01.30.08

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10 Questions to a Microsoft-corrupted BBC

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Finance, Microsoft at 12:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The next post will delve into some details about the dumping techniques used by Microsoft to suppress competition, along with some new shocking examples.

In the mean time, the BBC, which threw taxpayers' money at Microsoft's direction, has many problems and questions to address:

  1. Paying £120 million for Silverlight/iPlayer with < 400,000 users was not a criminal waste of taxpayer money.
  2. The BBC’s DG should provide a watertight reason for not knowing the costs of the Silverlight/iPlayer other than “more than £20 millions” when answering questions in parliament.
  3. The BBC’s ex-Microsoft staff should demonstrate why there was never a tender for the vast sums of money being spent – this is a requirement by EU law, and even if the figure is closer to £20 million than £100 million, the law has clearly been broken.
  4. The BBC should explain why it refused to comply with the requests from the OSC’s representatives for multi-platform players unless the EU forced it to.
  5. The BBC should explain why the adobe-flash version of iPlayer was developed and deployed in a few weeks, at negligible cost, and has already got a much greater user-base.
  6. The BBC should explain why it was launching a P2P system with no means for customers to control the actions of their PCs, possibly resulting in ISPs needing to take significant action.
  7. The BBC should explain why its news department had no coverage at all of the protests regarding its Silverlight/iPlayer.
  8. The BBC should explain how it will seek recovery of the money spent with Microsoft.
  9. The BBC should explain why it is now claimed that the flash version of iPlayer was not initially part of the plan, and yet MPs were told otherwise by the DG.
  10. The BBC should explain why their content providers “intractable” demands for DRM “protection” mysteriously no longer apply, now that they’re using Flash streaming. For that matter, they should explain why such “protection” should have been deemed mandatory anyway, when that same content is already broadcast en clair.

BBC, you have many questions to answer. Failing to address them would leave you in a peculiar position.

We could certainly go further and question the integrity of the BBC’s coverage. The BBC has recently let Bill Gates publish his own self-promotional columns while the highly-successful Linux-powered laptop received this article where the Asus Eee PC is described only as “a lightweight machine, which can run Windows XP”, with no mention of Linux whatsoever, despite the fact that Linux is the default OS shipped with the unit. Is the BBC encouraging ‘piracy’ of Windows? Does it have some terms forbidding the mention of “Linux”?

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2 Comments

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

    January 30, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Gravatar

    I can answer question 1. The BBC has not spent any money on Microsoft Silverlight as we are not using it. See Ashley Higfield’s Growlaw interview:

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

    The correct figures for the cost of the iPlayer are here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/01/interesting_stuff_180108.html

  2. Slated said,

    January 30, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Gravatar

    [Sorry for the X-Posted comment, I just wish to ensure it get's read]

    @ 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.”, 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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