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Microsoft Government Patents The Almighty Buck Politics

EU Trade Commissioner Enjoyed MS Hospitality 196

Posted by Zonk
from the questionable-company dept.
Brian Blessed writes "Today's edition of The Times contains a report that Peter Mandelson, the EU (European Union) Trade Commissioner, spent New Year's Eve as a guest of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, in the Carribean on Mr Allen's luxury yacht. The story mentions the conflict of interest that this causes because of the protracted legal battle between Microsoft and the European Commission. Perhaps the Trade Commissioner has also been in a position to influence the progress of European Software Patent legislation?"
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EU Trade Commissioner Enjoyed MS Hospitality

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  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:51AM (#12314464) Homepage Journal
    Although Mr Allen is no longer directly involved in the management of Microsoft, he remains its second biggest shareholder. There is no suggestion that Mr Mandelson has broken the Commission's code of conduct.

    As a rule, rihc and powerful people tend to hang out with other rich and powerful people. I suspect this is more about giving the appearance of impropriety rather than any impropriety itself. Political opponents will try to make hay from this.
    • by Zebadias (861722) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:53AM (#12314495)
      the appearance of impropriety Mr Mandelson's record is not exactly stirling. He has been sacked from the goverment 2 times!
      • the appearance of impropriety Mr Mandelson's record is not exactly stirling. He has been sacked from the goverment 2 times!

        Good gravy! What on earth do you have to do to get sacked by the government, twice! And how can I trick the head of the FCC into it?

        • 1) Borrow an enormous ammount of money from a rich political colleague to buy a house and not declare it
          2) Try to persuade another Govt. department to give passports to wealthy party contributors.

          Hence his appointment as an European commisioner: to give you an idea of how un-sackable this makes him, find an accountant, sit them down, and ask them if they think an organisation with a $150 billion budget should still be using single book accounting.
    • by liquidpele (663430) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:55AM (#12314516) Journal
      Rich and powerful people rarely just "hang out", they talk business while "hanging out".
      • by k4_pacific (736911) <k4_pacificNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:59AM (#12314567) Homepage Journal
        Yes, in fact my company arranged a round of golf between one of our more satisfied customers and a prospective customer with the hope they would discuss our product. Kind of reminded me of when zoos put two pandas in the same habitat to see if they mate.

        Businessman: As you can see, our product...
        Zookeeper: Look everybody! He's "presenting".
        • Didn't two high ranking execs from Sun and Microsoft have a round of golf together shortly before the "settlement"???
          • Didn't two high ranking execs from Sun and Microsoft have a round of golf together shortly before the "settlement"???

            Probably. However (in most cases) the heads of two companies are perfectly free to chit chat and negotiate for their mutual benefit.

            On the other hand people in government power generally are NOT free to negotiate for their personal benefit. Especially when it means abusing their power to provide someone else with special government favor and benefit.

            -
    • by purple_cobra (848685) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:55AM (#12314523)
      If you knew anything about Mandelson's political history you might think this incident deserves a little investigation. Any search for him at the BBC's news site should turn up some useful information.
    • >giving the appearance of impropriety yah. the appearance of allen's stock going up if the EU leaves microsoft alone...
    • by garcia (6573) *
      As a rule, rihc and powerful people tend to hang out with other rich and powerful people. I suspect this is more about giving the appearance of impropriety rather than any impropriety itself. Political opponents will try to make hay from this.

      Then, as a rule, political persons shouldn't be putting themselves in positions that will allow their opponents such room to gripe.

      The article stated that this guy has done this three times before to such a degree that he was asked to step down.

      Looks valid to me.
    • "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

      -- Adam Smith

      I think it is relevant to this topic.
    • by nganju (821034) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:08PM (#12314658)

      Even if Paul Allen is not involved in the management of Microsoft, as a large shareholder, he still gains a lot if Mr. Mandelson decides to go easy on Microsoft.

      I don't see how Allen's lack of direct involvement in MS management makes this a non-conflict of interest. Allen still has every motive to make nice with Mandelson.

    • parent wrote: "As a rule, rihc and powerful people tend to hang out with other rich and powerful people. I suspect this is more about giving the appearance of impropriety rather than any impropriety itself. Political opponents will try to make hay from this."

      But the moment you are elected or appointed to represent the interests of the people of your nation, you give up the right to associate freely with anyone you like. You have to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

      It just sounds like Mandelso
  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:51AM (#12314466) Homepage
    They buy everything else in sight -- how much can the EU possibly cost, anyway?
  • Days of old... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What happened to cut-throat politics and business? "If you scratch my back, I still won't scratch yours, but thanks for the scratch."
  • Proof Positive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yanray (686150) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:53AM (#12314497)
    Well at least we have proof positive that U.S. polititians aren't the only dirty ones.
    • Well at least we have proof positive that U.S. polititians aren't the only dirty ones.

      You obviously haven't paid any attention to British Politics over the last 20 years.
  • by isotope23 (210590) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:54AM (#12314503) Homepage Journal
    Ahhh the benefits of centralizing power. Now Microsoft only has to buy off a few flunkies in the EU as opposed to each former European country. Much better for business.

    • by globalar (669767) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:12PM (#12314691) Homepage
      The business community of Europe was the driving force behind the EU, the currency change, and the new demands for change in corporate merging laws between member states. This influence was secured way back when the EU was only a coal/steel trade organization.

      Make no mistake - economic interests have unified Europe, and political ones are only following suit.
      • by isotope23 (210590) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:28PM (#12314818) Homepage Journal
        Sheeple are Sheeple regardless of which side of the Ocean you are on. Eventually IMO we will have one world government.

        I find it both sad and amazing that groups like the greens (which I believe have SOME valid points) rail about the corruption and power of corporations, yet their solution is to give more power to government. If you start with the premise that people are corruptable and power corrupts, how can you then endorse as a solution a greater concentration of power?

        The end result is those with power will make deals between themselves to keep the power they have or to gain more.

      • The grandparent said:

        Ahhh the benefits of centralizing power. Now Microsoft only has to buy off a few flunkies in the EU as opposed to each former European country. Much better for business.

        and you replied:

        The business community of Europe was the driving force behind the EU, the currency change, and the new demands for change in corporate merging laws between member states.

        Which pretty well proves his point: it's a lot easier for a big business to do ``business'' in the restraint-of-trade, suborning

  • by cc-rider-Texas (877967) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:54AM (#12314511) Homepage
    During the party on the Octopus, Mr Mandelson and Mr Allen greeted each other, but his spokesman insisted that "there was no substantial conversation" and that the pair merely exchanged pleasantries. This was merely an introduction. The bribes come later.
  • by h. simpson (464174) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#12314527)
    This tastes like tinfoil to me. Paul Allen may be the second largest shareholder at Microsoft, but he's long since moved on from the Redmond giant.

    I don't think it's a great idea for people like this to be enjoying the luxuries of other rich influential people at all, but I doubt this is a Microsoft specific thing.

    This looks more improper than it truly is.
    • You may be right that...

      This looks more improper than it truly is.

      ...but your premise is wrong. Paul Allen may no longer be on Microsoft's payroll, but as their second largest shareholder, he is thoroughly invested in all of their business matters. Troubles with the EU? Paul Allen loses money. Happy times with the EU? Paul Allen makes money.

      • by rcs1000 (462363) * <{moc.liamg} {ta} {0001scr}> on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:56PM (#12315129)
        *BZZT* WRONG.

        I work in finance, and checked Bloomberg yesterday (in order to argue Allen was a significant shareholder). Shockingly, it appears as if Paul Allen has sold almost all of his shares. Very quietly.

        I tried to Google for a news story, but was unable to find one. Nevertheless, I would be very surprised if Allen had more than a small fraction of his wealth in Microsoft. (Certainly, compared to Vulture Ventures, Charter Communications, and that sports team he bought...)

        Cheers,

        Robert
        • It looks like he has sold almost all his shares. I stand corrected and Forbes should probably change their article which still states the bulk of his wealth is MS stock. It wouldn't be so bad except that's a 2005 article. I went fishing for the information too and it's pretty hard to find as he is no longer a company insider. Here's an article from 2000 [theregister.co.uk] covering it.
        • Shockingly, it appears as if Paul Allen has sold almost all of his shares. Very quietly.

          Which leads to a very very interesting thought.

          Paul Allen was a deep insider and obviously knows ALL about the tactics and abuses going on from within Microsoft, and he has quitely gotten almost all of his assets safely out of Microsoft... for a reason?? What if he was spilling the beans and giving GOOD advice to the EU Trade Commissioner on why they should nail Microsoft and how to do so?

          It's pure wild speculation..
    • Paul Allen may be the second largest shareholder at Microsoft, but he's long since moved on from the Redmond giant.

      Do you think that perhaps he would be interested in increasing the value of those shares?

    • Paul Allen may be the second largest shareholder at Microsoft...

      That's it. End. Finito. It doesn't matter what else he does, he's inextricably tied to Microsoft. Large shareholders (often large investment institutions) exert lots of influence over the long term strategy of a company.

      In this case, Microsoft easily would love for software patents to exist, and this EU Commissioner is influential in making that happen... this is clearly a conflict of interest.

  • by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#12314531) Homepage
    Conservative leaders say that Mr Mandelson, who was twice forced to resign from the Cabinet over allegations of sleaze, should learn the lessons of the past, demanding that he should be "totally open" and branding him "naive".

    TWICE?! he was twice forced to resign over allegations of sleaze?! Wow, he either has vicious enemies or he's not so much on the up and up.
    • by T-Kir (597145) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:04PM (#12314615) Homepage
      Mandy (Mr Mandelsons nickname iirc) was one of the main spin doctors along with Alastair Campbell and Charlie Wheelan who made the Labour party what it is today (i.e. got Blair into power). So he was a pretty powerful politician for a while, although the double resignations made it too difficult for Blair to let him have a cabinet position again.

      Note, this is AFAIK and I may have missed out some salient points... but will answer your question to some degree.
    • he was twice forced to resign over allegations of sleaze?

      Whatever you think of his politics, he's a very shrewd operator. He's long been a close friend of [UK Prime Minister] Tony Blair, and despite the bad press (justified or otherwise) that some of his actions have drawn, he's continued a high-flying political career. His resignations have avoided a lot of the amateurish fall-out that some of his peers (David Blunkett and Clare Short, for two examples) incurred by messing up the PR, by taking him out


      • ...taking him out of the limelight just long enough for the public to forget any transgressions he might have committed.

        Oh, I don't know about that... there are plenty of us who remember him well enough to want him out of British politics permanently. But then that's why he was handed the position in the EU - power without visibility. The hand of Tony Blair reaches far.
    • He is sometimes an idiot (getting people to co-sign mortgages) AND he's gay (which earns him enemies for sadly obvious reasons) AND he is a friend of Tony Blair (which earns him enemies from his own side).
      Nonetheless he did help to architect Labour's first election win for many years and I think he had a good reputation within his local constituency (Hartlepool - where they hung a monkey because they thought he was invading Frenchman- a long time ago of course but still very funny).
      He has been forced to res
    • He's friends with the PM, took a fall for him once, and thus knows he's safe.
  • invitation (Score:3, Funny)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#12314532) Homepage
    I'll extend an invitation to the TC for a hiking/camping trip any time he wants to discuss FOSS. If everything goes well, I'll even break out the marshmallows.

  • by millennial (830897) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:57AM (#12314535) Journal
    It all started at the party. Peter noticed Paul staring at him the whole time, and knew that he had to do something about it. He walked over to Paul and waited for him to say something.
    Mandleson and Allen gazed longingly into each other's eyes. They knew that the moment was right, and if everything was perfect, there would be magic tonight.
    "Whatever shall we do, Paul?" Peter said with a coy smile.
    Paul just grinned and patted his hand. "How about we go into the bedroom and ... talk about those patents?"
    Seriously. Homoeroticism abounds in this article. Two men spending New Year's Eve on the Caribbean in a private yacht? Whoa.
    Anyways, to continue the story...
    It was a night to remember. The two were up all night long, engaging in passionate discourse about patent restrictions on software in Europe. They say that private bargaining is like eating at a Chinese restaurant - it's not over until everyone gets their cookies. Paul got his patent cookies, and Mandelson got his legal jibblies off.
    They knew that they could tell no one, so they told their spokespeople that "there was no substantial conversation" and that they had merely exchanged pleasantries.

    I like my version better.
  • Political enemies don't have to be personal enemies too, even as fun as it'd be if they were all out for each others blood off of work hours.
  • by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsro@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:57AM (#12314544) Journal
    How in the hell he thought it , Either A: acceptable , or B: a good idea , is simply beyond me .
    Here is a man of immense power and persuasion taking what ammounts to a large bribe from microsoft and i have no doubts he was having a good drink enjoying ways to amicably let microsoft off on the fine , the opening up thing , oh and the Patent issue.

    Tonight i am going to write a letter to my MEP and urge that they raise a question as to whether he should be thrown out of this position imediatly , and at the very lest that he get some awnsers as to why he thought this behaviour beffiting of a politican.

    I do not want large lobby groups and private industry to have a strangle hold over the european commision , and if people like this are in office then i am begining to lose hope .

    This will not stop me kicking up a fuss , and if you agree with me i urge you to do the same .A letter is sometimes all it takes (oh and while you at it , make sure to bug you MEP again about the patents issue)
    • Tonight i am going to write a letter to my MEP and urge that they raise a question as to whether he should be thrown out of this position imediatly , and at the very lest that he get some awnsers as to why he thought this behaviour beffiting of a politican.

      The fact is that no matter where one lives this type of behaviour is exactly how politicians act. While we the people may not like it, this type of behaviour is seen as "normal" and practically "accepted" by today's society. The fact is that most peop
      • Letter writting is acting ;) , problem is that is all most of us can do is write letters , Myself i do intend on standing for a seat as an MEP ..Unfortunatly i am a bit to young to really consider it ( 30 seems to be a good age to start).
        I still strongly belive in the power people have , and letter writting campaign do work if you make it clear that this can make or break a vote.

        If you recive 20k letters saying "we as your constituants , wish you to do blah or else we vote for the other guy " then politi
      • While writing letters and protesting people online may make one feel better, the only real way to eforce change is to act
        If the former does not help do you mean a revolution by 'act' in the second part of the sentence?
    • Would we have had all this fuss if he'd had a nice lunch with Linus? A guy as powerful as this isn't going to be "bought" by the experience of staying on a nice boat for the weekend, or by the experience of Paul Allen's (no doubt stimulating - I'd like to meet him myself) company. The question is, can you point to the means by which the company in which Allen owns a lot of stock is going to have a "strangle hold" over the commission? In actual, practical, detailed, terms, what strangling mechanism is at pla
      • Well obviously you didnt read my comments on those events did you , as i think it should mean imediat dismisall.
        If he had dinner with linus i would find it equaly as unforgivable (although he isnt currently in litigation agains linus), so dont try to make this an issue of the BIG EVIL MS vs The good and valiant Linux , This is an issue of ethics.

        The simple reason i would want a trade commisioner who hears from the people not the big companys , Perhaps some trade decisions that would benifit the people of t
        • I'm actually less concerned about this particular commissioner - certainly residents of Europe are going to be a lot more familiar with him than I am. I think I'm reacting more to the general tone of the comments on this topic: Politicians Who Hang Out With Rich People Are Evil. That sort of sweeping generalization (and you've seen it here, I'm sure) is just silly. And more to the point, it seems to come more from the idealogical camp that gets really upset with it, but not when it's say, George Soros they'
          • I agree entierly , I am from europe ;) so you can understand why im so up in arms . Alot of people do resort to the OMG rich freinds == evil argument which is just wrong , but in this case the guy i belive the guy A:) has the prior record , and B) has a strong conflict of intrests.
            I understand fully where you comming from though , and trust me ive done the same thing many times here myself .

      • ...and he doesn't represent one of the major players in terms of patent issues, so the whole "conflict of interest" concern wouldn't be there.

        Context is important.

        The question is, can you point to the means by which the company in which Allen owns a lot of stock is going to have a "strangle hold" over the commission?

        Good question. How did Microsoft manage to pull it off with the US Justice Department?
  • Very nice.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:58AM (#12314553) Homepage Journal
    There are those born with no shame. The rest of us suffer with our consciences.

    Reminds me of former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, who had quite the large collection of priceless gems, for someone who got by on a mayor's salary. There was a reason Detroit kept getting worse and worse and it couldn't all be blamed on Ford, GM and Chrysler.

    Isn't Paul Allen away from Microsoft? I thought he left the company and took his billions of $ to pursue his own dreams.

  • by l-ascorbic (200822) on Friday April 22, 2005 @11:59AM (#12314573)
    ..his own power.
    For those who are not familiar with him, Peter Mandelson is one of the most skilled, cynical and cunning politicians in recent British history. A true heir to Macchiavelli's crown, he has shown himself unparelleled in his ability to attain and retain power. The guy has been sacked from the British cabinet on two occasions, but still managed to emerge with his acreer intact. His trick is to make himself invaluable as the right hand man of the guy with the power. First Blair, now Barrosso. He is not the sort to be bought by Microsoft. He will stay close to them just as long as they are useful to him and no longer. I think this a case where the cynical MS lobbyists have met their match.
    • He will stay close to them just as long as they are useful to him and no longer. I think this a case where the cynical MS lobbyists have met their match.

      Have you ever heard of Achilles from the Enders Game universe by Orson Scott Card?
    • by sepluv (641107) <blakesley AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:21PM (#12314761)
      Alternatively, maybe Mandelson and Allen (and, therefore, the €C and M$) are working as allies to milk the most out of the European people for their own ends.

      This is, of course, a totally crazy conspiracy theory and would in no way be representative of the normal behavour of European commisioners (especially the stain-free* Mandelson) or founders and shareholders of Microsoft.

      * talking of stains, how much do you bet they weren't just talking on this yacht on new year's eve. Mandelson is defintely gay (and known for his homosexual affairs with others in power). No idea about Allen--but maybe it was a you-give-me-a-blowjob-and-we'll-drop-charges-again st-Microsoft sort of deal.

    • I'd say that he's also beaten John Morton [swuklink.com], too. (Although the specifics of Morton's Fork are to do with tax, the premise can be used anywhere. Just decide the conclusion first, and show how all possible situations will lead to it.)
  • Good old Mandy (Score:5, Informative)

    by rleyton (14248) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:03PM (#12314610) Homepage
    Hoho, Mandelson never learns. So much for third time lucky. For the non-Brits that might be around, Peter Mandelson is something of a Blair loyalist, who is actually now in his third senior political incarnation.

    First up, he was in the cabinet culminating in Trade Secretary, but had to resign after it was discovered he had taken a loan of £373,000 (about $700,000) from another minister and not declared it in the public records.

    A few years later, long enough for Blair but not the rest of the population to forget, he was back "resurrected" as it were (apt, as he's also known as the Prince of Darkness) to be the Northern Ireland secretary. Guess what, not that long after it transpired he was involved with a dodgy claim by some rather wealthy businessmen to gain British passports.

    He got the Trade Commissioner job by merit Blair being blind to his foibles. So, now we discover that he's been taking benefits in kind, presumably rather on the sly, from a co-founder of Microsoft that just happens to have been landed with a hefty fine by the EU.

    Why am I not surprised?

    More here on the esteemed gentlemans career [bbc.co.uk] if you don't like bitter and twisted British political mumblings.

    • Hoho, Mandelson never learns.

      That is _so_ cute! Cute but annoying.

      Pull up a pouffe, son, and allow me to explain. He has learned that he can get away with anything -- because who's going to demand honesty? You? The Labor Party?? He knows you'll vote for whatever keeps the Evil Capitalists away. He's adapted well to the environment you have created for him. A+ for learning, Mr. Mandelson!

      You, like the rest of the British public, have failed to learn, preferring the 'bluebottle trying to fly thr
    • Re:Good old Mandy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by isotope23 (210590)
      "Hoho, Mandelson never learns."
      "who is actually now in his third senior political incarnation"

      As exemplified in your own post I'd say the guy has learned quite well.
    • Re:Good old Mandy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by advocate_one (662832) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:53PM (#12315092)
      I am convinced that Mandelson has got the "goods" on some aspect of Tony Blair's past... it's the only explanation for why he keeps getting called back despite his many indiscretions.
  • Word is... (Score:4, Funny)

    by dbleoslow (650429) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:06PM (#12314638)
    Linus invited this guy on the same day to hang out, discuss kernal optimization and play some D&D but was turned down in favor of Allen.
    • Linus invited this guy on the same day to hang out, discuss kernal optimization and play some D&D but was turned down in favor of Allen.

      Probably because Allen could get better drugs from his players on the Trailblazers.

  • The Octopus (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jon Abbott (723) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:06PM (#12314641) Homepage
    Peter Mandleson, the EU (European Union) Trade Commissioner, spent New Year's Eve as a guest of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, in the Carribean on Mr Allen's luxury yacht.
    Ah, yes, the Octopus [monogon.org] ... What a hulking beast of a ship!
    • Heh, funny. The title pages features the ship cruising through the kiel canal near my home city, Kiel Germany. Apparently the ship was built here.
      In fact, the part of the canal shown here is next to an old bridge (Brücke Levensau) across the canal (the picture is taken from the bridge, I suppose). I very often drive the hill at the waterside behind the ship down with my bicycle.
      The location is only a few km (max. 2) from my home, so it was VERY funny and astonishing to see that on slashdot :-)
      OTOH, Mr.
  • Does it not make more sense that the meeting, would involve Allen's role in Virgin Galactic (owned by Richard Branson you remember him, british guy)not his ties with Microsoft and their role in the EU.
  • This suprises you because...? It's peter mandleson, the prince of darkness, the arch overlord of the bad-things.
  • Mandy's at it again (Score:4, Informative)

    by davidoff404 (764733) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:17PM (#12314724)
    Peter Mandelson has a long and sordid history [wikipedia.org], including being forced to resign twice from cabinet positions in the UK for allegations of corruption and taking bribes. While the article is scant on details of what happened aboard Allen's yacht, noone should be surprised if Mandy was up to no good.

    Then again, what with Mandelson being gay and Paul Allen never having married, perhaps they were up to something altogether more innocuous.

  • Slashdot editors can be so disgusting sometimes. The name is "Peter Mandelson", not Mandleson. BBC News Online's Nick Assinder looks at the turbulent career of Peter Mandelson [bbc.co.uk]. His "career had twice been dashed on the rocks of sleaze, ..."

    Peter Mandelson is apparently the go-to guy in the EU when someone wants something illegal done: "Mr Mandelson had come under pressure to explain his involvment in the passport application of Srichand Hinduja [i-resign.com], an Indian billionaire who, along with his brother Gopichand
  • He left MS in 1983.
  • by Insipid Trunculance (526362) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:34PM (#12314868) Homepage
    served some Guacamole.

  • Welcome to reality (Score:2, Informative)

    by c0ldfusi0n (736058)
    If you think that there's no corruption, lobbyism or influence in these spheres, you need a reality check. It is quite possible that Mandleson was influenced by Allen, and it's quite possible that it's exactly why he accepted to go on that yacht. I mean, come on. If OSS developers could afford the same things, you think they wouldn't show off how lucrative their endeavours are? In this particular case, i think the goal was more to share this lucrativity and showing it off just to send the message "What if..
  • if you were a politician, which would you rather do, given the choice?
  • ....EU lifted all penalties, sanctions and restrictions from Microsoft. Quoted from the commissioner "After long hard thinking through the New Year, we decided to turn over a new leaf. Those MicroSoft guys work really hard to provide us with an extravegant holiday season...I mean well written software."
  • so... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mr_tommy (619972) * <tgraham AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:51PM (#12315061) Journal
    Mandleson resigned from the British Cabinet twice for sleaze related activities; it's nice to see that times don't change the man, and he can really stand on his moral podium in Brussels.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday April 22, 2005 @12:59PM (#12315152) Homepage
    He left Microsoft in the 1980s. It's generally agreed that this was good for Microsoft. Allen's businesses since then, from Interval Research to the Experience Music Project to the Seattle Seahawks, along with a long list of little companies, have generally been flops. The phrase "the hell that is a Paul Allen company" is known in Silicon Valley.

    You don't want to take a ride on his yacht. It might sink.

  • That Mandleson has been exposed as being bent
  • A very impressing ship indeed! Very interesting detail of his yacht... http://kimmershow.com/fileTamer/TheOctopus.pps#54 [kimmershow.com]
  • by bytesmythe (58644) <bytesmytheNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday April 22, 2005 @01:18PM (#12315357)
    I wonder why he didn't spend time on Eric S. Raymond's luxury yacht? (I suspect because it's actually pronounced Throat Warbler Mangrove.)

  • Sack 'em both! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bad Boy Marty (15944)
    Apparently, neither one of them can obey laws, though both serve to influence their creation. Seems quite the abuse of power to me.

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