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Microsoft-NPD Connections

“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 [PDF]



A LOT of people are saying "NPD this" and "NPD that" right now, but not many people are aware of the firm's business model. For each lie there is a party gaining and that's just how money is made.



We have already explained that NPD is close to Microsoft, but here are some references from recent years for those who are not easily convinced.

Since we cover a lot of stories about the copyright cartel, here is something to give an idea of how NPD is viewed based on its actions:

But wait! The NPD Group? Isn't it that market research firm which spotted the opportunities offered by the corporate movie and music companies from afar and almost overnight became an expert on p2p file sharing with, "highly questionable statistics blatantly slanted towards the entertainment cartels?"


Mind the headline of the article above. It says: "Vista: better than expected"

Yes, that was a few years back when Microsoft paid many analyst groups including IDC to praise Vista. Let us not forget Gartner, either. Microsoft negotiated with them regarding Vista.

But anyway, back to NPD, here is what a Microsoft fan and analyst said about NPD's numbers that flatter Microsoft:

To be clear: The missing information is to be expected, and I don't mean to reflect poorly on Swenson or NPD. Research firms aren't in the business of giving away information to the news media, but selling it to clients. The information provided to the press should be incomplete.


Says an analyst from Jupiter, whose analysis is centred around Microsoft.

Remember Zune? The product that fails to stay alive?

Watch what NPD said about the Zune's performance in the market:

''All in all, that's a pretty good performance,'' said Stephen Baker, an analyst with Reston, Va.-based NPD.


It's worth learning about the man who wrote this article.

Here is more:

Despite getting a hammering in the tech press, Microsoft's Zune has had respectable sales last month according to data from market research firm NPD Group.


You can't make this stuff up, or can you? Channel stuffing in this case.

Here is a story that Reuters published based on NPD regarding Microsoft's Xbox 360. And guess what? Reuters withdrew the story shortly after it had been published. How come? Here is the explanation: "The Los Angeles story headlined "Microsoft's Xbox 360 US sales top first Xbox--NPD" is withdrawn because the data supporting the story may be inaccurate. Reuters is waiting for an update from the company. A new story may be issued."

Here is how the story appeared in Reuters at the time (under a slightly different headline):

Microsoft's Xbox 360 US sales-NPD story withdrawn



The Los Angeles story headlined "Microsoft's Xbox 360 US sales top first Xbox--NPD" is withdrawn because the data supporting the story may be inaccurate. Reuters is waiting for an update from the company. A new story may be issued.


Take from that what you will about NPD and Microsoft whenever this pair shows up in the same article. NPD loves to momentarily count how many products are forcibly pushed into the warehouses of specific stores (sometimes geographic preference, a la IDC). It's one of the oldest tricks in the books, so it's a lie, although technically it may not be, not even marginally.

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