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


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. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  2. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  3. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  4. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  5. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  6. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  7. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  8. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  9. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  10. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  11. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  12. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  13. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  14. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  15. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  16. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  17. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  18. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  19. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  20. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  21. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  22. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  23. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  24. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  25. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO

  26. German Media Reveals That Out-of-Control EPO Management is Even Threatening and Abusing Lawyers Now

    The EPO's longstanding fight against justice escalates to an unprecedented war on lawyers themselves; “After this latest move,” says a German newspaper, “even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

  27. Washington Post Only Entertains Debate About Patent Trolls (But Not Patent Scope) Whilst US Lawyers Trick the System to Patent Software

    The Bezos-owned Washington Post continues to help those who wish to eliminate patent trolls (which bother Amazon amongst other large conglomerates) but remains void of any coverage about patent scope, including software patents that patent lawyers work so hard to defend

  28. It Pays (Off) to 'Bribe' the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

    French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called 'media partner' (the EPO management is French-dominated)

  29. 'Leaked' PDF Shows How EPO Management Tried to Crush Judge Who 'Dared' to Criticise EPO Management

    The EPO's management continues to chill potential critics and is now making an example of a board's judge, despite having no such authority over him

  30. Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla's Problems

    Links for the day


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


Recent Posts