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Microsoft and Nokia accused of questionable tactics to defend Lumia 800 online

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 23 Dec 2011 5:16 User comments (5)

Microsoft and Nokia accused of questionable tactics to defend Lumia 800 online As Android and the iPhone continue to dominate the worldwide smartphone market, Windows Phone has yet to gain enough market share to be a serious competitor for either.
As more time passes with no signs that will change any time soon, Microsoft and their chief smartphone partner Nokia have appeared desperate to convince the world everything is going according to plan.

In September Nokia CEO Stephen Elop described Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility as a blow to Android. Later in the month Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked up the importance of Nokia's dedication to Windows Phone to the exclusion of other platforms, particularly Android.

Despite all their optimistic talk, a few days layer a report from the NPD Group pointed out nearly half of all consumers didn't know enough about the Windows Phone platform to even consider buying in.

Apparently agreeing with that assessment, Microsoft anted up $44 million in October to promote their phones. Later that month he went on the offensive against Android, suggesting it is too confusing for the average person.

Now a Yogesh Sapkale, the deputy editor for India's MoneyLife claims the two companies waged a campaign to discredit his negative review of Nokia's flagship Windows Phone handset, the Lumia 800.

To be sure, Sapkale's article wasn't a thorough review of the phone by any stretch of the imagination. In fact he was purely commenting on the hardware specs when he called it the 'noPhone.'

Subsequently, he called out two people who posted negativecomments to his review, accusing them of being shills for Nokia and Microsoft. In a followup article he wrote [via MoneyLife]:

The first comments that appeared were posted by none other than the employees and associates of Nokia and Microsoft. Especially one commentator, Harish, who later realised his mistake of posting comment from his official IP address (from India) and changed it later, is the one who had written the maximum (nine so far) abusive posts. I wonder, if this is called good PR practice at Nokia and whether they believe that everything can be bought like the ad-extravaganza they created in newspapers and TV channels?


He was equally critical of someone he claims is a Microsoft employee, writing:

While Mr Agrawal has refrained from using abusive word, he had tried hard to convince us that 512MB performs better compared with 1GB or more memory. Since this argument is from somebody from Microsoft, I am really missing my good-old Win98 that used to run on just 32MB RAM unlike the latest Win7 that requires 4GB RAM on the lower side.


Was this actually a concerted effort from Microsoft and Nokia to improve the platform's image? According to at least on commenter to Sapkale's followup article, who claims to be a former Nokia employee, that's not likely. He said:

one thing that is very true for Nokia is a culture of openness, where people are not afraid of expressing their own opinions given they do it as private people.


Of course, when Microsoft appears to be involved, many people assume malicious intent. Whether that's true or not, Microsoft might be better off putting less effort into bashing more popular competitors and concentrating on promoting Windows Phone on its own merits.

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5 user comments

123.12.2011 9:15
terms_of_service
Unverified new user

So, some Indian(=high quality, high tech, right?) website published the IPs and e-mail addresses of some of the users who posted comments on an article which was a mock review of the Lumia without actually trying the phone. Since when is publishing confidential info legal?!

And since when Nokia and Microsoft employees don't have the right to express personal opinions about Nokia and Microsoft products?!

How is this a questionable tactic of any kind from Nokia and Microsoft?!

You should insist on the illegal part of the Indian website's employee's actions and not on the assumptions that this was some coordinated action of Nokia and Microsoft.

They probably couldn't care less about what some Indian nobody on some obscure website says about the Lumia without even trying it, anyway.

223.12.2011 14:47

MoneyLife ... puts a review of a phone without even trying the phone, then posts the IP addresses and email addresses users that posts comments. What scum.

I don't know why some people don't think employees from a company should not be allowed to step up and defend their company's products. I've done it for mine, and I will do it again ... especially if it's a negative review from a site that didn't even try our product.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Dec 2011 @ 14:53

324.12.2011 3:03

Wow this deputy editor sounds like a troll. He made a review of the phone based of written specs without actually using the phone or seeing it in action. Yep, he is a troll. He is just being a baby because his feelings got hurt and then resorts to calling people names like shills. If there are any respectable people at this MoneyLife magazine this guy would be fired for unprofessional conduct.


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431.12.2011 21:30
KLI
Unverified new user

Originally posted by DigTheNoise:
MoneyLife ... puts a review of a phone without even trying the phone, then posts the IP addresses and email addresses users that posts comments. What scum.

I don't know why some people don't think employees from a company should not be allowed to step up and defend their company's products. I've done it for mine, and I will do it again ... especially if it's a negative review from a site that didn't even try our product.
The review was just a review of the hardware specs, not a review of the user interface. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a purely hardware review, and the author never claimed it was otherwise.

The outed posters weren't prevented from expressing their views. It was revealed that they were Microsoft and Nokia employees - that is what they themselves should have done if they were expressing an honest opinion.

As for the self righteous indignation of some of the posts here, revealing the posters as Microsoft and Nokia employees is hardly a matter for shame on their part - unless the intention was to act fraudulently or mislead, in which case it could be very embarrasing, which is I suspect the reason for the indignation shown by some of the posts here.

I am not going to comment on the Microsoft and Nokia posters involved, but it is a fact that Microsoft does pay reviewers/analysts to produce "independent" reports/reviews, and it does employ large numbers of people to shill and astroturf on its behalf, as the discovery in Comes vs Microsoft lawsuit proved. If we are being honest, it is therefore almost certain that a lot of shilling and trolling is being carried out by Microsoft in the promotion of Windows Phone 7, which is a product that Microsoft desperately wants to succeed. To imagine otherwise is simply being naive.

531.12.2011 21:39
KLI
Unverified new user

Originally posted by bobiroc:
Wow this deputy editor sounds like a troll. He made a review of the phone based of written specs without actually using the phone or seeing it in action. Yep, he is a troll. He is just being a baby because his feelings got hurt and then resorts to calling people names like shills. If there are any respectable people at this MoneyLife magazine this guy would be fired for unprofessional conduct.
Ensuring that readers are aware of possible bias or interest in posts or articles is part of honesty, integrity and professionalism in journalism. The guy should be applauded for his application of investigative journalism. There are far too many bought and paid for propaganda pushers in journalism, particularly in India.

Shill is a dictionary term, and not a term of abuse. It is an accurate description of what was going on in this case.

From dictionary.com
shill   [shil] Show IPA Slang .
noun
1.
a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.
2.
a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

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