Building Buzz On A Budget (1/9/02)

Reason number twelve why Microsoft is so massively successful, money-wise: even though the company has enough cash lying around to purchase Switzerland in one easy payment, it still knows how to be frugal when it comes to marketing expenses. The Redmond Beast may have blown $200 million on the Windows XP ad blitz, it may be willing to flush a cool billion over the next five years on the loss-leading Xbox just to stomp all over Sony and Nintendo, but when a cheap alternative will suffice, Microsoft knows how to pinch a penny until it bleeds.

Example: faithful viewer Andre Nantel forwarded us an entertaining little article by ZDNet UK, who claims that Microsoft rigged on online poll to make it appear that its own .NET architecture is already way more popular than Java among developers building web services. Last month the poll showed Java clearly in the lead, but suddenly a whole slew of pro-.NET votes started flooding in. So did .NET suddenly catch on like wildfire in among the web development community in the past three weeks? Not hardly.

See, ZDNet UK's examination of its log files reveals that a "very high percentage of voters" clocked in from within the domain, many of whom arrived at the poll via an email message with a subject of "PLEASE STOP AND VOTE FOR .NET!" (Yes, evidently if you click a link within an email message in Microsoft's corporate mail system, Exchange passes the message's sender and subject line along to the web server. Privacy, shmivacy.) What's more, several people tried to vote multiple times, including one Microsoftian genius who apparently attempted to vote 228 times before his or her brainstem processed the fact that multiple votes weren't being counted. "Clear evidence" of automated vote attempts was also uncovered.

Now, we're not going to pretend for a second that AtAT doesn't engage in precisely the same type of behavior by telling you folks to go stuff the ballots at various Apple-related online polls; however, we think you'll agree that there's a slight difference in scale between a company with a $370 billion market cap (trying to push its own product, too) and a rinky-dink soap opera whose staff members occasionally get really excited when they find a quarter while rummaging around behind the sofa cushions for the TiVo remote. But heck, what's a little ballot-stuffing between friends? All we want to know is whether we're entitled to royalties now that Microsoft has adopted our motto of "Vote Early, Vote Often!"...

SceneLink (3496)
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The above scene was taken from the 1/9/02 episode:

January 9, 2002: The CRT is dead yet again-- almost. Meanwhile, one of the original Mac developers returns to Apple as veep of Software Technology, and Microsoft gets caught stuffing the ballot box of an online poll about its .NET technology...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3494: Mostly Dead Is Slightly Alive (1/9/02)   Remember last May, when Apple replaced all of its stylish-yet-clunky CRT displays with stylish-and-sleek LCD models? At the time, Uncle Steve announced that Apple had become "the first company to move to an all LCD flat panel display lineup."...

  • 3495: The Trouble With Tribble (1/9/02)   Attention, all bitter Mac purists still huddled in a corner over an SE/30 using MacWrite and an ImageWriter to crank out vituperative manifestoes about how we need to wrest control back from the NeXTies who took over Apple and ran roughshod over the One True Macintosh Experience: we have what might constitute good news for you...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(558 votes)

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