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The Media Microsoft

Leaked Microsoft Dossier on Journalist 165

Ludvig A. Norin writes "Wired journalist Fred Vogelstein blogs about how he accidentally got hold of a dossier on himself produced by Microsoft's PR firm, Waggener Edstrom. While it's not unusual for PR people to create background files on journalists, it's notable that this one leaked, and got commented by Waggener Edstrom's Frank Shaw and Wired Magazine editor in chief Chris Anderson. Makes for an interesting read — there's lots to learn from the inner workings of the Microsoft PR machinery." Someone please send me mine? I bet it's really friendly!
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Leaked Microsoft Dossier on Journalist

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  • by jm91509 ( 161085 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:35AM (#18515201) Homepage
    But, CmdrTaco, the summary (no I didn't RTFA) is about journalists?

  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:36AM (#18515213)
    I wonder how microsoft feels about the leak. If anything it will be a bargain chip for cheaper rates when it comes time to pay their outsourced PR firm.
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:37AM (#18515235)
    .... if Microsoft's PR firms do the same thing with sites like Slashdot? Do they keep track on what certain users say? Do they keep track of what topic are posted?

    That would be interesting to know IMHO.
    • by yoprst ( 944706 )
      No they don't. They're busy creating negative publicity for their company to avoid links from slashdot (and inevitable slashdotting)
    • by solevita ( 967690 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:13AM (#18515753)
      I doubt it. Maybe they keep brief checks on posted stories (ie they recognise that /. is largely anti-microsoft), but I doubt they keep checks on users. Why would they? RTFA, the guy concerned is someone who gets paid to write about Microsoft in an internationally released magazine; he gets invited to accompany MS execs to big corporate events and trade shows. He's not some guy sat at home on his XP box moaning about something-or-other and saying how great linux is, despite only ever using it at a friends house. Once.

      No, I think the great unwashed that forms the bulk of the Slashdot commentators (myself included) are largely ignored by the Microsoft PR machine. Although I'd love to hear otherwise.
      • by netczar ( 584195 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:02AM (#18516435)
        It'd be silly if the PR people would ignore Slashdot. They don't. Lots of folks at Microsoft read Slashdot. I frequently see Slashdot on people's notebooks when they are 5 minutes early for a meeting. We're geeks, too. Especially us in the product teams. If /. thinks we suck we want to know why so that we can keep fixing the parts that suck. We're doing a lot better here than we did 5 years ago. Heck, there are even threads where the firm clearly comes out on top in the /. opinion these days, even though lots of the contributions start with "I hate Microsoft like the next guy, but ...". That's perfectly cool. I think that being skeptical about a big corporation as a whole is not a bad thing; as it happens, we're doing lots of good stuff in the details and that's increasingly being recognized. 5 years ago "Windows BSOD buwahhahaha" was common and rated funny (or even insightful); nowadays the average Slashdot "Windoze" user (the majority, mind you) knows that that's just not happening anymore unless they catch a sucky driver; and the replies on the occasional "BSOD" post reflect that. Security? Again, lots of sentiment that reflects our sins from the past, but the reality is that we're not only "pretty serious" about security but are also leading in many areas. Do we still have malware issues on the client? Yes; but it's dramatically improving. XPSP2, IE7, and Vista were a big steps. We're taking hits because some old software doesn't run at all or the experience is littered with UAC prompts. We've never done that. We've never ranked anything above backwards compatibility. Vista does. Vista ranks security higher. We're getting flak for it. Ok. Does that make the experience nice across the board? Allow/Cancel? No. Does is go back to normal once apps are written to comply with the new rules? Yes. Sorry, we had to break stuff to force apps (even our own) into compliance with security principles. It'll take a while until that all levels out. It will. Does our security track record still suck on the server-side? No. (You can come out and cite security fix volumes for SQL Server, IIS, Sharepoint Server, BizTalk, ISA or the Windows Server core; that's fine) As far as tracking individual users goes: That would be as silly as not reading Slashdot. What would anyone do with that data? What would YOU do with that data? I can't think of anything useful to do a detailed tracking of foobar876's posts. Besides, if I were interested in that ... Slashdot keeps that log for me. Talk to CmdrTaco :)
        • Lots of folks at Microsoft read Slashdot.
          Hello Mr Wiesler! Is my attic not too cold?
        • You can come out and cite security fix volumes for SQL Server, IIS...
          Wow, now I am impressed, Mr Wiesler [imdb.com]!

          As far as tracking individual users goes: That would be as silly as not reading Slashdot.
          Yeah right!

          What would anyone do with that data?
          Yeah, one has to wonder... Use it to craft subtle wisecracks, hehe?
        • Maybe you should fix your ENTER key before Windows...

        • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @02:00PM (#18518881)
          "even though lots of the contributions start with "I hate Microsoft like the next guy, but ...". That's perfectly cool."

          Yes. That's out of shilling for corporations 101.

          There are a lot of people here who shill for MS. Some are paid to do it, some do it because they work for MS, some do it because they love the corporation (for whatever reason).
          • by Kelbear ( 870538 )
            How are you determining a shill? Someone who likes something you don't? I have no doubt that there are shills out on the internet, particularly in product reviews, but on slashdot? I don't see a "lot" of pro-microsoft here.

            If slashdot has a "lot" of microsoft shills, what news/forum site are you comparing it to that has less that doesn't contain open/linux/google/etc. in the URL?
            • by killjoe ( 766577 )
              "How are you determining a shill? "

              Somebody who provides free advertising for any corporation or attempts to defend any corporation when somebody says they do not like their products.

              It's a fucking corporation, they don't need you to shill for them, they have PR firms and advertising budgets.

              "I don't see a "lot" of pro-microsoft here."

              Then you are either blind or willfully ignorant.

              "what news/forum site are you comparing it to that has less that doesn't contain open/linux/google/etc. in the URL?"

              open, linux
          • So you figure that anyone who claims to hate Microsoft but think that they are not always implacably and irredeemably evil must be a shill of one sort or the other?
            • by killjoe ( 766577 )
              "So you figure that anyone who claims to hate Microsoft but think that they are not always implacably and irredeemably evil must be a shill of one sort or the other?"

              There are a couple of phrases that must be written in the big book of astro turfing put out by the MS PR firms.

              There is no other explanation for the verbatim posts but all MS fan boys and shills. Look at the grandparent for example. Have you heard those phrases before? I have. Nearly word for word repeated by at least a dozen employees and offi
        • by dcam ( 615646 )
          Hey there. Can you fix explorer or find someone who can? It's been broken in win98+, possibly earlier.

          What explorer needs it a separation of the code to mount filesystems and the code to display them. They should run in separate processes or threads. At the moment if you drop a CD into the drive explorer become unusable until the CD is mounted. This tends to cause issues if the mounting process is impossible (badly burnt CD, disconnected network drive etc) or slow (CD, DVD, network drive over VPN). I haven'
        • by guruevi ( 827432 )
          Dude, if you were really listening to your users, you would stop churning out products for the next 5 years and start fixing stuff.

          Windows is still a hole-riddled operating system. It is not because you have bad programmers, it's because you HAD bad programmers and kept building on it. Kick it out, get a decent (BSD-style?) kernel and give me a true POSIX architecture I can work with (no, I don't want it as an add-on like Unix Services is an attempt).

          Also, give us a better Office. 2007 sucks, I deal with it
      • by mbstone ( 457308 )
        I doubt they keep checks on users. Why would they?

        Just look for the Slashdot user with 4,096 "foes."
    • No, I think they only track journalists, not Slashdot, uh, "editors".
  • Power Corrupts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:40AM (#18515279)
    This guy needs to realize that he is also corrupted by the power that his writing has. For instance, saying "It also was strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me" is a complete giveaway of how highly this guy thinks of himself and how purposefully biased he is that he thinks MS's concern and attempt to show him things that might sway his opinion in the other direction is somehow being "against him".
    • How highly this guy thinks of himself? He's biased? He has the damn proof in his own email account! He's not IMAGINING this, its friggin real. What are you? The Lord King Emperor of Denial and Enabling?
      • by N8F8 ( 4562 )
        Apparently you didn't read my comment or the blog. OF COURSE Microsoft is concerned with this guy's opinion. Hence the special treatment around the MS facilities and his track record. But this guy automatically equates their attempts at kissing his ass as them being "against him".
      • What are you? The Lord King Emperor of Denial and Enabling?

        Well, I for one am absolutely, positively, most certainly NOT the Lord King Emperor of Denial and Enabling. So why don't you have a couple beers and forget all about this discussion?

    • Re:Power Corrupts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:13AM (#18516601)

      For instance, saying "It also was strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me" is a complete giveaway of how highly this guy thinks of himself and how purposefully biased he is that he thinks MS's concern and attempt to show him things that might sway his opinion in the other direction is somehow being "against him".


      I would hazard to guess that most people do not like to be manipulated. That we are manipulated on a daily basis is immaterial. It's one thing to know it happens. Having proof of it presented to you is an entirely different matter.

      It would appear that this reporter feels the same way. Surely a reporter who's spent any time in the Industry is aware of the marketing machine fronted by Microsoft. And in fact, you can be pretty sure Vogelstein is aware of this routine manipulation since he's involved Wired's current cover on the subject. But having the manipulation strategy sent to you would be more than enough to generate an "us vs. them" mind set. And it seems that this has put Vogelstein in at least a slightly defensive mood. I'd feel the same way.

      In the grand scheme of things, this isn't that big of a deal. But it does serve as an interesting footnote to Wired's cover. After all, Microsoft's PR efforts have put a lot of stock to this new transparency. Its worth noting that despite this impressive change, there are still mechanisms in place just out of plain view. As the tired adage goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
    • N8F8 slams the victim and misses the point:

      saying "It also was strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me" is a complete giveaway of how highly this guy thinks of himself and how purposefully biased he is that he thinks MS's concern and attempt to show him things that might sway his opinion in the other direction is somehow being "against him".

      His job as a journalist is to report reality. The forces arrayed against him finding reality included the 5,000 page paper and a series of int

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:41AM (#18515303) Homepage Journal
    In your Microsoft "Dossier"...

    10. Does not know what "checkdisk" is for.
    9. Thinks WINNT is still useful.
    8. Very Cheap: (s)he likes White Castle. Buy hamburger and get a nice article.
    7. Cheap: (s)he likes Wendy's. See above. A tad more expensive.
    6. Reminds me of RMS, only cleaner.
    5. Reminds me of ESR. Gun nut.
    4. Has a fanboy penguin T-Shirt, talks about Gentoo. Still uses WinME.
    3. Steve Jobs byotch.
    2. Dines with BillG and SteveB regularly. Treat with caution.

    And the number one thing you don't want to see in your Microsoft PR Dossier:

    1. Open Source Communist Agent. Terminate with extreme prejudice.

    [Yes, this is a shameless attempt at being funny. Mod down accordingly.]
  • Like the list of articles can be gathered off by a few searches off the web.
    I thought they might be tapped his phone and what not when I saw the title but apprently no.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:45AM (#18515385)
    I'm not seeing anything sinister here.

    I can only *wish* my PR and markettings guys did this good a job on their briefing materials before sending me into a room. I don't do much press, but I do the occasional analyst and a fair number of customers, and knowing the lay of the land before you walk into that room is critical.

    Who in there is friendly?
    Who in there is looking for an excuse to hate you?
    What are folk's pet issues?

    The more information you have, the better a job you can do with your pitch (and fundamentally most corporate to press communications are a pitch at some level or another). Once you reach a certain level in an organization though, you're sufficiently removed from the ground game that most pitches you walk into largely cold. The local rep knows what's going on, but you don't, so they have to brief you. All you know without a packet like this is that you've been flown out to Akron to talk to John Doe from ACME inc.

    My underlying point being, I don't see anything remotely sinister here. Rather I see an efficient PR organization doing its job.
    • by fxshaw ( 1081117 )
      As I note in my blog posting, it is way more interesting to claim to have received a "secret file" than it is to note that a briefing document exists. Nobody should be surprised that people are briefed before speeches, customer visits, interviews, etc. It is standard practice.
    • I don't see many people saying this is sinister, I think most people are just interested in what type of information MS follows.

      And you're right, everyone does this. Do you think a politician just blindly goes into a press conference? Do you think a coach randomly chooses people to ask questions? So yeah, this is pretty much business as usual, but still pretty interesting.
      • by Locutus ( 9039 )
        the "story" here is that Microsoft pinged Wired Magazine a few times on a story about their "new" communications mechanism( Channel 9 ) and when Wired finally put someone on it, Microsoft orchestrated every aspect of the information the reporter received. There's a big difference in knowing what your going to go up against and having a group of dozens analyzing this person and then telling you what to say to him/her to get "the right message" across.

        This isn't new to me but I'm quite sure that many many av
    • Yeah, all I saw was boring stuff. Stuff that would be useful if I was the intended recipient and was going to be giving that interview, but as just a regular guy with no involvement in "Channel 9" or any of MS' dealings, I really couldn't care less. I'm just amazed that they went to all that trouble to track things in the level of detail that they did. I'd be really glad to have it if I were being interviewed, although the coaching parts would have bugged me. There's nothing like being told what to say and
    • I'm not seeing anything sinister here.

      Whoa, defensive any? You are the first person to say anything about this being sinister. I'd like to be the second, but instead, I'll just excerpt Microsoft's journalist dossier itself:

      Q. Is this driven by DOJ?
      A. No. It's about furthering the dialogue with customers, expanding and encouraging that
      discussion and making it more two-way. We've been doing this long before the DoJ and will be
      doing it long after.

    • My underlying point being, I don't see anything remotely sinister here. Rather I see an efficient PR organization doing its job.

      Wow, I didn't think I'd be saying this but ... I tend to agree.

      By way of explanation: Until recently I have been a senior editor at InfoWorld. My primary responsibility was features. I've written hundreds of articles and attended hundreds of vendor briefings, private meetings, etc. In pretty much every single one of those meetings there is some woman sitting there with a pad o

    • I agree with that. I see a lot more sinister motive in posting as an Anonymous Coward than in a PR firm building a comprehensive profile :-)

      What I thought about most as I read the leaked document is the effort that goes into building and tracking this information. Microsoft must spend a hugh amount of money on these types of documents - and is in the fortunately position of being able to pay for this kind of service. It's a J Edger Hoover type operation going on there, and perhaps this was leaked to let
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:48AM (#18515415)
    It was a briefing memo for the PR encounter. Of course it'll talk about the journalist but that doesn't mean they watch his every move - it just means they read up on him for when they're going to cross paths.

    It's a bit chatty in places - and this sort of work will always be subjective - but it reads to me as a good professional briefing by an efficient PR outfit.
    • amen (Score:4, Informative)

      by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:02AM (#18516431) Journal

      It's a bit chatty in places - and this sort of work will always be subjective - but it reads to me as a good professional briefing by an efficient PR outfit.

      I totally agree. My first thought, before even finishing reading the memo, was, dang, how do I get these people to work for me?

      Makes me wonder whether the "leak" was accidental, or they were getting free publicity :)
      Speaking of, if you like this stuff, you should watch the BBC sitcom Absolute Power [imdb.com].
    • It's a bit chatty in places

      I for one was kind of creeped out by the first page. It read like some kind of flashback scene from a soap opera — very third-person, and the grammar was pretty casual. I had to go back and re-read some parts to figure out what was really going on. Maybe I was expecting something more like the internal e-mail messages we've seen posted recently, which are pretty blunt but professional. I felt that first page should have been set in italics, as kind of a "mood setter" before the actual article beg

  • Quality assistants (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:50AM (#18515451)
    Wow, whoever put that file together, and it was a prep for a single phone interview on top of a general dossier, is top notch. If only I had a staff to put together stuff like that for my phone meetings!
    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:02AM (#18515635)
      PS - I read most of it and couldn't find anything "against" this Fred fellow. If you think a standard warning to an interviewee to "don't let him lead you down paths you don't want to go" and the interviewer "likes to write sensational stories if he can find the dirt so don't give him anything" is somehow "against you", well, you need to talk to your therapist about your paranoia problems.
      • The "against you" is the feeling of being played after the amount of time he thought he was doing something for his own reasons.

        Imagine the same feeling after you take a job with better benefits but less pay then a competing job only to find the better benefits are worse then what you could have bought yourself with the extra pay from the other job that didn't offer benefits. I know it isn't quite the same but at the same time it is. You were manipulated to some degree but done so subtly enough that you don
    • by rbochan ( 827946 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:41AM (#18516157) Homepage

      Wow, whoever put that file together, and it was a prep for a single phone interview on top of a general dossier, is top notch.

      Now if they'd put that much into their security...

      Oh shit, that's going into my file isn't it?

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      get yourself a monopoly that'll feed your budget billions of dollars annually and you too can put a dozen or so top notch/paid PR people on a single reporter.

      LoB
  • by Shambly ( 1075137 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:10AM (#18515695)
    I don't see the big deal here. Microsoft needs top notch PR people, they have an image issue as can be seen by the blatant anti-MS posts which consists of half the comments on any article dealing with Microsoft. Knowing this, no company wouldn't do their utmost to prepare their executives for an interview. As far as I could tell the summary was fair and provided in depth coverage. I'm somewhat amazed at the level of preperation that goes into these interviews and would like to know if they did it any time someone talks to the press but talking to someone from Wired and getting a positive article out of it surely is worth the effort that you hit on the right points. Not every company can afford it but I don't think Microsoft can afford not to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Locutus ( 9039 )
      no no no, they've had this kind of high dollar PR since the early 1990s. Back then, it was only the printed press but they had quite the control on the press back then too. They were filthy rich back then too you know and being a company with 2nd rate tech, they knew they'd not win by competing on product merit. They are not dumb, just a very very good marketing company. IMO

      LoB
  • by icepick72 ( 834363 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:13AM (#18515745)
    From Fred's leaked dossier:

    Briefing for your call with Wired is below. We want to keep it short and not offer any new avenues to him - Fred has done plenty of reporting here and it is time for him to stop and just write the article.


    Microsoft PR Person: ... Um, I'm sorry Mr. Balmer, did you mean *not* to leak his dossier to him? Just put down the chair PLEASSEEE !

  • by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:13AM (#18515751)
    This guy DOES look for sensationalism and tension where there is none!

    The PR guys did their damn jobs. Good for them. There was nothing sinister in there at all.
    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      Nope, nothing sinister and just Microsoft orchestrating the press with the control of a puppet master. business as usual.

      LoB
      • by pluther ( 647209 )
        "orchestrating the press" could be the very definition of the PR department's job.

        Orchestrating the press "with the control of a puppet master" just means they're very very good at it.

        I agree with the GP. Nothing sinister here, just someone at Microsoft who happens to be excellent at their job. (Well, we knew *somebody* had to be.)

        • by Locutus ( 9039 )
          yea, they've been doing this for over 10 years( more like 15 ) so it's not new to those who have been in the industry for over 15 years AND kept up with what's going on.

          This current 'insight' should only be a flag for newbies to be aware of how Microsoft works and that when you read stuff in the press( press releases, paid 'independant' research, articles, etc ), you must believe the high probability of the following:
          1) that there are atleast a dozen Microsoft PR people behind it
          2) atleast a handful of Micr
    • by dcam ( 615646 )
      This guy DOES look for sensationalism and tension where there is none!

      Surely that was a tortology. They did say he was a journalist.
    • by mgblst ( 80109 )
      This guy DOES look for sensationalism and tension where there is none!
       
      Well, that is the definition of a journalist, in this Fox and CNN era anyway.
  • "Wired journalist Fred Vogelstein blogs about how he accidentally got hold of a dossier on himself produced by Microsoft's PR firm, Waggener Edstrom ..."
    Microsoft's PR firm, Waggener Edstrom, just upgraded to Vista(c) ...
  • Where's the story? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Durzel ( 137902 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:31AM (#18516043) Homepage
    The only story here is that this information ended up in the wrong Inbox.

    As has already been remarked by others above me there is nothing sinister about anything said in the briefing document. It's candid in places, perhaps a little chatty in others, but overall this what you should expect if not hope for in this kind of document. If a reporter has a history of "digging for dirt" then that's what the document should state.

    It seems a bit disingenuous to me to take Microsoft to task over something like this when it is the standard practice in any PR-conscious company, you can bet that Wired probably has similar documents flying about that offered guidance about individuals in companies who are easier to coerce, more likely to reveal sensitive information, etc.
    • The only story here is that this information ended up in the wrong Inbox.

      You forgot the quote about the paid Forrester Research document "The ROI of Blogging". And then how Microsoft PR tried to drive the reporter to the "analyst" (paid shill?) to get some insight into her "research" (paid report).

      QUOTE: "We're also trying to get him to talk to Charlene Li at Forrester Research who just published a positive report for us on the ROI of blogging."

      So, you've got a great story that directly shows how Microsoft'
  • :O (Score:3, Funny)

    by Stevecrox ( 962208 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:46AM (#18516235) Journal
    Ok can someone let me know if Hell has frozen over, Slashdot appears to think an action that Microsofts done isn't evil and I know which I thought I would be seeing first
    • by technos ( 73414 )
      Oh, no.. Microsoft is Evil Incarnate, without a doubt.. Half their user interface design team have prior work experience in sadomasochism, the head of internal accounting is a lesser Old One, and their MSDN technical writers are paid in pints of human blood and sheep carcasses.

      Waggener Edstrom, on the other hand, just needs to run their assistants through a course on Outlook again.
  • ...news for Fred Vogelstein
  • they were busy putting together a dossier on me and a few others around X-mas of 1999?
  • by RickRussellTX ( 755670 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:14AM (#18516615)

    What surprises me about this PR analysis is that none of it -- not one word -- is dedicated to selling the journalist on the quality of Microsoft's products. Not their web products, not their development environments, nothing. At a minimum, they could have said something like "Channel 9 will help us show developers how we make the best development products."

    If you're going to make a video blog for developers, I'd think you would focus on the quality of your development products.

    Instead, it's all a bunch of internal politicking about transparency and alleviating fear. Is that how Microsoft makes money these days? Selling transparency? Alleviating fear?

    I think I've got some synergy and some new paradigms for sale too, guaranteed to be content-free.

    • by Angostura ( 703910 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @12:40PM (#18517779)
      That's quite simply because - as a good PR firm - they know that that isn't the story he is writing, that he wouldn't be interested in hearing about that and would be annoyed by any attempt to lead him along that path. The journalist decides the angle, the PR gets behind it. You don't say to a journalist who asks a question: "actually, a more interesting question is X" ... unless it really, genuinely is a more interesting question.
      • by rs232 ( 849320 )

        'none of it -- not one word -- is dedicated to selling the journalist on the quality of Microsoft's products'
        RickRussellTX

        'they know that .. that he wouldn't be interested in hearing about'

        Maybe it's because they know thay can't sell the product on merit. It shows they spend more time on spinning the issue and FUDding the opposition than actually writing code. Which explains the lack of quality in the product.
        • No, sorry - you don't get it.

          Imagine you are a customer looking for your local car dealership. You phone the car company:

          "Can you tell me where the nearest dealership is to Smallville please?"

          "Sure, but first let me tell you about our unparalleled build quality and aftersales service... "

          "... ah, no thanks - I just need to know where I can actually test drive a a car"

          "... each car undergoes a rigourous 15-point test session before being >BRRRRRRRRRhad asks - unless you want to look like a fool.
  • by One Louder ( 595430 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:41AM (#18516943)
    CmdrTaco: Mostly Harmless
  • Some folks may not be impressed by this but after reading the whole thing I have to applaud M$ PR firm. They do their research extremely well and prepare the employee so thoroughly for what is going to transpire that I'm in awe. I've never worked for a huge company with a "good PR machine" and I've given interviews before -- what I wouldn't have done for this kind of prep!
  • 'Waggener Edstrom, reported it would meet with "a lot of editors [maxframe.com]" regarding MS-DOS 5.0 in 1990, and: .. 'informally' plant the bug of FUD [theregister.co.uk] in their ears'
  • Kudos to Mark Martin (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Roblimo ( 357 ) Works for SourceForge on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @01:25PM (#18518415) Homepage Journal
    Mark Martin, the Wagg-Ed guy who wrote most of that briefing document, is a detail-oriented pro. I've had plenty of contact with him, both during the work day when we're on opposite sides of the fence, and after-hours, when we stop thinking about work and have friendly conversations (often over a drink or three) about sports, family, politics, and other non-controversial topics.

    The only thing surprising to me about this "story" is that anyone is surprised to learn that Mark is just as good and thorough a researcher as the reporters he deals with all day long.

    I would not be surprised to read one day that Mark has left Wagg-Ed and started his own PR agency -- and I would be even *less* surprised to learn that most of his clients were open source-based companies. He is often Microsoft's point man in their "Why proprietary software is better than FOSS" PR efforts, so he has an exceptional grasp of FOSS benefits. This knowledge will serve him well if and when he decides to leave the Dark Kingdom and join the Forces of Goodness. :)

    - Robin
  • I'm sure they have documents on who can be "persuaded" to write a nice article for them and who will bash their competitors given the right incentive. I'll bet that these documents are helpful in Microsoft's current viral campaign against the PS3.
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @02:42PM (#18519411)
    Wow! Microsoft's PR group really goes the extra mile to analyze and try to control a situation. Under the "Expected Q & A" section where they give the questions that they think will be asked and supply the PR approved answers they seem to have forgotten one:

    Q: Have your answers been scripted?

    A: No, we here at Microsoft believe in spontaneity. It is the true source of our innovation.
  • FTA: We're also trying to get him to talk to Charlene Li at Forrester who just published a positive report for us on the ROI of blogging.

    As if anyone at this point had any doubt that these 'research companies' are paid shills.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner

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