIGHTS has been writing a great deal about Quebec because Microsoft corruption seemed quite common there. Here are some memorable examples. The latest example was reported by a Microsoft site, which said: “Both face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and breach of trust.”
The Public Security Ministry is involved, too. “No doubt they came bundled with M$’s favourite OS,” writes Pogson (Canadian blogger), “and an ubiquitous office suite… The contract was for $3.3million CAD and the kickback was $400K CAD. I wonder what M$’s share was. They must have had a ton of software on those computers to justify such a large kickback. Do you think the item would be covered by “promotion” or “cost of sales”?”
Microsoft bribing government officials is not news (even direct bribes). There are some ongoing investigations in numerous countries. Catching the involved people red-handed is important because Microsoft likes to deny charges based on uncertainty or settlements. █
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Lobbying and monopolisation money at work
Summary: A story from an insider is shared with Techrights, shedding light on abuses and coverup (with NDA)
OUR VERY MANY GATES-THEMED POSTS which outline lesser-known facts about the Gates Foundation have occasionally led to us receiving mail from people who saw the same facts from the inside. They agree with the analysis and they want to say more even though they are often unable to do so, due to gag orders. Some of them, understandably enough, do so anonymously and some ask for their identity not to be publicly known (except by the NSA of course, for it is spying on everyone).
It is rather evident that more and more people are catching up and waking up to the facts. Here for example is a new public petition titled “Bill Gates: Stop investing in the private prison industry!”
It says that “[t]he Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has invested more than $2 million in GEO Group, one of the largest and most abusive private prison corporations in the United States,” but it seems not to know that this practice is quite common for Gates, who also invests in G4S and even worse companies whose role is to crush society on behalf of plutocrats like Gates himself. Gates, an NSA proponent, actually profits from this. So what’s not to like? Profiting and oppressing at the same time.
The plot of Gates will suffer (for a change) when even people from within his camp decide to defect. There are numerous such people who came out (on the record, publicly), but obviously that’s not enough because Gates continues to hoard and expand his personal wealth at an alarming rate (at other people’s expense while pretending to give away his wealth).
Here is a redacted portion of correspondence I have had with one such person (redaction intended only to hide the identity of the person). This is only days old:
> Dr. Schestowitz,
> If I knew about a Gates-backed NGO that was intentionally wasting
> funds to try to reinvent technology rather than expanding it for
> malaria and clinics in low-resource settings, what would I do about
> This group has burned through maybe [redacted] a year with zero
> viable technology to help international clinics or even licenseable
> products which would be consistent with the organization mission.
> The bottom line of this is PHDs right out of school who have never
> seen clinics in the 3rd world or how simple technologies must be to
> work there, and too arrogant to ask the people in the field or
> spend time in those countries to build something that can help.
> What do you recommend?
I covered such examples over the years. I wrote ~200 articles about
the Gates Foundation. If possible, can you provide more details from
which I’ll be able to construct an article? There is scarce
documentation of the failed cases because Gates spends, on average,
around 300 million dollars per year on press alone (i.e. on PR),
beating the criticism only with a staggering amount of puff pieces
from blogs, news sites and panels that he pays for this.
> Thanks for the reply. I have an NDA with this group and don’t want
> to be sued. That is part of their power.
> The did directly throw away a technology that had been proven to
> work in international clinics for probably the most important
> disease and decided that because they were PhD’s newly out of
> school that they could build a viable product without consulting
> the people in African/Asian/Indian clinics, people from other NGO’s
> that have actually rolled out products that are making a
> difference, rewriting years worth of incredibly complicated
> algorithms, using a device that costs [redacted] that would never work
> or be affordable by clinics, etc.
> Is there a group that oversees the Gates funds. I work with a
> leading NGO also in [redacted] that uses their much inferior funding
> to truly achieve impact in low resource areas, looks for meaningful
> teammate organizations to ensure success, etc.
> What I saw from this Gates group that’s mission statement is to
> achieve impact and working technology to help in needful areas is
> nothing short of fraud or misappropriation of funds.
> Is there any group that oversees these guys?
Thanks for the additional information.
Gates Foundation is accountable mostly to itself, AFAIK. Over the
years I saw many groups, including former partners, complaining about
allocation of funds. This is documented by the press, too. In many
cases, the funds disguise interest in patents and monopolisation of
so-called solutions for the crowd Gates does not understand (can the
richest person from the richest background since childhood really
speak out for the poor and grasp their woes?). In some cases, the
Gates Foundation claims “transparency” and releases face-saving
reports when partners (or former partners) complain. For this too I
can provide lots of references as I covered it at the time. I no
longer have time to keep up with Gates, but last I saw he kept looking
for ways to lobby politicians to pass taxpayers money to his pet
projects, including GMO and GSK-connected patent-boosting
investments/clinical trials on poor people.
Anyway, accountability assumes that there is separation between the
corporate side and the federal side, and that one can monitor the
other. But the boundaries have been blurred and there is now a
marriage of tax-exempt ‘charity’, politics, and industrial partners. I
fear that the only way to fight back is to inform civil rights groups
and inform the public. Over the years I found that more and more
people recognise the Gates Foundation for what it really is. It
doesn’t get a free pass.
If you want to shed light on this anonymously, without revealing your
identity, the product, and company names, that would probably be
possible. As you did not encrypt your messages or used a remailer, you
can assume the intel’ community is already aware of this
communication, but that does not automatically extend to the private
I am eager to shed light on this without exposing any identity. I have
done this dozens of times over the years and never caused any
retribution/trouble my sources. It is up to you how you want to deal
with the situation, but all I can say at this stage is, the system has
been set up in such a way that there is no credible body to report
this to. A lot of institutions/non-profits blindly assume benevolence
on the part of those who fund them*. The only time I see foundations
being held accountable is when there’s real journalism, such as what
LA Times did 7 years ago.
*Some institutions/non-profits, including USAID for example, are de
facto partners of these foundations, helping not only GMO monopolies
but also the overthrow of “bad” leaders in Latin America.
> You know that any use of packet sniffing to intercept personal
> email is illegal and not usable, anyone could spoof an email
> Your interest in telling the truth about such a goliath is very
> admirable, so I decided not to hide my email to you. I have used
> relay servers, etc. to send feedback to the Gates Foundation.
> It is simply too dangerous for an individual to tell the truth when
> the reality of these funds has nothing to do with their mission
> statements and they have no interest in results, honesty, or
> One example is the multiple millions spent on “setting up laser
> fences over all of Sub-Saharan Africa”, not doing any research on
> the practicality of putting such devices all over a continent, or
> that the vector for the disease evolves so quickly that going under
> or over the fences would happen very quickly.
> It would have been more practical to spend the millions on a time
> machine to try to go back in time to the beginning of the disease.
> Unless there are investors in these funds who want actual returns
> or any even occasional auditing to look at funds spent versus
> tangible results, it appears that it is just a tragic loss for the
> people of the world who could be helped.
> No money is spent on researching what works in the field, and the
> “engineers” or “scientists” frittering away the funds and the
> years without doing any research on what works in a low resource
> So, you have never had contact with any fund investors, governing
> bodies, individuals at the parent Gates Foundation that audit
> individual funds, etc.?
> If you do find those kind of people I would give them some
> information. Unfortunately I don’t think that a single newspaper
> article would make a difference.
No single article can make a huge difference, but every little helps.
Due to the disproportionate distribution of wealth, few people now
control the press and can overwhelm real journalism with a barrage of
puff pieces and placements (paid for). The NSA leaks showed that even
nearly a year of leaks with huge impact on public views hardly changed
anything in policy (there is now, finally, talk about ‘reform’, but it
is a bogus reform).
The Gates Foundation has shown over the years that it is very
sensitive about critics. It spies on them and keeps track of coverage.
There is dedicated staff for it; usually it’s called “advocacy”
(euphemistically) and “communication” (meaning PR). I have seen cases
where criticism has been so effective that the foundation changed its
strategy (e.g. won’t support tobacco anymore) or stepped out (e.g.
Melinda leaving Washington Post board after being disgraced for
conflict of interests).
I think that assessors of grants, proposals etc. are hired by Gates to
often align with financial interests (investments) of the foundation,
e.g. people from Monsanto, GSK, and so on. So in order to reach out to
those whose hands are in the cookie jar you’d probably have to go into
the territories of the foundation. There is no proper separability or
What PR agencies are able to do is basically ‘plant’ a lot of fake (ghostwritten) stories in the press (which Gates pays around $300,000,000 per year) to marginalise the true stories (from insiders and direct eyewitnesses), such as the story above. █
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Microsoft wants us to embrace the criminal’s standard, not a real standard
Summary: Microsoft strikes back against the British government for ‘daring’ to consider something other than proprietary software with proprietary formats
CRIMINAL organisation Microsoft, which is renowened for its illegal activities and collusion with other criminal entities, is calling its syndicates in the UK to go retaliate against British politicians who favour Free/libre software, fair competition, British companies, and real standards. This was predicable because it happened before (e.g. watering down of policies). It’s Microsoft’s way of “doing business”. Corruption is the de facto standard when it comes to Microsoft deals with the British government (various departments). We included evidence in over 100 posts over the years.
Microsoft’s latest retribution attempts are centred around the requirement of a standard. Microsoft wants us to believe that its crime-riddled proprietary formats, collectively referred to as OOXML, are in any way ‘standard’. They’re not. Not even in the UK. They’re corruption. Recall that even Britain’s BSI faced lawsuits over this corruption, as we covered in old posts such as:
Having been found to be bribing governments (probably as big as China's, not just banana republics), Microsoft should watch carefully its next move in the UK. If it attempts to bribe officials again (even ‘soft’ bribery), then it will receive a lot of blowback but no jail time, as it’s exempted from punishment for such crimes and Ballmer ran away on time.
Microsoft says that choosing ODF “sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognised open standard,” referring to OOXML in the latter part. Well, everyone who watched this carefully knows the huge levels of corruption involved there, including bribed officials, rigged voted, etc. Nobody really considers OOXML “internationally recognised”; except Microsoft boosters and fake ‘journalists’ perhaps. Those know are informed recognise it as an internationally-recognised case of systematic crime by Microsoft. Here is a summary of just some of these crimes (counted up to an early point in time).
The British press says “Microsoft hits back at government’s open source plans,” noting that “Microsoft has urged its partners to pay closer attention to what it describes as the government’s “ill-considered” proposals to move to a more open IT model.”
Here again we see Microsoft acting by proxy. We saw that before. Whenever some Free software house (small business) in the UK receives some business from the government Microsoft sends out its proxies/partners as though they are some kind of “task forcex” (Microsoft terminology), commissioned to destroy any traces of non-Microsoft in the public sector. It’s an act of cleansing and it’s very well designed and occrdinated by the Redmond-based convicted monopolist.
“Last month,” the article gives context, “the government hinted it was considering moving away from technology such as Microsoft Office in favour of open-source offerings in an effort to break supplier “oligopoly”.”
Yes, indeed, and what’s wrong with that?
“According to Microsoft,” says the article, “the government is currently undergoing a consultation on plans to mandate the use of Open Document Formats (ODF) and to ditch Microsoft-developed Open XML (OOXML).”
Yes, indeed, because that’s the ethical and technical thing to do. We are going to take part in this consultation and we are going to urge our readers (especially British readers) to do the same. Microsoft is certainly going to use its proxies to bombard those in the consultation (sometimes it infiltrates those who assess the process, too, in addition to sending template letters to ‘DDOS’ the process, occasionally with sockpuppets) and the words from Microsoft are especially appalling because OOXML is a story of bribery and corruption, OOXML is not really a standard. Marketing, deception, revisionism, personal attacks etc. are going to be used by Microsoft to try to make it look like ODF is all about IBM and OOXML is ‘the’ standard. In reality, it’s not an international standard but an international case of crime (that tte European Commission was assigned to handle). Hundreds of examples can be given to show this, including bribery, entryism, retribution, bullying, etc. If OOXML was a real “open” standard, then how come when I leaked it (as if one needs to ‘leak’ standards) Microsoft and its cronies threatened litigation against me? So much for “open”… they were hiding the technical flaws and the fact that it’s just a scam (cannot be implemented by anyone but Microsoft, which also did not implement it, ever).
A Cabinet Office representative stated in response to Microsoft’s comments: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we’re committed to opening up government procurement to a wider range of suppliers. We want to see a greater range of software used and for departments to choose what is right for them and the users of their services.”
Simon Phipps, who back in the days of these Microsoft crime worked at Sun, calls for people to participate in the consultation. Any Updegrove, who was at the forefront back then as well, says “[t]he deadline is next Wednesday – make sure you’re heard!” We will be writing a letter and we urge others to do the same, possibly over the weekend. Talking about Microsoft’s crime and the rogue process should not be a taboo; justice has a lot to do with it. If the UK moves to ODF and embraces Free software, then other nations will use that as an example and follow suit. █
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Microsoft in trouble with the Bermuda Supreme Court over dodgy Microsoft subsidiaries or affiliates (shells)
Summary: The first sale doctrine is under threat because Microsoft is suing, showing every company out there that Windows is just rented whereas GNU/Linux is shared to be owned; Microsoft’s financial misconduct is meanwhile showing why Microsoft is running amok
Microsoft, which is reporting (but spinning) losses, must be critically desperate for cash. Government subsidies (via the NSA with its black budget for instance) seem to be drying up, especially now that major clients like the UK government say they will turn to Free software (see coverage from Red Hat  and the Linux Foundation’s Andy Updegrove .
Also, we are reminded that not only Bill Gates is a systematic tax evader who pretends to give while hoarding lots of additional money  (Gates hoarded an additional ten billion dollars or so last year alone). Microsoft, which is still controlled by Gates (its biggest shareholder), is continuing its tradition of crime. Based on this news from Bermuda and from Ireland, “Three Bermuda Microsoft subsidiaries or affiliates are being investigated by another country for their various tax dealings on the island.
“According to filings at Bermuda Supreme Court, Flat Island Company, RI Holdings, and Round Island One are all the subject of a tax inquiry.”
To quote the Irish press: “A foreign government has requested Bermuda to investigate three of Microsoft’s subsidiaries in the Caribbean nation that are in effect Irish offshore shell companies linked to the software giant’s companies in Ireland, and are used for corporate tax avoidance and maybe evasion.
“The OffshoreAlert newsletter services picked up this information from a handwritten record that had been inadvertently made public by the Bermuda Supreme Court two weeks ago. The information was published this week in the United States by The Huffington Post.
“The government of Bermuda was responding to a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) request (the foreign government wasn’t identified), which is part of an international monitoring system, established by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which Bermuda assented to in 2005.”
In addition, asks iophk: “What about that bribery scandal from last year? That too seems to have been brushed under the rug.” We covered it before (Ballmer fled around that time) and it suggests that Microsoft is bribing governments in a high number of nations, basically getting government contracts using crime and corruption. We wrote about it in relation to deals with the British government, too.
As we noted some days ago, Microsoft spends more than it makes, so aggressive tactics like patent extortion and shakedown against hardware companies only make sense. It is becoming clearer that companies should refurbish with GNU/Linux, never Windows, as Microsoft is getting more aggressive. According to this report, “Microsoft sues Urbandale company over alleged counterfeit software,” but it’s not really counterfeiting.
As Ryan explained in our IRC channels: “Microsoft has sued a computer store that was selling refurbished laptops that came with a Windows Vista license, which had been re-imaged with the same version of Windows Vista that they came with. Microsoft claims that exercising your rights under the First Sale Doctrine is “counterfeiting software”. In other words, everyone that is selling their old computer and keeps Windows on it for the next owner is doing the same thing that this company did. Microsoft says you have no right to do that, which flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent. (It’s the same as selling a used book or a used CD, which is totally legal.) I’m not suggesting that it’s good to give someone else a copy of Windows. It’s better to give them software that respects their freedom, such as GNU/Linux. Nobody has ever been sued for “counterfeiting” GNU/Linux, because software counterfeiting is impossible, and everyone has the guaranteed right to share it under the terms of the GNU General Public License.”
Microsoft, in light of such developments and serious investigations of fraud and bribery, is not a company, it’s a crime syndicate with connections in government — connections so strong (even with those above the law, such as the NSA) that it’s allowed to get away with almost everything as long as it facilitates those who are above the law and also work for the state (Microsoft even does this in Russia, helping to crack down on activists and spy on Skype users).
It is time to stop treating Microsoft like just another company. It clearly is not. Microsoft’s is every tyrant’s best friend. There is more discussion about Microsoft’s attack on technology rights in the thread “Microsoft sues a company for exercising their rights under the first sale doctrine.”
The FSF is again promoting its campaign against Vista 8. Below is the link that says more about it . In terms of sales, Vista 8 is a major failure (some say worse than Vista with its DRM ‘innovations’) and the FSF’s letters to many companies can be clever advocacy, so let’s hope it will prove to be effective. If only the FSF used the crime angle more frequently against Microsoft… █
Related/contextual items from the news:
It was ten years ago that the CIO of Massachusetts rattled the desktop world by announcing that the Executive Agencies of the Commonwealth would henceforth license only office suite software that complied with the OpenDocument Format. The shock waves that followed were attributable to the fact that while the open source OpenOffice office suite was built around that standard, the dominant product – Microsoft’s venerable Office suite did not.
The top individuals on the 2013 Forbes 400 list are generally believed to be makers of great companies or concepts. They are the role models of Paul Ryan, who laments, “We’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America.” They are defended by Cato Institute CEO John A. Allison IV, who once protested: “Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive.”
But many of the richest Americans are takers. The top twenty, with a total net worth of almost two-thirds of a trillion dollars, have all taken from the public or from employees, or through taxes or untaxed inheritances.
Windows 8 is officially a flop. Despite attempts to force people to use the operating system by shipping restricted boot on new Windows 8 tablets and phones (not to mention a record smashing advertising budget), sales have been sluggish. What we have here is our best opportunity yet to help people give up Windows in favor of an operating system that respects our freedoms to choose, share, change, and view the code we use to conduct our digital lives.
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Summary: The company which aids crimes of the state is protected from having its crimes treated as such; just like big banks that receive bailouts rather than jail sentences, Microsoft receives document formats monopoly rather than embargo
SEVERAL years ago it was rare and unusual for one to receive OOXML files, but nowadays this is becoming common. Microsoft corruption paid off. Not a single person was sent to prison, let alone put on trial or an antitrust probe. It sure seems — as Microsoft would would gladly demonstrate — that very large corporations are above the law and if they are eager to engage in fraud and corruption, then they will get away with it, provided they are close enough to government (Microsoft — like Cisco and AT&T — is somewhat an NSA Trojan horse).
A few days ago a good British journalist wrote about Open Document Format, reminding us of what many people forgot. I could never forget ODF because I wrote almost a thousand posts about this area and I saw a huge amount of Microsoft crime going on without punishment (let alone any promise of punishment). This saga helped show that no matter how much crime Microsoft commits (e.g. bribing governments) some governments will continue to protect it. US officials will even act like Microsoft marketing people, almost as if they are trying to set up spying posts in other countries. They would go as far as trying to portray ODF as "anti American" because it can reduce dependence on Microsoft’s back doors-friendly operating system.
Earlier today Glyn Moody asked,” where did ODF disappear to?”
As Moody put it: “Readers with good memories may remember various key fights over the years that were largely about ODF and OOXML. The first round culminated in the extraordinarily shoddy fast-tracking of OOXML through the ISO standards process. Then we had a big battle over open standards in general, which also involved ODF and OOXML, where the UK government performed a dizzying series of U-turns.
“That was over two years ago, and it struck me that after years of sound and fury, and all the work the open source community put into supporting ODF and open standards, we have recently heard nothing about the use of ODF by the UK government. That is, OOXML seems to have won be default. Indeed, it is striking that practically every document from the UK government is in OOXML format: for a while, there was an attempt to offer ODF formats too, but clearly people in UK government have given up even pretending to be fair here.”
Remember that as long as Microsoft protects criminals who do it with impunity (state support) it will continue to be protected by the Establishment. For anyone who thinks that technical merits can be used to win an argument, well… politics is not hinged on logic. The NSA and NSA-funded GCHQ show us that politics is not even hinged on law. Outlawed practices (cracking, viruses, etc.) and digital disorder (like OOXML) is okay when those in power say they need it. █
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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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