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Blue monster anti-trust

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Two FT articles I read this morning – Microsoft loses EU antitrust appeal and Microsoft launches a tipple for techies.

One has to do with an ongoing court case about Microsoft’s violation of anti-trust laws.

The European Court of First Instance rejected Microsoft’s appeal against a ruling by the European Commission that found the software group had violated competition rules by abusing its dominant market position.

The other was about release of the Stormhoek Blue Monster reserve, with Hugh’s cartoon.

Hugh MacLeod, a cartoonist, blogger and marketing strategist for Stormhoek, created the Blue Monster image after getting to know Microsoft employees.

The contrast between the FT pieces amused me. I get frustrated when people see and treat companies as uniform monolithic entities. When they don’t realise an obvious fact – that people working inside are just like them and most of the time they are not plotting the world domination. This goes for Microsoft and any other large corporation. To me, the Blue Monster is a battle cry for those inside Microsoft who want change and who share the desire for openness and direct connection with people outside.

But there is another obvious fact. That among those people working for Microsoft are those who do plot, if not the world, then certainly market domination, which they see as their main purpose. By any means available. This is why the Blue Monster has teeth. Those people believe in the rightness of their actions and see their drive as being commercial, business-savvy and mock any who would talk of, well, social objects. They want a monolithic and controlled brand because it bestows more power on them. They miss the fact that over time they will hollow out their company. By then, most of them will have moved on to another company or position.

Drinking the Kool-aid


Their drink of choice is the Kool-Aid, which often turns into corporate venom. So instead of Kool-Aid, let them drink Stormhoek. Kudos to Hugh for making that option available.

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6 Responses to “Blue monster anti-trust”

  1. barryd
    on Sep 17th, 2007
    @ 14:34 pm

    Ah but you highlight the problem with bluemonster in your quote from the press release, it’s not about MS, or their employees, it’s all about Hugh. That certainly seems to be the reaction from a bunch of people, and that’s a shame, it’s diminished the effectiveness because it’s seen as another vehicle for the creator, not the subjects. It doesn’t have teeth any more, it’s been defanged because it’s not about the brand, but it’s about the creative.

  2. Adriana
    on Sep 17th, 2007
    @ 15:00 pm

    I see what you are saying, but I don’t see how this is *all* about Hugh..?

    I think that a change within corporations as large and stuck as Microsoft has to be kicked off from the outside. It draws out the people from the faceless systems and gives them a chance to change thing.

    I am not saying here that Blue Monster will change Microsoft… it merely provides an inspiration and an option for those who want it.

    In this instance, Microsoft needs someone like Hugh more than someone like Hugh needs Microsoft. And that’s even better news.

  3. barryd
    on Sep 18th, 2007
    @ 6:12 am

    I think it’s become more about Hugh than it is about the message; and that’s a shame for Steve Clayton. The slogan was rapidly lost and the scribble/cartoon left and with that it was just another vehicle for gapingvoid. Now it’s just a laptop sticker, nothing more.

    Microsoft needs Hugh? Well I guess Apple has a relentless self promoter at the helm, so they may want to compete there, but I really hope not.

  4. Engenharia da Computação » Blog Archive » Frase do dia #29
    on Sep 18th, 2007
    @ 9:41 am

    [...] Blue monster anti-trust [...]

  5. Dennis Howlett
    on Sep 18th, 2007
    @ 11:45 am

    Microsoft has been changing for a number of years and the issues you refer to are not found at the level where Hugh interacts. Also, a lot of the ‘old guard’ have gone so I don’t see how the argument about ‘world domination’ stands up. The market has decided about Microsoft and it has had to respond. It is not the category killer it once was in many of the markets in which it operates. MP3 with Zune is a great example (does anyone buy that thing?)

    This is a much bigger deal for Stormhoek because it attaches the company to a brand that generates a lot of emotion. It would always for Stormhoek to crack the US market on its own. This helps that effort considerably.

  6. » Yesterday was a day of contrasts
    on Sep 18th, 2007
    @ 22:15 pm

    [...] writing this post I saw this post from Adriana Lukas linked from Hugh’s Blog and makes the same connections as me between the [...]

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