Library of Congress sells itself out to Microsoft for a mere $3 mil

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes:
Paul Jones of iBiblio tipped me off to some recent M&A activity by Microsoft, this time involving the Library of Congress.

This deal involves the donation of "technology, services and funding" (e.g., mostly not money) with a purported value of $3m from Microsoft to the Library of Congress. The Library, in turn, agrees to put kiosks running Vista in the library and to use Microsoft Silverlight to "help power the library's new Web site,"

The official blogger of the library, Matt Raymond, says "this is really a quantum leap for the library." Perhaps it is, but it sure smells like a whole lot of proprietary.

Link (Thanks, Carl!)


  1. s t m r s th hdln jst smdg hvy hndd nd tbld lk? fl lk ‘m wtchng Fx Nws ltly whn rd yr psts Cry. ‘m sr f ths ws ppl r ny f th 450 rgnztns wh’s brds y st n t wld b “MG lk hw nc ths cmpny s”.
    Cn y try t prtnd t b slghtly nbsd r t th vry lst stp wth th sprsnstnlst hdlns? ndrstnd bng dd css y t b lss lgcl (my lgc crct s stll frtzy 14 mnth nt bng dd) bt stll f y’r gng t pst strs/nws hr mk thm lttl lss tbldsh.

    Lately it seems that most companies (except those with direct white house connections) have been trying to do the right thing. Yes Microsoft has been terrible in the past but has been trying harder lately. Microsoft gives millions to teachers and schools every year. How is this a bad thing? oh noes! They’ve donated equipment to a library!

  2. Do you have any evidence that the software and technology Microsoft is providing to the LoC are unnecessary? That they are swaying the Library’s policies or procedures in any way?

    Government agencies like the Library, or the Smithsonian, are constantly on the lookout for additional sources of funding because Congress simply doesn’t appropriate enough money to support everything these institutions want to do. Offering more information and access kiosks to patrons is unquestionably a good thing. Keeping the LoC web site interesting, interactive and up-to-date is also a good thing. If Microsoft’s donation allows them to do these good things more easily, I don’t see the slightest reason to react to it negatively.

    Also, I know that BoingBoing is a for-profit private entity, and that the LoC is a government agency, bt ‘v stll gt t sy tht th “kn-jrk sspcs” rctn dmnstrtd by ths pst s lkng prtty rnclly msng rght nw.

  3. #1 posted by Chris ORourke:

    … Yes Microsoft has been terrible in the past but has been trying harder lately. …


  4. Like we need another flash “standard” that’s worse than actual flash. Microsoft, as known by their previous bad actions is a bad company. Epic fail here.

    And so much as the headline seems sensationalist to the above poster, it’s not. It’s one thing to have Vista kiosk crap around, and quite another to force silverlight trash flash on people through a website. I wonder if adobe has any comments on this.

  5. “Government agencies like the Library, or the Smithsonian, are constantly on the lookout for additional sources of funding because Congress simply doesn’t appropriate enough money to support everything these institutions want to do. ”

    Which exactly the problem that this article highlights, yes.

  6. I am not sure I see the problem. Many companies pay organizations to advertise and to promote their products. I actually see advertisements on this website. Wht ws bng bng’s prc?

  7. You same types were like the people championing Microsoft when they bought out Connectix Virtual PC and said it would be a good thing for the Mac product. Right from the beginning, I said they would eventually destroy it… they did. It’s been entirely mothballed and won’t even run on the Intel Macs and compete with Parallels, etc. like Connectix very likely would have done. (The key word there is “compete”, BTW) They killed it. This is this monster’s pattern.

    The first thing that struck me with Silver-light for Mac is that it comes as a install package with no documentation whatsoever included on the dmg. We are just supposed to “trust” an installer package that will scatter shit throughout our Mac OS system without so much as a reach around for our potential ass fucking.

    Oh yeah, just remembered one thing Microsoft did with Virtual PC for Mac after they bought it out… they produced an “update” to it that caused many Mac users their first and only kernel panic. For me, it’s been the only kernel panic I’ve ever experience on the Mac OS X platform… EVER.

    Gee… now let me see if I’m going to trust them with a package installer that will possibly blanket my system with horse shit?

    Sorry, I’m not going to spend my time digging through a package installer to see what it will install and check the code for safety because an unethical, anti-American monopoly worth more money than this planet has ever seen can’t do its job and distribute this app properly.


    “Microsoft has had competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document this stuff.”—Bill Gates, in a talk at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.


    Someone above mentioned… charity and MS….

    Bill Gates thwarts many billions of dollars EVERY year to the funding of schools, hospitals, etc. with his illegal monopoly.

    FACT: Small business and Individuals are financially hurt by large, corrupt monopolies such as Microsoft.

    FACT: Small business and Individuals are, BY FAR, the largest contributers to charity.

    Some of you seem to not “get this”. Bill Gates’ monopoly does FAR, FAR more harm than any small comparative pittance he gives via his public relations induced “charity”. He hurts our charity organizations in the trillions, but only offers (long term installments of) billions and a huge amount of money spent now advertising the fact “he gives”.

    The small business community gives FAR more money and very often does it relatively quietly. By the way, small business DRIVES our American economy and American JOBS. Large corporate monopolies DO NOT… they hold us all back.

    This may sound VERY foreign to some of you who only get mainstream news… but do the RESEARCH and you’ll see that this situation is sadly… very, very TRUE.

  8. Wonderful.

    Wanna hack the goverment?

    Bring a usb stick to one of the kiosks. Make sure its a u3 drive so the machine recognizes it as a cdrom and can run autorun.inf.

    Someone needs to show these cretins that security is more important than money when it comes to all the ‘important shit’ they intend to keep safe.

  9. Cowicide’s okay by me. Cowicide weighed in on the Honda thread with a position that wasn’t altogether at odds with statements here.

    Chris O’Rourke, Crunchbird, Ken Hansen: where were you during the thrash in the Hamster’s Lunch thread? Are these real positions you’re posting today?

  10. Bill Gates thwarts many billions of dollars EVERY year to the funding of schools, hospitals, etc. with his illegal monopoly.

    Is it even possible for you to explain this ridiculous statement? Where exactly would these “billions” of dollars be coming from, and how exactly is Microsoft “thwarting” them?

  11. #1 Chris ORourke, they donated a lot of EQUIPMENT to schools to try to break the lock that Apple had on education hardware and software.

  12. Still no word from Cory on the whole “Boing Boing sells itself out to Microsoft for a mere ${number redacted}” discussion. Or have I missed it?

  13. @#14: I didn’t comment on the Hamster Lunch post because I don’t really have any issues with advertising on Boing Boing. Your house, your rules, and all that jazz. I also think that the extreme handwringing over the Honda and Microsoft deals was mostly an exercise in projection … “But what happens if BB does this other evil thing now that they’ve done this first thing I don’t approve of?!?!?” and similarly illogical thinking. Other people, including you, made those points quite well and therefore I didn’t see that I needed to participate in the conversation.

    Since you bring them up, however, in both of those previous threads I’m pretty sure I remember you counseling patience, and telling people that it was extremely unfair of them to assume that there would be any editorial changes at BB as a result of the ads that had been accepted. Has your position changed, or do you think that it is equally uncharitable of Cory to assume that the LoC has somehow “sold itself out” in exchange for this gift?

    I’m trying not to hit this hypocrisy issue too hard, because there ARE obvious differences, but there are obvious similarities, too. Microsoft’s deal with Boing Boing “requires” you to use a technology you might not otherwise have selected, but you say that you’re using it to post things that would have been posted anyway. In this deal, the LoC is “required” to use Vista and Silverlight, but they use them for projects and services that they (presumably) wanted to do anyway. Is it possible that Cory is less comfortable with the Microsoft sponsorship than the rest of the team?

    This particular topic also interests me because I happen to work in non-profit fundraising in Washington, DC, and I know just how hard it can be to get money for “extra” programs and web features and the like. I also know how hard organizations struggle to make sure that corporations don’t get “too much” in exchange for their gift. Sometimes the pendulum swings too far, like in the case of the notorious Smitshonian-Showtime deal a couple years ago, but in most cases I think both parties are just doing the best they can to create value for their “customers” without compromising their values.

  14. What I would like to know is this. Why does everyone think that Microsoft is a monopoly? Honestly? Granted they have cornered the market. But there are competitors. And the term monopoly is by definition the absence of competition. Last I checked there was at least 500 flavors of linux and Apple And that is just on the OS side. On peripherals they have Logitech, Kensington, Saitak, Razer, Labtec and numerous other companies that make Mice and Keyboards. You do not have to have Microsoft office when OpenOffice is a free download. Their XBox has a solid competitor in the PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii.

    People choose to use their products. You dont have to. Hell, You don’t even need a computer. Many people get along just fine without them. I think all of this Microsoft bashing comes from something just a little more basic than “ohh they are a monopoly”, Its Jealousy. People are jealous because Bill Gates put in a lot of hard work and effort in building a sucessful business which paid off for him handsomely and people in general hate people who are doing better in life than they are.

    If you don’t want to use Microsoft products then don’t, But stop bashing those that choose to.

    End of rant. I await the roasting.

  15. I don’t understand why government agencies don’t use one of the numerous, secure, free OSes that are a good fit for a bunch of limited capability terminals and headless web servers? Pay a couple of system admins (who they undoubtedly already do or will, for Vista) and you’re practically done.

  16. “Why does everyone think that Microsoft is a monopoly?”

    Effective monopoly. And they work hard to become more of one.

    “Its Jealousy. People are jealous because Bill Gates put in a lot of hard work and effort in building a sucessful business which paid off for him handsomely and people in general hate people who are doing better in life than they are.”

    Die in a fire. I dislike it because I’ve had to work tech support. Probably most of the readers here have had to fulfill that function at one point or another with friends and family.

    “I don’t understand why government agencies don’t use one of the numerous, secure, free OSes that are a good fit for a bunch of limited capability terminals and headless web servers?”

    Because the people who decide are not the tech people, they’re the people who’ll pocket Microsoft’s 3 mil.

    Also, quantum leaps are the smallest leaps possible.

  17. “Why does everyone think that Microsoft is a monopoly?”

    Because the government successfully prosecuted Microsof for having and abusing monopolistic power, prior to a Republican administration saying eh, monopolies are fine by us, and letting MS walk?

  18. The gratuitous disemvoweling of comments seems to be getting more and more common, or maybe I’m just noticing it more. Even if I vehemently disagree with a troll, it leaves a really bad taste.

    Whenever I take the time to translate the offending comment, it often seems that merely disagreeing with the original poster is what triggered the nuclear option. Sometimes the entire comment is deleted, so you end up with long, confusing threads, people arguing with invisible voices.

    If there’s a greater logic to this draconian use of editorial punishment, I’m honestly not seeing it. Obviously, the administrators of this site have the right to interact with the readership as they please. But I think we can all agree that this kind of action oughtta be a last resort.

    I think we can.

  19. @#23, Its not even an effective monopoly. As I have said before there are MANY competitors to Microsoft. Just because most of the PC buying public and most IT departments CHOOSE to use Microsoft products does not make it a monopoly.

    I am sorry you have had a crappy tech support job. But if Ubuntu was the dominant OS you would be crying about it as well. As for the “Die In a Fire” comment you proved my jealousy point. For the last two years I myself have worked the crappy Tech Support game myself. But most of the time it is not the OS that screwed up. Its the moron who does not know what he/she is doing behind the keyboard that fouls things up and did not bother to learn the ins and out of their investment.

  20. Can a moderator just delete my initial comment and actually now that I think about it my account here too? Boingboing used to be a place I enjoyed coming to. Nw t’s jst plc fr Cry t s hyprbl bt sbjcts h’s xtrmly bsd n wtht rgrd fr fct r vn ntrtnmnt vl. Rather than just deleting a comment the disemvoweling thing is rather pathetic. If you disagree with what a regular reader has to say have the decency to argue the other side. Ptty dtng f th pst s prl chldsh nd frnkly nwrthy f my tm.

    As for those who “know” Microsoft is evil because you work tech support, I’m a network engineer that works on Apple, Microsoft & Linux based servers all day, every flavor of OS has it’s problems and it’s successes. Users will always stress out no matter the cause or application. Blaming the company doesn’t mean they’re *always* at fault.

    All in all I enjoyed being a regular boingboing reader the past 4 years and I’ll miss it somewhat. wll nt mss th hypcrtcl bhvr f Cry dstrtng fct t st hs wn bsd whms.

    Pc t t y ll.

  21. @25 toestubber
    or you could just, you know, leave. maybe go fight for the rights of the homeless. when i read comments like yours i have to imagine that you comment on at least 25 boards a day.

  22. How am I dishonest Takuan? I just reread my other posts and fail to see any dishonesty in my tone, remarks, or facts presented.

    Thanks for the so long though.

  23. The facts needed to tell whether they sold out are simple: is the Library spending more on this project with the donation than they would have without it? Is Microsoft getting more benefit in extra Silverlight publicity and installations than it’s paying in actual costs?

    It’s hard to count some of the costs. It’s easy to be taken in by Microsoft’s quote of $3M. But that’s not what they’re paying. That’s what they’d quote as a sticker price if someone wanted to buy all this stuff. Any customer that large gets a discount. Certainly, Microsoft’s costs are much lower.

    It’s common for universities to erect buildings based on donations. For example, Stanford built its Gates CS building at a cost of several million dollars (more than 5, less than 10, as I recall). Gates himself donated $1.6 million, the minimum to have the building named after him. Would the university have built a new CS building then if not for this? Probably not. Would they have built one eventually? Probably. It’s a tough call to say they sold out or didn’t. I’m not certain that the board making the decision at Stanford could tell.

    The work with the Library is like that: Microsoft has a history of donating free software for a project… thus causing the project to happen at all. Microsoft ends up making more money than it would have if the project hadn’t happened. Is this really a donation?

  24. #32 You wrote a dramatic farewell, which indicated you were leaving and told us all the ways that BoingBoing had let you down. Yet you stuck around to read #31’s don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-in-the-ass response.

    That didn’t strike me as entirely honest. It also took some of the wind out of your exit speech.

    All in all, however, it was funny.

  25. I think what disturbs some of us is that Microsoft’s philanthropy always involves adoption of Microsoft technology. That makes it marketing more than philanthropy. And as someone mentioned, it’s often not a good technological fit. I might add it sometimes has legally binding conditions forcing the recipient of the so-called gift to buy products only from the donor for a specified period. I see this happening quite frequently with school districts. The only winner in the end is the donor.

    And by the way, most of our national historic institutions are not that hard up for money thanks to the patriotism of wealthy dead Americans. What is clear is that they are most certainly poor managers of their funding. Smithsonian is case in point.

    As for Microsoft being picked on and that they have gained their success in a competitive marketplace–man, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. You are very much ill-informed.

  26. to true takuan, marketing is the most beautiful of the faudulent moneymaking concepts. not that it’s necessary to say but, long live the machine.

  27. @30 Sonny P. Fontaine
    or you could just, you know, leave. maybe go fight for the rights of the homeless. when i read comments like yours i have to imagine that you comment on at least 25 boards a day.

    I don’t know what you mean by “comments like mine.” In truth, I rarely comment on any of the boards I frequent. Not enough time. But when I click on your screen name, whoa! the resulting list of BoingBoing posts stretches a half-mile down the page.

    Why did you take my comment (@25) as an attack? I took great care to stay on message and not be misunderstood. Guess it didn’t do the trick in your case.

    Oh, and by the way, bless you for your wonderful charitable work with the homeless.

  28. i read this and think… any of you ever even been to the library of congress? used the most magnificent TEMPLE TO KNOWLEDGE EVER CREATED? EVEN MORE THEN READING A BLOG? it is a truly glorious place in its architecture, and purpose.

    no, not when you were in 4th grade during your required national field trip, but used the library as a resource?

    my mom worked in one of the buildings for most of her life, for the congressional research service, one of many beurocratic institutions within the federal government. i was lucky enough to learn first hand about the institution as well as the possibilities of the library as a result.

    did you know that if you want to look at most copyrighted books or even bodies of amazing photographic work all you have to do is go and request it? as a US citizen, it’s your right.

    as almost every library in the US runs on the microsoft operating system (although yes, i am a mac user), people, get over yourselves for yr frustration with the gates foundation….. when apple decides it will create equivalent programming for a fraction of the cost it forces those of us in the graphic arts to pay, then, well, hopefully the government will give them the contracts.

    but if you want to bitch about outsourcing.

    lets talk about the basics. haliburton. black water. oil companies. i could go on.

    microsoft running library software seems so much less of a concern for human life. and they are no blockbuster editing content.

  29. > as a US citizen, it’s your right.

    Except if, you know, you’re running Linux, because you can’t see the website. Yes, SL has been “announced” for Linux. Because MS and Linux are real good chums. It’s just good practice! Like following standards! Oh, and they also have SL for the Mac. Since you’re a Mac user, I don’t have to educate you on the amazing state of MS software on the Mac. So yes, like the BBC player and so many other MS/other proprietary sw before, it reeks.

    If it’s a right, it should be directly funded. Not by MS or some other corporation, because they ultimately do not care about you, they care about the bottom line. This is why DRM exists. It should be funded by the state. But noooo, let’s not be socialists! That’s right next to commies! Let’s let the free market (whatever) decide! Let’s have McDonalds school forms!

    There’s just too much whining going on. Choose the free market, choose small government, reap what you sow. Just don’t come crying when it doesn’t quite turn out the way you envisioned it. When the “best” company turns out to be Microsoft.

    Well done.

  30. So, as a Mircrosoft stock holder I should be bothered by this? “Hate the Big Rich kid” gets old after a while, unless you (Boing Boing or C.D.) thinks there is an important issue here that isn’t being directley addressed. And, if I was Bill Gates, I’d do the same thing. Listen, if you’re going to dis capitalism left and right I would at least like to hear why. If you want a communist system, just say so.

  31. The “bottom line” of a government is (should be) the people.

    The bottom line of a corporation is profit.

    These are not compatible. This is why ultra-capitalism/free market as practiced in the USA will not work.

    Boohoo, politicians are being bought! They’re passing the DMCA! Boohoo! No copyright reform! Boohoo!

    If you think this is “Hate the Big Rich kid”, you’re missing the point so hard that I wonder if you ever even had it in the first place.

  32. Vista is a horrible operating system. The driver support is spotty, at best, and the whole damn system is laggy and full of security threats.

    I, personally, have become a lot more receptive to alternative OS possibilities. Sure, windows improved their OS VISUALLY, but that’s about all I can say. The visual goodies that Vista has all seem to be ripped from other open source programs like Ubuntu and the like. Widgets. Been around.

    Microsoft will they will take over your computers, crash them and rape your children.

    One day, I hope people will become aware of the fact there are promising CHOICES out there, and Microsoft will come crashing down. Perhaps these deals are a desperate attempt to corner the market further since Linux is becoming more and more attractive to the average PC user.

    I’ve given MS many chances. Vista blew it. It came out too soon with far too many bugs. That is unacceptable. It threatens the proficiency and integrity of a brand new machine. When I first started computing, there weren’t many alternatives as far as running certain programs.
    Times have, thankfully, changed.

  33. I feel that there are plenty of *nix nerds that would donate there time to help with a project like this that was done in open source. Maybe there needs to be a better venue to get linux volunteer help, or something.

  34. Replace:
    “Library of Congress sells itself out to Microsoft for a mere $3 mil”
    “Boing Boing sells itself out to Microsoft for a mere $x”

    There are differences but essentially Microsoft paid Library of Congress for them to use their software and Microsoft did the same to Boing Boing to use their Windows Mobile. Was Cory being ironic?

  35. The Library of Congress only holds relative knowledge – absolute knowledge is divine. The LOC is an interesting artifact, but cannot compare to His wisdom. They can run an OS they want as far as I am concerned – it is no different from clutching onto the snow in the midst of an avalanche.

  36. Cowicide (8) on Microsoft “charity”: It’s not enough to tell people to do the research themselves. If you’re going to talk about Bill Gates’/Microsoft’s dubious kindness to school systems, you have to mention product dumping, requiring institutions that want cheap licenses to keep their terms a secret, bribing a local supplier in Nigeria to strip Mandriva Linux’s customized operating system off machines going to the schools, their forced upgrades, the bite their prices take out of already-strained school budgets, their attempts to lock school systems into using Microsoft products, their demands that schools pay licensing fees on computers that aren’t running Microsoft products, and the attempted shakedown of American schools where they made impossible demands for audits at the busiest time of the school year while giving districts the hard sell on expensive volume licensing agreements.

    Just for starters.

    Ted (19), remember that baby Cory and Alice had a few weeks ago? They’ve still got it. This situation is likely to continue for some time, and will intermittently keep them busy.

    Crunchbird (20):

    “I also think that the extreme handwringing over the Honda and Microsoft deals was mostly an exercise in projection … “But what happens if BB does this other evil thing now that they’ve done this first thing I don’t approve of?!?!?” and similarly illogical thinking.”

    Amen. It had moments of extreme silliness.

    I’m inclined to ask Cory what he meant by that headline. He’s sure to know better than I do.

    I can answer you on the extent of changes in editorial content due to advertising BB’s accepted: big zero. As I said at the time, the boingers don’t reliably remember most of their site’s advertisers, much less take those advertisers’ interests into account when writing entries.

    I have to respect nonprofit fundraising. I know how hard organizations have to scrape for dribs and drabs of technology. A good deed remains a good deed. And yet, Microsoft does have a history of using free or low-cost donations as wedges to pry open particular markets.

    MBirdsong (21), people think Microsoft functions as an effective monopoly because carefully adjudicated court decisions keep saying so. Wikipedia has a much-scrutinized overview of Criticism of Microsoft, if you want to learn more about the larger subject.

    DeltaDesu (23), I have every sympathy for someone who’s had to do tech support on Microsoft systems, but please don’t tell people to die in fires.

    Toestubber (25), you ought not lie when you have so little talent for it. Anyone can read the disemvowelled text in this thread and see that “merely disagreeing with the original poster” doesn’t begin to describe what went on in the original comment. Furthermore, if you think that’s draconian moderation, you can’t have a very broad acquaintance with online forums.

    Chris O’Rourke (29)

    “Can a moderator–“

    Yes. Everything you’ve ever imagined, and a lot more that you haven’t.

    “–just delete my initial comment–“

    Fibber. It’s still there, undeleted. It’s just missing its vowels.

    “–and actually now that I think about it my account here too?”

    Good lord, you really are a drama queen. I haven’t touched your account, much less blocked or deleted it.

    “Boingboing used to be a place I enjoyed coming to. Nw t’s jst plc fr Cry t s hyprbl bt sbjcts h’s xtrmly bsd n wtht rgrd fr fct r vn ntrtnmnt vl.”

    Yeah. I hear that from most of the trolls who come here to take cheap shots at Cory.

    “Rather than just deleting a comment–“

    Ah, so you did notice that it was disemvowelled rather than deleted. I have to think it detracts from a rant to have you contradict yourself within the first paragraph.

    –the disemvoweling thing is rather pathetic.”

    “Pathetic”: an all-purpose derogation used by people who have no idea what “pathetic” actually means.

    “If you disagree with what a regular reader has to say have the decency to argue the other side.”

    Oh, it’s you again! And still not the sharpest hammer in the bag, I see. For the record: you didn’t get disemvowelled for your opinions, which were unremarkable. You got disemvowelled for being a jerk. This is a distinction most kids master in kindergarten.

    “Ptty dtng f th pst s prl chldsh nd frnkly nwrthy f my tm.”

    You’d waste a lot less time writing posts that get disemvowelled if you’d stop going out of your way to be deliberately rude.

    Skreidle (40), I love that line.

  37. Theresa, were you just being sneaky in an attempt to flush out Chris O’Rourke if he’s still reading this thread, or did you really think he was asking about imagined slights rather than requesting that you take those specific actions? Given the silliness of any Grand Departure Announcement I won’t necessarily disagree with you on the drama queen charge, but he was asking you to “delete his account,” not asking if you had previously done so.

    In a previous comment someone mentioned Adobe, as if they had some right to be aggrieved at this situation. I would point out that the overwhelming majority of charitable giving by Adobe comes in the form of donated software, and in fact this is the pattern for just about any corporation that can get away with it. Pharma companies do most of their philanthropy through donating drugs, airlines give out stacks and stacks of plane tickets, media companies give away free ad space, and software companies donate software. The only thing that makes this deal any different is that people (perhaps justifiably, perhaps not) hate Microsoft.

    As far as the charge in the post title goes, the LoC’s budget request for FY 2008 was over $703 million (I’m too lazy to hunt down what they actually got). If they’re really going to sell out, I would hope they’d get a bit more for their souls than less than half a percent of their annual operating budget.

  38. Crunchbird, was that what he was saying? I honestly had no idea. He didn’t read to me like someone who wanted to fold his tents and silently slip away.

    I’ll second your point about it being normal for corporations to donate whatever it is they make. Tor Books ships cartons of paperbacks (mixed lots, all sorts) to troops stationed in the Middle East.

    Songe (47), what you’re saying about divine knowledge there can be said in response to any earthly knowledge, by which I mean, please don’t feel obliged to post that observation in any other threads.

  39. @ 51 Teresa:

    Please don’t call me a liar. (I never claimed I had translated that particular comment; perhaps I’m the only person in the world who finds the disemvowelled stuff nearly impossible to read. Obviously text missing a third of its characters is incomprehensible – isn’t that the point?) Not trying to tell you how to argue, but jesus f. christ. Uncalled for.

  40. I see that my comments were edited. I guess free speech must be approved by the gatekeepers. Bravo guys. This is a dissapointment. Cory, I thought you were all about the freedom of speech, content, and hell, maybe even beer.

    go figure

  41. also, every time I load this page, it says it wants to load an Adobe Systems viewer. Arent they an advertiser? I guess that this site is also swayed to use their advertisers technology.

  42. OK.. several points.

    To those who don’t see the objection to this arrangement.. well, Vista is a piece, but I won’t object to them wanting Vista used to some extent if they are donating Vista PCs and/or licenses. But Silverlight? This is another attempt by Microsoft to force people to use Windows and the full Microsoft software stack just to view what should be a standard web site. Silverlight for OSX is behind the Windows version; Microsoft claims a Linux version but it’s vaporware. Forget about anything else. Versus the regular web technology something like a library site should use where it could be viewable even on a phone if you wanted.

    As for Microsoft being a monopoly — of course they are. They’ve been convicted of anticompetitive practices. They have pulled numerous stunts in the past using dominant market position and/or large cash reserves to take out competitors. Things such as selling software below cost to lock out competitors (to some extent donating millions in software locks out competition too, although it’s hard to complain about donations…) Going through the motions of buying out a company to get inside info, then changing their mind and just copying the competitor’s products. The “all or nothing” contracts they tend to use to force paying for software for all computers whether they will actually have it or not. The list goes on and on. And, just for historical perspective — the Antitrust Act was written to deal with Standard Oil in the early 1900s. They weren’t a strict monopoly either — they had something like 500 competitors, they were just all very small. But, Standard Oil would sell oil & gas below cost until competitors in an area all went out of business (then raise prices above what they had been in that area). If fuel was trucked in they could buy up all shipping for an area to make sure competitors couldn’t receive any fuels.. and so on. All perfectly legal but definitely dirty and underhanded.

  43. Is it me or is the headline just a smidge heavy handed and tabloid like? I feel like I’m watching Faux News lately when I read your posts I Cry. I’m sure if this was Apple or any of the 450 organizations who’s boards you sit on it would be “OMG like how nice this company is”.
    Can you try to pretend to be slightly unbiased or at the very least stop with the super-sensationalist headlines? I understand being a dad causes you to be less logical (my logic circuit is still fritzy 14 month into being a dad) but still, if you’re going to post stories/news here make them a little less tabloidish.

  44. Some up there seemed to freak out at my observation that Microsoft has cost “us” trillions, is bad for charity, America, the World, etc. Teresa is right, I should have brought up more specific points instead of saying “do your own research” [and thank you for adding those links, info, etc. Teresa!]

    But, it’s complicated and I honestly don’t have time to spell out what’s readily available with some research and “putting two and two together”… if some of you can’t see the far-reaching problems of Microsoft’s unethical, bribe-induced monopoly (YES, monopoly)… then you really are NOT looking. (especially if you are going to mince words about them being a monopolistic entity in the first place, LOL)

    If you don’t believe that hurting healthy business competition and innovation on such a ridiculously large scale didn’t cost us all in the trillions, then you’ve got to be delusional… or worse, a commie.

    They didn’t just hurt other tech businesses by playing dirty, they hurt everyone on this planet who ended up wasting time and money with a vastly inferior product born from a lack of healthy competition. Yah… that cost the planet a “buck” or two in time/money, huh?

    Think of it this way.. when you add up all the losses to small business in productivity (or worse, solvency from MS attacks, etc.) and the fact that these small businesses are the overwhelming part of the charity pie chart…. don’t you think that… oh, that just might have hurt charity overall? Including the funding of school programs, etc.? Charity comes overwhelmingly from small business and so do American jobs. The corporate machine would rather you not acknowledge it, but it’s a fact… American jobs are driven by small business, NOT fucking Wal-Mart.

    I’m not going to apologize for believing in a free, competitive marketplace. Microsoft thwarted growth for the planet by poisoning the diverse, evolutionary garden of free enterprise and destroying innovation wherever it reared it’s beautiful head. If “innovation” is only a “word” to you… you’re not considering all the far-reaching implications of the word in this context. Remember, well over 90% of the world uses Windows.. that’s a huge, global effect from one business entity that this planet has never seen before…. A few paltry billion dollars to some charities isn’t going to patch the trillions in wounds, sorry.

    Think long and hard about “innovation” and what it means to mankind. Then get back to me about my “ridiculous” comments about Microsoft costing mankind so much.

    So…well, after all that… you’d think the Gates foundation was trying to make amends…. but are they?

    With foundations like these, who need enemies?

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