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Monday, January 2nd, 2006, 10:02 am

Windows Munchkins

Money on keyboard

The use of money to skew real facts and lure customers

LINUX forums (including newsgroups) often encounter harassment by trolls that spread anti-Linux FUD. This puts off a few participants and adds noise to discussions that are largely Linux-oriented.

There is often a suspicion arising that this community sabotage ‘bubbles up’ to managerial roots. Some would suggest that disruptive involvement by trolls is actually paid for. Past evidence supports such suspicions and is echoed in this blog item which quotes John Dvorak.

“Some years back, Microsoft practiced a lot of dirty tricks using online mavens to go into forums and create Web sites extolling the virtues of Windows over OS/2. They were dubbed the Microsoft Munchkins, and it was obvious who they were and what they were up to. But their numbers and energy (and they way they joined forces with nonaligned dummies who liked to pile on) proved too much for IBM marketers, and Windows won the operating-system war through fifth-column tactics”

Mr Dvorak wonders if Microsoft is today using reverse-dirty-tricks to promote the Xbox 360: pay people to create Web sites that slam the gaming computer in order to provoke a barrage of defenders.

Last week I went to watch King Kong. There were no less than 3 Xbox 360 commercials before the film commenced. Microsoft sure know how to spend money. It is worth mentioning that Xbox 360 units are sold at a cost which accounts for a significant loss. Regardless, the Xbox fails to sell in Japan, despite the heavily-invested-in commotion.

Related item: Xbox 360 Off to a Slow Start in Japan, Microsoft-funded Benchmarks

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