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Federal Motors and Federal Microsoft

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Summary: Microsoft shrewdly resorts to steps which make the government's operations a lot more Microsoft dependent and to some extent Free software-excluding

A couple of posts from yesterday morning [1, 2] spoke about Microsoft influence in the US government. This type of influence in government is extremely valuable to any corporation, which can exploit it by having itself treated like an essential component of the country. We all saw how it works 2 years ago when Big Banks received a government bailout for failing to operate based on simple rules.



David Sugar from GNU Telephony has just shown us the article "Obama-FBI-Microsoft collusion: warrantless snooping on the Internet." We totally missed the following article two months ago, so here are just some fragments which show that Microsoft has mutual relationships with the government.

Microsoft, Obama, the FBI and Homeland Security want less secure, free hand Internet monitoring. This is an old story with a new chapter. The big push for Internet monitoring is alive and well in Washington, and Microsoft is a cohort for different reasons.

Obama and the FBI are trying to amend the intelligence authorization bill to allow indiscriminate snooping on the Internet.

We must fight to stop this unconstitutional, disturbing trend.

This administration seems to demand knowledge about every aspect of our lives and the Internet is a convenient, cozy way of accomplishing the task.

[...]

Back in 2008, Microsoft provided the U.S. government a technical “backdoor” to its browser, which serves the majority of users (over 60%). Backdoor access is undetectable by security software—it bypasses normal authentication (passwords, etc.), firewalls and other computer security devices. In other terms, the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, the FBI and other security agencies can already eavesdrop on anyone using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

In its infinite greed and fierce competitiveness, Microsoft opts for advertising dollars over providing customers easy access to privacy tools--a de facto, covert compromise of our constitutional rights. Although the computer giant has an effective tool (“InPrivate Filtering”), you have to know about it and then turn it on every time you start up the Explorer browser.


Getting back to the issue of bailout, years ago we began explaining very repeatedly that Microsoft wanted to control healthcare data so that when it goes out of business (all businesses die at one stage, the question is how long it takes), people's lives will depend on its existence and therefore there will be a federal handout.

General Motors (GM), which some people humourously named "Federal Motors" for the tricks they all pulled after the economic collapse, recently picked Microsoft's CFO to become its own (and he was paid millions by Microsoft just to keep his month shut). Newly-published items continue to scrutinise GM for all sorts of reasons (well, at least GM chooses Linux after its collapse). Our reader Satipera posted the following message: "Former owner of company bought by Microsoft, equates MS to US steel companies and General Motors." Here is the article at hand:

Charles Ferguson: Well, the biggest opportunity that it has, I would say, is to reform itself.

Hill: How so?

Ferguson: Microsoft is in many ways reminiscent of General Motors five or 10 years ago or IBM (NYSE: IBM) in the 1980s.

Hill: Wow, I have got to tell you, as a Microsoft shareholder, I am just so sad that you are saying this.

Ferguson: Well, it seems increasingly evident, and it is a recurring pattern in American industrial history, and in other industries it is potentially a very troubling one. We saw what happened to the American automobile industry in the wake of the financial crisis because these firms had been very poorly managed for a very long time and were completely dependent on SUVs for their profitability.


We cannot help seeing Microsoft using the same type of old tricks to appeal to the government (American EDGI [1, 2, 3, 4] is one notable example). The other day we wrote about what Microsoft did in Minnesota, noting that Minnesota schools too are being hijacked by Gates. As noted by our reader "twitter" and moments ago in the IRC channel because of Slashdot, this is an attack on Free/open source software too. Joab Jackson writes that "Minnesota's deal with Microsoft to use BPOS prevents the state from using any open source, Slashdot asserts"

"[Microsoft] Tries Cloudy Lock-in," said the title of this blog post from yesterday. It's about a similar subject.

Instead of providing wonders in the clouds via a browser, M$ is attempting to add to the features/bloat of “7″ with new client apps tied to M$’s piece of the cloud. The discerning user will see that their options are reduced by this generosity. The more they depend on added features from M$, the harder it is to migrate away. M$ is getting its partners, the OEMs, to install the bloatware in the factory, just as they did the blue “e”. Fortunately there is a choice. Instead of using “7″, a wise user can choose GNU/Linux


BPOS is very unreliable [1, 2, 3] and citizens of Minnesota should challenge the decision already approved by their elected officials. To what extent do Microsoft's connections with the government contribute to the signing of such deals? It makes several states too Microsoft dependent and only Free software can change/remove such unacceptable dependencies.

"The danger is that Microsoft is using strategic monopolistic pricing in the education market, with the government’s assistance, to turn our state university systems into private workforce training programs for Microsoft."

--Nathan Newman

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