EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Recognising the Death of Software Patents, Microsoft's Largest Ally in India Belatedly Joins the Linux-Centric Open Invention Network

    With the demise of software patents come some interesting new developments, including the decision at Infosys — historically very close to Microsoft and a proponent of software patents — to join the Open Invention Network (OIN)



  2. LG Not Only Suing Rivals Using Patents But is Also Passing Patents for Trolls Like Sentegra to Sue

    LG gives yet more reasons for a boycott, having just leveraged not just patents but also patent trolls in a battle against a competitor



  3. March 29th: The Day the Unitary Patent (UPC) Died

    Stating the obvious and proving us right amid Article 50 débâcle



  4. Kongstad and Battistelli Have Staged a Coup at the European Patent Organisation (EPO)

    Discussion about Battistelli and his chinchilla denying national representatives their rights and power to oust Battistelli, who is rapidly destroying not just the Office but also the whole Organisation, Europe's reputation, and the image of France



  5. Europe as the World's Laughing Stock When it Comes to Patent Quality/Scope and the Coming Appeals

    Criticism and embarrassing coverage for the EPO, which has just decided to grant patents even on genome, in defiance of a lot of things



  6. Links 29/3/2017: End of Linux Action Show, Top NSA Partner Pays Linux Foundation

    Links for the day



  7. In Attempt to Promote the Horrific UPC (Poor Quality of Patents Everywhere), Minnoye and Casado Cerviño Attack Their Own Staff for Saying the Truth

    An attack on truth itself -- the disintegration of the European Patent Office (EPO) -- carries on, after staff found the courage to tell delegates what had happened due to Battistelli's policies and incredible oppression that prevails and expands



  8. Another Likely Casualty of the Battistelli Regime at the EPO: Validity of Decisions of Terrified Boards of Appeal Judges

    Under pressure and habitual intervention from a demoralising, overreaching, and out-of-control President (from an entirely different division), examiners and judges 'normalise' the practice of granting patents on genetics -- a very slippery slope in terms of patent scope



  9. Benoît Battistelli 'Pulls an Erdoğan' Faster Than Erdoğan

    An explanation of what the imminent departure of Minnoye (this summer) will mean for Benoît Battistelli and his confidants, who now resemble some of the world's most ruthless dictatorships



  10. With Important Supreme Court Decisions Looming, Mainstream Media Tackles Patent Trolls

    The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will soon rule on TC Heartland and Lexmark, potentially restricting abusive patent behaviour even further (making room for freedom to innovate and for competition)



  11. IAM Magazine is Very Blatantly Promoting Patent Trolls and Their Agenda

    IAM Media, which produces a magazine every now and then while posting online every day, maintains its pro-trolls agenda, which is becoming so clear to see that it is definitely worth documenting yet again



  12. A “Perfect Recipe for Fraud” at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    How the world's leading patent office became a world-leading source of abuse, corruption, nepotism, injustice, incompetence, censorship, alleged bribery, pure deception, distortion of media, defamation, and suicides (among many other things)



  13. Techrights Was Right About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    No Unified Patent Court in the UK and probably nothing like it in the rest of Europe any time soon (if ever)



  14. Patents on Life and Patents on Software Serve to Show That EPO Patent Quality Fell Well Behind the US (PTO)

    Anything goes at the EPO, except dissent; any patent application seems to be grantable, provided one uses simple tricks and persists against overworked examiners who are pressured to increase so-called 'production'



  15. Links 28/3/2017: Linux 4.11-rc4 Kernel Released, Red Hat Surge on Sales

    Links for the day



  16. The Crook Goes to Brussels to Lie About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The person who spent years lying about the UPC and severely attacking critics (usually by blatantly lying about them) goes to Brussels for another nose extension



  17. The EPO's HR Roadmap Retrospective

    A look back at the terrible ‘accomplishments’ of the Jesper Kongstad-led Administrative Council, which still issues hogwash and face-saving lies, as one might expect from a protector of Battistelli that lies to national representatives and buries inconvenient topics



  18. Links 26/3/2017: Debian Project Leader Elections, SecureDrop and Alexandre Oliva FSF Winners

    Links for the day



  19. His Master's Voice, Jesper Kongstad, Blocks Discussion of Investigative and Disciplinary Procedures at the EPO

    The Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation is actively preventing not just the dismissal of Battistelli but also discussion of Battistelli's abuses



  20. Heiko Maas and the State of Germany Viewed as Increasingly Complicit in EPO Scandals and Toxic UPC Agenda

    It is becoming hard if not impossible to interpret silence and inaction from Maas as a form of endorsement for everything the EPO has been doing, with the German delegates displaying more of that apathy which in itself constitutes a form of complicity



  21. With IP Kat Coverage of EPO Scandals Coming to an End (Officially), Techrights and The Register Remain to Cover New Developments

    One final post about the end of Merpel’s EPO coverage, which is unfortunate but understandable given the EPO’s track record attacking the media, including blogs like IP Kat, sites of patent stakeholders, and even so-called media partners



  22. Everyone, Including Patent Law Firms, Will Suffer From the Demise of the EPO

    Concerns about quality of patents granted by the EPO (EPs) are publicly raised by industry/EPO insiders, albeit in an anonymous fashion



  23. Yes, Battistelli's Ban on EPO Strikes (or Severe Limitation Thereof) is a Violation of Human Rights

    Battistelli has curtailed even the right to strike, yet anonymous cowards attempt to blame the staff (as in patent examiners) for not going out of their way to engage in 'unauthorised' strikes (entailing dismissal)



  24. Even the EPO's Administrative Council No Longer Trusts Its Chairman, Battistelli's 'Chinchilla' Jesper Kongstad

    Kongstad's protection of Battistelli, whom he is supposed to oversee, stretches to the point where national representatives (delegates) are being misinformed



  25. Thanks to Merpel, the World Knows EPO Scandals a Lot Better, But It's a Shame That IP Kat Helped UPC

    A look back at Merpel's final post about EPO scandals and the looming threat of the UPC, which UPC opportunists such as Bristows LLP still try hard to make a reality, exploiting bogus (hastily-granted) patents for endless litigation all around Europe



  26. EPO Critics Threatened by Self-Censorship, Comment Censorship, and a Growing Threat to Anonymity

    Putting in perspective the campaign for justice at the EPO, which to a large degree relies on whistleblowers and thus depends a great deal on freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and anonymity



  27. Links 25/3/2017: Maru OS 0.4, C++17 Complete

    Links for the day



  28. Judge and Justice Bashing in the United States, EPC Bashing at the EPO

    Enforcement of the law based on constitutional grounds and based on the European Patent Convention (EPC) in an age of retribution and insults -- sometimes even libel -- against judges



  29. Looking for EPO Nepotism? Forget About Jouve and Look Closely at Europatis Instead.

    Debates about the contract of Jouve with the EPO overlook the elephants in the room, which include companies that are established and run by former EPO chiefs and enjoy a relationship with the EPO



  30. Depressing EPO News: Attacks on Staff, Attacks on Life, Brain Drain, Patents on Life, Patent Trolls Come to Germany, and Spain Being Misled

    A roundup of the latest developments at the EPO combined with feedback from insiders, who are not tolerating their misguided and increasingly abusive management


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts