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Microsoft Swaps Data with (and Maybe Pays) Nielsen, Which Compares Microsoft to Rivals

Nielsen and Microsoft



Summary: Conflict of interests found inside Nielsen, which is yet another company that promises to deliver objective assessments

Microsoft loves contracting the very same firms that compare Microsoft to other companies. We previously named Netcraft as an example [1, 2, 3] and also comScore as a more relevant example, which we wrote about in:





We mentioned comScore and Nielsen in the following post, which continues to speak about how Microsoft uses partners or even its former employees to assist with lies (selective, incomplete analyses) about competitors like Google. This seems like a standard procedure as we will show in just a moment. Net Applications, for example, has former Microsoft staff and Microsoft is also their paying customer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so their belittling of GNU/Linux is unsurprising. Conflict of interests? Of course. Money on the table? That's a fact.

“As long as money flows towards an examiner's pocket, the results are suspect and the methods for measuring some given unit are designed to bring about the desired conclusion.”There are other meters just like that, which can be biased and deceitful. As long as money flows towards an examiner's pocket, the results are suspect and the methods for measuring some given unit/s are designed to bring about the desired conclusion. That's their business model; those who pay will receive pleasing results. They can sell bias, just as others are selling fear. Let's not forget NPD [1, 2, 3], which is doing exactly that.

With a bit of background out of the way, we now present the news about Nielsen, which turns out to have signed a "partnership" with Microsoft. It seems like the type of deal that will involve Microsoft paying Nielsen, not the other way around.

On Thursday, the company announced a partnership with Nielsen that brings TV ratings to Xbox Live's "1 vs. 100" online trivia game show.

[...]

Microsoft and Nielsen also plan to collect data across the entire Xbox Live network. While this is not the first time Nielsen has measured videogame metrics, it is the first time it will measure content across a game console network--Xbox Live--and be able to get very "granular" information, says Gerardo Guzman, director of Nielsen Games.

[...]

This latest partnership with Nielsen gives a boost to Microsoft's aspirations to be more than just a platform for traditional videogames.


If Microsoft is hiring Nielsen, i.e. paying them, then Nielsen is not an impartial, independent party. Microsoft does not to bribe them but give them contracts instead. This is clearly part of Microsoft's tactics as it put them down in paper [PDF]. We have seen examples before and here is another new example where a Web site delivers a message without exactly saying that corporations are behind this message. It relates to a recent Microsoft-sponsored IDC study which was produced for lobbying purposes [1, 2]. Now, how about this one?

Among workers, two out of five had trouble staying motivated at work in the last year and a quarter do not feel loyal to their employer, according to the survey of employers and workers for CareerBuilder.com, an online jobs site.

[...]

CareerBuilder is owned by Gannett Co. Inc, the Tribune Co., The McClatchy Co. and Microsoft Corp.


So these statistics can be warped to reflect and project Microsoft's agenda, without appearing as though they came from Microsoft. With Microsoft's long track record of push-polling, everything is possible to show, along with supportive data. The task of conducting studies with questionnaires is just externalised to other agencies.

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