Is Microsoft Evil? Well, You Make Up Your Own Mind Based on News Articles.
    One of my favorite artful representations of Bill the Leader.          Bill Gates Leading his Minions

    Healthcare CIO gets tough on net policy violators
    One ongoing frustration for Halamka is that despite the best efforts of his team to secure CareGroup's network, some vendors still don't seem to understand what customers really need. He recounted having lunch several weeks back with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who Halamka told should refocus Microsoft on making its software less feature rich and more secure and reliable. But Ballmer insisted that "customers want these features," according to Halamka.
         NetworkWorldFusion. September 28, 2004.

[Ed. Note: This entry clearly falls in the "Microsoft is not Totally Evil Column"
Microsoft Files More Lawsuits over Spam
Going after spammers rather than focusing merely on developing antispam technology is an important step, John Movina, spokesperson for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, said. He told The E-Commerce Times that the United States has weaker criminal laws against spam than other countries, so it's vital to find other means to stop spammers.
    Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced today that it has filed nine new lawsuits against alleged spammers, including a Web-hosting company that offered services specifically for people who send unsolicited e-mail.
    The suits are part of a larger effort by Microsoft to target the perpetrators of spam. With this batch, filed last week in Washington state, the company is now involved in more than 100 lawsuits against alleged spammers. Microsoft has noted that about 70 of the lawsuits have been filed in the United States.
    Going after spammers rather than focusing only on developing antispam technology is an important step, John Movina, spokesperson for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, said.
    He told The E-Commerce Times that because the United States has weaker criminal laws against spam than other countries, it's vital to develop other means to stop individual spammers. "Our [criminal] laws don't work, so that leaves taking them to court," he said. September 24, 2004. September 24, 2004.

Anti-spam standard body dismantled
Row over Microsoft's Sender ID leads to disbanding of IETF working group
    The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) has disbanded its anti-spam working group, MARID (MTA Authorization Records In DNS) working group, in part because of an intellectual-property row surrounding Microsoft (Profile, Products, Articles) Corp.'s Sender ID proposal.
    The decision, announced in an e-mail to the group from co-area director Ted Hardie, means the end for the IETF's original plan to back a single standard for authenticating the senders of e-mail messages, a way of stemming the address forgery commonly exploited by junk e-mailers and other scam artists.
    Opinions finally began to coalesce around Microsoft's Sender ID proposal, a combination of the company's own Caller ID for Email and a separate technology called SPF. But many open-source groups criticized Microsoft's licensing terms and the company's vagueness about pending patents that could have given Microsoft a claim on Sender ID technology. In its current form, critics said, the proposal could have given Microsoft patent control over part of the Internet's basic infrastructure. Shortly after America Online (Profile, Products, Articles) Inc. announced it wouldn't be supporting Sender ID, MARID finally rejected the proposal. September 23, 2004.

    CNet April 22, 2004.
    A record fine imposed on Microsoft in Europe last month arose from the longstanding nature of the software company's anticompetitive practices, according to a massive report from European regulators.
    The European Commission's 300-page document says the more than five-year duration of those practices pushed the fine to 497 million euros--now about $590 million--well above what Microsoft would have been charged simply on the basis of its business practices.
         EU report takes Microsoft to task

    CNet April 13, 2004.
    The antitrust investigation into Microsoft's activities lasted nearly half a decade, but by the time regulators finally came to a landmark conclusion, Microsoft had already established its position and the rival product was all but defunct.
    Losing or settling case after case, Microsoft has tested the bounds of antitrust and patent infringement law, with little evidence that its power has waned or that its behavior has been substantially changed. Rivals and many legal experts say antitrust law itself has come out the worse for the skirmishes, while Microsoft appears to have built the ongoing scrutiny, fines and remedies into a strategy showing scant sign of reform. Even last month's tough stance by the European Commission may not be able to slow the giant.
         Microsoft's long-playing business record

    The Inquirer. April 4, 2004.
    IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times. That’s the one-sentence summary of Sun Microsystem’s 2 April announcement that it reached an accommodation with a firm Sun CEO Scott McNealy once called the "Evil Empire": Microsoft Corporation. The good news is that the struggling Mountain View, California-based "dot in dot com" company will receive nearly $2 billion in payments from Microsoft as a result of several agreements.
    The bad news is that Sun is scheduled to take a financial bath of epic proportions when it issues its financial report for its 3FQ04, which ended on March 28, 2004. The firm ‘fessed up to the fact that it would lose at least $750 million 3FQ04, adding to the $4.4 billion Sun has managed to lose over the last three calendar years.
         Sun is toast after deal with Evil Empire

    The Seattle Times. March 23, 2004.
    Microsoft will be fined about $612 million for antitrust violations in Europe, the largest penalty ever imposed by the region's regulatory authority, according to several news organizations quoting unidentified sources.
    But the fine is the least of Microsoft's troubles in Europe. One analyst said it's merely a "rounding error" for a company with more than $53 billion in cash.
    Of greater concern to the company and investors are restrictions that the European Commission is set to disclose tomorrow, when it formally announces penalties in the 5-year-old case.
         Microsoft faces EU antitrust fine but 'bundling' issue is bigger concern
    [Ed. Note: During the middle of the Microsoft anti-trust trial here in the USA, Microsoft lobbyists were wandering the halls of Congress handing out largess. (Some would say bribes.) Microsoft wriggled off the hook here. It should have been broken into at least three different companies, software, operating systems, and hardware and consumer devices. At the very least. As it is, Microsoft continues to grow as a monopolistic juggernaut, and Justice Department continues to look the other way. See the following article which is still online as of March 2004, which is bylined as from The Wall Street Journal Online, October 31, 1999.]
         MS asks investors to petition Congress
    At a Capitol Hill reception sponsored by the NFIB and Microsoft, lawmakers and their staff mingled with Microsoft lobbyists. Guests got Microsoft "Freedom to Innovate" T-shirts and pocket-protectors sporting a logo that literally wraps Microsoft in the U.S. flag: a red, white, and blue design with a computer screen in the upper left corner where the stars should be. March 15, 2004.
    Top antitrust regulators from the 15 nations in the European Union gave unanimous backing today to a draft ruling by the European Commission that officials say finds that Microsoft abused its dominance in operating software.
    With today's backing, the clock on the five-year-old antitrust case against Microsoft begins to run down. In less than two weeks, barring a last-minute settlement, the European Commission is expected to declare Microsoft an abusive monopolist, impose a fine of $100 million to $1 billion and order the company to make fundamental changes to the way it sells software in Europe.
         Europe Supports Antitrust Ruling Against Microsoft (free subscription required) March 15, 2004.
         EU Committee Backs Order Against Microsoft In Antitrust Case March 12, 2004.
    Recent update for Microsoft's Office software is blocking several popular spam filters, and software makers are scrambling to find a fix to the fixes.
    The problems have occurred since the release earlier this week of Service Pack 3 for Office XP and 2000, which are recent versions of Microsoft's widespread productivity package. The patches and big fixes in SP3 included a number of security fixes for Office's widely used e-mail client, Outlook.
         Office update clogs spam filters
    [Ed. Note: One of the most painful aspects of maintaining Microsoft operating systems and software for end users and organizations is the knowledge that anytime you apply an update or a patch from Microsoft, there is a very high percentage chance the update will break one or more critical services or applications. I personally have seen this so many times over the past decade I tend to advise against immediate updates. Since the release of the MSBlast worm and the other worms and viruses sind July, 2003, however, we are all caught between a rock and a hard place. Microsoft systems are so incredibly insecure in their design that it becomes more dangeous not to apply an update and risk breaking applications. Otherwise the hackers and crackers compromise your Internet connected machines. It has become a no-win situation. March 12, 2004.
    Investment company BayStar Capital has confirmed ties between two Linux foes, saying Thursday that a Microsoft referral led to $50 million in BayStar funding for the SCO Group.
    Word of the Microsoft matchmaking surfaced last week when open-source advocate Eric Raymond published a leaked memo about Microsoft's help in the BayStar investment. SCO Group confirmed the authenticity of the memo but said its author, S2 Strategic Consulting's Mike Anderer, misunderstood the situation. Open-source fans leaped on the memo as evidence that Microsoft is aiding SCO's attack on Linux.
    Microsoft's referral doesn't reflect well on the software giant, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. "There's no smoking gun yet showing an orchestrated Microsoft executive-level pulling of SCO's puppet strings. What there is, however, is rather unseemly involvement by Microsoft around the periphery of SCO's funding," Haff said. "Given that Microsoft, on the one hand, is a convicted monopolist and that, on the other, SCO's financial dealings and actions look increasingly shady, Microsoft should certainly be worried about even a little bit of SCO's stench rubbing off."
         Investment firm confirms Microsoft link to SCO March 10, 2004.
    Microsoft has been mailing free copies of its pricey Office productivity software to government employees, but CNET has learned that at least two federal agencies are warning recipients to return the gifts or risk violating federal ethics policies.
    Since the launch of Office 2003 last year, Microsoft has given out tens of thousands of free copies of its flagship software, which retails for about $500, to workers at its biggest customers. The giveaway was expanded to government workers this year, but ethics offices at the Department of the Interior and Department of Defense have said the offers constitute unauthorized gifts and must be returned.
         Army to Gates: Halt the free software March 6, 2004
    Many SCO watchers - including Eric Raymond - hav been scanning the skies for bright objects which might provide the proof that Microsoft was not only walking amongst us, but funding the litigation itself. With the zeal of a UFOlogist, Raymond presented his 'proof' here.
    "This is the smoking gun," he wrote. The email, from McBride's old pal Mike Anderer, proved that "the extent of SCO's sock-puppet relationship to its masters in Redmond", was now exposed.
    Rather more obviously, if Microsoft was, as Eric reckons, financing the entire operation, you'd think it would know better than to leave its fingerprints behind. It's true that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - and this is another factoid offered as proof of conspiracy - is an investor in BayStar Capital. But Allen invests in lots of things, not all of which are complementary to Microsoft's business. He likes a punt, which is the essence of high-risk capital investment.
         Microsoft wins latest Halloween PR bout - without really trying
    [Ed. Note: Posted in all fairness, the Register's reservations about the exposed memos.]

    LINUX Business Week. March 5, 2004
    A piece of juicy compromising e-mail written by a SCO consultant to SCOsource VP Chris Sontag and SCO CFO Bob Bench last October suggesting that Microsoft had quietly funneled $86 million to SCO and that it was good for at least $106 million before tapping all possibilities happened to turn up on open source philosopher Eric Raymond's web site Thursday.
         Umm, About That $100m Microsoft Funneled to SCO
    [Ed. Note: What? Microsoft seek to use power and money to influence the course of SCO's insane rash of lawsuits against seemingly the entire civilized tech world? Heaven forfend. What an impossible idea! After all, it is clear to any unbiased observer that Microsoft really had a compelling need to invest a few million in SCO. It was just sheer coincidence that it happened right around the time SCO needed money to sue IBM, Novell, and anybody in the world who had the temerity to be using LINUX instead of Microsoft.] March 1, 2004.
    Excuse me, did we say in Halloween IX that Microsoft's under-the-table payoff to SCO for attacking Linux was just eleven million dollars? Turns out we were off by an order of magnitude — it was much, much more than that.
    The document below was emailed to me by an anonymous whistleblower inside SCO. He tells me the typos and syntax bobbles were in the original. I could not, when I received it, certify its authenticity, but I presumed that IBM's, Red Hat's, Novell's, AutoZone's, and Daimler-Chryler's lawyers could subpoena the original. On March 4th SCO, within 24 hours of publication, I received word from Steven J. Vaughan at that SCO had confirmed that the memo is legitimate.
         Halloween X: Follow The Money February 24, 2004.
    Software giant Microsoft Corporation has come under new criticism for quietly subsidizing a trip for members of a U.N. business standards group that critics say spurred the United Nations to end its previous partnership with a competing group for the development of a business-to-business computer communications system, the New York Times reported yesterday.
    Several software industry executives contend that Microsoft has been moving behind the scenes to undercut support for a set of business-to-business electronic transaction standards jointly developed by the United Nations and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. This industry-sponsored international standards group, in partnership with the United Nations, developed the original industry standard for business-to-business computer communications system, known as "electronic business using extensible markup language," or ebXML.
         Microsoft Work with U.N. Criticized