One of the things I don’t miss about running a marketing team is worrying about responding to negative press. It’s a lot worse today, now that you not only have to spin less informed beat reporters who frequently troll for page views by misrepresenting competitive nonsense. But also bloggers and Tweeters who make things up say things about the product.

So I thought I’d do everyone a service and translate this response from Palo Alto Networks’ Scott Gainey to Stiennon’s public supposition that PANW and FireEye violate Microsoft’s license agreement by running instances of Windows in their sandbox environment.

I’ll excerpt from Scott’s blog post and provide my translation. Let’s be clear – Scott may or may not have been thinking these things as he was cobbling together his politically correct response. This is what I would be thinking if I were in his shoes.

“Richard Stiennon recently wrote an informative article in Forbes…”

Translation: Oh crap, what is he pronouncing dead this time? Informative? What I meant to say is “…wrote a speculative, click baiting, ambulance chasing pile of nonsense.” But I’m not Nir, so I can’t say stuff like that in public. Instead, I’ll just anonymously send him this eye chart.

“Our solution was simple. Palo Alto Networks licenses every instance of Microsoft software on each WildFire WF-500. There were no shortcuts taken.”

Translation: But clearly he took some shortcuts in his research. Boy, if that guy had done any work, he would have figured out that we have to charge a crapton of money for the on-prem version of the sandbox for this very reason. Those friggin’ pirates at Microsoft. They get paid coming and going. But I understand – how is he supposed to generate page views without poking high-flying public companies?

“Recently, Microsoft notified us of a new licensing model designed for embedded security devices that use virtual instances of Windows. From our perspective, this decision will not impact our existing customers. We are actively engaged with Microsoft to take advantage of this new licensing model that we’ll transition to as soon as agreements are set.”

Translation: I’m not sure if this guy is short our stock or something, but if anything the new licenses will make things more efficient for us from a cost of goods sold standpoint. Win!

I’ll tip my hat to Scott. He presented a well-reasoned case, and didn’t get defensive or emotional about it. I probably would have had to write 10 versions of this thing before I could wring all the venom out. On the other hand, he could have just ignored Stiennon… like FireEye did.

Photo credit: “Tablica do badania wzroku z reklamy Vision Express” originally uploaded by trochim