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FTC Attorney Joins Microsoft

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the stacking-the-deck dept.

Google 123

inode_buddha writes "Randall Long, a senior attorney who led several antitrust investigations against Google, has been hired by Microsoft. From the article: 'The software giant told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it hired Randall Long, an official at the FTC's Bureau of Competition. When he joins the software giant at the end of the month, Long will head up Microsoft's regulatory affairs division in Washington. Long was involved in FTC reviews of Google's acquisitions of both DoubleClick and AdMob. According to the Journal's unnamed sources, Long was especially outspoken about Google's AdMob acquisition, saying that the FTC should challenge the deal. His reservations were eventually set aside and the deal was approved in 2010.'"

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First post! (1, Troll)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243399)

M$ still sucks ass!

Re:First post! (5, Interesting)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243463)

M$ still sucks ass!

Just another reason for the separation of Corporation and State.

Re:First post! (0)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243901)

M$ still sucks ass!

Just another reason for the separation of Corporation and State.

More relevant to the OP's comment is the equally important separation of mouth and ass.

Re:First post! (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243941)

The sad part to me is they don't even try to be subtle about it anymore, a corp will hire some elected official to shill and then give them a cushy job when they manage to get what they wanted. this is why my two boys refuse to even vote as they see no point in participating what is now obviously a completely corrupted system and with crap like this occurring daily frankly there isn't a single thing I can think of to use as a counterargument. From the local to the national its all nepotism and cronyism and bribery, revolving doors and backroom deals.

I have to wonder if this is how it ends, just one slimy roll downhill as the corps and politicians steal as much as they can before bailing when it all falls down like the fall of Saigon.

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244323)

Nailed it. But at least we can expect drones to spy on the commoners soon, you know, in case we commit crimes.

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244597)

Welcome to America, soon enough USA won't be able to destroy any other country but itself, if it goes like that.
Hope brain washed americans will be able to open their eyes and change stuff, before it goes FOOBAR.

America used to be proud nation, proud nation that had to offer a thing or two to humanity, hope it will be strong again, but not to dominate, but to lead.

Re:First post! (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244515)

this is why my two boys refuse to even vote

Your two boys are very misguided.

Haven't your heard the whole "when good men do nothing, evil flourishes" bit? How about getting politically active with someone who's not an outright scumbag? Even if it's just on the local level - county government, city council, hell - school board even, they can effect a change. If they sit on their asses and decide not to vote because the "system is rigged", then they're just as responsible for the state of our country as the people who are voting for these idiots in the first place (if not more).

And yes, I vote. Yes I'm politically active. I spend a few days researching the candidates coming up for election and choose the one that I think will do what I believe to be best for my city, state, county, or country. Sometimes I don't see a good options and just put down a write-in of someone I could trust to be competent. It's not ideal, but I think I am doing far better than the average voter myself who just checks off the ballot down party lines.

If we keep squabbling over insignificant shit, which party is better, etc. we're going to go absolutely fucking nowhere but down as a country.

Re:First post! (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244905)

Haven't your heard the whole "when good men do nothing, evil flourishes" bit?

I agree with his boys, actually. Everyone's heard that, but a simple application of logic points out the flaw in your reasoning.

"If good men do nothing, evil triumphs" does NOT imply "If good men do not do nothing[0], evil does not triumph." Instead, it's become empirically clear that "good men doing something" is pretty much "pissing into the wind."

I think I am doing far better than the average voter myself who just checks off the ballot down party lines.

You're not. Simply because you are in the tiny minority, so whatever your doing is basically statistical 'noise.'

[0]Double negatives are valid in symbolic logic. :P

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244987)

Double negatives are valid in symbolic logic. :P

But they don't change the cause and effect. They might highlight which is which, but the statement is the same.

... does NOT imply "If good men do not do nothing, evil does not triumph."

It implies "evil does not triumph if good men do not do nothing". That is, "evil does not triumph if good men do something".

... "good men doing something" is pretty much "pissing into the wind."

Or, in accordance with human tipping points, the actions of good men have not reached 'critical mass'. Unfortunately, most systems of control are designed to enforce and repeat themselves. So activists must first disrupt the entrenched corruption of the status quo. That is, activists must destroy their own foundation of power. (Which is why revolutions depend on the wealth of the middle class.) Those activists must then start their struggle again in the evolution of a new system of control.

Re:First post! (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245027)

It implies "evil does not triumph if good men do not do nothing". That is, "evil does not triumph if good men do something".

Not so.
p: "Good men do nothing"
q: "Evil triumps"

"IF p THEN q" :
Truth table
p q "p -> q"
T T T
T F F
F T T
F F T

As you can see from the truth table, if good men do something, then it's pretty much up in the air. And as you pointed out, the self-feeding system is already pretty well armored against interference by the "good men."

The battle's lost. Just live with it and keep your head down until you die and it's not your problem anymore. That's my philosophy these days. All these idiots don't really deserve any noble sacrifices to save them from the fruits of their own complacency, anyway.

Re:First post! (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245957)

Ah, Slashdot. Where people can go from talking about the subject of the post to delving into the grammatical minutiae of a particular sentence for hours.

Re:First post! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246863)

A good rule of thumb is to consider yourself as a sample of everyone...and pretend that you are representative of the population as a whole.

While statistically unsound with a huge margin of error in reality, it does accurately model what things would be like if everyone did what you did.

That, in turn, should be the true measure of how futile trying to change things really is.

Sadly, that doesn't change anything because people can't vote for candidates that never make it to the ballot. And to do that, you have to get air time that is controlled by the same corporate overlords that join the incuments in the beds of the elite.

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245679)

Vote for anyone other than the standard two parties? You're wasting your time. You won't ever be allowed to win.

Vote for one of the standard two parties? You are part of the current problem. Yes, even your special candidate is a scumbag or will be shortly after winning.

I'm not sure. Voting for the USA seems like busywork to keep people arguing while they cash in and bail.

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245899)

I've seen the best people with highest ideals engage with the system and with 10 years the system has turned them into either an ineffectual talking head or corrupted them entirely, one compromise at a time.

Would you wish that on your sons?

Re:First post! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246497)

I'm sorry but I live in the middle of what is known as "meth alley" which is a corridor that goes from the Mexican border up to Chicago. All you get here is corrupt, cronyism, nepotism, and the same old money over and over AND OVER. Hell half our cops live like fricking Scarface and the other half wouldn't dare say shit for fear of ending up like the last snitch which is common knowledge they "pulled a Fargo" on him, only the poor bastard was alive when they fed him into the chipper. They found the chipper in the river about a year later, by that time fish had cleaned it quite well.

The late great Bill Hicks nailed it years ago "Well i believe the puppet on the left shares MY beliefs, well I believe the puppet on the right has my interests at heart...wait a minute, there is one guy working BOTH puppets!". In my area its been the same families running things since the civil war, good luck changing something THAT embedded. Money that old can steal and deal all they want, they get streets named after them.

Re:First post! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246021)

Why aren't they being subtle about it?

Because they no longer have anything to fear from being caught.

The elite are immune to retribution.

Re:First post! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246597)

Sadly this is only true up to a point, see the Arab Springs. Why do I say sadly? Because you have a 50/50 chance of things getting REALLY nasty, think Germany in 34. Considering how many "FEMA camps" have been built in the last 5 years i have a feeling the elite are planning on the second option when the peasants get too rowdy. of course they think they can kowtow the population but the word "camp" will forever have the word concentration attached and then its on like Donkey Kong. Then you run the very real risk of full scale civil war in a nation that has nukes spread all over the landscape and which has national guard outposts practically everywhere with seriously heavy firepower.

Sadly I doubt you'll see a civil handing over of power like you did in the former USSR and frankly that should scare the shit out of anybody. you have soldiers taking oaths to turn against their government and guys piling up weapons all over the place, my guess is within 10 years they won't be able to print enough money to placate the poor unemployed masses and when the actual unemployment rate hits 40% (which it will, you just can't outsource the entire manufacturing out of the country without having unemployment reach epic proportions) then we'll see what happens when a nuclear superpower has an Arab Spring.

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244873)

How readily we forget the statement "the business of Government is business", however today we can add the "the business of business is Government".
There is a fine line between that has been crossed here and Microsoft by meddling in the affairs of the competition in the web services and advertising industry has shown that they are really serious about their "screw Google" campaign. Windows 8 is going to bomb and perhaps they know this already..Watch out if Microsoft starts to tank they still have one hell of a war chest and are not above reverting to their old dirty tricks.

Re:First post! (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246367)

Meddling in the affairs of the competition in the web services and advertising industry has shown that they are really serious about their "screw Google" campaign.

Who was it who said
"I'm going to f---ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again, I'm going to f---ing kill Google."?

I guess he was serious.

Revolving Door (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243691)

It's another case of revolving door - where a senior government officer getting a high ranking position in the private sector the minute he quit his government job

I'm afraid that in a civil society like what we have, we can't do nothing to this form of corruption

Re:Revolving Door (0)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243711)

So according to you this person a corrupt immoral person. Do you have any proof of this is it something personal?

It certainly appears to be corruption (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243775)

Ronald Reagan insists that US markets stay open to Japan, while Japanese markets are closed to the US. US loses massive market share to Japan. Reagan gets out of office, and immediately flies to Japan to pick up a $2 million "speakers fee."

Absolutely no "proof" of corruption. But what does it look like?

If the corruption could be actually proven, it would never had happened.

Same idea here. A government official mysteriously takes an extremely strong stance against a rival of a company that has been caught red-handed bribing officials. Now that official is suddenly working for the company the official helped. It stinks to high heaven, and we both know it.

Re:It certainly appears to be corruption (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244027)

There are much worse cases, also in countries regarded to be of low corruption level.
What about this asshole [wikipedia.org] which got high position in gazprom afrer making high-level international deal for their favor. And now you are not even allowed to say that he colours his hair.

Re:Revolving Door (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243791)

Do you have any proof of this is it something personal?

Yes. He represented MS interests, and has been directly paid by MS for his services. Which of those facts do you dispute?

Re:Revolving Door (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245693)

Do you have any proof of this is it something personal?

Yes. He represented MS interests, and has been directly paid by MS for his services. Which of those facts do you dispute?

I agree it is highly suspisious. But is "has been directly paid by MS for his services" a fact? He is currently being paid by MS, but is there any evidence he has been paid by MS when he was working for the FTC?

Re:Revolving Door (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246031)

That's not how these things usually work. It's more like when he's at the country club golfing with a few MS lawyers, they mention that if the FTC were to somehow hurt Google, there could be a cushy spot waiting for him at MS after.

Re:Revolving Door (5, Informative)

shri (17709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243807)

Sure something can be done or at the very least some steps can be taken. Here in Hong Kong retired govt officials have to apply to the Civil Services Bureau before they can take up a new position. The policy is outlined here [csb.gov.hk] .

The essence of it lies in the following
(a) civil servants on final leave and former civil servants will not take up work which may:
(i) constitute real or potential conflict of interest with their former government duties, or
(ii) casue well-founded negative public perception embarrassing the Government and undermining the image of the Civil Service, or give rise to reasonable apprehension of deferred reward or benefit by a fair-minded and informed observer after having considered the relevant facts;
(b) the said individuals' right to work after ceasing government service will not be duly restricted; and
(c) the attractiveness of the Civil Service as a career will not be adversely affected and limited human resources will be put to good use.

This has worked sometime and has not worked sometime. It has also been used to harrass individuals who have embarrassed the government while on the job ( one prominent civil servant reportedly did not get clearance for 2 years to work as a journalist because he obviously had some dirt on some senior officials.

Having said that, atleast there is a policy and matters can be taken to court if required.

May not apply to many places like the US.

Re:Revolving Door (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243933)

Sure something can be done or at the very least some steps can be taken. Here in Hong Kong retired govt officials have to apply to the Civil Services Bureau before they can take up a new position

Thank you very much for the info you've given us !!

I've learn something new today

Re:Revolving Door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245183)

This is how it used to work in the UK too, that's why Hong Kong has it. Of course, the UK did away with such a "restrictive" regulation a while ago.

Now one hand washes the other, as they say....

When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244483)

Randall Long, formerly of a Obama administration, joins Microsoft. This guy [slashdot.org] leaves MS for the Obama administration. Al Gore sits on Apple's board.

When you use Linux, you hurt MS's and Apple's profits, which hurts Democrats. When you use Linux, you help the Republicans.

Re:When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245327)

Less private money to politicians => less bribes to do things I am opposed to.

Re:Revolving Door (0)

ticktickboom (1054594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245967)

what was he supposed to do after he left his govt job? never work again? so i would have to pay tax money to support him, how much would his non working salary be? should we prohibit federal employees from working in any corp of more than 500 people? that would be, mean...

Re:Revolving Door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246117)

How about if you leave government and get a cushy job at a corporation, you have to pay 50% taxes on all your earnings for 5 to pay back the government for the skills and insider information they gave you that this company is now leeching off of?

Graft (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243437)

There are places in the world where this would be illegal.

Re:Graft (5, Insightful)

unreadepitaph (1537383) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243453)

They just don't even try to hide it anymore, do they.

Re:Graft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243489)

They just don't even try to hide it anymore, do they.

Maybe because all of the noise about being open and transparent?

Re:Graft (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243529)

I know a thing or two about noise. I was watching a pornographic Flash video on xhamster.com which showed a blonde caucasian woman riding a well-endowed black man on the couch. As soon as the cameraman went in for the close-up, the woman farted loudly in the cameraman's face, causing the cameraman to back out of the action right away.

How could somebody be that cameraman and not bust up laughing? He is a true American hero.

Re:Graft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243919)

I know a thing or two about noise. I was watching a pornographic Flash video on xhamster.com which showed a blonde caucasian woman riding a well-endowed black man on the couch. As soon as the cameraman went in for the close-up, the woman farted loudly in the cameraman's face, causing the cameraman to back out of the action right away.

How could somebody be that cameraman and not bust up laughing? He is a true American hero.

Link?

Re:Graft (2)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245279)

The only part they're hiding is that he worked for M$ from the start. Now he just gets a title and salary.

Re:Graft (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245867)

The only part they're hiding is that he worked for M$ from the start. Now he just gets a title and salary.

Interesting thing about MS in this context is that they (Bill Gates) a long time ago first wanted nothing to do with Washington or politics at all, unlike most large companies they did not fund or lobby, and Gates was described as openly indifferent to politicians, even when accused, which pissed Washington off. Many who followed this closely commented that Microsoft most likely got a harder antitrust treatment than they otherwise would have because of distancing themselves from politics+money this way - and they have since changed their ways, and are now lobbying and funding etc like the rest of large corporations (and yeah.. Slashdot might want to argue how hard the antitrust treathment should be, that is not the point here).

Re:Graft (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243557)

Well the US is not one of those places. People are pretty much free to quit one job and take another. Joining government might be harder.

In fact the only place I'm aware of an outright ban is France [wikipedia.org] , where a three year waiting period must lapse before quitting government and joining the private sector. How one feeds himself and is family during this three years is not explained.

Other jurisdictions may impose restrictions via NDAs, and there are rules about defense contractor hiring, but only into specific jobs (procurement specialists can't join sales teams upon leaving government).

Besides... He's a lawyer.
Anything he did for the FTC is Attorney Client privileged, and we know Attorneys never violate that now don't we?. *cough*.

Re:Graft (5, Informative)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243697)

Well the US is not one of those places. People are pretty much free to quit one job and take another.

Not necessarily. As a random example, if you're an FAA safety inspector you have to wait two years before you can be hired by an airline for a job that involves interacting with the FAA.
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=mro&id=news/avd/2011/08/30/04.xml [aviationweek.com]

Re:Graft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243975)

Yeah, that two years will make all the difference in the world. I'm sure that in an organization as dynamic as the FAA, a whole lot can change in two years! In two years, they'll have replaced all their digital projectors with 107" organic LED HDTV's and put 5 new layers of wax on their office floors!

Re:Graft (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244259)

Well 2 years is a two fold issue. First, as said elsewhere, you need to feed yourself for 2 years. Secondly, in 2 years hopefully most of the existing short term contracts have gone through the system, and it's all new stuff. You can't lobby for a bid already in progress sort of thing (where you were on the inside looking evaluating a bid, and then turn around and tell the company what to do to change it so it's successful).

Sort of by definition you will still know most of the people there and where they fit in the hierarchy, but that's not a huge problem.

Re:Graft (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246723)

Sort of by definition you will still know most of the people there and where they fit in the hierarchy, but that's not a huge problem.

That's a lot of nonsense. In those roles you will hear about things *years* out that you wouldn't otherwise hear of. When that information is supposed to be proprietary and you use it anyway, which is SOP, you're breaking the law. That's why we have these laws; people did it anyway.

Re:Graft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243965)

In fact the only place I'm aware of an outright ban is France [wikipedia.org], where a three year waiting period must lapse before quitting government and joining the private sector. How one feeds himself and is family during this three years is not explained.

It means that once a bureaucrat, always a bureaucrat. Which isn't ideal either, as you can imagine.

Re:Graft (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245347)

Oh, it is ideal. This is how it was implemented in USSR, and it worked -- corruption was lower than in Czarist Russia and lower than in post-USSR Russia.

Re:Graft (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244131)

Come to think of it, if he uses any information from the FTC to aid MS he'd be violating it and be up for disciplinary action from the DC bar association.

In practice, they're in on it.

Re:Graft (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244539)

Honestly, it'd be worth the money to pay former government officials a lifetime pension at their salary rate and bar them from working anywhere in the private sector. Write a book, do some speaking, whatever. Join the board of directors of an airline and you were at the top of the FAA? Fuck no.

You idiot (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245353)

How a politician feeds himself? From having his pay continued. The president of Germany for instance gets payed his full salary for the rest of his live. Serve 4 years, get payed for 40 and counting. Serve a month and get payed for 40. Get thrown out and get payed.

Do you really think politicians loose their income when they loose office? You are a moron.

Re:You idiot (1)

Frohboy (78614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245659)

Who brought up the word "politician" (before you)?

The grandparent (and the referenced French law) talk about people "working in government" (i.e. bureaucrats + politicians, but the bureaucrats far outnumber the politicians).

Was Randall Long elected to his position at the FTC? No? So, he's not a politician. He's a former bureaucrat. Sure, many bureaucracies have generous pension plans, but they tend to be linked to the number of years served. Thus, your "serve a month and get payed for 40" example is completely irrelevant.

I am genuinely curious about how the law in France works, with regards to bureaucrats being able to support themselves after leaving their positions. Do they receive some sort of government compensation during this period? Or is it, as another post suggested, simply the case that the rule serves to keep people in the bureaucracy?

Do you really think politicians loose their income when they loose office? You are a moron.

Classic...

Re:Graft (2)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245727)

Wikipedia gives the link to the actual text of the law; it sounds very reasonable in fact. According to my reading, and giving a simplified translation, the French do not forbid moving from government to the private sector, they forbid taking a job in an enterprise that you were previously overseeing.

Of course, the question is why would Wikipedia summarise the law that badly? Although perhaps that may not be so surprising, given the largely 'teenage libertarian' nature of the editors.

Re:Graft (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243563)

The U.S. has some rules as well. Since fairly recently [wikipedia.org] , federal politicians and high-level employees are restricted from working as lobbyists in their former areas for 1-2 years after leaving federal employment. However it doesn't look like the job Randall Long was high enough up to be covered (it's also not entirely clear if his new job constitutes lobbying, or if he's heading some sort of litigation group instead).

Re:Graft (0)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243701)

But this is wrong! It's completely unacceptable for any employee of the government to act like a human, and remember contacts after leaving a job! Like any simple automaton, his understanding of how regulatory processes work and knowledge of who has what influences should be completely erased, leaving a blank slate equivalent to any poli-sci entry-level candidate.

The fact that his prejudices align with the hiring company's only further illustrates that he could never have been prejudiced on his own, but must have been bought off during his time at the FTC.

This post has been brought to you by the Slashdot Mockery Foundation, who paid for a recent golfing trip in Europe featuring preteen hookers as caddies. And viewers like you.

Re:Graft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244139)

If a judge presides over a case, acts strongly in favor of one party with questionable motives, and then takes up a job with that litigant after the case is done, would you still see it as "remembering contacts"? This guy was supposed to be acting in the interests of what's best for the country and neutrally with respect to the companies; that is not a position where you're supposed to be making contacts and finding people to get a salary increase from, who just so happen to have a vested interest in the outcome of cases you're handling.
 
Then again most of your posts -- even the ones modded up -- are pretty trollish. I expect you'll completely miss the point and include some nice sarcasm in retort.

Re:Graft (1, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245265)

By all means, let's dissect this further, then.

Randall Long was not a judge. He was an investigator, whose primary cases involving Google ended almost two years ago, didn't do much to hinder the giant, and did very little to help Microsoft (who wasn't really even involved in the cases, either). In his most significant case (the acquisition of AdMob), Mr. Long's recommendation to challenge the deal wasn't even followed by the commission. The FTC's recent investigations have regarded business practices rather than mergers, so Mr. Long wasn't even involved. The theory that this new job is a payout for past favors doesn't make much sense. If he was a crony, he's one of the least-effective ones in history.

There is another theory that is actually supported by facts. The lobbyist position for Mr. Long could simply be a new career as a lobbyist. Contrary to Slashdot's beloved groupthink, politics isn't a deterministic system ruled by logic. It's a complex tangled mess of politicians thinking, protesters complaining, and committees meeting. Rather than have interns read thousands of letters from "concerned member of An Entity", representatives meet with a single person from An Entity, and understand that the single person is directly representing a few thousand people, be them union workers, employees, shareholders, parents, artists, or anyone else. That representative can then explain the perspective of the thousands of people all at once, clearly, and in a manner that irritates the politician much less than a flood of angry letters.

The biggest problem with this tangled mess of politics is getting that representative in an office with the politician in the first place. Most phone calls are handled by interns, with the main goal of "don't bother the politician". If you call, they'll tally your comments and report on it, but don't expect to directly speak to your Congressmen. Letters may only be tallied in samples. With so many bills passing through the legislature and so many lawsuits passing through the judicial system, getting a few moments of time with a politician is nearly impossible.

Almost everybody likes hearing from an old friend, though, even if they're going to be promoting some particular viewpoint. It's here that I think Mr. Long's main qualification for the job lies. He's been in Washington D.C. since 1999, and is (according to the WSJ article) held in high regard. I doubt it's possible to be in that kind of position and not make friends. Making connections certainly isn't the main goal for an FTC attorney, but it happens regardless. I used to work in the medical industry (in IT) and I could probably still get the attention of some of the most senior surgeons if I needed something special, just because I know who to call and what to say.

Now, this isn't to suggest that everything is perfectly moral. Somehow, Mr. Long did manage to fall into a seemingly custom-made position in a company based on the other side of the country. I find it very likely that Microsoft wanted his connections, and made him a ridiculously overpaid offer to join them. The likelihood of a bias against Google just makes the deal better for Microsoft.

The bottom line is that it's more likely this job is an effect of Mr. Long's goals and abilities aligning with Microsoft's goals and needs, rather than being the result of some secret conspiracy.

Then again most of your posts -- even the ones modded up -- are pretty trollish. I expect you'll completely miss the point and include some nice sarcasm in retort.

As should be obvious by now, I find Slashdot's hive mind disgusting. There is little concern for facts or reason, and much support for conspiracy theories and persecution mentalities. I often use sarcasm to illustrate the logical leaps necessary to sustain such theories - such as the need to erase a government agent's memory to make them unsuitable as a lobbyist. Apart from outright sarcasm, I do not intentionally troll. I mean every word I say. That's why I use my name.

Job over? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243525)

What was his reason for leaving the FTC? Is it that Google has been investigated fully and even submitted to a 20 year partnership with the FTC so there was nothing left for him to do, and for making messes with Google he couldn't work there, so he applied for a job with Google's nearest competitor?

Re:Job over? (2, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243591)

What was his reason for leaving the FTC?

Perhaps he wanted an employer who would agree with his distrust of Google.

Re:Job over? (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243657)

Perhaps he had a prior arrangement with Google's competitor to develop distrust, in exchange for a well-paid sinecure once he was done.

Re:Job over? (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243683)

Perhaps he had a prior arrangement with Google's competitor to develop distrust, in exchange for a well-paid sinecure once he was done.

"Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink." - Martin Lomasney

tin foil (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244255)

perhaps he was never really working for the FTC to begin with, in fact, I dont even believe that this man exists!

Re:tin foil (3, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244697)

perhaps he was never really working for the FTC to begin with, in fact, I dont even believe that this man exists!

It's easy to dismiss a lot of concerns as paranoia. That's an easy, cheap-shot retort around here. But sometimes suspecting conspiracy is more logical than believing governments/corporations/lawyers at face value.

If I said, "I suspect the Russian elections were unfair," would you shoot back with that same old tin-foil retort?

This hire looks like a duck, it waddles like a duck, and it quacks like a duck. As far as I'm concerned, it's a duck unless someone can prove to me it's an ugly swan. This guy has used his position in government to help Microsoft - whether it was agreed upon or coordinated or whathaveyou is irrelevant because accepting money from them looks shady and is ethically questionable. It looks like graft, the money moves hands like graft, and if money could talk then it would sound like graft, too. I don't consider myself paranoid, just cynical. Especially when Microsoft and the government are involved.

Re:tin foil (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244901)

it seems as if my attempt at comedy has failed. Clearly it looks as if there will be some potential ethical violations, if they arent in writing they are in reason.

Re:Job over? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243623)

It's not like Google is going to be trustworthy for the next 20 years... It just means they have an agreement with the FTC to settle everything they have done so far.

Re:Job over? (5, Insightful)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243647)

I suspect he's been working for M$ for a while now.

it's just official now.

Re:Job over? (1)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243725)

better money, better benifits, better position, perhaps moving out of washington? who can tell really.

No one said he was a on a personal cruisade against google just because he worked on that. he's a laywer and an expert in that domain.

Re:Job over? (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244003)

No one said he was a on a personal cruisade against google just because he worked on that. he's a laywer and an expert in that domain.

Not a personal crusade, but surely he has inside knowledge the acquired while working for the FTC that Microsoft (and others) don't have access to. Well, Microsoft does now.

Re:Job over? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244293)

That's a pretty big assumption. And it assumes that the information he would have is valuable.

He's almost certainly not the first FTC person ever hired by microsoft, directly or indirectly. They probably already know the inner workings of the FTC. The question is whether or he specifically has knowledge of a business plans from google that could damage them somehow, but benefit MS.

More likely he merely adds more man hours to their access to the FTC and their ability to do the proper paper work in the proper way, for the proper people, and so they can support more paperwork.

Obviously he wasn't all that effective at his last job if they ignored his recommendations. But he does know what the review process is, and that's useful to have on staff so they can file the right paperwork.

Re:Job over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243847)

I think it's pretty straightforward and obvious: Microsoft told him that if he went on a crusade against Google, he'd have a job when he was ready to stop working for the FTC.

The blatant bribery here is despicable.

Surprised? Nop (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243573)

MS and now the gov. are just as corrupt as ever. The US is just falling apart. We have become just like any other nation, rather than being the beacon of hope.

Re:Surprised? Nop (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243803)

Ever since Bush Jr, we've been the beacon of dope.

Surprise! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243837)

Hate to piss on your deluded exceptionalism, but -

We have always been just like every other nation, since the very inception of the United States.

Re:Surprise! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245013)

I think the problem is we have given up even aspiring to be better.

Little mystery here... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243603)

Microsoft has been beaten up over anti-competitive / anti-trust practices many times in many jurisdictions. Someone with Longs's experience will be highly valuable for both offense against Google and defense on future claims against them. (Could anyone name all the other big PC OS/application vendors that have identifiable market share for generic PC OS sales? . . . . chrip . . . . chirp [youtube.com] . . . )

Re:Little mystery here... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243677)

I wonder if it ever occurred to Microsoft that one solution would be to not abuse its market position. You know, at least pretend that they're incurable evil sociopaths.

Re:Little mystery here... (5, Interesting)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243747)

Little mystery indeed,

We have been joking here on Slashdot about a famous outburst of chair throwing, and about Steve Ballmer yelling that he was fucking going to kill Google. He, however, was not joking.

Microsoft has been beaten up over anti-competitive / anti-trust practices many times in many jurisdictions.

And when he uttered that famous sentence, in what way do you think Ballmer was dreaming of killing a company having earned respect among web users and having as a motto "Don't be evil", if not in pulling Google down in the dirty pool of consumer hate Microsoft was drowning itself? Has anyone not noticed the intense PR campaign-war that has been waged against Google since then, even on Slashdot, and the intense sock-puppeting and shilling each time a Google story comes up?

Re:Little mystery here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245071)

Actually, the only intense shilling I see on /. is the intense anti-MS shilling that has been going on here for well over a decade.

Don't you find it ironic how MS is constantly attacked as pure evil around here... and yet a lot of people complain that this place is full of pro-MS propaganda?

You keep using that word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245147)

A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization. Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that he or she is an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) that he or she is secretly working for.

YOU ALL WORK FOR GOOGLE, Y'ALL!

Or maybe it's just everyone has had it up to here with MS.

MS [slashdot.org] , on [slashdot.org] the [slashdot.org] other [slashdot.org] hand [slashdot.org] ...

Re:Little mystery here... (2)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246489)

Microsoft has been beaten up over anti-competitive / anti-trust practices many times in many jurisdictions.

Not "beaten up", convicted. The only people who have been beaten up are all the competition that were manhandled over the years. Microsoft is still has an applications barrier to entry and is still changing file formats to try to keep it's monopoly intact.

The findings of fact in the USA anti-trust trial really detail things nicely, if you want an education on why they were convicted and why people hold such hard feelings towards them.

Is he likely to have privileged knowledge? (4, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243629)

IANAL, so I have no idea how likely this is, but -- is it possible that he's seen sealed testimony or other privileged information that could be damaging to Google, and would otherwise not be directly accessible to Microsoft?

Re:Is he likely to have privileged knowledge? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244015)

is it possible that he's seen sealed testimony or other privileged information that could be damaging to Google, and would otherwise not be directly accessible to Microsoft?

Absolutely.

Revolving door (3, Interesting)

thue (121682) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243751)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolving_door_(politics) [wikipedia.org] :

In politics, the "revolving door" is the movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation. In some cases the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time. Political analysts claim that an unhealthy relationship can develop between the private sector and government, based on the granting of reciprocated privileges to the detriment of the nation and can lead to regulatory capture.

Re:Revolving door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243767)

Someone told Randall there was a job waiting for him at Microsoft...and he was already working for them as a result.

That's how it's done... per Abramoff, king of the lobbyist revolving doors.

Vaguely related story: Cato Institute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243815)

The Koch brothers [wikipedia.org] have filed a lawsuit [washingtonpost.com] for control over the Cato Institute, a Washington DC-based libertarian think tank.

As far as I can tell, Cato Institute's business consists of conducting research for well-healed corporate clients, to generate one-sided reports which can then be used in lobbying and congressional and judicial testimony. They did a lot of work for Microsoft [cato.org] around the time of the DOJ antitrust investigation.

More MS "Tonya Harding" tactics against Google (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243849)

Microsoft internal document

“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). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/comes-3096.pdf

How not to win friends and influence people
Mar 2nd 2012

The bland-sounding ICOMP [ Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace] is openly funded by Microsoft (among others), whose search engine, Bing, competes with Google's. ICOMP’s homepage is littered with attacks on the search giant: “Google’s new privacy policy: unlawful and unfair”; “Google caught with its hands in the cookie jar”; “‘Unfair and unwise’: Google implements new privacy policy despite calls to delay”. Burson-Marsteller acts as the secretariat for ICOMP. Readers may remember the outfit from past flops such as the campaign against Google on behalf of Facebook.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/03/microsoft-v-google

Re:More MS "Tonya Harding" tactics against Google (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245447)

I must still laught everytime I read the word "Bing". Actually my mental image is like someone is smacking someone on the head and it goes "bing".

wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is at (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243943)

Microsoft these days because it sure seems like they have been bulking up in the lawyer side for a number of years.

And this after how many years of them hiring Linux experts only to use them against Linux? I don't see anything different about them hiring government people who showed signs of disliking Google to the point of attempting to block their business operations. Microsoft's high priority business method has always been to block and destabilize their competition over and above besting them in the market.

Same old Microsoft we've seen since the late '80s and early '90s.

LoB

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39243953)

Same old Microsoft we've seen since the late '80s and early '90s.

That's fairly disrespectful. I'd like to think they're finding new ways to be slimy and boorish.

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244505)

lol
    They have banged the patent drum loudly over the last few years but many predicted this over a decade ago. It would be nice if there was something new going on inside MS besides an office chair getting thrown around. I guess that was different. lol And the Monkey Boy Dance was different too. At least the ARM vs x86 versions of Windows 8 will keep the rags going for a few years attempting to figure out customer reactions. And that locked down boot loader too.

LoB

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244111)

Actually, their Legal and Corporate Affairs group took a significant hit (much worse than engineering) in the layoffs during the 2008 recession. This could (I make no claim whatsoever that it *is*, though) be as simple as them hiring back up to strength with people they expect to be useful to them.

Microsoft still has tons of Dev/SDET/PM positions open; many more than legal positions, going by their hiring website. I have no idea what the delta in ratio is, though, or how many of each are currently (or were previously) actually employed.

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244359)

Maybe it seems like they've been bulking up on lawyers because /. covers lawyers more than developers, and because developers that work for microsoft get almost no individual press for their work.

That's in part because MS doesn't let you sell your code on the side, and in part because you work for Microsoft, as part of a team, and externally the team gets credit. You may be clearly listed as part of a team, and credited for the team, but mostly we only see one point person for a team (who blogs or gives talks) and everyone else we don't know about. Which, given the range of products MS has would be prohibitively hard to keep track of from the outside anyway.

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244467)

true although it would seem that with some change in size of department, one would see some result in the market. ie more legal maneuvers or more product releases or updates. Sure isn't possible to figure it out as a private corporation, they don't have to or want to give that kind of info out.

it was nothing more than a 'wouldn't it be nice if we could tell what the ratio was and what changes to it have been over the years'.

LoB

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244977)

They seem to have a much bigger product lineup than they used to. Windows isn't just a kernel, it's a whole software suite, and windows 8 seems like it's a lot of development time. The whole azure/cloud service thing, and all of the overhead that goes with that is a lot of work, the security products etc. Even add in .net, silverlight, skydrive, their server stuff, that's a lot more than the company did 15 years ago.

Admittedly, I look at software through the lens of the game business, but to make a piece of software today takes a lot more people than a piece of software 10 or 15 years ago that you can still only sell for 60 bucks. It's not even necessarily programmers, but technical design people, scientists etc. If you're going to sell 500 million copies of something (and windows will sell a lot more than 500 million copies), the difference between very little things makes a very big difference, and you spend a lot of time fussing over details. I'll be very interested to see windows 8, given the scale of the departure of their user experience from anything before. You have to figure there has been a mountain of research done on everything from supporting proper english, to the precise layout and organization of their new mail client, and the core technical stuff about how to have an API for contacts (people I think they call it), how to build applications in whatever the new framework is around which the new UI exists and works etc.

And ya, it's hard to know what the new microsoft is even trying to do, let alone how many people they have doing it. At one point you were sure they were trying to take over the world. Now it's not even clear if they have a strategy other than reacting to a changing marketplace by changing for the sake of being in a changing marketplace. Good business is either guessing what the future will want, and being positioned for it, or making the future with into your vision of what it should be. Microsoft doesn't seem to have a clear sense of what it's trying to do, or why or how it's going to get it done.

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (1)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246249)

Microsoft has 90,000 employes, so hireling a few more lawyers wouldn't move the needle, IMHO. it would be smarter if you asked for the legal or lobbying budget compared to r and d! it's already known they largely got screwed because they were not politically savvy in the 90s, and rectified that after.

Re:wondering what the lawyer to developer ratio is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39244561)

I can assure you its a lower ratio at MS than at Apple

Alternative interpretation (1)

robi5 (1261542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39244773)

He may be getting on payroll now, but _just maybe_ the employer contribution to his 401(k) has started long ago :-) His employment by MS can also be a sign of his lack of success; if he were that valuable as an ambassador to MS interests he could have stayed in his former position :-)

Unlikely to be corruption (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245393)

There are a lot of people who like movie style conspiracies with brown envelops and shady agreements in back rooms. This is not likely to be the case. It is more a case of "us knowns us". The old boys network. Right thinking people hiring right thinking people.

The president of the dutch national bank was questioned after the crisis about this mis-handling of it all. He still referred to the people who saw the crisis coming as doom-sayers and his advisers and himself who didn't see it as the knowledable economic experts they clearly weren't. It did just not enter his mind, nor that of his political masters or the people questioning him that the crisis had proven the doomsayers were right and the experts wrong making them not experts at all but incompetent morons.

But the entire machinery is build out of the people that didn't see the crisis coming, so who would they hire? The few doom sayers? Or the people who agreed with their own vision?

This guy will have hired his underlings and will have been hired by someone who recognized a similar vision. And MS hired him because his views aligned with his. Corruption? Not the brown envelope type but rather the mono-culture kind where those who dare to think different are simply not hired. It is not quite the same thing but it is far more deadly. You run the risk the government becomes not interested in the best interests of the nation but of that of segments of it... and then if the world changes, it can't change with them. See farm interests around the world from corn and milk subsidies to the Japanese land laws making ground in Tokyo insanely expensive hindering growth to save farm land right next to it.

The US government has already been favoring copyright over invention to support the old boys network. Countries that don't have this network are coming close to out compete the US. The most advanced phones are no longer western. Not just not made in the west, not even designed in the west.

All because the old boys favor their own interests over that of the nation. Us knows us.

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