Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft and the Publishing Industry as Inseparable

"DRM is the future."

--Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO



Summary: A look at new stories which illustrate Microsoft's control of public perception using the press

Ashley Highfield, whom we previously mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], was largely responsible for the Microsoft-BBC fiasco. He was in charge and he lied a lot.



"We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users."

--Ashley Highfield



Later came the "damage control", which was costly. Highfield told Groklaw that his foolish Microsoft/DRM move at the BBC should not be part of the future, but in this new article from The Guardian -- now that he left the BBC and joined Microsoft -- Highfield spreads propaganda terms like "piracy" and also deals a low blow to Google, which is his competitor that Microsoft could not compete with [1, 2].

Highfield announced he was leaving the BBC in April last year to join the ill-fated Project Kangaroo. Less than two months later it emerged that the BBC's annual digital budget managed by his division, future media and technology, had suffered a €£35.8m blowout in the year to the end of March 2008. This represented a 48% increase on the original budget set at €£74.2m. Officially, most of this extra €£36m was judged to be a "misallocation of general overheads and costs from other budgets", with just €£3.5m considered to be actual overspend. However, the BBC Trust lambasted the corporation's executives for "poor financial accountability" and a lack of management control.

[...]

For Highfield, pushing TV companies to embrace the lessons of the internet is pointless without protecting their content to allow monetisation. "Most popular YouTube content is based on TV programming in bite-sized portions," he says. "Most broadcasters and producers are not getting revenue from that content.


Why is The Guardian letting Microsoft grab the microphone like this? Microsoft's press/channel control (gaining influence/ownership of more news Web sites as of late [1, 2, 3]) is a truly troublesome trend. Here is Microsoft using an NDA embargo only to see it backfiring. The UK-based Inquirer reports and then corrects as follows (only yesterday):

Play.com breaks Microsoft's NDA embargo



[...]

Update: It now appears Microsoft was at fault for getting Play.com in trouble. Vole central dispatched the advert to the online retailer without telling them to keep schtum until September 9th, according to a Play.com spokesperson.


So, the press falsely accuses Play.com because of Microsoft's very own incompetence -- failing to police coverage properly. We've already seen how Microsoft polices coverage at The Inquirer too.

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