Here's an interesting one... :-) ("One what?" I hear you ask... Hello? Anyone there? Hello? :-D )
NodeOne, a Swedish firm that specializes in Drupal, recently did a comparison between Drupal and their main competitor (among others), EPiServer. Well, it's not so much a comparison as a "Drupal is better" thing. It's a marketing piece; quite a good one at that.
The unfavorable comparison ticked off EPiServer. They ran, crying, to their lawyers. Who dashed off a cease-and-desist letter. NodeOne asked a leading marketing law firm to respond. EPiServer's Vice President of European Marketing responded in the comments. I responded. ;-)
Maria, while I have no doubt that your company does consider business ethics, it seems to have lost the thread, so to speak, about not being arrogant. As a result of that lawyer's letter, EPiServer looks both arrogant <i>and</i> defensive!
Over here in the US, companies use their competitors brands against them all the time! (A frequently shown car ad, for instance, disparages Lexus a few times an hour. The ad gets to the very core of Lexus' marketing, including a-not-at-all-hidden insult about people who buy Lexus's cars.) It's up to Lexus to counter that <i>in their marketing</i>, not run to their lawyers to write letters whining about unfair treatment! In the tech field, I'm sure you recall Apple's "I'm a Mac" campaign? That disparaged Microsoft quite eagerly; the comparison wasn't at all vague and it was wasn't at all factual. The only option for Microsoft was to respond in the marketplace (they chose not to, but that's neither here nor there.) NodeOne's comparison wasn't anything like those campaigns.
NodeOne didn't lie - they made a comparison. Understandably, the comparison favors them and Drupal. NodeOne didn't misuse your brand; EPiServer just didn't like the story they told of your products! What they did was perfectly reasonable, absolutely fair and quite good marketing. I especially like the fact that in responding as you did, EPiServer managed to place itself in a very difficult position; now, it can't even respond to NodeOne's comparison decently! It would look like you're whining - a lot. You have a right to protect your brand; you do not have a right to silence your competitors. EPiServer's response makes it look like you're trying to do exactly that. While it's not my job to tell you your's, perhaps EPiServer's managers might want to consider the marketplace the better place to respond to NodeOne, and forgo the lawyer's office when someone says things about you that you don't like?
(Oops. I notice I didn't edit it was well as I should have! Sorry...)
EPiServer doesn't have a basic argument; what they have is a pissy reaction. In trying to prevent further desultory comparison, they proved the weakness of their commercial and ethical positions.
What EPiServer did was whiny. It was a bit stupid; the "optics" just don't work for EPiServer. NodeOne didn't disparage EPiServer's brand, they merely pointed out that NodeOne and Drupal were better. That's called marketing.
Now, Drupal has its fair share of problems; most of them self-inflicted. But devious marketing and whiny lawyers aren't part of them. (Some marketing of Drupal would be an improvement, to be honest!) What I expect, in the near future, is more of this, more of EPiServer's, reaction. As open-source systems reach a technical competence and even a supremacy, the lesser, more arrogant and greedy, firms will respond as EPiServer did: they'll try to disparage not the argument but the person making it. (Why does that sounds familiar? Oh yeah...) It's a common tactic when you don't have an argument why your product or service is better; it's also a favored gambit among those who simply don't have an argument. I don't know EPiServer, but I do know Drupal and I'm somewhat familiar with NodeOne (Johan Falk, a chap who works there, does some great screencasts!) I now know EPiServer a tad better: they're a whiny lot. Their product probably sucks, too. ;-)
If Maria ever reads this, she'll perhaps know why EPiServer's cease-and-desist letter backfired. And perhaps other firms will realize that you can't fight open-source technologies with such moments of whimsy. As I say, we'll see more of that, I think, in the next few years. Even as information technologies changes the world, IT itself is changing. Firms like EPiServer had better get used to that idea - it's their future.