Watching the detectives


Watching the detectives

Software maker, Oracle has acknowledged that it hired a detective agency to investigate allies of Microsoft in an effort to expose its rival's "underhanded activities", reported the Wall Street Journal recently.

According to the article, the company had done so with the intention of disclosing internal documents to the media about Microsoft's political activities, to fight the Justice Department's "landmark antitrust case" against the Bill Gates-founded software giant.

In a statement, Oracle confirmed its yearlong use of detective firm, Investigative Group International - which reportedly used tactics such as offering to buy the office trash of one Microsoft ally to discover information.

"As a result, Oracle discovered that both the Independent Institute (of Oakland, California) and the National Taxpayers Union (of Arlington, Virginia) were misrepresenting themselves as independent advocacy groups, when in fact their work was funded by Microsoft for the express purpose of influencing public opinion in favour of Microsoft during its antitrust trial," read the statement.

However, Oracle denied any knowledge of illegal activities by IGI, and the agency said it abided strictly by the law, despite the fact that its investigator who led the Microsoft project resigned last week, noted the article.

Microsoft spokesman Vivek Varma commented, "This is further evidence that our competitors have conducted an orchestrated PR and lobbying campaign to generate government intervention into a market place that is working for consumers. This is a pretty sad commentary to resort to these sorts of actions. It's a bad day for the industry."

The Wall Street Journal also said that Oracle had hired a PR firm to distribute damaging information about Microsoft's allies to media outlets, and confirmed that the company, currently number two software maker behind Microsoft, was among those businesses that provided documents to the Justice Department during its antitrust investigation of Microsoft.

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This was first published in July 2000


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