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Open Letter This Could Be AWaste Of Time


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Skeptics could be right

This topic relates to Open Letter To Microsoft, an issue in February 2000

How will that cause any more of a change than people have been requesting for five to six years now? I've been in the room when this question was asked of Bill Gates. He's aware of our concerns. Robert Green has indicated that if VFP is separated from Visual Studio that the marketing will change. We're jumping up and down and screaming and yelling about it before we even know what that marketing is. Could past marketing have been better or different? Yes, more efforts is some different areas could have been done. Was past marketing non-existant? No. When VFP 6 shipped, there were full page ads in InfoWorld, PCWeek and a back cover ad in Visual Basic Programmer's Journal, as well as the standard ads in FoxPro Advisor and Fox Talk. I'm in agreement that more and different ads need to be done. I just can't see a letter to MS making a difference -- Craig Berntson

Craig, you may be right, but a few thousand signatures might make a difference. You seem to be in the "it's not going to make a bit of difference, and may even be counterproductive" camp. But are you so certain that you would rule out the possibility of considering signing a letter. Unless you absolute exclude the possibility of being persuaded, please be so good as to add your name to the Yes list on the Will Microsoft Market VFP page. - ?mda

No, I'm not in the "counterproductive camp". I'm in the "it won't make a difference either way" camp. Trust me...BillG is very much aware of the issues and our concerns. Robert Green is very much aware of our issues and concerns. Would I sign a letter? Maybe, I would have to see the letter first. -- Craig Berntson

Craig, there are people out there who say they are in pain. They want to act to try to help themselves. With respect, your "it won't make any difference" may be coming from a somewhat more comfortable position than that enjoyed by others. They are not wanting to write a letter for you, they want to write it for them. If that is a bad idea, what would you recommend they do? If it is as bad for some as they claim, they are close to having no choice but to choose a new tool. No matter how comfortable you or I may be, if the community fades around us we effectively end up prosperous shopkeepers in a ghost town. Eventually it is bad for us too. Who was it that said that "Trouble flourishes when good men do nothing?" Well, I feel as if I'm doing nothing and I'd like to think I'm a good person. What do you recommend? -- John Ryan Thanks, John. Beautifully said. - ?mda

John,

If people want to write a letter for their own peace of mind, that's fine. Just don't be upset when it doesn't make a difference. -- Craig Berntson

I ask again, what do you recommend if you are so sure that a business letter will have no effect? Public pressure? Do we get Winchell back to call Microsoft deceitful in the press? what? I'm not sure if you were around in 1995 but I believe we *did* have an effect back then and I see no reason why we can't do it now if it will help people. - John Ryan
In the last few days many people have expressed their thoughts giving great contribution to our common objective or goal. The lines they've written showed me how commited our community is with VFP's survival (I don't know if the term applies), but most of all those lines showed how commited we all are with our fellow VFP'ers and how important is to hear their voices, they also showed how could we get organized and be supported when this time came. Just take a look of the until now many anonymous fellows that were watching the things going on and, when touched by our common anxiety, joined us. Perhaps my words don't fit well in this topic, but I look at it as the pessimistic one (who knows if it is the realistic one) and I felt that we must rather be optimistic to find ways (as many as possible) to complete our task. I think this won't be a waste of time at all, really. -- Fernando Alvares

JVP stated my point on a recent UT posting. He said something like: Notice that the big names in the VFP world haven't signed on? This is because they know that the people at MS know our concerns. MS people visit the UT, the Wiki, the newsgroups on a regular basis and already know what we want. (Is JVP John Petersen? If so, he signed!)

To JVP's comments I'll add: Where are the signitures of Jim BoothOffsite link to http://www.jamesbooth.com
, MarkusEgger, Rick Strahl, Steven Black, Doug Hennig and others? It's because they agree with what I'm saying.

With respect, these people who you say agree with you, carry huge respect in this community and are highly successful businessmen. But in terms of income for MS from VFP they are small compared to (say) 500 developers who sign the letter, all of whom purchased a retail copy of VFP6 and plan to buy the next release as well. $ for MS comes from the great silent mass out there who create the sales figures, not from those who stand at podiums and probably got the product for free anyway. That is not a criticism, just a business fact. If the silent mass is kept docile and is taught to tolerate the situation then MS will never ever see a need to change. A classic self-fulfilling prophesy.
Well, I don't agree with you. I believe that enough committed people *can* make a difference. Human history is full of examples including such small groups as took action against vastly more powerful forces, that ended up with the eviction of the occupying British from the land you now call home. The first step is the hardest. People join in once they see what is happening and a groundswell is created.
If this were just a whine asking for more marketing, I would agree with you. But it isn't. It is a reasoned approach by customers to a vendor, suggesting that the relationship could be more comercially beneficial for both. - John Ryan

Whatever marketing MS does, they will not market VFP as much as VB and the other .Net languages and will not market it to the enterprise. For an example, look at Microsoft Works? Could it be used by a Fortune 500 company? Of course it could, but you won't see MS marketing it there and you won't see as many ads for Works as you will for Office. The same holds true for VFP when compared to the .Net languages.

Yes, Sigler said that in 1995 and we accepted it. But it is a far step from there to MS reps knowing little about the product or openly criticising it. Even MS preferred players like whatsisname the editor of VB journal get away with calling VFP "junior varsity" because those around him lack knowledge or reason to correct him. And what about blatant inaccuracies in Gartner? It wouldn't cost much for MS to rebut that a wee bit. Failure to respond (or responses in dedicated VFP forums) is something that might reasonably be improved. - John Ryan

FYI, I was around in 1995. I can't say if complaints then changed things or not, but things have gotten better with VFP marketing since then. --
Craig Berntson

I thank you, Craig Berntson. When I wrote my comments above, I wanted to say some words about the people that is missing in the list, but I found no way of doing that because I thought that I didn't had the right to mention people not involved with our intent (...). But now I feel free to do it, and so I would like to add some more ones to your list: where are the great people that have being doing so much for our community like the editorial market people? (Tamar Granor, Ted Roche, Whil Hentzen...) It's because they agree with what you're saying? They told you so? Can you speak in their behalf? They have no words to say? They can't speak by themselves?

Please, Craig, I'm not trying to be agressive with my words. These questions I'm not directing to you, I am directing to all the mentioned people. Perhaps they didn't find the exact moment to say something, perhaps they don't care, perhaps they think this is not worthy. Perhaps. Let's wait for them, they will come, or am I being too naive?

We're not trying to play The Brancaleone Army, we are not fighting no one, what we are trying to do is to find solutions, and in this concern, we are trying to help MS to make even more money and make us happy. How? I don't know! That's why we are here, to find answers. -- Fernando Alvares
Hallelujah, brother! And take note of the fact that John Petersen just signed! - ?mda
How do you know it was really him that signed? {g}

Each of us in the community has a role to play in interacting with Microsoft related to VFP's future, positioning and marketing, as well as technical enhancement. Some can perhaps be more effective in pursuing other strategies for communicating with key MS contacts. I don't think that putting people on the spot publicly about signing this topic is wise.

Personally, while I might consider signing a letter after it is drafted, I probably would be less likely to sign it if I had just had my name black-listed as a blatant non-signer! That's just not a productive step to take, IMO.

Best to accept the fact that in diplomacy there are often different tracks that need to be pursued -- some very public and some hidden behind the scenes. Often, it takes both to accomplish the goal. -- David Stevenson

David's correct. These people already have a way to communicate their desires to MS. FYI.. I talked to Robert Green last week and gave him my perspectives. Also, let me reiterate my previous statement. I may be willing to sign such a letter, but I need to see it first. -- Craig Berntson
Craig, perhaps you misread the wording I carefully put in the introduction to Will Microsoft Market VFP. I asked only that you indicate a willingness to consider signing an as-yet-to-be-created letter, with a clear understanding that your actual signing would be subject to your approval of the final draft. When you say "I may be willing to sign such a letter, but I need to see it first.", that is precisely what I'm asking you to affirm by putting your name in the Yes list. It would mean a lot to us. - ?mda

Did you miss the title of the topic? "Will Microsoft Market VFP". The answer to that is an obvious "yes", with or without a letter.

That's disingenuous. There are widespread concerns that MS's marketing of VFP is unnecessarily lacklustre. Marketing is not just ads, it is a strategy to promote. Microsoft's response in this area is pretty weak. It stands by as Gartner distributes FUD. When VB illuminati issue formula criticism of VFP, at a minimum intellectual honesty requires such slogans to be rebutted. Nope. That's the fact of it.

Craig, I can't speak for the others, but I'm sure that nobody is asking you to sign any letter. I think that we are all asking you much more, we are asking you to give your precious help, and this I feel that you are already doing. The letter? Well, certainly we all together will make it come true. -- Fernando Alvares
See Also:

Open Letter Draft Guidelines
Open Letter Bogus Counter Arguments
Open Letter Stuff Thats Probably Too Far Out There To Pursue

Open Letter Problem Statement Section
Open Letter Factors To Consider Section
Open Letter Options Section
Open Letter Recommendations Section
Open Letter Implementation Section
Category Open Letter To Microsoft
( Topic last updated: 2001.03.07 05:19:21 PM )