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Re: The Viral Marketing Campaign Begins

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> Clearification just got a whole lot clearer
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | It's been nearly two weeks since I first reported
> | about Microsoft's viral marketing campaign for Windows
> | Vista called Clearification.

The video below looks more like a spoof on Scientology than something
intended to support Microsoft.  It's more like they are out to make
Microsoft part of the spoof.

> | Back then, the relationship
> | between the campaign and Windows Vista was extremely
> | vague and confusing.

Pretty much everything about Windows Vista is extremely vague and
(rim shot)
Have you read that Vista EULA - the "Baskin Robbins" license?
(we promise to give you crushed nuts, a cherry, and a mouthful of
(rim shot)

> | But now, Clearification has just
> | posted the second installment of the "Demetri Martin
> | finds Clearification" videos. Everything is clearer
> | now.

Like I said, this sounds like a spoof on scientology.  Which is
probably not the brightest thing to do.  There are lots of fans of L
Ron Hubbard, and many of them are lawyers.

> `----

> http://www.istartedsomething.com/20061023/clearification-ep2/
> How long before Vista is shoved onto Oprah's favourites list (based on
> something Softies have actually said)?

Interesting question, given that Bill Gates and Microsoft are favorite
targets of black entertainers like Chris Rock.  Microsoft has worked
very hard to maintain the digital divide, and Microsoft has such a good
record of being law abiding citizens.

On the other hand, Bill Gates has taken a few $billion in tax-free
dividends and funneled them into the Gates Foundation, along with
taxable income from stock sales (a bit confusing as to which is which,
isn't it?), and used it to provide immunizations against childhood
diseases, usually being discussed at about the same time as the country
recieving the gift is "encouraged" to give up plans of adopting Linux
and stick with Microsoft.

That has got to be an incredible conversation.  No matter how you
pretty it up and perfum it, it still boils down to "use Microsoft
exclusively or your children die".  Hard enough when it's one or two
children, harder still when it's hundreds of thousands of children.

> A $900 million marketing budget sure helps a lot.

Sounds like Microsoft is cutting back.  Microsoft has a $4 billion
annual advertizing and promotion budget, and controls placement and
content of another $40 million in ads containing the Microsoft logos
and trademarks.  These numbers may have changed over time, but I would
have expected it to be MORE, not less.

Maybe Microsoft isn't all that committed to Vista, or maybe they
realize that they really don't need to promote the product.  They could
put a pretty version of Windows 3.1 out there as Vista, and the OEMs
would preinstall it because they don't know if they can sell PCs
without Microsoft, and Microsoft is pretty determined to make sure that
they don't get the chance to find out.  AT this point, none of the
major OEMs, other than Apple, offer operating systems other than
Microsoft's for display on retail shelves.

One of the memos cited in the antitrust trial indicated that Retailers
may have had agreements, as authorized Microsoft dealers, that
prevented them from displaying anything other than Microsoft machines
on normal PCs.  The Apple may have been "grandfathered".

Given that end users really don't have a choice, there is no need to
advertize at all.  The advertizing that is taking place has more to do
with maintaining positive press coverage of Windows and minimizing
positive press coverage of Linux in Mass Media channels.

I guess these media companies are willing to forgive and ignore the
fact that Microsoft has diverted about $10 billion in advertizing
revenue away from these mass media publications in the form of services
like CarPoint, Expedia, and Monster.

> Also recall that "What if Microsoft designed the
> iPod" video, which was secretly produced and spread by Microsoft's
> marketing department. Some more examples below:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing

> Viral marketing techniques are closely related to stealthy astroturfing
> (Munchkins) and can be tied to SCO's court case, which revolves around
> FUD and disinformation.

Keep in mind that Linux/OSS was the prime example viral marketing.
When you consider that Linux has less advertizing budget per year than
Microsoft spends in a day, and that Linux has now captured somewhere
between 7% and 20% of the total installed base, and that the number of
Linux deployments is rapidly approaching the number of PCs sold, it's a
pretty successful tactic.

When you look at the combination of Viral marketing, and easy-try
solutions such as Knoppix, Ubunto, and other Live-CDs, and VMWare
Player appliances, it has resulted in hundreds of millions of
deployments.  True, many of these are temporary, secondary, or special
purpose deployments, but it has resulted in an awareness of Linux among
a huge number of PC users, especially those with limited resources,
including young people, minorities, and emerging economies.

Microsoft doesn't seem to care about these deployments, as long as it
doesn't prevent the sale of OEM Windows licenses.  In fact, with Vista
"Ultimate" they intend to cash-in on Linux by charging a higher price
for the right to use Windows as a Virtual machine.  There may be some
ticklish negotiations involved, but this may turn into a win-win
solution for Microsoft and Linux users if "Ultimate" machines can be
shipped to retailers with Linux preinstalled and Windows as a Xen or
VMWare player client.

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