Any attempt by Microsoft to simulate a grassroots movement to spread the perception that the general public agrees with and supports Microsoft's position.
Interesting. Microsoft is certainly trying to create and foster developer communities. It looks to me like they are having some limited success with this. From the outset, the GotDotNet site has had the pretense of community, and it achieves this goal in some respects, as much as a portal probably can, but it's Microsoft owned and controlled patina underlies everything... -- StevenBlack
This is related to "MediaAstroturfing?", where a massive public protest/email campaign is simulated by spamming the media.
They are so wealthy they can buy public support. They can afford it. Remember when they had problems with the Department of Justice? They invoked freedom to innovate (read: drown their competitors with illegal tactics). That was quite a weird strategy! Imagine! They counter-attacked the Goverment of the USA by creating a sort of grassroots movement supporting their "just cause" and their "right to innovate"!.This new grassroots campaign is part of their campaign to renew their image into a friendly Microsoft who cares about the community, who cares about users. Pretty soon you'll have Bill Gates cooking hamburgers in poor communities!
The fake grassroots campaign was run(or is still active) during the antitrust proceedings, not as a result. Microsoft communities(especially developer communities) are not really part of a MicrosoftFakeGrassroots campaign. MicrosoftFakeGrassroots refers to deceptive practices where the public is not aware of Microsoft's presence behind the supposed "grassroots campaign". Legitimate corporate communities/sites are not included. MSDN is most certainly not part of MicrosoftFakeGrassroots.
Concretely, how do they operate this fake grassroots campaign? Do they pay people?
Planting/astroturfing letters to the editor/op-ed pieces.
Organizing letter-writing campaigns to lawmakers(appears to be spontaneous outpouring)
Creating activist organizations that are microsoft controlled, but do not initially appear to be(Freedom To Innovate, etc)
Influencing other corporations through third parties(Baystar Capital)
Creating local user groups. In contrast to user groups for other technologies -- Java, Apple, Linux, Ruby that formed gradually when like-minded people organized themselves, early .NET user groups were simply created fully formed by Microsoft. Skeptical -- read about the organization here and ponder how it compares with other technical user groups: http://www.padnug.org/padnug/Organization.aspxhttp://www.ineta.org/DesktopDefault.aspx