I originally posted this as a comment on John's blog:
I must have missed the backlash this time, but I understand the scorn over Zend's marketing statements. In my opinion, the concern has more to do with the lack of credit given to Rasmus than anything else. When Rasmus is referenced as the creator of PHP, no one objects, nor do they seem to consider it to be hoarding credit from the many contributors to PHP.
Ask a mod_perl developer who created mod_perl, and they'll tell you Doug MacEachern. Ask them who the core mod_perl developers are now, and they'll name people like Stas Bekman and Geoff Young. Doug no longer contributes, but no one else can ever truly claim creation.
Andi and Zeev have made substantial contributions, and it's very likely that PHP would never have reached its current level of excellence without their early involvement. It is understandable for Zend to trumpet their founders' involvement with the language. However, I think there would be far fewer objections if Zend's marketing statements at least shared credit for the creation of the language. I personally think it makes sense for Zend to position itself as a company with key PHP creators and innovators as founders. We all know Andi and Zeev, and we know how substantial their involvement is. For the average company executive, however, they're lucky to have heard of PHP. Zend's marketing tries to make Andi and Zeev's roles sound as significant as they are.
I'm very glad to hear that they have intervened and will be toning down these statements. As for Zend calling itself "The PHP Company," I don't see a problem with that at all. It's no different than Xerox calling itself "The Document Company." It suggests a particular focus, and it's a marketing attempt to position itself as the only or paramount one of its kind. I could say I wrote "the book" on HTTP, and I think that's fine, even though there are others. :-)