What the world gets when philosophy and money collide…
Over the years, Microsoft has maintained a very strategic tradition which encourages not only keeping its friends close, but also keeping its enemies closer. In some cases, as we sometimes find in Novell and the OSI, Microsoft is able influence the minds of its enemies and make them easy prey. Deep pockets make everything possible. There is enough evidence to support all of this, but not enough to include ECMA and ISO in this definition and contention (that would be sleeping with the shepherd and the judge, respectively).
”Invitations for ‘free lunch’ include fancy air trips to Redmond, Washington, possibly with Kool-Aid on the menu (program).“A reader has made us aware us a very curious mailing list thread. “Someone harshly criticized Microsoft security making some very good points,” he writes. “Suddenly a Microsoft rep materialized on the mailing list to refute them, offer to put on a security dog and pony show for the group and buy everyone lunch, and that’s where it ended! I’m dumbfounded at how easily Microsoft manages Windows users. Like a shepherd herding sheep!”
There are prior incidents where Microsoft invited over those who have it criticised. It seems like a pattern. Invitations for ‘free lunch’ include fancy air trips to Redmond, Washington, possibly with Kool-Aid on the menu (program). Invited parties have already included Slashdot, LifeHacker, Linux.com, and even The Inquirer. None of them is renowned as sympathetic towards Microsoft. Au contraire in fact. Here are some relevant articles, starting with The Inquirer:
The Vole [Microsoft] supposedly invited The INQ over for tea because we are notorious “Microsoft doubters” – and we were accompanied by other supposed Vole doubters such as the folk from lifehacker and a very nice man from Slashdot, as well as some Microsoft MvPs.
Microsoft even invited Robin ‘Roblimo’ Miller, who did the podcast with us on Wednesday.
Microsoft flew me there from Florida at its expense, put me up in a nice hotel, provided decent food, and comped me and four other invitees to this “special conference” with presentations about the marvels of Vista and other recent or upcoming Microsoft products. They didn’t quite play the old Beatles song “Love Me Do” in the background, but it was the event’s unstated theme.
You might be wondering why these issues are being raised here. Well, come to consider the fact that Microsoft’s invitations that targeted at hostile press, GNOME developers, Novell representatives (Microsoft stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Novell executives every now and then), and maybe even Pia Waugh (it does not say where the invitation for an OOXML conference came from). It is almost safe to assume that Microsoft is trying to get deep inside ‘enemy territories’ and turn its rivals into its supporter (or lead to ‘civil wars’, i.e. divide and conquer the opposition).
Here are some stories about incidents where Microsoft sent gifts to influential bloggers:
- SJVN: Bribing Bloggers
- Microsoft’s Laptop Giveaway Becoming PR Disaster?
- Joel Spolsky (on Software): Bribing Bloggers
- Getting a Vaio [from Microsoft]
In conclusion, everyone loves freebies (and Microsoft). Why wouldn’t they? █