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Consulting Gig and Microsoft Sales Bash

So, here I am, a bit peeved but more humored than anything else. Today I spent some time with a client of mine, actually a friend. His company asked me to come in and sit in while 5 other companies bid on a project they are working on. I listened to sales people all day long, and it isn’t like I have anything against all sales people, just a vast majority of them. My head was spinning when it was all over with. So, I got to listen to 4 companies give their spiel about using Linux here, possibly Windows there, and one even promoted the idea of using Macs as the workstations. Interesting stuff by these 4 companies, yet still boring as hell. Then come sales dude number five, the second or maybe third largest tool I have ever had the great privilege of meeting in my life. He comes prepared no doubt, gives us a groovy presentation handout, business cards, and even a pretty cool pen. I love swag, so I grabbed a handful of pens. I flipped over this guys business card before he introduced himself, and there it was, in big bold letters, Microsoft. Rock on, this should be entertaining, and boy was it!

I will not go in to details on who this guy is or what he does either at Microsoft or one of their partners, however Microsoft was on his business card, bigger than anything else. Anyways, he starts out rocking. He had me impressed, all kinds of charts, cost cutting avenues, cost and benefit analysis which made my socks roll it was so damn sexy. He even had the project mapped out, which none of the other 4 groups had done. Thus far, literature wise, he dusted the other 4. I was starting to cheer for this dude, got a little hot and bothered there for a second, sorry, back on track here. So, he finishes his Microsoft talk, and it was great this far. Then he thanks the other 4 groups there, and seemed really nice, until…”Let me show you where these other groups don’t make the mark, seriously Mac? Let’s start by showing you how they have this whole Linux thing wrong. First it is created in the basements of unemployed hobbiests, it isn’t as secure as its made out to be, and needless to say all of the patents they are infringing upon, therefor making it a liability for you to even use.” Now that was paraphrased, but my jaw was on the ground. He knew I literally just shat myself, but what he didn’t know is I am a Linux fanboy and hacker. I was actually dressed a little nice, wearing my typical wise guy hat. He said something else, but I can’t remember what it was, all I remember is I grabbed my laptop bag like it was my gun holster, and from it I pulled out my 9mm. Err, I pulled out my netbook, which has 2 stickers on there, and both say Kubuntu.

He just chuckled at me, which I think infuriated me more than what I had just heard. So now he tries to explain himself, back peddles at least to the point where he admits there are great corporations behind Linux development. But the 4 other groups that were there and myself really wanted to know, and before I could say anything, the CEO of the one group, Mandy I think her name was, chimed in with a, “Could you please explain the patents Linux infringes?” He gave her a brief look, and she went all comedian on him, and I had to hold back everything just not to start rolling on the floor. She lets out a, “No, before you continue, can you please explain that, as I would hate to be sued by some insane company for something they think is theres.” He wouldn’t answer at all and would only state he wasn’t allowed to speak about it. Oh boy, I am peeing myself by this time. So I look at my buddy, and I had to do it, some of you might have heard me say it before, but I just had to do it.

You know, I have been thinking about writing a piece of software that did nothing but infringe upon every software patent there was.

Brief pause, trying to get the people to do the, “OK dude, wtf are you getting at?” And when I got that look, I finished with…

But it’s to late, as Microsoft beat me to it.

Yes, very childish and immature, but it had to be done. So, that was my Microsoft bash. Listen, if you are a salesman, especially a Microsoft salesman or partner, don’t do your unfounded threats in a professional manner. You might be surprised that the people sitting in the room might just see right through you, and today, they saw through you, big time! In the end, it looks like there might be a combination of 2 of the companies used. One of the companies is the one who suggested the Macs as the workstations, and the reasoning behind it was good. On the server side, there will be Linux. In the end, a very entertaining day. Even this former or current FBI Cyber Security guy even poked fun at the Microsoft salesman. Supposedly he is one of the gentleman that also helped rip off the state of Illinois with frivolous claims about Linux, and boy did Illinois fall for it.

Anyways, just wanted to share that with everyone, as it was a fun story, probably a more of a “You had to have been there.” Now this salesman wasn’t the only one to bend the truth or outright lie, so salesman, be careful, not everyone is dumber than you anymore!

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  • Peter Frandsen

    The scary part is how often they may get away with it. Luckily this time there were knowledgable people around.

    /Peter

  • Eddward

    Frankly, I’m amused to see you experience this first hand. Your story is probably become a regular reference for folks who try to tell people to avoid MS. I wonder how it could have gone down if the MS sales person could have given his pitch without his competitors (and you) in the room.

  • Alex

    How many times will Microsoft repeat these lies before someone (Linux Foundataion?) sues them for slander/libel?

  • Craig A. Eddy

    Nixternal,

    You might be amused to know that your post was mentioned in an off-topic thread on Groklaw. See: http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=20100310165217461&title=Microsoft%20sales%20pitch&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=826216#c826230 for the reference.

    Craig
    Tyche

  • thanks for posting this 😉
    I make a living providing support for clients using MS Mac Linux Unix. I use MS, Mac, Linux, Unix; my laptop triple boots ubuntu9.10/xp/7 . it bothers me to no end how MS can get others internal and external to keep repeating their drivel.

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