David Gerard’s rendition of Bill Gates as Microsoft Jack, who
permanently left the Guardian about a week ago
Summary: New study suggests that legions of PR people whose job is to glorify Bill Gates in the mainstream press are also doing a service to Microsoft (and a disservice to history)
LAST week we wrote about the role of Edelman and Waggener Edstrom in embellishing Bill Gates' image after his crimes at Microsoft. It’s a familiar stunt that the Rockefeller family used as well. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it is important to recognise what’s going on.
In the United States and in the United Kingdom at the very least (based on surveys), Microsoft is received better than in most of the rest of the world where Microsoft is rightly perceived as parasitic, unethical, and imperialistic. There is a new survey in the US and its results suggest that the PR work which Bill Gates is doing for himself (by hiring many agencies, some of which work on Microsoft brands) is also working well for Microsoft, in which he still has many shares and an important role (not a very public role). From The Hindu:
About Microsoft, the report stated consumers found it “to be as inspiring as any non-profit in the world today because of the close association with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In fact people view the work of the Foundation as an authentic extension of the mission of Microsoft.”
More on the same topic from Forbes Magazine:
When Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, created America’s largest (by wealth) charity organization in 1999, their intention was simple: use profits to improve the lives, education and health of others. Their good deed, however, had an unintended consequence. It helped overhaul public perception of Microsoft. Now the Redwood, Wash., software giant is viewed as America’s most inspiring company.
They are brushing up the image of the guy who, according to antitrust material (Comes vs Microsoft for example), is the man behind many of the violations of the law. It’s rather refreshing to turn from a villain into a hero using PR alone. As we shall explain in later posts, Gates is still making money, sometimes more than he gives away. Bill Gates has become a label and a franchise, kind of like “Michael Jordan”. Here is another new example or two where the “Bill Gates” brand is being used for Microsoft apologetics.
A lot of people forget (due to PR) that Bill Gates was not an engineer. He was perhaps an engineer of loopholes in the law — things that kept him out of jail as he refused to answer very simple questions. Gates comes from a legal family and legal background; it’s just a shame he could not obey the law and instead used knowledge of the law to bypass the law. David Morgenstern, an Apple fan (as if Apple is pure bliss just because it competed against a corrupt company), writes about Bill Gates’ lack of technological foresight (we also wrote about this a week ago).
Prediction hell: How dumb do Bill Gates & Microsoft’s iPad, Surface predictions look now?
According to Mary-Jo Foley’s reporting at All About Microsoft, Microsoft has moved its Macintosh Business Unit away from the Specialized Devices and Applications team. We can only hope that’s good news. The further away from Surface the better.
The company which ranks best appears to be Sony, which does a lot of appalling things (RIAA, rootkits, etc.) despite its use of Linux in many areas such as phones, televisions, and even PS3 (until recently).
Google rated top “most trusted, liked, and respected” company worldwide by consulting firm Reputation Institute, with the Japanese electronics giant taking second place.
Microsoft’s fan press wonders what it will take to save Microsoft while the Seattle Times, a de facto branch of Bill Gates PR for the most part, carries a message of “Microsoft philanthropy” (turning a criminal company into the very opposite by playing with words and headlines).
The Web site Microsoft Hohm helps people calculate their energy use and find ways to conserve, and it’s planned in the future as a tool to help manage information about when and where to recharge electric vehicles.
“Young generation redefines culture of Microsoft philanthropy” is the headline. The Seattle Times is nearly always playing along with the PR. It has become almost amusing. Over the past week there have also been loads of that energy nonsense striving to portray Microsoft as “green” and “environmental”. To be fair, other companies do that too, but they don’t pretend as much as Microsoft does. There are people being assigned to manage such spin campaigns, as Howard Bloom explained some days ago (skip to 45 minutes from the start). █