On Microsoft's anti-Drupal ad

Microsoft's anti-Drupal ad

Yesterday, an anti-Drupal ad by Microsoft was spotted in the wild; see the image on the right. The news spread on Twitter like wildfire. I said this was "interesting", not because Microsoft isn't allowed to compete with Drupal but because Microsoft is also promoting Drupal. In fact, I was flattered by the idea that Microsoft considered Drupal worthy of competition. However, it left many of us confused about the fact that Microsoft decided to both partner with Drupal and compete against it.

For me, the interesting part is not whether Microsoft is allowed to compete or not -- of course they are allowed to compete. What is interesting to me is the way Microsoft reacted. Within hours, Microsoft had noticed the small Twitter-tsunami, picked up the phone to talk about it, pulled down the ad and publicly apologized for confusing the Drupal community.

This means a lot. It is hard proof that social media like Twitter works, and that Microsoft can be great at listening and responding. It is proof that the web has changed to be more humanized, and that Microsoft understands how to build relationships online. By being transparent and human, and by publicly apologizing, they built some trust with the Drupal community (as reflected in the comments of Mark Brown's blog post), and that might actually influence people's experience with Microsoft. Plus it looks like, at least for now, Microsoft decided to promote Drupal rather than compete with it.

At the end of the day, this was the act of one Microsoft employee in India who was out of sync with the rest of Microsoft. This inevitably happens in big companies. All is good now.


edde42 (not verified):

I think this is actually something that will put Drupal even firmer on the map and give our community a lot of great free publicity.

It is a great endorsement for us and it will open the eyes of more organisations that Drupal is a great option for their future web projects.

abetobing (not verified):

If Microsoft get annoyed by Drupal, then Drupal isn't that small anymore in the eyes of Bill Gates. And for the ads, it's not a big deal for Drupal, it's a great boost for us :)

Tom Geller (not verified):

Quick note. According to Microsoft's Mark Brown (who issued the apology):

"Also a correction. While the original report of this came from a blogger in India, the ad actually originated from an advertising team in another country. Apologies to my Microsoft colleagues in India."

If nothing else, this dustup introduced me to Acquia Drupal on the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, which I'll mention in relation to the many problems of running Drupal on WAMP. (That's by far the most-trafficked post on my site.)

Sina Salek (not verified):

Well, it's good that you see positive points of this incident.
But after more than ten years using Microsoft products one thing is clear for me, Microsoft has never been quite honest with its clients much less other communities.

Drupal is getting bigger every year, I guess we should expect more conflicts between Drupal and other companies providing similar services in future. ;)

Oliver (not verified):

Wow its good to see Microsoft is "listening" to people. Wonder if they actually believe the world is going to end in 2012? And are trying to be nice to people for some Good Karma.

Huh some Indians I say ... Well Microsoft has somewhere between 31-40% (not accurate) of Indians working for them. The probability of an Indian doing good is probably equal. Wonder if Windows 7 had more Indians working on it to actually come up with a "Good" product.

Anonymous (not verified):

I wrote the original article. Did not expect it to create so much noise. What I understood from the responses to by blog was that everyone missed the message I was trying to convey. My message was simple - Drupal is now big. It is no more the tool used only for making small hobby sites. It has come to a stage that company's like Microsoft is willing to pay, and sometimes even pay competitors to challenge Drupal. Maybe it was my writing style that caused this confusion. I wanted to slowly build up the story and keep the real message to the very end. But everyone took the first part (Microsoft ad and Microsoft vs Google).


I certainly agree with that message, which is why I was flattered by the idea that Microsoft considered Drupal worthy of competition. Expect more competition from commercial vendors in 2010. We're on their radars now.

Wim Mostrey (not verified):

I don't think this was an advertisement against Drupal as much as it was a way of riding on Drupal's popularity wave. When people are looking for CMS these days they do not search for 'cms' or 'content management system' on Google but they search for Joomla or Drupal or Wordpress. So instead of setting up an adwords campaign on the 'cms' keyword, they put it on the 'drupal' keyword.

However it be, it's an indication that Drupal is growing strong.

scmeeven (not verified):

@Oliver: Stop the racist nonsense about Indians. If you cared to read Mark's post or Tom Geller's post here properly, you would have known the ad wasn't from the 'Indians' you seem to be so fond of.

Oliver (not verified):

My sincere apologies !! I am an Indian in India !! It was a bitter sweet comment read my whole post you will see. I have actually praised ourselves !!

ben_ (not verified):

Acually … everything that looks like an ad … consider it to be made by some kind of mad rabbit-schaman. An ad like this has nothing to do with realtity. All ads are as close to reality as ancient myths. They are pure wokrs of fiction. Most of them anoying. Sometimes amusing. Like this one.

Rimian (not verified):

Microsoft is responsible for all their employees, regardless of where they are. Same goes with the advertising agencies that create their marketing. How is it relevant that an ad agency in another country created the ad? Aren't they a global entity? Sounds like a cop out.

Microsoft should start building better quality software rather than rely on market dominance.

theme_designer (not verified):

In the whole event, lots of good things happened.
But, it all happened accidentally. It was don't by an employee in India and not by the Microsoft, so there is nothing to blame Microsoft. :-)