EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.30.10

Microsoft Uses “Half-naked” Women (‘Meter Maids’) to Promote Its Products

Posted in Bill Gates, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft employees — not Free software proponents– are the sexist ones

Statue

Summary: Microsoft marketing goes awry and the company is pressured to issue an apology; a look at the Edstrom (PR) and Gates family affairs

Microsoft boosters or Free software opponents love to pretend that Free software proponents are sexist, but often it just turns out to be the very opposite. A few months ago we saw Microsoft’s “boob” incident (large advertising campaign it later "apologised" for) and earlier this year we learned about Microsoft allegedly offering female prostitutes/orgies to business partners [1, 2]. Those sex-related incidents are not a rarity, especially in advertising. Going further back we could give many more examples.

The latest Microsoft “apology” (everyone seems to put it in quotes, even Microsoft boosters) has just arrived. The Register says:

Microsoft gets Speedos in a twist over half-naked ‘Meter Maids’

[...]

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Microsoft had hired the women to appear at its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast.

Keep it classy, sweaty Steve. Here is more coverage of this incident (and photos):

How could they be so tactless and not foresee the backlash? It’s probably one of those cases where in a very large organisation the left hand did not communicate with the right hand. To Microsoft, this is a serious PR problem. All those years promoting the image that it’s respectful to women (we gave examples of this PR line last week) sometimes go down the drain, but Microsoft keeps choosing female faces to represent the company while giving that whole “equal opportunity” and “cultural diversity” feel-good sensation. Steve Ballmer is even married to one such PR person. She worked for Waggener Edstrom. Speaking of which, Pam and Jennifer Edstrom came up again because this PR-related blog post linked to Techrights some days ago.

It was also the video that saw Microsoft tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. In minutes, the hard work on building Bill Gates’ reputation put in by Pam Edstrom (first as Microsoft’s director of PR and then as a senior executive at Waggener Edstrom) was eviscerated. This was when the fear stopped.

This links to an old article from the New York Times and it’s about Waggener Edstrom. It turns out that this AstroTurf/marketing firm of Microsoft was by no means pleased by the work of Jennifer Edstrom.

In the acknowledgments of her new book, ”Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From the Inside,” the author, Jennifer Edstrom, thanks her mother for encouraging her to write, ”even though this isn’t particularly what she had in mind.”

Since 1982, Ms. Edstrom’s mother, Pam, has helped shape the public image of the Microsoft Corporation’s chairman, first as a Microsoft employee and then as an executive of the public relations firm that represents him. When she learned about preparations for her daughter’s book, a behind-the-scenes account co-written with a former Microsoft software developer, Marlin Eller, she tried, the daughter said, to dissuade her from writing it.

”My mother had commented in Fortune in January that it put her in an awkward position,” Jennifer Edstrom said from her home in Portland, Ore. ”She made it completely clear she wanted no part of it.”

Parental disapproval did not carry the day. ”It’s hard enough to control Gates,” the elder Ms. Edstrom said, ”much less your daughter.” She responded with a terse ”no comment” when asked about the book.

Waggener Edstrom currently works on Gates’ lies and image-shaping (not just Microsoft’s). It’s a lesson in why such agencies do not deserve a place in society. Waggener Edstrom bribes bloggers with laptops, for example. What we found interesting is that Pam Edstrom disregards the truth and follows the money whereas her daughter has some dignity for a change. She chose not to seek spin but to seek some truth, instead. Maybe lack of ethics is not hereditary after all. Maybe Bill Gates’ children (now enrolled in the Khan Academy) will not end up being parasites of society, unlike their father. It is too early to determine this (the children are all too young), but Bill appeared with his son at the Hanford site recently. It is a “mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government,” according to Wikipedia. As a reminder, Gates and fellow patent trolls have nuclear patents which he is marketing in public events and in the US government (lobbying).

“By May of 1994, Gates’s patience was growing so thin that not even a public relations pro like Pam Edstrom could muzzle him.”

Jennifer Edstrom

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. NotZed said,

    August 30, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Gravatar

    Meter maids are adults choosing to perform a job i’m sure they’re quite well paid for – and i believe they’re quite proud of the job they do and enjoy the work, it’s hardly degrading. I bet it’s a lot less degrading than being a checkout chick, a waitress, a burger packer, a call centre operator or countless other horrible service jobs.

    Still, probably not appropriate for that particular event and rather poor judgement by a bunch of laddy lads who obviously got a bit over-excited about spending money on a show at the Gold Coast. Probably more to the point was the poor judgement on how to handle the complaints. I wish they handled complaints about their software so loudly and indiscreetly …

What Else is New


  1. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  2. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  3. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  4. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  5. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  6. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  7. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  8. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  9. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  10. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  11. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  12. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  13. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  14. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  15. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  16. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  17. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide



  18. Unitary Patent (UPC) Promotion by Team Battistelli 'Metastasising' in Private Law Firms

    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect



  19. Microsoft Targets GNU/Linux Advocates With Phony Charm Offensives and Fake 'Love'

    The ways Microsoft depresses GNU/Linux advocacy and discourages enthusiasm for Software Freedom is not hard to see; it's worth considering and understanding some of these tactics (mostly assimilation-centric and love-themed), which can otherwise go unnoticed



  20. Proprietary Software Giants Tell Open Source 'Communities' That Proprietary Software Giants Are 'Friends'

    The openwashing services of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation are working; companies that are inherently against Open Source are being called "Open" and some people are willing to swallow this bait (so-called 'compromise' which is actually surrender to proprietary software regimes)



  21. Microsoft Pays the Linux Foundation for Academy Software Foundation, Which the Linux Foundation is Outsourcing to Microsoft

    Microsoft has just bought some more seats and more control over Free/Open Source software; all it had to do was shell out some 'slush funds'



  22. Links 14/9/2019: SUSE CaaS Platform, Huawei Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  23. Links 13/9/2019: Catfish 1.4.10, GNOME Firmware 3.34.0 Release

    Links for the day



  24. Links 12/9/2019: GNU/Linux at Huawei, GNOME 3.34 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Links 12/9/2019: Manjaro 18.1 and KaOS 2019.09 Releases

    Links for the day



  26. EPO: Give Us Low-Quality Patent Applications, Patent Trolls Have Use for Those

    What good is the EPC when the EPO feels free to ignore it and nobody holds the EPO accountable for it? At the moment we're living in a post-EPC Europe where the only thing that counts is co-called 'products' (i.e. quantity, not quality).



  27. Coverage for Sponsors: What the Linux Foundation Does is Indistinguishable From Marketing Agencies' Functions

    The marketing agency that controls the name "Linux" is hardly showing any interest in technology or in journalism; it's just buying media coverage for sponsors and this is what it boils down to for the most part (at great expense)



  28. Watch Out, Linus Torvalds: Microsoft Bought Tons of Git Repositories and Now It Goes After Linux

    Microsoft reminds us how E.E.E. tactics work; Microsoft is just hijacking its competition and misleading the market (claiming the competition to be its own, having "extended" it Microsoft's way with proprietary code)



  29. Links 11/9/2019: Acer in LVFS, RawTherapee 5.7 and Qt 5.12.5 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Linux Foundation Inc. Buys Press About Itself and Media Coverage for Sponsors

    Sponsoring so-called ‘news’ sites is bad enough; it is even worse when such media then covers you and your sponsors, such as Snyk (a Linux Foundation sponsor/member, fancier word for client)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts