Michael Robertson EXPOSED! Disturbing Facts about the founder of MP3.com, Linspire, SIPphone, and MP3tunes.


The REAL Michael Robertson Exposed!


Freespire.com is dedicated to shedding light on the REAL Michael Robertson
by those who know him personally and have worked with him for years.


Michael Robertson does NOT want you to read this website! In fact, he spent over an estimated $100,000, unsuccessfully trying to shut this site down. He obviously wouldn't want the quotes and facts exposed here to be known by the general public. We've seen Robertson go to great lengths to create a skewed public persona, quite different from the one you'll hear about from those who know him. (Read below comments from over 40 people who have worked with Robertson.)  He and his family have watched, censored and whitewashed his Wikipedia entry, removing unflattering facts that tell the true story.  Robertson also has removed truthful posts from his personal blog which put him in an unfavorable light. However, here at Freespire.com, you can learn about the REAL Michael Robertson, directly from dozens of people who have had the sad misfortune of having worked closely with him.   

NOTE: If Robertson tries to fool you by telling you that the below quotes are made up, email us us for the contact information to verify each quote for yourself.

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"He's a snake in the grass, and everyone (even his remaining employees, from the ones I've talked to) is able to see it these days. Good riddance, I just wish so many good people hadn't been dragged down with him." Cody Brocious -- Former MP3Tunes Employee

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"While at MP3.com, Robertson was participating in what I felt was an unethical personal activity, and was cocky enough to involve his admin staff by requiring them to cover it up. His ego was insurmountable, and no one could bring him back down to earth. His temper was at times frightening and many in the staff cowered in fear. If he didn't need anything directly from you, he didn't care who you were (management). However, there were others in exec management that balanced it off well enough for employees to stay on through most of the MyMP3.com debacle...one that we ALL knew was not going to fare well." Genie Holmes Hewitt - MP3.com - Partner Marketing Manager

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"I feel sorry for the LinuxMint team who trusted Robertson and Linspire enough to sign that CNR deal, they got screwed." Roberto J. Dohnert

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"I had lunch with another former Linspire employee last week and he said the offices are now just MR and one other person. Linspire had many talented people that passed through that went on to bigger and better things. It spawned new companies, opportunities and friendships. In those areas Linspire was a success and Robertson can claim no part of it (other than making us quit). People like Kevin, Tom and Chad made those possible. We all moved on and he is left in an office alone." Rob Ruth -- Former Linspire Employee

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"[Robertson] has been screwing artists for years." Joe Luba

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"I thought that I was just one unfortunate who had been treated...well let's just say less than equitably by MR, but now I see that a LOT of people were. Amazing. I guess I should have realized something was a bit wrong, when I sent MR an email after I was laid off saying something like 'thanks for the ride, MR, sorry it ended like this', and heard nothing back at all. At the time I just put it down to rudeness. Ah well. The one thing life has taught me is that 'what goes around comes around' in this world. It's a fact. :)" Nigel Powell -- Former President Europe of MP3.com

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"I worked for Michael Robertson at MP3.com. I was there pre-IPO. MP3.com was a wonderful place to work. My favorite gig ever. But dealing with Michael was the least pleasing aspect of the whole thing. He was incredibly arrogant, rude, and obnoxious. I'll never forget how he treated this intern kid who was somebody's personal assistant or something. He said he was looking for some big meeting or something. I knew there was a meeting going on in the main conference room so I pointed him that way and followed him there to make sure he found it. He went in to the meeting presumably already in progress and said "I'm so and so's assistant here for such and such meeting" and Michael said "No you aren't, get out!" The poor dude was crushed and I felt bad for having steered him into Michael's venom. I know plenty who feel like Lindows and other ill-conceived ventures were funded using THEIR money after he cratered their stock options. I just feel bad for how he treated people. I once heard one of the tech guys complaining about how Michael loved to say "If I gave you a million dollars could you make this work?!?!" And of course they did because they were rock stars and of course he didn't because he was a bastard." Former MP3.com Employee

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"I worked with Michael Robertson at SDSC - yes he was an ass hole even way back then pre-$$$ - pardon my French." Mark E. Trostler

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"WR Hambrecht + Co was Linspire's lead Investment Banker as it prepared for its IPO. The market took a turn for the worse, and they pulled out and Roth Capital took the lead. Robertson was so incensed that someone would have the gall to drop him and his company, he had me call WR Hambrecht's lead Investment Banker who was in change, Clay Corbus, and insist he fly down from San Fran and bring Bill Hambrecht (yes, WR himself) with him, whom we had never met and had no involvement in our IPO. Despite no longer having an engagement or obligation with us, out of courtesy they obliged and flew down thinking Robertson was just going to try and re-engage them. Instead, Robertson took them into our glass conference room and lit into Bill Hambrecht of which everyone at that end of the office could see and hear. Understandably upset that they had been set-up, ambushed and suckered into bringing down their boss, Mr Corbus left the office while Robertson continued to lecture Mr. Hambrecht. Mr. Hambrecht was a pure gentleman and didn't walk out despite Robertson childhood tirade. Linspire's President and I went and found Mr. Corbus and his colleague and profusely apologized for the trap Robertson had set. At the risk of losing our own jobs, we explained that this abusive behavior of Robertson's was the typical way he treated people, and they should be glad they were no longer involved with Robertson. If any future vendor, investor, VC or IBr wants to know what Robertson is like to work with, they should call WR Hambrecht or Clay Corbus. Oh, and Linspire's IPO road show went forward several weeks later and failed miserably because of the vary concerns that caused WR Hambrecht + Co to pull out. Bill got the last laugh without having to do it publicly." Chad Olson -- Former Linspire CFO

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"I worked with Michael at MP3.com for about 5 minutes, actually about 21 months....every desk, every vendor and all the building décor I had a hand-in. It was an incredible experience working with some of the best people in the industry at MP3 but MR has a knack for chewing people up and spitting them out burning bridges along the way. The true genius of MP3 was how MR exited a very wealthy man before getting sued for single handily becoming the single largest copyright infringer in the history of the world. Acting contrary to all professional and legal advice to test infringement laws with MyMP3 service was the most negligent act I have ever seen. He has been after a few engineers I know to fund start ups and I have told them to run!" Former MP3.com Employee

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"I worked with Robertson for over seven years at both MP3.com and then at Linspire. I found him to be incredibly insecure--the awkward picked-on kid who got 'wedgies' in high school gym glass, then later in life, when he became rich, turned into the revenge-of-the-nerd bully, leading to his destructive egotistical nature and constant berating of those he felt were beneath him (pretty much everyone). In all my many years in business, and over 20 years serving as a CEO, I've never met anyone with such a complete lack of morals (both professionally and personally), or as unethical and incompetent." Kevin Carmony -- Former CEO, Linspire

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"We liked what Linspire was doing, and we at Intel really wanted to work with them, but as long as Michael Robertson had controlling interest in Linspire, Intel simply could not be involved with them. We simply could never trust someone like him." Milind Khare, Intel, Director of Business Development
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"As you might surmise, we don't respond to Michael in any way simply because he does not deserve a response, and in any event he is looking for a fight in order to throw some small amount of attention at MP3Tunes. Well, we won't grant him even an iota of our attention. He is generally and deservedly ignored for the most part. Personally, I feel sorry for Michael. I find him pathetic." G.R., Executive with Apple Computers

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"Robertson wanted to do a joint venture with our music label and MP3tunes. I asked my engineers and other employees about this, and they all insisted we should never do business with him, each having different stories to tell of why he couldn't be trusted. So, we didn't do the deal, and I'm glad." J.B., Record Label Executive

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"Robertson sounds like he would have gotten along fine with Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. It really does seem that Linspire had an Enron-like collapse, only this time the crook has gotten away with murder so far. I do believe that one day Robertson will have to answer for his crimes." Darth Chaos

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"I've been following and supporting MR since the pre-release Lindows days, am a lifetime insider and I can't say I'm surprised by any of this. MR is the vaporware and BS king. All he's done for the FLOSS community is to take their hard work, re-brand it, and sell it as an innovative idea to make a buck, and he has failed miserably. It's time he came up with an original idea, instead of profiting off the hard work of others." Justin

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"It's just sad to see that Robertson was really reckless, he really has no respect to the people working with him - this will make future investors think twice before doing business with him. In my opinion he had no respect to the shareholders; I mean the least he can do is hold a meeting and give information to the shareholders..." Mark K

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"Robertson likes to pretend that he wants to help musicians, but all I ever saw him do was take advantage of them. In a meeting he told me, 'Selling music is like selling gravel.' That shows you how much respect he really had for artists and musicians." Former Executive - MP3Tunes

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"I too have worked for Robertson and his ego is his downfall. As with many people with overinflated egos, he's likely compensating for low self esteem." Former Robertson Employee

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"I had the misfortune of working for Michael Robertson at MP3.com. He's one of the most vile people I know, both professionally and personally." Former MP3.com Employee

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"I worked for Michael at MP3.com also. He was a real arrogant ass hole. MP3.com was the best company I have ever worked for with the worst founder I have ever worked for." Former Mp3.com Employee

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"The blind that believe robertson isn't just a thieving basssturd are all fools." Greg

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"Wow! I can't believe the guy is such an a$$hole! I've never run nor started my own company (yet), but I have helped other owners with their startups, which taught me that THE MOST important assets a company has are it's reputation and a group of talented employees. I can't imagine what it's like to be so drunk with greed and corruption that you are willing to ruin your employees lives and their own reputations." jimmershere
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"My feeling about Michael changed drastically after being at lindows/linspire. I thought he was a visionary like Steve Jobs. Instead i think he suffers from acute SJE (Steve Jobs Envy) syndrome. MR does have some good ideas however he is not willing to get out of the way and let people that know what they are doing make things work." John Bloodsworth - Former Linspire Employee

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"I don't think Robertson can live long enough to pay back all the bad Karma he's racked up. From treating artists like crap at MP3.com, to running as root at Linspire, to dumping on his employees, to hosing his investors and shareholders." smoore

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"As a Linspire shareholder who spent good hard cash to exercise my stock options, I agree there is no excuse for the way Michael has treated us. It was bad enough we had to put up with his rants and abuse while working for him, but this is now the final insult to our injury. Fair warning to all: NEVER WORK FOR OR INVEST IN MICHAEL ROBERTSON!" steelrange -- Linspire Shareholder & Former Employee

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"I had the misfortune to work with MR before he started mp3 and his even earlier ventures. Some of my friends from SDSC went with him when he left to do mp3. They all got screwed." Former Robertson Co-Worker

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"After reading Michael Robertson's blog, I had a lengthy email exchange with him. I was surprised at the level of religious bigotry he displayed, along with a great deal of arrogance and complete disregard for the truth (I busted him in his own lie, after which I never heard back again). He clearly has disdain for religion, claiming that churches never kick out the wrong doers. By his own standard, having been found liable in the largest copyright infringement case ever, he could never belong to any church. I have to say, my exchange with him only validated what others have said about him at freespire.com." Scott Kinsmeyer

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"I never liked Robertson and this is just further evidence as to why. He's one shady character." Andrew

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"I worked with Michael long ago, during the Filez days, and I was around when he bought the MP3.com domain name from its owner for $1000. Filez was a service that aggregated file listings from various public FTP servers, and most people used it to search for pirated software that had been uploaded to these FTP servers (sound familiar?). When he saw that many people were searching for the term "MP3," he registered the domain name, created a business around that, and the rest is history. I had misgivings about Michael's ethics even back then, years before IPO riches, and left before MP3.com got off the ground. Judging from the posts on this site, I was one of the lucky ones." P.C., Former pre-MP3.com Employee

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"I worked at Linspire about nine months...I had plenty of opportunity to observe how Michael Robertson does things... He was a petty, emotionally uncontrolled person, who engaged in tirades against employees over matters innocent or even when the employee was correct. A fair characterization would be 'abusive' -- I only got that treatment once, but I saw it happen to others. He would get an idea unrelated to Linspire and divert company resources to it, and they were invariably either bad ideas or at the least so badly executed as to be a waste of the resources involved. He did not recognize the normal and appropriate boundaries between Linspire & his other businesses." Phil -- Former Linspire Employee

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"I worked for Robertson but quit after I saw how he treated others. He's a very evil person. Stay far away from this man." Former Robertson Employee

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"I worked for one of Robertson's companies. He's very unstable. I'd never work for him again, nor would anyone else I know who has worked for him. Those of us who know him personally know what he's really like." Matt -- Former Robertson Employee

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"Any words that come out of Robertson's mouth are either: 1.) Stupid 2.) Lies 3.) Stupid lies" Brian

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"I worked at MP3.com and can tell you that it was successful in spite of Robertson, not because of him. Our biggest challenges usually stemmed from Robertson's ineptness, and...our ultimate demise was a direct outcome of his My.MP3 project. It was a true shame what he did to that once-great company." Vistalo -- Former MP3.com Employee

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"It's nice to see the truth about Robertson getting out there. Those like me who have had the misfortune of working with him know he's a creep, but others should know as well." Scott -- Former Robertson Employee

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"Robertson is no friend to shareholders. MP3, for starters. He's continued on his merry way since then." Kent -- Former MP3.com Employee

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"I worked for Robertson at MP3.com. He completely destroyed that company along with the stock option value of most employees." T -- Former MP3.com Employee

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"I'm glad to no longer have to deal with MR." Former SIPphone/Gizmo5 Employee

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"I wouldn't trust Robertson as far as I could throw him. He was terrible for Linux. He should just retire with his piles of money and stop hurting people." Scott

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"I watched the new Wall Street movie tonight, and I couldn't help but think about Robertson as it highlighted scummy businessmen. There was a great line where the scummiest of the businessmen was told, "I'll make you a deal, if you stop lying about me, I'll stop telling the truth about you." That made me think of freespire.com and how just telling the truth about Robertson makes him look bad and exposes him for the creep he is." Andy L

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"I worked at MP3.com. Sounds to me like Michael still hasn't gotten a life. He would always sit alone in his office and most everyone would avoid him, except for the few who tried to suck up to him. Most of the employees couldn't stand him, particularly after he messed up all our stock options with his copyright problems. Makes me sick every time I think about what he did to the hundreds of employees there." Former MP3.com Employee

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Have a comment you'd like to share about Michael Robertson? Email Your Comment

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FACT: Robertson filed a petition to legally change his name to Michael Lee Hammer, alleging he was abused during childhood by his stepfather. Robertson told this story of alleged abuse on the witness stand in the MP3tunes/EMI copyright trail. Of Robertson's performance, the judge stated that Robertson's "seemingly rehearsed, five-minute fable-like narrative left the jury nonplussed and Plaintiffs' counsel shell-shocked. It was a dramatic presentation. Even if true, Robertson's decision to spin this yarn backfired on him. The jury saw it for what it was—a transparent attempt to tug at their heartstrings. Jurors see through performances, and the Oscars are over for this year."  Read...

FACT: In 2010, Michael's wife Leslie Burcham filed for a legal separation from Robertson. Was this a classic Robertson scheme to try and hide assets from EMI and other plaintiffs who were pursuing Robertson by putting assets in his wife's name? Or, did she just come to her senses?  Read...

FACT: In August of 2011, Michael Robertson was found liable for copyright infringement yet again. The case is awaiting trial to determine damages, which could run to tens of millions of dollars.  Read...

FACT:  Nearly one-hundred shareholders of Robertson's company Linspire have now gone FIVE YEARS without hearing anything directly from him about what happened with their investment.  Robertson drove Linspire into liquidation, yet Millions in cash remain unaccounted for.  Shareholders were forced to sue, and still have never received any direct answers from Robertson.  Read...

FACT:  After failing to fully disclose all the facts in an insurance claim for which Robertson was awarded $100,000, Chubb Insurance and the California Department of Insurance opened an investigation to see if Robertson committed insurance fraud against Chubb. Read...

FACT:  When Robertson disagreed with the severance amounts Linspire's CEO gave several long-time employees when they were laid off, Robertson filed a police report against all these employees, calling them "embezzlers" so the greedy Robertson could try (unsuccessfully of course) to retrieve their severance.  Creepy, we know.  Read...

FACT:  Robertson attempted to sue Linspire's bank, Comerica, in an attempt to get Comerica to refund severance payments which had been made to laid-off Linspire employees. Laughably, Robertson alleged the severance payments were actually funds which had been embezzled by the laid-off Linspire employees. Of course, Robertson lost, with the lawsuit not even making it past summary judgment. Comerica expressed in a letter to Linspire that they felt Robertson was possibly trying to defraud their bank.  Read...

FACT:  Robertson spent over an estimated one hundred thousand dollars on an unsuccessful lawsuit to stifle freedom of speech and try to have Freespire.com taken down.  Fortunately, free speech prevailed and Robertson lost, but it shows to what lengths Robertson will go to in order to hide the truth about him.  Read...

FACT:  As CEO for MP3.com, Robertson's reckless copyright infringement tanked shareholder value.  Not surprising, Robertson made off with millions, but hundreds of investors lost big time.  Robertson likes to brag about the large "friends and family" program MP3.com offered with it's IPO.  The problem is, MP3.com went public at $28 per share, and then in less than two years was at $3, with the company being sold at $5 ($23 BELOW the IPO price).  So, unless they dumped their stock soon after the IPO, all those "friends and family" LOST big.  Gee, with friends like that, who needs enemies?  Read...

FACT:  Apparently not learning his lesson at MP3.com, Robertson and his company MP3tunes were sued by EMI for similar copyright infringement issues as those he was found liable for as CEO for MP3.com.  Robertson tried to pass the blame on to MP3tunes customers and even filed lawsuits against former employees after they were deposed in the EMI case, testifying against Robertson.  Read...

FACT:  At least five former Robertson employees (that we know of) have filed Forms 3949-A (IRS's form for reporting tax fraud) with the IRS, reporting Robertson and one of his companies for tax fraud. A Jury recently backed up the underlying evidence made by the former employees in this case, but to our knowledge, Robertson has still not paid the taxes that have been due for years.

FACT:  When Robertson's MP3tunes company filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Robertson stuck it to everyone from his lawyers ($1.4 million), to several employees ($10,775), to even the coffee vendor ($96). The only secured creditor he listed was HIMSELF, through his SKL Trust. No surprise there, classic Robertson move--as usual, he wanted to end up first in line while others got completely stiffed. Read...

FACT:  Michael Robertson, a self-proclaimed agnostic, went to great lengths to unsuccessfully try and have a Christian church kick out one of their members who was a former employee whom Robertson held a grudge against. Robertson made false allegations to the church of criminal activity by the former employee. UBER creepy, we know. (The Anti-Christian Expose' coming soon.)

FACT:
Tina Stahlke-Donaldson, a "special friend" of Robertson, was put on the payroll of his non-profit R.E.E.F. organization, then worked many hours for his FOR-profit businesses.  Great gig if you can get it, but is it legal?  What would the IRS say?  Furthermore, under Robertson's direct orders, this special friend became the only person to ever have Linspire buy back their shares AT OVER 20 TIMES the value she paid for them.  All the other Linspire common shareholders lost 100% of their investment.  Why was this particular girl so special?  (The upcoming Tina Expose'.) 

FACT:  While CEO for Linspire, Robertson entered into a lucrative agreement with yet another one of his "special friends."  Even though this was a sensitive agreement involving financing, Robertson entered into the agreement with her without any input from Linspire's President, CFO, Board of Directors, or other executives.  This agreement ended with this girl threatening litigation against Linspire.  Why was this girl also so special?  (The upcoming Danielle Expose'.)

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It would appear, in addition to his religious bigotry, Robertson is a racist as well. Click the below image to enlarge this series of tweets between Robertson and Tony Young, President of the San Diego City Council. It's likely Robertson was thinking his comment would remain private and that Tony wouldn't have re-tweeted it.

When confronted about his racist Tweet by the local San Diego paper, "Robertson didn’t back down from his critics or apologize." Also, not surprising, "No one sprang to Robertson’s defense."

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Anyone who has had the misfortune of working with Robertson will appreciate this...

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Have a comment you'd like to share about Michael Robertson? Email Your Comment



Before having any dealings with Michael Robertson, you should talk with those who have worked for him, partnered with him, or invested in his companies.  Email us for a list of dozens of people you can speak with about their experiences with Robertson, including former employees, board members, executive officers, personal assistants, affiliated businesses, vendors, law firms and attorneys, banks, insurance companies, VCs, investment banks, and investors.

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but a
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