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Microsoft Businesses Government The Almighty Buck United States

Microsoft, Partners Probed Over Bribery Claims 137

c0lo writes "U.S. federal authorities are examining Microsoft's involvement with companies and individuals that allegedly paid bribes to overseas government officials in exchange for business. The United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have both opened preliminary investigations into the bribery allegations involving Microsoft in China, Italy and Romania. The China allegations were first shared with United States officials last year by an unnamed whistle-blower who had worked with Microsoft in the country, according to the person briefed on the inquiry. The whistle-blower said that a Microsoft official in China directed the whistle-blower to pay bribes to government officials to win business deals. U.S. government investigators are also reviewing whether Microsoft had a role in allegations that resellers offered bribes to secure software deals with Romania's Ministry of Communications. In Italy, Microsoft's dealings with consultants that specialize in customer-loyalty programs are under scrutiny, with allegations that Microsoft's Italian unit used such consultants as vehicles for lavishing gifts and trips on Italian procurement officials in exchange for government business. In a blog post Tuesday afternoon, John Frank, a vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said the company could not comment about continuing investigations. Mr. Frank said it was not uncommon for such government reviews to find that the claims were without merit. Somehow, given the way OOXML became a standard, it wouldn't surprise me if it were an actual fire that caused this smoke."
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Microsoft, Partners Probed Over Bribery Claims

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  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @03:20PM (#43226595) Homepage Journal

    "So this is why I pay extortion amounts of money for an OS that sucks balls every other release?"

    No, not at all. You pay those extortionate amounts of money because you are unable or unwilling to "Just say "NO!"" I paid for three legitimate installations of that company's operating systems. Then, I found alternatives. Yeah, it takes a little bit of work, but it's not that hard.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @03:33PM (#43226721)

    EVERY large company that does business ANYWHERE bribes.

    Baloney. I have run my own business in the USA for more than twenty years. I have never paid a bribe. Not once. I have never been asked for a bribe either. If I ever was, the first thing I would do is report it to the police.

    I have also lived and worked in China, and have some employees there today. Although I have paid bribes ("facilitation fees") there, they are becoming much less common. China is trying to clean up their act, and a more "rule-based", transparent China is in everyone's best interest.

    The most common bribes paid in China today are not business bribes, but migrant workers trying to bribe their way around the Hukou System [] in order to send their children to public schools. The Hukou system is a form of feudalism that bonds workers to the land. Under Mao, it was used to ban all internal movement of people. Today, people are allowed to migrate, but they surrender most of their legal rights when they do so. Abolition of the Hukou would probably do more to improve human rights than any other single change in the world.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @03:35PM (#43226733) Homepage


    I volunteered in Ghana for several months, and saw corruption on a daily basis:

    I can build that new room cheap and in a month... but it'd really be better if you pay twice as much to buy this good concrete (from my brother) rather than that crappy concrete that falls apart (when mixed ignoring the directions).

    Your visa's still a week away from expiration, but even though it's not written anywhere, there's a $25 fine for not renewing it two weeks in advance. Yes, I collect the fee personally, as a agent of the government. Cash only.

    Sure, you can take this taxi to that village, but there's a $5 fee for each bag, and each pocket.

    Yeah, that other guy bought a machete for $40, but this identical one is my best! It's $200.

    From the stories I've heard from others, the way for Westerners to do business in Africa is to first set a budget for a project, then find a local as a project manager, with the agreement that anything left in the budget goes into his pocket.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.