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danmil's Journal: Microsoft Shill?

Journal by danmil
We've all heard the speculation that Microsoft is paying people to read /. and fill its discussions with pro-M$ comments. I always thought this sounded kind of paranoid, but...

Call me crazy, but it looks like our friend marauder404 is one of said M$oft employees. Take a look at his list of comments. Not only are almost all of them supporting The Beast, but they do so in the sort of marketing weaselese that only people working in PR produce.

7 Comments in the Microsoft Hypes XP Tablets story, all pro-M$, including such gems as:

Honestly, I felt the same way -- I didn't think it was the next big thing at all. But after seeing some pictures and doing a lot of reading, I'm convinced that it's worth a second look. It may not be for me, but I'm definitely going to check it out. (1)

and

1. Don't knock it till you've tried it. I'm still somewhat skeptical, but I took some time to research it and hope to use one soon. (2)

Doesn't that prose remind you a bit of the debunked Switch campaign from a few weeks back? And, he's not skeptical at all -- he echoes back the most ludicrous claims of M$:

I also hope that the handwriting recognition is fast enough to keep up with me -- I hear that it scans 133 times per second and makes several guesses at what you're trying to write and anticipates. When it misses (something like 5 out of every 10,000), it'll present some options. (3)

Funny, I hear (from David Pogue at the NYTimes), that the handwriting recognition makes plenty of errors and that "Each mistaken transcription, botched punctuation mark and improperly capitalized word forces you into an excruciating spasm of touch-screen microsurgery." And what kind of BS is "it scans 133 times per second"? I don't even know what that means.

My fave is when he asks for our sympathy for the M$oft execs who were demoing them tablets and had 25% of them fail:

Ever have a system problem while trying to demo something? You downplay it, any way you can. I saw one poor guy struggle for twenty minutes trying to get something to work in front of 1,500 people. (4)

Oh, right, it's natural to think of M$oft execs as the "poor guy", and we should all put ourselves in their shoes.

Other totals:

  • 6 subtly pro-M$ comments in the "Open Source More Expensive In the Long Run?" story
  • 1 pro-IE comment in "Mozilla: The Good And The Bad"
  • The following absolute beauty in the "Microsoft Anti-Trust Rulings Due Tomorrow" discussion:

    You're basically saying Microsoft is behaving like every other major company in corporate America and like thousands of other organizations -- trying to buy some influence. No need to single out Microsoft for having done this -- there are many others that are just as guilty or worse. Welcome to American politics. 5

He also tosses in a few non-M$ related comments here and there, but the trend is clear.

So, what to do about this? Well, I thought I should mention it in this comment. And, hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he just really likes M$ and happens to talk like one of their PR people. He has every right to do so. But everyone reading his opinions should consider the distinct possibility that he is getting paid to write here on our beloved /.

-Dan

p.s. About 30 minutes after I first posted the above comment, marauder404 suddenly had an email address at yahoo.com. Maybe it was just a coincidence...

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Microsoft Shill?

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