Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft's EDGI Still Alive, Under “Linux and Open Office Compete”

Summary: Microsoft does not compete but rather it is attempting to simply squash or eliminate known deployments of the competition, as a new job posting confirms

Microsoft has a division called “Linux Compete Squad”, which is part of EDGI. It is a dumping programme whose purpose is to block adoption of GNU/Linux and StarOffice (or OpenOffice.org).



According to this new job offer, Microsoft is now extending what it calls "Linux and Open Office Compete", where "Compete" is capitalised, as usual. This almost confirms that it is the same thing as “Linux Compete Squad”, which is a ruthless and possibly illegal tactic. We wrote all about it almost a year ago, so there is no point repeating the explanations.

At the beginning of the year we saw that Microsoft was recruiting more anti-GNU/Linux staff and one year ago we saw that Robert Duffner was among those thugs, joining the ranks of people like Sam Ramji and Orlando Ayala [1, 2], who still seems to be going on "anti-FOSS" expeditions, e.g. in Kazakhstan.

"Compete" sounds innocent, but it's an internal Microsoft code better described as "Attack" (making it somewhat of a euphemism). Glyn Moody shows that it's still going on and that it's even tied to Steve Ballmer. Bribery might not be out of the question.

One of the unusual aspects of open source is the fact that the software development philosophy spills over into the way that the project is run. This means that how and why things are done, and by whom, is plain for all to see. Contrast that with Microsoft's approach, which mimics the black box of its software: mostly, all we ever get to view are the results, and rarely the cogs and gears behind those results.

Sometimes, though, some apparently obscure document grants us a rare insight into what is happening deep in the bowels of the Microsoft machine. Here's an example, a delightfully jargon-ridden job advertisement for the “Linux and Open Office Compete Lead, US Subsidiary (CSI Lead)”:

If you’re looking for a new role where you’ll focus on one of the biggest issues that is top of mind for KT and Steve B in “Compete”, build a complete left to right understanding of the subsidiary, have a large amount of executive exposure, build and manage the activities of a v-team of 13 district Linux& Open Office Compete Leads, and develop a broad set of marketing skills and report to a management team committed to development and recognized for high WHI this is the position for you!

Once you've got past the entertaining “top of mind” and “complete left to right understanding” phraseology, this reveals something incredibly important about the current thinking at Microsoft: that OpenOffice.org now figures almost as largely in the competitive landscape as does GNU/Linux, and the fact there are no less than *13* “district Linux and Open Office Compete Leads” focussing on what is described as "one of the biggest issues" for no less a person than Steve Ballmer.

[...]

Free software projects need to bear this in mind when Redmond comes knocking on their doors, and tries to suggest that it would be mutually beneficial for them to work together. The intent is for that benefit to flow one way, and one way only, as this job advertisement makes clear.


Moody takes a particularly gentle angle on that, choosing to show that Microsoft is afraid of OpenOffice.org. Well, of course it's afraid. It was almost a decade ago that Bill Gates considered using patents against it and recently we saw Microsoft leaning on Sun [1, 2], potentially in order to step on this important asset. Microsoft is a highly monopolistic company and the fact that it assigns teams for the single task of attacking the very existence of competition (as opposed to improving its own products) is not news.

“Ballmer, Gates and other seniors like Ayala should be brought to trial over this; they are violating competition rules and are thus breaking the law.”Let us remember how Microsoft created a whole "taskforce" to take GNU/Linux off the shelves at Wal-Mart. Ballmer, Gates and other seniors like Ayala should be brought to trial over this; they are violating competition rules and are thus breaking the law. The European Commission has already looked into it (cursory glance), but didn't go far enough. Finding out who "steps out of line" and then attacking instances of the competition is like a Stalinist totality; it is with this type of approach that industry can end up as groups of thugs rather than innovators. Last week we saw allegations that Microsoft had paid $500,000,000 for Verizon to remove Google. That's not competition.

Last night we found the following message, titled "Paid evangelism" (euphemism for shilling). It says:

I know several Microsoft paid evangelists. They always find a time to talk about how good is Windows 7 and so on. Taking a beer with their friends is also a good time.

They are very happy of being paid to do such tasks, because it is hard to measure productivity :) They selves laugh :)

I would love have a job as that! Easy money :)


"Sad world we live in where people are wanting to be paid for spreading lies," said our reader Goblin last night. Cubezzz said that "it's really just ignorance." Apple by the way is not much better. One of the people there who is behind "evangelism" recently admitted that he pays people to use Twitter on his behalf (pretending that it's him). Ethics are not a priority to these people.

Thugs

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