Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Sends Its Friend 'Analyst' Michael Silver to Bat for OOXML?

Assault of the mouthpieces

"Analysts sell out - that’s their business model... But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with."

--Microsoft, internal document



We last showed this only one week ago. The following new example will be joining many other examples [1, 2, 3, 4] and compelling proof that exposes a large-scale phenomenon called "shill analysts", or abbreviated "shillnalysts".

Noooxml.org talks about Michael Silver, but it does not seem to realise who this guy is. It speaks about the bias:

Businessweek (Jennifer L Schenker) quoted Gartner analyst Michael Silver last week who puts OOXML in a wider commercial perspective...

"appear more open". This is how Gartner views the credibility of the new openness....

Look how optimistic Gartner's Silver is...


We have covered this so many time before (see citations above), but to focus on Michael Silver for a moment, consider these:

NY Times bans Microsoft analysts from Microsoft stories

Just days after banning Enderle from discussing Microsoft because he has Microsoft as a client, the Times quoted Gartner analyst Michael Silver and AMR Research analyst Jim Murphy in a story about Microsoft's Windows and Office software.

If the paper would prefer not to quote an analyst who has experience with a client, it did a poor job. Silver is Gartner's vice president in charge of client computing. Microsoft happens to do lots of business with Gartner and also happens to have a client-software monopoly. We're guessing that Silver knows Microsoft's products well and has direct involvement with the company.

And, sure enough, he appears a number of times on Microsoft's own site and thousands of times in stories about Microsoft. Jim Murphy - wait for it - covers Microsoft too and is even more prolific than Silver.

[...]

Part of the problem stems from the reticence of companies such as IDC and Gartner to reveal their clients. That should make everyone nervous, but it doesn't. So called objective technology publications keep publishing material bought by vendors without telling you this. They're also too lazy or scared to ignore the likes of Gartner and IDC until the firms change their disclosure rules.


Also see this more recent one:

Buy Vista or die



[...]

Gartner research vice president Michael Silver said that outfits have delayed their Vista migrations to the point of stupidity and now some are considering late 2008 or even 2009, while others mull skipping the OS completely.


The following older article gives you an idea of the scale of this plague.

Research firms make their living by offering expert advice to business and technology people about the best ways to invest their IT dollars. It can be invaluable insight, but only if that analysis comes with no strings attached. And on that, there's no guarantee.

Forrester, Gartner, IDC, and others insist their output is squeaky clean, yet they also rake in millions providing services to the very same companies they monitor, heavyweights like Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle. Which leads to a question that continues to dog the research firms: How much influence do technology vendors have over their work?


BusinessWeek should be ashamed of itself for approaching and accepting a comment from a Microsoft friend, without any disclosure at all. It should not have approached this person in the first place. This is an example where Microsoft controls publications by proxy -- so to speak -- rather than controlling them directly. There is another such article from IDC, which was published a few days ago to slam Linux. But that's a separate story.

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