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Is Microsoft Paying To Influence UN Standards?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the but-that's-unpossible dept.

Microsoft 298

PizzaFace writes "Microsoft is reported to be spending strategically to influence the United Nations' standards for business data exchange. A UN standards-setting body, UN/CEFACT, and an industry-standards group, OASIS, had developed an open standard format for data interchange, called ebXML. Microsoft hired two people from UN/CEFACT, and a few months later the body decided to stop working on ebXML and instead to work on a Business Collaboration Framework for web services, promoted by Microsoft and IBM. Microsoft then paid for three UN committee members to travel to six countries to promote the BCF."

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298 comments

No - the price is too cheap (5, Funny)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361198)

I hardly think that this particular article rates as a big deal.

All technical issues aside, if a damn UN standards-setting body is influenced in their decision by a couple of hotel stays and some plane tickets (which, they would have gotten anyway), then there is no hope for any of us - we might as well accept our clippy enhanced future now.
Hmmmm... or maybe there is - hell, if could raise $10 grand maybe I could get a new standard which lets me get master control over something. :)

Re:No - the price is too cheap (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361219)

Do you know how much these people earn?

Being flown around by MS is a big perk for these people. And I bet the MS PR folk really know how to perk up a lowley UN grunts ego to boot...

Re:No - the price is too cheap (5, Interesting)

emtboy9 (99534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361269)


Do you know how much these people earn?


No... do you? But think about it this way. Even if the UN ambassadors are not as well paid (and their salaries do come from their respective countries) as the "average politician" in their countries, you can rest assured that they ARE paid much much more than the "average citizen" that they claim to represent. Such is the same with any politician. Pols are ALWAYS paid more than they are worth, and always make far more than the people they represent.

Being flown around by MS is a big perk for these people. And I bet the MS PR folk really know how to perk up a lowley UN grunts ego to boot...


I doubt it. UN officials (or at least the ones that sit on committees like this) dont fly business class. And first class tickets cost the same no matter who is paying for it.

NOW, if MS was flying them around on their own fleet of private Jets, that is something else entirely. And besides, the lowley UN grunt doesnt sit in committee in the UN building collecting checks from multinationals... the lowley UN grunt is on the ground in Kenya, or Bosnia, or Iraq, or somewhere like that, handing out rice, giving innoculations to children and other such things. Often for months at a time, in some of the worst imaginable conditions.

The ones who sit in committee would never even set foot in most countries they claim to be looking out for, unless it was for a chauffered ride to the presidential mansion, or palace of whatever country it is...

And even the ones who are high up the food chain, who DO happen to get their hands dirty every so often do so under far more security and protection than even common diplomats get.

I imagine that they are getting far more than a couple plane rides and a hotel room...

Re:No - the price is too cheap (5, Interesting)

defMan (175410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361357)

No... do you? But think about it this way. Even if the UN ambassadors are not as well paid (and their salaries do come from their respective countries) as the "average politician" in their countries, you can rest assured that they ARE paid much much more than the "average citizen" that they claim to represent. Such is the same with any politician. Pols are ALWAYS paid more than they are worth, and always make far more than the people they represent.

The dutch socialist party [sp.nl] takes the salary from their politicians and pays them an average salary (couldn't find how much directly). The money which is left over is used for campaigns and party activities.

So there are politicians which are a notable exception here.

Re:No - the price is too cheap (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361406)

...and pays them an average salary (couldn't find how much directly)...

Please get the details before defending politicians.

So there are politicians which are a notable exception here.

Somehow, I seriously doubt that. Supply more evidence please.

Re:No - the price is too cheap (1, Troll)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361471)

You seem to be a bit out of touch with what the UN is and the people that work for it (yes I have worked with them). You must be from the US.

Re:No - the price is too cheap (5, Funny)

lacrymology.com (583077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361438)

"And I bet the MS PR folk really know how to perk up a lowley UN grunts ego to boot..."

I can see it now:

M$: We wrote this operating system JUST FOR YOU. We even named it after you.

UN Grunt: WOW! Windows Me. I like the sound of that.

M$: (evil laughter)

-m

Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361248)

There is _no_ one ring in the real world.

Re:No - the price is too cheap (5, Interesting)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361309)

All technical issues aside, if a damn UN standards-setting body is influenced in their decision by a couple of hotel stays and some plane tickets (which, they would have gotten anyway), then there is no hope for any of us - we might as well accept our clippy enhanced future now.

Microsoft also hired 2 members of the group. This is a pretty standard corporate tactic. Find someone who you can influence to take an early retirement from their influential position, hire them to come work for Halliburton or the Carlyle Group (thrown in for our liberal conspiracy theorist friends) and then pay them a salary of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to be a consultant. It increases your chances of getting that government contract a hundredfold since the "consultant" is still buddy-buddy with all his old procurement friends at the office. I'm not suprised the corruption has extended to the UN in a similar fashion.

Re:No - the price is too cheap (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361342)

You ingnorant U-ass citizen, always a step ahead right? its where ORIGINATES, not where it actually hits (is all american politicians on their book already?)

Guess what? its another U-ass business like yours behind this crap. So this is a big problem, if your stupid screwed up models of business are trying to migrate. Stay home, you and your $10 grand.

yes (4, Insightful)

Dillusionary (675442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361200)

Yes. They pay to influence the USA standards; don't you think they pay them too?

Re:yes (2, Insightful)

eldacan (726222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361238)

What I think is that WE pay to influence USA/EU standards. It's just a bit more perverse, since everytime we buy Windows/Office whatever our payments go to Microsoft instead of USE/EU governments/organizations...

UN (2, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361250)

"...influence the USA standards..."

The UN isn't just USA but the United Nations made up of well over 100 countries. Much bigger field to influence.

Re:UN (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361257)

And of course the US always follows what the UN asks it to do...

Re:UN (1, Funny)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361285)

"And of course the US always follows what the UN asks it to do..."

A better thing is will the rest of the world just laugh at a bought M$ standard and ignore it while people in the US actually try to implement it.

Re:yes[][][]i e similar titles thought of by conti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361308)

A lot of money from Microsoft does indeed go into the political arena. However, Microsoft, being such a large company with rather large revenues and a controversial business stategy, is not unlike any other company. And why should they. If they don't put money into the PAC's pockets and other various outlets, they will be broken up.

Surely not! (5, Funny)

tomcrick (687765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361202)

No way, I am flabbergasted that someone would even suggest that Microsoft would do something as underhand as this.

I for one will stand up and defend...err.....hold on....

Re:Surely not! (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361282)

Let me guess your microsoft monopoly check ran out at the end of the sentance????

Re:Surely not! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361381)

Let me guess, your microsoft spell checker license ran out at the end of the sentence?

Re:Surely not! (2, Funny)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361288)

I am flabbergasted that someone would even suggest the UN would do something as underhanded as this.

Where's my check?

Re:Surely not! (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361489)

I am flabbergasted that someone would even suggest that a huge business or a political body would do something as underhanded as this.

Headline: Business pays off politicians, was anyone surprised?

NEWS for nerds?? (-1, Offtopic)

LousyPhreak (550591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361203)

i thought /. was about NEWS for nerds, and this one is not news and especially not for nerds....

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361204)

fp

What did the ebXML people offer? (4, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361206)

Did they do anything besides present their technology? What financial incentives did the UN gain from ebXML?

Double edged Sword (0, Offtopic)

ktanmay (710168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361344)

Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, won praise in January when he trumpeted a company agreement to give $1 billion in software and cash to the United Nations as part of a job-training program for the developing world.

So as a humanitarian, he contributed a very generous sum towards education, but the question now remains, what will the job-training program be pertaining to, MCSE or .NET srvices?
The people get jobs, that helps, but it's only temporary and helps our good friend Mr. Gates strengthen his monopoly.
I don't know, you be the judge.

Re:Double edged Sword (1, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361472)

I love how Slashdot manages to turn a $1 billion donation into an evil thing.

How much money have you donated to help promote Linux education in the developing world?

Shut the fuck up liberals (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361207)

leave microsoft alone. They produce more jobs(taxes) than all you faggots combined!

But open source ..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361332)

Dosen't get you paid....
Dosen't generate revenue....
Dosen't pay taxes....
Leaves anyone to can understand code to find any exploit and exploit it....

Yea, Microsoft is teh bad!

If you believe so (5, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361211)

Then don't you think the real heart of the problem is that the standards boards consist of people of such negotiable ethics and opinions?

Re:If you believe so (1)

dr. electron (463820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361435)

Indeed. It's called corruption and often associated with thing called bribery.

What? The UN? (4, Funny)

Zilfondel2 (662431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361212)

They actually do stuff besides sit politicans around a large table and disappear for the next 5 years?

Yea right!

Re:What? The UN? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361273)

Yeah, they do bugger all [un.org]

Re:What? The UN? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361319)

As an American, obviously you wouldn't know.

As your president only wants involvement with the UN when it suits him, and your attitude to international politics is a joke.

Re: What? The UN? (3, Interesting)

david.gilbert (605443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361375)

Achieving consensus is hard. Really hard. It is what good leaders do well.

This is not surprising (5, Interesting)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361213)

This is not especially surprising, considering the number of large businesses that lobby and otherwise bride their way through government.

At least Microsoft is not getting their buddies elected or, say, preventing security standards from cutting their operation costs at the detriment of their employees and customers' safety.

Swinging one way or the other on a data exchange standard seems pretty harmless to me. But I guess this is the 'excuse du jour' for some quality MS-bashing...

Re:This is not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361270)

Surely this should have been modded funny! Why, just this statement:

At least Microsoft is not getting their buddies elected or, say, preventing security standards from cutting their operation costs at the detriment of their employees and customers' safety.

merits a +5 funny!

Re:This is not surprising (3, Insightful)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361293)

This is not especially surprising, considering the number of large businesses that lobby and otherwise bride their way through government.

I know you are probably just writing about the long arm of Microsoft's loot, but it is important to note that the UN is NOT a government entity. It is a forum for governments to sit down and collaborate on various issues. It has no authority (thank God). It doesn't make laws (thanks again, God).

Re:This is not surprising (5, Insightful)

Elvisisdead (450946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361321)

Agreed that this is not surprising. There are tons of lobbying groups that do this kind of thing every year. One of the bigger trips each year is the "Korea trip" for congressional aides.

Essentially, the S. Korean chamber of commerce gets together and flies around 20 staffers over for 10 days in 5 star hotels, and all-expenses paid fun. Sure, they tour some factories and hear some presentations, but it's mainly a free vacation. Lots of companies/lobbying gropus do similar trips within the US, as well. Sugar cane growers will take staffers to south Florida. The tobacco lobby takes folks to resorts in NC. The military lets military issues staffers stay on board aircraft carriers, etc.

In this particular instance, MS is playing by the well-established rules for this type of thing.

Re:This is not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361439)

At least Microsoft is not getting their buddies elected or, say, preventing security standards from cutting their operation costs at the detriment of their employees and customers' safety.

Now who's being naive?

WARNING PARENT IS A KNOWN TROLL ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361478)

moderator alert toot toot toot

Moral Dilemma! (5, Funny)

rherbert (565206) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361214)

Microsoft bad... IBM good... so... confused....

UN - The Best International Organization... (4, Interesting)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361216)

Money Can buy!

Mr. Softy would be an idiot not to pay it off. In fact, it's a know fact, it's the only way to get anything done.

Take for instance The U.N. Oil For Food Program [scbeacon.com] . Saddam called it: I'll scratch your back... You Save My Butt!

My wife worked for the U.N. in Africa for 5 years and saw first hand the corruption. TO the point of it being such a joke, that she doesn't even list the experience on her resume. Instead she talks about the odd jobs she performed such as international currier after her UN stint, but while still in Africa.

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361284)

International Currier?

I have experience in multi-continental vindaloo management, as well as korma transfer and naan broking

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (1)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361371)

Yes! Her last night's dinner is still on my breath! It's too early here for spell check.

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (2, Informative)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361456)

Nothing that spell check would pick up. A "currier" is a person who prepares leather hides e.g. - by tanning them. Therefore, an International Currier would be a perfectly valid phrase referring to one who prepares leather hides around the world.

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361429)

International Currier?

Is Thailand paying to influence international curry standards now? Will faux-Indian English curry with soggy raisins be abolished?

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (3, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361297)

Is the UN really much of a controlling body anymore. The more time goes on the more it is shown to be ineffective. Does anyone really listen to them anymore?

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361454)

Well, it's the only comparable international organisation we have got with at least some credibility. To most people in the world, that's pretty important. That certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't give them a kick in the arse when they dont behave.

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361352)

Wow. International currier? Did she curry stuff all over the world? Or just say curry with an accent?

Re:UN - The Best International Organization... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361364)

Which is why I've always wondered why the States has such a big problem with them. It's been known for decades that the States has the best Government money can buy

This is shit... (-1, Troll)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361217)

...how low can Microsoft go? Why must I here about them having a finger in every pie and subverting everything in the computing industry, i'm sick of them and those people who were working on the open format should be shot because they have no soul or no better sense of judgement. Surely they must of seen MS making a grab for this and embrace and extend it again? Why is everybody so willing to deal with them?

It's not just hotel stays.. (2, Insightful)

elfguy00 (749978) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361220)

It's $1 billon. So yes I think this may be true.

duh. (2, Insightful)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361222)

"Is Microsoft Paying To Influence UN Standards?"

Uh... Yes it does?
How is this surprising?

Next /. story headline:

"microsoft's business malpractices."

come on...

Fingers in every pie going (1)

twilight30 (84644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361485)

Point taken. They're even buying Office-branded ads [nytimes.com] on the New York Times [nytimes.com] article discussing this issue... (at least, it's what I saw on the NYT site a few minutes ago)

Weird (5, Insightful)

bored_SuSE_user (701483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361227)

The article mentions that the work on the Open XML standard was complete and their website shows that this standard will be used in the 'Business Colloboration Model'....so where is the problem?
The site doesn't mention Windows or Windows-based systems anywhere, nor does it mention Microsoft. With IBM so heavily supporting *nix based systems, I doubt MS can wriggle their way into making the standards supported only on their platform, otherwise it's not really a standard....

SATANIC FREEMASONRY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361229)

in action!

Why bother paying the UN (-1, Troll)

superhoe (736800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361230)

They will eventually attack anyway

"Spending Strategically" ??? (5, Funny)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361232)

It used to be "Bribing"
Then it was "lobbying"
Now it's "Spending Strategically"

bs

Re:"Spending Strategically" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361327)

Tomorrow it will be tax deductable expense.

Re:"Spending Strategically" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361363)

No, you didn't get it:

It's still "bribing" when it's about some third-world country president (i.e. dictator) that is no more able to hold to his position.

It is "lobbying" when it's about US politics (except for the case where the FBI doesn't like the person getting the money http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/10/mayor.bu gged/) :)

For all other activities and countries, it is, as it always was, "Spending Strategically".

Re:"Spending Strategically" ??? (5, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361382)

To paraphrase Bernard from "Yes Minister", It's one of those irregular verbs:
I spend strategically, you lobby, he bribes.

Profit! (3, Insightful)

BenBenBen (249969) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361233)

Shocker! Big business spends money to try and make more money! And some of the spending is a little grey, ethically and morally speaking!

Isn't this supposed to be a news site?

--
This is not flamebait or trolling (and these are not the droids you seek). This is commentary, done in a sarcastic tone. Posting tiny examples of the prevalence of corporate influence in our world is a waste of time.

of course they would say that... (4, Insightful)

Jotaigna (749859) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361241)

Microsoft and senior UN officials reply that the accusation is false, saying that the company's contributions were relatively modest, complied with UN guidelines and did not unduly influence decision-making within the body. .

Like they ever would say something like "yes we are behaving like corrupt colombian Mobsters". Standars are always a wrestling match between companies trying to impose their technology, who doesnt want everyone to need what you created and know best how to do!.

Maybe I'm just insufficiently cynical... (5, Interesting)

chrisbtoo (41029) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361244)

... but the "stop working on ebXML" link seems to suggest that the work was deemed complete, rather than being shitcanned. Also, as the summary says, the BCF stuff is being promoted by both MS and IBM - both of whom are OASIS members.

/shrug

Re:Maybe I'm just insufficiently cynical... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361318)

No, basically this is SlashDot, home of the sort of people who post comments about how evil Microsoft is using IE on a Windows box. The fact that the worlds largest software company might have something useful to contribute to a discussion about standards is lost on those people.

Yes, clearly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361430)

You didn't see the word Microsoft, and disengage your brain and immediately assume they were doing something underhanded.

But facts have no place here, frankly I'm suprised IBM got left in the summary at all, it must be such a dichotomy for the Slashdot herd, trying to reconcile Microsoft underhandedness with IBM's "pure as the driven snow" image.

UN Control (3, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361263)

This may prove to show an even bigger problem with the UN. That it can be bought. M$ has the money to do it too.

I wonder if there are any provisions or controls over the UN to prevent this.

Pass Her Around.... (2, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361264)

"Is Microsoft Paying To Influence UN Standards?"

In case you haven't noticed, the UN is everybodies bitch lately.

Lobbyism (5, Insightful)

broothal (186066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361281)

Please enlighten me as to why this is news? This happens every day! It's called lobbying. Is it because it's the mother of all evil megacorps that's doing the lobbying?

Here's wikipedia's [wikipedia.org] definition of lobyism.

MOD PARENT DOWN, ANTI SEMITIC WIKI LINK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361295)

Wikipedia link contains anti semitic thoughtcrimes.
Racist Troll

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN, ANTI SEMITIC WIKI LINK (0, Troll)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361328)

yeah, but it's true. it's also concise, well known, and keeps lazy people from needed to read the rest of the page.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN, ANTI SEMITIC WIKI LINK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361491)

Who on earth modded this down? +1, Funny!

Re:Lobbyism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361425)

It's the damn Wikipedia. If it's offensive, CHANGE IT.

Re:Lobbyism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361512)

Please enlighten me as to why this is news? This happens every day! It's called lobbying. Is it because it's the mother of all evil megacorps that's doing the lobbying?

News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.

--Slashdot motto

This is definately news for nerds, and it most likely matters. Microsoft's influence over standards has a direct impact on the entire industry. If this is patent encumbered and ever becomes a defacto standard, open source will be unable to support it.

go to the source! (2, Troll)

dkode (517172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361287)

With Microsoft basically failing trying to influence independent countries to not use OSS, it seems that have gone further down to the root of the tree. I imagine their planning is to try to infect from the bottom up, they figure that maybe someday in the future more and more countries will look to the UN for technology advice/guidance and wouldn't it be just peachy for the UN to push MS's products and services?

Looks like they now have the UN as technology peons as well. surprise surprise

it's bad enough... (2, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361298)

when national governments develop "standards for business exchange." After all, they have a legal obligation to do so. However, it's pretty scarry when the UN starts to do it and even worse when a corporation can purchase the votes to make their stuff the standard.
what really gets to me is that the un would even be dabbling in this sort of thing. next thing they may be off for taxing and that, my friends is the end of the world as we know it and the change is not going to be desireable, believe me you.

ebxml and bcf are on a somewhat different level (5, Insightful)

Reinout (4282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361299)

Reading the article (yes, I did :-), it didn't seem so clear-cut to me. In the article, ebxml and bcf are placed in front of eachother as direct competitors.

From an ebXML Business Process Specification Schema [coverpages.org] announcement and a BCF faq [unbcf.org] I figured that ebxml provides a number of services (like repositories) and a number of high-level xml specifications.

The first item, services, seems to do some of the same things as soap, uddl, etc, the webservices stuff (1). This seems to be the major area where IBM and MS try to convince people to use their (webservices) solutions instead of the ebxml solutions.

The second item , the high-level xml specifications, seems to lack a few things that weren't included in ebxml proper, like the "UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology -- Meta Model". These (or solutions based on it) are now developed separately by the UN under the name of BCF. But this is more of a layer building upon the existing ebxml work.

So: ebxml's services see some flak from webservices (ibm+ms) and the UN acknowledges that this is a possible alternative implementation. On the other hand, the UN builds upon ebxml by adding the BCF layer, making it more useful.

At least, that's my guess from the info!

Reinout

p.s. 1): for REST-proponents: I like the REST approach more than the SOAP one :-)

Corruption levels in the US vs. UN (3, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361300)

I'm known for my rather critical attitude towards the US but if there was a general opinion that MS was buying favour with US politicians then I think it will be a lot worse in the international sphere as the price of a third world ignoramus sitting in some UN committe panel is certainly not higher than that of a corrupt US politician.

"Resistance is futile" (1)

crawdaddy (344241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361314)

Never does the "Borg Gates" image seem so appropriate as when I read about Microsoft influencing international political bodies.

Welcome to capitalism (4, Insightful)

vandenh (224583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361324)

Maybe you haven't noticed, but these kind of things happen ALL the time. Sadly it is called "Capitalism" and your new found anger at MS is a bit misplaced here. Start with being angry at politicains for introducing this kind of behavior and accepting money to drive the whims of big cooperations.

It's Dead, Jim. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361331)

The world is in open moral collapse - not to mention denial.

Same as it always was, really, but with scantier drapes.

And no-one seems interested in ( i.e.: scared into ) checks and balances of any sort.

The even minimally ethical, with hope or intent for an even minimally decent future for humanity, or the world, have less places to gather in (on, around) - or hide.

Raw, naked, ruthless, mindless, hell-bent power seems to the order of the day. Klingons with corny western accents, eh ? Well, well. Who'd a thunk it ? And everyone's welcoming them like there was no tomorry, too. >:-|

Serious, yes, but... (5, Funny)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361333)

I simply can't take an article seriously that starts "PizzaFace writes..."

-S

Re:Serious, yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361443)

I simply can't take a comment seriously that starts " I simply can't take an article seriously that starts..."

-A

Speaking of Paying To Influence UN (2, Interesting)

dpbrown (596946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361348)

I think a discussion about paying to influence the UN would be a little shallow without bringing this [go.com] up for perspective.

maybe the UN... (5, Insightful)

ajagci (737734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361361)

shouldn't get involved in the definition of XML standards at all. After all, we already have several excellent international, neutral standards bodies that worry about this sort of thing.

Re:maybe the UN... (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361405)

Aw be serious, why would a beaurocratic morass leave somthing important to those that know what there doing? People might suspect that they are not neccesary and they might have to find a real job!
This also applies to half of all government employees at all levels.

Re:maybe the UN... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361474)

It's not about defining XML, but rather developing cool government apps that small countries need to provide basic functions...and get some help from "western" countries in doing it.

The whole point of these UN projects is to support smaller troubled governments with a "government-in-a-box" type project. The original goal was to base it on OSS so that it was Free for any govt to use!!! Then the small countries would have the same benifits as medium-sized countries...ability to build Tax bases, track natural resources, manage property rights, properly manage humanatarian aid, etc.. There are many things we in the states take for granted that simply don't exist in many small countries.

The ability of the project to remain open and free should have been sacrosanct!! The small countries that are the target of such projects will NEVER be able to afford the proprietary solutions that are being suggested! If they DO get any "free" MS or IBM stuff from the deal, that's simply taxpayer money down the toilet to another US multinational...hence foreign governments are very hesitant to donate for fear of streangthening US domination. Hence it's a great project reduced to the same "franchise" as "donating" MS software to Public schools has become. It's not building a world of "equals" but a world of "consumers" of american products...very, very bad!!!

Why are they working on this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361369)

You guys are all up in arms about how Microsoft is corrupting the process and buying people. But I think that misses the point. Why is the UN working on international business practices? Who asked them to? Why do we need it?


The UN should work on foster better relations between countries. They should work on eliminating all WMDs (even those in the first world) They should cure hunger and famine and disesase and educate the world. They should work toward universal human rights. And when they have accomlished that, disband.


We don't need a world body to help business, they can do that perfectly well on their own. And to do so, only opens up the possibility of corruption with no concievable gain. Why is even as single penny of UN money or a single second of UN time going to this effort when much more pressing needs exist?

A few comments say this is (3, Insightful)

bob670 (645306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361370)

obvious, expected, business as usual, not worhty of a headline, etc... But I think it's worthwhile to point this stuff out, software companies influencing political bodies are bad for everyone, equally bad are political bodies controlling software, think of it as a desperately needed techno-geek seperation of church and state. Maybe if people would take this more serioulsy instead of accepting that this is "the way it is" things might change.

Why do we need a standard set by the UN anyway? (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361378)

Why do we need a standard set by the UN anyway?

Funding plan (4, Funny)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361379)

  1. Don't break up monopolies
  2. ??????
  3. profit!!!!

Except now we know what (2) is.

U.N. staff not elected by the people (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361390)

Remember - The U.N. does not answer to any voter in the world. Instead, the U.N. answers to... politicians!

That's why the U.N. is such a thoroughly corrupted entity. The U.N. enjoys a multi-billion dollar budget that is in theory controlled by the governments of a few large country... but in reality, the politicians from those country come and go, and in the end, the U.N. does not really answer to any one.

Lack of oversight over a multibillion dollar budget... yeah! That's the ticket!

Look a this Wall Street Journal article about Kofi Annan deep-sixing the corruption investigation of his best-buddy at the U.N. (Annan's Assistant Secretary General & friend Benon Sevan pocketed millions from Irak).
http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:Yxb36 w0dDykJ: 209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/1074281/posts+Saddam%2 7s+Global+Payroll&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

so... (3, Interesting)

mr_tommy (619972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361403)

Whats new. Microsoft buy of people all the time. Its not just Microsoft either. Most American business engage in dubious practices to sell their products. IBM got burned for bribing officials in Asia lately - just because other companies haven't had their dodgy dealings uncovered doesn't mean it doesn't go on.

The question is, Who's Surprised? (2, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361410)

It's not that it's surprising that Microsoft would be buying influence at the UN; most of the member states are headed by kleptocratic governments whose first question is "How much for me?" Even when the governments aren't fatally corrupt, payoffs are the way to get things done in most places the UN represents.

That MS is playing by those rules isn't surprising at all, and I'm sure the Bush adminstration is rooting for standards tied to corporate interests and IP as well.

Bill Gates (0, Flamebait)

kc0re (739168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361427)

"Finally my plan to take over the world is coming to light!! MUHAHAHAHAHA"

New category for stories... (5, Funny)

GreenKiwi (221281) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361440)

Slashdot needs to create another category for some of their stories. The "No shit Sherlock!" category.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361445)

So, when do the public lashings of Microsoft CEOs and UN heads start? What? There's to be no real punishment for the wrongdoers? And you call yourself a civilized society?

Maybe but... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8361460)

Microsoft don't really need to do the dirty work themselves. The US state department really goes out of it's way to make sure US corporate interests are well taken care of in these forums.

Of course... (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8361508)

Regardless of who it is, any big buiness that has the funds will try to manipulate things in order to assist their growth and locking out competition..

Normal operating procedure.. why act suprised?
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