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Latest Examples of Information Distortion by Microsoft on the Web

Yesterday we published a little roundup of Microsoft-hired agencies or groups that are used to contaminate the Web and wash errand readers' minds. It's not a speculation, it's a reality and it needs to be throughly investigated and documented. We are still at the stage of collecting evidence before it can be presented in a tidied-up fashion.



Today we proceed to looking at testimonies such as this one from Ubuntu Forums. As we showed last week, not everyone in Ubuntu Forums can be trusted, but do have a look.

Reading reddit today, I come across this reddit user who is apparently a Microsoft shill. I honestly can't think of any other explanation except that Microsoft is paying him/her: this user posts lots of comments, all are pro-Microsoft, and every single one of Microsoft's products gets praised at every opportunity. He/she also puts down all competing products, and has apparently no opinions about any other topic than areas in which Microsoft competes (it's nice that you can see all past comments).

I've seen XBOX fanboys and Windows fanboys, so I don't automatically assume anyone who likes a Microsoft product is a shill. But all of their products? Windows, IE, SQL Server, Silverlight, IIS, etc. etc.?

Has Microsoft no shame? This is, frankly, pretty disgraceful. I hope I'm wrong here, perhaps someone can explain this?


Before jumping the gun with accusations of "paranoia", read these well-documented examples of Microsoft AstroTurfing. There are many more which are scattered around this Web site, but that's not the point because we are after new examples rather than old ones.

“It's a win-win situation to those who resort to such tactics.”Some people have reported being harassed by 'gangs of modders', who are modding down critics of Microsoft, e.g. in Slashdot. There's evidence of this, too. It's a way of shooting messengers along with their messages and -- at best -- a way of discouraging them from participating. It's a win-win situation to those who resort to such tactics.

Speaking for myself, I guess this explains why 4 people in Digg (at least two of whom stalk, libel and harass me in USNET) still systematically mod down every single comment of mine (regardless of the content/context) and occasionally throw in some slander, too. They have done this for almost a year and some proof of this was included here.

Anyway, personal attacks are small potatoes compared to titanic manipulation that goes on in corporations and the press, as opposed to social media. Whitepapers are another story. In the following oldie, for example ("Microsoft shills on the attack again"), Microsoft is compared to Enron, which is interesting not just because of its financial secrets and woes [1, 2]

"The real wonder is that there is any users left who buy the grist that comes out of the shill mill. It would seem to me that Microsoft has been so fully discredited that their methods and minions would also be suspect.

The Microsoft Anti-Trust trial painted them fully as the Enron of the Information Industry, with Gartner playing the role of Andersen. How Gartner escapes the destructive and discrediting taint of Chairman Bill's own special breed of Enronitis is beyond me. Enron collapsed because the investors (users) discovered the scam. Andersen kept the scam going long after the jig was up.

Will someone please explain to me how what Gartner does is any different?""


Sadly, the original article is no more. It might be possible to pull it back from the grave, but maybe not. The source, Gary Edwards, is a bit questionable at this later stage [1, 2].

Gary complains about "the unfair treatment the OpenSource community is receiving from the hands of Gartner and the like." Watch this new article.

By Daisuke Wakabayashi

[...]

Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said 90 percent of the top global 1,000 companies have yet to deploy any sort of RIA, while 90 percent of the top 100 consumer Web sites have already done so using the nonproprietary and more simple AJAX format. That opportunity has Microsoft eyeing current leader Adobe for business that extends beyond Silverlight and into the sale of design tools along with server and database software to enable these new applications.


This has just been published in several different places. It seems like a subtle Microsoft/Silverlight advertisement. Rings a bell yet?

"Working behind the scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). "Independent" consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). "Independent" courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage."

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]



According to the document above, Microsoft relies on the fact that "analysts sell out" and we wrote about the relationship between Microsoft and the Gartner Group many times before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Microsoft and Gates partially pay the Gartner Group. As you may notice, this latest article not only echoes Gartner, which offers a self-to-be-fulfilling prophecy to its client, Microsoft. The article is composed by Daisuke Wakabayashi. Watch what journalisted.com says about Daisuke Wakabayashi.

Daisuke Wakabayashi has written...

* More about 'microsoft' than anything else


The likes of Gartner and other Microsoft-promoting journalists are not the only problem here. Publication are too.

One example that we gave before was the New York Times. It turns out that, independently enough, Roughly Drafted Magazine has reached the very same conclusion as ours. Here is an older post about this phenomenon.

New York Times Violates its Own Microsoft Shill Policy



[...]

Randall Stross tried to explain in the New York Times that Apple is bungling its limited window of opportunity to sell Macs as Microsoft recovers from its Windows Vista retail sales flop. In doing so, he had to rely on overly broad generalizations, ignore well known retail realities, and violate the Times’ ban on interviewing Microsoft’s weaselly shills.


Motley Fool is an example of a blatantly-pro-Microsoft press with a stance resembling constant advertisements of a stock. It's almost chronic. They would hardly even deny it. Here is another new attempt at self-fulfilling prophecies in this Microsoft's 'fan press'. Unsuspecting readers. who are unaware of affiliations (MSN), might actually fall for it. Those pseudo-reporters seem to be joining the Yankee Group's [1, 2] and Burton Group's [1, 2] verbal fight against VMWare.

We have some more new examples to share. Here you can find "Time" (CNN) doing some more advertising for Vista/Seinfeld/Microsoft. The same on-line magazine recently published no less than three 'placements' from the husband of the former head of the Gates Foundation. Therein, he praised this foundation and strongly denied the hard reality behind it. It was an unchallenged rebuttal to critics. It's worth stressing that it was another magazine which owned by CNN that had announced (actually broke the news) about Microsoft's patent smear against GNU/Linux. It did this in a deliberately-fear-inspiring fashion and someone wrote a whole short paper on ways in which they enhanced the drama in the text. There is clearly some proximity there in the publication.

People remain unimpressed by the buyout of a famous comedian and hopefully they'll be reading the following rather than the glossy piece from "Time".

To conclude this post — Shame on yourself Microsoft for paying Jerry Seinfeld $10 million when people in North America are hit by recession and foreclosures and barely surviving. We urge everybody not to buy Microsoft’s products.


Here is another new example

Microsoft should just forget about being sexy



[...]

Alternatively, and perhaps more realistically, Microsoft could give up on the cool, sexy image. It really doesn't fit. And, honestly, I'd rather buy my software from a dork.


It's tough countering placements when the press is used to shape and reshape the image of Microsoft, never mind the constant manipulation on the Web by PR agencies where Microsoft hires shills [1, 2].

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