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Microsoft Has Lobbyists and Cronies Around European Commission, Working to Shatter MySQL and Defend IE Monoculture

Swedish European Union presidency (2009)



Summary: Courtois infiltrates another area where there is a potentially-forbidden conflict of interests and Microsoft deceives the EU Commission

WOW. Microsoft never ceases to amaze with underhanded tactics and cronyism, even in European member states. Recall Microsoft's hiring of a big gun (John Vassallo) in Europe, which it needed after the OOXML corruptions that had the Commission launch a formal investigation.

Microsoft has other big guns in Europe, one of whom is Courtois. We wrote about him earlier this month in relation to previous actions that involved him, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Well, watch how incestuous things are getting in the European Commission right now. From CNN blogs:

It's a sign of the growing détente that Courtois himself, a 25-year Microsoft veteran, is currently serving as an official "ambassador" for a jamboree called the "Year of Creativity and Innovation" organized by the E.U.'s executive commission — the same body that has been taking Microsoft to task over its business practices. He will be sharing a podium in Brussels in early November with the commission's president, José-Manuel Barroso, and the other 14 ambassadors. "We're trying to be a partner with Europe," Courtois says, pointing out that Microsoft spends about $600 million on research and development in Europe, and provides thousands of jobs in the region.


The above text was written in relation to the Web browsers "war", which as far as Europe is concerned is still an antitrust issue because Opera, Mozilla, and ECIS are not happy with the Microsoft deal [1, 2].

Putting Web browsers aside for a moment, Groklaw has noticed that Microsoft and its close ally SAP are both lobbying regarding the Oracle takeover of MySQL, which is the reason the Commission leaves Sun hanging and burning .

The investigation followed lobbying by Oracle competitors including SAP AG and Microsoft Corp.


Now, here is where is gets really interesting. The other day, Groklaw alleged that Monty may be used as a 'front' for Microsoft (we know from one reader of ours that Monty censors even polite comments that are critical of Microsoft) and now comes this report from The Inquirer, which says:

Microsoft wants MySQL sold

[...]

"To make things clear, I have not ever been paid anything from Microsoft and I have no relationship with them. The Codeplex foundation is an independent organization from Microsoft; It's true that a lot of the people on it are still paid by Microsoft, but that is supposed to change soon," wrote Widenius.

Monty also expanded upon his support for Codeplex, stating

"What is interesting with the Codeplex foundation is that if it is, what Microsoft claims it is, it will make it easy for people employed by Microsoft to actively participate with Open Source. This would be a great mind set change for Microsoft and as an Open Source/Free Software advocate I want to be sure that they do it right and there is no hidden agenda in the Foundation. The reason for me to accept to be on the Codeplex Advisory board was that it gives me a chance to ensure the above. I also believe that the more we get Microsoft employees (and actually any company) engaged in Open Source, the better it will be for Open Source projects in general."

Still, Microsoft can be seen to have a massive vested interest in MySQL and whoever ultimately owns it.


The FSFE has had time to lay out its case as well. MySQL is hugely important to so many Free software projects and thus its independence is important, as Richard Stallman of the FSF would probably argue. There are no intuitive answers here. MySQL is also vital as a component in the fabric of Fog Computing (more proper name for "Cloud Computing") where Microsoft is now trying to push and earn certification -- quite sadly a certification from the same ISO it corrupted and hijacked.

Microsoft Corp. wants to get its suite of hosted messaging and collaboration products certified to the ISO 27001 international information security standard, part of an effort to assure customers about the security of its cloud computing services.


Fog Computing security and security of data "out there" (in the so-called 'cloud') are not the same thing. Microsoft can achieve neither because Windows is easy pickings and backup is not Microsoft's best skill. We've covered the Sidekick fiasco, for example, in:



Some hospitals are still foolish enough to give patients' data to Microsoft.

Microsoft got a seat at the health IT table last week as Caritas Christi, a Catholic-based hospital chain in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, decided to standardize on Amalga software.


They didn't learn from Sidekick, did they? The hospitals can never tell doctors that they will recover just part of their data in about 2 weeks, just maybe.

Windows botnets already cause many deaths in hospitals [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (there are many Conficker examples from British hospitals), not just trillions in damages. But anyway, we've deviated from the main subject of this post. This issue of data control will be revisited at a later date.

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