Microsoft: a Land of Lies and Contradictions
“The Free Software movement is dead. Linux doesn’t exist in 2007.”
–Bill Hilf (Microsoft’s ‘Linux Guy’), May 2007
“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”
–Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008
Microsoft’s nervousness is very telling. In the past few days alone, the word about the departure of two Vice Presidents came out. They join a large-scale and ongoing exodus. How does Microsoft respond? It attacks and shamelessly accuses its rivals, of course.
We recently discussed Microsoft’s manufacturing of consent (a well-known propaganda technique), the context being Patrick Durusau’s remarks. Seemingly, the propaganda continues. Rather than have several Microsoft chiefs simultaneously compare open source to “communism”, they now compare it to theft. From Matt Asay:
(Btw, Ballmer beat the pulpit at Accel’s recent CEO day, accusing open source of stealing Microsoft’s intellectual property. This man dearly needs to get a life…and a clue.)
At this pace, Microsoft might end up a company with virtual assets (code) and 'physical' debt (it will finally see an overdraft if it buys Yahoo).
The company tries to turn ideas in its code, which is intangible, into the equivalent of property in Europe, using software patents. As Subsonica shrewdly pointed out the other day, the company’s most recent SEC filing reveals this tactic, in the form of sign of things to come.
Rick Jelliffe pretends that all is fine, that Microsoft’s misconduct is no more, and that all opposition to Microsoft’s OOXML might as well be attributed to a bunch of rabid zealots.
noooxml.org has already responded.
Dog bites man vs. man bites dog
Microsoft is used to play hard without any conservatism in terms of reputation. Other companies that were in a weaker market position adapted to a changing market environment and they are responsive to the public. The lack of care for reputation clearly plays in the hands of every campaigner. It’s your favourite opponent because they will deliver you the lethal action you need to entertain your community. In a crime fiction about the Mafia no one is shocked by their killings because you expect it as natural. In the case of Microsoft this may result in the attitude of some bloggers to cry louder about foul play. I don’t think this is the right approach but the economics of it is well understood.
“This is not a case against Microsoft. It’s hardly a case for more competition, in a sense. To many of us, it’s a case against crime.”After all the things Rick Jelliffe actually did (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]) he truly has some nerve to direct such accusations against opposition. Does Rick deny Microsoft’s wrongdoing? Will he, for example, deny the bribery cycle, of which he is a part?
This is not a case against Microsoft. It’s hardly a case for more competition, in a sense. To many of us, it’s a case against crime. It’s a case against cheating. It is a case against breaking the rules, as pretty much acknowledged by Europe's antitrust investigation. Perhaps Rick is a little worried that Europe might knock on his door. The most recent article, from the Financial Times in fact, said that Europe investigated not only Microsoft, but also delegates involved in the stacking. Remember what Microsoft says about consultants such as Rick, who happens to do consulting work for Microsoft.
“Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up.”
Analysts, by the way, are no better than consultants. For starters, consider the Burton Group [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24], which is close to Microsoft. It went batting for OOXML and battling against ODF, following IDC (Microsoft-sponsored ODF/OOXML studies) and lobbying arms like CompTIA and ACT. You can still find Zuck’s videos on YouTube. They depict his deceptive act striving for ODF interception in California.
CIO.com raises an important issue about the integrity of research being done by industry analysts. Namely, if a sponsor pays for the research, do they get favorable treatment in that research?
I’m not suggesting that the research is corrupted. I’m just suggesting that it’s hard to remove the taint of sponsored research. Just take a look at Gartner’s “Hype Cycle” on open source, which is woefully inaccurate, probably in part because Gartner gets its information from the vendors who sponsor its research, not the customers who are buying into open source in droves.
“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”