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Microsoft Goes Viral in Kerala, the Land of Free Software

"They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

--Bill Gates of the 'Crusade for Software Addiction'



The previous post ought to have shown you that Microsoft is gradually losing its grip on Europe. Microsoft does not give up without a fight though. To re-use that phrase from the previous post's title, when Microsoft fights, it's willing to deal punches below the belt.

A reader has brought to our attention the following new discovery about Microsoft interfering with a state that migrates to GNU/Linux.

Microsoft will be signing up Malayalam movie star Mammootty as one of the brand ambassadors for the Computer Literacy programme that is to be organized soon in Kerala, a Southern Indian State well known for its pro-free software policies.


This is far from the first time Microsoft uses Bollywood to promote its products. It did the same thing when Windows Vista was released (videos and songs produced, as well as coffees named using known Microsoft brands). Many innocent bystanders were unhappy, some were utterly disgusted.

More recently, over in the United States, we saw Microsoft even approaching the star of the program "Jackass" to buy itself some "cool factor" [1]. And then there's NASCAR also [4], but it fell through a few days ago [5]. Top it all up with insulting the customers' intelligence, as demonstrated last week [2] and about a year ago [3]. Links are appended to show you how 'extreme' Microsoft marketing can be. More examples of viral marketing you will find in this older post, whose focus was viral marketing for OOXML.

"If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good."

--Bill Gates



This isn't the first Microsoft tries to use its money to fight adoption of GNU/Linux in Kerala. We provided examples of this (from the local press) several months ago. Scroll down to the section about Kerala.

As was said in a comment some hours ago:

"That one really is sick - I have a lot of good Indian friends, and the Bollywood stars are seen with an almost god-like status amongst the less educated Indians (of which there are, sadly, many in Kerala). Microsoft are just cynically exploiting this…”

"Let's face it - the average computer user has the brain of a Spider Monkey."

--Bill Gates



We can combat unethical marketing techniques by at least highlighting their existence and explaining to the general population why they are misjudged. ___

[1] Microsoft apparently hopes that a "Jackass" can up its hip quotient and increase market share

This came to my inbox this morning from a reader who shall remain nameless. I found it sort of interesting.

[...]

Perhaps this new campaign is the opening salvo to be launched by Microsoft's newly hired advertising agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the "it" agency of the moment in the advertising world.


[2] Feeling Dumb? Microsoft Says MSN Can Help

Google's informal code of conduct is 'Don't Be Evil,' a reflection of its commitment to not exploiting its users. But a new Microsoft ad campaign is sending an altogether different message: 'Don't Be Dumb.'


[3] [Microsoft:] WhatsWrongWithU

The site is targetted to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea, with an abrasive attempt at in your face attitude. However, one has to wonder if the whole thing will come off as more than a little insulting.


[4] Microsoft's latest marketing vehicle: NASCAR

Microsoft plans to sponsor a NASCAR team for the 2008 season in a bid to boost the profile of its offerings for small businesses.


[5] Microsoft NASCAR sponsorship takes bad turn

The BAM Racing #49 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, partially sponsored by Microsoft Small Business, is being taken out of commission, for now, because a sponsorship deal with another company fell through, according to a message on the BAM Racing site from owner Beth Ann Morgenthau.

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