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Is Microsoft’s AstroTurf Against ODF Still On?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Singer cat

Summary: Signs of more potential AstroTurfing despite the illegality of the practice

THIS MORNING we got warned about someone called “Ghettoblaster“, whose documented edits in Wikipedia resemble those of Albert Zonneveld (better known as "hAl"). It is a well-documented fact that Microsoft offered money for supposedly “independent” consultants to edit Wikipedia regarding document formats (Microsoft's PR department does the very same thing in Wikipedia). And now that ODF (the real ODF) is gaining great traction Microsoft is determined to ruin interoperability and give it a bad name with its pseudo-ODF (MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). This is not surprising because Microsoft fought against ODF all along [1, 2].

Assuming that Microsoft is still paying people to do its dirty laundry (see related links at the bottom of this post), the FTC wants to know about it and maybe have them criminalised (which quite frankly is doubtful given the FTC's track record). A reader has just shared with us the following article from the business press:

Blogola: The FTC Takes On Paid Posts

The Federal Trade Commission wants bloggers to disclose when they’ve been wooed with cash or freebies from companies they cover

It is rarely being discussed that Microsoft is literally buying journalists, adding them to its staff. We gave an example last year and back in 2007 Microsoft was looking for an “open source” journalist to join its ranks. Jon Udell was named as an option and it turns out now that indeed he is working for Microsoft right now.

In January 2007, Udell joined Microsoft as a writer, speaker, and producer of another series of interviews: Perspectives. This show features projects in which Microsoft works with partners — universities, governments, NGOs — to develop new and socially impactful uses of its technology portfolio.

Wonderful. So people in the media get acquired by Microsoft, then use their media skills and connections to the advantage of one single corporation which breaks the law. Add this to the the pro-Microsoft trolls in USENET, one of whom was explored the other day by one of our regular readers.

Desperation by the MS faithful? I think so, I’d love to hear your opinions.

Those who are uninitiated when it comes to AstroTurf tactics at Microsoft are advised to read the posts below. This is not a myth but a reality. It has got to be stopped.

Related posts:

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A Single Comment

  1. Gentoo User said,

    May 27, 2009 at 12:02 pm


    How hilarious is it that you never link to this anywhere when you talk about how people are subverting Wikipedia… that’s the one smear/lie that someone actually bothered to shoot down, so it’s been relegated to the forgotten bin now. How convenient.

    Most of the material you use time and again to back up your ever-revolving arguments is similarly flawed, but no one has the time to invalidate it – no one has as much time as you do, because most normal people have to work a job in order to pay the rent and feed their families. So you simply trod on ahead, confident that your thousands of posts are practically impossible to analyze and disassemble. Security through sheer volume. But when one actually comes under the magnifying glass and is revealed for what it is, you suddenly develop a memory lapse and move on. It’s so amusing.

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