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06.21.10

Office 2010 Coverage Largely Fake, Orchestrated by Microsoft

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 7:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dolls

Summary: Microsoft and its PR agencies seem to be working overtime to sell the impression that people still need Microsoft Office (even the latest version of it, which requires paying again for increased lock-in)

PAID EXCITEMENT about Microsoft has mostly been replaced by Apple’s (which uses the service of AstroTurfing agencies). Nonetheless, some praise for Microsoft comes from Microsoft MVPs like Jason Hiner [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft really needs these people, which is why it rewards them to act as cheerleaders. Other Microsoft boosters rave about a worldwide brainwash campaign for Office 2010 [1, 2]. Almost a tenth of a billion dollars will be spent on marketing alone and Microsoft Nick reveals how Microsoft treats co-called ‘journalists’ in order to ensure they cover Office 2010 ‘correctly’:

I just spent the afternoon at Microsoft’s Executive Briefing Center in Redmond for a media event around the consumer launch of Office 2010. While I’m working on those reports, I thought I’d post a little something for you all.

Microsoft’s PR agencies must be contacting journalists all around the world (not just English-speaking) to ensure Office 2010 gets plastered in each newspaper, news site, and maybe television channel too. That’s where a lot of Microsoft’s money is going at the moment, except the advertising (which is paid-for coverage, not a free ride which one receives when it’s “new”).

“All those trips, visits, and briefings are how Microsoft ends up pressuring them to hype up the products.”It’s not unusual for Microsoft to fly journalists to its headquarters, paying for their plane tickets, hotel stay, etc. Microsoft did this for OOXML [1, 2], which a proprietary format that Microsoft pretends Office implements. All those trips, visits, and briefings is how Microsoft ends up pressuring them to hype up the products. It just works pretty well this way, no matter the integrity of journalism (Microsoft never respected honest journalism).

Needless to say, Microsoft Nick eventually did the PR job (parroting Microsoft’s claims) along with Microsoft boosters like Eric Savitz who sounded like Sharon Pian Chan’s advertisement. It was more or less the same from Gavin Clarke and Todd Bishop. They always serve Microsoft’s interests; they are those who ought to be expected to promote Microsoft because it’s in their own interest (they sometimes repost aggressive marketing campaigns that includes viral videos Microsoft puts in YouTube).

In addition to all this, some days ago we wrote about the ammunition Forrester gave Microsoft in its Slog against Google Apps/Docs. Forrester is of course paid by Microsoft, but it never prevents news sites from citing Forrester. To give an example from a few days ago:

Both Forrester Research and IDC analysts are banging the Microsoft tablet drum.

There is more of that here and some other news sites that quote IDC without stating that Microsoft pays IDC directly (see IDG/IDC) or via the BSA, which recently generated some propaganda for Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. Speaking of which, this propaganda is still being spread by Microsoft boosters like Sharon Pian Chan, even several weeks after it was ‘news’ (fake numbers). In order to promote Office 2010 she writes in the Seattle press:

Software piracy is on the rise. According to a study by the Business Software Alliance and research firm IDC, piracy worldwide increased to 43 percent of software on PCs in 2009, compared with to 41 percent in 2008. For every $100 spent on real software, $75 was spent on pirated software, the study said.

Lies after more lies. That’s what the Seattle press offers in order to promote its beloved Microsoft. It’s not journalism, it’s a farce. And anyway, looking at the claims from Forrester and IDC, they seemingly ignore the fact that HP’s Slate got rid of Vista 7, instead betting the farm on Linux (and other companies follow similar footsteps):

If you’ve been as dependent on Microsoft Windows for all of your computers as HP has been, how do you free yourself from the tug of Redmond’s gravity? Apparently you make some acquisitions that give you the building blocks for an alternative ecosystem. First, HP purchase Palm in large part for its webOS, and now it’s picked up Phoenix Technologies HyperSpace assets, which includes instant-on solutions.

The latest propaganda from Forrester (regarding Office) has a purpose and it’s not only pretending that Free software substitutes don’t exist or count. Microsoft boosters like Preston Gralla pick it up and then use this as ammunition, inspiring other smears that always cite Forrester, e.g. [1, 2]. It’s like a newly-manufactured talking point. That’s what Microsoft pays analysts for — propaganda. Some other Microsoft writers (like Lance Whitney [1, 2] who describes himself as “a contributing editor for Microsoft TechNet Magazine”) are attacking Google Docs without properly revealing their source of income, which would give away their biases. IDG’s Microsoft-boosting blogs join this cause and this new report is titled “Microsoft is hiring 500 cloud specialists to battle Google”

“With Office 2010, Microsoft not only promotes proprietary formats but also the dangerous paradigm of Fog Computing which governments need to reject.”It’s not that we defend Google; neither is good (privacy is just one problem [1, 2] but the main ones are control and portability).

With Office 2010, Microsoft not only promotes proprietary formats but also the dangerous paradigm of Fog Computing which governments need to reject. Microsoft already pushes this lock-in into governments because it wishes to increase lock-in as a matter of high priority (Mary Jo Foley advertises this repeatedly [1, 2]).

According to the report, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has increased the headcount of its sales force by 300-500 for its cloud computing offerings.

Even health insurance is something Microsoft tries to control and there are those who make big mistakes by depending on Microsoft in healthcare [1, 2].

Going back to Office 2010, Google may have attempted to steal Microsoft’s thunder, but it faces a huge marketing blitz that is only disrupted by objective few.

Rob Pegoraro, an occasional critic of the company from Redmond, believes that Microsoft Office 2010 is “a cry for help” (see similar feelings from Neil McAllister).

It’s not just that Microsoft faces serious competitive pressure from the likes of Google, Apple, open-source developers and such startup firms as Evernote. It’s not just that it’s handcuffed itself to the contradiction of selling the same applications to IT professionals and to home users who barely touch its features. (Note: If you’re an IT professional and feel that my reviews slight your needs, you should remember that I’m a consumer-technology columnist; that means that your problems aren’t mine unless they affect what home users do on their own time.)

His writings are also in the main pages of this news site. Some people are unable to see anything attractive in Microsoft’s newer version of existing products (upgrades are not free).

When it comes to upgrades, I’m like most small-business owners: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Hey, I’m still using Microsoft Office 2003!

Some people suspect that Google’s zero-cost proposition will make Office 2010 hard to sell as financial figures decline for this product (Microsoft used the deferral trick so that it can claim massive demand for Office 2010 in the next financial report). Here is TechFlash using a provocative headline to promote Microsoft’s side. Microsoft’s money goes a long way and this whole hype around Office 2010 looks fake any way one looks at it. What is the selling point? Newer Ribbon? More RAM consumption? Answers are hard to find. It was the same when Vista 7 came out.

“There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral”

Walter Lippmann (American Journalist, 1889-1974)

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3 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Gravatar

    Will Oracle catch onto the idea that this will help get M$ out of their way?

    The markup for MS Office and MS Windows are what they are because of monopoly rents. That is where M$ makes its money, not the actual sale of either MS Windows or MS Office. For the sake of argument, break down where the money comes from this way:

    1 ms office
    4 monopoly on office formats
    1 ms windows
    4 monopoly on OEMs
    1 stock emissions
    1 stock speculation

    8 out of 12 go away — pow — when the monopoly rents balloon get popped. The ability to print money by emitting stock gets reduced or eliminated, too.

    Oracle can’t do much about the other areas, but it can feed OpenOffice.org and break the office documents monopoly. The format monopoly is even tied to and extends M$ servers income. Even helping KDE and KOffice, though in a lesser way, would help establish dominance for OpenDocument-based suites and give Oracle the upper hand. Both can and do tie in to Oracle’s other money makers, if they can get past any sentimentalism and dust the remaining M$ boosters and fifth-columnists still floating around Redwood City, California.

    twitter Reply:

    It should be easy to promote Open Office right now. There’s universal hatred of the “Ribbon Interface” of the new MS Office so there’s very little driving people to adopt yet another difficult to manage document format. Open Office, with its low cost, traditional layout, excellent relative performance and free formats is the perfect answer to the coming upgrade problems. It’s time to push both Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows off a cliff.

  2. TiddlyPom said,

    June 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Gravatar

    Very early days but Dell is showing signs of not being quite as tightly coupled to Microsoft as they once were.

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1686831/dell-breaking-away-microsoft
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65K19S20100621
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/199385/dell_in_talks_over_google_chrome_os_report_says.html

    Perhaps if Dell started REALLY supporting Linux a bit more then it might help to cancel out the Office 2010 propaganda.

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