Halloween VIII: Doing the Damage-Control Dance
Everybody remember the Gandhi quote?
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you,
then they fight you, then you win.
Gentlemen and ladies, this newest leaked memo from Microsoft
confirms that we are advancing through GandhiCon Three.
highlights are in red and comments are
in . Also as usual, the memo is otherwise unedited
and exactly as I received it, with one exception: in the text version
I was sent, the last bullet item was inexplicably positioned
after the sender sig "Orlando".
Some analysis follows the memo.
From: Orlando Ayala
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 5:22 AM
To: GMs of Subsidiaries
Cc: Mich Mathews; Mike Nash; Craig Mundie; Brad Smith (LCA); Pamela Passman (LCA); Vivek Varma; Orlando Ayala's Direct Reports
Subject: OSS and Goverment
We need to more effectively respond to press reports regarding
Governments and other major institutions considering OSS alternatives
to our products. We must be prepared to
respond to announcements, such as this one by the Japan
Government (or prior announcements in Peru, Germany etc) quickly and
with facts to counter the perception that large institutions are
deploying OSS or Linux, when they are only considering or just
piloting the technology. Announcements by governments are reported
quickly around the world and require more coordination. In several
instances, our ability to communicate
effectively has been hindered by a lack of integration across groups
in Redmond and the subsidiaries.
What to Escalate: Any instance of government organizations and
significant corporate customers who are planning to study, support or
deploy OSS including Linux and Star
Office that is likely to generate media attention (as
differentiated from the COMPHOT alias). Any media coverage detailing
the real or expected announcement of a
government organization of corporate customer to study, support or
How to Escalate: Send an email immediately (same day) to the OSSI
alias. This group includes members from the Security Business Unit,
Server Marketing, LCA and Corporate PR who can quickly pull in
additional stakeholders, influence business decisions, create and
communicate PR guidance. Your mail should include the following
- Designate the subsidiary owner (s) and their 24 hour contact
- Explain the overall validity of claim, what is being reported,
what is true/false
- Explain how and where the organization fits within govt structure
(is it a small/medium/large department, how much influence does it
have on other IT decisions, are their political influences at play, is
there a commitment to deploy, what are the specific details of the
announcement, what are the next steps)
- Explain likely influences, bottom line reasoning on why this is
happening (i.e. security, cost, politics)
- Explain Microsoft's presence in the account
- Name the key contacts within the gov't
- Name available third parties/potential defenders
- Provide detail on the writer and their media who are writing the story, i.e. are they technical, political, sensational
The Commitment From Corporate:
- Deliver, at minimum, guidance and messaging regarding any new instance within the same business day of your mail being received, including WW communication to prepare all subs
- Follow up with additional guidance, messaging and content within a second business day, including customer and government communication tools
- ecome much better in giving messaging and content proactively on OSS and Linux related issues.
- Todd and MarkM to coordinate with SueB on Mike Nash participation in Linux business press tour
Orlando Ayala is the Group Vice President of Microsoft's Worldwide
Sales, Marketing and Services Group. For a good indication of the
sterling quality of human being we are dealing with here, read this buzzword-suffused
speech. There are bios of Ayala and the recipients on the Microsoft
This is an unusual Halloween memorandum in that it's not
particularly redolent of evil. It's a reactionary memo about trying to become
less reactionary, the sort of thing that gets churned out daily by
clueless corporate droids everywhere. They're tired of constantly
being caught by surprise and want to do something about it.
Out here in open-source land, we genuinely enjoy helping our fellow
sophonts out of plights like this one. Might we suggest that daily
monitoring of the Linux User Group of Davis's Reasons to Avoid Microsoft
page would be helpful?
In public, Microsoft is now focusing on the cost argument, having
lost last February's argument about security when the Gartner Group
told its customers to stay
the hell away from IIS because it has insoluble security
problems. This memorandum reveals that they're fully aware not merely of the
security and cost problems, but also
of the problem of revolt by sovereign governments against Microsoft
hegemony. It makes especially interesting reading in combination with
Which leaves us with one burning question: whatever happened to Ed Muth?
He was fun to play with! He appears to have become a
non-person on the Microsoft website, and there is some evidence they
may have demoted him and exiled him to Australia.
(Rob Landley assisted with the preparation of this