[Openstds] Groklaw: How to Get Your Platform Accepted as a Standard - Microsoft Style

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Feb 27 07:18:12 PST 2008


When I read that Rick Jelliffe will be one of the two representing  
Australia at the upcoming Ballot Resolution Meeting regarding MSOOXML,  
after Microsoft hired him to play "Devil's Advocate" with ECMA  
responses, I couldn't help but recall one of the exhibits in the Comes  
v. Microsoft litigation, Exhibit 3096 [PDF].


Our mission is to establish Microsoft's platforms as the de facto  
standards throughout the computer industry.... Working behind the  
scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our technology, and  
damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during the  
Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your  
technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them).  
"Independent" consultants should write columns and articles, give  
conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our  
behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology,  
available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic sources should  
be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). "Independent"  
courseware providers should start profiting from their early  
involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage  
should be sought and turned to our advantage.

I have mentioned before the "stacked panel". Panel discussions  
naturally favor alliances of relatively weak partners - our usual  
opposition. For example, an "unbiased" panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would  
contain representatives of the backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the  
backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell, WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus  
we find ourselves outnumbered in almost every "naturally occurring"  
panel debate.

A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is  
packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but  
who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to  
stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most  
conference organizers allow the moderator to select the panel, so if  
you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can't expect  
representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have  
to get the moderator to agree to having only "independent ISVs" on the  
panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the  
competing technologies would be allowed – just ISVs who have to use  
this stuff in the "real world." Sounds marvelously independent doesn't  
it? In fact, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our  
cause. Thus, the "independent" panel ends up telling the audience that  
our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover  
this panel, and you've got a major win on your hands.

Finding a moderator is key to setting up a stacked panel. The best  
sources of pliable moderators are:

     -- Analysts: Analysts sell out - that's their business model. But  
they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling  
out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.

     -- Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get  
a well-known consultant on your side early, but don't let him publish  
anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to  
the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity  
comes up. Since he's well- known, but apparently independent, he'll be  
accepted – one less thing for the constantly-overworked conference  
organizer to worry about, right?


Effective Evangelism
James Plamondon, Technical Evangelist

Evangelism Is War

Our mission is to establish Microsoft's platforms as the de facto  
standards throughout the computer industry. Our enemies are the  
vendors of platforms that compete with ours: Netscape, Sun, IBM,  
Oracle, Lotus, etc. The field of battle is the software industry.  
Success is measured in shipping applications. Every line of code that  
is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code  
that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat. Total  
victory, for DRG, is the universal adoption of our standards by  
developers, as this is an important step towards total victory for  
Microsoft itself: "A computer on every desk and in every home, running  
Microsoft software."

Our weapons are psychological, economic, and political–not military.  
No one is forced to adopt our standards at the barrel of a gun. We can  
only convince, not compel. Those who adopt our standards do so as a  
rational decision to serve their own ends, whatever those may be. It  
is our job to ensure that those choosing an operating system are  
presented with an overwhelming abundance of evidence and reasoned  
argument in favor of our standards–so overwhelming that the choice of  
our standards seems obvious, or (ideally) that the developer is not  
even aware that a decision was faced, and a choice made.

We do this by understanding the barriers that might otherwise prevent  
the developer from adopting our standards, and removing them; by  
understanding the inducements that might facilitate the developer's  
adoption of our standards, and providing them; by understanding the  
arguments of our competition, and countering them.


Our Enemies

Some have claimed that Microsoft has a monopoly on the market for  
operating systems designed for personal computers. This is patently  
untrue. IBM's OS/2, Apple's MacOS, Novell's Unix and Netware,  
Taligent's CommonPoint, Netscape's Navigator, and other operating  
systems (or embryonic operating systems), all compete with Windows in  
the struggle for applications and business solutions. This is true for  
our other platforms as well (Exchange/Notes, OLE/OpenDoc, Office/ 
SmartSuite, etc.).

Nor is this a static list. The computer industry is very dynamic; we  
in evangelism must be even more dynamic – constantly searching for new  
allies, enemies, and strategies.

It is beyond the scope of this paper to expound on the strengths and  
weaknesses of each of our competitors. There are many other sources of  
such information. Use them!

The Field of Battle

The software industry is the field on which evangelists do battle. The  
industry has its own trade press, book publishers, developer SIGs,  
conferences, trade shows, training organizations, retailers,  
wholesalers, and distributors. It has its own culture. Understanding  
the terrain of the industry is essential to effective evangelism.

It is not effective to publish an article about Mac OLE in a Unix  
magazine, or to give a talk on Win32's memory-mapped file I/O at a  
conference attended by executives. To be effective, the right tools  
and messages must be delivered to the right place, at the right time.

Some ISVs and their applications are more important to the success of  
a platform than others. They are the high ground of the battlefield.  
Gaining the support of a major ISV is like taking a hill; from there,  
you command the battlefield below. The same can be said for the trade  
magazines, conferences, developer SIGs, etc.. You cannot control the  
field of battle if the high ground is in the hands ofthe enemy.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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