01.02.08

Watching the Microsoft Money at Play

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Videos, Windows at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Get me into that and goddam, we’ll make so much money!

–Bill Gates, Microsoft (source)

Have a look at the following footage.

Here is the second part of this.

We’re afraid that providing (actually producing) an Ogg Theora version isn’t quite possible here due to copyrights.

”…the Gates Foundation is being (mis)used to buy media companies which then serve Gates and Microsoft.“We covered issues that are associated with the Gates Foundation several times in the past because they cannot be separated from issues that BoycottNovell investigates. This includes effects on media bias. In short, to give you just the gist of the story, the Gates Foundation is being (mis)used to buy media companies which then serve Gates and Microsoft.

We have discussed this issue privately with a person who is knowledgeable in this area and here are some insights that we wish to share publicly. Asked about the video, the person whom we spoke had the following to say:

It’s noteworthy that a couple of the comments attached to each of these videos are supposedly from different users, but the content of these comments is identical. There is also an observant comment which says that the primary reason for the “Gates Foundation” is as a tax shelter for his investments. I would add that the charitable cause and associated good press are only benefits on the side. The observant comment was rated negatively by someone and it has a rating of “-1″.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Microsoft and their ilk have made use of astro-turfers and shills since at least the ’90′s. It started with some “friendly” contacts in the press who were either hypnotised by Gates, Microsoft and their success or just looking for a piece of their advertising money. This expanded to full-blown astro-turfing during the time of the US DOJ vs. Microsoft case.

Asked about whether we should include such material in boycottnovell.com (we were not going to because it is sensitive subject), he remarks:

That’s definitely a borderline case but it’s defencible if you consider that the Gates Foundation’s conduct is a reflection of that of Microsoft. It’s even more defencible if you consider that the Gates Foundation actively helps Microsoft. Frankly, those videos are disappointing but not surprising. Both of these organisations present superficially good images but, when one digs deeper, one finds that they are both amoral and centred on acquiring ever more wealth and power for their heads.

…Further, I seem to recall that, when Gates was the richest man in the world, he said in self-defence that he planned to eventually give away his entire wealth. I wonder if the Gates Foundation is helping him to do that and his wealth is indeed decreasing.

This is merely a integral part of the game which Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are playing (the taxing shell game). It’s a win-win situation to them, but people shouldn’t be as foolish as Bill and Warren need them to be (paraphrasing Groklaw here).

The person whom we spoke to did some further work looking at this. He came up with some conclusive assessment of the Foundation’s goal and means.

A little bit of looking around found a little confirmation. I found in the Wikipedia article on the Gates Foundation that it will shut down 50 years after the death of Bill & Melinda. I’m sure that putting money into the Foundation would qualify as “giving his money away.” I await in the coming years to see Bill’s steady decline in the “richest person” rankings as he gives his money away.

But has it really happened so far? I understand that Gates is still well up in the rankings. He may still be at the top (I don’t really keep track) but, if he is no longer at the top, that may well be because Microsoft has been doing less well in recent years and he’s diversified his investments to safer, slower growth ones. If the Foundation’s endowment has grown recently, it seems to be due more to Buffett than Gates.

It’s also interesting to see in the Wikipedia article that there are some criticisms leveled at the Gates Foundation, one of which is the topic of the video you posted. It has the following to say about the LA Times article about its oil investments:

… In response, the foundation first announced a systematic review of all of its investments to determine whether it should consider divestment from some companies.[42] Later, it revoked this pledge[43] and said it would continue its current practices.[44]

In a May 4 story, the Los Angeles Times again reported a conflict between the foundation investment policies and charitable goals. [17] In this case the issue was Darfur and PetroChina, an oil company in which Gates trustee Warren Buffett …

I didn’t see another criticism that I’ve heard, which is that his donations of computers to libraries and schools are oriented towards Windows. For example, see the following page on “getting technical support for Gates Foundation library computers”. I don’t see Macintosh or Linux systems mentioned there — only Windows systems.

Also of interest, here is a recent article which indicates that the Foundation increases its investments in companies that cause harm.

The foundation made moves in other sectors during Q3, as well, adding shares in Caterpillar and Canadian National Railway, while maintaining stakes in energy giants Exxon Mobil and BP.

Going further back in time, here is the Los Angeles Times article and here is the Foundation’s refusal to review its investment protfolio.

…the Gates Foundation took down their public statement on this and replaced it with a significantly altered version which seems to say that investing responsibly would just be too complex for them and that they need to focus on their core mission: ‘There are dozens of factors that could be considered, almost all of which are outside the foundation’s areas of expertise. The issues involved are quite complex…

Should such complications receive wider media coverage?

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/01/02/the-money-question-influence/

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