Summary: For Vista 7 perception management Microsoft compensates journalists, pays ‘promoters’ handsomely, pays analysts, uses kids, Twitter and other forms of hypnosis — all in attempt to promote a product that CIOs already reject
THE reality behind Vista 7 is rather grim because it is just another Vista and it will fail to sell based on early surveys and predictions that we covered. Microsoft bets the entire farm on Vista 7 by deliberately ignoring Vista. In the past week, for instance, we found just two headlines about “Vista”, compared to 23 that are about “Windows 7″. This buzz gets generated organically by the business press, which in turn affects what people speak about in personal blogs, chat rooms, the office, etc. Today we will show how Microsoft is doing it, based on citations from the past week alone.
Earlier this week we wrote about Microsoft's subtle admission that Windows Vista had failed. Here is some more new coverage of that quotable incident:
Windows Vista ‘less good,’ Microsoft exec admits
Company executives’ private opinions of Vista were much more revealing, however. According to internal Microsoft e-mails disclosed in 2008 during a class-action lawsuit, senior executives and a board member griped about Vista shortly after it was released in early 2007, saying it was missing drivers and crippled their new PCs.
The reality is that Vista 7 continues to lack good driver support. Under the hood, Vista 7 is virtually identical to Vista. Three of our readers who tried Vista 7 reported exactly these types of issues which they encountered [1, 2, 3].
Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott Get Paid to Promote Microsoft’s Vista 7
We often emphasise that those who hail Microsoft products are being compensated by Microsoft. This is especially true once prudent observers realise that gentle bribes come in all sorts of forms. Consider the Bing sponsorships for example; that $100,000,000 marketing budget does end up landing somewhere. That’s how people like Todd Bishop are paid. Likewise, Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott present not just literature; they also get invited to Microsoft events and here they are invited to hype up Vista 7 (paid talks):
Microsoft in 2010: Is Windows 7 Enterprise Ready? What IT Managers Need to Know
Speakers to include:
* Mary Jo Foley (Keynote), Microsoft Author and Editor of the All About Microsoft blog (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/)
* Paul Thurrott, Author of Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows blog (http://www.winsupersite.com)
* Ben Armstrong, Microsoft Program Manager (Virtualization) and Author, Virtual PC Guy’s Weblog (http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/)
* Andrew Hopkins, Microsoft veteran and Principal Consultant for Chrysalis BTS (http://www.chrysalisbts.com)
The author of “All About Microsoft” should maybe be assigned to run “All About Marketing”, as that’s what Vista 7 is all about. There are many of her colleagues out there in ZDNet who are on a similar boat (e.g. Bott, Ou) and even Microsoft employees. They get bribed by Microsoft to promote Vista 7 under the guise of “news” (ZDNet no longer does much news, just blogs, which get aggregated in news feeds nonetheless).
Vista 7 Stickers/Branding
How far would Microsoft go with marketing? Here is some more ‘fluff’ like “Compatible With Microsoft Windows 7 Logo” — selling people the impression that there is something unique about it. For a long time Microsoft has been trying to ‘stamp’ hardware components with its logo/s, giving the delusion that a keyboard gets designed for Windows (it has a key with the logo on it), that entire computers are designed or certified for Windows, and even monitors are somehow ‘approved’ for Windows. It’s all just an antiquated stunt and someone is paid or rewarded to play along with that stunt, which deceives average consumers and acts as an advertisement (fake endorsement) too.
Microsoft rewards go a long way. Here you can see that Paul Thurrott advertises Vista 7. Mary Jo Foley currently pretends that Vista7WillFixEverythingTM, so she plays along with Ballmer's latest marketing delusion. If that’s not enough, Microsoft now recruits more shills for Vista 7:
Microsoft to pay Windows 7 promoter HK$7,777 a day
Microsoft Hong Kong is now recruiting Windows 7 promoters who will be paid HK$7,777 (US$1,004) each for a day’s work in late October when the software giant launches its new OS.
The vendor has created a group on Facebook to invite individuals aged 15 or above, speaking fluent Cantonese and English, and possessing basic computer knowledge to post their one-minute self-introduction videos on the Chinese-language page. As of 3:20pm Monday, there are only four videos uploaded.
This is covered also in NetworkWorld. Who is Microsoft kidding? For Mac fans to become Windows shills Microsoft offered to pay $15,000. This is the type of stuff that should be covered and pinned at the front page of the technology section at the BBC, New York Times, and other such high-profile publications. It’s truly a blunder, but the world does not pay attention simply because the business press conveniently ignores the facts. The BBC only advertises Vista 7 at the moment, just as it advertised Windows Vista and hailed it wholeheartedly back in 2006/7.
Are paid shills not enough for Vista 7? Warped coverage also? Well, Microsoft is already busy paying a favourite pay-to-say agency, namely Forrester ‘Research’, to do its thing. Previously, Microsoft was paying Forrester to attack GNU/Linux [1, 2] and now it pays to help promote Vista 7.
A Microsoft-commissioned study by Forrester shows that worker mobility and office decentralization will become key issues for the enterprise and SMBs (small- to medium-sized businesses) in coming years, possibly creating substantial challenges for IT administrators. Microsoft is using the report as the basis for a promotional push for Windows 7, its upcoming operating system due for general release on Oct. 22.
A recent Microsoft-commissioned study also claimed that Internet Explorer was the most secure Web browser. Shouldn’t such practices of conducting ‘studies’ be banned or at least their outcomes embargoed? Professor Larry Lessig currently studies this type of corruption, especially where pharmaceuticals are concerned.
On top of all the above, Microsoft resorted to shameless marketing which is now being slammed by the Los Angeles Times:
Windows 7 is reduced to rainbows and unicorns
It’s official. Microsoft has no shame. None. They should just stop paying rent on that storage unit where they keep their shame because they, as I said, have none.
The new TV ad campaign for Windows 7 (Crispin Porter & Bogusky) kicked off this week with a masterpiece of emotional manipulation that brings back Kylie, the precocious 4-year-old girl from the “I’m a PC” series. The slightly lispy Kylie — who pronounces the product as “Windows Theben” — is sitting at a table in front of a PC. “My name’s Kylie, and I found these happy words all over my dad’s computer. . . .” (Uh-oh, I hope dad’s been behaving himself with his PC.) The “happy words” are rave reviews for Windows 7 from tech magazines, which Kylie then puts into a slideshow with images of a unicorn, a kitten in marshmallows, a bunny in a straw hat. “Happy words need happy pictures.” Uh-huh. We can only assume as the campaign rolls out to the Windows 7 launch date of Oct. 22 that we’ll see baby penguins and water-skiing squirrels hawking for the Redmond, Wash., software giant.
This is advertising as hostage situation: Buy Windows 7 or the little kid gets it.
It is similar to what Microsoft does here in the UK, where Microsoft exploits toddlers (put in Windows TV adverts) to hide is real image of thugs who willfully break the law time after time because it pays more than abiding and obeying rules.
The PR industry, which thrives in superficial imagery and deception, hails the above as a success and uses the headline “Microsoft ‘Good News’”.
Kylie seems to know that cute goes a long way towards snagging viewers’ attention and kindling the warm fuzzy feelings only images of kittens, marshmallows, a bonnet-wearing bunny and a pint-sized pitch-gal can produce.
Microsoft PR agencies would see nothing wrong with it, either. They are in the business of deception and are often lacking a real sense of consciousness. They find justifications for what they are doing and viral videos are just business as usual to them. Then there is Microsoft AstroTurfing at Twitter, which we wrote about in:
- More Microsoft AstroTurfing (aka ‘Technical Evangelism’) in Twitter
- User “Microsoft Incentives” Wants to be Your Friend, Too
- Microsoft’s Twitter AstroTurf Continues
- Who is Pumping MSFT and Pimping Microsoft in Twitter?
- Microsoft Hires Federated Media for Twitter AstroTurfing
- Does Microsoft Still Create Twitter Accounts for Guerilla Marketing?
- Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
The Wall Street Journal published this new article which has Microsoft’s senior marketing manager explain “Tweet Assignments”:
Marcus Schmidt uses one called Tweet Assignments for his job as a senior marketing manager at Microsoft Corp. He oversees two company Twitter pages where consumers post about 300 questions and comments a day. He says Tweet Assignments helps him generate swift responses from the appropriate Microsoft employees by allowing him to send consumers’ tweets to colleagues instantly, without having to copy them into email messages. The recipients can then respond directly to consumers with tweets of their own or send responses back to Mr. Schmidt.
At Twitter, Microsoft has a huge number of accounts for promotional purposes, with extra assistance coming from agencies that Microsoft hires. As we showed yesterday using a confidential memo from Microsoft, the company identified “constant indoctrination” as the way forward.
“Windows Vista enjoyed the same type of hype ahead of its release.”Elsewhere in the news we find Microsoft pressuring businesses to move to Vista 7 (because CIOs reject it already). Here is Microsoft’s de facto PR person Ina Fried (disguised as reporter) slamming Microsoft’s competition, Linux included, probably on behalf of the company. It’s all in preparation for Vista 7 and it is clearly composed in this way.
The Vista 7 discount which we wrote about the other day is being promoted by other Microsoft de facto PR folks like Shane O'Neill, who are essentially embedding advertisements, turning discounts on products that do not exist into articles.
In summary, Vista 7 is a huge deception. People must not fall for the hype. Windows Vista enjoyed the same type of hype ahead of its release. There is quite a lot one can achieve with billions of dollars that are exclusively dedicated to imposed ignorance and mind shaping. █
“I am currently testing the Beta of Win7 in a closed VM environment. I am considering deleting it. It’s actually worse than Vista. Multiple program crashes, refusal to install any software, naff looks and many other complaints.”