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Microsoft

Microsoft PR Rep is the Switcher 901

Posted by jamie
from the ann-onymous dept.
Here's a followup to our earlier story about Microsoft's "inverse switch" campaign. The AP tracked down the switcher and spoke with her: she's an employee at a Microsoft public relations firm but says she actually did switch from Mac to Windows. Microsoft's page is still 404 (but Google's cache still works). The interesting part to me is that the AP "tracked Mallinson by examining personal data hidden within documents that Microsoft had published with its controversial ad." Hmmmmmm. (Kudos to obidonn, the first to demonstrate the use of a stock photo, which piqued interest in this story. As of noon EDT Oct. 15, other stock photos are still being used in anonymous Microsoft "testimonials.")
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Microsoft PR Rep is the Switcher

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  • by Drunken Coward (574991) on Monday October 14, 2002 @08:57PM (#4450144)
    Maybe Microsoft will follow the Church of Scientology and try to get them to remove the page from their cache. They certainly have the resources to enforce any threat they could make.
  • Hoax? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trusty Penfold (615679) <jon_edwards@spanners4us.com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @08:58PM (#4450154) Journal

    How do we know the Anonymous Poster isn't an employee of Linux and is just trying to discredit their biggest competitor?
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Monday October 14, 2002 @08:59PM (#4450162) Journal
    Lies, FUD, bad software (let's not get started), breaking the law... Where does it end!?

    Microsoft have so much egg on their face that this they're starting to look like that nasty chick in a cheap porno!

    People still trust these assholes?
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:04PM (#4450201) Homepage
      People still trust these assholes?


      No they dont... but unfortunately.. most people still dont know there is something else out there.

      90% of the populace still think that Microsoft Windows is the only thing out there and there is nothing else available.

      which makes me think... Why doesn't redhat advertise on tv? ad space on tech TV is horribly dirt cheap, as well as almost every cable channel (USA, TNN, SCI-FI, MTV... etc...)
      • by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:15PM (#4450288) Homepage
        I want them to advertise on MSNBC...
      • by Dalcius (587481) <chrism3413+slash ... Tom minus distro> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:51PM (#4450513)
        How about a Slashdot contribution fund to set up a commercial on Sci-Fi or thirty commercials on UPN?

        *snicker*

        I'm actually being serious, it's get my $10.
      • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:08PM (#4450606)
        No they dont... but unfortunately.. most people still dont know there is something else out there.

        I don't know how true that is. I'm a student (again), but I still do consulting on the side and in the small to medium size business arena, at least in my experience, people just love the MS solution. They're usually already familiar with Outlook and Office and are ready to pay for a few Dells and an 2K server or two running Exchange and MS SQL.

        Frankly, the last thing I'm going to do is try to push an OSS solution for a small LAN when their primary needs are Outlook-like shared calendering, Office, and a few of the gazillion MS-only apps out there.

        Some of these people are pretty shrewd. They might have both an Apple and a PC at home. They might even know what linux is, but they also know their needs, prefer MS products, and don't mind paying. If a client wants MS and wants to pay for it, its fine and with the proper administration (proper permissions, quick to patch, antivirus scanning and attachment blocking on the email server, etc) it can be just as secure as anything else in corporate America.

        The question that geeks are expecting business to ask is, "How cheaply can we do this by using a no-name product?" Lets face it, linux has no brand, its more of a movement than a product. This is like assuming that cab companies are going to migrate over to the Kia Spectra (its a nice car at a nice price with a nice warranty) to save money. They're going to stick with the Caprice or Crown Victoria workhorse even if it costs a premium and if they continue to believe its worth it. Considering all their mechanics know the Crown Vic and the Caprice inside out and their drivers and customers expect a large American car, I doubt Kia will be getting any cab contracts anytime soon.

        Of course things change drastically when you're dealing with larger medium sized companies and large companies, but most of these companies start small or small-ish and if BillG is already in the door they will be very skittish about kicking him out too soon.

        Don't get me wrong, I would love it if a client wanted to do something from the ground up as cheap as possible and using OSS. A Moz/OpenOffice solution running on Mandrake would really be nice, but no one wants to jump into that pool unless they have to. In the meantime, unless price becomes a major factor then business will continue using MS. Its no wonder that Linux has more potential for market penetration in academia, the public sector, and in embedded devices. MS has the office environment locked and many end-users wouldn't have it any other way.
        • by codepunk (167897) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:46PM (#4451118)
          But then again my company does not manufacture software and thus it is a expense of doing business. We do however produce a durable good and since I can get the job done with linux I will price your ass right out of the market with the money I saved.

          You see just how simple that plays out.

        • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:03AM (#4451188) Journal
          it can be just as secure as anything else in corporate America.

          You've got to be absolutely kidding. I was with you up to that point, but nobody with an ounce of sense believes that for a second.

          Even "Microsoft VP Jim Allchin [...] stated, under oath, that there were flaws in Windows so great that they would threaten national security if the Windows source code were to be disclosed." (http://security.tombom.co.uk/shatter.html)
        • by dbirchall (191839) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:17AM (#4451764) Journal
          "I still do consulting on the side and in the small to medium size business arena, at least in my experience, people just love the MS solution. They're usually already familiar with Outlook and Office and are ready to pay for a few Dells and an 2K server or two running Exchange and MS SQL."

          I do consulting too, in roughly the same segment. (Don't worry, we live in different towns. ;)

          In my experience, that's not love you're seeing; it's resignation. I have yet to meet any end-user who is passionate about Microsoft applications. People just don't go on about how great those things are. They're commodities.

          And the unlucky "in house" folks who really aren't qualified to fix stuff (read: can't tell a SCSI card from a parallel port card) yet get asked to do it anyway are definitely no fans of Microsoft. I enjoy nodding sagely at cluebies ranting about how if they turn their PC off, disconnect and reconnect the monitor, and boot back up, it gives them some sort of message about wanting a Windows disk...

          Do they upgrade? Sure! Not because there's some great new feature or capability, but because they keep hoping that maybe this time, unlike last time and the time before it, things will suck less.

          "Good grief, where does it end?" indeed!

      • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:11PM (#4450634)
        "Why doesn't redhat advertise on tv? ad space on tech TV is horribly dirt cheap, as well as almost every cable channel (USA, TNN, SCI-FI, MTV... etc...)"

        Okay, I know I'm not going to be in the popular view here, but it's gotta be said: Redhat cannot do everything that Windows does.

        Do this: Go buy any old digital camera and try to download the pics on a RedHat system.

        Go buy a DVD-R and try to burn a disc.

        Go to any old website showing media (RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media) and see how successful you are at viewing content.

        Buy a Firewire DV Video Camera and see how successful you are in getting the video off and editing it.

        Try to visit a site that's made for IE.

        Go to the store and buy a game.

        Buy a PDA and get it to synch up.

        Your network card doesn't work, find somebody you know willing to come over and fix it.

        A good chunk of these problems have been solved on Linux, and if you're willing to do some insane bs to get them running, you're fine. The steps to do any of the above in Windows are very easy, especially in comparison to Linux.

        Some of these challenges are a result of MS's monopoly + it's just plain a de-facto standard. Despite popular belief, there is some good for this. You can't go wrong with having a Windows machine. You're compatible with the internet, and you're compatible with nearly every game and piece of hardware available for PC's.

        The problem isn't that people are unaware of it, the problem is that Windows does the best job of being friendly to the user. Sure Linux has technical superiorities in some ways, that alone does not make a good OS.

        For that 90% of the people you mentioned, Windows is by far the best choice for them. Linux is a distant 3rd with OSX in 2nd place.

        If you want a simple internet machine, Linux does a wonderful job for that. But the moment you start getting peripherals involved, Linux has a huge uphill battle. It just doesn't make sense for that 90 percentile to run Linux today.

        You know what though? That can't be true forever. I do feel that Linux can overtake Windows. The first step is to get millions of people running the OS. That's slowly but surely starting to happen. Every time MS makes a misstep (like their SP 3 licensing BS), Linux has an opportunity to make an inroads. When a DVD-Burner manufacturer is swamped with "Uhh where's the Linux Drivers?" questions, they'll eventually realize "oh.. people use Linux too, we should support it...." When that starts to happen, Linux then can become a viable alternative to Windows.

        MS didn't get big by bullying people around, it got big because it made computers into something average people can make really good use of. That is why people are buying Windows machines, it's not because they're unaware of Linux's existence. Today, it is not ready.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:28PM (#4451048)
          Some of these challenges are a result of MS's monopoly + it's just plain a de-facto standard.

          Some? Huh? I'm sorry, but almost all--ALL--of the examples you listed are examples of cases where a third party supports Windows because it is the de facto standard.

          If MS didn't have their monopoly, and weren't a de facto standard, those companies would be supporting other systems as well, or better yet, SOME STANDARD that can be applied across systems.

          Despite popular belief, there is some good for this.

          I can't believe this--the benevolent monopoly is a ridiculous argument. There is no good in monopoly. There is good in standards, but that is different from a monopoly. The argument of standards through monopoly is an argument for laziness and complacency.

          You're compatible with the internet

          Fucking right--MS should be compatible with the internet. That's because, at least so far, the internet is largely based on open protocols that anyone can use.

          MS didn't get big by bullying people around, it got big because it made computers into something average people can make really good use of.

          I'm sorry, but this is too much. MS DID get big by bullying people around--thus their conviction on antitrust charges.

          The argument about usablity for the average person is a joke. If that were all that were driving things, we'd all be using Apples.

          Look, I'm not going to say that MS doesn't do some things well. I still maintain that their office suite is probably the best around, and has been for some time.

          Linux does have its problems. But Linux having problems in no way justifies MS. The fact that Linux isn't the best at all things doesn't mean that I would choose MS if MS weren't a monopoly.

          I am flabbergasted when I see individuals who fail to see certain things:

          (1) MS is a convicted monopoly. This means they coerced themselves into the marketplace. This is something that would be apparent to many even if MS weren't convicted.

          (2) Being a monopoly is wrong for any number of reasons: it means the monopoly has an unfair advantage with regard to a cash safety reserve, time to screw up and then try and try again until you get it right, customer "choice", and any number of other things.

          The bottom line as far as I'm concerned is that I don't know whether or not MS does make the best product, because there was never any chance for real competition. The truth is, the way things are, WE WILL NEVER TRULY KNOW if MS was the best available.

          I think it's time we all stepped back and really took a look at what's going on: MS's only competition is from a bunch of people who are developing systems in their spare time and, through copyright, made it impossible for MS to do anything but really compete.

          And MS has had competition? Fucking ridiculous. It's going up against fucking activists. Linux is a fucking activist OS that is being used because there's no way to get anything any other way.

          Cripes--the whole GPL might as well say "By the way: MS, and any other corporation that wants to take away my freedom, fuck off. I made this thing myself. It's mine. I say everyone can use it, not just you. Go fuck your monopolistic self."

          Do you really think we would have the GPL if it weren't for MS? The fact the GPL EXISTS is a testament to the problems with MS and Windows.

          MS has had competition? It's like saying that a dictator was elected because there are rebels banging on the door that the people could conceivably support if the dictator's guards weren't doing everything possible to kill the rebels in the first place.

          Damn, I'm mad about this. I have to go do something else now.
        • by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:13AM (#4451227) Homepage Journal

          First of all, with Rh8, almost all of the examples you mentioned are not only possible in Linux, but quite simple. The print driver for my HP photosmart 1215 does not hang the machine like the windows version does, just to cite one example.

          Second of all, if you think MS has won because of ease of use, you've already bought into the propganda. Ever since MSDOS was ripped off of CP/M, Microsoft has consistently been technically inferior to all of its competitors. From the GUI to groupware, every one of Microsoft's product efforts has been a poor copy of someone else's work. If you call Windows the easy to use solution, you have to say that BSODs and the regular cycle of format and reinstall are easy.

          I was a CNE in a past life, and I saw first hand how MS got their market share. They send a representative to the CTO, and suggest that a license audit of all their windows workstations might be less difficult than converting their servers to NT. If this fails, they bribe the CIO/CEO, or engage in character assasination. Poof. Instant market share. The company's history is a prime example of bully tactics and practiced world domination.

          You can argue this if you want to, but you would be opposing observation with opinion. I know. I was there.

        • by po8 (187055) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:27AM (#4451595)

          Go buy any old digital camera and try to download the pics on a RedHat system. Do it every day, works fine.

          Go buy a DVD-R and try to burn a disc. Can't afford a DVD-R, but I'll bet it works great. I know every CD burner I ever tried does.

          Go to any old website showing media (RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media) and see how successful you are at viewing content. View RealPlayer and Windows Media regularly. Can do any kind of QuickTime except Sorenson, and could do that with either Crossover Plugin or a pirate solution if I actually cared.

          Buy a Firewire DV Video Camera and see how successful you are in getting the video off and editing it. Hey, how rich do you think I am? But I have software that claims to do this job fine, and I have no reason to disbelieve it.

          Try to visit a site that's made for IE. I can think of one site I've visited in the last 6 months that I needed IE to view. I can think of far more that could only be viewed with Mozilla, actually. Pop-ups, you know.

          Go to the store and buy a game. Did it yesterday. They sell Linux games at Fry's now, you know.

          Buy a PDA and get it to synch up. I've never synced with anything but my Linux box.

          Your network card doesn't work, find somebody you know willing to come over and fix it. OK, you've got me there. All my network cards have worked :-). But seriously, I've helped a bunch of my friends with card problems under Linux: they don't seem any worse than with Windows to me. At least they don't ship outdated broken driver CDs for Linux: saves being suckered into installing them.

          Overall, I think you've made a pretty good case that Linux is ready for the consumer.

        • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:05AM (#4451736) Journal
          You know what though? That can't be true forever. I do feel that Linux can overtake Windows. The first step is to get millions of people running the OS. That's slowly but surely starting to happen.

          It's starting to happen. Just tonight, I was exchanging a faulty printer at the local Walmart. The gal behind the counter said that there'd been alot of printers coming back. I asked her why, and she said something like "They didn't have a Linux, or something like that".

          She had no idea what they were talking about, so I explained it to her a bit - that Linux is sort of like another "Windows", like Mac, only it works on normal PCs. She nodded blankly, pushed the barcode gun, and handed me my receipt.

          Maybe you don't remember the days when Apple "had the desktop" and PCs were "Hard to use" and "good for business and serious number crunching".

          Maybe you don't see the parallels here, but I sure do. Linux is "hard to use" but "good for business and serious number crunching".

          As I see it, Linux won't go bankrupt, won't just "go away" and gets better and better every year. Word of mouth is increasing, and people will make "free" work for them, eventually.
        • I'm Bored (Score:5, Informative)

          by shepd (155729) <slashdot.org@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:30AM (#4451801) Homepage Journal
          Waiting for a DVD to rip.

          So:

          Go buy any old digital camera and try to download the pics on a RedHat system. [u-psud.fr]

          Go buy a DVD-R and try to burn a disc. [fokus.gmd.de]

          Go to any old website showing media (RealPlayer [real.com], QuickTime [codeweavers.com], Windows Media [mplayerhq.hu]) and see how successful you are at viewing content.

          Buy a Firewire DV Video Camera and see how successful you are in getting the video off and editing it. [schirmacher.de]

          Try to visit a site that's made for IE.
          Go to the store and buy a game. (I'll give you these -- VmWare and other solutions are a serious bitch to setup, and don't work well except in certain Distros)

          Buy a PDA and get it to synch up. [palmpower.com]

          Your network card doesn't work, find somebody you know willing to come over and fix it. (Huh? If the card is broken, even your God(s) ain't/aren't gonna fix it.)

          >The steps to do any of the above in Windows are very easy

          Uhhh, sure... I mean, I mean, if you want to have every two or three DVDs come out as coasters (happens with Prassi Primo DVD for me) sure. Or if you want to use crappy outdated camera software that just lets you easily download one picture at a time through a slow ass serial connection, great (Fuji MX-1200). I've never done DV, but Kino doesn't look too hard. Or you can try Cinerella [heroinewarrior.com], which seems more full featured and easier.

          >When a DVD-Burner manufacturer is swamped with "Uhh where's the Linux Drivers?"

          DVD-R in linux doesn't use "drivers", unless you count the built in generic SCSI support built in linux (since well before DVD was available for most PCs) as a "driver". Try saying that about windows. Especially windows 9x...

          HTH. And take it from me, there's NO software in windows that lets you use a Celeron 300 to burn DVD-R at 2x and surf the 'net at the same time.

          Linux's motto should be "Spend some time now -- Then do more, quicker".
    • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:07PM (#4450222)
      People still trust these assholes?

      Sure, why wouldn't they trust them? I mean, look at their great new focus on security! [slashdot.org]
  • Busted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by name_already_in_use (604991) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:00PM (#4450169) Homepage
    she's an employee at the PR firm but says she did switch...
    I love it. I mean, for the safety of your job, what would you say?
    • Re:Busted (Score:5, Funny)

      by littlerubberfeet (453565) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:08PM (#4450233)
      I would say I was running OSX and Linux, and conolidated by switching to XP.....And then I would say how the EULAs, the software features, and the wonderfull ease of use were the reasons...
    • by w1r3sp33d (593084) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:39PM (#4450443)
      "To my surprise, the process of switching was as easy as the marketing hype had promised." Exactly what marketing hype would that be? By chance the same hype that rolled of your desk last week, and the week before that, and the week before.... Hell thinking this whole thing through, why not work for M$? lets face it your boss would ALWAYS look a bigger ass than you no matter what you did (Ballmer: Developers, developers, developers, developers!) Cheers all!
    • by MoneyT (548795) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:26PM (#4450734) Journal
      How do you become a M$ employee if you're a mac user? Don't they do random Apple testing on all their employees? Why did it take them this long to switch her?
  • by smnolde (209197) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:01PM (#4450175) Homepage
    I couldn't find this photo [www.dlc.fi] in the stock photo archive.

    Where's that photo of a 20-something geek with brown shaded glasses and a bad-collared shirt?

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neksys (87486) <grphillips AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:03PM (#4450189)
    Why on EARTH does anyone pretend to be surprised by this? This is Microsoft here - the same company that changes their EULA with a simple software update. The same company that makes up benchmarks to "prove" the superiority of Windows 2000 as a server environment. The same company that uses out-and-out malicious tactics to ruin (or buy out) competitors. On a relative scale of nastiness, having a few customer testimonials of dubious origin rates pretty low - especially for Microsoft, who have a history of finding new and unique ways to try to assert their world dominance. Heck, the Jehovah's Witnesses and most infomercials use the same tool. If nothing else, we should be rejoicing at the fact that Microsoft has nowhere else to go but the "customer testimonial" route.
  • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:03PM (#4450191)
    So lemme get this straight:

    1) M$ websites stating the advantages of IIS are served using Apache on Linux (or BSD, I don't remember which).

    2) M$ PR firm employees have to be coaxed by M$ to switch the XP from their Apples because it has such great things as Office, IE, and multiple users that obviously aren't available in Mac OS X.

    Man, with such convincing facts as those, I'm throwing away my Powerbook and switching to Windows!
  • by thammoud (193905) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:04PM (#4450198)
    It had to phoney. She cut and pasted the instructions from the outlook express manual. She is too good looking to be a windows geek.
  • by 403Forbidden (610018) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:04PM (#4450200)
    All this info found will be of no use unless it can surface to mainstream media.

    I doubt any national TV stations other than TechTV read slashdot, this can be seen pretty obviously. Time Magazine just published an article on the music companies using glue to seal in unrelased songs for publications to read... I was in awe because it finally made mainstream about a month after it was on Slashdot!

    Excuse my rant, but it seems that Microsoft has done a pretty good job tucking this firmly under the proverbial carpet and I really doubt it will see the light of day again...
  • by httpamphibio.us (579491) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:04PM (#4450204)
    I fail to see how is EASIER than any other OS. A basic install of any operating system on any decent set of hardware is going to be equally easy to use. I use two Apple iBook's for music, not because I think the hardware is superior, but because my software [cycling74.com] isn't available for Windows yet. Most people that use Apple computers don't use them for what they are best at (multimedia, audio, video, etc) so they've basically spent anywhere from $500-$1500 more than a better equipped PC for absolutely no reason, they aren't benefitting from "ease of use," they aren't benefitting from the power.

    And getting people to switch from their Mac to Windows? Why even spend money on that effort? Windows machines may have been more difficult to use 15 years ago, but they've caught up... anyone who still thinks they are more difficult to use hasn't tried one.

    In my experience as the "computer guy" in my circle of friends I find that 95% of their problems come from using crappy software (and stuff that installs spyware) or using crappy hardware (e-machines).

    If you can't figure out the "start" button good luck trying to interface with OSX... (how is clicking start -> programs -> microsoft word harder than clicking Macintosh HD then searching around for your software? hm...)
    • by bnenning (58349) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:30PM (#4450392)
      Most people that use Apple computers don't use them for what they are best at (multimedia, audio, video, etc) so they've basically spent anywhere from $500-$1500 more than a better equipped PC for absolutely no reason, they aren't benefitting from "ease of use," they aren't benefitting from the power.


      The combination of Unix with a great UI and mainstream applications can be a benefit to just about everyone. If you don't think it's worth the cost, that's fine, but don't try to claim there's "absolutely no reason".


      (how is clicking start -> programs -> microsoft word harder than clicking Macintosh HD then searching around for your software? hm...)


      It probably isn't. On the other hand, you can "uninstall" an app by dragging it to the trash, without worrying about what DLLs will remain strewn about. And you can copy an app from one Mac to another by dragging and dropping (or "cp -r" if you like), rather than hunting for the install CD.

    • Windows machines may have been more difficult to use 15 years ago, but they've caught up... anyone who still thinks they are more difficult to use hasn't tried one.

      It's not that XP is hard to use.. since Win 95, none of the Windowses has really been hard to use... although administration and installation of certain options hasn't been easy.

      The thing is the way that Apple tends to think of the little things. I configured dialup connections for my sister and my mother recently. They use XP and OS X respectively. The XP connection wasn't hard per se, but the Apple stuff was easy-breezy: orthogonal seeming, conceptually accesible, easy to find the appropriate controls, etc.

      Between these finishing touches and the hardware/software integration, I think it's likely I'll prefer using Apple stuff at home for some time to come.

      I've played with XP. Win 2k and XP do not suck. My opinion is that they're not as easy to use as OS X. And when things go south (they do on all computers), they're harder to fix...

    • by Fished (574624) <amphigory.gmail@com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:45PM (#4450837)
      And getting people to switch from their Mac to Windows? Why even spend money on that effort? Windows machines may have been more difficult to use 15 years ago, but they've caught up... anyone who still thinks they are more difficult to use hasn't tried one.
      Buzz!

      The emphasis is no longer really on "easy to use." It is on "easy to setup and maintain." Windows installations (I don't care the flavor, it's true of XP, 2000 and 98) tend to slowly degrade, becoming more and more flaky until you're left with no choice but to reload.

      Drivers are also a bloody pain in the you-know-what. Every time I have to reload Windows, I spend hours hunting around the net for drivers, then updating drivers, the downdating drivers, all to get everything to work together. (Good example: ati video drivers require directx 8, which you have to download running at 640x480 before you can install the driver.) Yes, I could keep the driver disks on-hand, but that's truly a pain in the but. A pain that i don't have to endure with my Macs.

      The point being this: 10 years ago, the focus of ease of use was menus, mouses, and drag & drop. Today, the focus is on configuration and maintainability. And here the Mac clearly has MS beat. And yes, this IS because Apple owns the hardware - but I don't care so long as it works.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:06PM (#4450218) Journal
    I remember this same thing happening with the antitrust trial. Soon dead people are going to be writing in to say that they switched from Mac to Windows.
  • Ironic... (Score:5, Funny)

    by CoolVibe (11466) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:08PM (#4450235) Journal
    That I see the Visual Studio ad here...

    But on topic, if they tracked her down, how 'bout a real photo of this person? Just for comparison's sake.

    It looks like MS is trying to do a "save my face" operation here by spinning the story by (of course) a MS PR person.

  • by nooboob (553955) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:08PM (#4450236)
    I went and immediately threw my g4 into a dumpster and bought an e-machine with xp after I saw that ad.........it was so powerful and convincing.
  • by djupedal (584558) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:09PM (#4450240)
    Microsoft spends big when it comes to it's PR and marekting firms. More than on any other single item in the budget.

    These firms have a mandate from MS to spread out and hit hard. They lurk here and on ZDNet, as an example, just waiting for opportunities to impersonate Joe/Jane Average user.

    They pump out hourly press releases that all have the same theme..."MS is best and who can fault a leader?...Join us in the fun and we will do all the thinking for you."

    It is all too clear what they think of their customers...brain-dead sheep, begging to be sheared.

    To understand the mechanics, it may help to first study a long standing 'marketing' ploy known as 'the big lie'. I don't normally use references like this, but the best manual I know is titled 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'.
  • by dpilot (134227) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:13PM (#4450274) Homepage Journal
    Clearly not a candidate for googlewhacking. The combination gives about 1300 hits.
  • What surprises me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Powercntrl (458442) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:16PM (#4450291)
    ...is not that Microsoft has done this, but that they're so shocked and shaken over Apple's switch campaign that they felt this was necessary.

    Without getting too offtopic, I owned a Mac for awhile and wasn't too thrilled with it. Yes, it was usable, but the thought that kept repeating in my mind was "I can sell this on eBay and use the money to buy MUCH better hardware for my PC." - so I did. Do I regret no longer being "biplatform"? Nope...

    It wasn't so much that I had anything against the Mac platform... I just didn't NEED it. My PC didn't give me any trouble and all the apps I use for doing what I like to do work fine on the PC. I guess if I felt the same way about the Macintosh to begin with, I wouldn't want to switch either and no amount of Microsoft fluff could change my mind. In the end, it just comes down to using what it is you like to use...

    As a side note, I think some of you Slashdotters agree that you'd be more than willing to go "biplatform" if Macs weren't so expensive... There's a $199 Wal-Mart PC for the curious Mac users, where's the $199 Mac for curious PC users?
    • by Slur (61510) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:27PM (#4450744) Homepage Journal

      As a side note, I think some of you Slashdotters agree that you'd be more than willing to go "biplatform" if Macs weren't so expensive... There's a $199 Wal-Mart PC for the curious Mac users, where's the $199 Mac for curious PC users?

      Same place they sell the $12,000 Mercedes Benz.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:17PM (#4450300)
    Hi, my name is Valerie G. Mallinson and I work for a Microsoft PR firm.

    One day I asked my boss for a new video camera for my Mac. He said "Remember, your paycheck comes from Microsoft, let's switch you for our new marketing campaign!"

    So I switched.

    And then my boss said "Hey, Microsoft wants to tell the world that you switched, but you're no prettier than those people Apple used. We wish you looked BETTER than Apple people."

    And so they used some stock photos to give me a make over.
  • by scott1853 (194884) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:18PM (#4450304)
    There's been plenty of people that switched from Apple to Windows, they're just too embarrassed to publicly admit their mistake.
  • by Spencerian (465343) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:20PM (#4450319) Homepage Journal
    Two things get me about this:

    1) The woman works at a PR firm--a business where Macintosh systems are fairly strong, albeit not quite as much as advertising and the graphic arts. So, what kind of Mac did she switch from? A crappy 6-year old Mac or something ancient? Hell, anything would make you switch from that.

    2) By being a contractual employee of Microsoft, this ad really doesn't give MS a lot of credit for their product. Can't they simply find a relatively honest person to endorse? I mean, really! Not everyone hates Microsoft, and I'm sure there are enough people to say, "Sure, it works for me."

    This can't be a good thing, and it only creates more alienation in a business where getting along still means a little something, if only to make friends before you merge your companies.
  • Marketing 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zentec (204030) <zentecNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:21PM (#4450331)

    Microsoft is living proof that with enough creative marketing, you truly can wrap a turd in colored foil and call it candy!

    Some people may see this as insignificant in light of all the other corporate scandals in the world. However, it's just one more instance of Microsoft treating their customers and/or prospective customers as bafoons.

    Many companies have fallen on hard times because they failed to respect the intelligence of their customers. The *only* thing keeping people from ditching Microsoft like a bad habit is the lack of anything comparable. That day will come, and Microsoft will surely rue it.
  • by Twintop (579924) <david@twintop-tahoe.com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:22PM (#4450339) Homepage Journal
    Daughter: "Mommy, did you have your 15 minutes of fame?"
    Valerie: "Yes, honey."
    Daughter: "Did you like it, mommy?"
    Valerie: "No, honey."
    Daughter: "Why?"
    Valerie: "It was for Microsoft."
  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:26PM (#4450362)
    The best part of the article:
    "A spokeswoman from Apple would not comment"

    Yeah - because she was still cleaning up all of the millk that she laughed through her nose.
  • by Hoarse Whisperer (604444) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:26PM (#4450367)
    The ramifications of this are astounding, imagine if this sort of thing is going on in other industries. You know those housewives who give testimonials about the effectiveness of washing powder? The fast cars that are guaranteed to improve your sex appeal? How can we trust anything we see in advertising anymore?
    • by swankypimp (542486) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:35AM (#4451628) Homepage
      How can we trust anything we see in advertising anymore?

      That's why I only buy products endorsed by people who e-mail me "special deals". If it weren't for these fine gentlemen, I never would have found out about Cock-Enlarging Herbal Viagra (guaranteed to make her scream), nor would have believed that Nubile Webcam Wenches would be Sucking and Fondling just for me. I'm not sure what spirit of benevolence caused you to mail me this amazing offer, but thank you, Friend. I mean, if you can't trust getabiggerdick@hotmail.com, who can you trust?

  • Ed Wood ad agency? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uncoveror (570620) <webmaster AT uncoveror DOT com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:26PM (#4450368) Homepage
    Using stock photos in "testimonials" is something low-budget spammers do. Did Microsoft really think we wouldn't notice? They could do some TV commercials with stock footage. Do they use the Ed Wood ad agency?

    Advertisers don't "get it" why Gen X isn't buying their crap. We have figured out that marketing and lying have become synonyms, and we don't like it. Anybody remember the movie, Crazy People? Dudley Moore wanted to use honesty in advertising, and they locked him up in the nuthouse. The ads worked, though.
    • by x136 (513282) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:13PM (#4450656) Homepage
      They could do some TV commercials with stock footage.

      I can see it now...

      Quick fade into rocket taking off. Cut to two 70's crash test sedans in a head-on collision. Horizontal wipe to atomic bomb detonating. Crossfade to fat guy taking a cannonball in the stomach. Star wipe to garish orange screen with Microsoft logo and "Where do you want to go today?" tagline. All done to the tune of cheap, generic classical music.

      In a strangely Microsoftian twist, this'd all be done with iMovie, which would be revealed on Slashdot a few weeks later. The ad would be immediately pulled.
    • by scott1853 (194884) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:20PM (#4450704)
      Honest advertising would be nice to see. But what do you expect Microsoft to say about XP?

      "Look at the pretty colors"

      "It doesn't lock up as much as previous versions."

      "Look at the pretty colors"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:31PM (#4450403)
    Download "ShowOffYourSkills.doc" from the web page.

    $ strings ShowOffYourSkills.doc | less
    /* truncated... */
    Show Off Your Skills
    Normal.dot
    Katherine L. Trunkey
    Microsoft Word 10.0
    valmalgal.com
    Show Off Your SkillsTitle
    _PID_HLINKS
    _AdHocReviewCycleID
    _Em ailSubject
    _AuthorEmailDisplayName
    _ReviewingToo lsShownOnce
    Comments
    Valerie Mallinson (Wes Rataushk & Assc Inc)
    Microsoft Word Document
    MSWordDoc
    Word.Document.8

    This "switcher" had her privacy compromised by Microsoft software. Her web site is not yet active but you can look up the "Wes Rataushk" firm to find that it is in Redmond. The following blog belongs to a coworker of hers, perhaps you could ask him more:

    http://216.239.53.100/search?q=cache:ncxQ S-5T-OQC:www.pamkeesey.com/+Wes+Rataushk&hl=en&ie= UTF-8

    -s.

  • by pyrrho (167252) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:34PM (#4450417) Journal
    "Fire another round, corporal."

    "But sir... we're running out of feet."
  • by AELinuxGuy (588522) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:35PM (#4450423)
    Do you think that M$ gets pissed that 95% of their traffic for web marketing programs comes from slashdot?
  • Some switch (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kostya (1146) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:41PM (#4450452) Homepage Journal
    According to this site [ibike.org], she was helping this guy put together PocketPC solutions for use on his Africa biking trip. Sounds like she was a little more in the MS fold than the article said. I'm surprised she even still used Macs, being a PocketPC "solutions troubleshooter" and all!
    • by corby (56462) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:12PM (#4450645)
      Wha wha wha? The yanked Microsoft article includes this cliffhanger ending:

      *Editor's Note: Now that we've successfully converted our writer to a Windows PC, we will be working on getting her to try a Pocket PC. Stay tuned for more developments!

      Gosh, do you think they'll be able to get Valerie to 'try' a Pocket PC? After she's been a FREAKING PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANT on the device? Too bad we'll never find out!
  • by Captain Chad (102831) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:48PM (#4450500) Homepage
    In the MS Word document" [microsoft.com] (still available on the MS site), under properties, under the "Custom" tab, the
    1. _AuthorEmailDisplayName
    property is set to
    1. Valerie Mallinson (Wes Rataushk & Assc Inc)
    I guess that's hidden if you don't know much about computers.
  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:56PM (#4450543)
    Have you ever noticed how much of the spam that fills your mailbox every day comes littered with testimonials from happy customers?

    "I was skeptical that FatAway(tm) would work but I've dropped 47 dress sizes in two weeks -- George from New York"

    Since I purchased my FastCash(tm) Work at Home Kit, I've earned over twelve trillion dollars in just one month -- Dick from Arkasas

    etc, etc.

    The interesting similarity between such testimonials and Microsoft's little works of fiction are:
    1. they're all effectively anonymous
    2. they all make outrageous claims which are at best gross overstatement and more likely to be downright lies
    3. they're all from unscrupulous marketers who e-thics are stupid people that use the Net.

    Like most consumers, I only have so much money to spend -- so will I buy the breast enlargement cream or Windows XP? Hmmmm...
  • Be a Super-Sleuth! (Score:5, Informative)

    by corby (56462) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:04PM (#4450581)
    Hey kids!

    Want to engage in real-life Kompooter Forensics just like AP does? Follow these easy steps!

    1) Go to Google's cache [216.239.53.100] of the article, since it has now been pulled by Microsoft.

    2) Now click on the link at the bottom of the cache page, which reads "Download the submission form in Word format." Whoops! Looks like those kid whizzes at Microsoft didn't actually remove everything!

    3) Haven't made the switch to Microsoft yet? Word still new to you? No prob. Go to the 'File' Menu and select Properties while you are viewing the Microsoft Word document. Don't worry! No chmod here!

    4) Peruse the tabs to uncover all of AP's 'personal data', including Valerie's zany new website [netsol.com]. You go, girl!
  • by Trogre (513942) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:15PM (#4450672) Homepage
    From the article:
    "I am a freelance writer; I demand the best in mobile computing."

    But if you work for Microsoft PR, you can't be freelance now, can you?

    Perhaps she was misquoted:
    "I am writing promotion materials for Freelancer, a game which will demand the best in computing hardware"

  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:18PM (#4450693) Homepage

    I mean, look at the difference:

    Apple: spends the better part of a year looking for interesting, off-beat, photogenic people. Then they read hundreds of emails. They hand-pick a bunch of folks and pay money to fly them out, coach them, then tape them. They put the ads on nationwide TV.

    Microsoft: Somebody at Microsoft's PR firm picks up the phone and says "Hey, remember that writer, Valerie? And remember how the screen on her Mac Centris 610 finally died and she got that Windows laptop? .. What's that? .. Yeah that was funny.. though I probably I did the same thing the first time I used a CD-ROM .. But anyway, track her down and give her $500 to finish some copy for our new campaign. I've already got most of it written.. .. what?.. No, just put a stock photo like usual .. okay .. bye!"

    How easy! That's why Apple will always be a "niche" player. They give a shit about stuff like this. Like the guy in college who actually wrote all his lab reports while everybody else just copied one from last year.

  • by angst7 (62954) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:27PM (#4450743) Homepage
    This may have been pointed out already, but Microsoft Word 10.0 (the version stamped in the ShowOffYourSkills.doc file), is the Mac OS X version. So, apparently, she wrote this piece on a Mac.

    I love this world.
  • by Cheese Cracker (615402) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:55PM (#4450893)
    Microsoft releases MS Mac User Converter®
    Monday October 9, 2:04 pm ET

    REDMOND, WA, Oct. 9 /PropagandaNewswire/ -- Microsoft has revelead their latest innovation,
    MS Mac User Converter®. MS Mac User Converter® is a product that converts a Macintosh® user
    to MS Windows XP® user. "Our internal tests has been more successful than we had expected," said
    Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft®. "If we can successfully convert all Macintosh® users to MS
    Windows XP®, we're going to dominate 96% of the desktop market." Ballmer said. "Next step is to
    convert all the Linux® users, but we still have some problems that needs to be solved. Linux® users
    tend to be tougher to convert." Ballmer said.

    Microsoft® can now add MS Mac User Converter® to their already successful list of innovations,
    such as:
    • MS Windows®
    • MS Excel®
    • MS Word®
    • MS Powerpoint®
    • MS DOS®
    Microsoft® clearly shows the world that they're ahead of their competitors. "None of the competitors
    have been able to launch a product like MS Mac User Converter®. This strengthens Microsoft®'s
    position on the market" said Blackie Lawless, industry analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Software
    Industry Research group®.
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:58PM (#4450907) Homepage
    (1) Ms. Mallinson may be the "switcher", but did she actually write the article? If so, who is "Don Funk" and why is it his folder that is shown in the screenshot?

    (2) Did she actually buy XP Pro and Office XP, or did she get that for free as an M$ contractor? That's some pricey software; she must be one hell of a freelance writer to afford it.

    (3) Was the "switch" voluntary or was it part of a requirement for the campaign?
  • by Twintop (579924) <david@twintop-tahoe.com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:03PM (#4450936) Homepage Journal
    Maybe M$ should become B$?
  • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:08PM (#4450959)
    From the .doc on M$'s site:
    Microsoft will not share the information you provide with third parties without your permission except where necessary to complete the services or transactions you have requested, or as required by law.

    Yeah, and they most definitely won't distribute a Word document to a half million geeks on Slashdot that shows among other things your name, your email address, your website (for which the whois provides all your information), and the fact that you wrote the article about switching to Windows using Office X on Mac OS X.
  • irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jnana (519059) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:15PM (#4450995) Journal
    is it just me, or does anybody else find it hilariously funny that the woman was tracked down because her name was hidden deep in the Word file ShowOffYourSkills.doc, even though she had 'deleted' it (she thought). When will people stop trusting Microsoft with anything of importance?
  • by Slur (61510) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:17PM (#4451002) Homepage Journal
    She helped David Mozer to acquire, configure, and troubleshoot a PocketPC for his bicycle trip in Malawi, Africa "in October." (Last year?)

    http://www.ibike.org/bikeafrica/malawi/

    Frankly the Microsoft Switcher article was embarrassing for a host of reasons besides the use of clip-art and a hired PR professional who is obviously an experienced user of Windows.

    It's abundantly clear that Val has never used Mac OS X. All her raves about Windows XP were about features which exist - and are much easier to use - in Mac OS X.

    For example, her excitement about being able to get Windows installed and configured "in under a day" is laughable. In 90% of cases Mac OS X can be installed and configured in under an hour.

    Bringing up Netscape as if it was the default browser on Mac OS was likewise a foolish gaffe. Most Mac OS users (9 and X) use Internet Explorer 5 as their web browser. Why would Val have chosen Netscape? Could it be she had only used Mac OS 8/9 at work where Netscape was pre-installed?

    Comparing the FREE AppleWorks to the $300-$500 Microsoft Office is a staggering faux pas - especially since Office v.X is generally considered superior to Office for Windows. (And who in the world likes Office's annoying hide-and-seek menus? I like my menus to stay consistent, and keep that feature turned off on my Windows box.)

    Finally, all the step-by-step instructions for migrating documents and Favorites were a glaring exposure of the complexity of Windows XP. The instructions for the same migrations to Mac OS X are only half as long.

    Alas, this was an amateurish article by an uninformed PR-lackey. Microsoft should know better than to try to pull the wool over our ever-watchful eyes.
  • by b17bmbr (608864) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:27PM (#4451042)
    you know, with all their troubles with security, patches, linux, anti-trust trials, and everything, they just don't have the time to find people who have benefitted using their products. i mean, come on, there must be one.

    surely, you can cut them some slack. ballmer is up late at night thinking of more ways he can attack linux/open source. with 40 billion in the bank, they just can't aford to do the necessary research and investigation. give them a break will you.

    i'm sure there are plenty of people who'll testify that they learned how to program using "Learn Visual Basic" and are now working at a major software company.

  • by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:59AM (#4451483)
    I'm posting this so late, it's unlikely that anybody will read it. But I thought you guys might be interested to know just who, exactly, wrote this article for the AP.

    His name is Ted Bridis. I'll quote him here.
    I work in our Washington bureau, along with about 60 other reporters and

    about 30 photographers, and have been covering Microsoft as a technology
    writer since 1998 (I worked for the Wall Street Journal as a tech
    reporter here in DC from 2000-2001 then came back to AP). I was the only
    reporter to interview Gates during the antitrust trial, and I broke the
    story about Oracle hiring private detectives to dig through the trash of
    Microsoft's allies.

    I decide which stories to cover based on what's newsworthy, in my
    judgment and in the judgment of our editors. Ideally, a story we latch
    onto will end up on the front page of many of the world's newspapers.
    (In this case, although I anticipate the story will get pretty
    reasonable "play," it's doubtful it would end up on p1 anyplace).
    So this guy, who's evidently been around the block a few times, thought this story was worth covering. That's saying something, I think.

    He also says that the story could contine developing in the morning. He asks us to stay tuned.
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug@geekazon . c om> on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:30AM (#4451802) Homepage
    "Trustworthy Computing is the highest priority for all the work we are doing."
    Bill Gates, Jan 15, 2002. [wired.com]

    Really, Bill? Is that why you are disguising advertising as customer feedback? To promote trust? Or is it that customers trust each other more than they trust you, so you'll just pretend to be customers and steal some of that trust?

    "Theft of trust" - that has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Or how about trust infringement, or trust piracy?

    This isn't just a Microsoft thing, it's a good illustration of the absolute contempt people with a lot of money often have for the rest of the world. We are nothing, and lying to us means nothing. If you own enough of the law, getting caught doesn't even mean much.

    Corporate America is cutting its own throat day after day. Whether it's inventing demographic data or telling accountants what to make 2 and 2 add up to, every crooked move blackens another tooth in the shining smile. Trustworthy Computing isn't going to be a commercial product, Bill, because you guys just can't be trusted.
  • by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @04:50AM (#4452161)
    Check out the bottom of the story [yahoo.com]--

    Would you recommend this story?
    Not at all 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5


    Yahoo members, you can mod this one up!!!

    W
  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @06:14AM (#4452303)
    Switch to Windows, more Microsoft employees chose it than any other brand!

    KFG

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