back to article Microsoft hires former Hillary Clinton adviser as top strategist

Microsoft is a company that divides opinion, which may explain why it has hired Mark Penn, a political strategist and pollster who served as senior strategist for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, as its new corporate VP for strategic and special projects. "Mark has an incredible background in research, …


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  1. LarsG

    I smell desperation in the air! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    1. Jim in Hayward

      Me too!

      Now they are going political to get consumers to buy their warez. What's next? Scare tactics?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "senior strategist for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign"

      A clear victory, I remember it well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course it's desperation

      Everything Microsoft has done in recent years is driven by envy, copycat envy.

      Oh dear, Nintendo+Sony are unstoppable in the game console market. Let's release Xbox!

      Oh dear, Apple is making lots of money with iPods. Let's release Zune!

      Oh dear, Google is dominating search and online ads. Let's acquire Bing!

      Oh dear, VoIP is gaining prominence and Google Talk and iChat exist! Let's acquire Skype!

      Oh dear, Apple is owning the tablet market. Let's launch Surface! (And to hell with the OEM partners' objections).

      Oh dear, PC sales are declining and mobile device sales are rising! Let's shove the Metro UI down the throats of desktop Windows users so they may be indoctrinated/tempted enough to purchase Windows phones and tablets!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mark has incredible background in research?

    translation: Mark knows a lot of influencial people on Capitol Hill.

  3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Bass Ackwards

    Microsoft is hiring PR people to spin their bad decisions. What they should be investing in is smart, talented, plugged-in people to help them talk to their customers, from the individual to the HPC datacenter operator and then make good decisions based on that data. Instead, they make decisions aimed solely at "the majority."

    Everyone is - at some point - not a member of "the majority," and so by only targeting the highly visible fuzzy blog, you alienate everyone, eventually. By better learning the microcosms of your own customer base; what minorities want, and then building products (and licensing schemes) that can and do cater to multiple niches simultainiously, Microsoft would not need PR of this calibre.

    Ah, but what am I saying? I forget that today's mantra is "this is designed for the majority of users participating in the Microsoft spy-on-your-mouse clicks program, so it is scientifically the best possible design!" Anyone who disagrees – or feels that maybe they are in one of those nasty niches – just needs to “get over themselves” and “learn to adapt.”

    Everyone doing everything exactly the same thing using exactly the same device in exactly the same manner is the unquenchable, data-driven future! Just don’t dare interpret the data from using a different set of assumptions or biases...that's blasphemy!

  4. Mikel

    All hat

    No cattle

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Bing is proof that money cant buy you everything and that bad market analysis will take you nowhere. It's not a spin doctor that they need, it's a bloody miracle.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They don't seem to have worked out how well this approach has already worked with the Lumia.

  7. Notorious Biggles

    It's The Name

    It's not that Bing is a bad search engine, it's that it sounds stupid. The name has zero credibility with consumers. Just make point to a blank page with a search box, call it MSN and watch it grow.

    My dad is quite the luddite and he still remembers but despite the gazillions spent on TV ads, never Bing.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: It's The Name

      It may not be a bad search engine, but it's not a good search engine. Google will almost always give you the result you need higher on the page.

      But yes it really is a STUPID name. The only time I say "why don't you bing it" is when I'm asked a stupid question and I'm being sarcastic in response.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's The Name

        And at this stage of the game I want to forget Chandler (and the rest or them). But, hey, it may have taken place in NY, NY, but it might as well have been Seattle. Maybe they should rename it 'Nirvana'. It might give Ballmer ideas.

  8. Scott Simpson

    "Lodestone around Microsoft's neck"?

    Surely, "millstone" ... unless MS is somehow negatively affected by a necklace of natural magnets?

    1. Euripides Pants

      Re: "Lodestone around Microsoft's neck"?

      Well, magnets do erase disks....

  9. mhenriday

    Steven Anthony Ballmer and Mark Penn - wow !

    Now there's a pair with the technical and intellectual credentials to make everybody disable any other search motor they may have, in sancta simplicitas, been using and rush to Badda Bing Badda Boom ! Bet Hillary «we came, we saw, he died» Rodham Clinton is with them from the get-go !...


  10. Toastan Buttar

    Corporate neologisms

    "An exciting pipeline" ???????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Corporate neologisms

      it's a gay sex thing...

  11. Tom 35

    Our product sucks

    Don't fix the product, hire a professional prevaricator to sell it.

  12. Tom 13

    Well, he certainly knows how to put lipstick on a pig,

    but so far the only lip-sticked pig I think he's been able to sell is himself.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    "Mark has an incredible background in research, demographics, marketing and positioning and a proven history in developing unique insights that drive success," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said...

    If that isn't the kiss of death.......

    Some hired hand is a visionary, but the CEO isn't?

    Back to sharpening my pencil collection......

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we expect to see political attack ads from Microsoft?

    "If you receive an important email at 3am in the morning, which tablet+OS would you trust to open it?"

    "I trust Windows 8+Surface+Outlook."

    "I'm Steve Ballmer and I approve of this message."

  15. saundby

    Return Results on the Actual Search Phrase

    not on ad phrases that might stretchily be made to fit.

    Then you'll have a search engine that'll turn Google into the declining Yahoo of 12 years ago (business-wise, that is--results-wise Google has already got the Y!1999 emulation down pat.)

    Revenue doesn't depend on ad matches nearly as much as it depends on getting eyes in the first place by giving them what they want.

    Hiring this guy is just more failure in action. What they actually need is someone to preside over implementing what their own people are probably screaming for, and intercede as required with company political clout to keep it on track when threatened.

  16. Jean-Luc

    Bing search anecdote

    Ever watched 'The Guild'? Started out as an amusing shoestring youtube comedy of some WoW-type misfits playing together.

    Good show, caught Microsoft's attention who helped out with some of their videos. Then things got much cozier. Season 5 didn't come out on Youtube, but rather Xbox Network, then later on to Bing.

    When it finally came out on Bing hosting, I rushed to see it. However, the page didn't have a channel or "all uploads by so & so by date" so it was a challenge to jump to the next episode each time.

    No problem, I thought, search Bing 'Guild Season 5'. Surely, Bing must be able to search... itself. And, time to check out Bing as a Google alternative again.

    Got all sorts of "Guild Season 1 (2,3,4). Episode 5" hits. With very little weight given to Season 5 as a result set.

    So, I resorted to using Google to find Season 5 episodes hosted on Bing. Nice work, MS.

    As of about 2-3 months ago, they did manage to fix this mess and you can't judge for yourself now. But let's just say I am in no rush to use Bing anymore. I am sure some of you can tell me that it works fine for you, but this was such a dumb fail...

    Google may be a search quasi-monopoly, but I can't see remedy coming out of Ballmer's outfit. Despite a whole lot of expensive lipstick.

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