Microsoft was apparently upset about articles concerning an open source document standard and its own competing format. Whether the articles concerned ODF (Open Document Format) and Microsoft's competing Open XML is not clear. However, it is clear that Microsoft was not satisified that what was written about its format was accurate and unbiased.
In fact, Microsoft claims that much of the material in Wikipedia was written by people from its bitter rival IBM. In such a case, what should Microsoft have done?
The obvious answer is to contact the Wikipedia editorial staff, put forward its case and seek to have its views recorded. According to Microsoft, this is exactly what it tried to do but failed to get a response from Wikipedia. If this is true, then Microsoft has a right to feel annoyed and Wikipedia failed to act responsibly.
The contention by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales that Microsoft should have written a white paper, post it on another web site and then link to it in Wikipedia discussion forums appears to be a totally inadequate response from Wikipedia. Microsoft's technology is being discussed on the Wikipedia site, therefore the company deserves a share of voice on the site if it feels there are inaccuracies that reflect badly on its technology.
Whatever your views are on Microsoft's document format, in a world where more than 90% of users are using Windows desktops, an encyclopedic resource presenting information on the subject is not complete unless it contains Microsoft's side of the story.
That said, attempting to commission an Australian blogger to edit a Wikipedia article by stealth is very poor form and reflects badly on Microsoft. A company with its massive resources could have got its message across much more effectively simply by using the media as it has often done in the past.
The whole episode has served to highlight weaknesses in the editorial processes of Wikipedia, which many have come to rely on as an accurate source of information. It also highlights what appears to be a growing desperation and sense of paranoia at Microsoft, which obviously feels threatened by the increasing power of the open source movement.