Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In The Pay of Foundations: How U.S. power elite foundations fund a `parallel left' media network--Part 18

Democracy Now! foundation funder: Owns Microsoft/RealNetworks stock
In The Pay of Foundations—Part 18

How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a “parallel left” media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.

Randall Rothenberg’s Aug.1,1999 Wired magazine article indicated that longtime Democracy Now! funder Glaser developed a “strategic alliance” between his RealNetworks Inc. and Bill Gates’s Microsoft in 1997:

“Bill Gates…eventually came to understand that his former protégé was on to something - something he wanted….In 1997,…Microsoft was becoming a… competitive threat. .Glaser quickly arranged a Friday evening meeting with two Microsoft senior executives, Paul Maritz and Greg Maffei…A strategic alliance was quickly cemented, which allowed Microsoft to license, for $30 million, Real's version 4.0 source code and bundle the client with Internet Explorer. The source code would enable Microsoft to make software capable of playing and serving the enormous amount of Web content available in Real's format. Microsoft spent another $30 million for a 10 percent stake in Real….”

DemocracyNow! funder's firm formed "strategic alliance" with Microsoft monopoly in 1997
As Amy Kover’s 2000 Fortune magazine article noted, in 1997 “Glaser's most richly layered relationship” was “with Microsoft;” and “his relationship with Microsoft seemed fine--the software giant even bought a 10% stake in Real in 1997.”

But after Microsoft “delivered a killing blow” to RealNetworks Inc.’s “main revenue source” by releasing “its own, free version of the Real server,” according to the 1999 Wired magazine article, former Microsoft VP Glaser then testified before a U.S. Senate Committee on July 23, 1998 that “I believe Microsoft is taking actions that create obstacles to the freedom and openness of the Internet” and that “What Microsoft is doing is wrong and must be stopped.” And “a few months later, Microsoft withdrew its investment” in RealNetworks, according to the 2000 Fortune magazine article.

Yet despite Glaser’s 1998 assertion that “What Microsoft is doing is wrong and must be stopped,” his Glaser Progress Foundation was still willing to own 107,520 shares of Microsoft stock, worth $7,123,200 [equal to over $10 million in 2018] in 2001, according to its Form 990 financial filing for 2001, when the Glaser Progress Foundation gave the Institute for Media Analysis a $40,000 [equal to over $56,000 in 2018] grant to help fund “Democracy Now! `War and Peace Report.’

And from its 2.107,545 shares of RealNetworks stock that was worth $12,518,817 [equal to over $17.7 million in 2018] and its investment in Microsoft monopoly stock--his Glaser Progress Foundation received $764,356 [equal to over $1 million in 2018] in dividends in 2001.

Since Gates’ Microsoft monopoly was apparently still now threatening the ability of Glaser’s RealNetworks firm to make big money from the digital media market in the early 21st-century, in late 2003 Glaser’s RealNetworks lawyers filed a lawsuit against Microsoft. As Joris Evers and Robert McMillan observed in a Dec.18, 2003 IDG News Service article that was reposted on the PC World magazine’s website:

“RealNetworks has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging the software giant has illegally used its power as a monopoly to control the digital media market.…RealNetworks accuses Microsoft of unlawful tactics including product bundling, restrictive licensing, exclusive dealing, predatory pricing, refusing to sell unbundled operating systems and discriminatory disclosure and withholding of information needed to interoperate with the Windows operating system, according to a copy of the complaint. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages lost because of `Microsoft's illegal conduct,’ according to statement attributed to Rob Glaser, RealNetworks' chair and CEO. He is a former Microsoft official… In 1997, Microsoft had virtually no presence in the digital media space, but by 2002, Microsoft's `anticompetitive conduct’ enabled it to surpass RealNetworks' market share for media players and usage in the U.S., RealNetworks says in its complaint…” 

In response to RealNetworks’ lawsuit, however, Microsoft agreed to pay Democray Now! show funder Glaser’s RealNetworks media firm a settlement of $761 million in 2005 and, according to Elizabeth Montalbano’s Oct. 11, 2005 IDG News Service article that PC World reposted on its website,  Microsoft and RealNetworks then “forged a partnership to promote digital music and games in three agreements.” As the same 2005 article also observed:

“Microsoft will pay RealNetworks $460 million up front to resolve all damages and claims in the suit, and the companies will agree to a series of technology licenses and commitments that will give RealNetworks long-term access to Windows Media technologies to enhance its own media software, according to the companies. Under the terms of the deals, the companies…will jointly promote and market RealNetworks' music subscription service, Rhapsody, on Microsoft MSN. In addition, Microsoft will offer RealNetworks' digital games through MSN Games and Xbox Live Arcade for XBox 360…Microsoft Chairman and Chief Architect Bill Gates said that the settlement spells an opportunity for Microsoft and RealNetworks to collaborate on innovative ways to deliver digital media to consumers on a variety of devices….

“Microsoft also will pay RealNetworks $301 million in cash and provide services over 18 months to support RealNetworks' product development, distribution, and marketing under the music and game agreements. At the same time, RealNetworks will support MSN Search, and the two companies together will promote the use of Windows Media technologies with RealNetworks' Rhapsody to Go service, according to the companies. In addition, RealNetworks also will support Microsoft's Windows Media DRM (digital rights management) format in its RealPlayer media software, a move that helps Microsoft evolve Windows as the platform for a digital media hub, said Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.”

And despite his firm’s 2003 lawsuit and his 2003 assertion that Microsoft was still engaging in “illegal conduct” in the early 21st-century, in 2004—when Democracy Now! Productions was given a grant of $100,000 [equal to over $133,000 in 2018] by the Glaser Progress Foundation—Glaser’s foundation still owned 215,000 shares of Microsoft stock, worth $5,745,869 [equal to over $7.6 million in 2018], from which it received a net investment income of $744,197 [equal to over $995,000 in 2018], according to the Glaser Progress Foundation’s Form 990 financial filing for 2004..

DemocracyNow! funder: Received $761 Million from/Partnered with Microsoft in 2005
Thus, after helping to fund Democracy Now! between 2001 and 2004 with 4 grants, totaling $300,000, former Microsoft VP Glaser’s Glaser Progress Foundation, continued to own millions of dollars worth of Microsoft monopoly corporate stock at the same time it funded Democracy Now!; and Glaser's RealNetworks firm continue to collaborate on a business level with Gates' Microsoft monopoly.. Yet, not surprisingly, Democracy Now! did not air many news segments between 2005 and 2018 that examined how Glaser obtained his personal wealth or how his Glaser Progress Foundation obtained its grant money.  (end of part 18)