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.
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.”
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”. █
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.
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. █
“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
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.
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. █
Summary: Microsoft is said to have sold just over 366,099 Vista Phony 7 devices and the Vista Phony 7 deal with Nokia may be reversible (following legal action)
DUE to the heavy load of existing coverage about Nokia, we have only published a couple of posts on the subject [1, 2] and gathered the rest in our daily links. There are a few issues worth bringing up separately.
The deal with Microsoft seems like black humour, but Elop is serious about it. “Nokia isn’t Elop’s first victim,” gnufreex explains as he links to this complaint. The “Fin[nish] media is calling for legal action against Elop,” he adds. The article is in Finnish, just like this article which states that Elop does not own any Nokia shares. Fair enough, right? But wait. Elop does have some shares, but not in the company which he actually works for. As gnufreex put it: “Look at “Top 10 Other Holders: MSFT” http://ur1.ca/38ae1 Elop (Stephen A) 130,026 3.18 M”
“Elop does have some shares, but not in the company which he actually works for.”So whose wallet is Elop in? Rupert from ZDNet UK writes: “Interesting finance fact: Stephen A Elop is Microsoft’s 7th-largest individual shareholder” (to which Glyn Moody responds with “well, well”).
In addition, gnufreex wrote: “Probably double shareholders think that MSFT gain would be bigger than Nokia’s loss.” While we cannot verify these claims, this type of question was asked publicly and Nokia returned the usual excuses. “It seems that few largest Nokia shareholders are US based and are also MSFT shareholders. A clever scheme by MSFT,” added gnufreex. Again, these claims need verification, but we do know that Novell’s board, for example, had been poisoned by Microsoft cronies before it sold out to Microsoft. We have this documented. The same thing happened with Yahoo!
Meanwhile, a Facebook page for the Windows Phone application has 366,099 monthly active users. I asked Microsoft if this was the official page for the smartphone platform’s Facebook application, and they declined to offer an answer. But given how at least one of the people listed on the page’s “About the Developers” section works for Microsoft, I heavily suspect that’s the case.
MeegoPortal writes: “Msft has proven again they can’t meet schedules with WP7′s update (pushed back 2 month) how does it improve #Nokia devices time to market?” It’s not supposed to make sense, it’s just supposed to make Ballmer’s place at Microsoft more secure.
He referred to a slide that Nokia displayed last week that showed marketing and other investments flowing from Microsoft to Nokia as part of the deal. While speculation has had that number in the millions or tens of millions, it’s more than that, he said. “In fact the value transferred to Nokia is measured in B’s not M’s,” he said.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop implied Sunday that his company would receive billions of dollars in incentives from Microsoft for agreeing to make Windows Phone 7 the primary operating system for its smartphones.
Speaking at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Elop said the deal’s value to Nokia is “in Bs not in Ms.” The comment sparked speculation that Microsoft is, in effect, paying Nokia—the world’s biggest cell phone manufacturer in terms of market share—to carry Windows Phone 7 on its smartphones.
One reader mailed us this article and asked: “Is this move legal and can it be investigated by DOJ?”
This is similar to what Microsoft did to ‘steal’ Yahoo!’s userbase in search (first in north America, later on the rest). All they needed to do was to ‘plant’ some close partner in the CxO position/s, with help from Carl Icahn. Essentially it’s like a cheap buyout, according to these report and analyses we’ve been accumulating. Is Elop hiding the details of the deal because it’s part of the deal to keep it secret? Or maybe he is trying to avoid lawsuits after the self-serving act… who knows? “Nokia’s Elop to sell remaining Microsoft shares,” says this headline. Too late, sir.
Nokia chief Stephen Elop is trying to rid himself of his numerous shares in Microsoft, he said at a press conference ahead of the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
What it’s going to look like to most Microsoft employees is that Management panicked. I’ll bet that there’s a lot of resumes getting dusted off this weekend, and not just in the division that handles WP7. When Management makes short term decisions like this, it’s a good time to get ready to bail out.
I understand what Microsoft Management was trying to do. But they so totally blew it. Short term thinking can kill your company. Totally kill it.
But it might be good in the long run. This might be just what board needs to give them the ammunition to dump Ballmer. So far he’s been protected, because he’s Bill’s school buddy. This foul up however may make Bill take another look. Maybe.
Bill and his buddies never knew how to compete fairly because they never wanted to. The latest casualty is the pride of Finland. █
“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”
De Linux Magazine (artículo 2008): “Los activistas en el foro Boicot Novell han puesto de manifiesto el documento más de 5.500 páginas en formatos PDF, HTML, hojas de cálculo, y varios otros formatos en su página web. A pesar de que OOXML ha sido certificado como un estándar ISO bajo circunstancias TURBULENTAS e INESTABLES, la ISO (Organización Internacional de Normalización) ha querido conservar la documentación completa en secreto. Los activistas Boicot Novell describen la exposición documentación como una reacción al “abuso sistemático y el paso a la irrelevancia de ISO.” Alex Brown, quien fue en parte responsable del proceso de OOXML en ISO, describe la exposición en su blog como un “descarado acto de violación derecho de autor.”
“Brown va a decir que “los piqueros incluso han sido tan buenos como para jactarse de los requisitos de banda ancho que sus crímenes han ocasionado “y termina con las palabras:”Incluso ahora, puedo escuchar los abogados de Ginebra lamiendo sus labios sobre esta … ” Boycott Novell webmaster Roy Schestovitz no se inmutó por la posible legalidad. Y añade: “No dude en pasar esto (o incluso ridículizó) los ~60 megabytes de LOCK-IN, que MICROSOFT NO TE DEJA VER.” Él no está solo en esta opinión: los numerosos comentarios en curso están etiquetados con los autores los nombres.
“Los contribuyentes sitio web también apuntan a la reciente “llamada provocativa” de IBM, para la que la ISO “haga un mejor papel”, con IBM haciendo difícil su participación en el proceso (información aquí).”
Como alguien señaló en los comentarios, “Alex Brown cada vez más se parece a un TITERE de MICROSOFT haciéndose pasar por un oficial de la ISO imparcial” (afirmación correcta)[http://techrights.org/2009/10/30/alex-brown-the-fox/] y vamos a escribir sobre el tema de nuevo muy pronto. Esto también se relaciona con Novell.
Como la saga del OOXML (“Open” Office XML) ayudó a mostrar que Microsoft es una empresa CORRUPTA que matonea a sus críticos. Ellos -MICROSOFT- tratan de hacer que sea un riesgo para exponer SU MALA CONDUCTA. Pero eso no importa, mirar Relaciones Públicas en su lugar es mucho más reconfortante que hacer frente a los males de este mundo.
“El mundo tiene muchos problemas y que necesitan ser reformados. Y sólo se vive una vez. Cada persona que tiene cierta capacidad para hacer algo al respecto, si es una persona de buen carácter, tiene el deber de intentar solucionar los problemas en el medio ambiente en el que viven.”
“Eso es un valor, que sí, que proviene en parte de mi temperamento. También hay un valor que viene de mi padre, que es que los hombres capaces, generosos no crean las víctimas, si no que tratar de evitar que las personas se conviertan en víctimas. Eso es lo que tienen la tarea de hacer. Si no lo hacen es que no son dignos de respeto o no son capaces.”
-Assange Julian 21 de diciembre 2010 Transcripción de la BBC: El Assange
Eduardo Landaveri adds to the above translation:
This pharisee -Alex Brown -dared to attack you personally as well as Groklaw, years have passed & now he’s sobbing about how MS never complied following its duties to ISO but he never issue an apology about his accions.
Instead of threatening people he should be investigated & audited before he retires. I hope the EU does something about him
Or in Spanish:
Este fariseo se atrevió a atacar a usted personalmente, así como Groklaw, los años han pasado y ahora está sollozando acerca de cómo Microsoft nunca cumplió sus funciones hacia la ISO, pero nunca emitió una disculpa por su acciones.
En lugar de las que amenazan la que debe ser investigado y auditado antes de retirarse. Espero que la UE haga algo al respecto.
Many thanks to Eduardo for his quick translation. █
Joe Lieberman: The man who tries to shut down Wikileaks
Summary: The ugly side of Microsoft recalled
From Linux Magazine (2008 article): “Activists in the Boycott Novell forum have exposed the more than 5,500 page document in PDF, HTML, Microsoft spreadsheet, and various other formats on their website. Even though OOXML was certified as an ISO standard under turbulent and unsteady circumstances, ISO has been keeping the comprehensive documentation under wraps. The Boycott Novell activists describe the documentation exposure as a reaction to the “systematic abuse and the demise of ISO.” Alex Brown, who was partly responsible for the OOXML process at ISO, describes the exposure in his weblog as a “brazen act of copyright violation.”
“Brown goes on to say that “the boobies have even been so good as to boast about the bandwidth requirements their crimes have occasioned” and ends with the words, “Even now, I can hear those Geneva lawyers licking their lips over this one…” Boycott Novell webmaster Roy Schestovitz is not fazed by the possible legalities. He adds, “Feel free to pass around (or even ridicule) those ~60 megabytes of lock-in, which Microsoft won’t let you see.” He is not alone in this opinion: the numerous ongoing updates are tagged with the authors’ names.
“The website contributors also point to IBM’s recent “provocative call” for ISO “to do better,” with IBM challenging their participation in the process (reported here).”
As somebody pointed out in the comments, “Alex Brown increasingly looks like a Microsoft puppet posing as an impartial ISO official” (correct assertion) and we’ll write about the subject again very shortly. This relates to Novell, too.
As OOXML helped show, Microsoft is a corrupt company which bullies its critics. It tries to make it risky to expose misconduct. But never mind that, watch PR instead because it’s so much more comforting than addressing the evils in this world.
“The world has a lot of problems and they need to be reformed. And we only live once. Every person who has some ability to do something about it, if they are a person of good character, has the duty to try and fix the problems in the environment which they’re in.
“That is a value, that, yes, comes partly from my temperament. There is also a value that comes from my father, which is that capable, generous men don’t create victims, they try and save people from becoming victims. That is what they are tasked to do. If they do not do that they are not worthy of respect or they are not capable.“
Summary: A real case of investigative journalism from Paul McDougall shows that Microsoft misreports its results
MICROSOFT is not new to fraud charges. Even when the company hit its peak value (or thereabouts) the company was caught manipulating reports, after a whistleblower showed evidence. Microsoft later paid him several millions of dollars to drop the charges and go away, but the SEC did not go away. This whole story and many others can be found in our wiki. There are some more recent allegations as well.
Microsoft’s most recent Windows sales totals got a boost from the fact the company quietly added revenues previously assigned to other groups to its operating systems unit, a bit of accounting legerdemain that, along with other bookkeeping moves, helped the Windows group post big gains in the past quarter, according to an InformationWeek analysis of the software maker’s SEC filings.
Just leaving Bolzano after three nights here for SFSCON (a small but perfectly formed FOSS conference). Passing through the tiny airport I noticed an unusual security requirement – which was being actively enforced. Despite apple strudel (that’s a delicious, giant pastry filled with spiced apple and mixed berries) being a major tourist item on sale in Bolzano, it’s banned on aircraft here.
There are surprisingly few comments on this article, which is an exclusive. More people need to see this. One commenter says: “Given that the reason Microsoft’s share price has maintained its price is due to what is happening in its three traditional core businesses, could Microsoft be burying underlying sales and growth problems simply by the way it uses inter-business charges? After all, investors have now become so blasé about the fact that Microsoft is bleeding around more than a $1B a year in its Online Services Division, what matter whether it loses $1B or $2B. However, adding another $1B to the three core business makes things look somewhat rosier than perhaps they really are.
“Questions should be asked, more especially given the recent sale of $1.3B shares by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.”
Not just questions should be asked; lawsuits should be filed, too.
Novell admitted playing the bucket game several years ago, which leads to the question: shouldn’t shareholders be allowed to receive compensation if they sue the company for misreporting figures while it’s public traded? Shouldn’t the SEC step in again? █
“One strategy that Microsoft has employed in the past is paying for the silence of people and companies. Charles Pancerzewski, formerly Microsoft’s chief auditor, became aware of Microsoft’s practice of carrying earnings from one accounting period into another, known as “managing earnings”. This practice smoothes reported revenue streams, increases share value, and misleads employees and shareholders. In addition to being unethical, it’s also illegal under U.S. Securities Law and violates Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (Fink).