01.19.09

How Microsoft May Deal with European Antitrust: Mouthpieces

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, FUD, Microsoft at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post

EDGI - Microsoft - talking points

Source: Microsoft internal memo [PDF], labeled “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL”

SEVERAL YEARS ago Wired Magazine published the following article:

The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.

“Bizniz® as usual for Microsoft,” says Slated. We wish to present his message regarding this incident because Microsoft is again under fire from the authorities, so it’s likely to be using similar tactics. According to this new article from Roughly Drafted, it currently uses talking points from Dan Lyons and Paul Thurrott:

Two notorious Microsoft shills, Dan Lyons and Paul Thurrott, have sunk to new lows of historical revisionism order to decry that “the media” is conspiring to uncritically fawn over a company other than the one they have uncritically fawned over as paid flacks over the last decade. They’re wrong, here’s why.

Below is the take of Slated on this former issue about Microsoft employees battling the government anonymously (or via pressure groups [1, 2]):


Note the carefully constructed and wholly evasive response, by Microsoft’s hired mouthpiece, Heidi Rothhauser of Waggner Edstrom:

“Microsoft has never had an employee by the name of Michelle Bradley,”

“Note that “not aware” is not synonymous with “does not exist”.”Well naturally, after all, Microsoft’s shills have been instructed to “use fictional names”.

“We are not aware of any memos or verbal directives of this nature.”

Note that “not aware” is not synonymous with “does not exist”.

“It is against Microsoft policy for any employee to misrepresent him or herself by email or any other means.”

Again, this carefully evades the truth. I’m quite prepared to believe that such a policy really does exist (after all Sweaty needs something to show the auditors), but it’s likely this policy document is currently being used as an “Out of Order” notice in a disused toilet somewhere at Redmond HQ. The “official line” and “working practises” are not necessarily the same, and given ‘s documented history of hired shills (i.e. “Technology Evangelists”), it’s pretty obvious this “policy” is just a sham.

Here’s the truth that Waggner Edstrom won’t tell you:

Here’s what happened. In January of this year, a newcomer popped up in
the Canopus forum named Steve Barkto. He said he was from Oklahoma City
and had been an IBM customer for seven years. He wasted little time
before attacking IBM, Dave Whittle, and your fearless reporter over
issues we had previously discussed with Rick Segal.

This Bartko character had a writing style which was so similar to that
of Rick Segal’s that it immediately caught my eye. In fact, I responded
to his first message to me by asking if he were Segal in drag. Nobody
(including myself) took my question seriously. At least not at first.

Then one of the forum Sysop’s noted that instead of calling from
Oklahoma City, where he claimed to be from, Bartko’s calls were
originating from the node closest to Microsoft’s headquarters in
Redmond, Washington. This led Will Zachmann, who ‘owns’ the forum and is
Wizop there, to look more closely.

What he found was incredible: Barkto’s account was in fact owned by
Microsoft. It had been opened with a corporate credit card belonging to
Rick Segal. Will sent a letter to the Microsoft Board of Directors
demanding an investigation and explanation, but no explanation has ever
been forthcoming.

And, of course, this:

Effective Evangelism
James Plamondon, Technical Evangelist

[...]

Our mission is to establish Microsoft’s platforms as the de facto
standards throughout the computer industry…. Working behind the scenes
to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of
the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent”
analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning
the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should
write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate
stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the
new technology, available for just $200/hour).

Apropos:

“Between 1992 and 2000, I was a Technology Evangelist (TE) with
Microsoft, where I was widely considered to be its leading TE theorist
and practitioner. For example, in the late 1990′s, I was the only
Microsoft employee to design and lead TE training seminars that all of
Microsoft’s newly-hired TE’s were required to attend.” ~ James Plamondon

So, which one of these two Microsoft representatives is lying (“it is against Microsoft policy for any employee to misrepresent him or herself by email or any other means”) … Microsoft’s hired PR firm, or their ex-head of Technology Evangelism?

Hmmm…

Note also that if they do astroturf for Microsoft, then they’re violating more than just company policy. In the EU they’ll be breaking the law:

The European Union’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (PDF),
enacted in May, 2005, already bars companies from “falsely claiming or
creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes
relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely
representing oneself as a consumer”

And (from that same page):

“Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make
anonymous posting online illegal. The bill would require anyone who
contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail
address with that site. Their full name would be used anytime a comment
is posted.

If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if
someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be
five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for
each offense after that.”

Soon nowhere will be safe for Microsoft’s shills.

[Ed: Also see coverage here]

This is why I’m so sceptical when (supposedly) ordinary Microsoft staff protest “but we’re not evil!”. Like this guy here, Charles Carmine, self-described “spiritual advisor to Channel 9″ [*] (transcript of minute 23):

So I guess, you know, one of the things that I find interesting is, is,
you know, what is it about Microsoft, I mean you mentioned, Miguel, that
your friends called you, like they said “gee, you can’t do that, it’s
Microsoft, man”? I get the same sort of vibe from people, you know, when
I say that I work for Microsoft, that they’re immediately like “oh
man!”, you know, and these are, again these are developer friends of
mine that don’t work on our stack, which, and they’re good friends of
mine. So what is it about the community out there, that you’re
definitely, you /know/ these people, I mean why are we so evil? That’s
my question, why are we so evil?

Answer: See above.

If Microsoft staff follow these off-the-record “verbal” memos, which naturally “don’t exist” because they are “against Microsoft policy”, then at the very least they are complicit in Microsoft’s “evil”, if not actually supportive of it. IMHO the two acts are indistinguishable, both in terms of morality and outcome. So clearly this “evil” extends far beyond the boardroom. That goes for de Icaza and friends, just as much as any “official” Microsoft employee.

_____
[*] Referred to:

C9 started as a grass roots effort on a team of evangelists. It got
going with some help of a lot of people. Now that it is up and moving,
some people move on to new jobs and others come in and join us.

Charles and Scoble are the driving forces behind the day to day. You
have to love their dedication to this site. We love to hear what we can
do better, so keep the feedback coming.

As for me being a “kingpin” ?

Carmine … I prefer “spiritual advisor to Channel 9″

PS: Carmine’s constant “interesting, interesting” responses, delivered in a tone of perplexity and scepticism, to de Icaza’s crystal-clear definition of Open Source and Free Software, as if the concept of Freedom was completely alien to him (Carmine), is both frightening and hysterical. It’s right at the start of that video. I recommend you take another look, and give yourself a good laugh (or the shivers, whichever).

Also check out the bit (a few minutes later) where Carmine tries to redefine “open source” (“we recently open sourced the base-class libraries”), and later on protests (paraphrased) “Sometimes … you’ve got IP. It’s mine, it’s mine, I don’t want it to be yours. It’s my IP.”

LOL!

Want a bib with that dummy, Carmine?

Also note the sly little jibe he slipped in, after de Icaza’s protracted explanation of FOSS, spelled out in words of one syllable for Carmine’s benefit:

de Icaza: “…you are in control” Carmine: “Should you care to”

IOW in Carmine’s limited imagination, the only possible reason for the existence of Free Software, is to benefit those “few” with the necessary programming skills to capitalise on it. This is someone who apparently has no concept of the principle of Freedom, or principles in general. If someone asked him to vote for the reintroduction of legalised slavery, I wonder if he’d vote “yes” based purely on the fact that there was no one waving a banner and actually protesting against it outside his building (“Nobody cares to protest against slavery today, therefore, you know, I’ll, like, vote ‘yeah’ on this form thingy”).

It’s at times like this that I’m reminded of one of PK’s sigs:

“You’re not my type. For that matter, you’re not even my species”

What species is Microsoft?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/01/19/european-antitrust-vs-mouthpieces/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

3 Comments

  1. amd-linux said,

    January 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Gravatar

    Sometimes I think MS is just an orchestrated entertainment vehicle for us bored geeks, just like SCO was.

    I mean, please, this worse than a conspiracy novel from Tom Clancy. Unfortunately, the results are real…..

    I wonder why there are no law enforcment agencies in the US which step up and on the toes of Ballmer and Gates?

    Since the US authorities even feel responsible to tell us how we do business here in Europe, fining companies like Siemens for alleged bribery, I wonder why they are so blind with Microsoft?

    I hope the new government will have the balls to finally stop this ridiculous mafiaesque MS game – but from what I heard, they are already on the payroll of MS (Silverlight, donations for the inauguration).

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 19, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Gravatar

    Some Linux backers upset about selection of Silverlight to stream Obama inauguration events

    “Some”?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Gravatar

    This is now confirmed:

    Belkin boss ‘extremely sorry’ for cash-for-good-reviews plan

    According to an open letter from Belkin big cheese Mark Reynoso, the “unethical practice” was conducted by “one of our employees”, who offered cash in exchange for good reviews.

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/01/20/belkin_prez_apologises/

    The CEO tried to deny it earlier. IOW, he lied to the public!

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, June 12, 2021



  2. Virtual Injustice -- Part 5: Benoît's “Friends” in Budapest

    "Battistelli went to considerable lengths to secure the support of the Hungarian delegation."



  3. Links 13/6/2021: KDE Frameworks 5.83.0 and helloSystem 0.5

    Links for the day



  4. The Story of Techrights, in Banners...

    A look back at site banners from 2006-2021; they help illuminate or show our changing focus over the years



  5. With KDE Plasma 5.22 Having Just Been Released It's Time to Give KDE a Try (or Move to GNU/Linux, Leveraging the Best Features of Any Operating System Out There)

    A quick recommendation of KDE based on a reasonably recent (but not latest) build; there's this myth about KDE being difficult and flaky, but for a number of decades it has been the most advanced desktop (on any operating system) and its developers managed to hide the complexity while offering users all the power they may want/need



  6. Open Letter to the FSF About Taking Control of the FSF's (and GNU's) IRC Channels

    The FSF should have seized the opportunity, in light of self-harming IRC infighting (instability and unpredictability), to create its own IRC network and then help this new (or "GNU") network flourish



  7. EU Already Captured by -- and Lying for -- Corrupt EPO Officials, Team UPC, and Lobbyists of Multinational Corporations

    12 pages of lies; is the European Parliament reduced to a mere marionette of corrupt officials who run the EPO into the ground?



  8. [Meme] Virtual Code of Conduct (ViCoC)

    Cheapening of basic concepts and principles like "right to be heard" or "access to justice" is an international trend; we need to push back in the direction of justice, not fake 'innovation' or 'tech' (where it clearly does not belong)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 11, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, June 11, 2021



  10. Virtual Injustice -- Part 4: Mihály Ficsor, the EPO's Hungarian “Fixer”

    One key operative of António Campinos, who is fiercely in favour of software patents, has quite a colourful past and background



  11. Conversation With Richard Stallman in Brazil, May 31st 2021

    At the end of last month Richard Stallman had a 2-hour (and beyond, considering some of the afterthoughts) conversation, which is now available online



  12. Links 11/6/2021: Nginx Rising and SteamPal Rumours

    Links for the day



  13. New Introduction at Gemini

    As part of ongoing improvements to our capsule we have a new introductory text, reproduced below



  14. Links 11/6/2021: A Torvalds COVID Rant and RISC-V Risk of Takeover

    Links for the day



  15. Petition Against Richard Stallman Continues Losing Signatures, Open Letter of Support Reaches 6,750 Signatures

    The latest (if not last) person to garden the anti-RMS petition is an IBM employee. As has been the case for months. Another removal. IBM has a grudge against GNU's founder and by extension the FSF (they want the FSF to be a slave of IBM, just like the Linux Foundation is; we last covered this a day ago). “An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation” has meanwhile reached 6,750 signatures and that number grows by about 50 every 3-4 weeks, so it’s reasonable to expect 7,000 by year’s end. The anti-RMS petition may fall below 3,000.



  16. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 10, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 10, 2021



  17. Virtual Injustice -- Part 3: All the President's Men…

    Benoît Battistelli‘s army of minions, combined with former colleagues of António Campinos, team up to participate in the legal fudge of the EPO



  18. EPO ‘ViCo’ Prior Art (or ViCo Going Back to the 1980s)

    A previous post (video from yesterday) gave examples of prior art from the early/ier 1990s, debunking the EPO’s foolish and irrational embrace of this notion that so-called ‘ViCo’ is so absolutely incredible (we’ve kept talking, e.g. in many prior videos, about how the only real ‘innovation’ was connection speeds); MinceR recalls that “when UMTS (“3G”) was new, video calls on mobile was the feature that was supposed to sell the technology” and in the mid-80s you could already see who you spoke to (almost) in real time



  19. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Needs to Get Its Act Together on the EPO's GDPR Violations

    EU authorities aren't keeping abreast of EPO abuses; as a result, people's basic rights and fundamental sense of dignity erode, with impunity resulting in passage of massive piles of data to foreign corporations and governments that engage in industrial and political espionage



  20. Links 10/6/2021: Raspberry Digital Signage 15.0, NVIDIA Driver 470

    Links for the day



  21. EPO 'ViCo' Prior Art (~30 Years Ago): Barely Innovative at All

    Debunking the EPO‘s Big Lie that ViCo is some sort of incredible and innovative thing that must therefore be embraced fully; the missing ingredient was fast network connections, so there’s no excuse for EPO claiming that we must embrace such stuff irrespective of the law, constitutions etc.



  22. Improvements in the Techrights Gemini Capsule

    Further improvements are being made to our Gemini capsule, which contains all the latest stories sans the graphics; it now has a total of 35,820 pages



  23. Linux Foundation is a Foundation of Mass Surveillance

    Whatever the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation touches turns to dust; they’re already killed the site known as Linux.com and now they scatter the “Linux” brand to the wind (in pursuit of misbranding cash)



  24. [Meme] Lord Justice Sir

    Inspired by an old Internet joke, we present the state of EPO 'justice'



  25. The EPO's Lack of Objective Legal System is No Laughing Matter

    The array of abuses committed by António Campinos and his EPO minions (people who meddle in legal affairs) is mentioned in this new video; we focus on what was shown this morning, i.e. in Part 2 of an ongoing series (to last two more weeks)



  26. Virtual Injustice -- Part 2: The ViCo Oral Proceedings of 28 May 2021

    More than half a day of theatrics and stonewalling by the EBA may have done a damage so enormous to the EBA's credibility that irrespective of the final outcome the case is already seen as compromised



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 09, 2021



  28. Links 10/6/2021: KDE Gear 21.08 Schedule, Librem 5 USA Supply Chain Security

    Links for the day



  29. Linux: Bugs Welcome

    With UEFI ‘secure boot’ (aka ‘wontboot’ [1, 2]) and bad BIOS, are we just accepting malicious ‘features’ and inherently bad design?



  30. Links 9/6/2021: Krita 4.4.5 and Mabox Linux 21.06 Geralt

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts