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Recommended Readings: OLPC and Microsoft’s Financial Games

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, OLPC at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OLPC was left devastated by the corruption against it. Attempts to breathe life back into this project after the systematic sabotage have just got Ivan spilling the beans.

OLPC should be philosophically pure about its own machines. Being a non-profit that leverages goodwill from a tremendous number of community volunteers for its success and whose core mission is one of social betterment, it has a great deal of social responsibility. It should not become a vehicle for creating economic incentives for a particular vendor. It should not believe the nonsense about Windows being a requirement for business after the children grow up. Windows is a requirement because enough people grew up with it, not the other way around. If OLPC made a billion people grow up with Linux, Linux would be just dandy for business. And OLPC shouldn’t make its sole OS one that cripples the very hardware that supposedly set the project’s laptops apart: released versions of Windows can neither make good use of the XO power management, nor its full mesh or advanced display capabilities.

Read on because it’s an eye-opener. In other news, Naked Emperor Microsoft has Robert Cringely spilling some beans too.

This has everything to do with business and nothing at all to do with technology. Wearing my business reporter’s fedora, then, I’ll point you back a week or so to Microsoft’s most recent earnings announcement, which disappointed Wall Street. This is significant because it is hard to find a Wall Street analyst who remembers the last time Microsoft’s earnings were disappointing. It simply doesn’t happen. That’s because Microsoft has a myriad of tools for adjusting the numbers to look just right.

More about this here and here. Remember that Microsoft lost about 30 billion dollars in value after the Yahoo bid.

These are the truths you hardly find in the media, which typically has a separate agenda.

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  1. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 6:45 am


    I’m not convinced Microsoft “lost” $30B. “Cash balance” isn’t the same as “value”.

    If you want to look at value, look at price/earnings ratio or market cap. or something.

    The fact Microsoft’s cash balance went down is pretty easily explainable, e.g. buying Aquantive. Most people would not categorize acquisition as “loss”.

    To put this into perspective, Merrill Lynch wrote off almost $30B which helped trigger the global crisis in credit over sub-prime mortgages and is cutting thousands of jobs:


    Believe me, if Microsoft had made a loss anything like $30B, it definitely would not have been “ignored” in the media.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 6:58 am


    It was not ignored by the media. It was in the Wall Street Journal.

    To quote a recent response to it from a friend (a tad blunt):


    Welcome to the wacky world of trading, where a company’s perceived value
    is based on expectation, and that expectation can be manipulated with
    bullshit like Vapourware; dumping; profit forecasts based on wildly
    speculative (or downright dishonest) sales figures; buffering sales with
    “channel” partners (in crime); just the merest hint of a takeover;
    discrediting and sabotaging the competition; employing spin-doctors to
    artificially “sell” the idea that the company is thriving, through the
    use of marketing gobbledygook; or just plain old-fashioned lying through
    one’s teeth about a company’s future direction.

    That manipulation not only comes in many ways, but it comes from many
    places too, like right here in COLA for example. Witness how frantically
    DooFuS (in particular) flooded COLA with anti-Linux vitriol on the very
    day that the final OOXML votes were being cast. Coincidence? I think
    not. He may as well wear a badge that reads “Microsoft Shill”, it’s that
    obvious. Make no mistake, to him this is nothing personal, he’s merely
    doing his job, which is why he’s never discouraged, no matter how
    ridiculous or suspicious his behaviour, nor how decisively his vitriol
    is rebuked.

    What other possible motive could someone have for spending *years*
    sabotaging a group that exists to serve the purposes of an alternative
    to his chosen operating system? Surely he should be extolling the
    virtues of Windows in a /Windows/ group, not sleeping with the enemy.

    But that’s the way thugs and gangsters operate. They don’t play by the
    rules, they extort; threaten; bribe; manipulate; lie; attack and destroy
    to “succeed”, and then bray about it like a pack of hyenas, overwhelmed
    with “pride” in their path of destruction, too busy slavering over the
    spoils to worry about trivialities like morality. The Microsoft shills
    in this group are merely another arm of the Microsoft crime syndicate.

    And that’s exactly what Sweaty the Impaler does to further Microsoft’s
    cause, which is of course greed, so what better place to manipulate
    people than at the stock exchange, where greed blinds people against the
    menacing advances of manipulators like Ballmer.

    Basically the only difference between the stock market and the dog track
    is that, generally speaking, down at the track the dogs don’t trying to
    win by lying or ripping each other’s throats out.

    Sweaty the Impaler tried to fscking kill Google by attempting to eat
    (what he thought was) one of the weaker dogs in the race (cowards always
    attack the weak, just like hyenas), to become bigger and stronger, and
    eliminate some of the competition (typical of the “Embrace, Extend and
    Extinguish” paradigm). The ravenous punters got too excited and bet
    heavily on the Vole to win, but lost it all when Yahoo unexpectedly bit
    back, and sent the Vole whimpering back to the kennels, leaving Google
    to streak across the finish line. Poetic justice.

    That won’t stop the Vole, of course, much like the pesky lack of money
    doesn’t stop a drug addict from getting a fix. They’ll just keep mugging
    other innocent victims until they get what they want. The only way to
    “cure” that rabid dog, is to put it down.

  3. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:18 am


    Can you cite a specific WSJ story where they state that Microsoft have lost (specifically “lost”) $30B?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:28 am


    Yesterday’s early relief rally reversed, and Microsoft’s value has now fallen by more than $30 billion since it unveiled its bid for Yahoo on February 1.


    Compare with what I wrote: “Remember that Microsoft lost about 30 billion dollars in value after the Yahoo bid.”

    I was actually wrong. It was *more* than 30 billion dollar. Mea cupla. :-)

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