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Microsoft's Twitter AstroTurf Continues

Vulture wings
Microsoft vultures in Twitterland



Summary: Past and present Microsoft employees spread the Microsoft love (and Linux hate) at Twitter while Microsoft-hired agencies are watching from above

Microsoft's well-known mouthpiece and former employee Michael Gartenberg is rearing his ugly head again. He is confronting/challenging people who promote GNU/Linux-powered sub-notebooks over at Twitter. Here is the new proof:

Last week we heard about the first Android-powered Netbook (which I wrote about in First Android Netbook Nothing to Write Home About). Then on Friday, analyst Michael Gartenberg, who is VP of Strategy at Interpret, and who writes frequently about consumer technology sent the following Tweet:

Is Android's future in Netbooks? NO! of course not.

I tweeted back:

@Gartenberg Not exclusively, but I could see Android being a viable Netbook OS.

And Gartenberg replied:

@ron_miller hard to see it. not the right apps and no better than Linux. Linux Netbook return rate is huge.


Michael Gartenberg seems to be working under a new umbrella now, having worked for Microsoft (as an evil evangelist) and other places where he boosted Microsoft's position. We have seen him shuffling several hats, but some editors seem not to know that he is one of Microsoft's more familiar shills who publish anti-GNU/Linux articles and in his case even claimed Zune to be a success back in the days. The guy even worked directly for Microsoft (inside Microsoft) at one point, so it's obvious how incestuous this relationship is.

We already know for a fact that Waggener Edstrom is eavesdropping on Twitter users on behalf of Microsoft and Microsoft also pays Federated Media to keep Twitter in check and get involved [1, 2]. Our reader Goblin may have caught some Microsoft AstroTurfing on Twitter, in addition to employees we know about. Here is another one:

As regulars here are aware, in between commenting on tech issues, I do like to challenge comments which I think need clarity at the very least. Heres Flanakin hes a senior development consultant for Microsoft and would like to tell you a few things about Windows 7:

“wow… the polish on Win7 RC is absolutely beautiful… some small things are astoundingly better than the beta”

“repaving my oldest machine with Win7 RC”

and whats the spec of this old PC? Two months old is it?

[...]

So I decided to give Flanakin Microwalker’s site a visit. http://michaelflanakin.com/ heres a snippet of what he has to say there:

“I’m an open source advocate, when it makes sense, and have a strong software engineering and architecture background.”


"Open source advocate," eh? Anything like this type of creature? As a side note, if anyone is interested, I have an account on Identi.ca and also on Twitter.

In other news, Goblin also said goodbye to Joe Wilcox, who is leaving Microsoft Watch unmanned.

This is one of the posts Ive written on OpenBytes where Im genuinely saddened. Today (highlighted by Roy from Boycott Novell) marked the end of Joe Wilcox on Eweek.


This is part of a series of departing Microsoft watchers, including Todd Bishop who defected from the Seattle P-I to a startup called TechFlash. He gives a list of some other departures that we've kept track of.

Thursday, Joe Wilcox announced his departure from Microsoft Watch, which he took over in 2006 following Mary Jo Foley's departure. He doesn't go into detail but writes that he's joining "the swelling ranks of journalists smitten by the economic crisis and by changes the Internet is forcing on my profession." I'll miss Joe's reporting on the site, and it will be interesting to see what eWeek does with it.

Another recently departed Microsoft beat reporter is Ben Romano, who left the Seattle Times to become U.S. correspondent for Recharge, a trade journal covering renewable energy. He has been replaced by Sharon Chan, a veteran of the Seattle newspaper.


It remains to be seen if Microsoft announces more layoffs tomorrow. To enhance the spin factor, Microsoft will keep twitting away.

"Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!"

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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