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Re: When Companies Control Newspapers

Larry Qualig wrote:
> Rex Ballard wrote:
> > Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> > > HP told WSJ to, 'Go say nice things'
> > >
> > > ,----[ Quote ]
> > > | We've always wondered how elite reporters at publications such as the
> > > | Wall Street Journal handle their communications with public relations
> > > | drones. Thanks to HP's savvy investigators, we must wonder no more.
> > > `----
> >
> > Remember, I used to work for Dow Jones.  I remember at least one
> > incident when Walt Mossberg, the technology columnist, wrote an article
> > singing the praises of Solaris, or Linux, or some competitor to
> > Microsoft.
> >
> > Microsoft called one of the owner/executives, told them that since WSJ
> > liked Solaris so much, they could let Sun buy all the ad space that
> > Microsoft was about to pull.  They not only pulled their own full page
> > ads at $250,000 per page, but they also pulled the ads of  several
> > OEMs, claiming that they didn't want their logo misused.
> >
> > Over less than a week, WSJ had something like $2 million in lost
> > revenue.  That would have been right after Solaris was released.  About
> > 1993.
> Sorry Rex but you're either a habitual liar or a total psycho because
> this story is pure bullshit.

I give you a first-hand story of a experience while working for the
publisher of a Major newspaper, based on a (probably confidential at
the time) communication made by a senior executive at that newspaper,
and you say it's bullshit.

Do YOU work for a publisher of a major national publication?

Do YOU have access to high level executives on a weekly basis?

Did YOU have this access from 1993 to 1997?

Did YOUR publisher ever publish glowing reports of some Microsoft

I DID.  By law, all they can say is "yes he worked there", but there
are enough names and places that you might be able to put together the


> For starters anyone who's ever dealt with
> advertising knows that the scenario you just described is pure fiction.
> If Microsoft or any other company were running "full page ads at
> $250k/page" they would not be paying for these ads on a daily basis.

Full page ads, Wall Street Journal, international circulation.  In
It may have been more than 1 page, but the $250K/day was definitely a
number that sticks in your head.  Especially when the executive is
that YOU might be the cause of this loss or similar losses - if you
don't keep
a "low profile".  I continued to champion TCP/IP, Open Source, and
Linux, but
had to do it more covertly, through mailing lists, private e-mails, and
had to take
"special precautions" such as locking my workstation and linux system
the Microsoft people were in the next cube.

> This would all be done under contract where MS/company pays up front
> for N-many ads to run in X-many issues. Advertising space is reserved
> well in advance and is not paid for or negotiated on a daily basis.

True, but Microsoft can PULL an ad anytime they want.  There have been
companies who have taken similar actions.  When Ed Asner came out
actions in El Salvadore and Nicaragua, Kimberly Clark pulled a number
of spots
for several weeks, as a "warning".  It was 26 years ago, and predates
all google archives.

Really wish Microsoft could generate a reliable archive of the
University Microforms service. That's one I'd probably even pay for, if
I could access it from a Linux machine.

Maybe Google will offer that service instead.

> As far as MS pulling the ads of several OEMs... more bullshit. The OEMs
> pay for their ads and MS has no authority what-so-ever to pull or
> modify any ads that an independent OEM wants to run.

Actually, this is not true.  Microsoft has full control of the
Microsoft trademark and logos, incuding the Windows logo, and the
Microsoft logo and the Butterfly logo.

Microsoft used the example of "We don't want the Microsoft logo being
posted next to a naked hooker in Hustler, appearing as an endorsement
for immoral behavior".  This happened so long ago, it's probably also
not in those google archives.  Microsoft even made a public
announcement of it - probably in 1991 or 1992.  Seems that some major
OEMs were putting ads for Windows machines in publications like

The OEM does have the option of placing an ad which makes no reference
to the Windows trademark and logos, but doing so too often, in too many
places, can result in other unpleasant reactions from Microsoft.  Keep
in mind that Microsoft also provides "co-op", which is a "kick-in" of
up to 10% of the cost of the ad, (which may include the "value" of the
trademark and logo).  If Microsoft spend $1 billion on co-op, at an
average of 1% per ad, that would be $100 billion in advertizing
revenue.  Having the authority to pull such ads from an "offensive"
publisher (such as Byte, LinuxWorld, or Hustler), would be some
substantial leverage in the media industry.

Gannett has openly taken on Microsoft, providing some of the most
"objective" (like Fox News), coverage of Microsoft's dealings,
including substantial details about trials, and legal proceedings
against Microsoft, positive coverage of Linux and Microsoft competitors
like Netscape, RealMedia, and OpenOffice, and providing coverage of
numerous viruses and security leaks.

Of course, we tend to forget that Microsoft also owns substantial
interest (about 25%) in several GE ventures, including MSNBC and CNBC.
Gates also has very close relationship with Rupert Murdock of Fox news.
 Gates also owns a substantial interest in several "feed sattellites"
as well.  This has enabled them to exclude certain providers such as

You can gett CnnFn on DirectTV, but not on Cable.  Has something to do
with feed problems and inability to come to acceptable terms.

What was Microsoft demanding that made it impossible for Turner and
this Gates owned sattellite company - to come to terms?  I can get CNBC
in Paris and Bangalore!  I can't get cnnfn in Parsippany New Jersey or
New York city?

Remember too, that MSNBC has been able to use it's "BBS" to break
stories that most reputable journalists wouldn't touch with a 10 foot
pole.  They broke the Lewinsky story, they broke the news that Bush
knew about 9/11 before it happened.  They broke the Martha Stewart
story.  They have "scooped" more gossip and rumors and "inside
information" via that BBS, than the other major media outlets combined,
except maybe the New York Post and the New York Daily News
(entertaining to read them both on the same day :D).

In addition, MSNBC has often led diversionary stories.  Elean Gonzales,
the little boy from Cuba who washed up on the shore of Florida after
his mother had died at sea, made news, not because this had never
happened before (it happens several times a week).  He made headline
news because if he HADN'T been the lead story, the other media outlets
would have spent the whole day playing video clips of Judge Jackson and
Bill Gates - with Bill going "what do you mean by "Ask"?".  Then Judge
Jackson going "do you think I'm stupid?, followed by Bill Gates giving
him that "what me worry" grin".

The previous night, at 11 PM, the full recording of the Videotaped
Deposition was aired on CNN.   It was pretty obvious that CNN intended
to play this for a while.  MSNBC pushed out the Gonzales story, not as
a human interest piece that might have gotten a 5 second blurb, but as
a headline news story, that consumed almost as much coverage as the
9/11 collapse of the World Trade Center.

Microsoft OWNS it's own media outlets.  Bill Gates controls the
DISTRIBUTION of media.  Pulling a few 2 page ads was PEANUTS compared
to setting up CNBC as a direct competitor to Dow Jones and Rueters news

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