Fear, uncertainty and doubt

Fear, uncertainty and doubt

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relationscite book | last = Harris | first = Rhonda | title = The Complete Sales Letter Book | publisher = Sharpe Professional | location = Armonk | year = 1998 | isbn = 0765600838 ] [The term FUD is also alternatively rendered as "Fear Uncertainty and Disinformation". See e.g., cite book | last = Jansen | first = Erin | title = Netlingo | publisher = NetLingo | location = Ojai. | year = 2002 | isbn = 0970639678 p. 179] and politics. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative (and vague) information. An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor's product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival.

The term originated to describe disinformation tactics in the computer hardware industry and has since been used more broadly.For example, FUD has been used to describe social dynamics in contexts where sales, lobbying or commercial promotion is not involved. cite book | last = Elliott | first = Gail | title = School Mobbing and Emotional Abuse | publisher = Brunner-Routledge | location = Philadelphia | year = 2003 | isbn = 0415945518 ] FUD is a manifestation of the appeal to fear.


FUD was first defined by Gene Amdahl after he left IBM to found his own company, Amdahl Corp.: "FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products." [Gene Amdahl, quoted in Eric S. Raymond, " [http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/FUD.html The Jargon File: FUD] ".] The term has also been attributed to veteran Morgan Stanley computer analyst Ulrich Weil, though it had already been used in other contexts as far back as the 1920s. ["Suspicion has no place in our interchanges; it is a shield for ignorance, a sign of fear, uncertainty and doubt." Caesar Augustus Yarbrough, The Roman Catholic Church Challenged, p. 75. The Patriotic Societies of Macon, 1920.] ["Again he was caught in a tempest of fear, uncertainty and doubt." Monica Mary Gardner, The Patriot Novelist of Poland, Henryk Sienkiewicz, p. 71. J.M. Dent ; E.P. Dutton & Co, 1926.]

As Eric S. Raymond writes: [Eric S. Raymond, " [http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/FUD.html The Jargon File: FUD] ".]

By spreading questionable information about the drawbacks of less well known products, an established company can discourage decision-makers from choosing those products over its wares, regardless of the relative "technical" merits. This is a recognized phenomenon, epitomized by the traditional axiom of purchasing agents that "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment". The result is that many companies' IT departments buy software that they know to be technically inferior because upper management is more likely to recognize the brand.

Contemporary examples

Although once it was usually attributed to IBM, in the 1990s and later the term became most often associated with industry giant Microsoft. Said Roger Irwin: [cite web |url=http://www.cavcomp.demon.co.uk/halloween/fuddef.html |title=What is FUD |last=Irwin |first=Roger |year=1998 |accessdate=2006-12-30] Although the Halloween documents (leaked internal Microsoft documents ) say that "OSS is long-term credible … [therefore] FUD tactics cannot be used to combat it." [Open Source Initiative. " [http://www.catb.org/~esr/halloween/ Halloween I: Open Source Software (New?) Development Methodology] "] , in fact Open source (OSS) and the GNU/Linux community in particular are widely perceived as frequent targets of Microsoft FUD:
* Statements about the "viral nature" [ [http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2001/may01/05-03csm.mspx Press release from Microsoft which has viral nature of open-source quote] ] of the GNU General Public License (GPL),
* Statements that "...Linux infringes 235 Microsoft's patents..." before software patent law precedents were established. [ cite web | title = Microsoft takes on the free world | url = http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/ | publisher = FORTUNE | first = Roger | last = Parloff | date = 2007-05-14 | accessdate = 2007-11-04 . Microsoft's licensing chief claimed that specific examples have been given in private, in: cite web | title = Legal Pad, MSFT: Linux, free software, infringe 235 of our patents | url = http://legalpad.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2007/05/13/msft-linux-free-software-infringe-235-of-our-patents/ | first = Roger | last = Parloff . ]

CO vs. IBM

The SCO Group's 2003 lawsuit against IBM, claiming $5 billion in intellectual property infringements by the free software community, is an example of FUD. IBM argued in its counterclaim, that SCO is spreading "fear, uncertainty, and doubt". [ [http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/Doc-27.pdf The SCO Group v IBM - answer to amended complaint and counterclaims] (Undecided, US District Court - Utah, Kimball J, filed 6 August 2004) Section E, paragraph 22]

Magistrate Judge Wells wrote (and Judge Kimball concurred) in her order limiting SCO's claims: "The court finds SCO’s arguments unpersuasive. SCO’s arguments are akin to SCO telling IBM, 'sorry we are not going to tell you what you did wrong because you already know...' SCO was required to disclose in detail what it feels IBM misappropriated... the court finds it inexcusable that SCO is... not placing all the details on the table. Certainly if an individual were stopped and accused of shoplifting after walking out of Neiman Marcus they would expect to be eventually told what they allegedly stole. It would be absurd for an officer to tell the accused that 'you know what you stole I’m not telling.' Or, to simply hand the accused individual a catalog of Neiman Marcus’ entire inventory and say 'it’s in there somewhere, you figure it out.' " [ [http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060628203537917 The SCO Group v IBM - ORDER GRANTING IN PART IBM'S MOTION TO LIMIT SCO's CLAIMS] (Undecided, US District Court - Utah, Kimball J, filed 6 August 2004) Section IV, paragraphs 33,34]

Darl McBride, President and CEO of SCO, made the following statements as part of what was felt by many in the Linux user communitywho to be a FUD campaign.

#"IBM has taken our valuable trade secrets and given them away to Linux,"
#"We're finding... cases where there is line-by-line code in the Linux kernel that is matching up to our UnixWare code"
#"...unless more companies start licensing SCO's property... [SCO] may also sue Linus Torvalds... for patent infringement."
#"Both companies [IBM and Red Hat] have shifted liability to the customer and then taunted us to sue them."
#"We have the ability to go to users with lawsuits and we will if we have to, “It would be within SCO Group's rights to order every copy of AIX [IBM's proprietary UNIX] destroyed,"
#"As of Friday, June 13 [2003] , we will be done trying to talk to IBM, and we will be talking directly to its customers and going in and auditing them. IBM no longer has the authority to sell or distribute AIX and customers no longer have the right to use AIX software"
#"If you just drag this out in a typical litigation path, where it takes years and years to settle anything, and in the meantime you have all this uncertainty clouding over the market..."
#"Users are running systems that have basically pirated software inside, or stolen software inside of their systems, they have liability." [cite web |url=http://www.groklaw.net/quotes/showperson.phtml?pid=1 |title=Show Person |last=McBride |first=Darl |accessdate=2006-12-30]

The campaign evidently worked, as SCO stock skyrocketed from under $3 a share to over $20 in a matter of weeks in 2003. (It later dropped to around [cite web |url=http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=SCOX&a=03&b=21&c=2002&d=11&e=01&f=2006&g=m |title=SCOX: Historical Prices for SCO GRP INC (THE) |publisher=Yahoo! Finance] $1.20—then crashed to under 50 cents on August 13, 2007 in the aftermath of a ruling that Novell owns the UNIX copyrights). [ cite web|url=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070813-investors-bailing-on-sco-stock-scox-plummets.html|title=Investors bailing on SCO stock, SCOX plummets|publisher=arstechnica]

Gaming industry

Video game consoles manufacturers in console wars uses FUD to promote their systems and convince consumers which console is better. A classic was a SEGA marketing campaign with the slogan "Genesis does what Nintendont". [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-2BabwHac8 YouTube - Genesis does what Nintendon't ] ]

In recent years, Microsoft and Sony have become major FUD-spreaders in the gaming press attacking each other with impact and misleading declarations about market scenario, hardware reliability and sales. [ [http://kotaku.com/388781/aaron-greenberg-goes-berserk-bites-sony-in-the-face Microsoft: Aaron Greenberg Goes Berserk, Bites Sony In The Face ] ] [ [http://www.joystiq.com/2007/01/19/ps3s-europe-launch-all-fud-up/ PS3's Europe launch all FUD up - Joystiq ] ]

Security industry and profession

FUD is also widely recognized as a tactic used to promote the sale or implementation of security products and measures. The drawback to the FUD tactic in this context is that, when the stated or implied threats fail to materialize over time, the customer or decision-maker frequently reacts by withdrawing budgeting or support from future security initiatives. [cite web |url=http://www.csoonline.com/article/217983/The_FUD_Factor |title=The FUD Factor |work=csoonline.com]

Non-computer uses

FUD is now often used in non-computer contexts with the same meaning. For example, in politics one side can accuse the other of using FUD to obscure the issues. For example, critics of George W. Bush accused Bush's supporters, most notably the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, of using a FUD-based campaign in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. [cite web |url=http://www.goesping.org/archives/2004/10/30/the-anti-kerry-fud/ |title=The Anti-Kerry FUD |work=The Blog That Goes Ping |date=2004-10-30 |accessdate=2006-12-30]

According to some commentators, examples of political FUD are: “domino theory,” "electronic Pearl Harbor," and “weapons of mass destruction” [cite web |url=http://thebulletin.metapress.com/content/96535n2426g5r807/fulltext.pdf |title=Dirty Bomber? Dirty Justice |work=Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol 60, no 1, p. 60 |date=2004-01 |accessdate=2007-05-14]

ee also

*Appeal to fear
*Embrace, extend and extinguish
*Tin foil hat
*Dihydrogen monoxide hoax

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.libervis.com/x/modules/mylinks/ FUDZilla] (archived project on Libervis)
* [http://www.cavcomp.demon.co.uk/halloween/fuddef.html FUD] (or the original page on the [http://web.archive.org/web/20020611090853/%68ttp://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Hills/9267/fuddef.html Internet Archive] )
* [http://fud-counter.nl.linux.org/fud-faq.html The FUD FAQ] (particularly as applied to the Linux operating system and the modern-day open source software movement)
* A Brief History of a [http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/57261/index.html Microsoft FUD]
* [http://getthefudge.com Get the FUDge] - A collection of counter Microsoft FUD
* [http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/IT-FUD-blog/ FUD and IT Blog on Computer Weekly]

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