Linux News Questions Microsoft's Need for a "Get the Facts" campaign?

Posted by tadelste on Nov 16, 2005 6:13 AM EDT
Lxer Day Desk; By Tom Adelstein
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LXer Day Desk: 11-16-2005

If Microsoft offers a superior product to Linux then why would they need a "Get the Facts" campaign? Over the years, the Redmond computer technology firm has learned that buyers make decisions based on who else uses a product. They know executives will say to themselves, if Rayovac uses it, then it must be good enough.

So what do you see? Just about any time a major publication runs a story about Linux, Microsoft gets them to place a "Get the Facts" advertisements nearby and often right in the middle of the story. That seems pretty suspect to me.

Do you ever wonder if publications run Linux stories just to garner Microsoft's ad money? Or have you considered that desperate times call for desperate measures? It makes me wonder.


Microsoft's controversial program, "Get the Facts", offers what they call third party white papers and research reports comparing Microsoft and Linux. But we wonder what they really offer? Already aware of a possible ownership bias with Gartner, any reports from them featured on Microsoft's web site raises an eyebrow over here.

Now we get word of a three page report called "Costs and Benefits Still Favor Windows Over Linux Among Midsize Businesses" aimed at priorities of the typical midsize business CIO.

The report, written by Gartner Research Vice President Mika Yamamoto Krammer, opens with the Gartner prediction that Microsoft will remain the dominant server operating systems provider for midsize businesses through 2010 (0.8 probability).

We have also gotten word of a release today showing the findings of comparing two platforms: Windows Server System and Novell Inc.'s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The study supposedly demonstrates evolving business requirements over an extended period of time.

Herbert Thompson of Security Innovations Inc performed the study, funded by Microsoft. Thompson reportedly indicates that neither the study nor its findings are final or conclusive. He states: "The sample, although too small to provide conclusive statistical comparisons, illustrates the methodology and begins to shed light on some key model differences between the platforms."

Microsoft will put it up with other reports such as those comparing Linux running on an IBM mainframe to Windows Servers running on Intel platforms. We consider summaries of analyst studies an unreliable format for decision making because they do not provide enough information. Too many studies on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Windows versus Linux have arrived at vastly different conclusions.

People with experience in polling know that you can take a premise and form it into a question and survey on that. If you change the premise and form another question and survey again, you will get a different answer.

For example, one survey asks participants about a complete rollout of Linux versus Windows in existing Windows shops. I wouldn't even make such a radical change in an organization's infrastructure. So take that premise, form a question and survey participants and you will get a result favoring Microsoft, unless you just got raided by the BSA.

Who Believes This Propaganda?

For one, my local technology writer at the Dallas Morning News. At lunch, he told me about a four day trip to Redmond. He explained how he got some "royal treatment" and how Microsoft showed him how they competed against Linux. According to him, they run lots of tests, show the journalists new products, arrange interviews and then explain how Microsoft runs so much better than Linux.

I should have known where he placed his loyalties when he said if you mention Linux people's eyes glaze over. Actually, his eyes glaze over because he doesn't understand Linux. He doesn't even know his newspaper uses Linux extensively in their operations. He has never run a network operation or data center and I don't believe he knows the difference between a motherboard and a PCI card. I could be mistaken.

Fixations Signal the Beginning of the End

Plenty of Linux users want you to know that technology drew us to Linux. We didn't adopt this platform because we found it less capable than Windows. We didn't adopt this technology because it was unreliable and prone to security risks. We didn't adopt this technology because we love re-booting our servers every few days.

We adopted it because it provides a stable and reliable platform that doesn't cause us many problems. It saves money and we can manage more machines and users with less people and resources. If you prefer shallow, slick advertising to a quality operating system, go for it.

The kind of desperation you see when Microsoft obsesses about Linux indicates they have fears. They spend more money on advertising against Linux than Linux could possibly cost them. In another life some people trained me to observe people's reaction to certain stimuli. One thing I learned: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

To this trained observer, buying Microsoft today could be a bigger mistake than you anticipated.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Funding Linux developers Tim 8 3,819 Nov 18, 2005 8:08 AM
Defying Microsoft's Facts dcparris 3 4,076 Nov 18, 2005 12:42 AM
Ever so close to taking it Microsoft tadelste 2 3,892 Nov 17, 2005 4:44 AM
The genie is out of the bottle mdl 6 4,000 Nov 16, 2005 11:44 AM

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