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Microsoft's Whisper Campaign

Nothing's too low for these lowlifes.

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REDMOND (Radsoft) -- Riddle: what do you do when your products are on the decline - when the planet has totally passed you by? If you're Steve Ballmer then you follow the example of your boss Bill Gates - you cheat.

Microsoft are often cited by the Windows Kool-Aid™ drinkers as the ultimate example of the successes of the Free Enterprise Market™. They're not - they're a frightening indication of the spoils in manipulating that 'free' market.

One may comfortably assume one has seen it all but one would be wrong.

Pamela Grokking

Pamela Jones is pissed. And rightfully so. She's probably one of the best paralegals going. She dug into the dirt of the SCO lawsuit against IBM and came up with the skull of William Gates 3. She fought off their harassment and threats and came up shining. But Microsoft are back at it again.

This time it's about Redmond's abortive (and toxic) document standard. They don't want the 'open' standard to succeed: their own inferior standard must stand instead. The reasons are obvious: they've loaded their own standard with hooks so they can again practice imperialism on a grand scale. DOJ and EU rulings aside: they've never given up. They want to control you.

'Alex Brown has been editing Wikipedia's article on ODF. That strikes me odd, like finding out Steve Jobs had been editing the Microsoft Zune page. Some things are simply inappropriate. It puzzles me why Wikipedia allows it, frankly.

Alex Brown is the convenor of the OOXML BRM (ISO ballot resolution meeting). OOXML being Microsoft's attempt to undermine the true open format ODF.

'If you read the talk page on ODF, you'll see that there are others there trying mightily to spin the article on ODF more negatively than is factual. And such rudeness! Plenty of smears against Groklaw too I couldn't help but notice. It does seem to me that there is a marked increase in what I view as a concerted submarine marketing effort. Some of it is subtle. Most of it is not. A fair measure of it is mean-spirited. Some of it is lies pure and simple.'

They don't stay put at Wikipedia either - they visit Pamela and post nasty things at her site as well.

'Groklaw has been visited recently by several OOXML types including Alex Brown, Doug Mahugh of Microsoft, and Rick Jelliffe, all singing pretty much the same songs, posting on our ODF articles, so I got to watch it close up. I puzzled over it because they seemed so deliberately rude. Why come here just to be offensive? So I'd remind them we have a comments policy here, including no ad hominem attacks on anyone. And they would continue on.'

Anyone familiar with the syrupy strong-arm tactics of Microsoft shouldn't be surprised.

'Why can't Microsoft compete fairly on the merits? No. Really. Just once?'

That should be a rhetorical question but it isn't. Pamela quotes Rob Weir for an answer.

'You obviously can't trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to 'improve' the ODF and OOXML articles they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin, and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft's re-use in their whisper campaign.'

This Microsoft tactic is as old as the hills. They manipulate a 'source' in some way and then obsessively quote that source. Microsoft won't allow the 'open' ODF to succeed because acceptance of ODF would mean everyone got to compete fairly in an open market. Microsoft don't know how to play that way.

'I have proposed that User:hAl be banned from editing this and other Microsoft-related articles following a pattern of disruptive and tendentious editing spanning almost a year.'

Yet if you follow the link through you find they've buried that too. They're certainly diligent.

'I'm closing this for a variety of reasons. This the wrong venue. Topic bans should be carried out on ANI. The offsite posting of this discussion is disturbing.'

So the entire discussion of a really bad perp is dismissed. What did User:hAl do? The list is still online. For now.

Affected Articles

Acid3, Microsoft Open Specification Promise, Moonlight, OpenDocument, Open Office XML, Usage share of web browsers, Windows V*STA.


Repeated bulk deletion of referenced content resulting in WP-3RR warning, repeated discrediting referenced material, spreading FUD, repeatedly removing fact tags, reverting edits without justification, introducing unreliable and biased references, removing Wikipedia notices, WP:POV violations, adding unreferenced disparaging content to competitive articles, replacing referenced content with unreferenced content, unjustified assertions to discredit unflattering figures, rewriting history, PRODding articles he doesn't like, uncivil responses to well justified accusations, and so on.

This is just the first month or so of activity starting mid-2008 and yet it continue through to today.

Almost all of the user's hundreds of edits are problematic, regularly pushing the envelope if not flat out violating a raft of Wikipedia policies.

They are pushing a clear pro-Microsoft agenda, promoting Microsoft products (eg Office Open XML, Windows V*STA) attacking competitors (eg OpenDocument, Moonlight) and detractors (eg BadV*STA) and it is hard to believe there is not a blatant conflict of interest at work. The quality of the articles is suffering as a result to the point where trusted members of the community are starting to speak out against Wikipedia (IBM's Rob Weir: ODF Lies and Whispers and Groklaw coverage).

The user was blocked for edit warring on Office Open XML (something he has been doing for sover a year now - this is his 4th block) and according to the talk page is unremorseful and combative. I propose that a permanent topic ban be enacted on Microsoft-related articles (including the likes of OpenDocument) and a longer term ban be considered based on a long-term pattern of disruptive and tendentious editing.

The proposal met with widespread sympathy. Other names crept into the discussion. Checking the history pages of the articles one finds they've been in redacting and rewriting the truth dozens of times even today.

Yet in one fell swoop the proposal was dismissed. Not shelved for further deliberation - dismissed.

El Reg figured out why all the FUD - Microsoft need to quote their skewed articles (redacted at Wikipedia by hired goons) for their 'decision engine'.

'You're transported to a reproduction of a Wikipedia page on Microsoft's own site where it's labeled as reference material.'

'Now we have a closed loop', writes Pamela.

'Microsoft-friendly folks rewrite Wikipedia articles which Microsoft then pick up and serve to the world as truth. Will they correct the articles when FUD is removed or just continue to serve up their own versions of truth? Not even Stalin himself could do a better job of revisionism.'

Consumers: think about this. Do you want to buy products from a company involved in systematically manipulating the truth and the marketplace you visit? A company not intent on improving the quality of their products - but solely and exclusively in forcing you to purchase their products? Can you finally say you're going to wake up?

See Also
Rob Weir: ODF Lies and Whispers
InternetNews.com: Microsoft Supported by Dead People
Groklaw: Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign - Updated

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