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12.07.09

Microsoft and AARP Join Hands to Spread Propaganda, Other New PR Stunts

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brighton people

Summary: A look at some of Microsoft’s latest publicity tricks and deceitful moves

MICROSOFT has just found an interesting entity to collaborate with. That would be AARP, which someone once described to me as a politically-motivated organisation. “Keep in mind that there are many “charities” that are politically motivated organizations masquerading as 501c corporations,” he wrote. “Focus On the Family, Planned Parenthood, and AARP are just a few “pet charities” of politicians who encourage would-be “big dollar contributors” to make contributions to these organizations who won’t “tell you who to vote for” but will “deliver a message consistent with our own”.

AARP spends a lot of money lobbying and our reader Ryan mentions the political actions a lot [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] because of their viciousness. He compares AARP to the RIAA.

Here are Microsoft and AARP doing joint ‘research’ and bragging about it. What’s the motive? Well, whenever Microsoft does such studies, there is usually a financial motive (e.g. IDC to help with government lobbying around the world using Microsoft-sponsored surveys, like those which we saw last month [1, 2, 3]). Here is another “Microsoft-sponsored” survey, found only a few days ago:

AccountMate Software Corporation received a PERFECT score on the latest Microsoft-sponsored Net Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty survey in Customer Loyalty Segmentation, Revenue Impact and Net Satisfaction areas.

Microsoft finds other means of cheap PR and it sponsors all sorts of new events.

She has been selected as one of five semi-finalists in a contest sponsored by Microsoft to obtain official press passes to the games and access to all the Olympic skating stars.

Here is a more dubious new example. Microsoft’s Jan Muehlfeit, who last month we described as an “allegedly former communist [1, 2] [...] now the European chairman of Microsoft [...] lobbying in Europe [1, 2, 3, 4]” is now swapping favours and lock-in in Albania, potentially getting access and gaining control of national data.

Berisha briefed Muehlfeit on the government’s Digital Albania plan and welcomed consultancy services from Microsoft in project fields including education and health, the government said in a statement.

Here is some more PR from the company which deliberately tries to produce more waste [1, 2] and sell more bloated software, not just computers. A group of Microsoft employees went to Copenhagen and wrote about it. Hypocritically enough they also participated.

Next week, I and a dozen of my Microsoft colleagues will be in Copenhagen as a delegation of issue and technology experts supporting the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP15). We are participating in a series of briefings, events, and partnership launches to showcase the power of information technology to help address the daunting energy and climate challenges the world faces.

It is interesting that this Web site is publishing Microsoft material as “news” (see author/source). There are other new examples and Microsoft is now using Copenhagen to “attack” Google based on pseudo-moral grounds.

Microsoft-Backed Green Search Engine Attacks Google

[...]

The Ecosia search engine announced this week in the run up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen is being billed as an environmentally friendly application which donates 80 percent of the income generated from sponsored links to help preserve rainforests.

Another PR move from Microsoft appears to be this damage control over IE6 [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft recently refused to just kill IE6, which causes a lot of trouble and distress to webmasters. There were protests.

As one last example of PR, in order to keep afloat Microsoft devalues all of its products, including the top cash cow, Microsoft Office. They give something away free of charge (like Vista 7 beta) and then pretend there is huge demand for it. They control the image of the product through selective disclosure of information (PR). This time it’s Office 2010 beta*. Regarding retail price, one of our readers reminds us of “student edition, where everyone is a student.” There is clearly a decline in margins and now that Microsoft is giving away Office, the competitive pressure is clear to see.
____
* There is no Office 2009 as they promised, but they keep delaying, pretending it’s right around the corner (now they say June 2010).

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A Single Comment

  1. wallclimber said,

    December 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve refused to join AARP for many years now, in spite of their almost constant bombardment of membership and Life Insurance offers in my mailbox.

    The organization was originally formed to be a lobbying group and have never, to my knowledge, pretended to be anything else. Personally, I think they are little more than shills for the Insurance Industry. Above all else, they love being given access to old people’s bank accounts in order to automatically withdraw insurance payments (it’s ever-so-convenient, don’t ya know?).

    From the experiences of some of my friends, it’s also very, very difficult to get those automatic payments to stop, even after cancelling the insurance. Some people have actually had to close their bank accounts in order to stop the AARP Insurance withdrawals.

    AARP’s ability to lock-in, and suck money directly from, millions of people’s bank accounts must surely make Ballmer’s greedy heart go pitter-pat with pure envy and admiration.

    However, I had to chuckle at the use of Ryan’s opinions and quotes regarding the AARP. Ryan, being in his mid-twenties, is surely an all-knowing, authoritative source regarding age-related issues… (If you thought you sensed a slight edge of sarcasm in that last sentence, you’d likely be correct)

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