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Microsoft Shills Index: Under Construction

There is already one index of Microsoft AstroTurfers ("MicroTurfs"), but it's far from complete and it no longer seems to be maintained.



Throughout the past month or so, we have accumulated new examples (with proof) of Microsoft AstroTurfers and/or disguised PR agents. Recent posts on this subject include:



Over at Slashdot, Ãœber-user Twitter has amassed his own list of Microsoft "Poisons Pens". Readers may wish to see it in order to properly judge their sources of information.

This is going to be a list of big publisher shills. Those are people who take their marching orders from big companies but pretend to be independent experts.


We mentioned ACT several times in the past and yesterday in the IRC channel it emerged that the group is not only a front for Microsoft. It actually came into existence/inception because of Microsoft (at least on the face of it) in order to represent "small businesses" in the same way that Microsoft wants to represent (by hijacking) "open source software". It wants to control and master both sides of the coin and control a pseudo-two-sided debate. Remember Black Duck (with Microsoft roots) moderating panels on the GPL?

Anyway, here's Source Watch's analysis of ACT, which claims to work for small businesses while actually represented and funded by none:

The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) was a group that was founded in 1998 in response to the anti-trust action against Microsoft then taking place in the United States...

The initial version of the groups website, which was first indexed in October 1999, stated that "as a grassroots information technology trade association, ACT is working to preserve the freedom to achieve, compete and innovate." (The group's orignial office address was 1225 Eye St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 20005.

[...]

* Jonathan Zuck, Founder President 1999-2007 * Steve DelBianco, Vice President for Public Policy 1999-2007 * Morgan W. Reed, Vice President for Public Affairs 1999-2007 * Mark Blafkin, Vice President for Public Affairs -2007 * Braden Cox, Research and Policy Counsel - 2007 * Melissa Moskal, Director of Membership -2007 * Allison May Rosen 1999-


We must have hit a sensitive spot there because ACT has already taken the time to publicly attack Boycott Novell for saying the truth.

Another Washington-based group, which was discussed in IRC last night, is the Carlyle Group. Wikipedia describes it as "a global private equity investment firm, based in Washington, D.C., with more than $81.1 billion of equity capital under management." Mind the part which says: "Carlyle was founded in 1987 by Stephen L. Norris, and David M. Rubenstein."

“The Carlyle Group recently came under fire for a fiasco, possibly one among many.”Stephen L. Norris, eh? Remember who had plans to invest in SCO (maybe still has)? Stephen L. Norris [1, 2, 3, 4]. The Carlyle Group recently came under fire for a fiasco, possibly one among many. If The Carlyle Group has "$81.1 billion of equity capital under management," then why did Norris approach people in the middle east for funds to invest in SCO? It's important to stress that those people from the middle east are friends of Bill Gates. As we all know, legal fights by proxy are not rare where Microsoft is involved. For this particular example, it's worth adding that it recently used its talking point Jeff Gould to attack IBM's mainframes as well. We wrote about this before [1, 2].

Our plan is to set up an easily-navigable page (or set of pages) for people to easily explore the relationships between Microsoft and those whom it pays to stealthfully do some legwork in the press and on the ground (e.g. lobbying in Brussels and Washington). If you are aware of connections we have not covered yet, please share them in the comments or in the IRC channel so that they can be studied and documented. We wish to piece this puzzle of corruption together.

"Working behind the scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). "Independent" consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). "Independent" courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage."

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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