I've noticed a trend in which big organizations have their corporate blogger post something really challenging about a competitor. To make sure that analysts, journalists and consultants see this little attack, the company often has their PR firm send out an Email asking the question "Did you see this?"
It's an interesting ploy because it allows the company to semi-officially say some things that would not play well if it were presented as either a corporate statement or an advertisement. This approach allows them to say that the blogger was presenting his/her personal views not those of the company, if the competitor takes offense. I suppose they believe this will prevent litagation. If no audible cry is heard, that blogger can get more and more snippy over time. It's easy to offer an appology for the blogger's comments. The comments stay on the net and still have an impact on the market. The new strategy could be called "blogging the competitor to death."
A recent example of this comes from EMC's own Chuck Hollis (See his post here). It is clear that he's trying to rattle Oracle's cage over the issue of support of VMware. He acts as if it is an outrage that Oracle is not investing its R&D budget supporting VMware. His personal interest is showing.
Although I'm not trying to flog what analysts at The 451 Group think, it is interesting to see how such manoevers can backfire on a big supplier who uses this form of attack. Several of my colleagues at the 451 Group shared their comments about this post with me and I've taken the liberty of including a small section of their comments here.
Here's what Matt Aslett had to say:
Chuck says "They haven't come right out and made a public statement (big downside in that), but haven't really offered up any firm support statements either."
But we noted on CAOS (The 451 Group's Commercial Adoption of Open Software program) in November 2007 that "the company will not be certifying its database and applications on other virtualization software" (other than Oracle VM). Oracle made no secret of that at the time.
So at least Oracle is being consistent. In fact the strategy taken by Oracle can be seen as a precursor to the Sun acquisition.
Here's what Rachel Chalmers has to say:
What I'm seeing is Microsoft, Oracle and VMware shaping up for a huge three-way battle over what for the sake of argument we'll call "internal PaaS" - control of the virtualization and management layers, application development frameworks and even into the data and storage tiers.
Red Hat is a dark horse in this race; IBM should be and isn't.
Here's what William Fellows has to say:
EMC is clearly worried about the Oracle/Sun combination and a lockout of VMware to Oracle users.
Here are my thoughts on this topic:
Oracle's behavior has been consistent - Oracle customers have to understand that Oracle is in it for the money and it is using its control of its own products to make it difficult for customers hoping to deploy a multi-vendor, interoperable environment unless, of course, Oracle's products are at the heart of everything.
Oracle sees that VMware is vulnerable to outside attack and it wants to win whatever piece of that business it can get. Their mantra is "It's just business, nothing personal."
Oracle, VMware, Microsoft and a few other companies are trying to assert customer control. One way is to make it difficult to use products from other suppliers thus forcing customers to "make a choice." The hope of course is that the vendor's dominant position in the customers IT environment will force a decision in favor of their own products. This approach is nothing new. IBM and DEC used it in the 1970s and 1980s. Microsoft has been using it throughout its entire existence.
What do you think about this tactic? Do you think that EMC's position is right? Do you agree that Oracle is within its rights on this issue?