Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Novell (and Microsoft) Factor in US Technology Policy

Parliament Budapest



Summary: Another look at who's invited to the big table

BOTH MICROSOFT and Novell will have a role or at least some impact at a formal, national level. Mundie's involvement is a subject that we covered yesterday [1, 2], but we wrote not as much about Schmidt's impact. Sun, Google, and Novell are all places where he worked, so his affinity towards particular companies cannot be ignored. Moreover, one reader tells us: "I make a prediction that they'll send Mundie to Brussels to try and dilute the current EU Commission case against Microsoft -- diluted down so as to be next to useless. Part of the solution will be to have Microsoft appointed to a board to monitor the settlement." A Google-hostile lady in charge of antitrust was a decent start and it was useful to see just how far back Mundie's involvement in politics goes. From yesterday's news:

Mundie first took his expertise into the political arena when President Clinton named him to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee in 2000. Another well-known person in the technology community has also received an invitation. Eric Schmidt is relatively new to the governmental advisory role. He currently is chairman and CEO of Google, but has past alliances with Apple, Sun, and Novell.


Regarding Schmidt, CNET emphasises that:

Eric Schmidt is Chairman and CEO of Google Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Inc. Before joining Google, Dr. Schmidt served as Chief Technology Officer for Sun Microsystems and later as CEO of Novell Inc.


So, there is also an element of Apple in there. Who is left to represent elements like freedom? Or to echo the suggestion from Glyn Moody, why is Richard Stallman, for example, not invited to influence such panels? Who are these panels for anyway? Are they for America's largest corporations or for American's very many people? Remember who received an almost-exclusive access to the ACTA, which Obama explicitly refused to reveal (he declined a call).

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