12.02.10

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TurboHercules Confirmed to be Funded by Microsoft to Attack GNU/Linux/IBM

Posted in Google, IBM, Microsoft at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TurboHercules

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Google and IBM antitrust actions are both linked to a campaign funded by Microsoft

THIS MORNING we wrote about Microsoft manufacturing antitrust cases against Google. At one stage Microsoft even admitted this. In some cases, companies that Microsoft uses as proxies adopt an “attack first, get the money later” approach. This means that if/when they attack, the outside observer may not yet know about a payment which was promised by Microsoft implicitly or explicitly. Only much later such a payment might be revealed, so the press coverage which comes at the time of antitrust complaints does not account for that. Quite a loophole, eh?

This is classic Microsoft and it has been done repeatedly before (it’s like SCO versus IBM). Racketeering, financial corruption and deception appear to be among Microsoft’s top ‘qualities’. Lobbying is part of it and Microsoft Florian is getting ever more exposed now that it turns out that TurboHercules — whose case against IBM Florian has been boosting so much — is paid by Microsoft (thanks to gnufreex for the pointer).

Microsoft has pumped an undisclosed sum into TurboHercules, a French outfit that seeks to undercut IBM’s mainframe business.

The cash infusion, which happened last week, comes hot on the heels of Microsoft’s orchestration of a $450m purchase of 882 patents from Novell as part of Attachmate’s acquisition of that software maker.

TurboHercules is co-headquartered in Paris, France, and Seattle, Washington. Presumably, it’s in Paris to gain the protection of its EU antitrust regulator and in Seattle to, well, be close to Microsoft.

[...]

The US Department of Justice opened up an investigation into IBM’s business practices regarding the mainframe a few weeks after TurboHercules launched, and TurboHercules filed a complaint with the European antitrust regulators in March of this year. In July, the EC opened up a formal probe into IBM’s mainframe business in the wake of the company’s eating of Platform Solutions, a provider of clone mainframes that settled its lawsuits with Big Blue in July 2008 and then agreed to be acquired by IBM for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft and a bunch of private equity firms kicked $37m into Platform Solutions back in November 2007 to foster its growth and help it pay for its legal battles with Big Blue.

The explanation of the investment from Microsoft is much the same for TurboHercules as it was for Platform Solutions.

Well, one mustn’t forget Neon and T3, which is also partly owned by Microsoft (although it turned out to be the case only after it had attacked IBM mainframes running only GNU/Linux).

Here is the coverage put together by Joab Jackson and a colleague from IDG. He says that Microsoft invests “quietly” in TurboHercules, which speaks volumes:

Continuing its low-key crusade for greater mainframe openness (or less IBM dominance of that market), Microsoft has invested an undisclosed amount of money in mainframe emulator provider TurboHercules, said the Paris company.

[...]

Another company that has received Microsoft funding, T3, has also filed an antitrust complaint against IBM in Europe. And Microsoft is a member of the Computer and Communications Industry Association trade group, which helped spark a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust probe into IBM’s mainframe market dominance last year.

[...]

Microsoft also declined to comment on the investment beyond offering a written statement: “Microsoft shares TurboHercules’ belief that there needs to be greater openness and choice for customers in the mainframe market. Customers tell us that they want greater interoperability between the mainframe and other platforms, including systems that run Windows Server. For that reason, we continue to invest in companies like TurboHercules to develop new solutions for our mutual customers.”

Microsoft issued an identical statement, down to the exact wording, to describe its investment in T3, while denying involvement in T3′s legal complaint against IBM.

Typical Microsoft. And some people still wonder, why is Microsoft being singled out as a malicious company?

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