01.03.08

Dear BBC, Shame on You

Posted in Deception, Europe, FUD, Microsoft at 2:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fool us once, shame on you; fool us for a whole year, shame on us taxpayers

As part of a continued trend at the BBC, which is tax-funded, as well as the media at large [1, 2, 3], it is saddening to see this:

THE BBC is inviting its readers to ask Vole supremo Bill Gates questions.

This has to be seen in context, along with recent developments. The news above is no ‘smoking gun’ in its right. For those who have not followed this saga, it is worth mentioning again that the BBC succumbed to the pressure of Microsoft after those two made a deal. The BBC not only delivers Microsoft’s perspective of the news and gives Microsoft some placements and free columns, but it also acts as an agent of monopolisation with products like iPlayer. Adding insult to injury, the BBC was caught spreading GNU/Linux FUD. This includes claims that only hundreds of Linux-using Brits visit the BBC Web site, which turned out to be a lie of unbelievable proportions.

”It’s just like putting trophies and medals up for sale.“This is a worrisome trend. We live in a world where one can simply buy positive and seemingly-independent publicity. This needs to be stopped. Only a week ago we saw a so-called 'analyst' praising Microsoft twice. It was Frost & Sullivan, which is somewhat of a joke.

It’s just like putting trophies and medals up for sale. Microsoft, which does business with Frost & Sullivan, ‘acquired’ two such medals, where medals is a reference to a quote whose proper attribution I cannot remember. It talks about high society and royals throwing a party with wine, gifts and medals. They exchange awards among themselves to show each other how important they are and then strut around town with objects that symbolize pseudo or non-existent achievements.

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16 Comments

  1. Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog) said,

    January 3, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Gravatar

    If people are interested in the BBC’s perspective on these inaccurate allegations about its relationship with Microsoft they can read Ashley Highfield’s recent interview in Groklaw.

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071118205358171

    see also this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/ashley_highfield/

    Regarding the question of Linus users Ashley has apologised for this mistake here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2007/11/open_standards.html

  2. alphadog said,

    January 3, 2008 at 4:19 pm

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    “We live in a world where one can simply buy positive and seemingly-independent publicity.”

    Let’s face it, thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet, we also live in a world where more and more people can be disabused of such false advertising. You, and all bloggers, wouldn’t have a personal soapbox with such widespread effect ten years ago.

    Amen to that.

    - alphadog

  3. Mark Kent said,

    January 4, 2008 at 3:02 am

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    I would be interested in the BBC’s justification for spending over 100 million pounds on a skin for Microsoft’s proprietary Silverlight player, something which will never run on any platform other than Windows Vista with Microsoft’s IE, in an environment where the fastest growing categories of user device are ultra-mobile and non-Windows based, and where there are perfectly suitable alternatives which are multi-platform, which even support DRM, such as the Helix player.
    Further, the BBC’s own research department developed the Dirac codec for the specific purpose of avoiding paying licence-fees to a third-party – why is it now okay to pay 3rd parties with my licence-fee cash?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 4, 2008 at 3:13 am

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    I suspect that Mr. Reynold felt the need to come here with plenty of hot URLs because there is a lot of scrutiny that his department comes under, and rightly so.

    I have read literally hundreds of articles and blog items about iPlayer and related writings on the BBC’s online media ambition. Every time I read something like that, repulsion and anger occupy the mind. I fail to see how a department can so foolishly become the vassal of a convicted monopoly abuser, let alone take pride in this partnership with Microsoft which may be reciprocal as far as the BBC and Microsoft are concerned. What about the taxpayer? The BBC is an agent for the customer, but it has in turn become an agent for Microsoft. Transitively, taxpayers now have Microsoft as their agent. This is outrageous and I fear that if the BBC can fall victim to this scam, there is little hope for other (private) media companies. I truly hope that the European Commission, which looks closely at this case, will have all the necessary information on the subject.

  5. Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog) said,

    January 6, 2008 at 4:53 pm

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    Regarding Silverlight here is a quote from the Groklaw interview from Ashley Highfield I linked to:

    “…I think most people might have been expecting us to go forward with the Microsoft Silverlight solution, and in fact our recent announcement of using the Adobe suite of products for streaming, I hope, begins to show people that we absolutely haven’t recruited people to sort of strengthen a in-built bias to use Microsoft tools, because that is just not the case.”

    I would be interested to know where this figure of £100 million comes from? Do you have any links or sources?

  6. Lukas said,

    January 6, 2008 at 8:36 pm

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    From what I’ve seen, whenever these people (where Roy is the ringleader and Mark Kent, TaQ and Slated are his posse afaict) are asked for proof to back up their allegations, they respond with “I saw it somewhere, I swear!” or they link to another site with similar unsupported claims as if to say “we aren’t the only ones who are making this claim, so it /must/ be true!”

    For example, I’ve asked several times for proof of Roy’s claim that Silverlight has OS-specific features and he has yet to be able to back it up with any sort of evidence other than “I saw it somewhere, I swear!”

    I’ve tried googling for any info (accurate or not) that claims this and I have yet to find any.

    There are probably plenty of other examples of this type of treachery on this site, but I’m not qualified nor interested in researching/debating all of Roy’s claims – the only reason I’ve even bothered to respond to Roy’s false Silverlight/Moonlight claims are because I was tasked with researching it a bit for my company and so have discovered that Roy’s claims are clueless at best or outright lies meant for slander at worst.

    The first time I asked Roy to back up his claims, I thought “maybe I missed something” but seeing as how he’s never actually able to back up his claims with actual proof, I’ve come to think that there’s a good chance that Roy is making these false claims on purpose in order to discredit Mono/Moonlight and that has made me start to question Roy’s objectivity with regards to everything else posted on this site.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 6, 2008 at 8:48 pm

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    I can’t speak for other people (and there is no posse), but here is some information about the figures.

    The BBC have developed the “iPlayer” at a cost to the BBC license fee payer of £130 Million and rising.

    Here is more.

    We have 1500 fliers to distribute, that focus on the key issue with the iPlayer, and why $130 Million and 4 years of development don’t get you much when you choose Microsoft DRM.

    About Silverlight, I don’t know what the poster is referring to (there is no ‘skin’), but the Guardian said that the BBC was assessing Silverlight for its Web site about 6 months ago. Here, I’ve just found the link.

    The BBC has already experimented with Silverlight and says it is looking for an “embedded media solution”.

    The Register says more.

    The twin elephants in the meeting room will be Microsoft’s Silverlight and PlayReady.

    If Mr. Reylonds wants to challenge this information, he ought to take this dispute over to the sources, not this Web site.

  8. 55v435v said,

    January 7, 2008 at 5:11 am

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    Roy’s answer is the best example ot the tactics Lukas described in his post: evade direct questions, link to some unrelated website, making similarly unproven claims in the same spirit.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known (eet), pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 7, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Gravatar

    didn’t escape the question and it’s clear that many features will only be available for Windows (it’s just like .NET versus Mono). Only days ago:

    ..but the linux version is not released yet (and will support only SL 1.1 2.0),..

    Golly! Linux is already ‘behind’. Reject Silverlight while you can, for the same reasons OOXML is being rejected. If you let Microsoft take the lead, it will control who is ahead and whose access is declined. Just take a lesson from ActiveX controls and IE-only Web sites.

    I still insist that I read somewhere (which was a reliable source) that Silverlight will work better in Windows/Vista. Whether it was a question of compatibility of performance is a separate matter.

  10. 454342 said,

    January 7, 2008 at 8:18 am

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    ..and the same FUD from Roy again. (And also trying to stop me from posting again by blocking my IP.)

    Quote in CONTEXT: “Silverlight DO works on Linux and Firefox… but the linux version is not released yet (and will support only SL 1.1 2.0)”

    All that isn’t supported in Silverlight (yet) is WPF – and this was not because of M$ but because of priorization. This hasn’t exactly been news nor a secret, either…

    “…I still insist that I read somewhere (which was a reliable source) that Silverlight will work better in Windows/Vista.”
    Again “I read somewhere…” Is this the kind of quotes that you would get away with in any other sector of life? No, you wouldn’t even get away with it in a tabloid. What makes you think you can get away with it when trying to discredit Silverlight?

    Roy, you troll. And that you claim to be ‘enthusiastic about Linux’ doesn’t make it any better.

    And that you block my IP anytime I post shows you fear of the truth. Your attempts at censorship force me to use proxies and arbitrary user-names each time I post – and it makes you look weak and afraid.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known (eet), pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  11. 454342 said,

    January 7, 2008 at 8:21 am

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    But go ahead adding silly comments below my posts; it is you who looks more ridiculous each time you do that. ^_^

    Roy, the Linux community is ashamed of you. You are the cousin we hide in the attic.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known (eet), pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  12. Jeremy said,

    January 9, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Gravatar

    I encountered my first Silverlight site today. It was a Microsoft page of course (I was at work and was looking for some information that was M$ related). It required me to download and install Silverlight before the I could see any page at all. My response was, “I don’t think so”, and I closed the tab. I will never use Silverlight. We’ve all been down that road, we know where it leads.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Gravatar

    “We’re disheartened because Microsoft helped W3C develop the very standards that they’ve failed to implement in their browser. We’re also dismayed to see Microsoft continue adding proprietary extensions to these standards when support for the essentials remains unfinished.”

    –George Olsen, Web Standards Project

  14. Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog) said,

    January 12, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Gravatar

    The BBC’s estimate of the costs of the iPlayer (as revealed to the Select Committee last week) is £20 million.

  15. Mark Kent said,

    January 17, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Gravatar

    The BBC’s estimate of the cost, from the Director General was:
    More than 20 Million Pounds, but guess what, he couldn’t say how much more! He new why he was going, he’s the Director General, and yet is unable to say whether the cost is 1,000 Million pounds, 500 Million pounds, 200 million pounds, or the figure which has been around for some time, 100 million pounds. All he could say was that it was *more* than 20 million pounds. We *know* it was more than 20 million, and apparently, so does the DG. The spin on this will never end.
    By the way, why are US-based trolls posting on this issue? They pay no licence fee to the BBC, so it’s not their money which is being so catastrophically wasted on a skin for proprietary Microsoft technology, which will never work on anything other than Windows, and will certainly never work on mobile devices effectively. Anyone who says “that’s my 2 cents” is rather giving away their allegience, to a foreign company, which has been in receipt of approximately 100 Million pounds worth of licence-fee cash, I would say.

  16. Slated said,

    January 30, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Gravatar

    @ Nick Reynolds

    Maybe if the BBC’s Chief Financial Officer, Zarin Patel, could come up with something less vague than; “I don’t have the figures to hand, but I believe it was something in the region of twenty million all told, over the last two or three years.” [1], then we could end all the speculation.

    The BBC is publicly accountable to its license fee payers, so how about some public accountability for a change, in the form a published statement of account specifically detailing what that money was spent on, and precisely who was paid.

    In particular, I’d be interested to know exactly how much Microsoft received from the BBC for their encumbered; non-interoperable solution, and any other payments that were made to them in the course of this fiasco.

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