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How Microsoft Israel Scares .NET Consultants Into Submission

If you are a consultant related to any Microsoft related technology in Israel, you might know the feeling - There's something you really want to tell your customers about a product that might be better than a current Microsoft Product, but you hold your tongue from doing this in public, let alone in any kind of recorded fashion.

The reasons? You fear Microsoft Israel's retaliation on your livelihood.

I think this fear affects most of the consultants/speakers you'd see at events such as TechEd israel and other Microsoft Centric programmer events. While I can only speak for my own experiences and feelings on this, I've been told 'off the record' by multiple high profile consultants in the israel arena, ranging from technologies such as Sharepoint, WCF, WPF and more, that I'm not the only one who felt this.

They are actively discouraging themselves from saying bad things about Microsoft Technology, even if they fully believe they are true. They fear for their livelihood .

How come?

If you work for a Microsoft Partner in Israel, or you offer Microsoft based solutions to customers in Israel, chances are you also went through talking to some of the folks over at the "Marketing" machine down in Israel's Ra'anana center. No development is done there, but all event planning, partner hookups and customer evangelism lives there related to all of israel.

If you consult for israeli customers on Microsoft issues, and you want to publicize yourself through any of the Microsoft channels in Israel - from speaking at conference and events, to getting special 'leads' for customers interested in solving solutions for their Microsoft technologies - you depend on the folks at the Microsoft Israel Ra-anana Center to help you out.

If the folks at the MS raanana center don't like what you have to say - they won't let you speak at any Microsoft Event (no matter whether you are right or wrong), and they won't refer any potential customers with issues to you. You are left with no ability to market yourself but directly to Israeli customers - an ability which most consultants in Israel are too small to handle successfully.

This creates the situations where - once you are 'in' the 'in crowd' of the folks who speak at Microsoft conferences, or work at a Microsoft Partner - you start depending on getting leads and event opportunities from Microsoft itself. In return you feel less and less 'encouraged' to say anything that would hurt your livelihood.

If technologists are afraid of saying the "right thing" because they fear losing customers - we get into a situation where customers who are in the "Microsoft eco system" get to hear only things that will make them pay more money to Microsoft, never to try things out of the Microsoft tech system, even if they are good for them.

Not sure what's so bad about that? It's the same problem of trust you should have if you want to get your car's annual check, and the licensing place also gives you technical 'fixing' services for your car - they have it in their best interest to make you pay more, instead of telling you the truth if your car should pass the license check.

Imagine a speaker at a TechEd conference who spoke ill about Microsoft's unit testing solution. Now imagine that person never being invited back to speak there even though their talk was among the top ten voted talks for that conference, simply because of the fact he is vocalizing negative feedback on the Microsoft eco system.

He also stops receiving emails and phone calls from MS evangelists that want to connect him to customers, because he's 'off message'.

These things are not 'publicly declared, but they are well known in the large community of .NET consultants who depend on MS leads and events for a living here in Israel.

If that person depends solely on Microsoft technology to earn a living, they are shut out of the MS eco system's biggest marketing tool - conference speaking. Within a year they change their tune when they see that others are getting into the conferences and the'r talks are rejected silently.

Now imagine that actually happened, and that most technical Microsoft Consultants feel threatened in that way - a silent, deadly threat to their livelihood.

If I can't even tell the truth to my customers, do I really want to live in that world?

The solution is to bring in people into the MS Israel Arena that don't fear deserting views, but welcome them and welcome open dialog. Otherwise, this hidden method of pre-selection will continue to hurt all of Microsoft Israel's technology customers and partners.

The last one I trusted was Yossi Taguri - but he has since long gone in to the OSS and mobile world.

I don't know if it's the same in other countries, but I can tell you that power corrupts even at such minute levels. People get 'punished' for doing the wrong thing, instead of an actual conversation and real community going on.

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