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[News] Legalised Bribery Challenged as Microsoft Steals Bailout Money

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Lobbyists May Subvert Disclosure Laws to Lobby on Stimulus

,----[ Quote ]
| The administration really touched a nerve by requiring that lobbyist meetings 
| actually be disclosed to the public. It looks like lobbyists are declaring 
| war on any expansion of lobbyist disclosure laws  
| This action by the lobbying community also provides more grease for the gears 
| to expand the definition of registered lobbyists in Washington. There are far 
| too many non-lobbyist lobbyists in this city.  



‘Bridge to Microsoft’ Is One of Puget Sound Prizes in Stimulus

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Corp., which has $20 billion of cash in the bank, is among the
| first in the Puget Sound area to benefit from the investment in roads and
| bridges through President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.
| Local planners allotted $11 million of $214 million awarded to the region to
| help pay for a highway overpass in Redmond, Washington, connecting one part
| of Microsoft’s wooded campus with another. The world’s largest software maker
| will contribute almost half of the $36.5 million cost. Other federal and
| local money will pay the rest.


'Bridge to Microsoft' Gets Federal Stimulus Funds

,----[ Quote ]
| "Among the first to benefit from the investment in roads and bridges through
| Obama's stimulus plan is Microsoft, which has $20B in the bank. Local
| planners have allotted $11M to help pay for a highway overpass to connect one
| part of Microsoft's wooded campus with another. Microsoft will contribute
| almost half of the $36.5M cost; other federal and local money will pay the
| rest. 'Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates could finance this out of pocket change,'
| griped Steve Ellis of the Taxpayers for Common Sense. 'Subsidizing an
| overpass to one of the richest companies in the country certainly isn't going
| to be the best use of our precious dollars.' Ellis called the project 'a
| bridge to Microsoft,' alluding to Alaska's infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere'."


Mr. Microsoft goes to Washington

,----[ Quote ]
| As I suspected, Microsoft spends a whole lot more than that on lobbying. For
| the first half of last year, Microsoft spent $4.78 million on lobbying
| activities, according to the report it filed with Congress. It's full-year
| 2007 report is not yet available.  


Microsoft trying to derail Google/DoubleClick deal by lobbying congress

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft has hired lobbying firm Patton Boggs LLC to do work on "competitive
| issues surrounding Google/DoubleClick [sic] merger."


Microsoft Finds Legal Defender in Justice Dept.

,----[ Quote ]
| Nearly a decade after the government began its landmark effort to break
| up Microsoft, the Bush administration has sharply changed course by
| repeatedly defending the company both in the United States and abroad
| against accusations of anticompetitive conduct, including the recent
| rejection of a complaint by Google.
| [...]
| In the most striking recent example of the policy shift, the top
| antitrust official at the Justice Department last month urged state
| prosecutors to reject a confidential antitrust complaint filed by
| Google that is tied to a consent decree that monitors Microsoft's
| behavior. Google has accused Microsoft of designing its latest
| operating system, Vista, to discourage the use of Google's desktop
| search program, lawyers involved in the case said.


Politics and tech companies: follow the money


Changing the Report, After the Vote


Microsoft's 'Men in Black' kill Florida open standards legislation

,----[  Quote
| It was just a bit of text advocating open data formats that was slipped into
| a Florida State Senate bill at the last minute with no fanfare, but within
| 24 hours three Microsoft-paid lobbyists, all wearing black suits, were
| pressuring members of the Senate Committee on Governmental Operations
| (COGO) to remove the words they didn't like from Senate bill 1974.


Politicians in Microsoft's Pocket

,----[ Quote ]
| Continuing on the theme of which politicians are receiving money from
| who. Here is a list of candidates who took money from MSFT.


Kroes slams US criticism of EU Microsoft ruling

,----[ Quote ]
| Kroes said that it was "unacceptable" that a representative of the US
| judiciary should criticise a court of law outside his jurisdiction.
| “It is absolutely not done,” she told journalists on Wednesday.
| “The European commission does not pass judgement on US rulings and we should
| expect the same from the US.”


Microsoft, The European Union, and the United States: A Statement by the AAI

,----[ Quote ]
| The AAI comments on the European Court of First Instance's upholding of the
| EC's Microsoft decision, taking the USDOJ to task for poor diplomacy and
| mistaken policy in its criticism of the EC.  


Microsoft sets spinners on court verdict

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft may have lost in court, but it quickly tried to win the war of
| media reaction via organisations like CompTIA, the Computing Technology
| Industry Association and ACT (the Association for Competitive Technology)
| which both intervened in court on its side.  


Report Says Nonprofits Sold Influence to Abramoff

,----[ Quote ]
| E-mails released by the committee show that Abramoff, often
| with the knowledge of the groups' leaders, exploited the tax-exempt
| status and leveraged the stature of the organizations to build
| support among conservatives for legislation or government action
| sought by clients including Microsoft Corp., mutual fund company
| DH2 Inc., Primedia Inc.'s Channel One Network, and Brown-Forman,
| maker of Jack Daniel's whiskey.


Microsoft Paid Lobbyist $160,000

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Paid Paid Bingham McCutchen $160,000 to Lobby Federal Gov't in
| First Half of 2007


Microsoft sponsors DIN conference

,----[ Quote ]
| An american company sponsors a lobby event for its Open XML format which is
| organised by the German standard body and takes place in a German ministry.
| Public officials and German rent-a-scientists join to listen to Microsoft and
| Bitkom.  


Microsoft Looks for the Big Guns in OOXML In-Fighting

,----[ Quote ]
| Bill Gates has reportedly been making phone calls to the Secretary of Defense
| and the Secretary of Commerce to push the American National Standards
| Institute to ignore the votes of its advisory committees and vote "yes" on
| ISO standardizing Microsoft's Open Office XML (OOXML) format, the one in
| competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) pushed by IBM and Sun.    
| Gates reportedly picked up the phone when the last INCITS ballot failed by
| one vote to support Microsoft.


Interview with Christian Fernandez, of Binary Freedom

,----[ Quote ]
| Unfortunately, companies like Microsoft have thrown around their
| financial and political weight to combat our work. They defeated a
| measure in Florida through lobbying and the only way this abuse will
| stop is if we continue to fight them.


Q&A: Former Mass. CIO feels 'bittersweet pride' after battles with Microsoft,

,----[ Quote ]
| As CIO of Massachusetts from February to November last year, Louis
| Gutierrez had to endure most of the brunt of Microsoft Corp.'s political
| wrath over a state policy calling for the adoption of the Open Document
| Format for Office Applications, or ODF -- a rival to the software vendor's
| Office Open XML file format.
| [...]
| Do you see any reason for there to be two standards? If you were
| starting blank-slate, there certainly would not be value to creating
| two separate standards. Over time, it has sometimes been useful to
| have the competition of two standards to keep both sides honest.
| But I don't see particular value in the long-term co-existence of
| two separate standards.


,----[ Quote ]
|    Quinn:  Almost to a person, to anybody involved or who knows about
|    the ODF issue, they attributed the story to Microsoft, right, wrong
|    or otherwise. Senator Pacheco may be a bully but I do not believe he
|    is disingenious and would stoop to such a tactic. Senator Pacheco and
|    Secretary Galvin's office remain very heavily influenced by the
|    Microsoft money and its lobbyist machine, as witnessed by their
|    playbook and words, in my opinion.
|    Quinn:  I believe that the ODF decision will stand. I believe MS
|    will continue to do anything and everything it can to stop it. And I
|    know my seat wasn't even empty and they (MS) took another shot at
|    the title, to no avail. This horse is out of the barn and I see no
|    way for it to go back in. Remember, all we are asking for was and is
|    for Microsoft to commit to open and the standards process; so
|    everyone looks really bad if the plug gets pulled at this juncture.


MA Governor-Elect Names MS Anti-ODF Lobbyist to Technology Advisory Group


The Sorry State of Massachusetts


Microsoft offers schools in Mass. free software (to stop ODF adoption)


Microsoft plays Massachusetts Senate card

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