EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.28.07

Microsoft Fuels OpenDocument Disinformation with Funded Analyst Propaganda

Posted in Deception, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 12:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As the vote on OOXML approaches, Microsoft takes the curtains off some more controversial weapons. Behind everyone’s backs, Microsoft has been paying and conducting so-called ‘independent’ studies, commissioned (i.e. bought) by Microsoft itself. The other weapon Microsoft uses right now is cunning deception. More about this in the next post.

A Little History First

This technique has roots in Microsoft’s past. Watch this antitrust exhibit [PDF]. To quote a favourite comment which one of our readers, gpl1, has brought to our attention:

“There’s an interesting article in the April 2007 issue of Harper’s magazine about panels, audits, and experts. It is called CTRL-ALT-DECEIT and is from evidence in Comes v. Microsoft, a class action suit in Iowa. Here’s a paragraph from a document admitted into evidence, called “Generalized Evangelism Timeline,” about guerrilla or evangelical marketing:

Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology is a key evangelism function. “Independent” analysts’ reports should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent consultants should write articles, give conference presentations, moderate stacked panels on our behalf, and set themselves up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour. “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and granted research money).

They advise cultivating “experts” early and recommending that they not publish anything pro-Microsoft, so that they can be viewed as “independent” later on, when they’re needed. This type of evangelical or guerilla marketing is apparently quite common in the high-tech fields, and seems to be used liberally by open source developers.

The document admitted into evidence also says, “The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator,” and explains how to find “pliable” moderators–those who will sell out.

It is all a big money game. Most activists in any field know of countless “hearings,” in which hundreds of citizens would testify before a panel, only to be ignored in favor of two or three industry “experts.” When a panel is chosen, the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion. As with elections, they don’t leave anything to chance.” (a post from a Mark E. Smith about exhibit PX03096 “Evangelism is War” from Comes v. Microsoft).

Can you see the comment on stacking of panels and using bogus studies? This is definitely a ‘smoking gun’ antitrust exhibits. The other day at Groklaw, grouch, who maintains a mirror, was able to confirm for me, based on his wget log, that this document is indeed authentic. It was used in Iowa against Microsoft last year.

Brian Jones Has Bought a New Gun

Two popular Microsoft blogs have just reported that Microsoft unleashed some serious anti-ODF and pro-OOXML “propaganda” (that’s their own word). Here is Mary Jo Foley’s take:

Bottom line: Don’t let the interoperability rhetoric coming out of Redmond fool you. Microsoft’s battle against open-source and “open standards” backers is not over. Nor is Microsoft’s policy of commissioning studies to convince users of the superiority of Microsoft’s solutions.

From Microsoft-Watch:

Today, Microsoft made available an IDC study about so-called open desktop file formats. It’s yet another Microsoft propaganda effort, as a crucial format standards vote approaches.

But Wait! Who is IDC?

IDC has a long history of being loyal to Microsoft. Simply put, IDC analysts do business with the monopoly. They don’t conduct studies as much as they sell studies. That’s just what they do for a living. They prove or defend a prescribed hypthesis no matter what. At the end they deliver some required figures, which can be massaged, spun, and delivered to journalists.

We’ll present some examples of IDC’s recent ‘path of destruction’.

A couple of months ago, IDC spread some classic FUD when Dell began stocking Linux PCs (whose sales figures have by far exceeded expectations). Here is what IDC had to say when Dell did not deliver Linux PCs to businesses.

Dell’s refusal to sell Ubuntu machines to small businesses makes sense, because those customers typically want PCs that let them get to work righ away. “It makes sense because the assumption is they want everything to work right out of the box,” Richard Shim, analyst for IDC, said. “With something like Ubuntu, it’s going to require some tinkering.”

IDC ended up with an egg right in the face. Dell delivers to SMBs now. The Linux business is going well and expands to other countries. Moreover, other OEMs have followed Dell’s examples since then.

Here is another nasty example:

IDC pronounces Linux unimportant to European economy [in Microsoft-commissioned study]

A recent IDC white paper on the economic impact of Microsoft’s super soaraway new Vista operating system seems to be lacking one crucial ingredient — other operating systems.

IDC’s deep entanglements with Microsoft have not escaped the attention of The Register, either (and Gartner, by the way, is even worse; much worse).

NY Times bans Microsoft analysts from Microsoft stories

Part of the problem stems from the reticence of companies such as IDC and Gartner to reveal their clients. That should make everyone nervous, but it doesn’t. So called objective technology publications keep publishing material bought by vendors without telling you this.

Linux is not the only IDC/Microsoft victim. Not so long ago, just before the fairly successful iPhone was unleashed upon the market, IDC muddied the water.

Has IDC got the wrong number for iPhone?

IDC has poured cold water on Apple’s iPhone just days after a previous survey led M:Metrics to talk up the new entry to the cellphone stakes. But are the new numbers sound?

[...]

The most obvious difference is in the sample size. M:Metrics had 11,060 respondents, IDC just 456. The sample space was also different, with M:Metrics apparently sampling from mobile phone subscribers, while IDC looked at online mobile phone shoppers.

Here is yet another ‘smoking gun’ Iowa court exhibit [PDF] for you.

[Microsoft manager:] I don’t like the fact that the report show us losing on TCO on webservers. I don’t like the fact that the report show us losing on availability [windows was down more than linux]. And I don’t like the fact that the reports says nothing new is coming with windows .net server.

[...]

“I don’t like it to be public on the doc that we sponsored it because I don’t think the outcome is as favorable as we had hoped. I just don’t like competitors using it as ammo against us. It is easier if it doesn’t mention that we sponsored it.”

It seems apparent that IDC has a certain phobia. It knows where the money is and that’s where its integrity lies. IDC lies. It sidles with wealthy companies. Despite Windows Vista being a failure, IDC had nothing but praises to offer. It was ushering of its arrival, for cash.

While reviewers debate the merits of Windows Vista and analysts puzzle the over the pace of adoption, IDC and Microsoft are in little doubt over its impact for the economies of America’s 50 states.

To date, IDC has estimated Windows Vista will create 37,000 new jobs and generate $15.5bn in related products and services across just four US states.

Here is another.

Vista launch to add 100,000 Europe IT jobs: study

The study, conducted by research firm IDC and commissioned by Microsoft, said Windows Vista will be installed on over 30 million personal computers in Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom within the first year of shipment.

Wow. As we all know, 7 months later, Windows Vista probably ended up costing the economy a lot of money because people downgrade to XP “in droves”, according to South Africa’s press (sounds like the “Broken Windows” economic concept). Some have moved to Linux or to Apple Macs.

IDC was actually involved in studies about document formats in the past. It goes back to 2006.

This study is a fact-based analysis of the emerging open document standards, Open XML and ODF.

Moving on from discussions about IDC in isolation, here is another item to bear in mind.

It’s often difficult to figure out the motivation behind a particular study – until one finds out who has commissioned and paid for it. The so-called tech consulting companies would love it if the consumer believes that they have conducted an “independent” study. The worrying thing is that not many people blow their cover.

And another.

We have a game we play around the office here with Microsoft press releases. The game is called Find the words that make the headline true. It’s not always easy.

[...]

Our point: Microsoft has a long history of using press releases to promote their product momentum in shall we say interesting ways, using words like “fastest growing” (meaning, the number we started with was really really small) to redefining words such as “sold.” It’s not good marketing practice. Why? Because once consumers and press people figure out you are playing lawyer, they stop believing you and your brand. And that’s more likely to do you harm than good.

It now remains to be seen who will debunk that latest new ‘study’ from IDC. Not many days are left before the vote and many of those who can rebut are on vacation, We saw this last week. How convenient a timing.

The next post will discuss the latest stories about Microsoft deception, many of which have flowed in overnight. It’s never time for a holiday when the survival of a cash cow is in one’s hand.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. New Efforts to Work Around Barriers to UPC in Light of 'Brexit'; Behind These Efforts Are Self-Serving Patent Profiteers

    look at who's trying to work around the latest barriers to the widely-unwanted (by the public) Unitary Patent regime and what is being planned behind the scenes, or behind closed doors (by and for those who stand to profit from the Unitary Patent regime)



  2. Injunction Against Battistelli's Investigative Unit (Known Internally as 'Gestapo') Amid Serious Injustices and Bogus 'Trials'

    SUEPO, the EPO's staff union, steps up its spiel in a case against the "European Patent Organization" as defendant and "SUEPO/VEOB" (Trade Union of the European Patent Office) as claimants



  3. [ES] Con la UPC Muerta por el Resto del Termino de Battistelli, No Hay Razón para que la EPO o el Consejo Administrativo Sigan Manteniéndolo Más

    Pensamientos acerca de lo que pasará al líderazgo de la EPO después de ‘Brexit’ (salida Británica de la EU), lo que sevéramente socava el proyecto más grande de Battistelli el que usaba habituálmente para justificar sus increíbles abusos



  4. [ES] El Caradura Benoît Battistelli Debería Renunciar a Luz de la Filtrada Nueva Decisión en Su Vendeta en Contra de un Juez que se Atrevió a Decir la Verdad (Actualizado)

    Benoît Battistelli continúa quebrando las propias reglas de la EPO, no sólo las leyes naciónales, como una nueva decisión ayuda a revelar



  5. [ES] Cada Vez Más Parece Que Battistelli está Escondiéndo ‘Evidencia’ Falsa y/o Ilegalmente Obtenda de la Unidad Investigativa de la EPO

    El porqué creemos que Benoît Battistelli está cada vez mas desesperado de esconder operaciónes ilícitas de reunir ´evidencia´ lo que eventuálment lo puso a él mismo — no al acusado — en una situación catastrófica situacion que lo puede forzar (esperamos) a us renuncia



  6. Links 28/6/2016: Vista 10 Updategate, OpenMandriva 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  7. Links 27/6/2016: Linux 4.7 RC 5, OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  8. From Alleged Organised Crime to Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Željko Topić's situation in Croatia illuminated by means of recent documents from the authorities



  9. Battistelli May Still be on the Way Out as Pressure Grows in Germany, UPC in Shambles

    Pressure on Battistelli is growing even from within circles that are traditionally protective of him and a long letter is sent to Dr. Christoph Ernst, who some believe will replace Battistelli



  10. Caricature: European Patent Office (EPO) Under Battistelli

    The latest caricature about the state of the European Patent Office (EPO)



  11. Techrights (Almost) at 10: From Software Patents to Novell and to Present Focus on EPO

    A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe



  12. Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

    A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced at the moment



  13. Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

    Links for the day



  14. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  15. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  16. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  17. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  18. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  19. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  20. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  21. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  22. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  23. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  24. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  25. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  26. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  27. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  28. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  29. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  30. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts