MythBusters isn’t just a popular show on Discovery Channel.
Increasingly, enterprise tech vendors are getting in on the myth-busting fun, too.
Only when they debunk popular beliefs, there is usually an ulterior motive.
For example: Tech companies that want customers to buy their products will sometimes try to “debunk” myths about competitors’ products that have good reputations.
Sometimes, companies try to get customers to buy high-end products by arguing that buying cheaper ones could lead to unforeseen problems.
These tactics aren’t immoral or wrong — they all fall under the umbrella of corporate marketing. But that doesn’t mean it’s not easy to spot when vendors are speaking out in self-serving ways.
Cisco is top dog in networking equipment, but its stuff isn't the cheapest on the market.
So, Cisco's competitors sometimes try to compete with it on price, pitching their networking products as simpler yet 'good enough' for most businesses' needs.
Well, Cisco doesn't much care for this line of reasoning. Its networks have lots of security tech built in, as well as tech that makes video and voice run better. Cisco also offers maintenance and support services.
All of this costs more, but Cisco says companies reap the benefits by being able to do business faster.
So in 2011, Cisco tried to debunk several myths about 'good enough' networking hardware. The gist: Companies that try to skimp by purchasing cheap networking hardware are making a big mistake.
Cisco even shot this video of a fake dating game show to support its point:
HP makes lots of money from selling ink cartridges for printers. But it doesn't make any money when a third party takes a spent HP cartridge, refills it with ink, and sells it again for a fraction of what HP charges.
So, HP often tries to debunk the 'myths' about remanufactured toner cartridges. In a September 2012 blog post, said their print quality isn't as good as new ones, and also suggested they're bad for the environment and could even damage customers' printers.
'While the print quality from remanufactured cartridges may seem 'good enough,' it often degrades, resulting in pages that are not fit for distribution inside or outside the company,' HP said in the blog post.
This might actually be one of the most well-worn themes to ever come out of Redmond.
In 2008, Microsoft interviewed a bunch of companies that it said had switched from Microsoft Office to the alternative OpenOffice software, only to come running back into Microsoft's arms after finding it chock full of hidden costs.
'We originally installed Linux based PCs running OpenOffice to save money in the short term. But we quickly found that the exorbitant cost and limited availability of support left us worse off,' James Fleming, infrastructure and support manager at Speedy Hire, a UK-based equipment rental firm, told Microsoft's PressPass PR unit.
To Microsoft's credit, it has stopped doing this and has been embracing open source in recent years.
At an event in San Francisco in April, a top Amazon exec cast doubt on the usefulness of 'private clouds,' which companies install in their own data centres and run internally.
Amazon sells 'public cloud,' where apps and services are delivered over the Internet.
Private cloud vendors say their approach is best because public cloud isn't safe for storing valuable data.
At the event, Andy Jassy, VP of Amazon Web Services, shot some holes in this idea.
'When you carefully look at the benefits of why people are moving to the cloud, you realise that private cloud has none of them,' Jassy said at the event, as reported by ITworld's Nancy Gohring.
Manny W. Schecter, IBM's chief patent counsel, penned a guest post in Wired to dispute the notion that tech patents get in the way of innovation, which venture capitalist Fred Wilson and others have argued.
'Abolishing the patent system and the protection it provides is a step toward extinguishing the fire of genius, at a time when innovation is critical to our nation's future,' Schecter said in the post.
Schecter has been with IBM for the past 33 years, and for the last two decades, he's helped IBM get more patents than any other US company. So, he's obviously going to argue in favour of them.
Despite the constant patent infringement lawsuits between vendors, Schecter said patents have been vital to the success of the US software industry.
'If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world,' he said in the Wired post.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was slow to warm to cloud computing. Which is understandable, because five years ago, Oracle's traditional business was more focused than it is today on selling software installed at a company's location, instead of selling software as a service (SaaS) over the Internet.
So in a 2008 Oracle earnings call, when Ellison suggested SaaS was just a bunch of hype, he was trying to say that the old way of selling software was still the best way, thank you very much.
'If you look at the leader, Salesforce.com, they don't make very much money and they've been at it for almost 10 years,' Ellison said in the call. 'it's hard to point to any software as a service provider that's doing a good job of improving its profitability.'
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