Bonum Certa Men Certa

Attack/Shoot the Messenger Strategy: Thy Name is Intel, Microsoft, Novell, GNOME

"The years of anti-software-patent campaigning taught us that programming doesn't solve all problems. Companies like Microsoft have realised that politics and advertising are two of the free software community's weak spots. They can't tackle us in terms of producing good software, so they're tackling us where we are weak. We have to beef up our work on public policy and awareness."

--Source (very recent)



Several days ago we pointed out Intel's attacks on a charitable project (OLPC), which Intel saw as too disruptive to its core business. Mary, who only recently left OLPC, tried to even defend Intel at one point (accusations of astroturfing) and there are reports which say that OLPC would welcome Intel back. That said, after Intel's smear campaign against Nicholas Negroponte and OLPC, would that not be too odd?

Negroponte has already described this relationship as one that involves repetitive abuse (with forgiveness always in vain). Intel actively sabotaged and spread OLPC FUD (e.g. in Peru) and this was very systematic. Here is a new report from O'Reilly Radar:

Some of the anti-OLPC notes that have appeared since Intel was kicked out of the project have been well-reasoned (read the Economist's near-obituary and Nikolaj Nyholm on Radar) -- but much of the anti-OLPC opining has deteriorated to personal attack on OLPC head Nicholas Negroponte. At least one of those sources of attack has turned out to be run by an Intel employee. There are plenty of forces that want OLPC to fail commercially.


It has been interesting to see how the very biased media portrayed Nicholas Negroponte, thanks to the 'kind' help of Intel and its f[r]iends. Novell has actually done its share of work trying to have this Web site ignored by journalists and in some sense, the GNOME Foundation, headed by Miguel de Icaza at the time, tried that also. And lastly, that brings us to Novell's partner, Microsoft, which runs its secret smears against Google all the time.

Microsoft is launching an anti-Google propaganda campaign.


Here is another good example where FUD replaced effective and ethical marketing.

This, of course, brought Google even closer to rivaling Microsoft's Office suite, which has now spurred a reaction from the Redmond software giant.

No, its not new software or updates for the popular productivity suite, but rather Microsoft's own reasoning on why businesses should NOT use Google Apps.


The above is an example based on just one incident that strives to assassinate the character of just one company. There are more recent examples and Motley Fool, a site which is associated with MSN, last spread some intimidating anti-Google messages over the weekend ("Banned by Google" it was called). It is all delivered under the guise of financial news and there is a clear pattern.

Coming from a more dubious source, George 'Microsoft' Ou, there are claims that Apple too has been attacking those who carries unwanted messages. The same person is among the 'little army' that has run a little smear campaign against Peter Gutmann, who exposed Vista's dark DRM secrets and continues to do so. But that's another story altogether and it's worth saving it for another day.

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