Feeds

Steve Ballmer may have said something interesting; we couldn’t possibly comment...

A non-report from the third and final day of Microsoft’s BI conference

Boost IT visibility and business value

To criticise Microsoft is, of course, to attack not only an easy target but also a popular one. Many people hate the big M for the simple (and undeniable) reason that it is successful. This is a comfortable reason to hate a company because it guarantees an unending supply of hate figures; if/when the big M falls from grace another one will be along in a moment. But success is an irrational reason for criticism, of course, unlike stupidity which is a perfectly valid one.

Without prior warning, at 3:59PM yesterday afternoon, Microsoft announced that Steve Ballmer’s keynote today was off-limits to journalists:

Photo of empty pressroom

As the deadline for the keynote approached,

the press room heaved with excitement...

I should have mentioned this
in our meeting that Steve
Ballmer’s keynote address 
tomorrow is closed to the press.
His keynote address is geared
toward customers and partners only.
I apologize for the inconvenience
and for not mentioning this earlier.

Bear in mind that this is completely without precedent. PR dudes normally go around the press room with whips before a keynote. The whole point of inviting journalists to a conference is to have them do the journaling thing. You don’t then ban them.

Imagine, gentle reader, that you are a news vulture at the conference. Awoken from your afternoon slumber by the news, your first thought is that Mr. Ballmer has decided to share a piece of information so tantalizingly choice that it is fit only for the ears of the delegates and not the World. You are a vulture; you catch the pungent whiff of the story of a lifetime. The image of a Pulitzer begins to appear, hovering above your nest … And then you pause for thought.

Is Ballmer really going to share a big secret with (let’s see, 2,600 minus the journos, that’s roughly) 2,590 people? What can it possibly be!!!!????? Something that would rock the share price? Isn’t there a law against that kind of announcement? No, it can’t be that. Is he going to appear on stage in a bath? (Don’t laugh, I’ve seen Don Box do that before now; it isn’t against the law but it should be.) What can this secret thing possibly be?????

Then you start to muse on the meaning of secret. Would you share a secret with 2,590 strangers? Indeed, if you share a secret with 2,590 strangers, is it still a secret? What is the sound of one hand sharing a secret in a wood?

Then there are bloggers. Once upon a time journos were privileged in the sense that they were one of the few groups who could share their thoughts/rambling/opinions with the public. One of the huge strengths of the internet is that it has levelled that playing field to within a micron of its life. If there is anything interesting in the presentation then multiple people will blog it and journalists can read blogs. So sharing a secret with 2,590 highly computer literate people is exactly the same as announcing it to the press. Steve knows that, the journalists know that and the attendees know that.

Or, was Microsoft ahead of us on this one? Was it going to have burly security guards ready to wrestle known bloggers to the ground as they tried to enter the hall? Assuming not (shame because that is Pulitzer territory) we were left with intriguing possibility that Microsoft still hadn’t got its corporate brain around blogging. That Microsoft truly thought that banning journalists would contain the announcement to the people within the room.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.