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Gates tried to Blackmail Danish Government

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the dancing-with-the-devil dept.

Microsoft 774

mocm writes "The Inquirer has a story about how Bill Gates tried to pressure the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen into accepting the European Union's proposed directive on software patents by threating to terminate the 800 jobs at Navision, which had been acquired by Microsoft." Update: 02/16 00:41 GMT by T : cfelde points out a CNET story which says that "The European vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, Klaus Holse Andersen, denied on Tuesday that the jobs at Navision were ever at risk." Believe who you'd like.

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774 comments

arse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676476)

FP!

asdasfd sdfgdsfg (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676477)

fp gnaa.us

Not blackmail (3, Informative)

loudmax (243935) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676480)

That would be extortion, not blackmail.

Re:Not blackmail (1)

Eatmorecake (858982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676506)

If they told us what he was blackmailing them for, it wouldn't be blackmail anymore.

Duh.

Re:Not blackmail (3, Funny)

aendeuryu (844048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676534)

From m-w.com: Main Entry: blackmail ... 2 a : extortion or coercion by threats ...

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Re:Not blackmail (3, Informative)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676602)

You left out the rest of the sentence: [blockquote]2 a : extortion or coercion by threats especially of public exposure or criminal prosecution b : the payment that is extorted[/blockquote] Blackmail is a particular kind of extortion.

Re:Not blackmail (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676622)

Damn it, been posting on too many of those php boards that use square brackets instead of angle brackets...

Re:Not blackmail (5, Insightful)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676536)

Either way, it shows just how low Microsoft can go.

What's next, Mafia-style "hits" on politicians who don't do what Microsoft wants?

Re:Not blackmail (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676576)

Political pressure and violence are the not same thing.

Really, it's a whole different category of activity, and it shouldn't be joked about.

Re:Not blackmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676640)

Political pressure and violence are the not same thing.

Actually, there is no fundamental difference. Even the presumption that the result of the political process is the will of the majority in a democracy is flawed. Because the benefits are heavily concentrated, pressure groups, whether they are businesses, unions or political activists, have a strong incentive to lobby for the results they want. The costs are dispersed widely, so the opposition can't easily rally. Politics is precisely about putting a good face on the use of power to benefit particular groups. In the end, the groups that get the benefits are the ones willing and able to deliver money or votes to the politicians.

Re:Not blackmail (1)

hedgehogbrains (628646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676642)

One is direct coercion, the other is coercion via government. I think it is hilarious.

Re:Not blackmail (5, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676650)

If at least you would have read the article, you would have seen that Microsoft is not the only one company in the entire universe to do this. So no, is does not show how low Microsoft can go, it just shows how low any company can go.

Stop putting all evil on Bill's shoulders.

Re:Not blackmail (5, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676547)

Whatever it is, it's ludicrously transparent. According to the FFII's translation of the original Danish story, included in their statement [ffii.org] on this, Bill said:

"If I'm to keep my development center in Denmark, then it's a
requirement that the question of rights becomes resolved. Otherwise, I
will move it to the USA where I can protect my rights"


In fact, the location that development takes place has nothing to do with patent validity. Software developed in Denmark can be patented in the USA regardless of Danish or EU laws. Software developed in the USA cannot be patented in countries that don't recognise software patents, ragardless of US laws.

There's no way that Billis misinformed enough to think otherwise. If he showed occasional signs of honesty or integrity then he might get more respect.

Re:Not blackmail (5, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676615)

In fact, the location that development takes place has nothing to do with patent validity. Software developed in Denmark can be patented in the USA regardless of Danish or EU laws

Confusing governments over that is a major part of the pro strong patent and copyright crowds argument. Without it the whole "without the aptent laws people ahve no incentive" argument falls apart.

Re:Not blackmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676638)

It still has a technical document translation layer. Now I'm sure most Dutch speak english quite well, in addition to other languages. But I'm betting that's not the language they do business in. And when a patent is submitted to the USPTO having in english is a good idea. Even then, you still have the issue of many of the people doing the technical work at odds with the companies policies (protecting intellectual property that isn't property in the country they live in). Sure, there's the obvious truths. But there are other less obvious variables to consider.

Two minutes hate time already? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676583)

It isn't extortion or blackmail. It's called leverage, and it isn't illegal. Does the article submitter also imagine that haggling is illegal?

The only way this could be construed as immoral or objectionable activity is if you accept the premiss that Microsoft's monopoly dominance is absolute and that there are no acceptable alternatives -- but that belief is fundamentally incompatible with a belief in the potential of FOSS, so what are you doing here if you think that?

BTW, the Inquirer is a hack rag [blogherald.com] .

Danish Conservatives (-1, Troll)

haagmm (859285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676481)

I'm surpised they supported it at all. i spend 2 months in copenhagen and honestly thats the first nice thing i have heard about "anders FUCK rasmusen" as i was taught to pronounce it. He was better know for attempting to turn christiania into trendy flats, and for his anti-imigration policies.

Re:Danish Conservatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676526)

What, exactly, is bad about being anti-immigration? They're a small country, afterall...

Anit-Immigration != anti-immigrant. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676549)

Countries have a right to establish sane immigration policy.

Sorry, buddy, sane immigration polciy and urban renewal polcies don't make somebody a "FUCK".

Yelling and screaming and trolling on slashdot, like you do, on the other hand, just might.

Reasonable Point of View gets modded down again. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676629)

This must be slashdot.

Yeah.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676482)

Billy's gonna close down Navision in Denmark and send the jobs to India, which also doesn't have software patents.

Re:Yeah.... (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676581)

Err, India has software patents, it was introduced recently [slashdot.org] .

Re:Yeah.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676626)

Noone gives a shit about India anymore, we already got our ginger.

Isn't that actually.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676483)

...extortion?

Here's another article... (5, Informative)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676484)

...from heise.de [heise.de] (in German).

Re:Here's another article... (1)

neferaza (795043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676654)

Here is a good overview... http://wiki.ffii.org/SwpatcninoEn

I don't know (2, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676485)

maybe they could try to arrest him on blackmail charges, or something

How mafioso

Ob vocabulary quibble (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676623)

The charge would be "extortion", not "blackmail".

Gates would be found innocent of blackmail, because that's a different crime. It probably doesn't matter to the media, who are usually sloppy with terminology. But if you want to convict someone of a crime, you have to charge them with the crime that they actually committed, not some other crime.

Any criminal lawyers here want to expound on the definitions?

Re:I don't know (2, Informative)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676633)

Not really. He didn't say something like "If you vote against software patents, we will terminate those jobs." He said something along the lines of we're extremely unhappy that there are no software patents in Europe. We can't "secure our rights" properly here, so we just might have to relocate that company to the USA.

Political FUD.

Re:I don't know (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676649)

How mafioso

Software patents are largely bullshit, however there is nothing nefarious about a business negotiating with government for an optimal business environment. If Bill Gates really thinks that software patents are necessary for a business unit to be viable in a political region, then he has every legitimate right to express that. The government has the right to tell him to go screw himself, and if he really thinks it's do or die then he can pull out.

This sort of tactic is absolutely classic in many other business areas. Automakers these days only build plants where the government will concede to their demands, as well as often offering up hundreds of millions in incentives.

Hmmmm (5, Funny)

Traegorn (856071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676487)

Don't think of it as "Blackmail" so much as "Microsoft Job Incentives"

You suck my nads. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676490)

First post.

Microsoft has to pay people to use their software (1, Insightful)

Joelphil (846067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676494)

how pathetic, maybe Bill Gates should be known as the evil tyrant. Not a very nice guy. But then, we knew that.

Re:Microsoft has to pay people to use their softwa (1)

Ernest P Worrell (751050) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676531)

Riiiighht ... all that money he gives to charity .... it's only more than any other person has ever given ... but yes, not a nice guy.

Re:Microsoft has to pay people to use their softwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676588)

In dollars, not as a percentage of wealth. By that metric he's below average. Which means that buy amassing such a fortune less money is given to charities. Worse yet, much of his charity work takes place out in the third world, where as most people give in their own communities. One should note that robber barons, and why not lump in Gates with them, felt a duty to give back to their country as a way to even the score for how much they've taken. Notice how this tradition died with Howard Hughes. And he did it on accident.

He's an ass, and the only thing about him that's good for charities is that it's one stop begging, which will be largely ignored.

Re:Microsoft has to pay people to use their softwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676617)

Actually he does a lot for school systems, universities, inner city - that type of thing. As for his wealth I understand that roughtly 95% of his wealth will be going to various causes and what not upon his death. No proof of the claim - we will have to wait and see what happens when he does keel over.

Herr Rasmussen... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676496)

You veel accept ein pahtent deerektive, or your employeess.. vill be terminated!

I wonder how the 800 feel (1)

ButtNutt (846086) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676643)

knowing that their major contribution to MSFT is as a "pawn"? Would make me feel kinda low and want to learn Linux :)

You've got a lot of jobs there, Prime Minister (5, Funny)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676500)

It'd be a shame if someone was to.. set fire to them.

Re:You've got a lot of jobs there, Prime Minister (5, Funny)

robvs68 (560549) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676601)

Prime Minister: Set fire to them?
Balmer: Fires happen, Prime Minister.
Gates: Things burn.
Prime Minister: Look, what is all this about?
Gates: My partner and I have got a little proposition for you, Prime Minister.
...

Blackmail? (2, Funny)

toastyman (23954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676501)

COWBOYNEAL: BLACKMAIL! [reference.com]
Inigo Montoya [imdb.com] : You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Blackmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676557)

Very cool! Inigo always knows best...

Re:Blackmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676559)

And that is just Inconceivable!!!! :P

Re:Blackmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676631)

The page you're linking to also says "exert pressure on someone through threats".

SOP (5, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676503)

this has become standard, at least in the US. Corporations play one state against the other to gain tax breaks, increase dole payments, and other entitlements. These welfare subsidies can net a several hundred dollars of government payments per anticipated position.

Re:SOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676533)

Guess what? It's world wide, and it works in reverse too. The West in general is paying a premium to import corruption. Yay. Merciless imperialism looks better and better every year.

Also covered by Groklaw (5, Informative)

John_Sauter (595980) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676504)

Note that this story is also being covered by Groklaw [groklaw.net] , with some good commentary by Pamela Jones.
John Sauter (J_Sauter@Empire.Net)

Re:Also covered by Groklaw (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676572)

It quotes a report in Danish newspaper Børsen, which alleges that Gates told Ramissen and two other Danish ministers last November that 800 jobs at Navision would go unless the EU passed the directive.

Have they quoted directly from the Danish source? I do not speak Danish or Donut, so I would have no idea if the original story was true, said what people are saying or just a hoax. I find it disturbing when The Inquirer quotes another website, the NOSOFTWARE patents (?) site which has quoted a Danish News paper, Børsen. It just seems like a very dumb thing to be caught doing, inethical and possibly illegal. Guess I will go check out the Grok' now.

Yes, they do link to the original article (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676606)

And yes, they actually do quote the original article. PJ runs such a tight ship. I sometimes forget, being a denizen of /.

Re:Also covered by Groklaw (4, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676634)

Have they quoted directly from the Danish source?

They have a rough translation from a Danish speaker so they should be pretty accurate. That's one of the things I really like about Groklaw, they *always* cite where translations have come from, and because of their global network of volunteers eventually get a proper translation from a native speaker. Their handling this kind of language translation issue is something that Groklaw excels at, and I wish more news sources would do the same.

Blackmail or Extortion (4, Informative)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676508)

Is there a difference between blackmail and extortion?

According to dictionary.com, blackmail is defined as the extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information.

Whereas extortion is defined as the Illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage.

Is it not extortion that has occured here?

Re:Blackmail or Extortion (4, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676552)

It is neither.
It is definatly not blackmail, since there is no criminal act or discreditable information.
It is not extortion because the act of close the office and firing the people would not be illegal. Also it was not made in private.
It is definatly arm twisting or making a threating comment. Not sure how illegal that would be.

Re:Blackmail or Extortion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676653)

A more useless pile of semantic fucktardery I have never witnessed. You have illuminated no part of this discussion, and we are all dumber for having heard what you have to say. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

Re:Blackmail or Extortion (-1, Troll)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676574)

Of course it is, but Bill Gates is above the law.

Re:Blackmail or Extortion (2, Interesting)

Mazzula (858640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676592)

Seems like it is extortion, but only if it is illegal. Blackmail would have been the threat against Gates of revealing the extortion.

This is extortion in much the same way that if you get a better deal at store A than at store B, or if the manager at store B is rude to you, you might choose to buy from store A and you might remind the manager of store B that you have this power. Certainly it is using the power as a customer of your right to say no, but this may not be illegal, and therefore may not be extortion.

On the other hand, it may not have been a matter of retalliation at all. It may be that Microsoft was concerned that they would not own the intellectual property developed by Navision if those remained in Europe. There may be legitimate business reasons to develop intellectual property in those places where it is better protected.

The Danish article is very pro-patents :-( (3, Interesting)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676510)

Mainly it talks about how parts of the IT sector wants to block the contensted directive and how the proponents have been unable to get through due to effective lobbyism from the contensters.

We the people ... (4, Insightful)

ghoti (60903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676511)

We are going to get ruled more and more by corporations, rather than governments. Since Microsoft is making more than most American states, they also wield quite a bit of power. And since politicians can always be blackmailed with the prospect of lost jobs (Siemens did that in Germany, and lots of other comapnies too), I wonder how long until our right to vote is transferred to our employers ...

Re:We the people ... (1)

JustDisGuy (469587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676546)

We are going to get ruled more and more by corporations, rather than governments. Since Microsoft is making more than most American states, they also wield quite a bit of power. And since politicians can always be blackmailed with the prospect of lost jobs (Siemens did that in Germany, and lots of other comapnies too), I wonder how long until our right to vote is transferred to our employers ...
...Agreed. The only surprise here is that the Danish gov't didn't cave in...

Re:We the people ... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676579)

We are going to get ruled more and more by corporations, rather than governments.

You make it sound like this is inevitable. The inherent weakness of any corporation is the need for money & profit - it's we, the cattle-like consumers, that have the power to rally together and simply boycott the products from corporations that don't act in a fashion we deem acceptable.

Unfortunately, those of us in the "Western World" tend to just sit here and consume whatever is dealt by them without reaction or complaint.

I'm no Communist, I'm all for Capitalism provided that we use our spending power as consumers to only let those who trade fairly to receive our money.

We've only ourselves to blame if corporations get too powerful, it's that straightforward.

Re:We the people ... (4, Insightful)

ghoti (60903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676641)

True, but the question is: how much choice do we really have? There's basically a merger every day, corporations are buying up their competition, and there are quasi-monopolies in many areas. Microsoft is the prime example for this! A lot of things will need to happen for people to switch to alternative products - just look at what has already happened: spyware, viruses, crappy quality, etc. Have people switched? No. Not in significant numbers, anyway.

In theory, we have the power - whether as consumers or as voters. But in reality, I think we don't really have much choice.

I know I sound paranoid, but sometimes I just can't help it ...

That does not make sense (4, Insightful)

Arioch of Chaos (674116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676514)

These threats are common. However, is there really any relevant connection between where R&D/software development takes place and where one can apply for patents? Of course not. Nothing is preventing Microsoft from applying for US patents for the things they "invent" in Denmark. The question of where they can get a patent is not intrinsically linked to where they do their development.

Re:That does not make sense (1)

JustDisGuy (469587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676558)

These threats are common. However, is there really any relevant connection between where R&D/software development takes place and where one can apply for patents? Of course not. Nothing is preventing Microsoft from applying for US patents for the things they "invent" in Denmark. The question of where they can get a patent is not intrinsically linked to where they do their development

This is not about innovation. This is about IP enforcement which is why M$ is all-aboard.

Re:That does not make sense (1)

ghoti (60903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676575)

The point was not to be able to patent stuff done in Denmark, but to patent stuff in the EU (no matter where it was developed, since that doesn't play any role anyway). This would give them the chance to sue lots of companies in the EU, like the do in the US - thus strengthening their position their.

Re:That does not make sense (1)

ghoti (60903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676594)

That should read "their postion there", of course. *smacksself*

Re:That does not make sense (1)

Arioch of Chaos (674116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676630)

Exactly. The threat to "move jobs" has nothing to do with the patent system. It is made to make the politicians come to the "right" decision.

Microsoft threatend the Danish Prime Minister (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676517)

When checking the Danish newspaper Børsen [borsen.dk] it also mention that Microsoft layers, Marianne Wier, was the one who they quoted and one would now wonder how long she will stay at Microsoft Denmark. So it turns out that this wasn't that great of deal for the Navision and Damgaard people after all according to this article [os2world.com] .

soon to be fixed (2, Funny)

germ!nation (764234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676519)

a Microsoft spokesperson later said that they would look at fixing extorsion and racketeering problems in Version 2 of their conversation.

800? (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676522)

Support for software patents for just 800 people?

The Golden Rule ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676524)

He who has the gold, makes the rules.

Danish Government has Tough Decision (5, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676525)

Hmm... Let's weigh the options for the Danish government:

1. Loss of approximately 800 jobs
2. Implement stifling patent policies that will likely make Microsoft and other massive patent holders even more wealthy while crippling innovation within their country.

I wonder which one they should pick?

Re:Danish Government has Tough Decision (1)

ghoti (60903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676561)

I'm sure you're considering the voting power of those 800 people, plus their families and friends, plus all the people in the little town where this happens (businesses, restaurants, etc.) who are also affected. And then, Denmark is slightly smaller than the US, so a couple thousand votes are quite significant.

Re:Danish Government has Tough Decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676609)

If patent laws are passed and Microsoft makes it so that the only place to develop software in Denmark is for Microsoft, I'm not so sure those 800 jobs are all that important.

Re:Danish Government has Tough Decision (1)

Dracolytch (714699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676616)

At the same time, it's clear that in a move like this MS already has too much power, and bending to their will would give them more. Will the politicians look at the facts, and fight the good fight?

If it were in the US, that'd be a no-brainer question, but in Denmark, there's hope. ;)

~D

Patents cripple innovation? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676599)

Gee, I've not heard that one. Maybe someone should tell that to Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Westinghouse, General Electric, AT&T, Bell Labs, Rockwell, Boeing, IBM, Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Intel, AMD, and thousands of other companies and millions of people, along with the millions and millions of employees that work for those companies.

I guess we could just elminate patents... and then just let rampant piracy take place until no one felt like producing new material... because there's no protection or incentive to produce new material. The rich would get some new stuff simply because they'd pay for development. I doubt they'd share... especially if there were no incentive to re-coup some of the costs of devopment.

Yeah. Patents are bad. No more computers. No more internet. No more internet routers. No more TV. No more radios. No more radio stations. No more books. No more artwork. No more music. I guess you could buy a guitar and start to sing... but wait. Who's going to make a guitar?

Re:Danish Government has Tough Decision (1)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676614)

It _is_ a tough decision. Loss of 800 jobs is immediate, obvious and can lose them votes. I don't know anything about Denmark specifically, but I'm assuming it is a normal democracy. Where as the second choice is non-obvious, and may not win them much votes except for those of a few geeks!

Lakshman.

thats tough (1)

boeserjavamann (655642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676529)

i hope that this is not the truth. but it would be another proof that some companies are to mighty.

Get ready (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676535)

for a lawsuit.

Bill rocks. -slightly off topic. (1, Interesting)

Eatmorecake (858982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676541)

Seriously. He does. Anyone else ever hear about his name totaling 666 in askii? His name I think is actually William Henry Gates III or something - look it up. Total the #'s used in ascii and you get 666. I don't remember if you add 3 for the III or not, but it's six in the morning. Anyways, they should just nationalize the company that he suddenly, mystically, magically owns, after he fires everyone, and then no one can complain. They'll make a lot of money on top of things.

public interest versus corporate interest (1, Insightful)

plinius (714075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676542)

Corporations are 'pressuring' public officials every day, often using bribes. The World Bank is well-known for bribing officials, and that info comes from the former head of the World Bank. Corporations are and the banks that represent their interests are always bribing people. Just look at Coca-Cola, charged with assassinating union leaders in Columbia: the assassins were govt-paid paramilitary agents, who set up a military camp outside of a factory after the assassination to intimidate the workers. When you look behind the veil of TV and the other media, what you see is sickening, frightening to some, and outrageous. After all, just look at how Bush stole the 2004 election in order to help the corporate interest: www.electionfraud2004.org.

Microsoft is scum (1)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676543)

So what else is new?

Gates is full of it (5, Insightful)

pesc (147035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676551)

I've heard this kind of logic from the patent lobby numerous times:

"If we don't get software patents in Europe, we can't develop stuff there. We have to develop in in the US where we have software patents available."

This is pure FUD and BS. Why can't we develop stuff in Europe and apply for patents in the US? Most of the technology in patent applications in Europe was developed in foreign countries.

The smart thing to do is to develop tech where you have smart people. And apply for software patents in the US and have a free market without software monopolies in Europe. If you develop a product that happen to infringe on a forest of software patents, you can only market it profitably in Europe. Too bad for the US.

I hope politicians learn to call this kind of extortionist bluff soon.

Re:Gates is full of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676628)

Exactly to the point. No matter where you are: You can file as many patents in foreign countries as you want, according to this foreign country's rules. There are international treaties that guarantee every foreigner to be treated equally regarding patent laws.

If all else fails..... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676553)

Cheat.

Its not how you win the game, only that you do. At any cost.

Scary (5, Interesting)

Alarash (746254) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676554)

When companies/corporations begin trying to extort countries, and not the weakest countries mind you, something is wrong.

I'm beginning to believe that what I read in sci-fi will come true (ie: in the future, mankind is ruled by corporations that want to make money).

And even more scary is the fact that for one extortion of that kind we hear of, numbers of other extortions of the same kind happen and we never hear about it. Brrr.

Pretty Interesting (1)

Allan Grinshtein (857486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676560)

This is pretty interesting in a "Who is John Galt?" way.

As a community... (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676562)

We for one reject our software patent wielding overlords!

For those who didn't read the article: (5, Interesting)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676567)

Gates said that he's displeased with the process of political decisions on software patents in the european union. In particular, he seems to be unhappy about the successful opposition by many european IT companies and software developers.

He further claims that Microsoft can secure their rights better in the USA.

I call BS on that: if Microsoft relocates Navision to the USA, they can patent there all they want, but guess what, their patents won't mean squat in Europe without the possibility to patent software in the EU.

Re:For those who didn't read the article: (2, Insightful)

wronski (821189) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676655)

Gates said that he's displeased with the process of political decisions on software patents in the european union. In particular, he seems to be unhappy about the successful opposition by many european IT companies and software developers.


Thid democracy thing is really a drag. He might want to consider outsorcing to North Korea.

Here's a thought (5, Funny)

NeoGeo64 (672698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676568)

Couldn't Microsoft just buy Denmark?

Danish better start a OSS project soon (5, Insightful)

e_AltF4 (247712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676593)

Converting all Danish government IT away from MS towards OSS will surely bring far more than 800 jobs and KEEP those in the country.

Go read some Gibson "Cyberpunk" books to see what you get if you let corporations run the world.

Just my 5€Cents.

Re:Danish better start a OSS project soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676613)

because open source software is so difficult to install, administer and use.

Re:Danish better start a OSS project soon (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676639)

If the purpose of the government is to create more state jobs at a greater expense to taxpayers, then you're right on the money.

However I don't really think that's what government should be trying to do. But then, we ARE talking about Europe...

Devil? (1, Funny)

ChTh (453374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676600)

>from the dancing-with-the-devil dept.

Now what did the Danish prime minister do to deserve such a name?

Microsoft will probably dump Navision anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676605)


Article on Microsoft purchasing Navision

Microsoft will probably have to dump Navision anyway. This is the kind of stuff that's gets outsourced to India and it's not the kind of software you go to Microsoft to get anyway.

This is just Bill Gates squandering Microsoft's cash pile and blowing steam. What's new?

Cut off your nose.... (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676607)

Surely they purchased the company for a reason. The staff would have been part fo that reasons.

Laying off that many staff in a fit of pique would create a perfect opportunity for a competitor to set up a company that does pretty much the same thing with the same employees.

What's the problem? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11676611)

Everybody gets all holier than thou over stuff like this, but I really don't see any reason why Gates is doing something wrong. Ownership has no meaning without the ability to do what you want with it. If I buy a priceless work of art for the express purpose of destroying it, that's my perogative. If MS acquires a company to use as a bargaining chip to get something they need, then that's their perogative. If the Danes didn't want him to be able to do that, they should've blocked the purchase of their company in the first place, or they should not bend to his demands and be willing to suffer the consequences.

Frankly, I don't understand why powerful people don't use their power more often. If I had been Martha Stewart, for example, I would've told the government that if they convicted me, I would liquidate my company and put all my employees out of work. I would then use my remaining wealth to buy small businesses and shut them down. And then ask the government whether my head on a stake was worth that price. It may sound like I'm advocating white collar terrorism, but I think that if you have leverage, there's nothing wrong with using it.

for those who still believe in democracy... (5, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676619)

please wake up. it's "we, the corporations of the USA"

Let's all use Mono! (1)

puppetluva (46903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676635)

Microsoft seems really open to fair competition and doesn't resort to extortion or underhanded legal tactics.

On this very sound footing, I suggest that we use an 80% patent-encumbered standard with Microsoft's core interests at stake. Let's base our core desktop software on it and hope our regular and very consistent enemy won't try to do anything nasty to us!

PS: To all the dreamers who are going to tell me that CLR and C# are ECMA/ISO standard. . . Let me tell you that published standards hold no weight against the market standard-bearer and should remember that Javascript was an ECMA standard called ECMAscript and they still onesy-toosied the Javascript standard.

Former Navision employee (5, Interesting)

SteelLynx (179569) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676647)

No, not me. I've never worked for Navision and can't recall anyone I know (personally) who's done so.

However, a while back (before her marriage to our crown prince) our crown princess did work for Navision.

I can't help but wonder if Bill Gates would have dared threaten to close the workplace of an upcoming queen...
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