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Microsoft

Oracle Says It Investigated Microsoft Allies 247

Schnedt McWapt writes: "Oracle Says It Investigated Microsoft Allies. From the article: 'Oracle Corporation acknowledged today that it had hired a prominent Washington detective firm to investigate groups sympathetic to its archrival, the Microsoft Corporation, an effort that yielded documents embarrassing to Microsoft in the midst of its antitrust battle with the government.'" Myriad adds: "This apparently ties in with an earlier [CNN] report involving IGI and the failed purchase of Association for Competitive Technology office trash -- a group with ties to Microsoft. You can find the article on CNNfn here. I hate to say it, but would reactions be different if it was Microsoft who hired IGI against another company?"
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Oracle Says It Investigated Microsoft Allies

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  • Hiring a company to dig up dirt on a competitor and attempt to smear their reputation publicly is really pathetic. What idiot said "Bill Gates investigates a company before he invests in it?" Where is the comparison. Anyway, this whole Gates vs. Ellison thing is something the press made up to sell papers. I have never heard Gates say the word "Ellison" and I doubt he ever has -- Ellison may be obsessed with Gates, but that sure as hell doesn't make a "rivalry". Anyway, Microsoft has no reputation left after this whole antitrust thing. Do Oracle shareholders really get value for their money by Ellison playing silly political games like this?
  • by Spasemunki ( 63473 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:56AM (#971377) Homepage
    Hmm, that wasn't what the Wired story seemed to be implying to me:
    There is no evidence that IGI is working for a government client against Microsoft or its allies, however. Groups such as the United Way, GTE, the State Department and the state of Alaska have retained IGI in the past.
    All that they were saying is that this PI agency has a lot of ties to the White House- which it does. The Clinton Administration has made use of them on numerous occasions, investigating whoever comes out of the woodwork this week to accuse Bill Clinton of being fellated by them. So it looks like Wired really did get the story ahead of the grey lady- they just didn't know it was Oracle.

    "Sweet creeping zombie Jesus!"
  • Why is everybody calling this "business" as if it's some kind of slimy dealing?


    I don't recall saying anything along the lines of "slimy" in my post.


    Are you just automatically assuming that "big business == slimy" or something? In which case, you have no right to refer to a "bunch of wussy crack smokers", since you are being blinded by your own prejudice.


    I never said big business is slimy - in fact I never said big bugsiness is anything. It was you who inferred it. Personally, I happen to respect big business for what its done, generally, for my life, even though there are aspects of it that totally suck ass.

  • "Corporate espionage and intelligence gathering has been one of the fastest growing market sectors, along with "head-hunting", for the last decade or so..."

    Could you provide a reference for this? I don't disbelieve that corporate espionage takes place, but I have trouble believing that it is "on the rise" in any relative sense.
    --
  • hat reactions to MS doing this would be different, but heck they just buy the company instead of snooping on them. This is the business world, and business is war.

    Oh, yeah, I'd like to see Microsoft try to buy a company like Oracle. That's gonna work.

    --

  • What they're debating is a suitable platform for amongst other things Mission Critical Information System components. Or do you live on an island, cook your own food etc. and thus have no need for large companies with large and reliable database. A.C. OCP MPC B.Tec

    He he... I could not tell for sure if you were serious, trolling, or being sarcastic, but I got a good chuckle out of that post.

    I could almost visualize somebody pushing his taped-together glasses back up on to the bridge of his nose while browbeating somebody at a party with that argument. :)

  • So what? I'm not denying that I'm a troll. After all, I am the grammar nazi.

    Oooh, your tricky signature tricked me into logging out, NOT!. You are really lame.
  • Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather have Bill.

    Eric

  • If people looked hard enough, they could find something bad that just about anyone has done. Mother Theresa could probably be made out to be lowlife vermin

    What, like the evidence that she denied pain medication to the sick and dying because their suffering brought them 'closer to Jesus'? They're waaay ahead of you on that one...

  • Oracle==Sun==...!=Microsoft

    They do not all behave the same. Oracle and Sun have good products. Some people may not like those products but you have a choice if you don't like that product.
    If you don't like Oracle then you can always by Sybase. If you don't like Sun, then get another Unix.

    You don't see Sun or Oracle falsefing evidence to support their claims. You don't see them attacking their competition with lies, FUD or unfair business practices.

    As for Sun being total control freaks, I assume that you are talking about Java, right? They needed to keep a tight control on Java while the trial with MS over lisencing issues played out. The minute that they released it to the ISO is the minute that MS could start to try to "inovate, and extend" Java, mutating it into a piece of junk. Don't be surprised if it gets released to the ISO in the relatively near future.

    The only thing I can see that is the same among the companies that you mentioned is that all of the CEO's have an ego problem.
  • I've had two speeding tickets in my driving career and, as a 21 year old guy am statistically fairly likely to speed. It'd be a little heavy-handed, but you could justify the pattern of behaviour if the police decided to follow me in unmarked cars to try and get me again.

    No, I don't think it would be justified. Past behavior should not be justification to violate someone's right to privacy. IANAL, but I believe it's against the law to have someone followed/watched just because they've committed crimes in the past. You have to have reasonable suspicion they are planning or actively committing a crime (at least if your the police). Individuals or businesses are probably not held to this standard, but at the very least it's amoral business practice.

    I also agree with the person who submitted this. If it was Microsoft who was found to be hiring private eyes to dig up dirt on other companies (something that they've probably done themselves), this room would be awash in anti-Microsoft napalm. I'm not trying to defend Microsoft for it's monopolistic practices here. But you have to admit it seems rather shady on Oracle's part, especially considering that some of this information was apparently used against Microsoft during the trial. Can you say, Conflict of Interest?
  • by drenehtsral ( 29789 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:50AM (#971387) Homepage
    Here is the catch. Once somebody crosses the ethical boundry from healthy competition to sleazy business (which microsoft did long ago...), then it works like an arms race, in that everybody has to hire a Cloak and Dagger department to stay afloat, because anybody without one gets screwed.
    I don't particualarly blame oracle in this situation. If microsoft was playing nice, within the bounds of ethical business practices, and oracle went and hired a detective, then i think that would be excessive/bad business. The trick is that they are in an arms race of sleaze, started by closed standards, and predatory marketing practices, so they did what they had to.
  • Yes, we would be angry if Microsoft hired a private detective to dig up dirt on a rival. But that's because Microsoft's rivals are usually a) weaker than MS

    Ahem. Are you going to judge the morality of the action based on market capitalization of the company? And it's not like Oracle is a struggling start-up...

    and b) doing nothing wrong (other than pissing off MS).

    And how would you know that? Or are you assuming that Microsoft has a monopoly on evil deeds, as well?

    Kaa
  • There will always be good and bad examples in any group... and good and bad examples for an individual.

    Woz is a shining example, though. More beloved by the masses and seemingly less abrasive than the 'other' Steve (Jobs) or BillG.

  • From what I understand, that isn't illegal... at least not where they were doing it.

  • Why does Oracle need to resort to such useless pathetic means to tarnish Microsoft when it's simply telling the whole world how sneaky and mischievous they are ?

    Oracle, despite having an insane and fist-attracting CEO, have a solid product that's been known worldwide for years as being the top database system hands down. Their reputation is everything, why do they go and mess it up with these spy stories ?

    They should quit spending cash on that crap and apply the funds to mental therapy instead.

    These big guys should refocus on what made them big : the product, not the paranoia. Stoolies and jealous whiners are ok in grade school, not in multibillion dollar businesses.

  • Kinda...:)

    Is M.T. the best example? perhaps not, but the point is the same no matter which person you want to portray as a "good guy". How about good old G.W., or Tommy Jefferson? JFK, everyone's favorite president...Mr. Rodgers...Bert and Ernie (the first "Puppets of alternative lifestyle").
  • If we were investigating a company with no history of trouble whatsoever, I'd call the investigation muckraking.

    This is still muckracking. If you think that Oracle is doing this out of its abstract sense of justice, think again. Larry Ellison has a personal vendetta against Bill Gates (for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with being only the second richest man on earth) and that is why he is digging for dirt on Microsoft.

    Do you think it's good business tactics to hire a private investigator to check that your competitors file their taxes correctly? Maybe their boss expensed a lunch with his wife? Sic the IRS on him and breath easier...

    If you accept that "business is war" than Oracle is doing nothing unusual. But then, again, so does Microsoft.

    Kaa
  • As a professional consultant I've worked with very large Fortune 500 corporations

    awww man...are we supposed to believe that? the whole As a professional consultant in a Fortune 500 company line is a classic troll come-on.

    are you trolling?
  • On Investigative Group International [igint.com] main page the first sentence ends with ". . . while maintaining the highest ethical standards in the industry." Says a lot about the industry. Even so I agree with robwicks [slashdot.org] that hiring a PI is more ethical than lobbying lawmakers and aides to pass laws to stiffle competition.
  • First, let me say that I did not word my post very well. Apologies. But I think the thrust is more or less accurate. The inference I drew came from JE saying

    Seriously, if this comes as a suprise to anybody then they obviously don't know much about the business world at all. Corporate espionage ....

    and then you adding

    It's a totally common practice in big business... I'm surprised that Oracle were so brazen as to admit...

    You are all but saying "this is a negative" and you also say "it's business". My point is (or meant to be :) the opposite: it is not a negative, and it is not business, it's human nature.

    It is not negative because the only way to catch dishonesty is to investigate it. Oracle investigated it, and found it, and publicized it. I don't see a negative. And not only do businesses do it, but regular people do too. You can object to my use of the term slimy, fine, pick another one, but I think I captured the gist of what you were saying and I still disagree with it.

  • miket wrote:

    "But I personally would want to know if the case brought against Microsoft was done so illegaly. If industry money promoted the trial, that has a large impact on me personally. I just began work in this industry and the future of Microsoft and the industy as a whole will personally affect my life for as long as I get paid to write code."

    BINGO.

    What Oracle may have done is essentially using a known-corrupt Clinton Administration to destroy Microsoft to protect its own turf. This makes Larry Ellison just as devious as John D. Rockefeller during the height of power of the Standard Oil Trust when the company used all kinds of blatant "dirty tricks" to destroy competitors.

    By the way, you might want to know that the private detective agency Oracle hired is IGI, a company hired by the Clintons to dig up dirt on anyone opposing them. Is it possible that despite Ellison's claim he has reservations about the Clintons Mr. Ellison was persuaded in some way by the Clinton cronies and their friends in the Department of Justice to use IGI to dig up dirt on Microsoft?

    In short, this whole bizzare scenario is right out of Ayn Rand's novel ATLAS SHRUGGED.

  • If you have a problem with what they did, lobby for a law change.

    Coporate stalking, perhaps.
  • There is overlap, but Oracle goodies, from the sound of the comments made by the guys who talked at our local users group, can really do entirely without an underlying operating system like NT... part of the reason why they're looking closely at Linux, because they can strip it out to the bare essentials and turn it into OracleOS.

    I can't comment with certainty about thier market share, but I'd expect that big business is thier primary consumer, and BB is gonna buy whatever it need to get the job done, MS trash, Oracle, et al.

    --
    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • Excuse me, but I thought that people buying Microsoft trash was their major source of revenue...

    No, their major source of revenue is OEMs, businesses and government agencies buying Microsoft trash. Individual consumers don't ammount to much.

    --

  • "I hate to say it, but would reactions be different if it was Microsoft who hired IGI against another company?"

    I'd bet MS did it. Big corporations do that on a regular basis, so what's the big deal *here*? We're all biased against MS (for good reasons, heh), but we should open our eyes to the situation. If Oracle can spy on MS, no doubt they can do it to RH or SuSE... Open Source makes it oh-so-easy...


    Now, how would it be considered if RH was spying on Oracle and then release the info to the community? Would it make things any better?



  • Come back in 3yrs time after you've done some DBA work and you will cringe with embarassment at that comment.

    Come back after you've read my resume and YOU'LL cringe with embarassment at that comment. Of the last 12 years of my life, about 8 have been spent DBA'ing almost full-time.


  • Who thinks that Sun, Apple, Oracle and the like would not be as aggressive and domineering as Microsoft if they had the chance?

    Business is business.
  • Maybe I had a different history class in school

    I am quite sure of that

    Muckraking is a good thing as long as it is carried out by legal means

    Well, if you define muckraking as brave journalists saving the workers' lives, then sure, it's a good thing. To me, though, muckraking is searching for dirt -- any dirt -- in order to discredit an opponent. Look at any recent big-ticket election campaign and you'll see perfectly good examples of muckraking.

    And just in case you are in doubt, no, I don't think it's a good thing.

    I think it's reasonable for Oracle to investigate the ties between a group of "industry professionals" that support Microsoft and MS itself.

    As I pointed out in some other post, if you believe that "business is war", then it's perfectly OK. However, then I don't see how you can have any objections to Microsoft's business tactics.


    Kaa
  • Corporations exist to make money and to make sure that they'll continue to do so in the future. That involves finding ways of beating the competition; while I have no problems with this, the methods used show exactly how ethical some companies are.

  • NYT Article [nytimes.com]

    John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, based in Alexandria, Va., said, "It's disappointing but perhaps not unexpected that Microsoft opponents, who are trying to use the American judicial system to run down Microsoft, would stoop to these kind of political tactics against the voices of the free market."

    Of course, as a reminder, the National Taxpayers Union is sponsored (apparently in a large part) by Microsoft. "Voices of the Free Market" my a$$!

    "The voice of the free market. Brought to you to today by the letters Q, and Z, and Microsoft."
  • TPC-C isn't even respected anymore

    A reasonable interpretation of what you're trying to convey could be "TPC-C isn't respected by those of us who dislike the fact that Microsoft has a product that does well in them, therefore it no longer holds merit."

    While metrics might be prone to skewing truths, it's far more valid that someone anecdotally telling us that Oracle is "far faster", or anything along those line. I'll trust metrics anyday over zealot rantings.
  • This is a difficult one to draw analogies on, so sorry if some I've attempted earlier have caused problems...

    The issue here is that Microsoft have been identified as having acted illegally, repeatedly. There is clear evidence that they have a corporate culture of simply ignoring anti-trust laws - I mean, it oculd easily be argued that Microsoft .NET is in contempt of court...

    Oracle are saying that, on that basis, they have strong grounds to suspect that there are other skeletons in the closet - in this case, that links with trade groups might be helping them exert unfair influence.

    Now, what makes this awkward is that it's Oracle doing the investigating. If it was the relevant authorities, no-one would bat an eyelid. But why should it make a difference? After all, we have private prosecutions and the right to perform citizens arrests over here. As long as Oracle's investigation is itself above-board - in other words, they're not stealing documents, breaking in to computers, violating anti-stalking regulations and the like - then I see no problem. They are pursuing a legitimate line of personal research.

    I feel (more) comfortable about Oracle investigating Microsoft than vice-versa simply as Oracle haven't (yet) been found guilty of anti-trust violations. Microsoft have once, nearly were a second time and escaped via a badly-worded consent decree.

    Does that make more sense?
  • Chuang raises a possible legal issue that may be very relavant to the outcome of the Microsoft case (No, it is not over yet). Frankly, I am very dissapointed to see this comment marked as "flamebait." Just because it shines an unfavorable light upon Oracle does make it a comment that is out of line within this thread.

    I am not a lawyer. I am not a Microsoft fan. But I personally would want to know if the case brought against Microsoft was done so illegaly. If industry money promoted the trial, that has a large impact on me personally. I just began work in this industry and the future of Microsoft and the industy as a whole will personally affect my life for as long as I get paid to write code.

    I realize that I will probally be moderated down for this, but I like to make a personal request to whoever sensored this comment to remove himself/herself from future moderation. This is a valid comment ans should be shown the same (if not more) respect that you give the "we want to watch Billy burn and the MS campus crumble" comments do.

  • And, aside from OSS dogma (there goes my karma), what's so inherently bad about the 'little guys' trying to find out what it is that the market wants and producing it? (around here)It's a given that whoever's in microsoft's position will develop products to maintain their market share and stifle the competition, resulting in technological stagnation. It's the 'little guys', who aren't locked into the old ways of doing things (the curse of backwards compatability) that are free to do what the consumers need (as opposed to what they are told they need).
  • SQL Server dominates [every] gross performance benchmark.
    Please post a link to these objective benchmarks. I've used SQL Server at Scoot when I was doing some DBA work there and really did not rate it at all highly.

    Yes, Oracle do charge a lot of money for their product but, they are the market leader. M$'s pricing strategy is laudable in that they charge the same price for everyone and this price is clearly visible on their Website. I only wish other vendors would follow their example.

    Regret for the past is a waste of spirit

  • No, I'm not saying that and I didn't say that.

    If you notice, I specified that I have a history of speeding. Yes, we're talking something pretty small here - though note that four tickets would get me disqualified from driving for a year minimum - but it is a pattern of offence.

    I wouldn't by any means justify plain-clothed policemen following random black young men. If, on the other hand, they know who they're following and he has a history of offences which are serious enough for them to actually do anything about them, it becomes different. If (for example) he's committed three armed robberies and they think he's at risk of reoffending then they've got good reason to follow our example individual.

    That's the issue here - justification. Sorry if the original example looked like slightly weak justification, but it's my only contact with the police. I stand by my assertion that Oracle are justified here as Microsoft's pattern of behaviour suggests there may well be something to find.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:53AM (#971417) Homepage Journal
    One of the first things they tell you when you are learning about business ethics is don't do anything that you wouldn't be ashamed to read about in the newspaper the next day.

    The business arena is not a private one. People can and do betray each other; secrets leak, enemies sneak.

    Naturally, you want to keep your business secrets secret. If you are afraid of how people will act when they find out -- fair enough. But if you are afraid of what people will think of you, well that's a damn good sign you have an ethical problem.

    I've been witness to numerous ethical quibbles in business where people come up with complicated rationalizations about why its OK to do something which any sensible person would know is wrong. You know what? I've yet to see a case where in the end it really was worth the energy to (A) justify it to yourself and (B) hide it from other people. And that's assuming you don't care to think of yourself as a decent, reasonable person.

    Now, you can argue that Microsoft has made a pile of money while doing all kinds of unethical things. But it's the same old shit on a huger scale -- they made lots of money but they're pissing away that much more time and money, and it ain't over yet -- it's hardly even begun. I think they'd still have made almost as much money acting in a way that would preserve the respect (if not the admiration) of information technology professionals, and they would be free and clear now to enjoy their monopolies which in all liklihood they'd have won fair and square.

    What is stunning, to me, is how unnecessary all of Microsoft's legal and ethical problems are. Competitiveness, even with a modicum of ruthlessness, is a virtue; but Microsoft is like a character in a play who takes what would in moderation be a virtue and turn it into a self destructive obsession. Shame exists, among other reasons, to keep you from doing really stupid things. A person who feels too much shame is to be pitied; a person who feels no shame at all is to be loathed and ultimately will have to be destoyed.

    "We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
    Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
    'Here may you see the tyrant.'"
    -- MacDuff, MacBeth Act 5, Scene 8

  • If you put a Microsoft SQL Server guy in a room with an Oracle dude and a SyBase person for the purposes of discussing the relative merits of one database over the other, none would come out alive.

    Gawd... I am hard-pressed to imagine a more tedious argument to witness.

    Perhaps a raging debate at a Sci Fi convention over who wrote the best "authorized" Asimov-derived novel.

    :)

  • MS is the only company using such dirty tricks as defending advertisements "signed by 240 academic figures". This very reminds me former USSR - it's leaders practiced such things as "blame by working masses". Open letter by soviet writers against Solgenitcyn is an example; there are many others. Do you know such a term as "enemy of people" by Stalin? Not of nation or state, but of people, of every last one. MS everytime trys to show everyone hurting MS as hurting the whole industry, damn'em.
    I HATE Microsoft for this. I HATE they claim people benefit from them while I'm sure I don't. I HATE them saying for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:46AM (#971426)
    The Oracle knows all ...
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:04AM (#971430)
    Teachers breed knowledge
    Knowledge is power
    Power corrupts
    Corruption is evil

    Therefore teachers breed evil. QED.

    Oversimplification can lead to a lot of wrong conclusions.

    Larry was an egomaniac long before he was a billionaire. Ditto for Bill, Steve, and all the other tech CEO's that we know by first name. Their "alpha dog" personalities is a big part of why they are where they are today.

  • If you feel that way, then care to openly why every poll has Al Gore averaging about 10 percentage points down to George W. Bush?

    Is it because Americans are tiring of the fact that the Clinton Administration is more than willing to destroy anyone that doesn't toe the Clinton line? Care to wonder why the DoJ has been ominously silent about the Disney-ABC, Viacom-CBS and soon AOL-Time Warner mergers? Mergers that will have much more serious effects than what Microsoft now wields?

    You can laugh all you want, but unfortunately for you the majority of Americans aren't buying your views.
  • Yes, Bill Gates did try to please that monster called the Clinton Administration, but I think Ellison and McNealy may have given a LOT more money to the Democratic National Committee to stay in the Clintons' good graces. If that is true then a grand jury investigation may be warranted to look at what kind of relationship Oracle and Sun has with Clinton Administration officials and the Department of Justice. If this means Oracle and Sun are paying what amounts to "protection money" to the DNC they could be in BIG trouble for violating RICO statutes.
  • I really, REALLY hate my neighbor. He is a bully who is rude to everyone in the community. He never keeps his word, and he will lie, cheat and steal. But we can't have him arrested just for being rude.

    But then I discover that he's growing pot in his backyard, and that he has a chem lab in his basement for makeing LSD. Why is it wrong for me to tell the police?

  • Maybe because the PocketPC can't sync with a mac...
  • Teachers breed knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Corruption is evil.
    Is this *really* that off base? I see it as a sad and *true* statement on human nature.

    If I get any mail from you, I don't think I'll open it.

    :P

  • by robwicks ( 18453 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:06AM (#971449) Homepage
    Companies are always checking out the competition. As long as Oracle is not using government force (say through draconian patent and copyright law) or fraud, I don't really see the problem. If the PI firm is breaking the law, then there may be some culpability, but absent that, hiring a PI to check out how Microsoft is attempting to use government force is not only ethical, they would be fools not to do it. Microsoft was attempting to manipulate the government to further its own ends (be those ends morally right or wrong). It is in its competitors' interests to find out how, and to expose the attempts if that is appropriate.
  • I think the fact that Oracle snooped on Microsoft's allies using a private detective indicates that we may some very damaging issues that could cause a different outcome to the US v. Microsoft case.

    I've always wondered why Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy have close relationships with the Clinton Administration. If there is evidence that "funny money" was passed between Oracle/Sun and the Democratic National Committee in order for the DoJ under Janet Reno and Joel Klein to expedite US v. Microsoft, then Ellison and McNealy could be charged with violating the Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Federal laws. It will also prove that the entire US v. Microsoft case was done on behest of some very rich competitors, not on behest of consumers, which negates the whole point of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
  • Why would you hire an investigator when you have Microsoft Yakuza 2000?

  • Yeah, this is exactly why MS partnered with Sybase instead of Oracle, so they could steal their technology, and fuck them in the ass with MS SQL.

    But that's beside the point. Oracle may not be technically better than Sybase, or even it's bastard child MS SQL. But Oracle has a right to exist, a right to compete, and attempt to survive and win in the marketplace, and Microsoft could very easily bundle MS SQL with NT and Oracle would be a faint memory before Judge Jackson could blink. In that respect, Oracle also has a lawful right to hire a PI to find evidence of unlawful behavior on Microsoft's part in order to bolster the government's case in it's attempt to restrain the evil beast.

    If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is!
  • by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @07:54AM (#971459) Journal
    Keep in mind why Oracle wanted Microsoft investigated.

    On the surface (only Oracle and the PIs know what goes on behind the scenes and press releases), it appears the firm was hired not to try and steal info on MS technology, but find evidence that certain industry groups are, in fact, Microsoft astroturf. If the roles were reversed, Microsoft would have every right to find out who's funding their enemy's supporters. As long as no information on MS technology was handed to Oracle, they're in the clear; MS is the bad guy here for trying to fake industry and public support, and they got caught.

    It would be a little easier to like Microsoft if they didn't constantly pull bully tactics and blatant attempts to pull the wool over people's eyes with things like ACT.

    Because a lot of us are all hellbent on beating MSFT into the ground and thus will focus in on all the bad points.

    Well, they haven't exactly been the greatest of corporate citizens, and I don't think anyone can blame their trial blunders on anyone but MS itself - I mean, faking video testimony; that would fry your credibility in any court case, civil or criminal.

    I was an MS user and fan for a good five years, before I learned there were alternatives, got sick of the crashes and impenetrability, and found out about MS' actions to kill competition in the desktop PC market (and more recently, their less-successful attempts to squash competition elsewhere). I know there are good points to Microsoft (making the desktop PC more accessible to the user, "standardization" and note the quotes), but by now the bad points have heavily outweighed the good ones in my mind, and Microsoft is to blame for that. They have no one but their higher-ups and decision-makers to blame for the state they're in right now.
  • . . . in fact, MS wouldn't even have to bundle MS SQL with NT. All they have to do is subsidize MS SQL with profits from their OS Monopoly, combined with the technical benefits of undocumented OS API, and combined with MS's famous FUD campaigns, and sell MS SQL for ridiculously low prices (which IMHO, and many others', they do), and Oracle sales and marketshare will be significantly harmed (which they have).

    I even think that Oracle probably has a good case for a civil lawsuit after the DOJ gets through with MS.

    If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is!
  • by startled ( 144833 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @07:56AM (#971464)
    Only partially true. I agree that there would be a lot more angry people on these boards if it was Microsoft that did the investigating, which is odd because Oracle is also a monopolistic behemoth.

    The other factor is that Oracle found things. Public reaction to this sort of thing is rarely based on a strict ethical standard. If Oracle had hired IGI and found a couple of small and inconsequential things, then people found out about it, they'd be critical of Oracle and their industrial espionage tactics. However, since Oracle uncovered a lot of dirty laundry, it's a lot easier for people to say, "go Oracle! Those dirty MS scum were trying to get away with that, but you caught 'em".
  • This is so wrong. See below, after commentary
    -commentary-
    Wow, I've seen troll posts, but I've never seen a troll story submission before....
    Geez, I wonder if there is a possibility of a more trollish interpretation of the story. It's a typical bash-/. idea: "You're all a bunch of MS hating hypocrites" it seems to say.
    -end commentary-
    Well, if you used your head, you'd realize that there is nothing illegal in hiring private investigators. People do it all the time. Businesses do it all the time. Credit checks are a kind of investigation. When venture capitalists invest, they investigate deeply. When companies invest in alliances, they investigate deeply. There is nothing wrong or illegal about that.
    The difference between Oracle doing it and M$ doing it is that M$ doing it might constitute an unfair trade practice, depending on how they used the knowledge. Oracle, however, is not a monopoly, and it's invetigation could not be used as an unfair trade practice.
    And M$ has done investigations before. You think it hasn't? Of course it has, and there's nothing wrong with most of it (I'm sure there were some heavy-handed tactics at some point.) You think Bill Gates doesn't investigate every little biotech or computer firm he invests in?
  • Microsoft owns Apple. Apple lost, Microsoft won, microsoft "saved" apple by becoming part owner....

    As others have pointed out, Microsoft certainly does not own Apple. I'd like to add that Microsoft's investment was in non-voting shares, and Microsoft also paid Apple an undisclosed sum rumored to be between $200-$800 million in cash, made a public statement supporting Apple, signed an agreement to continue supporting Office and Internet Explorer, signed a cross-patent licensing agreement, and all of this was to keep Apple from suing them for stealing again.

    Also, nobody from Microsoft is on Apple's board of directors, while Larry Ellison from Oracle is.

    --

  • Its just that they probably have better lawyers writing the contracts with the PI's to ensure that Microsofts privacy in the matter is sealed shut, tighter than Mr. Gates asshole at a Linux convention.

    Its a totally common practice in big business. I have a friend who has been employed as an investigator for years, and some of the things he's told me about what he's been asked to find out about company presidents are astounding.

    So this should come as no surprise. Well, a little surprise - I'm surprised that Oracle were so brazen as to admit it, anyway. They've got balls, that's for sure.
  • Under the circustances, I'd support Oracle here.

    If we were investigating a company with no history of trouble whatsoever, I'd call the investigation muckraking. But Microsoft are not - they've shown that they will repeatedly break the law and use unfair influence to compete in a way others couldn't. They're not just an agressive competitor, they're the bully who beats the smaller kids up. There are laws against that sort of thing for a reason - partly that it's not fair but partly that it doesn't help the economy as a whole.

    There's a good chance that Oracle will discover that Microsoft have done something underhand without people finding out. Microsoft's history suggests there's a good chance of dirty laundry. Hence, they're justified in doing this.
  • by mwalker ( 66677 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:29AM (#971488) Homepage
    Oracle makes a good database product and that is where it should end.

    Right. Resistance is futile, right? If Microsoft wants to crush you they will, so why even try to defend yourself?

    On the other hand, maybe Microsoft is a direct competitor to Oracle that has an Operating System monopoly to leverage against Oracle. Considering how many companies lost their shirts to this leverage - the entire C++ compiler industry (borland), the web browser industry (netscape), the email industry (remember eudora?) - I consider this less than due dilligence on their part. If I were Oracle I'd be busy planting moles in redmond and lobbying for stronger anti-trust regulation.

    but that's just me.
  • No, it's not.

    The argument is about reasonable suspicion. Microsoft's pattern of behaviour leads us to suspect that there is a good chance they've done more which hasn't been uncovered. Hence an investigation is justified and, if Oracle feel they could profit from their finding this out and either persuading the DoJ to prosecute or sueing themselves, then this is legitimate.

    Let's look at this another way. I've had two speeding tickets in my driving career and, as a 21 year old guy am statistically fairly likely to speed. It'd be a little heavy-handed, but you could justify the pattern of behaviour if the police decided to follow me in unmarked cars to try and get me again.

    A similar investigation on whether I'd defrauded a bank out of a large amount of money (for example) wouldn't be too clever, though, unless they had information pointing to me anyway. There's no pattern of behaviour to suggest that I might have done it, so the investigation wouldn't be worthwhile.
  • This box will be back once mu.current.nu is back to normal.

    Sheesh, guess there is something wrong with slashdot at the moment?
  • but I've never seen a troll story submission before....

    So you must be new to slashdot. Welcome.

    Many stories on /. appear to be trolls. It can't be helped, it shows the editorial bent of the site creators. Most of us don't care, since we share much the same bent as cmdrtaco and hemos.

    the AC
  • You'd feel the same way about Microsoft if you spent the first half of the 1990's editing autoexec.bat and config.sys files trying to cram everything into 640k of RAM just to get the fucking thing to work.

    I swore in 1993 that I would never forgive Microsoft for that, no matter what. It's 2000, and I still don't.


    You might have wanted to try blaming IBM for that problem; it was their initial architecture.

    Also, you could have gone out and bought a copy of QEMM - that's what most people did.

    I may have a copy around here somewhere if you want to buy it off me :)

    Si
  • I don't see anything wrong with it. This is standard practice for large corporations. It is called "competitive intelligence" and involves collecting and analyzing information on competing companies. It is perfectly legal, as long as you don't break the law when collecting the information. Most of the information can be collected from public sources, you just need an analyst to turn the scraps of information into a useful description of the competitor's costs, plans, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Out of the eight replies I got to this I decided out some masochistic urge I don't want to admit to answer to this one.

    Resistance is NOT futile. However, you do not beat the big monopoly by taking it on directly. Microsoft learned this lesson early on with IBM. Sun and Oracle need to make better products and hype them up with marketing hard if they want to bear Micro$oft.

    Linux in an interesting contrast is using the same tactic Microsoft did in the day. Microsoft got into other markets (software) that IBM (hardware) was not into. They slowly began to dominate everywhere the monopoly was not. They surrounded the bear as Paul Allen put it they rode the bear to survive the monopoly days of IBM.

    Linux has made its way into the mail server and web server markets that Microsoft by its high liscensing fees have abandoned. We are slowly surrounded the Microsoft bear and eventually could dominate the server rooms in a way that will make Mickeysoft's Neanderthal Technology a thing of the past. However, I hope that the effort is not hampered by the insistence that Linux become an end-user product. I think it is nice that Linux has become so easy for the geekish population to use.

    However, I don't want my brother or god forbid my mother calling me asking questions about how to install Debian on some silly Compaq Presario.

    I know that is elitist but I can't help it. I don't want some watered down dummy-proofed operating system. If it was hard to install it means that you had to have half a clue about computers to get it running. I like that.

  • Microsoft owns Apple. Apple lost, Microsoft won...

    (sigh)

    Microsoft spent $150 million on Apple shares.

    Just a few months before that, Apple purchaced next for $400 million, and found the money by cleaning out their sofa cushion.

    Do the math, and you will see that Microsoft is one of the smallest corporate investors in Apple. IIRC, even Disney's stake is bigger.

    You would be more accurate if you said Oracle owns Apple, because Larry is on the board of directors, while all the M$ stock is non-voting shares.

    Nice try, astroturf boy.

  • I'm complaining. Oracle sucks. Sybase is far better technically than Oracle IMHO. Its also a lot simpler to maintain, has a smaller footprint memory and disk wise and you don't have to mortgage your house to buy the damn thing.

    I believe Oracle has reached the top, not through being the best, but through marketing hype. Does this sound like another company we know?


    Now weary traveller, rest your head. For just like me, you're utterly dead.
  • I dislike the use of PIs to dig up dirt, but there are occasions where they (and their tactics) are morally justifiable. In this case they were obviously investigating links between MS and one of its tame lobbying organisations. Given the history of MS "Astroturf" efforts, it is reasonable to suspect that something underhand may be going on between MS and this organisation. If so, and if it has a bearing on the ongoing legal case, then it makes sense to do a bit of digging.

    I suppose my basic criterion would be that any evidence uncovered would be admissable in court.

    Paul.

  • This is standard practice in the private investigation industry. You want some dirt on something, you go through their trash, get the records which can't be used in court, but can get the wheels rolling. I know Microsoft is probably going through the trash of their competitors as we speak, as any good large corporation should
  • The danger of making Microsoft the Prime Evil of computing is then any action against Microsoft can be justified. Of course, then the actions taken against Microsoft may be applied to other companies and individuals, but by then such actions have been legitimated.
    I'm concerned about this myself. I don't have a problem with what Oracle did, and I wouldn't have had a problem if it was Microsoft, either. But there is an awful lot of kneejerk condemnation of any action undertaken by Microsoft. There is definitely a lunatic fringe amongst Linux enthusiasts, and it is distressing. Not everything Microsoft does is bad. I only have a problem with Microsoft to the extent that they use government force and attempt to make the government change rules to favor their objectives. How Microsoft engineers its contracts or software is unimportant to me. How Microsoft engineers legislation to suppress free thought and information exchange is very important to me.
  • Thinking about this for a bit...

    Is Oracle using this information to crush competitors and improve its market position? They're basically paying for their own investigative reporting. The information is being presented to everybody, and just happens to put Microsoft in a very bad light with respect to their anti-trust trial. In a way they are, but it's not very direct. Microsoft is basically hanging itself.

    Are they doing anything illegal? Well, the Oracle PR person claims they gave specific instructions to the company they hired that they not do anything illegal. While a PR person is about as trustworthy as the weather in the midwest, this statement is fairly plausible, and Oracle's immediate admission also tends to make me believe they aren't prevaricating.

    What would happen if Microsoft did this? Well, they'd turn up Oracle's links to IGI (the investigating firm) I'm sure. It doesn't sound though like Oracle is trying too hard to hide them. They might turn up other interesting things about Oracle's business practices, but I highly doubt that they'd turn up anything nearly as embarassing as Microsoft's hiring of 'independent' advocacy groups.

    Would I care if Microsoft did this? No, not really. It would mostly generate a big shrug, and a 'business as usual for Microsoft' attitude from me. It wouldn't generate the same sense of outrage as learning about Microsoft's OEM contracts, or hearing that they plan to make their software purposely incompatible with the Palm Pilot. It's notable mostly because Oracle isn't known for business practices that are in the least shady or underhanded.

    So, nope, I don't care. In fact, I largely find Oracle's actions to be highly amusing. 'The truth shall set you free.' *chuckle* It's also highly characteristic of what I know of Larry Ellison. And their immediate admission without really trying to patch it over with PR scores big points with me.

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:38AM (#971523)
    Oracle is where it is today because it did common business practices: Crushing the competition and swallowing them whole and shitting them out, and doing it in any means possible.

    I must have missed the press release that said Informix was bought out by Oracle... or the one that said MS-SQL is being scrapped because Oracle has unfairly pushed them out of business.

    Oracle is big because every 20-something with a dot-com and a fist full of VC money is running his business on Oracle. You can't swing a dead cat in a Starbucks without hitting a geek who thinks Oracle databases are the best available. They have mindshare, marketshare, and lots & lots of money.

    Was this mostly because of marketing? Of course it is.
    Is that the same as "crushing and swallowing" the competition "by any means neccesary"? Certainly not.

    Microsoft has not cornered the market on shady business practice, but they did establish the standards for it.

  • Five or ten years from now it will be some other company (maybe Oracle) that terrorizes the entire industry and Must Be Stopped.

    Yes, that would be AOL Time Warner. :-)

    --

  • When these Billionaire Boys get too much cash, the only thing they can think to do is make more. MSFT spent their cash trying to take over the world to make more cash. Oracle spent their cash trying to destroy MSFT so they could take over the world to make more cash.

    Steve Wozniak made a fortune from Apple - he's probably a billionaire, certainly a multimillionaire. He left Apple and is now a high school teacher in the Valley.

    Bill Atkinson - the architect of QuickDraw and HyperCard took his millions and is now a photographer.

    Paul Allen pumped his billions into sports, high tech research and a spectacular museum dedicated to Jimmy Hendrix and the music of the Seattle area.

    Bill gates has given away more money to charitable causes than any human being in history. His foundation is now the largest single source of funds for research into the prevention of third world disease.

    Yeah, shame on those billionaire boys.

  • This kind of corporate behavior may be typical but it is not right. Using private eyes to spy on the competition is a bad thing anyway you look at it.

    Oracle makes a good database product and that is where it should end. Like Sun, the paranoia over Microsoft is amazing. The companies have to start spending more time making better products that are marketed well and stop looking to find some sort of dirt on Redmond. This is silly to say the least.

  • ...and found that there were none.

    Multiplayer Strategy [toronto.edu]
  • When dealing with a company that has the amount of money, power, and influence that Microsoft has - this type of action is the only way to even try and fingure out what's really going on.

    Put yourself in Bill Gates shoes. You have the most money in the world, and you would like it to stay that way. How do you do it...

    You pay people, that's how. You pay companies to help you sway public opinion. You pay people to keep quiet. You pay people to take care of business.

    The only way to ever break that chain is to find out things the hard way. Investigate, root through documents, make friends, and watch people.

    Just like Wu-tang says - "Cash rules everything around me." If you don't believe me, take a trip to New York city...

    - Rake

  • Care to wonder why the DoJ has been ominously silent about the Disney-ABC, Viacom-CBS and soon AOL-Time Warner mergers? Mergers that will have much more serious effects than what Microsoft now wields?

    Because they aren't monopolies yet, and haven't done anything to illegally obtain/preserve one?

    Jay (=
  • Ah yes, and Quarterdeck! that awesome great company that Microsoft ruthlessly stomped out of existence with Windows95! The audacity!

    (hint: I'm getting a little punchy)


    No shit. You complain about Microsoft not doing something. When they finally do it, you complain about Microsoft doing it.

    Sheesh.

    Si
  • by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:48AM (#971537) Homepage
    "This apparently ties in with an earlier [CNN] report involving IGI and the failed purchase of Association for Competitive Technology office trash"

    Excuse me, but I thought that people buying Microsoft trash was their major source of revenue...

  • I think it's high time to rid the world of the evil that is Oracle. Now that we have successfully split Microsoft in two halves it is time to target the next big software giant. Larry Ellison is bearded and can easily be likened to Lucifer. He also is a famous debaucherer and commits adultery wherever he goes. Oh well, at least he owns a private helicopter, or so I've heard. Anyways, this evidence clearly points out that he is Satan trying to find a fertile womb to plant his demonic sperm in, harvesting an Unholy Spawn of Satan that will lead his Armies of Oracle Business Partners (anyone read through the Business Partner Agreement? Notice the bit about providing able bodied men for the spreading of evil?) in Armageddon.

    Since Larry Ellison is also a white male american, we can target him (and subsequently Oracle) for racial hatred (I mean, how many Oracle chair members are black? Asian? Hispanic? Female?)
    He also might be a redneck. I mean, does he own a gun? If he does, he's a right wing nazi pig, if he doesn't, he's a bloody treehugger extremist. Be creative.

    I suggest, for consistency reasons, that we continue using bad guys from Star Trek, and use the Dominion as a base for Oracle.

    It may, at first, seem difficult to split a software company that really markets only one product, but when you look at Oracle you really see the one true way to split it:
    Ora and Cle.

  • Out of the eight replies I got to this I decided out some masochistic urge I don't want to admit to answer to this one.

    huh?

    Linux has made its way into the mail server and web server markets that Microsoft by its high liscensing fees have abandoned. We are slowly surrounded the Microsoft bear and eventually could dominate the server rooms in a way that will make Mickeysoft's Neanderthal Technology a thing of the past. However, I hope that the effort is not hampered by the insistence that Linux become an end-user product. I think it is nice that Linux has become so easy for the geekish population to use.

    well, linux domination aside, i really don't disagree with anything in your reply. my point was that oracle has an existing, legal, and profitable business, and they're facing the prospect of being obliterated by illegal (monopoly) means. they've seen most people in the industry obliterated by the microsoft monopoly. it's about corporate survival. they don't have time to slowly embrace and strangle microsoft, they're a high profile target. if microsoft can effectively use it's OS monopoly to oust oracle with MS SQL, they're instantly fucked.

    the only reason this hasn't happened is that unlike quality leaders borland and qualcomm (crushed by inferior products), being a quality leader in databases really matters. banks and fortune 500 business get very touchy when it comes to data survival and mickey-mouse microsoft bullshit (oh we're sorry, that won't work unless you upgrade) won't fly with them. that's the only reason oracle is still around.

    and they know it. if microsoft can ever approach their product with real quality, they can leverage their monopoly and oracle is finished. therefore i would not be surprised if oracle takes a survive-by-any-means-necessary approach to combatting microsoft - microsoft plays outside the law, therefore so must they.

    at least, that's what i would do.

    it's about survival!

  • But, if it helps ensure more vigorous competition in the business world then I don't see how anyone can really argue that this is a bad thing - after all it's not like they're after personal secrets is it? Most corporations have too much to hide anyway.

    Ahh, but personal secrets have the most leverage! Its one thing to get the poop on say MS labor problems, products, shady deals, etc. But think of the leverage that you get when you find out and can prove that...*

    ...Melinda G. gets regularly sodomized by strange black men.

    ...Steve B. is addicted to speedballs.

    ...Larry E. has an affinity for little boys/girls.

    All these powerful people have weird personal quirks that they don't want let out, and some get really bad habits. J. Edgar Hoover was the master of this kind "leverage" -- an author was going to print a nasty book about him in the '50s until Hoover sent the guy a photo of his wife blowing their negro (this was the 50s now) chauffer in the back seat of the car. Book didn't get published. You can only use this info sparingly if at all, but used properly it is absolutely devastating.

    * Names and descriptions are purely fictional.

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @05:18AM (#971555)
    The reaction shouldn't be different, but it would have been.

    Probably because nobody realy fears Oracle the way Apple fans (to use your example) fear Microsoft.

    Oracle sells databases. I've never seen anybody become emotionally attatched to a database platform the way one would a great car or a computer. Nobody says "omygod, if Oracle wins, MySQL might be gone forever! They must be stopped!"

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has driven a lot of interesting personal computing companies into the ground. My impression of Larry Ellison is that he would do the same if he were to his advantage, but its not (at the moment).

    Bottom line is when a monkey misbehaves, it's a problem, but when The 800 Pound Gorilla misbehaves, it's a much bigger problem.

    Let us not forget that it was not that long ago when Big Blue was the hated Evil Empire. IBM was on the verge of facing anti-trust regulation themselved, when Gates and Balmer managed to usurp the throne from them. Five or ten years from now it will be some other company (maybe Oracle) that terrorizes the entire industry and Must Be Stopped.

    None of this changes the fact that Microsoft richly deserves every last wad of spit that has been lobbed towards Redmond lately.

  • There has been several reports on the financial news channels in the last few weeks about how IGI has also worked for M$.

    The claims are that M$ has also used IGI for dirty work to dig up information on people involved in lawsuits with M$. Its what IGI does best, there is no reason why Oracle couldn't use them as well. They are mercenaries, they'll dig up dirt for any price, and they have no loyalties to anyone except the highest bidder.

    And I don't see this as a newsworthy story. This type of action goes on all the time in the corporate world. /. has decided to highlight it because the fight against M$'s criminal actions is making headlines right now, but that doesn't make this a unique situation.

    the AC

  • The reaction shouldn't be different, but it would have been. A few people may find this incident mildly perturbing, but if Microsoft had instigated a similar investigation against, say, Apple's friends (Adobe, Disney, ATi, IBM, Motorola, possibly Sun and AOL) we'd have thousands of people yelling and screaming.

    This is true. It's mostly a matter of power. People will cut Oracle slack simply because they don't fear it the way they do Microsoft.

    Microsoft is the king, Oracle is just an ambitious lord. No one wants to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But let one of the local noblemen walk out of their castle buck naked . . .
  • Just to get some boilerplate out of the way:

    1. I ain't a US-qualified lawyer, but I doubt that US v. Microsoft will be affected. It isn't a relevant factor in litigation between two parties, even when one of those parties is the government, that some third party acted like an arsehole to help one of the parties in the fight.
    2. I hold no brief for Microsoft. I use some of their stuff, and less with each upgrade cycle. I think their business practices as presented to the court are morally repugnant, and I'm unimpressed with the quality of their stuff.

    That out of the way, lots of people are saying fair play to Oracle because they were shafting MS. Others have said that the practice is so common in business as to be unremarkable, even laudable in the present business environment.

    It appears that there is nothing illegal in what has been done: well, OK so far. IANAUSQL, so my opinion on the subject in this case is more or less worthless.

    What I don't buy is that this sort of thing is ethical or laudable. We're talking about competing not by trying to provide a better service at a lower price, but by stitching up the competition.

    It might be lawful and commonplace and it might be done for a laudable aim, but frankly, those are not reasons to approve. To hold otherwise is to say that the end justifies the means, which simply Will Not Do, My Dears.

  • by Lita Juarez ( 201217 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:49AM (#971575)
    The BBC is also running an article on this, here [bbc.co.uk]
  • But they're very close to the line. Remember, Disney, Viacom/CBS and soon AOL Time Warner not only has the major means of content creation, but also major control of content distribution, too.

    I mean, look at AOL Time Warner. The majority of their divisions are THE dominant player in their respective fields (they are perhaps THE most influential company in the cable/satellite TV market when you combine CNN, CNN Headline News, CNNfn, CNN/SI, CNN International, TBS Superstation, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, HBO, HBO Multichannel, HBO Family, HBO en Espanol, Cinemax, Cinemax Multichannel, and TVKO PPV). AOL Time Warner is essentially the fictional Elliot Carver's multimedia empire from the James Bond movie TOMORROW NEVER DIES becoming reality. AOL Time Warner's conglomeration of media power has literally no precedent in the history of the entertainment and newsgathering companies.
  • Oh, so _this_ is why their stock dropped recently.
  • I believe Oracle has reached the top, not through being the best, but through marketing hype. Does this sound like another company we know?

    There's a difference between succeeding on hype and marketing (these are legal) and using your monopoly power to shut down competitors and make new monopolies in other markest (those are illegal). Just being hyped doesn't prevent a competitor from eating your lunch; threatening OEMs so that they don't ship your competitor's product is an effective (again illegal) way to protect your company from any competition and any incentive to improve your product.

  • by Chemical Serenity ( 1324 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:53AM (#971589) Homepage Journal
    You don't see oracle crushing competetors they can't buy or bully. You don't hear people complaining about how oracle works, technically speaking.

    Oracle has a damn fine reputation as being the best (or among the best) provider of business solutions (read: big ass data mulinexing) because they make damn fine software. Thier marketshare is based predominantly on merit, and not some massive marketing campaign. In fact, the first time I've recall ever seeing oracle ads on TV was around a year ago.

    So given that the company overall has a good attitude and produces great products, then yeah... I'm fully prepared to cut them some slack in the corporate shenangians area. I think doing a dirt dig is a scummy move, but in a way it seems almost poetic justice that they're doing em on the lackeys of Bill, the grand poobah of scummy moves.



    --
    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • by Jon Erikson ( 198204 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:53AM (#971591)

    Seriously, if this comes as a suprise to anybody then they obviously don't know much about the business world at all. Corporate espionage and intelligence gathering has been one of the fastest growing market sectors, along with "head-hunting", for the last decade or so, and the trend looks set to continue.

    Any corporation that wants to get ahead of its rivals in of course extremely interested in what is going on with their rivals. And there are plenty of agencies which specialise in finding out facts that aren't published in the annual company review.

    As a professional consultant I've worked with very large Fortune 500 corporations, and after working on introducing an ERP solution for one of them, I was approached thorugh my agency by a "client". At lunch I was asked several innocent sounding questions about the company who I'd just been working with, and the client was never heard from again.

    But, if it helps ensure more vigorous competition in the business world then I don't see how anyone can really argue that this is a bad thing - after all it's not like they're after personal secrets is it? Most corporations have too much to hide anyway.


    ---
    Jon E. Erikson
  • Wouldn't the bribery in and of itself be illegal? As far as I understood, the previous rulings were about cops going through the dumpsters which was located on public premises, never about bribing cleaning personnel.

    > why is there anything "illegal" about a private citizen, or a service agency hired by one of the victims, doing the trash picking?

    The victim hired the service agency for the express purpose of cleaning, and he should be able to expect that the agency should stick to that task while on the victim's premises. To take a computer analogy, it's akin to a program that describes itself as a disk defragmenter, but that in reality also mails the contents of your Trash folder to Oracle. That's usually called a trojan horse.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @07:13AM (#971605) Journal
    Well, the illegal part was the fraud perperated when someone tried to bribe the janitors for the trash to sift through.

    The courts have promulgated a rule about trash, fo the purposes of criminal investigations. The rule seems appropriate in this situation as well:

    - If you discrad something, it's fair game for searches. (A "reasonable and prudent person" would have no "expectation" that the information on it would be safe from hostile viewers.)

    - If you shred it first, it's not. (I.e. the cops don't get to sort the strips, stick them back together, and use them as evidence.)

    If the courts recognize that you can expect the information on documents thrown into the trash, without shredding, to come back to haunt you in criminal cases, why is there anything "illegal" about a private citizen, or a service agency hired by one of the victims, doing the trash picking?

    It's only a problem if they hire the janitors to give them trash they were supposed to shread.

    As for fraud, WHAT fraud? Who was defrauded? Who defrauded whom? Again, the only way a fraud would be perpetrated is if the janitor handed over trash that he was hired to shread, or if he diverted it from a recycling operation he was specifically directed to use.
  • I've used Oracle 7, MS SQL Server 7 and Sybase Adaptive Server 11.somthing

    Sybase can't do left outer joins and then filter the results with a "where" clause. That is stupid.

    There's some stupid limitation about how you can't pass blobs as parameters to stored procedures (Can't remember the details, though).

    I'd choose MS SQL Server 7 over Sybase anyday (even though NT bogs down pretty quick). ANSI 92 SQL is wonderful to work with, and the client side tools are great (compare MS Query analyzer with having to look at Sybase or Oracle query plans by hand).

    Oracle is great, too, of course, although I did find a bug once. In v7.2 you can't use nested result sets in queries in stored procedures. It was fixed in 7.4, though.

  • I liked the movie

    for the clueles "insider"
    --
  • He has said on a number of occasions that he plans to donate 98% of his personal wealth - presumably most of it will go to the foundation.

    There is no way in hell that he will even be able to actually get those money -- all he has is overvalued Microsoft stock. That means, all his "donations" will be in stock -- and still there will be no way to buy anything significant on it without driving the price into the ground. Then he would argue that falling of the stock price will cause harm to all the things, he donated it to, so his precious company should be preserved.

  • "I hate to say it, but would reactions be different if it was Microsoft who hired IGI against another company?"

    The implied question here is a false analogy. Yes, we would be angry if Microsoft hired a private detective to dig up dirt on a rival. But that's because Microsoft's rivals are usually a) weaker than MS and b) doing nothing wrong (other than pissing off MS).

    But let's imagine that MS dug up some dirt on, say, RJR Nabisco. I don't think we'd have a problem with that.
    --
  • by a.out ( 31606 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2000 @04:55AM (#971621)
    would reactions be different if it was Microsoft who hired IGI against another company?

    -If it was Microsoft who did the hiring we'd all be crying bloody murder.
    -If Microsoft had nothing to do with it it woudn't show up on slashdot. Can you picture the headline: Nortel hires IGI against Acatel? Neither could I, mostly because we wouldn't care. Why? Because a lot of us are all hellbent on beating MSFT into the ground and thus will focus in on all the bad points.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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