Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft, Ask, and the AstroTurf Against Yahoo! Remembered

Dark question



Summary: Rumours and speculations about Microsoft and expansion into Ask.com; the brutal story about Microsoft's moral corruption in the fight against Yahoo! makes a sudden return

THIS morning we wrote about Carl Icahn, who had helped destroy Yahoo!, thus making it a zombie state of Microsoft. Whilst antitrust barriers remain [1, 2, 3, 4], speculation has been spreading that Microsoft might be interested in Ask.com, leading to further enthusiasm in the Microsoft circles.



Since IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller indicated on Tuesday that he's willing to sell Ask.com, the question on many people's minds has been, "Who might buy it?" And at this point, the most likely answer seems to be "Microsoft."


It may be a suitable time to recall how Microsoft used AstroTurfing (yes, for a verifiable fact, plain and simple) to capture Yahoo! and prevent Yahoo! from escaping to Google, for example. A new article from Ars Technica reminds us of a memorable incident where Microsoft got caught hiring AstroTurf agencies:

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the metadata attached to public records is itself a public record. Given the frequency with which metadata outs lobbyists' and corporations' efforts to mask their own contributions to public debates, this is a good thing.

[...]

The very next month, the tables were turned when the American Corn Grower's Association somewhat surprisingly threw its weight behind the idea that Congress should launch a hearing to look into the possible anti-trust implications of the Google-Yahoo advertising deal. CNET's Declan McCullagh took a look at the PDF letter that the group submitted to Congress, and found that it had been authored by a staffer at the LawMedia Group, a DC lobbying shop whose client list includes the anti-Google, anti-net neutrality National Cable and Telecommunications Association.


We alluded to the LawMedia Group under (in chronological order):



Metadata, in addition to the valuable leak, would have assisted in exposing another Microsoft AstroTurf group -- one which affects Europe. We gave examples of its activities in:



A new Web site called OpenUpNow.org is trying to help the exposition of lobbyists and corruptible politicians. In its blog, examples are being given today:

Newspapers occasionally report that votes have been declared “three-line whips” by particular parties. Here are just a few reported examples:

* In 2002, the Conservative party imposed a three-line whip forcing their MPs to oppose the adoption of children by gay couples. * In 2007, both Labour and the Conservatives imposed three-line whips in favour of a proposal to renew Britain’s nuclear weapons system, Trident. * In 2008, the Liberal Democrats imposed a three-line whip which instructed their MPs to abstain on a vote to ratify the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. * In 2009, Labour imposed a three line whip in favour of a vote to keep the full detail of MPs expenses secret from the public.



Those who rule out lobbying and politics, leaving it out of the equation and simply assuming that Free software will be chosen based on merits, ought to wake up and see what giants like Microsoft are doing.

"Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won't leave you alone."

--Richard Stallman

Recent Techrights' Posts

The Persistent Nature of Freedom Isn't About Easy Routes
Resistance to oppression takes effort and sometimes money
 
Gemini Links 22/06/2024: FreeBSD vs XFCE and Gemini Bookmarks Syncing Solution
Links for the day
Links 21/06/2024: Matrimony Perils and US-Sponsored COVID-19 Misinformation
Links for the day
"A coming cybersecurity schism" by Dr. Andy Farnell
new from Dr. Andy Farnell
Links 21/06/2024: Overpopulation, Censorship, and Conflicts
Links for the day
IBM and Subsidiaries Sued for Ageism (Not Just for Racism)
This is already being discussed
UEFI is Against Computer Security, Its True Goal is to Curtail Adoption of GNU/Linux and BSDs on Existing or New PCs
the world is moving away from Windows
[Meme] Chat Control (EU) is All About Social Control
It won't even protect children
EFF Not Only Lobbies for TikTok (CPC) But for All Social Control Media, Irrespective of Known Harms as Explained by the US Government
The EFF's own "free speech" people reject free speech
Microsoft's Search (Bing) Fell From 3.3% to 1% in Turkey Just Since the LLM Hype Began
Bing fell sharply in many other countries
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 20, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Real FSF Lost Well Over a Million Dollars Since the Defamation Attacks on Its Founder
2020-2023 income: -$659,756, -$349,927, -$227,857, and -$686,366, respectively
The Fake FSF ('FSF Europe') Connected to Novell Via SUSE, Not Just Via Microsoft (Repeated 'Donations')
'FSF Europe' is an imposter organisation
Just Less Than 3 Hours After Article on Debian Suicide Cluster Debian's Donald Norwood Recycles a Fortnight-Old 'Hit Piece'
The fall of Debian is its attack on its very own volunteers
IPFS censorship, Edward Brocklesby & Debian hacker expulsion
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Links 20/06/2024: Dumbphone Experience and Bad Encryption
Links for the day
Official Project Gemini news feed — Five years of Gemini!
the official statement
Ultimate Judgment: the Debian Suicide Cluster
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 20/06/2024: Bruce Schneier Adds Moderation Policy, FUCKSHITUP Can't Be Trademarked in the US
Links for the day
Mass Layoffs Happening in IBM Subsidiaries, Almost No Media Exists Anymore (to Cover That)
They can drive people out with R.T.O. of lay off in small batches to prevent any media scrutiny
Linux Months-Old News (LWN Uncorrected)
They could at least update the original
Links 20/06/2024: Trying to Maintain Health and the Implosion of LLM Bubble/Hype
Links for the day
Microsoft's Bing Share in Canada Has Only Decreased Since the LLM Hype ("Bing Chat")
According to statCounter
Gemini Links 20/06/2024: Golden Ticket and Looking for Web 1.0 Communities
Links for the day
Not Even TRYING to Compete With Microsoft
CMA (UK) ought to step in and investigate why Canonical (UK) refuses to even compete
Poul-Henning Kamp: Why Freedom in 'FOSS' Matters
Openwashing is more widely recognised as a growing problem
[Meme] EU Chat Control: The Problem is Too Much Privacy???
So what's with GDPR then? The EU is contradicting itself!
Lithuania: GNU/Linux Usage Climbs to Highest Level in Years
consistent abandonment of Microsoft
"Remarkably Little Had Changed."
Black or African American not even mentioned
This Week Fedora Celebrates Diversity, But It is Pushing Proprietary Software and Censorship
IBM openwashing, perception management, and reputation laundering gone awry?
Rumours That Nat Friedman (CEO) Was 'Fired' by GitHub/Microsoft
"Microsoft Refused to Fix Flaw Years Before SolarWinds Hack"
linuxsecurity.com: A Step in a Positive Direction
We hope that Guardian Digital and linuxsecurity.com will rectify the matter and persist with real articles
Links 20/06/2024: Somali Piracy Surges, Juneteenth Discussed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 20/06/2024: Gemini is 5 Today (Still No Gemlog Entry From its Founder)
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 19, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 19, 2024