Earlier this month we published an item which illustrates how Microsoft literally buys love. It pays people or at least gives them presents in exchange for better publicity. You are encouraged to read this item if you haven’t. Other recent examples include Microsoft's use of money to buy OOXML support, including from Novell.
As disturbing as it has been, this is not over. We’ve received the following example by E-mail just hours ago and it makes a nice addition to the items above:
“As you see, it’s in French but it is short and sweet. It refers to an article published in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps on Monday (available for a payment of 2.50 Swiss francs.) But I find the Le Monde article sufficient and can offer a translation:”
[Translation:] 1,445: number of students in the world paid by Microsoft to promote favourable speech in their universities
“How Microsoft has infiltrated the Swiss universities” was the title of the Monday Le Temps. The Genevean newspaper pointed to these students charged with “forging links with their peers and the professors” to improve the image of Bill Gates’ firm in the universities. The program “Microsoft Student Partners” is not at all clandestine, it has an official Website at “http://student-partners.com”. It is no longer at all local: the 1,445 students at the service of Microsoft are active in 102 countries. In France, more than 100 students carry the title MSP and correspond with the Microsoft teams during their whole time in school. These French students have actively participated in the launch of the Vista operating system, organising 87 conferences and stands, leading 17 training sessions and moderating 42 blogs.
So, the gist of it is that Microsoft once again got caught astroturfing or at least paying money for pseudo support without disclosure (practically the same thing). The question to ask is: who else is being paid or rewarded (in disguise)?
The article speaks about professors being paid as well. I’m aware of one professor, Bill Weisgerber, who has been promoting Microsoft (and attacking GNU/Linux) on the Web for many years. Here is an E-mail I received about him last year after he had harassed me:
i just happened to notice that you spent some text debunking my old ‘friend’
bill weisgerber last spring.
i went around with bill (& a host of other paid2post shills) on a nytimes
forum for over 3 years. despite being exposed for what/who they were/are,
they just would not quit their mindless pr firm hypenosys. at that time, the
nytimes was quite supportive of their charade. what a blight.
- Joel Spolsky: Bribing Bloggers
- eWeek: Bribing Bloggers
- INQhack survives Vistability test in Volesville
- Microsoft desperately wants my love — and yours