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FTC Attorney Joins Microsoft 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the stacking-the-deck dept.
inode_buddha writes "Randall Long, a senior attorney who led several antitrust investigations against Google, has been hired by Microsoft. From the article: 'The software giant told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it hired Randall Long, an official at the FTC's Bureau of Competition. When he joins the software giant at the end of the month, Long will head up Microsoft's regulatory affairs division in Washington. Long was involved in FTC reviews of Google's acquisitions of both DoubleClick and AdMob. According to the Journal's unnamed sources, Long was especially outspoken about Google's AdMob acquisition, saying that the FTC should challenge the deal. His reservations were eventually set aside and the deal was approved in 2010.'"
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FTC Attorney Joins Microsoft

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  • Re:Graft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unreadepitaph (1537383) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:28PM (#39243453)
    They just don't even try to hide it anymore, do they.
  • Re:Graft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) * on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:49PM (#39243557)

    Well the US is not one of those places. People are pretty much free to quit one job and take another. Joining government might be harder.

    In fact the only place I'm aware of an outright ban is France [wikipedia.org], where a three year waiting period must lapse before quitting government and joining the private sector. How one feeds himself and is family during this three years is not explained.

    Other jurisdictions may impose restrictions via NDAs, and there are rules about defense contractor hiring, but only into specific jobs (procurement specialists can't join sales teams upon leaving government).

    Besides... He's a lawyer.
    Anything he did for the FTC is Attorney Client privileged, and we know Attorneys never violate that now don't we?. *cough*.

  • Re:Job over? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phrostie (121428) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @09:07PM (#39243647)

    I suspect he's been working for M$ for a while now.

    it's just official now.

  • Re:Job over? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @09:13PM (#39243683)

    Perhaps he had a prior arrangement with Google's competitor to develop distrust, in exchange for a well-paid sinecure once he was done.

    "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink." - Martin Lomasney

  • Revolving Door (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @09:14PM (#39243691) Journal

    It's another case of revolving door - where a senior government officer getting a high ranking position in the private sector the minute he quit his government job

    I'm afraid that in a civil society like what we have, we can't do nothing to this form of corruption

  • Re:First post! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @10:09PM (#39243941) Journal

    The sad part to me is they don't even try to be subtle about it anymore, a corp will hire some elected official to shill and then give them a cushy job when they manage to get what they wanted. this is why my two boys refuse to even vote as they see no point in participating what is now obviously a completely corrupted system and with crap like this occurring daily frankly there isn't a single thing I can think of to use as a counterargument. From the local to the national its all nepotism and cronyism and bribery, revolving doors and backroom deals.

    I have to wonder if this is how it ends, just one slimy roll downhill as the corps and politicians steal as much as they can before bailing when it all falls down like the fall of Saigon.

  • Re:tin foil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:46AM (#39244697)

    perhaps he was never really working for the FTC to begin with, in fact, I dont even believe that this man exists!

    It's easy to dismiss a lot of concerns as paranoia. That's an easy, cheap-shot retort around here. But sometimes suspecting conspiracy is more logical than believing governments/corporations/lawyers at face value.

    If I said, "I suspect the Russian elections were unfair," would you shoot back with that same old tin-foil retort?

    This hire looks like a duck, it waddles like a duck, and it quacks like a duck. As far as I'm concerned, it's a duck unless someone can prove to me it's an ugly swan. This guy has used his position in government to help Microsoft - whether it was agreed upon or coordinated or whathaveyou is irrelevant because accepting money from them looks shady and is ethically questionable. It looks like graft, the money moves hands like graft, and if money could talk then it would sound like graft, too. I don't consider myself paranoid, just cynical. Especially when Microsoft and the government are involved.

  • Re:First post! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:38AM (#39244905) Journal

    Haven't your heard the whole "when good men do nothing, evil flourishes" bit?

    I agree with his boys, actually. Everyone's heard that, but a simple application of logic points out the flaw in your reasoning.

    "If good men do nothing, evil triumphs" does NOT imply "If good men do not do nothing[0], evil does not triumph." Instead, it's become empirically clear that "good men doing something" is pretty much "pissing into the wind."

    I think I am doing far better than the average voter myself who just checks off the ballot down party lines.

    You're not. Simply because you are in the tiny minority, so whatever your doing is basically statistical 'noise.'

    [0]Double negatives are valid in symbolic logic. :P

  • Re:First post! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Monday March 05, 2012 @02:16AM (#39245027) Journal

    It implies "evil does not triumph if good men do not do nothing". That is, "evil does not triumph if good men do something".

    Not so.
    p: "Good men do nothing"
    q: "Evil triumps"

    "IF p THEN q" :
    Truth table
    p q "p -> q"
    T T T
    T F F
    F T T
    F F T

    As you can see from the truth table, if good men do something, then it's pretty much up in the air. And as you pointed out, the self-feeding system is already pretty well armored against interference by the "good men."

    The battle's lost. Just live with it and keep your head down until you die and it's not your problem anymore. That's my philosophy these days. All these idiots don't really deserve any noble sacrifices to save them from the fruits of their own complacency, anyway.

  • Re:Graft (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday March 05, 2012 @03:14AM (#39245265) Homepage

    By all means, let's dissect this further, then.

    Randall Long was not a judge. He was an investigator, whose primary cases involving Google ended almost two years ago, didn't do much to hinder the giant, and did very little to help Microsoft (who wasn't really even involved in the cases, either). In his most significant case (the acquisition of AdMob), Mr. Long's recommendation to challenge the deal wasn't even followed by the commission. The FTC's recent investigations have regarded business practices rather than mergers, so Mr. Long wasn't even involved. The theory that this new job is a payout for past favors doesn't make much sense. If he was a crony, he's one of the least-effective ones in history.

    There is another theory that is actually supported by facts. The lobbyist position for Mr. Long could simply be a new career as a lobbyist. Contrary to Slashdot's beloved groupthink, politics isn't a deterministic system ruled by logic. It's a complex tangled mess of politicians thinking, protesters complaining, and committees meeting. Rather than have interns read thousands of letters from "concerned member of An Entity", representatives meet with a single person from An Entity, and understand that the single person is directly representing a few thousand people, be them union workers, employees, shareholders, parents, artists, or anyone else. That representative can then explain the perspective of the thousands of people all at once, clearly, and in a manner that irritates the politician much less than a flood of angry letters.

    The biggest problem with this tangled mess of politics is getting that representative in an office with the politician in the first place. Most phone calls are handled by interns, with the main goal of "don't bother the politician". If you call, they'll tally your comments and report on it, but don't expect to directly speak to your Congressmen. Letters may only be tallied in samples. With so many bills passing through the legislature and so many lawsuits passing through the judicial system, getting a few moments of time with a politician is nearly impossible.

    Almost everybody likes hearing from an old friend, though, even if they're going to be promoting some particular viewpoint. It's here that I think Mr. Long's main qualification for the job lies. He's been in Washington D.C. since 1999, and is (according to the WSJ article) held in high regard. I doubt it's possible to be in that kind of position and not make friends. Making connections certainly isn't the main goal for an FTC attorney, but it happens regardless. I used to work in the medical industry (in IT) and I could probably still get the attention of some of the most senior surgeons if I needed something special, just because I know who to call and what to say.

    Now, this isn't to suggest that everything is perfectly moral. Somehow, Mr. Long did manage to fall into a seemingly custom-made position in a company based on the other side of the country. I find it very likely that Microsoft wanted his connections, and made him a ridiculously overpaid offer to join them. The likelihood of a bias against Google just makes the deal better for Microsoft.

    The bottom line is that it's more likely this job is an effect of Mr. Long's goals and abilities aligning with Microsoft's goals and needs, rather than being the result of some secret conspiracy.

    Then again most of your posts -- even the ones modded up -- are pretty trollish. I expect you'll completely miss the point and include some nice sarcasm in retort.

    As should be obvious by now, I find Slashdot's hive mind disgusting. There is little concern for facts or reason, and much support for conspiracy theories and persecution mentalities. I often use sarcasm to illustrate the logical leaps necessary to sustain such theories - such as the need to erase a government agent's memory to make them unsuitable as a lobbyist. Apart from outright sarcasm, I do not intentionally troll. I mean every word I say. That's why I use my name.

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