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Re: When Companies Control Newspapers

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> HP told WSJ to, 'Go say nice things'
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | We've always wondered how elite reporters at publications such as the
> | Wall Street Journal handle their communications with public relations
> | drones. Thanks to HP's savvy investigators, we must wonder no more.
> `----

Remember, I used to work for Dow Jones.  I remember at least one
incident when Walt Mossberg, the technology columnist, wrote an article
singing the praises of Solaris, or Linux, or some competitor to

Microsoft called one of the owner/executives, told them that since WSJ
liked Solaris so much, they could let Sun buy all the ad space that
Microsoft was about to pull.  They not only pulled their own full page
ads at $250,000 per page, but they also pulled the ads of  several
OEMs, claiming that they didn't want their logo misused.

Over less than a week, WSJ had something like $2 million in lost
revenue.  That would have been right after Solaris was released.  About

In another even more grizzly situation:  While working for McGraw in
1995, one of the magazines, Byte, was giving positive coverage to
Microsoft's competitors, and not being as nice to Microsoft as they
wanted - especially with reguard to their coverage of NT 3.x and
Chicago previews.

Microsoft again tried the "squeeze play", but the editor responded in a
public declaration, reminding readers and owners alike that Byte was
dedicated broad and unbiased coverage of the entire industry, not like
some of it's competiitors who had just become publicity rags.

Microsoft took more drastic measures.  They began pulling full-page ads
from several other of the 172 McGraw-Hill publications.  The pressure
was intense, and eventually Terry McGraw solved the problem by selling
Byte to C-Net.  C-Net couldn't handle the pressure either, and
eventually Byte was taken out of print.  The columnists still
contribute to the Byte web site, but the great magazine that was once
sold by the millions in stores all over the United States and Europe,
now gets only a few million visits a month.

> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/03/wsj_tam_hp/
> One similar example, among many more:
>         Bill Gates lends cash to buy newspapers
>         $350 million to MediaNews

Keep in mind that Microsoft's direct advertizing budget is over $4
billion per year.  In addition, Microsoft controls placement and
content of all ads featuring the Microsoft trademarks and logos,
including all ads placed by the big OEMs like HP, Dell, Sony, and
Gateway.  That's another $20-40 billion in advertizing that can be
pulled almost instantly, or over excruciating months.

> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Gates involvement has been very behind the scenes. In fact many of
> | those involved in the deal didn'teven know he was one of the investors.
> | It was carried out through the Gates Foundation, the world's largest
> | philanthropy outfit.
> `----

Gates is a $billionaire.  He needs to shield his investment activities
to keep speculators from cashing in on his activities.  Gates has
frequently used shell corporations, holding companies, and other
indirection and misdirection to prevent such speculation.  Of course,
these investments and secret deals may also involve some interesting
"side deals", but those are covered by strict nondisclosure agreements
which can't be discussed except with law enforcement agencies.

> http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33849
> Is it at all surprising that OEM's and newspapers rarely mention GNU/Linux?

Actually, what's surprising is the amount of coverage that Linux DOES
get.  On the other hand, what makes Linux newsworthy is that, with
almost no capitialization, no formal organization to speak of, and yet
has become the biggest threat to the richest man in the world.  The
irony is that the real leader from the other side wasn't Linus, it was
Richard Stallman, and the "battle" began about 22 years ago, in 1984.

Bill Gates announced that his true goal was "world domination".  Most
people just laughed it off, but Richard, who was very familiar with
usenet, application software, and the potential for gaining control of
the world's information - took the threat very seriously.  He saw that
it was actually possible for Bill Gates to implement his plan, and
worked out the countermeasures, and published them in his "GNU

Stallman wasn't the first to publish Open Source Software, he wasn't
even the biggest player.  He was the first to use Microsoft's own
weapon, the copyright license, as an effective deterrent.

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