Microsoft pushes MVPs, influencers to spruik Azure in lead up to AWS re:Invent

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Microsoft pushes MVPs, influencers to spruik Azure in lead up to AWS re:Invent

Microsoft has directed its community of Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) to “amplify” the vendor’s Azure marketing campaign in the lead up to AWS’s re:Invent conference, according to internal communications.

The directive was shared publicly on Twitter by an Australian MVP, Geoffrey Huntley, posting screenshots of the communication on 16 April. Huntley revealed today that Microsoft removed his MVP award status as a result.

“I see the Microsoft MVP award program has completed its de-evolution into outright providing content to influencers and asking them to spread it,” Huntley’s tweet read.

“It's truly sad to see the Microsoft MVP Award devolve into ‘this is the content we want you broadcast’. Like they aren't even hiding it anymore. Now the team asks.”

The internal communications were directed specifically to MVPs, informing them of a campaign launched to promote Azure in the same week of AWS re:Invent. Recipients were also told not to share or forward the contents of the message in question.

“We know that AWS is up to 5x more expensive than Azure for these mission-critical workloads, and the campaign is centred on raising awareness over this cost advantage, and many other benefits to customers when they choose Azure,” the directive read.

“Your voice matters! We are asking for your support in amplifying the campaign content this week, via your personal accounts and online forums. We hope you’ll follow the online conversation and also be proactive in starting conversations - not just within the community but seeking new engagement opportunities as well.”

Huntley earlier today tweeted that Microsoft removed his status as MVP, commenting that “Nothing of value was lost” and that he has “no desire to be part of a program that is about washing marketing content”.

He also noted the US$13,000 in free Azure credits that he has since lost as a result.

“Just remember this amount of money when you are reading content about ‘how good Azure is’ and ‘what the latest and greatest is’ from influencers and community leaders here on social media,” Huntley concluded.

CRN has contacted Microsoft for comment.

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