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03.21.08

The Best Inde[Paid]ent Consultant Money Can Buy

Posted in Asia, Deception, ECMA, IBM, Microsoft, Open XML at 8:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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. Since he’s well-known, but apparently independent, he’ll be accepted – one less thing for the constantly-overworked conference organizer to worry about, right?”

Microsoft [PDF]

This issue of Microsoft’s army of lobbyists, consultants, ‘cheerleaders’ and employees must not be left to rest. On the face of it, Microsoft continues to send its well-paid people to all sorts of trips around the world, the aim being to pressure and persuade OOXML “No” voters to change their minds. Here is a good new example from a long report.

[Microsoft's] Doug noted that the guys on the opposite side of the table from Microsoft (and (BANGS hand on table!) Ecma!) did not discuss any of the 23 comments made by Malaysia for the BRM … and he’s right, we didn’t. Again, speaking for myself, prior to the meeting, I was sceptical that the “pro-OOXML” gang would actually just concentrate on that. This was mainly because I didn’t know who would be attending on their side. I certainly did not expect that Microsoft would bring Doug Mahugh, Oliver Bell, Dave Welsh and (BANGS hand on table!) Jan van de Veld, former Sec-Gen of Ecma International. I fully expected Microsoft to apply the Chewbacca Defense strategy, and therefore figured that I must concentrate on my own Wookie-based defense.

When will Microsoft finally leave these people alone? It has already chased those folks from Malaysia all the way to their hotel in Switzerland. Does Microsoft know no boundaries? “No” is no and as YK pointed out in the past this becomes akin to stalking, harassment. He was truly unhappy about it.

Now, now. Have a good look at another report about Microsoft’s bad habits of disclosure, which are known all too well (mind the example where Microsoft explicitly asks analysts to drop disclosure notes). There is a pattern there and we therefore maintain a healthy level of suspicion. The following post seems like somewhat of a rant, but it contains some very valid points, including:

It is currently too easy for people to speak as if they were independent and use this pseudo-independence to influence uninformed people. Groklaw recently posted a story called “How to Get Your Platform Accepted as a Standard – Microsoft Style” with evidence that Microsoft, for one, has made this kind of tactic an integral part of its business development strategy. It is hard to read this and not wonder about Rick Jeliffe’s continuous lobbying and Patrick Durusau’s recent change of heart. Especially when everything they say becomes Microsoft’s new ammunition in a matter of minutes.

Remember the story of Patrick Durusau and others. In general, no self-appointed consultant can ever be trusted. The more iconic these people become, the more valuable their ‘defections’ become (see the quote at the very top again). And as Microsoft says about analysts, "selling out" is their business model.

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