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Microsoft PR Rep is the Switcher 901

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.
  • 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 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 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 timster ( 32400 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:05PM (#4450210)
    Uh, this case would be Microsoft asking google to remove a _Microsoft-owned_ page from the cache, and has no correlation to the Scientology effort to remove other people's pages.
  • Re:Hoax? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:12PM (#4450263)
    How do we know the Anonymous Poster isn't an employee of Linux

    Employee of linux?
  • by sharph ( 171971 ) <> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:18PM (#4450306) Homepage
    all the dishonesty.... its legal.

    they never made any connection from the woman to the article, they just placed it on the same page and hinted that she was writing it.

    (of course, i'm not a lawyer. so i could be 100% wrong.)
  • by everyplace ( 527571 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:19PM (#4450315) Homepage
    Keep in mind though that people with a mind to watch Tech TV and the like already know about alternate operating systems.

    I highly doubt that the average person flipping between stations is going to stop at a station about computers when there's better things on like the Home Shopping Network, TNN, or even C-SPAN 2. Too many choices!
  • Marketing 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zentec ( 204030 ) <<zentec> <at> <>> 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.
  • Ed Wood ad agency? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uncoveror ( 570620 ) 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 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.

  • by namespan ( 225296 ) <namespan&elitemail,org> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:40PM (#4450450) Journal
    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 Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:55PM (#4450534)
    M$ has now become their worst nightmare. They are where IBM was in the 80's and 90's. While IBM has learned to let go of their old legacies and monopolies, M$ holds on to a largely irrelevant position of protecting what once was. I feel sorry for the young programmers that went to work for M$ hoping to change the world. They now work for a company that has as management several old geezers living in the past and very afraid to realize the implications of a book like "The Innovators Dilemma."

    Innovation has become an oft oft-used and little heeded word at M$. When the wealth of the status quo out weighs the gains of the revolutionary, old men clutch at straws and young men are wasted.

    billg led them to where they are, but now he is dragging them down.

  • logic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:56PM (#4450541)
    So, you'd also buy a Mercedes bulletproof limo and Gulfstream personal jet if they were closer to your budget as well?

    What kind of logic is that? We would be crazy to argue with that. It's a debater's tactic that puts the respondent in a no-win position, regardless of their answer. Would you do drugs if there was no risk? Would you stop ageing if you could? Would you fly if someone gave you wings?
  • 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...
  • 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 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.
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:18PM (#4450690)
    Actually chances are this person at the ad agency decided to throw this together as a trial to see how it would take.

    Then someone in marketing found out about it and called the ad agency asking them to pull it because it's a completely worthless ad campaign. Apple's switch commercials have generated a lot of bad press for the company, mostly with parodies and spoofs, and have done nothing to convince non-current Mac owners to buy a new Mac. To copy this bad campaign from the Microsoft side would just look pathetic.

    Apple unfortunately has a long history of this... their commercials target the Mac faithful. I guess you could call this the innovator's dilemna, because if Apple started targetting the Macintosh towards the Windows market they would alienate the "Think Different" people who only buy Mac's because they aren't mainstream.

    In the end, the rest of the world doesn't give a shit anyway. Well except maybe slashdot, but they try to make headlines out of anything that can be twisted in an anti-Microsoft way.
  • by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:19PM (#4450702)
    Anyone find it ironic that the parent came right after a post talking about Microsoft trolls []?

    On topic, I think it's very relevant. Complaining and laughing at a company as stupid as Microsoft is relaxing. =)
  • by SparkyMartin ( 206236 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:24PM (#4450726)
    Yep, but back then, ANYTHING with a GUI expecially one that allowed you to use a mouse was cool.

    Remember GEOS for the Commodore 64? Very cool if you didn't mind waiting 4 minutes for the thing to load, then another 2 minutes for it to load GEOS-Write or whatever it was called. A perfect example of being POTENTIALLY cool, but in practice it sucked"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:29PM (#4450753)

    >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.

    Uh, no. the finding of fact differs with you. MS become big in the dos days. They did it be using their monopoly. They recently paid .5 billion to ray norda's lineo becuase they illegaly screwed over Dr. Dos. They included MS office for free for a number of years with Windows (starting with MS Windows 2.0) . Win 3.0 beat OS/2 becuase they paid a number of companies to do Windows and specifically not OS/2.
    Becuase they make easy to use software??? not a chance. It ha actually only become easy to use in the last 2 years. In another 2 years, Linux will be as easy or easier to use than MS.
  • by valmont ( 3573 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:37PM (#4450787) Homepage Journal
    i'm guna eat the troll-bait:

    Macs are cheap(er) now []. Yes desktop models still cost you a few hundred bucks more than comparable PC models. However high-end notebooks with comparable features and peripheral capabilities are at right about the same price. Cuz in the end you can't build a dependable laptop with cheap parts. Dell did and it screwed me up big time [].

    One software supplier? You can buy a mac and NOT run any apple software. Linux kernels, *BSD kernels, and many more unix flavors have all been ported to Mac CPUs. OS X still kicks the shit out of all those operating systems though because well, it just works.

    oh and guess what? A whole lot of open-source applications "just work" under mac os x, thanks to the great "Fink" project, located at []. I myself have X11, Gnome, Gimp, xemacs, xchat and many more apps working on my OS X.

    one software vendor ey? Well check this: Apple supplies the hardware AND the operating system, *optimized* to run in ITS OWN hardware. Guess what that gives you? A POWERFUL, stable, dependable machine that'll never let you down. Not to mention that the core of Apple's operating system is OPEN-SOURCE: that also gives you a SECURE and extendable platform.

    Their fastest CPU does run at lower MEGAHERTZ than pentiums, it is still a superior architecture which gives you better performance for certain things, albeit not relevant to some users who desperately need fast-clocked boxes. Currently Apple is at 1.5Ghz. Not too bad i'd say.

    With OS X, Apple is responsible for the most significant advance in computing since the original introduction of "The Mac".

  • by megaduck ( 250895 ) <dvarvel&hotmail,com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:59PM (#4450909) Journal

    Microsoft is attempting to do the impossible -- support every PC and PC peripheral that has ever been shipped.

    That's not true, actually. Windows has native support for a very small percentage of PC hardware and peripherals. They leave the majority of driver writing and device support to the hardware manufacturers, just like Apple does. Windows XP needs extra drivers for my scanner, just like OS X.

    Even when MS does support hardware, it's not as easy as a Mac. For example, both Windows and OS X include drivers for my HP Deskjet. In order to setup the printer on Windows I have to:

    1. Plug the printer in.
    2. Click "Next" a few times.
    3. Select my printer model.
    4. Tell Windows that I want it to be my default printer.
    5. Tell it I don't want to print a test page.
    6. Click "Finish".

    To set up the same printer on a Mac you:
    1. Plug it in.

    Macs aren't easier to configure because they support a more limited range of hardware. They're easier to configure because the OS behaves in a much more sensible fashion.

  • I don't feel like getting into this debate yet again, but just to correct at least some of the misinformation...

    Yes desktop models still cost you a few hundred bucks more than comparable PC models.

    Desktops are approximately twice as expensive for half the performance. Do the comparisons yourself. Yes, Macs get more speed per megahurtz. But only by about 20% on the average when you take an honest, large number of apps (versus Apple's out-and-out lies comparing only hand-picked applications, usually Photoshop).

    Apple supplies the hardware AND the operating system, *optimized* to run in ITS OWN hardware.

    Yeah, I know... of course a monopoly is going to do a better job than a large, healthy marketplace (man, the Mac rationalizations just never end).

    Not to mention that the core of Apple's operating system is OPEN-SOURCE: that also gives you a SECURE and extendable platform.

    Big whoop. The valuable part of the whole thing is not open source. Why do you think there are so many amateur kernels around? It's because it's not exactly rocket science.

    Currently Apple is at 1.5Ghz.

    Well, according to your link they're only up to 1.25Ghz. And look what they charge for it. The low end Macs are twice as much as PCs; the high end ones are at least 4x.

    With OS X, Apple is responsible for the most significant advance in computing since the original introduction of "The Mac".

    Oh? Apple's taking credit for Unix now? Figures.

  • 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 kylef ( 196302 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:29PM (#4451051)

    So this ad was different. In fact, it may have even been a joke. It had that jocular quality the first time I looked at it, but you can never tell for sure sometimes. Marketing people. Blah.

    But past MS mass media advertisements have been of the "Where do you want to go today?" variety, with no reference to competitors whatsoever. Those ads simply extolled the virtues of MS software, whatever those may have been. i.e., they'll take you anywhere.

    Apple's Switch Campaign [] is classic marketing FUD []. I'll provide some examples from their website:
    "Can your PC laptop automatically switch between Ethernet, dial-up and wireless connections on the fly? Without a restart? Ours can." "When did you last configure a PC for the Internet? Take you long?" "Are you just a tad too well acquainted with the notorious 'blue screen of death'?"

    Note: As an experienced Windows user, I could respond to each of these in turn, but instead I would like to direct the reader to a great parody ad [].

    I humbly submit that no matter what you say about MS FUD surrounding Linux, at least it has NOT been directed at the mass media. Steve Ballmer speaking about the imminent failure of the free software model at a press conference or even at a convention hardly equates to Apple's multi-million dollar public TV and newspaper campaign designed to convince Windows users that their computer doesn't work correctly. FUD doesn't exclusively come from companies with large market share...

  • by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:57PM (#4451162) Homepage Journal
    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.

    Sorry, I'm afraid you contradict yourself in that statement. Microsoft bullied its way into the position int the beginning of GUI clones with Win95. Recall the version that was used as an example running win95 ontop of DRdos? Microsoft clawed its way deeper into the pit of monopoly that it calls home, and as a result hardware manufacturers can't find it profittable to make linux versions of their software when such a small percecntage of the people use linux compared to windows. So don't go resting on microsoft's laurels...they're fraught with lawyers and thorns from the past. The difference is that now they own the thorns they haven't destroyed, except for linux and apple. people could do the same things Windows can do for quite a while before Windows on a mac. (note: i am not a mac user)
  • 2 Years? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:01AM (#4451181) Homepage Journal
    I can't imagine it lasting that long, however, the bumbling way they continue to handle such faux pas is indeed timeless. It's like Microsoft needs to hire a few cynics to review what they're up to and weigh their gripes.

    I mean, Coca Cola is a popular drink, but you don't see them claiming it builds muscle or makes your penis/breats grow. Such a claim, besides immediately inviting scrutiny, would be so out of character with their product it would make people stop and question why they actually do drink it.

    The best marketing machine Microsoft has is dingbat leader types in public and private sectors who shove Office down the throats of companies, because everyone else is doing it (wow, such leadership!) Microsoft needs to cultivate these people (Repeat after me, "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft") and less draw attentions to what they really are doing. For such a successful company, they sure can act foolishly and that doesn't help them any.

  • by Crispin Cowan ( 20238 ) <.crispin. .at.> on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:22AM (#4451277) Homepage
    I guess because the CNN editors thought the line "Apparently, Jedi mind tricks didn't work" was cute enought to put on the air, and the AP article helpfully pointed to /.

    Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. []
    Immunix: [] Security Hardened Linux Distribution
    Available for purchase []

  • by spoon42 ( 41389 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:22AM (#4451280)

    Microsoft is attempting to do the impossible -- support every PC and PC peripheral that has ever been shipped

    Nice try, idiot. Maybe every peripheral shipped in the last three years. And even then, maybe. They don't even come close to supporting every product they've ever shipped. Arg. Got a 5+ year old NIC lying around? Even if it uses the same chipset as one you could go out and buy? Good luck finding a driver. Meanwhile, on linux: modprobe, ifconfig, ...there is no step three. :-p Linux actually comes close to your supposed universal support-- and it runs on a dozen other architectures, with all kinds of devices. Funny that. And without a multi-billion dollar marketing^Wengineering budget.

    Really, that's one of the dumbest things I've read today. Fucking crack monkeys.

  • Re:2 Years? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:23AM (#4451291) Homepage Journal
    An executive decision, where I work, has us adopting .NET Geez. Talk about an utter copy of Java. Worse, I can't see many other people jumping on this bandwagon, because the .NET framework isn't anywhere near as distributed as the JVM, i.e. you have to download it (20Meg) or have XP (or 2000?) with the framework already installed for it to be of much use. Java's got such a leg up, it would suffice to say there are already Java Legacy shops.

    It'll probably work ok for internal applications, but books and such are still so new that few are of much help (since many books are written prior to the release and may pertain to Beta features and lack later enhancements.)

  • by Ian Bicking ( 980 ) <[ianb] [at] []> on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:23AM (#4451292) Homepage
    I am a little confused as well. I believe Mallinson's name is on the document at the bottom of the page, which is a solicitation for more submissions. In that context, it is completely okay that it's a MS employee that wrote the document.

    It seems more likely that Don Funk wrote the article, though I'm not entirely clear on who Don Funk is -- OTOH, searching Google his name shows up lots of places -- is it a name turned into a standard filler (like "foobar")? Or does he write lots of documentation, and uses his own name in example sometimes?

    Now I suspect Don Funk wrote the article, and Mallinson is taking credit for it because the entire article is obviously a complete lie if Funk wrote it. The other possibility is that Funk wrote parts of it as documentation, and Mallinson used that content to produce the "letter".

    The other thing that links Mallinson to the editing of the content, not the content itself, is the italicized comment on the bottom talking about converting the author to Pocket PC. Someone else referenced this site [] where this same Mallinson is referred to as an expert with Pocket PCs. Though, when I think of the possibilities, it again becomes likely that she already had all the content for a second article ready, and was setting it up for a followup.

    The whole Pocket PC thing makes it seem very likely that Mallinson is simply lying about converting from Mac (at least to XP). But it would offend people more if a man wrote an article, and then was turned into a woman in a cynical attempt to make XP seem more soft and accessible. Probably several people wrote the article, and then one person put it together -- Dun Funk seems like his name is attached to technical things, so I would imagine he would not have put the article together, but would have written some of the more technical material in the article.

  • 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 Omega ( 1602 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:28AM (#4451606) Homepage
    By tomorrow most people will have forgotten about it,
    No, actually I think the mainstream media will pick up on this one tomorrow. C-Net and Ziff-Davis are a little slow on the uptake. Give 'em a day, it'll be smeared all over the print and online mags. Give the New York Times and the Washington Post a little bit more time on this one. They'll get around to it (incidently, did anyone see the slashdot article [] in the NY Times today?). But no, Microsoft doesn't get to let this one "disappear." They tried to be clever (though it was pretty suspect from the beginning) and they found themselves caught in a lie. I think this is just the sort of thing that everyone needs to know.
    except the thousands of slashdot users that will make references to it anytime a MS article is posted for the next 2 years.
    Damn straight. Just like the bit about the USS Yorktown. It's called upfront disclosure. Microsoft calls it the price they pay for being #1. Don't think slashdot will let them skip out on the check.
  • by dcobbler ( 553566 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:42AM (#4451668) Homepage
    I hate to get all deep and philosophical but this is so deliciously "old guard" vs. "new guard". The old guard PR hacks who put this together must be struck dumb by how this has played out. Think about it for a second. Their esoteric tricks that they've been using for years have turned around and bitten them to the core. They put together what they thought was some appropriately stylized words with an appropriate picture from a stock agency. In the old days, stock agencies were the province of specialists and now, some smart person is able to find the *exact same picture* and link to it alongside their little piece of PR trickery.

    It gets worse. In the old days, once a piece of their work was published, it was cast in stone, so to speak. The public only saw what the PR folks wanted them to see and didn't see anything that might have been held back. But today, another smart person is able to delve into that sacrosanct PR document and find out all sorts of names and addresses that should have been (from the perspective of the PR hacks) forever kept secret!

    It really is a new world, don't you think?

  • by Sigh Phi ( 324315 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:42AM (#4451673)
    I'm a web designer and programmer. I have a Mac on my desk. I have a Windows machine on my desk. The Mac even has a marginally slower processor (400MHz g4 vs. 800MHz P3). I easily get more done on the Mac on a daily basis than the PC. My editor (BBEdit) is scriptable in so many mind-boggling ways... I have a ton o' Perl filters for various tasks, then I shuffle some logfiles and make cute little charts in Illustrator; whipping up a site diagram is quite painless in OmniGraffle.

    All these things are quite possible in Windows. They're usually more awkward, though. I wouldn't just hand my personal setup to a novice user, but when I use my Mac I feel like I'm in total control. If I need to do a certain task, chances are I can whip up a solution in a half hour in Applescript and Perl or Python. On my Windows box I often find myself running into walls. Why can't I script this or that functionality in Outlook to coincide with what I'm working on in UltraEdit? Create a drop folder script for images that need processing?

    And I must say, after using both side-by-side for several years, Windows still has a long ways to go in the ease-of-use department. Start with application preferences... they're a mess. I could go on, but time, space, and a high blood alcohol level limit me right now.

    Macs aren't perfect, and I'm always looking for new things to play with. Windows isn't terrible, but it is limiting, for me. Maybe that's what they mean when they say "I can do more with my Mac than I could with Windows."
  • 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 serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> 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. []

    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 electroniceric ( 468976 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:46AM (#4451834)
    Well spoken! You've put your finger on something I've been trying to explain here for a long time. And in fact Microsoft prices their products at exactly such a price point as to keep them from being expensive in the individual. My most recent experience with this was when I looked at using MySQL vs MS SQL server. Since this place is already Windows shop, the cost for MSSQL would have been $2000 + CALS or something like that, with minimal training costs. The $2K or so they'd save by installing MySQl (even on Windows) is just not enough for them to bother with. If it was $10K, then more eyebrows would be raised. But it's not. And I do believe MS on this part of their TCO claims: it's cheaper to stay with MS than to switch. As to whether it's cheaper if you start with MS vs. Sun vs. OSS, I'd bet it's a pretty mixed bag.

    In the aggregate, however, MS products can get expensive, often based on the way they're bundled. Building an Access database is cheap and fast, until you have to buy Office pro for 20 members of your staff, 3 times in 8 years. And there are many situations where you need just one little bit of functionality contained in some other product, and then off you go again. This is where Open Source starts to pay off. Want your dev to do something semi-custom (a la Access)? The dev has his/her choice of 50000 libraries, all of which cost $0 as long as you're willing to accept the terms of OSS, so you can cobble together little bits from each of them without any incremental cost. All that's needed is some clever packaging of those bits so that they can be glued together quickly. Mozilla has a decent chance of doing just this.

    Another place where dealing with MS gets particularly onerous is dealing with licenses. Even in the place I worked, where everyone was just fine with Microsoft because it let them not think too much about IT, people resented having to waste time screwing around with licenses.

    Overall, I think your predictions for where you'll see Linux penetrate are pretty spot on, though I think once these public sector OSS projects start showing fruit, some slick boxed OSS solutions for smaller businesses will not be that far off, which will stir up the mix a bit.

    We live in interesting times...
  • by His Nastiness ( 542696 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:54AM (#4451865) Homepage
    As I write this there are about 538 responses to this post or to the responses to this post. At this point reading them is not feasible but things seem to be breaking down into two areas: 1) The windows vs. OSX/Mac vs. linux arguments that are common curency around here 2) The "Oh my GOD! Microsoft used a model in an add and quoted someone who might not be entirely objective in their opinion!?!?!?" To those who fall in the first camp I'm glad to see that you are all alive and well and its like a breath of fresh air everytime I see M$, Windoze or Microsuck. It's sort of like when the guy at the office says "Ohhhh BEHAVE!" as if it were still funny. To those that fall in the second camp I'd like you to sit down for a second. There is no Santa Claus, your mom may not have loved you best and Wilford Brimley didn't do the goddam oatmeal commercials becuase he loved oatmeal. They paid him. Yup, it's true. The Abe Lincoln you see in the car adds around President's Day? Not the real president. It's not a lie its advertising. I can't believe this is a story to the /. crowd. -Nasty
  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @06:33AM (#4452333) Homepage

    Gah, calm down, take a breath.

    And, btw, the GPL doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft. Microsoft was a two-bit outfit that made software for toys when GNU started - the big bad evil monopolist of the time was SUN.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @06:37AM (#4452340) Homepage
    Do this: Go buy any old digital camera and try to download the pics on a RedHat system.

    DID IT... KODAK DC120

    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.

    Ok you GOT ME THERE.

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

    DO IT EVERY DAY. Texas instruments firewire card and a JVC camera. now EDIT that video... there's where linux dies. nothing remotely useable yet.

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

    DO IT EVERY DAY... My Banking sites. I use mozilla that lies to the server.

    Go to the store and buy a game.

    I've got 5 on my shelf from the EB store. play them regularly.

    Buy a PDA and get it to synch up.

    I have 2! PALM PILOT and a Windows CE device... the WinCE device can synch.. but not to evolution... yet... the palm OS devices can synch to evolution or 10 other groupware programs for linux.

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

    I have yet to find a network card that isnt detected by redhat automatically. please tell me a chipset that doesn;t work.

    the whole point here is simple... microsoft windows does this same things you say here.. I fought for 2 weeks to get a Windows CE PDA to reliabily synch with a W2K workstation.. I had to download a 3rd party patch (NOT MICROSOFT) to get it to reliably talk every time the user drops it in the cradle. (BTW: corperate now forbids any PDA other than a Palm Os device to be connected to corperate PC's. due to the poor design of the windows CE and pocket windows connectivity software.. Palm just works, every time. and we can support it easily over the phone.)

  • Synopsis (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @06:51AM (#4452374)
    OK. Beaten to death, but maybe missed by some...
    The article claimes AP tracked down the 'convert' by personal info embedded in the .doc
    Now, the ShowUsYourSkills.doc is at the bottom of the page and is an invitation to write down your own 'conversion' story. If you open it in Word, go to File/Properties and select the custom tab. There you see the name of the Microsoft employed author (Valerie Mallison). AP contacted this person.
    Wonder above wonder, the conversion story is her personal story and, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that MS is paying her to write for them.
    So what do we have? Obviuously, this is a pale imitation (yet again) of an Apple commercial, brought without any soul. They put in a picture right next to 'Confessions of a ...convert' implying that this is the person in question. Fat chance. Just a stock picture....( Now had the picture been next to a heading like 'Conversion Stories' or so, no problem). Next, the writeup turns out to be done by a professional in MS's paid service.

    I won't say this pisses me off, just that this is (yet another) element of proof of the total lack of scruples on Microsoft ( not that we weren't aware of that already of course)
  • by thing12 ( 45050 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @08:05AM (#4452525) Homepage
    Postulate: If you build a system that any idiot can use, only an idiot will want to use it.

    I'd have to disagree. First off Windows is not that easy that an idiot can use it. Try putting a person who's never touched a computer in front of Windows or X Windows(running KDE/Gnome/etc). Either one would take time and patience - but the X Windows solution would take *more* time and patience to get to the same level of comfort with the operating system and say for example a browser and office suite. And it's not because people are idiots. 90% of what you do with a computer is auto-pilot. You probably don't think about using the mouse, typing, scrolling a window --- completely basic operations of a GUI interface that you don't ever think about. All you think about is the result you want, not how to accomplish it. With X Windows and the various window managers and gui toolkits you end up with a vast array of applications that all behave differently. Some are so different they actually require thinking about just how to use the interface itself.

    Microsoft and Apple have spent billions developing a user interface that is clean, consistent, and easy to use. And unless OSS clones those interfaces down to the pixel - or spends the billions themselves - the interfaces are going to continue to suck. And that doesn't even count all the applications that need to be altered just to get a semblance of order. A standard user interface is a good thing! It helps a user immediately sit down with a new app and be as productive as possible. If you not only have to learn a new application but also a new interface you're going to be slowed down.

    Anyway... my point is that anyone can use Windows, MacOS, or X Windows with enough time and practice. But, at least with Windows and MacOS you have a head start as soon as you learn the interface.

  • by overunderunderdone ( 521462 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:04PM (#4453903)
    Unlike the rather zelous original poster I will happily concede that Macs sell at a premium. However I will take issue to one point you made.

    Yes, Macs get more speed per megahurtz. But only by about 20% on the average when you take an honest, large number of apps (versus Apple's out-and-out lies comparing only hand-picked applications, usually Photoshop)

    Steve certainly invites some unwarranted conclusions with his Photoshop demo. BUT, the demo itself is quite valid considering his audience. Most mac pros - the mac users that really care about/need high performance and the ones that go to MacWorld - are graphics professionals. The one "killer" app that they rely upon and the one that is most processor intesive is Photoshop! The vast majority of Mac pros could care less about the performance of any and every other application - they only care about Photoshop performance (Quark and Illustrator are fast enough).

    Also, that "on average" 20% perfomance boost (probably the result of the PPC's shorter pipeline and additional instructions per cycle) isn't the important part. These days it is fairly rare on either platform that you are waiting for the processor. Where the PowerPC shines and has a much better than 20% performance advantage is in a whole class of applications that use vector processing and where the added performance is actually needed. Applications that the majority of Mac users make their living with. Frankly it doesn't matter to me if PPC is Mhz for Mhz only 20% faster (and thus much slower given the Mhz gap) when running MSWord, an Email client, a web browser or a spreadsheet. The faster processor in these cases is just waiting twice as long for my next keystroke. For Mac users Photoshop and other programs that enjoy similar benefits from vector processing are the applications that NEED a fast processor.

    Sure there are other processor intensive applications that can't benefit from vector processing and if you need processor power in those areas you should probably stick with x86. But for Apples target market among multimedia creators the "unfair" Altivec enhanced Photoshop comparisons are not "unfair" or "unrealistic" and certainly not "outright lies" they are "real world" comparisons of EXACTLY the ONE application (and a whole class of applications) they use every day.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.