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Microsoft revokes MVP status of developer who tweeted complaint about request to promote SQL-on-Azure

Programme members were asked to make noise ahead of Amazon Web Services conference

Update Microsoft has revoked the Most Valuable Professional status of an Australian developer who publicly complained that the programme was effectively asking members to spread marketing material.

The software programmer, Geoffrey Huntley, took exception to Microsoft’s efforts last week in the following tweet.

"There was an upcoming product release announcement by AWS and the program asked members to amplify a PR campaign that Microsoft SQL server runs best on Azure," he added in another tweet, which concluded: "Like – go out & blog about why Azure and SQL server is the thing over AWS offerings."

Huntley also posted the image below that he says is from Microsoft’s request to MVP members and mentions posting nice things about SQL-on-Azure ahead of Amazon Web Services' re:invent conference.

Microsoft MVP spruik request

Click to enlarge

Robot wearing mortar board and brandishing certificates

Pleased to meet you. I'm Joe Bloggs, MVP, vExpert, Cisco Champ


All of Huntley's posts were made in his personal capacity and are his personal opinion.

Microsoft noticed his posts and clearly did not like them. CRN Australia reported his ejection from the MVP programme.

Huntley confirmed that report to The Register, and shared a screenshot of an email from Microsoft saying his membership of the MVP program had been terminated "due to violation of the confidentiality terms in the MVP program."

Huntley has not taken issue with Microsoft's decision, or the reasoning behind it, and doesn't seem to mind his ejection:

Huntley does see some downside in being removed – and some downside in remaining an MVP.

Your humble vulture is a member of a similar professional program run by another vendor and can report that it, too, asks members to share vendor-created content to amplify product launches – not that this journalist partakes in such activities. I cannot, however, recall a request to share the vendor's messaging as part of a competitive effort.

Huntley continues to live what he describes as "a minimalist lifestyle in a van that is slowly working its way around Australia." He was a joint winner of Linux Australia 2020 Community Recognition Award for his efforts to analyse Australia's COVIDSafe contact-tracing app, which he found had serious privacy issues. ®

UPDATE 01:00 UTC, April 23rd: Geoff has pointed out that Microsoft still feels he is worthy of an invitation to the MVP program awards.

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