Devil Mountain 'CTO' exposed as tech hack

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Devil Mountain 'CTO' exposed as tech hack

Windows 7 research now under scrutiny.

The legitimacy of numerous reports analysing Windows performance data and attacking particular Microsoft systems have been called into question.

The reports were produced by a company called Devil Mountain Software and publicised by its chief technology officer, Craig Barth.

However, Barth turns out to be an alias for Randall Kennedy, a reporter for technology news web site InfoWorld.

Barth has since been sacked by the site, but technology sites that published the Devil Mountain research are angry that they have been fooled and doubt whether they should believe any of the Windows claims made by the company at all.

For example, Devil Mountain published research last week claiming to show that Windows 7 PCs use twice as much memory as those running Windows XP.

Devil Mountain claims to produce its research from data derived through the exo.performance.network - a project whereby customers download the firm's DMS Clarity Tracker Agent and are then monitored for Windows desktop and server system performance.

According to its web site the project currently has over 18,000 registered users. However, more suspicion has been raised following investigations suggesting that customers used by Devil Mountain to show off its product actually never installed the application.

InfoWorld has apologised for Kennedy's mistakes, and appears to have stopped plugging the Windows Sentinel software it sold to customers, a clone of the Devil Mountain Clarity Suite.

"Devil Mountain is a business Kennedy established that specialises in the analysis of Windows performance data," said an InfoWorld statement.

"There is no Craig Barth, and Kennedy has stated that this fabrication was a misguided effort to separate himself (or more accurately, his InfoWorld blogger persona) from his Devil Mountain business."

InfoWorld has also pulled all the stories relating to the affair.

Kennedy has attempted to put his side of the story across by commenting on a ZDnet article reporting the scam.

He argued that the editors of InfoWorld knew about his fictional character, and that he resigned from his job rather than being fired. Kennedy also said that his research was reported by Computerworld looking for "an anti-Microsoft angle".

Kennedy said that all the data produced by Devil Mountain was honest, and that he had never lied about his clients, which he said include Intel, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Compaq, Citrix, Dell and VMware.

Kennedy has also posted a defence on his own blog, which accuses Microsoft of blowing his cover because of the latest Windows 7 performance data he published.

"Raw nerves. You know you've hit one when the entity in question practically jumps through the roof to staunch the pain. In my case, the nerve belonged to Microsoft. And true to form, the company spent incalculable political capital, and cashed in more than a few favours, in order to orchestrate the most one-sided smear campaign in the history of IT journalism," he wrote.

"What has been said about me personally, or Devil Mountain as a company, is irrelevant, all de rigueur for the rabid tabloid crowd. Rather, what is disturbing is the timing of it all.

"The parties in question only loosed their dogs after this project, the Exo.Performance.Network, hit a bit too close to home. It was our research into Windows 7 performance that prompted Microsoft to call in its chips.

"And call them in it did, instructing its media cronies to silence me by dragging my name through the mud."

Microsoft could not immediately provide comment.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk
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