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Microsoft

Microsoft Enticed To Move To British Columbia 410

MartinB writes "The BBC is reporting that British Columbia have offered MS a home 100 miles away in Canada. 100 miles of geography, a million miles of juristiction. If MS are in Canada, the US legal system can't touch 'em. Or can they? " Well, I suppose they could move - but that wouldn't totally forestall US Legal Moves, because they'd be forced to maintain a US subsidiary. In addition to not really escaping the DOJ, there's the tax and issues of getting 20,000 people to move.
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Canada Tries to Entice Microsoft to British Columbia

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  • Didn't a bunch of Canadian Indians (Iraquois? Mohawk?) stage a revolt with semi-automatic weapons a few years ago?

    That was the Oka crisis in the early 1990's. The Quebec government allowed a golf course to be built on some land near Oka, Que. A group of Mohawk claimed the land was sacred ground (may have been a burial ground, it was a long time ago). Mohawk Warriors showed up in support, set up

    BZAPP!!! Wrong answer.
    The city of OKA allowed the construction of the golf course over the ancient burial ground; a blockade ensued for a few weeks, when the Sûreté du Québec [gouv.qc.ca] (police) was called to dismantle it. In the ensuing mêlée, an officer was killed.

    (By the way, Oka is the algonquin name; mohawks call it Kahnesatake. Once mohawks settled there, they gradually drove out the algonquins and hurons who lived there elsewhere).

    The land in dispute around Oka is not, and never has been an indian reserve, as it is commonly assumed, and this explains the involvement of the Sûreté du Québec [gouv.qc.ca] rather than the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [www.rcmp.ca] (federal) normally used in case of indian revolts (such as the Kahnawake revolt in 1956 against the construction of the Saint-Lawrence Seaway [seaway.ca] - Oddly enough, the picture on the website is taken at Kahnawake; the bridge is the Mercier bridge, which was blockaded in 1990). As a matter of fact, the federal government department of indian affairs [inac.gc.ca] has been purposely been dragging it's feet in this matter, the more so because it helps tarnishing the image of Québec towards the world.

    In Canada, indian affairs are a federal jurisdiction, so to better control them and use it against the french who want more control over their lifes. But in the OKA case, the land where mohawks have been living never had the status of reserve. In fact, that land was donated by a french religious (whose name escapes me) order to american mohawks that were fleeing the genocide perpetrated against the mohawk nation in upstate new-york, in the early 1800's, even though the mohawks/iroquois were the ennemies of the french (well, that was when they were useful to the english at war against the french - but when they were no longer useful, after the american Revolution, they were simply exterminated and driven out).

    Other mohawks settled in Kahnawake [kahnawake.com] , immediately south of Montréal (the site is worth visiting, being written in mohawk - see below).

    barricades, and held a standoff. A second standoff took place on the Mercier Bridge. I believe those standoffs ended peacefully. Another standoff took place at the Ipperwash military base in Ontario; a group of natives claimed the land had been unlawfully taken from them. One native was shot and killed; there have been calls for an inquest into who gave the shooting order.

    It is interesting to note that while in Québec, the weeks-long blockade had almost totally cut the road to some important suburbs of Montréal and thus inconvenienced untold thousands of commuters (to the point that an emergency commuter train service had to be implemented), not a single mohawk has been killed by police nor army, whilst a little band of indians in Ontario blocking a little backroad saw one of theirs shot dead by police after only a few days of obstruction. This clearly shows the inherent racism of the english and the high tolerance of the french. In fact, in Québec, 20% of the carceral population is indian, whilst in the rest of Canada, it is 80%.

    As for Quebec, even the Quebecois have become sick of the separation mess. The government there has been trying to incite separtist feeling time and time again, but I don't think they're

    There is no rush, it is inevitable; history clearly shows that a people's desire for sovereignty (it is not separation nor separatism, we've always been a separate nation) cannot be suppressed indefinitely.

    going to pull it off anytime soon. Still, the Parti Quebecois (the ruling party) is pretty paranoid about English - ask a Canadian about the "tongue troopers" and Bill 101 sometime.

    The purpose of bill 101 [gouv.qc.ca] is to protect the existence of the french language in Québec against the onslaught of neighbouring english. The most visible effects have been the prohibition of english commercial signs, and the impossibility for immigrants to go to english schools.

    The main idea there is to drive home the point that one cannot expect to live in Québec without knowing french.

    Even though more than 80% of the population of Québec is french, immigrants have systematically assimilated themselves into the english community, since the immigration is a federal jurisdiction (the federal govenrment still does not inform immigrants that Québec is primarly french, and encourages them to speak english), and for the last quarter millenium (th e french first came to settle in 1604 [britannica.com], thus beating the Mayf lower [britannica.com]), the english have been labouring hard to make the french disappear from Canada (in 1760, at the time of the conquest, the french were 90% of the population; in 1867, at the time of the confederation, the french were 50% of the population; nowadays, the french are only 24% of the population). Ethnic cleansing in Canada has been quite successful: large segments of french population outside of Québec have been almost totally eliminated. In the 1880's, a whole french province, Manitoba, was forcibly repressed and turned into an english province. Ontario outlawed the teaching of french language in schools back in 1912. And, as recently as 1977, airlines pilots were susceptible to jail terms if they spoke french during the performance of their duties.

    The expression "tongue troopers" is a bogeyman of the english media. The office de la langue française [gouv.qc.ca] do not hire inspectors to report violations, but rather relies on the public to file complaints, which are then investigated by inspectors.

    Another less known (and much less publicized, it would definitely shatter the negative image of Québec the federal government has consistently been trying to portray) effect of bill 101 is the protection it extends to native languages. This is why the Kahnawake [kahnawake.com] website is in mohawk language: Québec has the highest proportion of native speaking their native language (over 80%) whereas in Canada, only the older generations speak the native languages, as the young have been mercilessly taught in schools that viciously suppressed any use of the native language.

    Bill 101 is a very mild instrument whose purpose is to undo centuries of extremely harsh treatment.

    There's some East-West tension; Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba and B.C. tend to be more conservative than the rest of the country. Nothing vicious; the last really ugly conflict was during the last Quebec referendum (of course).

    Of course. This is the typical cluelessness that can be expected out of the english in Canada towards the french. And they wonder why the french want to go out...


    --
    Here's my mirror [respublica.fr]

  • Oh my god, you're so right.

    A few weeks ago I went to California. I went to the Computer Literacy bookstore in Sunnyvale and bought SuSE 6.4.

    They don't take bank cards!!!

    That blew me away. Here I was, in friggin' Silicon Valley, and they're so backwards (the PCS coverage in SF sucked as well, but that's another story, Involving myself and 350 3Com guys shuffling around to get a decent connection). I use my bank card everywhere in Canada. I don't actually need cash, except for taxis. Plus it's all for a measly $5 a month. ($2.50 when I was a student)

    I ended up using company money, intending to pay it back, until the president asked if I was going to put it on my company computer. "hell yeah!" "Expense it then."

    Ok, enough rambling. It's just that the US banks sort of scare me, which is pretty crazy considering the way Canadian banks behave...
  • As I said previously [slashdot.org] the obvious course for Microsoft is to move to a third world country where they can write the legal system to suit themselves and then see what anyone is going to do about it. Are all the alternatives to MS products ready to convince the world at large that they can and should drop all Microsoft products because they have patently abused their monopoly, wasted a fortune in taxpayers money (US, EU and Japan anyway) and ignored the presiding legal system? I don't think so.
    Bottom line, how much to harbour Microsoft, the worlds new enemy that everyone is still handing over fortunes to. Would any government worldwide be willing to ban MS products import and use?
  • Hmmm.. let me see the differences

    Socialist provincial goverment vs unbridled capitalism (which is what M$ is after and accustomed to)

    C$ vs US$ - Would M$ employee be willing to be paid in C$ or would they demand to be paid in US$?

    Different tax scheme (rates, rules, laws)

    Getting 20K people to uproot their family

    Immediate housing crunch in Vancouver and surroundings - Housing prices would soar and the other ridents of the area would rebel

    Long arm of US Law

    And what would M$ gain from all this?

  • I'm a bit surprised the EU hasn't done any of this. Maybe they're more tolerant of monopolies over there.

    Probably because they're afraid that the US would then ban import of random European goods (food, steel, etc) into the US. In world economy, you not only consider who is right or wrong, but also who is strongest... up to a point. Until now, drastic actions are not yet warranted, as the trial in the US seems to be heading into the right direction, and there's no point to trigger a needless economic war. However, in case the situation changed, the EU parliament would certainly examine which option would cause the lesser harm.

  • The effect of MS moving to Canada would be the sudden removal of MS as an allowable product for use by the US government. Their rules of purchase say that they must buy from US companies.

    It has a lot to do with where the taxes go, and a little to do with nationalisim and national security.

    This would be an amazing loss to MS, as the Government also dictates what file formats are to be used in communicating with vendors, and those vendors tend to have the same policy in talking to their vendors.
  • This isn't as crazy as you might think. And if you're into conspiracy theories and Little Black Helicopters[tm] you might even think it possible that Microsoft leaked the story to the BBC reporter.

    The British Columbia government would, in fact, dearly love to get Microsoft to move north. Even if they couldn't get all of Microsoft, they'd love to get some of Microsoft. Anybody working in economic development circles would dearly love to get Microsoft to open a new facility in his or her territory. So it's safe to say that BC economic development people are on board with whatever is going on here.

    Microsoft isn't just trying to get the DOJ off its back. Microsoft is seriously, deeply, bitterly offended. Microsoft is pissed. I'm not in Seattle, I'm on the East Coast. But all the Microsoft people I know are--to a man--convinced that this whole case is a sham. It was orchestrated by their competitors (particularly Oracle, who is next to get clobbered by an almost-as-good-at-one-third-the-price product) and run by the Democrats. If, in their view, Microsoft had been paying off politicians all these years (as Silicon Valley has been faithfully doing) this case would have never happened. (Mind you, this is their view, although I agree with it.)

    [Don't flame--stay with me.]

    Microsoft doesn't need to pick up and leave--they just need to make it clear that A) they can, and B) that there is a credible offer within a reasonable commuting distance where they can move to.

    British Columbia fits the bill nicely. Lots and lots of Microsoft employees vacation in the San Juan Islands (which stretch from Anacortes, Washingon to Victoria, BC). Lots and lots of Microsoft employees live north of Redmond, so the commute to the Canadian border isn't that far. All Microsoft has to do is buy a chunk of land right on the border, and enter "serious negotiations" with the BC government for some form of income tax abatement for American commuters and the lightbulb will come on for lots of politicians across the U.S.

    The political ironies are just too entertaining: remember the threats about the NAFTA treaty? Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" that was all those jobs moving to Mexico? The prospect of the world's richest company moving across the border to avoid U.S. regulation, taking 20,000 American jobs with it, would be hugely embarassing to the Clinton Administration. And, since Al Gore is already on record as being in favor of a breakup and in favor of NAFTA, it would hurt Gore politically. It would also, overnight, resurrect the Reform Party, which was last seen meeting in a phone booth in Minneapolis. They're about to nominate Mr. Protectionism his own self, Pat Buchanan. Pat's absolutely stark staring gonzo, but he's a terrific speaker--and he could take this and go bananas.

    There would be two certain results: the Sunday morning political talk shows would cover nothing else for weeks; and Pat Buchanan would split the Democratic vote over protectionism. Bush wins the White House. The same George W. Bush who has publicly said that breaking up Microsoft would be a big mistake.

    And in the end, Microsoft doesn't have to move. Sure, maybe they open a facility in British Columbia. ("Embrace and extend" UserFriendly, perhaps? Visual Dust Puppy 2000, anyone?) But they just quietly say that they're always talking to economic development officials in any number of locations, and they're intrigued by some of the opportunities in BC, blah blah blah. And quietly deliver the election to Dubyah--who then scraps the DOJ suit.

    All they have to do is make the threat credible....

    Note: this is not, classicly speaking, a conspiracy theory. An orthodox conspiracy theory must include the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in the conspiracy, since of course any conspiracy (possibly excepting Brutus and Marc Antony doing in Julius Caesar) includes the BATF.

    In order to present this as an orthodox conspiracy theory we might theorize that replacing the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice with a Republican leadership would severely curtail anti-trust actions against any number of businesses, not just Microsoft. Among those threatened with anti-trust action recently, by Clinton administration officials, are gun manufacturers who have publicly criticized the agreement between Smith & Wesson and the Clinton administration regarding gun shows, etc. Smith & Wesson and the rest of the gun industry, of course, is regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms--who are certain to have their powers curtailed big time if the governor of (Waco) Texas is elected president.

    The BATF is involved--Q.E.D, the conspiracy is proven.
  • Who knows how these talks could have started. Maybe Microsoft initiated them with the thinking that many sports teams adopt when they are having trouble getting public funding for a new stadium. Threaten to move, show you have a few offers, and wait for the politicians to back down. We've seen it in Boston with the Patriots, and potentially the Red Sox. Its another strong arm tactic.

    Think about it...M$ knows they are great for the US economy. They provide 20,000ish jobs, and those jobs provide so much per annum in income tax dollars. Add onto that all of the other monies they spend in R&D, other taxes paid, etc., and you have a pretty strong case to make for wanting them to stay. Its an interesting ploy...
  • by Obasan ( 28761 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @03:22AM (#1030784)
    This is naive. To begin, income tax is not 60% in Canada.

    The provincial tax brackets for BC are:
    $0 to $30,004 8.4%
    $30,004.01 to $60,009 12.4%
    Over $60,009 14.35%

    Federal tax is:
    $0 to $29,590 17%
    $29,590 to $59,180 26%
    Over $59,180 29%

    Thus the absolute maximum income tax you will pay is 43.35%. And you're only paying this if you are a complete fool. There are a million ways to get tax deductions, most Canadians pay a fraction of this amount. In addition, you can put money into RRSP's thus deferring paying tax on them until, for example, retirement at which point you are earning a reduced income so can probably make a smaller tax bracket.

    I've lived in California and Ontario, Canada. The standard of living is higher here, despite constantly hearing from my US friends about how bad our taxes are.

    Obasan

    If a tree falls in the forest, and kills a mime, does anyone care?

  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) <fallline@operam[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday June 02, 2000 @03:22AM (#1030786)
    Such a move would hardly be benefial to Microsoft's shareholders. Canada has significantly higher taxes, on both the corporation and its employees. This means Microsoft would probably need to raise their salaries to compensate for the difference, such that they could remain competetive. In addition, Microsoft would face a whole bunch of other costs, such as covering for employee relocation (in some form or another), Canada's employment law, legal costs, physical moving costs, associated downtimes, etc. On top of all these costs, this move wouldn't even really help them insofar as the antitrust case goes. Even if it would allow them to escape prosection on their non-US products (which is probably unlikely), the situation in the US would either worsen or remain the same.

    On the other hand, if Microsoft where to stay, even the worst of the proposed penalties actually wouldn't be all that hard on the share holder (despite MS's assertions to the contrary). In any case, when I guestimate the incremental costs between moving or staying (and facing breakup), I'd have to stay. I suspect most share holders would realize this too; Microsoft's board would be begging for a shareholder lawsuit. Even if Bill Gates may want to stick it to the US, or even if MS may try to use it to put pressure on the DoJ, I just don't see it happening.

    My only real concern is Microsoft using this with some sucess to pressure the government to backoff.

  • Assuming that the split stands on appeal (and the odds are strongly in the DOJ's favor), the two pieces could move.

    Could the two parts reassemble once they have safely moved over, or would the executives still face jail penalties if they did?

  • by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost&syberghost,com> on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:14AM (#1030789) Homepage
    This won't happen. The issues would be immense.

    It wouldn't get them beyond the US legal system, unless they stopped selling their products in the US.

    And how many of those 20,000+ employees are on H1B Visas? They can't move to Canada.
    --
  • I considered a move to Vancouver a few years ago; negatives included:
    • Very high cost of living

      Notably including the cost of real estate. Perhaps not quite as bad as Silly Valley, but real estate prices got bid up by folks from Hong Kong that were concerned about having a haven from the Communists.

    • Heavy traffic.

      Decent locations to work tend to be in the downtown, and access is controlled by about half a dozen bridges. Not exactly a good thing for commute times.

    Throw an extra 20,000 people into the mix, and you'll see the traffic get worse, as well as watching a nice real estate price "bump" up, as something around $10B gets spent on real estate.

    The choices are limited; MSFT would need a full-service airport nearby, which, in BC, forces them to try to stay near Richmond.

    And remember, Gates loses, in such a move, his massive advantage, namely a state legal system that he apparently understands quite intimately as a result of growing up in a "legally oriented" family. BC law is not the same as Washington law, and that is likely to prove to be a jarring problem.

    Of course, that provides another cost issue; MSFT would incur the costs of creating a sizable new "law stable" to deal with the local regulations.

    Most entertainingly, this comes along with the demerit that a bunch of the former MSFT lawyers get discarded due to not being "Canadian-law-compliant."

    Those lawyers are going to be none too happy about the change, and remember, they're lawyers. They're likely to sue Microsoft for whatever they can, and mutter things about "wrongful dismissal."

  • The funny thing is that they are perfectly legal to import and the government has to *prove* that the challenged toilet bowl was not a pre-existing one grandfathered in.

    Here's to civil disobedience flushing!

    DB
  • "but due to the tiny, largely homogeneous populatoin, they quite naturally are not as dilapidated as some slums in the U.S."

    What utter tripe! Have you ever been to Toronto. Presumably not. It now has a population of 4.5 million. That's more than the whole of the state of Colorado. Compare downtown Toronto with downtown Denver and you'll see a huge difference. Although things have revitalised a little in Denver recently, it's downtown is really quite depressing.

    Toronto is far from homogeneous with over 75,000 Chinese. Probably half of it's population is of foriegn descent (and I don't been British either). Vancouver has the second biggest Chinatown in N. America. Unlike America, Canada doesn't have a cultural melting-pot forcing people to conform to the local culture. Instead they allow and expect immigrants to continue their own cultures.
  • Uhm, The post - office is run by the Federal Government, dolt. It's never had the NDP as its bosses (yet) - just Conservatives and Liberals. Also, It's a Crown Corporation that's been making money for over 5 years now.

    Maybe if the NDP ran it in the first place there would have been no anti-trust to procecute...but I digress

  • The ability to put restrictions on the sale of Microsoft's products would run right straight into NAFTA. An example of how this currently works is, i kid you not, toilet bowls.

    It's now illegal to produce in the US any toilet bowls that have the classic 5 gal tank. They aren't illegal in Canada. Therefore, lots of people cross the border, buy Canadian, and bring them back, duty free, into the US. Does anybody seriously think that the eco-nazis really like this and would stop it if they could?

    Nope, the restrictions that could be put on MS sales are probably quite minor unless we want to get rid of NAFTA and at that point you run right smack into the big three auto makers and much of the old mainline economy that is manufacturing in Canada and Mexico precisely because of NAFTA advantages.

    Frankly, I think that the right solution was always to put BillG and SteveB in jail for RICO violations (longstanding criminal conspiracy to defraud ISVs by hiding pieces of the Win32 API and purposefully breaking software compatibility then lying about it). No breakup, no MS going over the border, but it would send exactly the right message. Unfortunately, the Democrats are addicted to the idiocy that is anti-trust and the Republicans can't see past their free market slogans to do the legitimate regulation that all governments must do in any real market, remove the dishonest.

    DB
  • Those cases were based on divisions of MS. If MS moved it's offices to Canada, and had no US division, (only exported software here) The US Government could only impose trade restrictions, it could not touch the company.

    Marc

  • Ah yes, i also remember being the only one out of a group of about 4 or 5 firends who laughed at that. Still, my friends arn't geeks, so i guess that's o.k
  • As a linux partisan, I want to beat your company into the dust - by fair competition. A rigged game is no fun, and no fair either. I totally support the position that you should be able to do as you wish with your own OS. Move, and show those pesky USA antitrust people exactly what "globalization" means :-)
  • Hang on a mo, who's the Canadian head of state?

  • You have NO IDEA how good our banking system is until you move to the States like I did.

    Take those service fees, double them and then remove every service that is normally provided by the bank and you're almost there. Maybe add in a little lost deposit or expired bank card action and you've pretty much got it.


    Hotnutz.com [hotnutz.com] - Funny
  • Would the moving costs plus payroll increases be worth the benefit to not be broken up? That would require MS economists to calculate the economic advantage of their monopoly position. Now that would be an interesting document for a future subpeona.

    DB
  • I can see it now: Microsoft buys Canada, lays off all of us, and changes the name of the country to "Microsoft Nation 2.0".

    Nation 3.0 will follow the next year, but it will be bigger, buggier and more expensive than the original. We'll be forced to upgrade, though, because Nation 3.0 passports cannot be correctly parsed by Nation 2.0 immigration officials.

    At least one thing won't change: whenever we complain to our government about social and economic problems, they'll tell us that a fix will be included in the next upgrade. And said fix will still break a bunch of other things that used to work just fine. I guess it won't be so different after al

  • ... so you can expect they'll give them all the help they want with relocating, visas, loans to set up buildings, etc. etc.

    The only hassle really would be the tax - but their taxes are a drop in the ocean to MS.
  • preventing MS from selling in the US, would be an insane tactic.

    Yep. But they could just impose an arbitrarily large fine. If MS didn't pay, then part of a contempt-of-court punishment could, say, remove the copyright from Windows in the US.
  • They ain't gonna move. For one thing, if they do, they all of a sudden become subject to laws against dumping. Which means they can no longer destroy competing companies by releasing products for free.

    --
  • If they should move anywhere in Canada, it should be to Quebec; assuming they escaped any legal penalty (which is a big assumption of its own), they'd give Quebec the economic cash cow they need to secede for real. And afterwards, they could hope to have all the political influence in the world.
  • So, you're saying that the information on the BC gov't web site is incorrect, then?

    I was just going by what was listed there.

    --

  • They would only be able to put restrictions on the sale of the product. You are exactly right there.

    Right now, they have the ability to punish the company, but not the consumer (so they say, but that's another discussion altogether). But, if they started imposing rescrictions on the products they allowed MS to import, that would mainly affect the consumer. They would started to affect what products, and the prices, and the quanilty, that the consumer could get, and THAT would not sit well with Joe Consumer.

    "What do you mean that the goverment said I cannot purchase W98 anymore. Screw them, I'm ordering from Canadian site"

    No doubt, this would not bode will for the goverment if it actually happened (which I highly doubt it would, but if MS was smart, they would 'consider' the idea, just to make the goverment sweat)

    --knick
  • Ouch.
    --
  • All the good hockey players are already in the US...since there are...what...only 4-5 NHL teams in Canada now.
  • I think you are missing the point. A BC "trump card" WILL influence a US antitrust ruling. In other words:

    Don't mess with me or I'll take my ball home to BC and see what that does to your economy...
  • Commonwealth, Empire, same thing for us Brits. Empire just makes us sound more like the Colonial bastards we all know we are....

  • You're not from the Committee for the Moral Defense of Microsoft by any chance, are you?

    (Oddly enough, I don't think they were a MS astroturf op, but rather overly enthusiastic Ayn Rand cultists.)
  • by wmoxam ( 152103 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @04:20AM (#1030853) Homepage
    Canada has significantly higher taxes, on both the corporation and its employees.

    Canada's corporate taxes are among the lowest in the G7. The income tax rates are harder to compare because there are different loopholes, benefits, etc. associated with either country.
  • ...I think I speak for most Americans here when I say it's time to

    N U K EC A N A D A ! ! !

  • The EU is very carefully watching the Microsoft trial, and will almost certainly take their own actions if not happy with the US's actions.
  • Like the kid on The Simpsons said: Gotta nuke sumpin'
  • Some people might remember my post, in which I suggested that Bill Gates:

    1) Buy Cuba. I'm sure Fidel would sell for no more than $10 billion.

    2) Move the company there, evict the entire native population (Or offer them work. They'll need an infrastructure.)

    3) Erect a giant flying windows logo, visible from space.

    4) Give the DOJ the finger from 90 miles off Florida's coast.

  • They'd be able to buy/build newer, better ones, and still have some money left over due to the lower cost of living.

    Bzzzt, wrong answer, thanks for playing Slashdot!

    According to the handy-dandy salary calculator [homefair.com] located at Homefair [homefair.com], a person making $100,000 a year and owning his own home moving from Redmond, WA to Vancouver, BC, would need to make $121,261 (US) to break even on cost of living.

    That's 21% HIGHER, Malc; not lower.

    It's much closer if you rent; $103,424. Canada still loses.

    Hmm, I wonder what it looks like if you plug Bill's numbers in there. :-)

    --
  • by chowda ( 161971 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:17AM (#1030869) Homepage
    I heard MS (or maybe bill gates) has a major stake in one of the worlds largest satellite launching companies. What if Microsoft launch a space station from which to do business? It'd be a hell of a commute, but it would be worth it to work on the "Death Star".


    ------
    www.chowda.net [chowda.net]
    ------
  • Don't mess with me or I'll take my ball home to BC and see what that does to your economy...

    If Microsoft left the United States, it might be the best thing that ever happened to our economy. We can thank them for people being afraid of opening email, users blaming themselves for computers "crashing," a term that used to refer to actual physical hard drive head crashing, lost data, incompatibility between releases and vendors, etc.

    It might be the best thing for our industry to have a more reliable computing platform from which to operate than to be continously conned by this monopoly. Less scrap in our manufacturing, fewer mistakes due to miscommunication, more networking from increased connectivity, and the possiblities are endless. We have a bully eating away at our communications infracture and need relief.
  • If all it took was bribing some officials, they could stay in the US.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:18AM (#1030878)
    "Microsoft Enticed To Move To Brisith Columbia"

    Home of the Dark Lord?
    --
    Have Exchange users? Want to run Linux? Can't afford OpenMail?
  • I went to it over in Hillsboro OR...right next to Intel Ronler Acres...at lunch and the place was packed with Intel employees...well at that point in the film...everyone busted out laughing...except the dudes from Intel.

    Moderate me down...it's off topic...but I'm tired and it's friday.
  • The figures given are for provincial income tax which is calculated as a percentage of federal tax, not a percentage of your income. "Personal income tax rates are expressed as a percentage of personal income tax rates determined under the Income Tax Act (Canada)."
  • That is patently rediculous. What a bunch of tards. Are they too damn stupid to see that breaking up MS is a great thing to do?

    A break-up may well be a good thing for consumers in general, but I can't help but feel it's a bad thing for the open-source movement.

    Linux and/or the free-*BSD's were (IMNSHO) about 2-3 years away from complete domination of the desktop and server markets. That, of course, will still happen, but if the U.S. government succeeds, it will take most of the credit, and proprietary software companies will wholeheartedly concur.

    Oh.. on another note.. this doesn't save them from the US courts at all. I mean, the US courts can just as easily forbid the import of MS stuff.

    I don't believe the courts have that power, but a Gore administration (at least) might push for that, though they'd have to find some hole in NAFTA to be able to get away with in.

  • Seems appropriate. Seen the MicroSith web page [microsith.com]? It also compares NTie with the free Jedix OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2000 @04:25AM (#1030890)
    Evaculate?! At our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.
  • "This is all assuming they want to give up there fancy houses and move."

    They'd be able to buy/build newer, better ones, and still have some money left over due to the lower cost of living.

    Haven't the MS employees effected the housing market near Redmond? I'd heard that it was impossible to get anything near to the MS HQ at reasonable rate because all of the property had been bought up by the MS millionnaires.
  • I think it would be insane to move a company the size of Microsoft to a new state, much less a new country. 20,000 employees is an awful lot of U-Hauls.

    What isn't so silly is if the company gets split up. Take a smaller chunk and move it to BC. There's a great advantage to having lots of small "divisions" all over the world rather than one giant software factory. They are:

    - The illusion of being less large
    - Can respond more to local software markets
    - No one government authority has control over the entire company

    But I'm biased, I live in Vancouver and write software - all those extra jobs would probably increase the competitive pressure on the employers.
  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:20AM (#1030899) Homepage Journal
    As if there was ever an excuse to attack Canada!

    Seriously, do they actually have to move the entire HQ, or do they just have to set up a satellite office, call it "M$ HQ" and be done with it?

    Second question: if they still sell products in the US, does this get them out of the settlement?

    Third, does the US gov't still buy from them since they are in a foreign country? I believe there are still laws that for military purposes at least, preference is given to US suppliers. Could be good for Apple, RedHat, etc?
  • They are promising favourable treatment which may include a loan to build a new headquarters if Microsoft agrees to move its operations 100 miles further north, to the other side of the Canadian border

    LOAN???? as if MSFT needs a fscking loan. I'm now embarassed to be a Canadian.

  • >(maybe Gates sells all his stock first)

    I'm always intrigued by this concept. Bill Gates is the 'wealthiest' man in the US because he owns a truck-load of Microsoft stock (based on the current market valuation). But if he starts to sell it all off, it would probably make the stock price drop sharply, no? ("Oh sh*t! Gates is dumping ten-trillion shares of MSFT! Quick! SELL, SELL, SELL!")

    So, to keep from slitting his own throat, he has to avoid a panic and is limited to selling only a small percent at a time. And Bill Gates doesn't just call his broker and just place an order to sell 900,000 shares, right? I imagine he might have to line up some institutional investor(s) to cross a large block like that.

    I think my point is that Bill pretty much has the most expensive, jewel-encrusted handcuffs on the planet.
  • by lars ( 72 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @04:27AM (#1030912)
    Yes, homogeneous. Do you have anywhere near to the ethnic minority population levels as the U.S.? I think not. Yes, there are some areas in Canada, like Vancouver, that are starting to see significant immigrant populations.

    Umm, YES, we DO. If you're talking about rural areas, or smalls cities like Edmonton or Halifax, then perhaps the population is relatively homogenous. But Toronto, where I live, is the most ethnically diverse city in the world (source: UN). I believe the number of minorities in this area actually exceeds the number of whites now, and if you go out in public here, you certainly won't feel like you're in the majority if you're white. I have lived in the States, and there is MUCH less diversity there. You have your inner city neighborhoods where everyone is black or latino, and your suburbs where almost everyone is white, and that's the extent of it. Vancouver is almost as diverse as Toronto, and places like Montreal and Ottawa also have significant minority populations.

    Not surprisingly, in those areas, you are starting to experience some of the same problems as we do in our cities here.

    Wrong. In Toronto, as the diversity of the population has been increasing, the rate of violent crime has been DECREASING. If you walk down a street anywhere here, you will see people from all walks of life, living in harmony. In the US, crime and racism are rampant, you have slums and ghettos and places where it's simply not safe to go. In Toronto, there are a few poorer neighborhoods with higher crime rates but it's never bad enough that I don't feel safe walking down the street.

    The UN consistently rates Canada as one of the most livable countries in the world, and we ALWAYS come out ahead of the US as far as they are concerned. What you completely fail to realize is that because of the large size of our country and small population, a more social government only makes sense. In the US, it's everyone for himself, and all about greed. That is not the culture in Canada. There are other countries like Sweden, Finland, France, etc. that tax just as heavily as Canada, if not moreso, and maintain VERY high standards of living. You don't see anyone in France working 80 hour weeks like is common in the US. The literacy stats in these countries are higher than in the US, and in general the people are better educated and more enlightened. To me, these things are much more important than making a lot of money while living a shallow life, which is what most Americans strive for.

  • At this time of year, Victoria "suffers" from the "Boy, they've got a LOT of flowers!" problem.

    Not great for the hyper-allergenic.

    And adding 20K people to the island would still be a rather costly process. They'd probably need an army of 1000 immigration lawyers to handle immigration...

    Mind you, they'd be able to stock Nanaimo bars and avoid US drafts, which might make it all worthwhile!

  • That's fine, just expect a huge tariff on foriegn OS's.
  • LOL. I know I program better when stoned...
    --
  • Buy Cuba. I'm sure Fidel would sell for no more than $10 billion.... Give the DOJ the finger from 90 miles off Florida's coast.

    They could put up a giant fist with a cigar sticking up between the two middle fingers. That would simultaneously serve as an advertisement for one of their new sidelines and an especially pungent gesture toward Clinton.
    /.

  • OK, the tax rate of 54% only counts if you make over $64k. Tack on child tax credits and loopholes for things like RRSPs (401-k for our US readers) and you pay nowhere near that. Most Canadians pay on average of about 27%, usually automatically deducted off their paychecks so they never see it anyway. For this they also get very good health care for free (even if the waits have been getting longer), excellecnt roads (been driving in Michigan or NY lately? The roads are terrible) and safe cities and towns to live in (the entire country, with a population of 30 million, had less murdcers last year than the city of Washington DC, with a population less than one-tenth that).

    Besides, according to a recent study I saw in the Toronto Star, if you take into account having to pay for private health insurance and private unemployment insurance, the myrad of state and local users fees and levies, the average tax burden in the US and Canada is about equal.

    As for the best doctors, I guess you've never been to "Hospital Row" in Toronto, where some of the WORLD's best doctors work.

    And perhaps you should add to you list of companies the likes of Nortel Networks (Ottawa based) Seagrams (Hamilton Based)...oops sorry they are examples Canadian companies based in Canada making billions despite being in Canada. I guess that whole "Canadians pay too much in taxes so they can't support mega corporations" is a bit false.

    As for "social service freebies" well that's easy - given the choice of going to Mass General in Boston to get my broken nose fixed and Ottawa Civic, I'll take the Civic. I would rather wait 3 hours to get fixed up no questions asked, no credit cards and no worries about not having enough of the right kind of coverage than get service in 30 minutes and end up paying $1000 US for 5 stiches and a few band-aids.

    When ever I pay 15% sales tax, I look at my Ontario Health card and remember that I get what I pay for. And I gladly pay it.

    (As I said, the US pays about the same except there coverage is not universal)

    I hope I've helped dispell some myths...

  • Blame Canada.
  • by 575 ( 195442 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:24AM (#1030942) Journal
    DOJ: "Split them!"
    Microsoft: "What, me worry?"
    Canada: "Move here!"
  • by luckykaa ( 134517 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:26AM (#1030943)
    Don't be so proud of this technological terror you have created. The ability to dominate a market is insignificant next to the power of the source.
  • I would be outraged by any such kowtowing on the part of my government.

    On the other hand, should Microsoft be foolish enough to see such a move as a solution to their current problem, they would quickly find that Canadians are far pushier about obeying the law, and the spirit of the law, than Americans are. And also far more vocal about it.
    --
  • by Xerxes ( 82848 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @08:50AM (#1030946)
    I am a lawyer, but this isn't legal advice. If you need legal advice, see an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

    IAAL also, and ditto on the disclaimer.

    Hawk is right. Such a tactic would have no effect on the proposed split, contrary to the majority view expressed here by non-lawyers.

    BTW, IMO, Hawk should be moderated up, so that all the non-lawyers who are speculating here can see his points.

    Furthermore, even if MS left the US, this would not get them out of future trouble. Foreign companies that do a sufficient amount of business in the United States are subject to the laws of the United States and the jurisdiction of its courts. "Sufficient" is a wriggly lawyer term, but one that MS probably couldn't escape from. (BTW, this principle holds true in most countries of the world -- the concept is that if you avail yourself of the benefits of the laws of a jurisdiction by participating in activities there, you are also subject to its rules -- a pretty fair concept, on its face).

    The question then becomes how such a court enforces its judgment on extra-nationals. Many of you seem to think that court orders could only affect MS product shipped into the US. Wrong! The powers of a U.S. federal court are vast, particularly if MS were to engage in criminal contempt of court by ignoring the judgment.

    Do you know why indicted/convicted drug kingpins (and in the assumed scenario, MS would be little better in the eyes of US law enforcement) don't openly live in Canada and don't openly conduct their business in the U.S.? Because (1) the Canadians have treaty obligations, if not the desire, to cooperate with the USG in bringing lawbreakers to U.S. justice, including through extradition and the like, and (2) the USG has large resources devoted to tracking any "laundered" legitimate business activity they carry out in this country (and globally) and then freezing or seizing the assets involved.

    MS would have a hard time operating without access to its bank accounts (and note that even the Swiss cooperate in matters like this - they only won't help other governments when the allegations are tax evasion). A company like MS must have access to the international banking system to do business -- they would have a hard time indeed if they had to rely on the Caymans to the point where they could only pay and accept money from other people with Caymans accounts.

    Believe me, the USG doesn't tolerate public displays of disobediance to its laws. The more public and egregious the disobediance, the harder the government will come down on you. Often disproportionately and often to public approval (forex, witness the defiance of Elain's Miami relatives, and the subsequent force used to bring them to heel). For whatever historical reason, the U.S. federal judicary (though often not the political branches) commands an almost mystical respect from the American people. Any number of popular (at least at some level) causes have lost considerable credibility with the masses after a decision was made to defy the law, as interpreted by the courts (e.g., Elian, desegregation resistance, and to a lesser extent right-to-lifers).

    MS and the DoJ both know this, and know that the full force of the U.S. government will be used to enforce whatever the final ruling turns out to be. That is why neither one of them is likely to be giving this British Columbia scheme even as much though as I just have.

  • Aparently, they aren't interested. This Reute rs story [mercurycenter.com] quotes MS spokesman Jim Cullinan as saying:

    'There is no truth to the reports of any intent to move the company,'

    Why not? Because, he says:

    'Microsoft believes we will win this (antitrust) case in the court of appeals and we are very happy here in Seattle. We believe we're going to win this case here in the U.S. court system.'

    I think the real reason is that Bill only just completed building his multimillion dollar estate, and it would be a real pain to have to helicopter back and forth to Vancouver every day.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @06:40AM (#1030954)
    > Thus the absolute maximum income tax you will pay is 43.35%

    Add in the "federal surtax" and the "federal high income surtax", and remember that you pay provincial income taxes on both of those taxes. There are also provincial surtaxes for people deemed "rich".

    There are also tax deductions in the US. I don't think Canadians can deduct the interest on their mortgages! And 401(k)s can get employer matching contributions, tax-free to the employee. RRSPs can't. (And your 401(k) assets can be invested anywhere on the plnaet. 80% of your RRSP assets have to be invested in the Canadian markets, which have historically underperformed US markets.)

    Finally, with the Canadian dollar at about two-thirds of the American dollar, that "maximum income tax" bracket is reached at about $40,000 US. That's right, you're considered "really disgustingly filthy rich so you can have the hell taxed out of you" in Canada at the whopping sum of $US 40K. Sheesh.

    In fairness to the original poster, the standard of living is probably comparable on both sides of the border - the cost of living is much lower in Canada, you don't need private school if you've got kids, and your (and your kids') medical coverage is "free" (in that you've paid for it with the taxes). That's a big equalizer.

    But to say that the maximum tax rate in BC is 43% is just nuts. You want low (relative to Canada) taxes, try Alberta or Ontario. You'll roughly match California's tax structure -- but if we're talking about MSFT employees, WA has *no* state income tax, IIRC. On the income tax side, no jurisdiction in Canada comes close to that.

    There's a whole lotta Canadian tax calculators at the Canadian sites for KPMG [www.kpmg.ca] and Ernst & Young [eycan.com].

  • by Coolhand-10 ( 133948 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:27AM (#1030958)
    I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your corporation. I've realized that you are not actually humans. Every human on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding corporations. But Microsoft does not. They move to an area and they multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way they can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Microsoft is a disease, a cancer of this planet. They are a plague. And the DOJ is the cure.
  • I think the big question is whether MS can handle the PR nightmare that the move would produce. It would be common knowledge that they left because of the anti-trust case and would pretty much be admitting that yes, they are an abuse monopoly regardless of how well the groom and pose that talking chimp Ballmer.

    They'd quickly become more of a pariah in the mainstream press then they've already become quickly losing consumer trust. Hopefully they'll take the plunge, lose credibility, and give consumers something of choice in home PC OS's. While I'm fantasizing, they can turn the Redmond campus into a huge public park...

    Seriously if they did move would the end user really care as long as they get their next version of windows under $90? Would the US gov put a tariff on imported OS's? Sounds like a lose/lose situation for the consumer.
  • Yowza. 20K. That's twice as many employees as I had thought they had... but my figures are probably just from the 1980s. ;-p

    I was wondering if they'd try to "escape" somehow, and it makes sense (for them) to try and do so. Still, justice is hard to escape. (I'm making sure of that in my troubles, and just wish I could make sure of that with MS!)

  • If Microsoft moved out of the US. They could avoid Anti-Trust Litigation, but they would not be able to avoid US Trade Laws.

    Specifically, Anti-Dumping laws. If they started giving products away for free to hurt US competitors. The US has laws to cause automatic retaliation agains the corperationa and country of origin.

    If Microsoft had been a foreign company, then Microsoft's buisness practices would have been dealt with long ago. Microsoft has recieved a free ride, BECAUSE it is a US company.
  • Note: this is not, classicly speaking, a conspiracy theory. An orthodox conspiracy theory must include the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in the conspiracy, since of course any conspiracy (possibly excepting Brutus and Marc Antony doing in Julius Caesar) includes the BATF.

    You're a couple of steps behind in the evolution of conspiracy theory. By the mid-90s, it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency that had to be included in any self-respecting conspiracy theory (see the X-Files movie. Now, the mantle is passing to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
    /.

  • I really do not understand how the US can dictate how a non-US company can distribute it's product.

    If they're selling it in the US, you don't see how the US gov could regulate that? Honestly?

    I do not think MS will move, but, if they decided to do something just as drastic (like refusing to license to the US Government or even just closing up shop and going home) what could the gov do to them?

    It's ridiculous to even speculate; Microsoft wouldn't bankrupt themselves by doing this, and if they didn't bankrupt themselves (maybe Gates sells all his stock first) the shareholders would sue the bejeezus out of them.

    If Microsoft moved to Canada, they could sell their product to Canadians without that being regulated by the US; but it'd be regulated by Canada, whose laws are just as bizarre as ours.

    And if they sell it in the US, they're subject to US law on those sales, whether they're in Canada, Russia, or Mars.

    --
    1. Microsoft move to Canada
    2. Microsofts monopoly increases
    3. Thousands die as Bill, mad with power, goes on a killing spree
    4. Song "Blame Canada" becomes World Anthem
    5. Canada declared No.1 world enemy, US moves to destroy them
    6. WW3 starts, ends in death of entire world


    7. O.K, maybe not. But it could happen; you've all seen Southpark, right guys?
  • Good point, but I still tend to thing that developers -usually under age 40 - tend to focus on their after tax disposable income. Having spent time in the military myself I can attest that socialized healthcare has some advantages but also some major disadvantages. Why be rich if you still have to wait in line?
  • Okay, so M$ moves to Canada. What then? Well, first and foremost, their prices would go up - they'd become an import product, after all. And if their prices go up further, it's just barely possible that some of the major manufacturers (forget induhvidual consumers for the moment) will find their products...less enticing. But finally, and quite entertainingly, Red Hat, Apple, and others could (rightfully) encourage people to Always Buy American: that's right, M$ would become the foreign menace. :)
  • I used to live in Bellingham, WA--about 80 miles north of Redmond/Seattle and about 45 minutes south of Vancouver.

    Bellingham is the first fair-sized city south of Canada (Lynden and Blaine are tiny at best) so every weekend hordes of Canadians in campers descend on the back alleys and parking lots of B'ham to get some of our non-candadian-taxed, duty-free-if-you-stay-overnight goods (especially groceries). You wouldn't believe what this does to prices in B'ham--even 30 minutes south in Mount Vernon prices are radically lower.

    Now put a bunch of overpaid, former (?) Americans with money to burn and memories of home into the equation: B'ham prices will suddenly skyrocket. Bellingham will become to Canada what Tijuana is to America.

    B'ham is a nice town--I miss it. In a way, I hope the above scenario does play out--it will help me miss B'ham less...
    --
    Have Exchange users? Want to run Linux? Can't afford OpenMail?
  • This echoes pretty closely what I was thinking. If MS moved to the Great White North, then the US wouldn't be able to split them up. However, as was pointed out, the USA could refuse to import the product. The fact that the American government wouldn't be able to use it would be inconsequential. The real impact would be that if the USA decided to not import the product, then Microsoft would stand to lose a significant share of its potential customers. There is no way that Microsoft would DARE risk that.

    Although, if they did... I can see at least one of two things that could happen:

    One, Microsoft would be forced to make some concessions on its product for it to be imported into America. The DOJ would get some of what they want in this case.

    Two, the US government reverse engineers Windows themselves, rewrites it to their satisfaction and creates a competing product. Oops... reverse engineering isn't allowed under the DMCA. Oh well... just dissolve that act and let's get on with our lives.

    Further, if MS were to move into British Columbia, it would do wonders for Western Canada's bottomed-out economy. (This is why, I believe, that the BC provincial government is willing to offer funding to that end. They can see that it will do them more good than it will cost them.) It wouldn't really hurt American cities like Blaine or Bellingham that much either.

    So you see... it isn't all that bad.
  • (JUNE 2, REDMOND, WA) The Canadian government and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced today that in exchange for $70 Billion worth of MSFT shares, Canada will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft. The deal includes all Canadian provences except Quebec, which will finally become independant, although they will only be allowed to use Macintoshes.
  • Didn't a bunch of Canadian Indians (Iraquois? Mohawk?) stage a revolt with semi-automatic weapons a few years ago?

    That was the Oka crisis in the early 1990's. The Quebec government allowed a golf course to be built on some land near Oka, Que. A group of Mohawk claimed the land was sacred ground (may have been a burial ground, it was a long time ago). Mohawk Warriors showed up in support, set up barricades, and held a standoff. A second standoff took place on the Mercier Bridge. I believe those standoffs ended peacefully. Another standoff took place at the Ipperwash military base in Ontario; a group of natives claimed the land had been unlawfully taken from them. One native was shot and killed; there have been calls for an inquest into who gave the shooting order.

    As for Quebec, even the Quebecois have become sick of the separation mess. The government there has been trying to incite separtist feeling time and time again, but I don't think they're going to pull it off anytime soon. Still, the Parti Quebecois (the ruling party) is pretty paranoid about English - ask a Canadian about the "tongue troopers" and Bill 101 sometime.

    There's some East-West tension; Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba and B.C. tend to be more conservative than the rest of the country. Nothing vicious; the last really ugly conflict was during the last Quebec referendum (of course).

    Beyond that, ethnic tensions aren't as bad here as it seems in the U.S. Perhaps I had a bad example in my early years; I used to live near Windsor, just across from good ol' Detroit. For the record, relations between the downtown area and the suburbs...stink. I'm pretty happy with Toronto. I feel perfectly safe walking downtown after dark, and people of different races and cultures do seem to mix peacefully. It feels weird going back home once in a while, because my home is nowhere near as ethnically diverse; I've actually become more comfortable in Toronto's ethnic mix than my old hometown's relative homogenaeity.
  • Let me tell you the story of a man named Bill,
    Beat up by the government; he's had about his fill
    One day he's up here marketing his tool,
    and he get's a call from a government fool...

    Phone, that is. Email down; I love you.

    So the next thing you know old Bill's got to bear
    Folks keep saying, "Bill, move away from there"
    Can-a-da is the place you oughta be.
    So he loaded up the truck and he moved to BC

    Canada, that is, Hockey stars, high taxes.

    "The BC BillHillies!"
    (cheesy banjo music)
  • Keep in mind this is a province (like a state) not the federal goverment trying to get MS to move. Provinces have no powers over visas, immigration, or a lot of taxes.
  • Bill, Saddam...whats the diference? I say invade Canada now, we'll call it a pre-emptive strike. Hey, come to think of it, Canada is still part of the British Empire, and i'm British....

    I'm just going to lobby the Queen about this, i'll let you know how it goes...
  • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @06:59AM (#1031007)
    Wrong. In Toronto, as the diversity of the population has been increasing, the rate of violent crime has been DECREASING. If you walk down a street anywhere here, you will see people from all walks of life, living in harmony. In the US, crime and racism are rampant, you have slums and ghettos and places where it's simply not safe to go. In Toronto, there are a few poorer neighborhoods with higher crime rates but it's never bad enough that I don't feel safe walking down the street.

    Been watching too much TV again, eh?

    The fact is that violent crime has been steadily dropping in the US for about 10 years. New York City, while having a bit of an upswing this year, has had its murder rate decline to the level it was at in the 1960's.

    As for racism in the US, it's also decreasing. Compared to 30 years ago, it's like a whole new country. And it's not like Canada hasn't had cultural/race problems, too. Didn't a bunch of Canadian Indians (Iraquois? Mohawk?) stage a revolt with semi-automatic weapons a few years ago? And what about the reasons why Quebec has wanted to bolt from Canada? How many English-speaking people bolted from the provence? It might not be over the color of skin, but it's still based on bigotry and discrimination.

    -jon

  • by teraflop user ( 58792 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:33AM (#1031011)
    Moving out of the US would in fact get MS off the breakup hook.

    The US would then be limited to imposing restrictions on MS products imported to the US. I imagine this is exactly the approach the EU will adopt if they decide that MS has broken EU antitrust laws and that the US remedies do not address the issues.

    I guess the US could also impose arbitrary large monetary fines on any wholly owned US subsidiary, forcing MS to either bow to US decisions or spin off the subsidiary as a separate company.
  • Yes, homogeneous. Do you have anywhere near to the ethnic minority population levels as the U.S.? I think not.

    Per capita I think Toronto beats the US ass in ethnic minority population in condenced areas. 4+ million people, with very large chineese, greek, jewish, african, and east indian minority cultures among others.

    Not because of the nature of the people, just because when you have a large groups of people with foreign cultures clustered together, it makes for a more balkanized culture, where people don't share the same values, and makes assimilation into the mainstream culture more difficult.

    And so I quoth from a well known Canadian beer commercial: "I belive in diversity, not assimilation." Up here we don't advocate the "Melting Pot" that you people to the south do, we respect, enjoy, and benifit from people keeping their own cultures. Yes, Toronto is extremely balkanized culture wise, but it's also one hell of a city for it.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • I'm sure Microsoft employees want to pay 60% income tax [gov.bc.ca].

    Gimme a break...

    --

  • by kaphka ( 50736 ) <1nv7b001@sneakemail.com> on Friday June 02, 2000 @09:40AM (#1031014)
    Two, the US government reverse engineers Windows themselves, rewrites it to their satisfaction and creates a competing product. Oops... reverse engineering isn't allowed under the DMCA. Oh well... just dissolve that act and let's get on with our lives.
    *blink*

    So replacing Windows with a government issued "United States Federal Operating System" is a good thing?

    That's what worries me most about this MS case. All the rhetoric comparing Microsoft/Bill Gates to the Borg/Satan/Hitler is causing folks to lose touch with reality.
  • I really do not understand how the US can dictate how a non-US company can distribute it's product.
    The US has a law called the Helms-Burton Act. This received enormous publicity in Canada (which it affects most), some in the rest of the world, and next to none in the US (which is a disgrace in itself).

    The act says that any company which trades with Cuba may not trade in the US. I believe that the directors can even be arrested for entering the US. So the US does consider it has the right to legislate trade between two other countries.

  • Even if MSFT was not based in the U.S. it would not prevent them from being punished for breaking U.S. antitrust law. After all MSFT was investigated by Japan for antitrust issues [cmcnyls.edu] as well as an European Union antitrust investigation. [cmcnyls.edu] In neither of this case was the fact that MSFT an American based company a savior.

    British Columbia should investigate antitrust law before making such suggestions to MSFT.

  • But Toronto, where I live, is the most ethnically diverse city in the world (source: UN). I believe the number of minorities in this area actually exceeds the number of whites now, and if you go out in public here, you certainly won't feel like you're in the majority if you're white.

    Wow, are YOU working from an inadequate sample.

    Toronto may be the world's most diverse city, but the US has some of the largest minority populations in the world.

    For instance, we have the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, and it's not even our "official" language. (We don't have an official language.) You guys don't even have the largest French-speaking population, and it's one of your languages.

    Go to Dallas or Miami and tell me about the US's supposed lack of diversity.

    There are 11 million Cubans in the country of Cuba; there are nearly 2 million Cubans in Florida alone.

    We have ethnic populations that rival their countries of origin.

    --
  • And Bill Gates doesn't just call his broker and just place an order to sell 900,000 shares, right?

    Right; he, in fact, has to file his intent to sell months in advance, and it makes headlines on the financial newspapers and shows when he does.

    Like I said, the very idea of Microsoft voluntarily shutting their doors to "show the government" is ridiculous and not worthy of serious discussion.

    'sides, the government could always nationalize the source code as a vital strategic resource.

    --
  • Can political persecution of a Corporation apply under international law? I can just imagine 20k M$ employees turning up in the back of a fleet of lorries, and claiming political asylum in Canda....
  • As a British Columbian I can tell you the the current BC gov, operates much like M$.
    Deal with either one and you are bound to get screwed!

    That said, I hope that they do come here... The value of my house would go way up!

  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @03:00AM (#1031093)
    Couldn't they set up some phony building in canada and /say/ they were working there, but just telecommute? Heck, couldn't they just tunnel right back to their desktops in the US?
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:52AM (#1031111) Homepage
    you've all seen Southpark, right guys?

    Yes, and I remember a particular favorite scene of mine:

    "You told us Windows 98 would be faster, with better access to the Internet"

    "It is faster, over 100 times..."

    *BANG*

    Finkployd
  • by CharlieG ( 34950 ) on Friday June 02, 2000 @02:54AM (#1031118) Homepage
    Guys,
    They don't REALLY have to move, and the can screw over the DOJ. Microsoft Says "OK, We'll Split, into a BUNCH of companies" Here's one breakdown:

    1)Microsoft Holdings, somewhere down in the Islands). This company does 2 or 3 things a)Owns the other companies, b)Owns all the copyrights to existing software. Also one HECK of a tax haven, and when your worth more (a LOT more) than the government, you can write your own rules

    2)Microsoft Development, Redmond WA
    Develops software on a "For Hire" basis - Takes some outside work to make things interesting. All the developers work for them (we don't need to move people)

    3)Microsoft Sales and Marketing (wherever in the USA). Sales and promotion of Microsoft Products

    4)Microsoft Fulfillment, BC - Produces and ships the products - With NAFTA or the various Island "Special Development Zone" rules, getting free "unhindered" access to the US market is part of international treaty

    5)Microsoft Consulting (Say, NYC with offices nationwide) - Does what Microsoft Consulting does today

    6...x All the little companies - Publishing etc

    OK, Lets say that the US government says "You have to break development in two" Fine, do it, The Holding company (which is NEW, say we form it tomorrow) owns both, and the development companies don't own any copyrights, the holding company owns it.

    The really valuable parts of Microsoft are it's IP, and it's developers. We move the IP off shore, and hire the developers via holding companies. IP is easy to move

    BTW What does this do to the economy of the US?... All those profits go off shore, to a tax haven

    I looked into doing this with my one man band consulting company I had - It's do-able
  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <hawk@eyry.org> on Friday June 02, 2000 @03:13AM (#1031156) Journal
    I am a lawyer, but this isn't legal advice. If you need legal advice, see an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

    This wouldn't stop the split. The U.S. court has already rendered judgment, and has jurisdiction. Assuming that the split stands on appeal (and the odds are strongly in the DOJ's favor), the two pieces could move.

    Plain and simply, the court can block the move until the split is complete. Contempt power is an amazing thing--every executive can be jailed, fined $1M/day, etc.

    It might help MS with future problems, but not the current mess.

    Unfortneately, I can't reply to replies, as it's moving day and I won't see a computer again until Tuesday . . .

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.

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