Et tu, Fool?

I got the following email from the Motley Fool the other day, here are some excerpts:

The two words Bill Gates doesn't want you to hear...

They spooked the Microsoft founder into early retirement. Now they're going to bring down his empire and make a handful of investors rich.  You can join them -- but you must act now.

Dear Opportunistic Investor,

On October 30, 2005, something incredible happened... In Redmond, Washington, one of the world's richest -- and most powerful -- businessmen sent an urgent memo to his top engineers and most-trusted managers.

It sounded the alarm that a very disruptive "wave" was about to wash over the entire world -- forever changing the way we get information and do business.

It also warned this would wipe out the $300 billion business empire he'd spent his life building.

And that's precisely why the two words "cloud computing" scare the hell out of Bill Gates.  You see, he realizes that thanks to the thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable laid during the late 1990s, the speed of computer networks has finally caught up to the speed of the computer processors.

Buying this tech juggernaut today is like buying Microsoft in 1990...

My point in reprinting this is that the entire email is a sensationalistic message about how cloud computing is going to revolutionize the industry, how you need to subscribe to their newsletter in order to get the three names that you can make a pile of money on, and how Bill Gates was so afraid of this development that he's decided to go into early retirement.

Is it just me, or is this a near perfect example of stock spam? 

  1. It says that the companies contained within are going to take off through the roof.
  2. It says that you have to get in now!
  3. It contains some obfuscation... the names are not in the newsletter but instead you have to subscribe to the service.
  4. But one slight difference -- it borrows from real life by throwing around a credible name (Bill Gates) that acknowledges that cloud computing is the way of the future.

The Motley Fool is supposed to have a reputation that they are on the side of the average investor.  But by publishing stuff like this, I really don't think that they are much different than financial television shows and, dare I say stock spammers, that sensationalize stocks.  Really, I expect better from the Motley Fool.  Stop publishing such nonsense.

Incidentally, their claims about Bill Gates are ridiculous.  To begin with, Gates went into early retirement in order to focus more time and effort on his charitable work through the Gates Foundation, which supports such causes like fighting AIDS and malaria in the 3rd world.  He announced this two years ago and spent that time transitioning out.

Secondly, Microsoft is hardly scared of cloud computing.  We have tons and tons of products that make use of cloud computing.  Heck, the division I work for (Exchange Hosted Services) does cloud computing.  We filter your mail in the cloud, and our archiver stores your mail in the cloud.  Pretty much everyone in senior management believes that cloud computing is going to be extremely important going forward which is why a big part of our fastest growing and cool services, like Sharepoint, Office Live and Live Mesh, are cloud-based components.

Seriously, Motley Fool, do your homework next time.  Microsoft is on the leading edge of Cloud Computing.