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Microsoft Launches “Get the Facts”-esque Smear Campaign Against ODF and OOXML's Critics

"When you control the minds, you control the people"

Here we go again. This is both a sign of desperation and of censorship. Microsoft cannot handle the truth, so it shells out money to change it. It acquires a perceived truth.

“It is a case where Microsoft literally buys ad placements to 'poison' pages where information about a rival product/service appears.”Since Microsoft is approaching debt, it ought to be careful with those spendings, but then again, it's the Cash Cow that we speak of. Mind the last reference at the bottom of this recent post about Microsoft's willingness to do anything (even break the law) to protect Office.

As a bit of background, "Get the Facts" is the phrase borrowed from particular set of libelous ads that are based on Microsoft-commissioned studies (c/f Microsoft's "Evangelism is War"). It is a case where Microsoft literally buys ad placements to 'poison' pages where information about a rival product/service appears. In the case of GNU/Linux, anti-Linux material will show up and accompany the original content of the page, spoiling the overall impression one gets. It's information control.

We previous covered Microsoft's gaming of search engines and spamming of YouTube, but here comes a new observation:

Google searches for "ODF" and "OpenDocument" or even "noooxml" are now returning sponsored links with phrases like "Learn the truth about the standard for interoperability" that lead you to a pro-OOXML petition on Microsoft's faux OOXML community site. For example, try this query. [link to search on "ODF"]

Let's see if I understand how this pay-per-click system works. Every time I click these sponsored links, money gets transferred out of some pro-OOXML supporter's bank account and is sent to Google? These seems the expensive route to go, but there is some logic to it. A look at Google Trends shows that Google queries for "ODF" far outnumber queries for "OOXML".

On the other side, at the real <NO>OOXML petition, the count stands at 82,422 signatures. Apparently they did not need to trick people into visiting their web site.


But wait, wait, wait! That's not the whole story. Attacking ODF through search engines is not enough for Microsoft in order to accomplish its goals which verge what we call "brainwash". It goes further than this. It attacks people, too. Why? Because they 'dare' to say the truth, which Microsoft finds rather inconvenient. From the same new post about the already-corrupted BRM in Geneva [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:

I'll be attending the BRM as part of the US delegation, leaving for Geneva a week from today. I am awed by the security apparatus which is being rolled out to ensure the integrity of the open standards process. Photo ID requirements, badged access to the meeting room, prohibitions against cameras and recording devices, no observers, no press. Truly, this is what open standards are all about.

Our delegation has been warned that there will be a dangerous group of agitators at the event and we may need to walk past them to get to the meeting room, and we should not lend our support in any fashion to this event, which includes such known disruptive elements as Vint Cerf, HÃ¥kon Wium Lie, Bob Sutor, and Andy Updegrove. Eyes front, do not look to the left, do not look to the right.

I'm certainly impressed that JTC1 is taking the BRM process so seriously, and everyone is so concerned with the integrity of the process. But I must wonder where all this attention was when NB's were reporting to JTC1 that OOXML was too large to review under Fast Track procedures? Where was the concern when NB's were objecting that the proposal contradicted numerous international standards? Where were the precautions when committees were being stuffed, and new NB's were joining JTC1 only days before the ballot ended? Who was watching out for the integrity of the process then? Why is an OFE panel discussion on "Standards and the Future of the Internet - the role of open standards, standards development and standards organisations for innovation and healthy marketplaces” by international experts on the subject a threat to the international standards system, but no one in JTC1 even blinks when Côte-d'Ivoire joins JTC1 as a P-member three days before the end of a 6-month standardization process and vote "Yes" without comments on a 6,000 page proposal?


Smear campaigns using shills will be alluded to in the next post. Their goal is to praise OOXML proponents and embarrass critics in public, often putting labels on them, such as "conspirator", or "anti-Microsoft" or "zealot", simply because they know too much. They saw (even documented) Microsoft's corruption of the entire process.

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