Is the Microsoft hate campaign working?

Is the Microsoft hate campaign working?

Summary: commentary It is easy, when writing on tech, to ascribe a lot of weight to the views and issues promoted by those with the loudest voices. And the loudest voices in the tech community generally belong to those who do not like Microsoft.

TOPICS: Microsoft
commentary It is easy, when writing on tech, to ascribe a lot of weight to the views and issues promoted by those with the loudest voices.

And the loudest voices in the tech community generally belong to those who do not like Microsoft.

Microsoft and the man who epitomises its culture and values, Bill Gates, are easy targets. The company's stumblings and mistakes are leapt on with glee and picked over ad nauseam by a vast army of critics ranging from those who dislike its products to those who regard it as the epitome of capitalism at its most rapacious.

This week saw the company cop an admittedly justified bake over chief executive Steve Ballmer's comments Linux violated more than 228 patents and that clients would be at risk of legal action if they use Linux. The subsequent moves from Redmond over those remarks have put a contortionist to shame.

However, another piece of news this week provided a potent reminder that Microsoft is not universally loathed.

A survey of chief executive officers by the Financial Times and PricewaterhouseCoopers found Gates continued to head the list of most-respected business leaders -- ahead of tech rivals such as Michael Dell, Steve Jobs and Carly Fiorina.

PwC officials said Gates had been lauded for his ability to inspire the company's employees and drive continued high levels of performance. The chief executives who participated in the survey also ranked Microsoft number two in the most-respected business list.

To your correspondent's mind, this study once again reinforces the fact that the corporate world is not interested in the almost religious zeal that accompanies a lot of Microsoft-bashing: In general, senior executives seem to admire the success of the company and are anxious to learn the lessons of Gates' management style. In addition, despite the best efforts of some commentators, information technology decision-makers are still required to evaluate Microsoft's products on the same criteria as they do everyone else's. It's value for money and fitness for purpose that counts, nothing else.

Your correspondent also this week went back through a file of articles and policy speeches made during the federal election campaign on the government's stance on open source. The message from all politicians was pretty simple: government agencies would be expected to evaluate open source solutions along with their proprietary counterparts when making procurement decisions. In other words, level playing field for all.

So while the weight of commentary, talkback, forums and other forms of Web discussion is overwhelmingly anti-Microsoft, it is always worth bearing in mind that the corporate sector admires the company and neither the corporate nor government sectors are interested in tilting the playing field away from it.

What do you think? Is Microsoft being unfairly targeted? E-mail us at and let us know, or use the talkback option below.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • I think MS throughly deserves everything they get. Many of us Sys Admins have suffered with MS software for years - particularly their earlier efforts, which were barely even up to beta release standards. Apart from having to put up with the rubbish, there's plenty of other reasons why people in the industry dislike MS.

    1 All the recent MS bugs, flaws and vulnerabilities.
    2 Their well-known heavy-handed monopolistic tactics, trying to crush anyone that even vaguely threatens them.
    3 Their habit of using their dominance in the OS market to not only copy ideas, but put smaller companies who produce third party software completely out of business (actually these last 2 are probably why business leaders like them so much).
    4 They have been convicted of software piracy on more than one occasion.
    5 But my favorite reason for hating MS is their dumbing-down of the computing environment, with all their silly "wizards" and automatic features which take away control from the end user. I've lost count of the number of times my windows desktop has apparently spontaneously reverted to default settings without even asking me.
  • I think MS is not targeted enough.
    Reguadrless of this article. MS products are still full of bad code and MS practices nothig but dispicable business practices.

    If I had as much money as Mr. Gates I would be sure to build a product that was more secure that the rittled software he produces.

    One of the new stations here in the St.Louis area had on the news two nights ago a report on the insecurites of Internet Explores and how even the US Government says that people need to stop using IE and go to an alternative browser of any kind that does not depend on IE code.

    No, in my opinion MS is still not being hit hard enough.
  • I honestly do think it is a hate campaign. I am a sys admin myself, and by no means do I find MS to have laudable and excellent software, in fact it is riddled with bugs & inconsistancies. However I am pragmatic to know that if my server fails, and my toilet overflows, then both aren't MS's fault. I don't ascribe to MS every problem I have, since that would be 'CHILDISH' and stupid.
    They write software, and (arguably) it does the job. Not easy to do, implement, migrate, etc. but it does the job.

    People who whinge about things such as 'TONY' has previously, must be under utilized in their work, especially if they have time to whinge about things that have no bearing on their work.
    I do not care that MS has gotten it's hands slapped by a court, I don't care if MS has been doing unethical things. I don't care (insofar as it bears on my work) if every virus in the world is targeted at MS, because they are the most successful. If we all switch to Linux, then every virus will switch also. DUH!!!! Evident to some i suppose.

    Pick on MS, I know you will. It is evident in the psyche of who people are. Successful people (don't deny it, since you can't) always are hounded and made targets. As far as I am concerned, I only care that MS continues to function, support their software (and they do) and that's that!
  • In a corporate sense, yes M$ has managed well to corner the market. From a users sense, I have lost out. Yes, through their deals with IBM to make MSDOS the defacto standard they were able to bundle free software so that their products dominated the market. BUT remember, Word Perfect was a superior product Word but all the newbies at that time didn't know that because they were getting free word process that. And today, they produce now is glossy but weak software. Just look at the way M$ blames others for daring to exploit their unsecure products. It is a joke the way M$ shouted to the world how they help catch that virus crook in Germany. But what they didn't say was that these guys exploit vulnerable software! Made by who? If they built the stuff properly in the first place, there would be no complaints.
  • "In general, senior executives seem to admire the success of the company and are anxious to learn the lessons of Gates' management style. "

    Yep, like how to run an illegal monopoly and buy your way out of being punished?
  • Microsoft deserve all the abuse they get and more. They lie and spread FUD on a mammoth scale, they are partly responsible for the SCO travesty taking so long, they even stooped to trying to FUD scare third world countries into buying their mediocre, under performing software by threatening that the Intellectual Property vultures would swoop on anyone using open source.

    Well let's look at the facts: No one has ever successfully sued an Open Source group in an IP suit, however M$ has been sued and lost several cases of Patent violation, what does this prove? I think the the argument speaks for itself.

    As an IT professional I feel that being made to use Winblowz at work is an affront to my skills in computing, it may be alright for lusers but that's only because most of them don't even know that there are better alternatives out there, and those that do are so worried by Ballmers FUD scare-mongering that they'd rather put up with malware, viruses, data corruption, spyware, system crashes and lost data than risk using the best alternative. And we all know what that <a href="">is</a>.
  • Honor among thieves. Of course other business leaders are envious of Microsoft's business model. So what? That has nothing to do with the rest of us "grunts".

    The other CEO's lauding over Microsoft aren't praising MS's products, they're praising all the money MS makes, and the business model they use. There's a profound difference...
  • MS did a great job in eliminating all competitors with legal and illegal methods and that generates hate or dislike. The hate campain is just one way how some people express themself and the pro-MS people go just the other direction.
    The ones who look at MS in a far less emotional way are the ones which will kill MS.

    The European and Asian authorities naturally do a much better job in taming MS as they don't have any interest in having the backdoors of their systems open for a foreign goverment.

    However, MS doesn't have to fear too much in the short run. I have several system admins as friends who would never install MS on their private computers (and some even on their business machines) but will vehemently vote for using it in business as the buggy MS-software is the best job-security they can get. Why should they go with a safer, less buggy and easier to maintain system where only half (or less) of them would be required to keep the same amount of machines running??? They even appreciate the stupid MS anti-Linux campain as they can use it to convince their executives to stay with MS.

    Does the hate campain work? IMHO, not very much. MS does a much better job in eliminating their own product on the long run.
  • Gee, corrupt billionaires admire the most corrupt billionaire of all. Who'da thunk it?

    Microsoft lies, steals, bullies, and tyrannizes over an entire industry. Microsoft regularly flouts the law, while at the same time producing shoddy products and retarding progress. (Almost five years after the release of XHTML, Internet Explorer still refuses to knowingly render it.)

    These are facts.

    "Hate campaign", on the other hand, is the loaded language of sycophancy.
  • Don't confuse respect for business prowess from industry peers with respect for the company from the consumers - they're quite different things.

    Your article illustrates the different perspectives - profitability, drive and getting employees to delivery is what garners the business respect. The people that rant at Microsoft (noting how convenient it is to denigrate these opinions as "religious zealotry" - surely Mr Ballmer's recent pontifications take the cake on that count!) are doing so from the perspective of consumers - the people that use or work with the products of Microsoft.

    Is there a hate campaign? If we also grant that there is an equal and opposite disinformation campaign, I'd accept that there is, although the use of the emotive "hate" is somewhat of a distortion.

    Is it working? Absolutely - you're writing about it, people are thinking about it and re-examining their assumptions.
  • How can anyone 'hate' Micrsoft?

    In 1980, IBM was Goliath, and Bill Gates and Paul Allen were seen as a very small 'David'. Where would we be without OS/2, sorry, I mean NT4? The IBM vision, had very little to do with desktop technology, digital cameras, and PDA's.

    As the ex-OIC of PC Development for the RAAF (1987-1991), I have listened with amusement to arguments between Macintosh and Windows users for years now - over the classic "Who invented Windows? question", rarely hearing the names Xerox or 'Ventura'.

    Fort Knox is the most well known financial target, because it was marketed as being impregnable. These days, we pay higher fees, and few banks actually make that claim in their marketing.

    Can you remember ever going to a bank, with cash and a deposit book? On a day when three major Australian banks try to amalgamate cheque processing with an offshore third party, millions of financial transactions already flow across global networks. All IT Managers know this is the target, if not transactions within their own companies.

    If home users decide to switch to Firefox, criminal organisations will simply adjust their attack vectors appropriately. They are interested in your money, not joining a fight to mock Microsoft.

    The cost of Microsoft products is more closely related to piracy issues, thankfully being resolved as you read.

    Could the products be more secure? - me thinks we had better refer to Cryptographic experts for that answer immediately.

    Does the company look after its staff? - apparantly very well, and to date, no-one I know, has died from using a Microsoft product.
    "Hate" is a strong word, that clearly does not seem appropriate in this case.

    There are many things, we could all do better.
  • As you said, "senior executives seem to admire the success of the company and are anxious to learn the lessons of Gates' management style".

    Of course! Every businessman in the world would like to be able to take their own company to the same earnings level as Gates did with M$! And that doesn
  • You all sound like a bunch of snake oil salesmen, doing and saying anything to "prove" the superiority of your chosen os (mostly linux) and declaring ms and windows the bane of humanity. I would hope that there are more objective and balanced views expressed by linux vendors, as few professional managers would consider migrating away from windows based on the skewed opinions expressed here.
  • Mafias always respect themselves. Capos respect other capos.
  • It is cowardice and buck passing that "drives" executives to favour Microsoft products over anything else. It's the same old 'No-one ever got fired from buying IBM' argument all over again. Where I work (a large federal government org) we were getting heartily sick of the never-ending security concerns of Internet Explorer and were investigating Firefox as an alternative, a technically sound solution. The idea got scotched with plenty of white faces and sweaty palms from the Public Service drones above us as "Oh no, we can't change, what would happen if something went wrong?" I rub my hands in glee waiting for the next major MS/IE exploit to hit and then I can watch them fall all over themselves when 12,000 desktops crash and burn.

    MS adoption is driven by inertia, fear, uncertainty,lock-in, doubt and craven weakness by the public sector eunuchs.
  • While MSFT has done many things wrong in the past, I think at this point they're being unfairly criticized. Beyond the vocal and almost religious OSS proponents, a lot of the blame for this rests with the media in my opinion. All too often, your colleagues appear happy to write negative articles on MSFT knowing they will recieve praise but shying away from even realistic assessments of LINUX/OSS for fear of strong backlash from this very militant community. As a result, we get nothing but negative articles about MSFT and nothing but glowing articles about all things OSS when the reality for both lies somewhere in the middle.
  • Bill Gates has done more for the IT industry in general than anyone else on the planet. He has made computing available to the masses and for that he gets pilloried. If you dont like his products then dont use them. Its not as if he is twisting your arm. Most people I know admire Gates.

    The level of journalism on the Internet is abominable and that is partly the reason why he gets so much bad publicity. If most of these so called journo's actually knew their stuff the stories written would be a lot different.
  • Long live to Microsoft!
    A very happy customer ;)
  • Read the judge's verdict:

    See the US Courts judgements on Microsoft:

    Read the Consumer Federation of America's report WINDOWS XP / .NET: Microsoft's expanding monopoly,(large PDF file=c.40pages)
    September 26, 2001 - how it can harm consumers and what the courts must do to preserve competition.

    Then come back and say that MS don't deserve
  • Jason Green == Microsoft Lackey