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Florida lawyer now trying to get ignored on a national scale...

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Andy Martin, who first came to some modest attention in IT circles when he founded a pressure group five years ago called the Committee to Fight Microsoft Corporation, is campaigning in New Hampshire to become the Republican party candidate for US President next year. He's a Florida-based public interest lawyer, legal activist and the self-dubbed "first consumer activist of cyberspace". Yesterday he released a proposed statute to protect privacy, which he claimed was in response to a Washington Post article drawing attention to how telemarketers could obtain telephone information from blocked and unlisted telephone numbers. Martin favours the breakup of Microsoft and the banning of contracts between the divested enterprises. Despite Martin's frequent press releases, his CTFM has been shunned. Martin announced that he had mailed consumer fraud charges against Microsoft to all 50 state attorney generals, because Windows 95 did not work with 4Mb of RAM, as Microsoft had claimed, but it is unlikely that this affected the decision of 20 of them to join the DoJ in its action against Microsoft. Martin protested outside a New York store selling Windows 95 when it was released, which apparently resulted in the police controlling a crowd that formed. He was invited to appear on the CNBC television programme America's Talking that evening, but at the very last moment, when Martin was at the studios, he was told that the program segment was cancelled. Microsoft has a business relationship with NBC. An infuriated Martin announced the burning of Gates and Windows 95 in effigy in Florida, a funeral for Windows 95, and a "Boycott Bill Gates for Christmas" campaign, adding that he was suing NBC Television, General Electric and Microsoft for $50 million. He also tried to promote a ban on Windows 98. Wags have suggested that CTFM was quietly funded by Microsoft to forestall any more serious opposition. ®

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