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Submission + - Conflicted Microsoft Financials Indicate Fraud? (

twitter writes: Microsoft has published self contradictory financial results, found early by a sharp reporter.

not all the numbers in the 10-Q filed with the SEC and the earnings press release were the same. The revenue and operating income (loss) breakout by division were completely different. And not only were the numbers for last quarter different, but the numbers from the same quarter last year were different.

Techrights suspect the company is again juggle their books to make things look better for investors. Microsoft is hurting after the failure of Vista and Windows 7 is not doing much better. Is Microsoft finally imploding?

United States

Voting Machines Routinely Failing Nationwide 237 writes "Voting machines in several critical swing states are causing major problems for voters. A Government Accountability Office report and Common Cause election study [PDF] has concluded that major issues identified in the last presidential election have not been corrected, nor have election officials been notified of the problems. How long can we afford to trust our elections to black box voting practices? From the article: 'In Colorado, 20,000 left polling places without voting in 2006 because of crashed computer registration machines and long lines. And this election day, Colorado will have another new registration system.'"

Bell's Own Data Exposes P2P As a Red Herring 261

dougplanet writes with news from the Canadian-throttling front: "As ordered by the CRTC, Bell has released (some) of its data on how torrents and P2P in general are affecting its network. Even though there's not much data to go on, it's pretty clear that P2P isn't the crushing concern. Over the two-month period prior to their throttling, they had congestion on a whopping 2.6 and 5.2 per cent of their network links. They don't even explain whether this is a range of sustained congestion, or peaks amongst valleys."

Feed Wired: Is Microsoft Stuck With a Norwegian Herring? (

Even as it agreed in January to plunk down $1.23 billion to buy a promising but problematic search company in Norway, Microsoft knew that the company had some accounting matters to address.

Now, it appears, the acquired company, Fast Search & Transfer, may have some criminal matters to work out: Suspicions about the Norwegian search-engine company's revenue reporting are now in the hands of the Oslo police.

Norway's financial supervisory authority, Kredittilsynet, said its review of Fast Search's previously disclosed accounting problems not only appeared to have violated accounting standards, they may have broken the law too.

The development is bad news for Microsoft, which snapped up Fast Search as a potential Google-buster. Fast Search, which for a while was also known as the Google of Norway, had search-engine technology that industry experts said was better than Google's and could handle truly massive corporate projects.

Goldman Sachs estimated last year that the company would grow its revenue 27 percent in 2007. Over the years, Fast Search appeared to benefit from big contracts with customers such as AT&T, Comcast, and the Walt Disney Co.

At one point, Intel was interested in buying the Norwegian rising star, but Microsoft grabbed the prize. At the time, Microsoft was still digesting it $6 billion acquisition of the digital-advertising company aQuantive—a deal that came just one month after Google said it would pay $3.1 billion for DoubleClick.

In its haste to grab Fast Search, however, Microsoft looked past the company's problems: They include, but aren't limited to, accounting irregularities that began to appear as Microsoft began to look over its books.

In the second quarter of 2007, Fast Search reported an operating loss of $38 million on revenue of only $35 million—a full $20 million below forecasts. The loss widened in the following quarter, leading the Norwegian stock exchange to delist Fast Search on December 12.

That same day, Fast Search said it would review its accounting for all of 2006 and 2007. The latest unaudited results show revenue growth of 7 percent for last year, which is far below Goldman's forecast.

Still, Microsoft pursued the acquisition, completing the deal on April 28.

Kredittilsynet, the supervisory agency, was equally determined. It referred Fast Search to investigators at Økokrim, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime.

Økokrim last week concurred that the nature of the irregularities and the amount by which Fast Search apparently inflated its accounts were serious matters warranting prosecution. But the agency said it was too busy to open a criminal investigation.

Rather than let the matter rest, the market supervisor turned it over to the Oslo police for investigation. Aftenposten, a Norwegian newspaper, characterized Kredittilsynet's decision to involve the police as an unprecedented step in that country.

As of now, it's unclear what the Oslo police have in store for Fast Search—or for former company C.E.O. John Markus Lervik, who is now the vice president for enterprise search at Microsoft.

The Courts

Woman Indicted In MySpace Suicide Case 654

longacre writes "The Associated Press is reporting an indictment has been handed down in the sad case of Megan Meier, the girl who committed suicide after receiving upsetting MySpace messages from someone she perceived to be her boyfriend. It was later determined the boy, Josh Evans, was a fictitious identity created by a neighbor of Meier's family. Lori Drew, of a St. Louis suburb, has been charged with 'one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress on the girl.' Interestingly, despite the alleged crime having occurred strictly in Missouri, the case was investigated by the FBI's St. Louis and Los Angeles field offices, and the trial will be held in Los Angeles, home of MySpace's servers. Wired is running a related story about the potentially 'scary' precedent this case could set."

Hard Evidence of Voting Machine Addition Errors 275

goombah99 writes "Princeton Professor, Ed Felton, has posted a series of blog entries in which he shows the printed tapes he obtained from the NJ voting machines don't report the ballots correctly. In response to the first one, Sequoia admitted that the machines had a known software design error that did not correctly record which kind of ballots were cast (republican or democratic primary ballots) but insisted the vote totals were correct. Then, further tapes showed this explanation to be insufficient. In response, State officials insisted that the (poorly printed) tapes were misread by Felton. Again further tapes showed this not to be a sufficient explanation. However all those did not foreclose the optimistic assessment that the errors were benign — that is, the possibility that vote totals might really be correct even though the ballot totals were wrong and the origin of the errors had not been explained. Now he has found (well-printed) tapes that show what appears to be hard proof that it's the vote totals that are wrong, since two different readout methods don't agree. Sequoia has made trade-secret legal threats against those wishing to mount an independent examination of the equipment. One small hat-tip to Sequoia: at least they are reporting enough raw data in different formats that these kinds of errors can come to light — that lesson should be kept in mind when writing future requirements for voting machines."
Linux Business

SCO Preps Appeals Against Novell and IBM 163

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like SCO will be emerging from the almost dead soon, with new owners and $100 million on board. SNCP is adjusting the business strategy, according to this report on TG Daily, SCO is saying goodbye to CEO Darl McBride and is also preparing to appeal the summary judgments in the cases against Novell and IBM. If you have thought the chapter was closed, think again. Those $100 million can go a long way (even if SCO has to pay 17% interest on it)."
The Internet

Drop-Catching Domains Is Big Business 197

WebsiteMag brings us news from the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) about a recent study of drop catching —'a process whereby a domain that has expired is released into the pool of available names and is instantly re-registered by another party.' The eleven day study showed that 100% of '.com' and '.net' domain names were immediately registered after they had been released. CADNA has published the results with their own analysis. Quoting: "The results also show that 87% of Dot-COM drop-catchers use the domain names for pay-per-click (PPC) sites. They have no interest in these domain names other than leveraging them to post PPC ads and turn a profit. Interestingly, only 67% of Dot-ORG drop catchers use the domains they catch to post these sites — most likely because Dot-ORG names are harder to monetize due to the lack of type-in traffic and because they tend to be used for more legitimate purposes."
The Courts

RIAA Conceals Overturned Case 211

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "When a Judge agreed with the RIAA's claim that 'making available' was actionable under the Copyright Act, in Atlantic v. Howell, the RIAA was quick to bring this 'authority' to the attention of the judges in Elektra v. Barker and Warner v. Cassin. Those judges were considering the same issue. When the that decision was overturned successfully, however, they were not so quick to inform those same judges of this new development. When the defendants' lawyers found out — a week after the RIAA's lawyers learned of it — they had to notify the judges themselves . At this moment we can only speculate as to what legal authorities they cited to the judge in Duluth, Minnesota, to get him to instruct the jurors that just 'making available' was good enough."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.