This shining jewel in the world's economy, this commercial Titan with software on virtually every desktop on Earth, this Microsoft, has stooped to rigging reader surveys to rescue the crumbling myth of its popularity.
We're delighted to report that Microsoft actually sank to ballot-stuffing of an on-line poll by ZD-Net.uk asking readers whether they prefer Java or .NET for Web development.
"By 21 December, more than two-thirds of the respondents (69.5 per cent), said they planned to deliver some applications by Web services by the end of 2002, with a large majority of those planning to use Java. Only 21.5 per cent said they planned to use Microsoft .Net -- less than the figure (23.5 percent) planning to use neither," a ZD-Net story reports.
But then Redmond apparently got wind of the survey, and the innocent poll was swiftly corrupted. As the results swung suddenly and improbably towards .NET, the ZD Web site's logs reported an incredible swell of connections from the Microsoft domain, with one fool trying no fewer than 228 times to stuff the electronic ballot box.
"There is also clear evidence of automated voting, with scripts attempting to post multiple times," the news site reports.
This ties in nicely with the subtly exaggerated sales figures for Win-XP which we've observed.
And it ties in as well with the paranoid memos we've seen from Windows Division Veep Brian Valentine regarding the lurking terror of Linux, linked below, in which it's revealed that MS has commissioned a study specifically designed to make Windows appear cheaper than free software.
MS is clearly dancing for the analysts, stooping to every cheesy dodge it can think of to keep its many myths alive. With PC sales and corporate investment in a slump, we know they're on the ropes and in deep denial.
We saw Microsoft raise the dead to lobby states' attorneys general for a break in its antitrust case; but stooping to a cheap, empty gesture like rigging a popular survey reeks of pure despair. ®