Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Microsoft's Channel 9 sounds like propaganda and it probably is!

Wired 15.04: Operation Channel 9:

"What Pryor had done to set off this uproar was outfit a team of five people, himself included, with camcorders and turn them loose on the company to interview engineers about their jobs and their products. Then he posted the clips - unvetted and largely unedited - to a Web site that anyone, inside or outside the company, could see and comment on.


Microsoft urgently wants the world to know about Channel 9, and the company has been actively peddling the tale of how big, bad, mean Microsoft let bottom-up communications recast its image.

But its efforts to be transparent go only so far. Someone at Microsoft unintentionally emailed me the confidential dossier the company keeps on reporters writing stories about it (presumably a common practice among big corporations). My file ran to 5,500 words and included all the angles I had been pursuing (along with suggested responses to my questions), the people outside the company they thought I had talked to, detailed background on Wired and how it has covered Microsoft, and notes on me and my interviewing style. "We need to reinforce with Fred that these efforts [Channels 9 and 10] are a natural extension of the company's DNA," the file reads. "Microsoft has been using a wide variety of communications mechanisms to reach out to developers since the days of yore (to read entire memo click here). This is simply the latest manifestation of those efforts." The irony is thick. While working with me on a story about its newfound openness, Microsoft and its PR agency were furiously scurrying behind the scenes to control the message. One thing about transparency is clear: It's harder than it looks."

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