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VMware drops the ball with Microsoft attack

by Scott Bicheno on 16 June 2009, 12:24

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), VMware

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Humble pie

A month or so ago a video was anonymously posted on YouTube that appeared to show Microsoft's virtualisation software - Hyper-V - repeatedly crashing.

It turns out that the video was posted by Scott Drummonds, a member of the marketing team for virtualisation market leader VMware.

In addition to the anonymity of the video post, there seem to have been many questions about the validity of the claims made in it. This culminated in an indignant sequence of blog posts from Microsoft Hyper-V principal group program manager Jeff Woolsey, commencing with this one.

A month of claim and counter-claim ensued, before VMware finally admitted it had dropped the ball on this one and Drummond issued a public apology on a VMware blog. While the apology was acknowledged by Woolsey with a modicum of grace, there was also more than a hint of sanctimony in his concluding blog post.

While Microsoft is entitled to make VMware squirm over its misguided attempt at guerrilla marketing, it would be well-advised not to over-do the triumphalism. A video produced not long before shows Microsoft is not above such tactics itself, although at least this clip is still online; the offending VMware one has been taken down.

This episode is an example of FUD (fear, uncertainly, doubt) tactics, which usually involves using insinuation and rumour to undermine a competitor or one of its claims. The moral of this story is that if you're going to indulge in FUD, you had better be very accurate or very sneaky. VMware was neither.

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