Monday, 5 May 2008

Defaming Microsoft

The BBC write to inform me that they have deleted a comment a made on a BBC blog because it is (they say) potentially defamatory.

This is what I wrote originally about the MS-Yahoo deal (which sadly has been called off):

As a Linux fan, I honestly can't wait for this deal to go through.

Microsoft will eviscerate Yahoo, turning away all the open source fans who work there and lamely attempting to port all the server-side software to Windows (that worked out well for Hotmail). And they'll have $44bn less cash in the bank to bribe politicians and standards bodies.

Bring it on, please.

And this is the form letter from the BBC:

Thank you for contributing to a BBC Blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your content below

Postings to BBC blogs will be removed if they appear to be potentially defamatory.

You can find out more about Defamation at

1 comment:

Flying Frog Consultancy Ltd. said...

The problem is that you accused them of bribing policians, so you are accusing them of a crime (in the UK but not in the US, where that is part of the ordinary political process).

However, I would note that the BBC always used to pride themselves on removing advertising from their programmes because they are funded by TV licenses (a form of "protection money": they will not threaten you and try to drag you into court as long as you keep paying £140 a year, even if you are blind or physically unable to receive their broadcasts) instead of being funded by advertising. So the BBC always used to blur out adverts in every form, even including Reebok written on the side of someone's shoes.

This was theoretically a good idea: giving people the choice between capitalist- and communist-style TV programming. Unfortunately, many of the BBC's programmes are now little more than laborious advertisements for companies like Microsoft. When Microsoft launched Vista earlier this year, the BBC presented a 30 minute "news" segment where they interviewed Microsoft employees wearing T-shirts with Microsoft logos outside a building clearly labelled "Microsoft", discussing their latest Microsoft product and how great it must be. They mentioned no alternatives whatsoever and I have never seen the BBC go to such great lengths to advertise other people's products (like our F#.NET Journal, for example).

They made no attempt to remove any of the blatant advertising and the only logical conclusion we can draw is surely that the BBC belong alongside politicians and standards bodies on your growing list.

Jon Harrop.