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Microsoft and Truth
June 19, 2001 2:31 AM   Subscribe

Microsoft and Truth This particular mistruth has long been a bone of contention with Microsoft ever since they tried to migrate Hotmail from FreeBSD over to Windows and found that Windows couldn't scale. <sigh> Yet another Microsoft lie? [from rc3.org
posted by fooljay (13 comments total)

 
What gets me, as Dan Gillmor points out, is how Microsoft can get away with bending the truth so egregiously time and time again. Seems like there should be some sort of accountability for things you say as a company, but time and time again, Microsoft bends the truth to fit it's own needs.

How anyone can continue to trust what Microsoft says about its software or it's ability/desire to protect your privacy is beyond me... Seems like with so many instances of mistruths and outright deceit the FTC should at least be drawing a line in the sand.

I suppose that the whole thing just makes me scared that we are headed uncontrollably down a path that I'm seriously unconfortable with...

(Anil, I almost linked you, but I read the followup to the original post... You handled yourself better than you give yourself credit for..)
posted by fooljay at 2:32 AM on June 19, 2001


I'm no lover of MS. But why did you include a google search link that contains nothing but seriously outdated (circa 1998) stories, broken English NG posts and uses the word "lie" as a verb? Did you read the links in the first page of the search?
posted by crasspastor at 2:49 AM on June 19, 2001


Sorry. I guess either way it lies, either use of the word lie is still a verb. Different term of usage is what I meant to say.
posted by crasspastor at 2:52 AM on June 19, 2001


Heh, yeah I did read the links (and the dates) but it was more to elucidate the point. Regardless of whether or not the stories at the top of the search are out of date, MSFT's honesty practices have not improved. If anything, as the company grows, they have to do more creative truthtelling in order to keep themselves out of hot water and to convince a justly wary crowd that they are the people's friend...

Either way, the point stands...
posted by fooljay at 3:11 AM on June 19, 2001


I wasn't condemning you. In fact I'm with you.

But as you say "as the company grows", I personally think they've outgrown their own box they built to grow themselves in. The roots are crawling out of the drainage holes. Too bad for them it's a plant that doesn't do too well once you repot it. MSFT (keep forgetting to use that euphemistic insult) ain't the pothos. Now I'm feeling the root stimulator analogy coming on.
posted by crasspastor at 3:39 AM on June 19, 2001


corporations have teams of professionals who are paid to say whatever sounds best, regardless of it's relation to the truth.

they're called pr people.
posted by will at 6:47 AM on June 19, 2001


And of course, everyone will continue to sit there and curse Microsoft.

And nobody will care in the long run, because people aren't willing to ditch their products.

MS doesn't need to be held accountable for stuff like this. They've got too much market share for people to care about how ethical they are.

Until people start formatting their drives and installing alternative OSs, the "problem" isn't going away.
posted by Succa at 11:03 AM on June 19, 2001


What gets me, as Dan Gillmor points out, is how Microsoft can get away with bending the truth so egregiously time and time again.

It's very simple. They get away with it because [the universal] you continue buying their stuff in mass quantities no matter what. They literally don't have to care about going the extra mile for customers, telling the truth, etc. The only solution is for large percentages of their potential base to stop buying and using Microsoft products. And that's not going to happen.
posted by aaron at 11:16 AM on June 19, 2001



A few comments:
corporations have teams of professionals who are paid to say whatever sounds best, regardless of it's relation to the truth. they're called pr people.

But usually they do so, I would think, under conditions of damage control. Microsoft's PR machine actually seems to have a detailed plan of how and when they release the truth, with an contingecy plan in place in case it comes out before they're ready to tell it.

Gradualism, as Peter wrote about seems to be the name of the game. If you lie in small increments slowly heading for the truth no one will notice...

Until people start formatting their drives and installing alternative OSs, the "problem" isn't going away.

I guess that that is the real problem. For many of their products (especially the OS) their is no viable alternative. Why? Because Microsoft has knocked so many companies into oblivion that no company is willing to risk their shareholders money to go up against them. (There are few exceptions) Ca you name one example of a company who has gotten a significant amount of market share with a product which came to market at the same time as or after Microsoft introduced the product, much less after they gained a dominant market share? I can't. (Quicken, Adobe, Yahoo, AOL and RealNetworks all launched first)

That means that either only a huge competitor (AOL, Yahoo, even maybe IBM) or an open-source project (where shareholder cash isn't involved) can bring this to fruition. Linux, as much as we'd all like it to be, is not a consumer OS. Opera IS a great consumer browser, but I think that Microsoft has inertia and momentum on its side sad to say.

They literally don't have to care about going the extra mile for customers, telling the truth, etc

True, BUT the reputation (sort of) bites them in the ass in business dealings. When a normal company shows itself time and time again not to be trustworthy, it's less likely to get deals to go it's way or to get them to be as sweet as they'd like them to be. Unfortunately, there's always SOMEONE who wants to do a deal with Microsoft because of their power and reach.

What's funny though is that many companies who have done deals with Microsoft have found knock-offs of their products (stamped with Microsoft's name) in the next version of the OS.

A deal with the Devil is not an unfair comparison.
posted by fooljay at 3:12 PM on June 19, 2001


By the way, this is pretty funny
posted by fooljay at 6:25 PM on June 19, 2001


"And of course, everyone will continue to sit there and curse Microsoft. And nobody will care in the long run, because people aren't willing to ditch their products."

I keep Windows on my desktop for compatability (and I'm fully willing to admit that I didn't pay for it). However, at work, we run a SCO Unix server, and when another department came to me asking whether to use NT or SCO for a new server they needed, I said SCO. And at the high school (I work for the town government) we just finished replacing the NT 4 servers with brand new Novell servers. There's a server running Win2000 that I'm going to try and convert to Novell soon. And there's one NT4 server that needs to stay that way for a specialized school administration program.

On the other hand, every single one of the desktop machines is running Windows 95/98.

I just think it's a matter of using the right tool for the job. Windows tends to be the best solution for use on a workstation (though I know of a few that could stand to run Win 2k Pro instead of 98), but I don't know if I'll ever willingly install a server running Windows unless they do some major work on it.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:40 PM on June 19, 2001


at work, we run a SCO Unix server,

Doesn't SCO UNIX still have a Microsoft copyright notice on the login screen?
posted by kindall at 12:01 AM on June 20, 2001


Yes, it does, but Microsoft has practically no influence on SCO now. The only reason the notice remains is because some parts (I'm not sure which) that are still in use were written by MS (and back when they were better about what they put out, too). Not because MS still has a hand in development.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:29 AM on June 20, 2001


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