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05.18.08

With Obedient Dolls Like Gartner and the BSA, Who Needs Enemies?

Posted in Asia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Windows at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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.”

Microsoft, internal document

This is certainly not a rant, but merely a comical reminder of who the BSA and Gartner Group really are, as well as whom they serve. To be truthful, it’s just business as usual for them. And nevertheless, it’s good to find some timely validation from other sources. It lends to credibility.

Those who follow the link digests closely enough probably will have noticed the new article from India about so-called ‘piracy’ (a propaganda term), whose decline is partly caused by quiet and gradual migrations to Free software.

“It’s a pay-for-praise pool of people in suits.”With the exception of the brainwash-loaded headline it’s quite a good article because, unlike many others of its kind, it does bother to show that the BSA and its affiliates are not the only game in town. The BSA ambitiously escapes its worst nightmare (and the nightmare of its funding corporations of course). It’s free software. It makes them all obsolete. We summarised the escapades of the BSA and Microsoft in the following long post, which serves as decent background (or so we hope). The artificial inflation of figures by criminologists at the BSA gives Microsoft ammunition that changes laws and earns the company sympathy it does not deserve — always neglecting the ingredient that is alternative products and the effect on copyrights infringement on adoption and widespread vendor lock-in.

Another good exposition comes from Cringely, who speaks about the Gartner Group and the likes of it. We last addressed this serious issue about a month ago. Nothing has changed. It was a couple of months ago that Matt Asay sarcastically said that if you want something good to be said about your company, all you need to do is hire an analyst. That’s just how these businesses operate. It’s a pay-for-praise pool of people in suits. Information Week too has published an article that questions the integrity of analyst and it put special focus on Gartner, which is fairly large.

Anyone who takes these analysts seriously ought to just take a look at the track record of their predictions. Further, here is Cringely’s new take.

I have this notion to write a series of columns from time to time under the title “Reality Check” — columns intended to explain how the world of Information Technology actually functions. Because like any other entrenched, complex, and often closeted industry, things in IT don’t really work the way many people think they do. I’m guessing the Vatican is a bit like that, too. So I’ll be looking at various IT players and their roles and trying to put them into perspective, much as I did recently with a column or two about the role of computer consultants. This week the topic is Gartner Inc., or rather all the Gartner-like operations that give advice about technology to America’s largest businesses: what do these guys actually DO?

Not much of real value I’m afraid — at least of value in my view.

[...]

Into this knowledge vacuum come the vendors, who want to sell stuff, and the consultants like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and the Yankee Group, who need IT managers to feel uncertain about every decision except the decision to buy something, anything. Then look at the number of “research reports” that are commissioned by vendors. Uh-oh.

The five P’s of IT are Pride, Prejudice, Politics, Price, and Performance, with the last two being by far the least important. Consultants like Gartner are very useful for minding the pride and politics, their real function being to provide $2 billion worth of IT management CYA per year.

We will surely return to discussing analysts and consultants in the future. Many of them just happen to be some of the world’s most respected shills. Alas, we are supposed to look at them with awe and reverence. Corporations teach us to listen to them. Well, wouldn’t that be expected from those whom they serve? Self-serving impositions and all?

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