Bonum Certa Men Certa

Jonathan Zuck (ACT) Jumps to Defend Intel for Committing Same Crimes as Microsoft

ACT Microsoft



Summary: Another up-to-date snapshot of Microsoft lobbyists

THE European Commission demanded that Intel should obey the law and this has serious ramifications for Microsoft, which engages in the same type of business tactics. Bulk discounts and bribery (kickbacks) are illegal, they are a crime. For monopolies in particular it is a very serious abuse that justifies heavy fines, so Microsoft could be next.



Microsoft of course knows all of this and two sources up high have independently told us that Microsoft is nervous at the moment (because of the Intel decision and this record-breaking fine which it entailed). Watch who is coming out to protest the Intel decision. From the Guardian: [thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip]

But the fine drew a sceptical reaction in the US, where critics of the EU questioned whether consumers had truly suffered from Intel's business practices. Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, said chip prices had dropped by 60% over a decade and processing power which once cost $1 could now be purchased for just a cent.


He works for Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and it's clear that Intel is no isolated part of it. See for example:



A reader from Seattle has told us about the following two articles from several years ago. It's about Oracle looking for the truth about Zuck/ACT and the likes of it.

Oracle retained Washington-based Investigative Group International to probe the pro-Microsoft spinners in the antitrust battle. I.G.I. hit pay dirt. Oracle says that in the trash of the Independent Institute--which took out pro-Microsoft ads signed by leading academics--investigators found evidence that Microsoft had given the group more than $200,000. (The Independent Institute insists its positions have been unaffected by any support from Microsoft.)


 

Oracle next turned its sights on the Microsoft-backed Association for Competitive Technology, which in January announced it would file a friend-of-the-court brief on Microsoft's behalf, using a team of prestigious former government lawyers. Oracle's Washington team viewed the move as outrageous, given the probability that the brief would be paid for with money from Microsoft itself. In April, Oracle told IGI to look into ACT.

Soon yet another player surfaced: the National Taxpayers Union. It had long been publicly criticizing a suit against Microsoft by state attorneys general as "government-led larceny of Microsoft's intellectual property." In mid-May, as the group renewed its attacks on the government, Oracle again suspected the hidden hand of its software foe. Once again, it dispatched IGI, which promptly went trash-hunting. IGI discovered that the National Taxpayers Union had received more than $200,000 from Microsoft. That information surfaced in The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post in May.

[...]

It was trash-hunting at ACT, however, that ultimately brought Oracle's entanglement to light. For that, Oracle can thank Robert M. Walters and a conscientious cleaning crew.

In May, Walters, an amiable former journalist who was IGI's chief anti-Microsoft detective, leased an office near ACT's Washington offices. He used his own name but identified himself as an official of "Upstream Technologies."

[...]

Walters also paid $4,445 to lease the office space near ACT using a check drawn on his personal bank account, according to records obtained by the Journal. And he used the telephone in the Upstream office to call his home and his wife at her office. Those calls later were easily traced because they were routed through the building's computerized phone system. Together, these steps bore the mark of a detective who appeared not particularly worried about covering his true identity. In June of 1999, Washington lobbyists for software giant Oracle Corp. grew dismayed by the skill with which Oracle's bitterest rival, Microsoft Corp., seemed to be manipulating public opinion. As Microsoft faced the antitrust fight of its life, a group called the Independent Institute bought full-page newspaper ads citing 240 academics who criticized the government's antitrust attack on Microsoft.

[...]

It wasn't long before IGI produced results: Internal documents showing that Microsoft had paid Independent Institute, based in Oakland, Calif., $153,000. Independent Institute President David Theroux suspects that information was stolen. People familiar with the operation, however, intimate that it was obtained by rifling through trash, a practice that isn't illegal. IGI Chairman Terry Lenzner said Wednesday that his firm "abides by a rigorous code of ethics and conducts all of its investigations in a lawful manner," and that its work for Oracle "was conducted in strict accordance with these standards."


Follow the money, follow the trash cans. It all becomes clear sooner or later. Here is something a lot newer from last week:

Carlyle Groups Settles in 'Pay to Play' Scandal Probe



The Carlyle Group, a giant Wall Street firm best known for its ties to former President George H.W. Bush and other prominent public officials, made more than $13 million in payments to a indicted political fixer who arranged for the firm to receive business from a New York pension fund, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said today.

Cuomo said Carlyle had agreed to $20 million to "resolve its role" in the ongoing corruption investigation and agreed to a new code of conduct that prohibits the use of such middlemen.


We already wrote about the Carlyle Group in relation to SCO and Microsoft. Micheal from the OSI (to put things in perspective, he works for Red Hat) has meanwhile written about Microsoft antitrust as well. He did so under his OSI hat:

As many of you know, I was a witness in the Microsoft antitrust remedy trial of 2001, and one of the specific abuses to which I testified was my sense that Microsoft threatened Red Hat's OEM partners, causing Dell to abruptly cancel a major Linux-based initiative only months after it had started.

In that trial, Judge Kollar-Kotelly specifically struck the part of my testimony describing Microsoft's actions toward Dell as "retaliatory". Unfortunately the evidence of Comes v. Microsoft had not yet been developed, where it was demonstrated that Microsoft specifically said "we should whack [Dell]" and "we [should] be quite prescriptive in our investments with Dell relative to the competitive threats we see with Linux". Thus, while the evidence in the courtroom the day I testified may not have fully supported the statements I made, contemporaneous facts developed in others cases showed positively that Microsoft continued to abuse their monopoly power in ways that Microsoft denied that day.


Here are the full details. Microsoft's fight against Red Hat in this case is a little similar to the tactics used by Intel to keep AMD out of the shops. Will Microsoft too be fined over a billion dollars based on some similar counts? Will Red Hat be compensated? It would probably be a trivial case to initiate, even at a civil level.

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