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Microsoft Customers Balk at Hard Sell 353

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the if-you-can't-beat-em-get-a-bigger-stick dept.
HangingChad writes "ComputerWorld is running an article about Microsoft's latest type of sales force scare tactic. Apparently Microsoft is using the new title of 'engagement manager' to attempt sales via intimidation. From the article: 'Indeed, according to Microsoft's Web site, the responsibility of someone with Lawless' title of "engagement manager" is to "perform as an integrated member of the account team, drive business development and closing of new services engagements in targeted accounts."'"
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Microsoft Customers Balk at Hard Sell

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:38PM (#15303875) Journal

    What's up with Microsoft? I would recommend Thomas Peters' "In Search of Excellence" for their review. While I wouldn't agree 100% with all of "Search...", there are anecdotes and good evidence around "customer service", and what makes a company excellent.

    Creating adversarial relationships, especially ones where Microsoft as much as accuses a customer of piracy (are we sure Microsoft hasn't purchased RIAA yet?) cultivates resentment and long term rot.

    And now, Microsoft is creating account team members whose sole function is to instill FUD in their customer, intimidating them into shelling out even more money for services to ensure Microsoft checks and balances are in Microsoft's favor? Sheesh. This is a scam, pure and simple. As the article points out, if Microsoft truly thinks something is amiss "it sics the Business Software Alliance on the company. It doesn't turn the matter over to one of its sales managers".

    Maybe Microsoft is doing this to themselves inadvertently, or maybe it's a strategy. From the Fine Article:

    When I phoned Lawless to find out, she referred me to Microsoft's PR machine. The responses I got through that channel stressed that Microsoft's aim is to help customers navigate the complexities of software licensing and that one of the roles of engagement managers is to assist in that effort by informing customers of a potential licensing risk. I was told to attribute the responses to Lawless.

    Microsoft's "complexities of software licensing" are the seed of irritation. Accusing customers of ripping them off because they can't figure these complex licenses out entirely is the fertilizer to grow that seed into full blown resentment.

    If there were any real alternatives to technology in today's Microsoft dominated juggernaut, these "practices" would send customers screaming to the competition. Unfortunately, so far, there aren't.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:50PM (#15303970) Homepage
      If there were any real alternatives to technology in today's Microsoft dominated juggernaut, these "practices" would send customers screaming to the competition. Unfortunately, so far, there aren't.

      Well, there is this interesting operating system that I heard about on this website called "slapdash" or something like that. Seems like it scales pretty well and some big computer companies like IBM are playing around with it.

      I think it was called 'Linux' - could be wrong about that.

      • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:55PM (#15305363)
        I like Linux, I'm using linux right now.

        But, for most businesses, it's no alternative to windows.

        Linux is good OS, but it doesn't run the apps that most businesses need. FYI: there are more apps than just wordprocessors and web-browsers. For just one very small example: UPS worldship software, used my many businesses, doesn't run on Linux.

        Tons of specialized proprietary software doesn't run on Linux. I recently installed some specialized software for an auto-body shop. And guess what? It only runs on windows.

        Sure Linux is fast, secure, stable, and inexpensive. But nobody runs an OS just to run an OS: it's all about the apps.
        • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @02:24AM (#15306470) Homepage
          So ask for Linux versions. If you don't get them, you'll take your business somewhere else. If you need the software *that* badly you can probably pay someone to write it for less than the cost of all those Microsoft licence fees.
          • If you need the software *that* badly you can probably pay someone to write it for less than the cost of all those Microsoft licence fees.

            Lol. Right. As an example, the last company I was at did software for a particular manufacturing industry. Our customers relied on this software to run their business. Yes, they needed it badly. No, they couldn't recreate the software for the cost of buying 50 or 100 Windows licenses. The software had hundreds of programmer-years worth of work in it.

            Why weren't

        • I agree with you, however there are still 2 ways of running Win32-software:

          The Microsoft-way is running everything on Windows, using all Microsoft-formats and protocols and using lock-in techniques like Active Directory.

          The (IMO saner) way is to run Windows where you really need it (on many, possibly most desktops) but use Unix/Linux on the server and even more importantly use open standards and formats whereever possible. (For example use Mozilla/html/LAMP instead of client/server/Win32 or IE/html/ASP)

    • by Fanboy Troy (957025) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:16PM (#15304177)
      Actually your post reminded me of a bookmark I had laying around quite a while about why Ernie Ball dumped microsoft [com.com]. FTA:

      ...Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months. "I said, 'I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses,'" recalled Ball, who recently addressed the LinuxWorld trade show. "We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly."

      ...What I really thought is that you ought to treat people the way you want to be treated. I couldn't treat a customer the way Microsoft dealt with me...I went from being a pro-Microsoft guy to instantly being an anti-Microsoft guy...
    • by olddotter (638430) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:16PM (#15304180) Homepage
      Don't make the mistake of thinking that Microsoft wants their customers to like them. Microsoft has several problems, some legit, and some they caused themselves.

      The legit problems is that since they have a virtual monopoly their biggest compeditor is the version of Windows (or Office, etc.) they sold customers a few years ago. Hence the only way to grow is to "encourage" people to buy new software even if they don't really need it.

      They have a history of upsetting their userbase. Given that they have a virtual monopoly they don't really care if their users like them. MS takes a corporate mafia approach to sales, trying to strong arm customers into paying them off. I've seen these articles in the nears every few years for most of the last decade.

      I keep hoping it will drive defections to Apple's OS X or Linux.

    • Creating adversarial relationships, especially ones where Microsoft as much as accuses a customer of piracy (are we sure Microsoft hasn't purchased RIAA yet?) cultivates resentment and long term rot.

      It's more like the RIAA licensed Microsoft's business methods. Long before this whole P2P thing blew up, Microsoft was performing surprise "licensing audits" against damn near everyone with more than 20 seats. Schools, corporations, and everything in between got a visit from Microsoft. People who were out

    • "Nice place you have here. Sure looks flammable. Is that an unlicensed server I see there? What's this big red button do?" [POWER FAIL] "Awww, it crashed. Hey, you know, a guy like you could maybe use a little insurance. I got a nice license for a reliable asset manager here, pretty cheap considering. Price? Everything's negotiable, mate. What's your weekly take? Oh, and I noticed your family out for a walk yesterday. Yer kids sure are purty..."
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:38PM (#15303877) Homepage Journal
    It may have changed since I last did one, but it used to be that if you had
    a Select or Enterprise Agreement with MS, they had the right to audit
    spelled out in the contract. The article is mum as to whether or not such
    an agreement was in force between MS & AWC, though most companies of any
    size have one or both agreements.

    So, if MS has a Select or Enterprise Agreement with AWC, then MS is fully
    within their right to request an audit and this is a non-news article.

    Also, note that Computer World doesn't call this a "sales force scare
    tactic" as the headline implies. That term isn't even used in the article.
    • by twitter (104583) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:51PM (#15303985) Homepage Journal
      Winkydink says:

      note that Computer World doesn't call this a "sales force scare tactic" as the headline implies. That term isn't even used in the article.

      The article says:

      The attorney, suspecting that Lawless' actions were part of an elaborate sales effort, basically told her to back off.

      and it adds up:

      The fact is, if Microsoft really has reason to believe that a company is using unlicensed copies of its software, it sics the Business Software Alliance on the company. It doesn't turn the matter over to one of its sales managers.

      Telling your sales force to threaten and intimidate customers is a scare tactic designed to sell crap. These idiots think they have the world by the nuts.

      The complexities of license compliance and the threat of a BSA raid is one of the best reasons to avoid the non free software offered by M$ and the other BSA member companies.

      • Idiots? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by overshoot (39700)
        These idiots think they have the world by the nuts.
        They're only idiots if they don't have the world by the nuts.
    • by ktappe (747125) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:56PM (#15304027)
      if MS has a Select or Enterprise Agreement with AWC, then MS is fully within their right to request an audit and this is a non-news article.
      Hardly.

      1. They did not request a 3rd party, independent audit. On the contrary, they claimed their in-house auditing service was the "only unbiased" audit, which is exactly 180-degrees from the truth; it's the very definition of bias.

      2. They completely disregarded without even a glance the customer's legitimate efforts to demonstrate his legality. This shows MS was not in any way acting in good faith.

      3. Any party that believes another has wronged them is obliged to take that grievance to the proper authorities, not threaten unilateral actions. What MS did here reeks of extortion; the threat of one-on-one remedies in order to coerce behavior without any involvement of the court system.

      -Kurt

      • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:08PM (#15304128) Homepage Journal
        Neither my SA or EA say anything about "independent 3rd party audit". It says MS has the right to audit. Period. And unless your a Global 2000 company, good luck getting them to change so much as one puncutation mark on their contract.
        • I would think though that if there was an argument of bad faith, scare tactics, etc. as are present in this article, that one could possibly force them face you in court and explain why they didn't just politely work with you and your concerns in the first place. Right to audit ought not to mean right to intimidate.

          "No your honor, I don't mind if they audit us, but this exchange shows that this is nothing more than an attempt to strong arm us into buying more of their products. They would not even work with us to ensure that the audit went smoothly!"

          IANAL though.
          • Not between equals. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by twitter (104583) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:32PM (#15305226) Homepage Journal
            one could possibly force them face you in court and explain why they didn't just politely work with you and your concerns in the first place. Right to audit ought not to mean right to intimidate.

            Meet the DMCA. If the BSA has "evidence" of your wrongdoing, you get to pay for the audit and the "violated" company's legal bills. See here [com.com] for a reference story and what to do about this kind of extortion. Essentially, you are screwed and have to pay the fines demanded without a fight. A fight would cost the average company half a million dollars, more if you include the cost of business disruption.

            Software contracts and licenses are not normal contracts. The "agreement" between you and a non free software company is that you are so greatfull for the software that you will do as you are told.

            Treating customers like this, Microsoft has completely lost it.

  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beavis88 (25983) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:39PM (#15303890)
    Hmm, so there's a shitbag working for Microsoft, which automatically allows us to draw conclusions X, Y, and Z about the entire company. Allllrightythen....*sigh*. Slow news day I guess.
  • by segfault_0 (181690) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:43PM (#15303916)
    Perhaps Microsoft wouldn't seem like such a maniac for asking if they provided the predicates that caused the contact to be made. If they said that someone told us your not legal or you have registered 1000 machines and bought 900 licenses that would make sense - without this much i wouldnt even bother with corrosponding. They have nothing to lose by disclosing their concerns.

  • Meaningless blurb (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jason1729 (561790) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:43PM (#15303921)
    The blurb uses a lot of words to say very little.

    From TFA, MS is sending their sales people after customers claiming the customer is not in license compliance and they need to send an inspection team in. They are very threatening, implying if the company doesn't comply, they'll face legal prosecution. Once the inspection team gets in, they try to get the customer to buy more products.
    • by IANAAC (692242)

      From TFA, MS is sending their sales people after customers claiming the customer is not in license compliance and they need to send an inspection team in. They are very threatening, implying if the company doesn't comply, they'll face legal prosecution. Once the inspection team gets in, they try to get the customer to buy more products.

      And they've been doing this for YEARS. It's nothing new. When we went to Notes from Exchange, it happened. It also hapened when we pased over SQL Server in favor of O

    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:01PM (#15304074) Homepage Journal
      I would consider it to be a petty scare tactic. It doesn't make sense to try to sue your customer, and I don't think that any prosecutor would bother with this sort of case unless there is proof of infringement. BSA people can complain to the local Attourney General but unless there is some sort of proof.

      Personally, I wouldn't allow any hostile entity into facilities entrusted to me unless there was a legitimate warrant of some kind. I think businesses are probably being smart enough to check with their legal counsel before being duped into allowing fishing expeditions.
    • bad summary. (Score:5, Informative)

      by twitter (104583) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:02PM (#15304082) Homepage Journal
      Once the inspection team gets in, they try to get the customer to buy more products.

      They never got to that point because AWC's lawyer told them to stick it.

      It it works like a BSA raid, M$ will get a court order for an inspection based on some kind of "evidence", which could be anything from an anonymous phone call by a disgruntled employee to some program the secretary installed phoning home. AWC would then have the choice of paying for the inspection or another even more expensive "service" from a list M$ offers. The raid itself would involve massive disruption of work.

      This is the appropriate response [com.com].

    • Once the inspection team gets in, they try to get the customer to buy more products.

      Can you please let me know how the heck do they convince the customer to buy more if he's totally legit?

      And if he's not, buying the products he needs seems like the least evil that can happen to him (compared to legal prosecution).
  • I heard this today so it must be one of the up-and-coming buzzwords.

  • by magicjava (952331) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:46PM (#15303943)
    In all fairness, if you're going to post articles about MS doing this, you should post about other companies doing this as well.

    • Who is "you"? If you know something and can back it up, then post it. Otherwise, STFU.
    • Oracle's sales force hounded me for almost 3 months after I downloaded their free developers edition from their web site. They made the same claims. I wasn't properly licenced for the way I was using the database and I had to buy more products from them. Just for the record, I wasn't using the product at all. I never even got around to installing it. These tactics are well known, inside the software biz and outside it as well. Salesmen sell, that's their job.
      • by ADRA (37398) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:14PM (#15304172)
        You're example is quite different from the rest of the discussion:
        1. You have no prior business arrangement with Oracle
        2. You haven't bought the piece of software in question
        3. You aren't required to have a software audit upon request
        4. They have no reason to question that you're using the software correctly or not (since you never used it, there's no dial home)

        There's a difference between
        "Buy our software because you haven't, but you should, so do it!"
        and
        "We've been mulling it over in the ol' license factory and we think you're lieing when you say you're only using our software 5 times. We think you need to license 100,000,000 users since one server's SMB share is available to the internet serving pr0n (good pr0n btw). So instead of using high pressure marketing techniques which obviously aren't working, we're going to use our manifest right to invade your workplace to mandate what's needed for compliance the way we see it."

        Yeah, I was ranting... /self-slap
    • In all fairness, if you're going to post articles about MS doing this, you should post about other companies doing this as well.
      So let's hear about them. C'mon, you know about them abviously, so let's see what you know. Who else in the software industry is using this or a similar tactic outside of the BSA procedures? I personally don't want to do business with companies like that, so inform me... and the rest of us.
    • by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @06:06PM (#15304511)
      Fairness? This is "fair" if it's true. It's "fair" if the story accurately reflects what actually happened. So what if other companies do this? This is a story about what Microsoft did. Some other story can be about what some other company does.
  • by BulletMagnet (600525) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:47PM (#15303955)
    I've gotten I think 4 or so of these calls now. I answered the 1st one, and it turned out Redmond was trying to force a sale of MAS90 (Microsoft's accounting package) when I told them I worked for a construction company and we use an accounting package designed for Construction (Timberline) they said "we can make it work for a construction company" He got the hint after repeating "Not interested" 3 times.

    I've had Reception add "any calls from Microsoft" to the forward straight to voicemail. If the BSA wants to talk to me about my license counts, I'm not one bit worried.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:01PM (#15304076) Journal
      MAS90, MAS200, and MAS500 are made by Best Software (formerly Sage Software, though originally Best Software).

      MS's accounting software is Dynamics. Redmond did not call you to sell a competitor's product.

      Furthermore, MAS products are generally not sold directly by Best, they are sold via resellers.

      You just happened to have an agressive sales person contact you, that's all. In no way is that trying to "force a sale." There was no implied threat of lawsuit for failing to have licenses or anything like that.
  • Brilliant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KevMar (471257) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:49PM (#15303964) Homepage Journal
    Its underhanded and brilliant at the same time.

    Any company that knowingly (or thinks they are) in vialation will quickly signup for whatever universal license agreement that will cover them. Most of the time those people have already looked at the options and know what they need to do.

    Unfortuanatly they did not back off when someone called the bluff. Know when to fold um.

    Im not justifying it, im just saying its thinking outside the box. And i would guess that its very effective.
     
  • This is very common (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eebra82 (907996)
    It's bad enough when Microsoft strong-arms other software vendors into submission as a means of thwarting competition. But when it engages in underhanded tactics to intimidate users in order to land a software deal, we have a very disturbing situation on our hands. And someone needs to have the guts to speak out about it.

    This is not uncommon. In fact, I don't know any super large company that would not put pressure on vendors and small companies that rely on the bigger ones. This is the case with so many
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:50PM (#15303974)
    Why the hell are they intimidating people?

    Have they forgotten how effective BRIBING people can be?

    Have all the creative people left the company?

    Will someone PLEASE put Ballmer back in charge of Sales?

    • Please, no! (Score:4, Funny)

      by geobeck (924637) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:40PM (#15304355) Homepage
      Will someone PLEASE put Ballmer back in charge of Sales?

      It's one thing to have some sales sleaze saying, "Dat's a nice server youse got there... shame if anything should happen to it," and quite another to have the top sales maniac saying, "I'm going to fucking KILL YOU!" and throwing chairs at your server.

      Off-topic digression*:

      If anyone out there likes making game hacks, someone write up "Ballmer Kong". The Ball-ape stands at the top, lobbing chairs down the scaffolding, while your character, a penguin, jumps over the chairs, or blows them up by throwing apples at them.

      *Yes, I know; that's a superfluous redundancy.

  • Engagement? (Score:5, Funny)

    by erbmjw (903229) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:51PM (#15303975)
    One definition is
    a hostile encounter between military forces
    Perhaps it should be expanded to include a hostile encounter by corporate forces
  • Ironic (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:51PM (#15303983)
    So the intimidation manager is actually named Lawless?
  • Nobody (Score:5, Funny)

    by bahwi (43111) <incomingNO@SPAMjosephguhlin.com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:52PM (#15303989) Homepage
    Nobody expects the MSFT Inquisition!
  • Get legal! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54@yahoo.DALIcom minus painter> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:56PM (#15304023)
    Not sure if your licenses are in order? Get legal [openoffice.org].
  • So what are the customers going to do? Stop using MS software?

    Apparently they still haven't figured out who holds the whip. Microsoft is about to educate them.

  • by twitter (104583) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:10PM (#15304138) Homepage Journal
    How to really tell them to back off [com.com]. Saves money and time. Things have only gotten easier in the last six years.

  • by TheNoxx (412624) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:18PM (#15304192) Homepage Journal
    Yet again, I can add another reason as to why I don't want MS in the gaming market. I mention this because MS is pushing Vista as the next best thing since sliced bread for gaming (if you haven't heard their nutjob sales reps going "DIRECT X 10 WOOOO!", just do a google search), and I'm sure they'll try to hook it up with the 360. This might be a little off-topic, but they and their "business" tactics need to be kept as far away from the still young gaming industry. You know that as soon as they get a foothold, they'll stop developement and real innovation and use the same strong-arm intimidation to keep developers and distributors in tow. Want to improve the image of games as an art form? Too bad, MS is pushing the same shit in HALO 12.
  • by All Names Have Been (629775) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:19PM (#15304203)
    ... I believe I've had contact with these jerks - I got a call from someone at MS stating that "They would like to help me ensure that we have the software we need for an organization our size." which quickly devolved into "send us copies of all your license certificates, then we'll send someone out to help check these against all your machines." (apparently they've got some tools for this?)

    When nicely told to stick it, the final word from this ass was (and I quote) "How confident are you that you have everything in order?"

    I'd really hate for something to happen to your nice store there, Mister. You sure you don't want to hire us to make sure nothing gets broken?
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:23PM (#15304240) Homepage
    These has been a common tactic for years. I have trained all my higher-ups to ignore any offers to review licenses. Companies will call the higherups and tell them they can potentially save money by reviewing their licenses and getting into a new type of license program. Vendors are constantly switching license schemes e.g. network connections, to MIPS, to number of processors, to number of dual core processors, to number of instances.

    Database vendors like Oracle also like to come in and do reviews/audits so they can help you save money and (sic) purchase the optimal license agreement. In reality, you already have the best license deal and the vendor wants to kill it and replace it with one that costs more.

    We learned long ago that these sales weenies are just fishing for anyone who will talk to them. If you ignore them, they will go bug someone naive enough to talk with them. They have no legal authority and are, dare I say sharks, trying to rewrite your license agreement to get you to fork over more cash.

    Stay legal on all your licensing and simply factor licenses into the purchase price of every machine. If you know that you purchase licenses with every machine and keep your license count current for upgrades and maintenance, the matter will take care of itself.

    Note, young inexperienced managers will fall for the "cost savings" sales pitch quite often since they want to be perceived as doing something for the business. If they are foolish enough to start licensing conversations, make sure that you explain how much time and cost the audit process with take. Ask who is going to pay for the labor to install auditing software. Explain that vendors are not allowed access to servers and PCs. Ask them who is going to assume the security risk for any audit software and who will take responsibility if it causes problems in your production environment. After all, I am sure that all audit software is bulletproof and well written. Itemize all the costs and risks then make sure your manager's manager and/or customer see this risk/cost assessment.

    My advice: Just ignore them and they will go away AND put your grumpiest and savviest technical manager in charge of any license renewals.
  • Proper response (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:43PM (#15304369) Homepage

    I think all the response this tactic deserves is an icy "If you want to discuss license compliance, let me transfer you to our legal department where someone can assist you.". Then you do just that, making sure your lawyer knows before the MS rep can talk that the rep has stated or implied that you lack licenses for some software.

    Of course, also make sure you've got original media and license certificats and keys for every copy of software you've got installed, or relevant current license agreement documentation covering the installed software. Remember that there's what MS might like you to have to produce, then there's what you legally have to or should be able to produce, and the two aren't neccesarily identical.

  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:58PM (#15304467) Homepage
    My experience with Microsoft marketing has been pretty bad so far.
    My first-hand impression is that they will do anything including lie to your face to get you to listen to their latest gimmick.

    This is totally aside from the fact that I don't particularly like their software. I admit that because of this fact I'm probably biased, but my ACTUAL experience directly with the people is pretty bad too, so it totally doesn't help the case.

    Anyways, first thing that happened: As a student, I attended a .NET promotion thing they were doing for students. We were promised a free copy of Visual Studio 7 if we attended, which I thought sounded pretty good and worth sitting through some ads for. After two hours of being marketed to, sitting through tons of stuff that really didn't interest me much (for example advertising their new tablet PC for 45 minutes when it was supposed to be an information session on .NET), what happens? They get up there and have the gall to announce that, "Oh, sorry, the VS.NET CDs weren't ready, so we don't have any to give you... but we'll send them to you." I wrote my address, never received anythign.. (after emailing them even)

    Another thing that happened: I attended a conference on real-time computing. I thought I'd check out a talk called "Choosing a real-time operating system". I figured it would be an interesting overview on all the options out there (and there are a lot of interesting ones!), but after I got in there and they closed to door: "Hi, so this is an information session on how to choose a Microsoft real-time Operating System." Turned out it was for choosing between CE and XP. What a load of shit.. I was really pissed.

    So all in all, my impression is not at all good. They run their company like jerks, and their sales reps are jerks.

    Frankly I think some of their products are pretty good. A lot of their development utilities are really nice. XP works pretty well for it's target audience. But damn... stop lying to me and trying to trick me. It's not cool.
  • by FooGoo (98336) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @06:09PM (#15304533)
    Balmer: What's your name?
    Gates: FUCK YOU, that's my name!! You know why, Mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That's my name!! And your name is "you're wanting." And you can't play in a man's game. You can't close them. (at a near whisper) And you go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?
    (Gates flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and AIDA.)
    Gates: A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!! A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention -- do I have your attention? Interest -- are you interested? I know you are because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks! Decision -- have you made your decision for Christ?!! And action. A-I-D-A; get out there!! You got the prospects comin' in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? Guy doesn't walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? What's the problem pal? You. Balmer.
    Balmer: You're such a hero, you're so rich. Why you coming down here and waste your time on a bunch of bums?
    (Gates sits and takes off his gold watch)
    Blake: You see this watch? You see this watch?
    Balmer: Yeah.
    Gates: That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that's who I am. And you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you -- go home and play with your kids!! You wanna work here? Close!! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this -- how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?! You don't like it -- leave. I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make myself fifty thousand dollars! Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A!! Get mad! You sons of bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to sell software?
    (He pulls something out of his briefcase)
    Gates: It takes brass balls to sell software.
  • by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @06:26PM (#15304632) Homepage Journal
    So much for turning to commercially licensed closed source software as a way to reduce your exposure to IP legal threats.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @07:26PM (#15304938)
    Back in the 1930s, if you wanted to get a mafia boss with a squeaky clean file behind bars, sick the IRS on him. It's almost impossible to get ALL your tax records perfectly legal, so if you can't get them any other way, that's the way to go.

    Today, if you want your competitor gone, sick the BSA on them. I bet my rear that NOT A SINGLE COMPANY that uses MS products got all their bases covered. With different licensing models and licensing terms, it's virtually impossible to get everything perfectly licensed.

    Switch to OSS and you can simply give 'em the finger if they decide to show up at your door.
  • ...where MS tried to force IT shops to upgrade sooner? They declared that upgrade pricing would be valid for six months only, after which shops that hadn't upgraded would pay full boat. IT managers pretty much told them to go to hell. It was the best thing to happen for Linux as a server platform in corporations all at once since the 2.6 kernel release. I recall a quote from on manager saying, "This would give the control over millions of dollars of my budget -- to be spent within a few months of whenever they demand it. That's just not going to happen."

    As I recall, Microsoft backed off that stance almost immedately but it was a bit late. They woke up a large number of shops to their "single source vulnerability".
  • Racketeering? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thewiz (24994) * on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:14PM (#15305141)
    IANAL, but this sounds like racketeering to me and it seems to fit the definition:
    The act of engaging in criminal activity as a structured group is referred to in the U.S. as racketeering.

    M$: We need to check your license with our auditing software.
    IT Guy: Here's all of of licenses and the machines they are installed on.
    M$: No, we need to run the audit to see how much software you're pirating.
    IT Guy: We're not pirating anything! Our records are accurate!
    M$: Either you let us inventory your systems or we break your computers and then your legs.

    Isn't RICO applicable here?
  • by KwKSilver (857599) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:56AM (#15306404)
    What else is new? I understand the next time I boot the Windows partition on this box, & it tries to get security updates, I will be challenged to prove that XP is genuine. Well, it came on the machine from HP. What the fork does MS want? Think I'll burn the FreeBSD 6.1 install DVD for AMD64, first. I think FreeBSD would be happy to be where the XP & recovery partitions are. Then I can upgrade the Breezy patition to Dapper. F' 'em. MS gives me the creeps.

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