Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft-Funded Press Belittles Microsoft Crimes

"Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever."

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]



Wedding bouquet



Summary: Irresponsible and biased reporting (spinning) from people whom Microsoft pays, who also have no problem with just an apology as penalty for crime

YESTERDAY we wrote about the reaction of Microsoft's pseudo-journalists to its crimes against Plurk, noting in part that one of them expects and almost hopes that Microsoft is "to pay through the nose for this one."



A Bing-sponsored Microsoft-oriented Web site (TechFlash) takes a rather unusual stance, which is very disappointing

Microsoft has knowingly infringed on other companies' (and individuals') identities when it chose the name "Bing" (a failed experiment of rebranding as it turns out) and it receives sympathy now that it's sued over the name "Bing" (well, covered by a Bing-sponsored "news" site):

The St. Louis Business Journal has details of the suit, filed this week in St. Louis Circuit Court. The suit (PDF, 9 pages) notes that Bing! Information Design has used the "Bing" name since 2000, and it has an application pending to register the mark.


Why did Microsoft choose a name that it knew very well was already taken? Microsoft also willfully infringed on i4i patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] and almost bragged about, as internal E-mails reveal. This is the same company to which software patents do not apply, as we noted back in September. It's a repeat offender, but this behaviour still assists the agenda against Free software (Microsoft wants a lot of patents out there).

Moving on a little, on the same day TechFlash also suggests that Microsoft should get away with crime and receive no punishment for what it did to Plurk. No kidding!

Over the years, I've covered countless Microsoft lawsuits, many of them involving some very legitimate and serious claims against the Redmond company. In some situations, the little guy emerges victorious. In other situations, Microsoft comes out on top. But in general, these cases are a relatively minor annoyance for Microsoft, and a huge undertaking for the smaller players taking the company on.

That was in the back of my mind this morning as I read that Plurk is "thinking of pursuing the full extent of our legal options available" after Microsoft admitted that one of its vendors basically copied Plurk's site.

Clearly, Plurk was wronged, and Microsoft (through its vendor) acted improperly. But here's my question: What damages would Plurk claim in a lawsuit against Microsoft?

Microsoft has apologized and taken down the site.


If Microsoft wanted "quick code", then it could pay for it, so there are clearly damages in the form of lost/potential business. The above seems like classic Microsoft spin, which requires blind obedience to actually subscribe to.

Apology after a crime does not undo the crime. What kind of lesson is Microsoft hoping to teach here? That crime pays off until/unless you get caught? That it's okay to commit crimes as long as you apologise at the end? As the OOXML blunders showed, Microsoft may as well send out the message to today's kids that committing crime (especially white-collar crime) is perfectly acceptable as long as you make a lot of money and wear a suit. The 'Microsoft press' did cover up the OOXML crimes by comparing it to just a baseball game. "Oops! So we cheated, so what?"

“As the OOXML blunders showed, Microsoft may as well send out the message to today's kids that committing crime (especially white-collar crime) is perfectly acceptable as long as you make a lot of money and wear a suit.”Microsoft takes someone's code and now its apologists spin it as Microsoft doing the victim a favour. Ab-so-lutely amazing! Microsoft has already attempted to blame someone else after taking the proprietary code from this very small and poor company. The attitude from Microsoft and from TechFlash is very telling indeed! And using the 'Microsoft press' Microsoft is still trying to blame someone else and now saying (probably for PR purposes) that it reconsiders the 'proxification' of jobs. Wonderful.

It is worth remembering that Microsoft was never punished for its GPL infringements, either. Here is another new take on the issue:

Lots of people got a good ironic laugh from the news that Microsoft, which has repeatedly complained about "piracy" in China, got caught blatantly copying code from a small startup named Plurk.


We wrote about these lies from Microsoft twice this month [1, 2]. Marcel Hilzinger (Linux Magazine) summarises the latest incident with the following headline: "Microsoft China Rips Off Competitor’s Code"

Steve Ballmer should be having trouble sleeping at night: the countless companies who work under contract from Redmond Software can hardly resist the temptation to take a little code from an outside project.


What keeps Steve Ballmer awake at night is GNU/Linux (and Free software). Peer-reviewed and peer-produced software products are technically better, not just more affordable.

"[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open...Linux. I don't want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that."

--Steve Ballmer, February 28th, 2008



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