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Al Gillen (IDC) Once Again Throws FUD at Free Software and GNU/Linux

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And Microsoft lets go off unflattering intelligence

Microsoft’s friends at IDC are a serious issue that was discussed here many times before. This post is not a repetition of older evidence but an addition of new examples, one of which is to be found in this article.

Gillen [of IDC] also debunked one oft-touted advantage of open source: access to the source code. In practice, most companies lack the expertise to modify the code so this doesn’t really help, he said. Therefore, The only advantage of open source software is reduced vendor lock-in, Gillen concluded.

This is the most classic Microsoft FUD. Oracle uses it too and Gillen should know better. He probably does. Without going into the technical details of the flawed arguments, it’s worth remembering other recent cases where IDC attacked Free software. Examples include the IDC/BSA tag-team act to make Europe Free software-hostile and the recent suggestion that GNU/Linux has just 13% in servers.

“IDC was routinely hired by Microsoft to perform anti-GNU/Linux studies.”Last year, Peter Galli and Al Gillen tried to give readers the impression that “Linux is [was] Losing to windows.” They spoke about servers in a pseudo (i.e. manufactured) debate.

It was the typical type of lie from eWeek (now bankrupt), where they cited the counting of preinstalls and revenue only. Peter Galli was more recently hired by Microsoft (seems like a ‘reward’ for his work), having spread such lies without any criticism or balancing act.

IDC was routinely hired by Microsoft to perform anti-GNU/Linux studies. In some well-documented court cases, it was also found that they not only counted the wrong thing (on purpose), but they and hid sponsorships or ‘massaged’ the results by bad tweaking of the candidate platforms. Ugly practices, no doubt.

A lot of people just parroted IDC’s latest disinformation, which claimed GNU/Linux had mastered only 13% of servers. They deliberately measured the wrong thing without disclaimers or moderation, as pointed out in this podcast from last year. That who pays the bill also calls the shots and sets the rules. The Linux Foundation proved it. These analysts ‘take turns’, depending on who puts money on the table.

Here is a recent article that questions those figures from IDC, but can it actually deliver the truth?

Let’s take a look at the Linux market. Linux has many things going for it, yet it makes up just 13.4 percent of total server revenue. (Don’t forget, many servers run Linux but don’t generate revenue for vendors.)

This article from last week sheds some light on Microsoft’s reality (Microsoft harvests a lot of data that it keeps private).

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux,” he [Steve Ballmer] said. “How are we doing? Forty is less than 60, so I don’t like it. … We have some work to do.”

Groklaw wrote this about it too: “Remember all the “Get the Facts” nonsense about Windows beating Linux in servers? Here is the truth at last, from Ballmer himself, and it’s exactly what we told you back then too: Linux is 60 percent, Windows only 40, and you heard it from the horse’s mouth.

So there we have it. IDC says 13% (going by Microsoft’s definitions that keep them happy), but at times of frustration Microsoft concedes the truth. In a similar vein, Microsoft lies about and daemonises any competition which it dislikes by describing it as dangerous, monopolistic, or evil. One example of this is Google, which even Yahoo! has begun defending from Microsoft’s lies.

Yahoo joins Google in defending ad deal


“Here’s the bottom line,” Decker wrote late last week. “Yahoo will use this agreement to help us become a stronger competitor in all aspects of online advertising; and Yahoo is not exiting the sponsored search business. We plan to remain a strong player in sponsored search.”


Early on, she takes issue with a statistic thrown around by Microsoft that the deal gives Google 90 percent share of the search-ad market, a statistic that derives from combining the two companies’ individual share. “That’s just plain wrong,” she said. “It’s important to note that the agreement is non-exclusive and gives us the option to ‘backfill’ with Google ads if and when we see fit. The reason we structured the deal this way–rather than a more typical exclusive deal with revenue commitments to us and traffic commitments to Google–was precisely to avoid the issues the critics are raising.”

Microsoft has already tried a variety of other dirty tricks to obstruct Yahoo! and Google collaborations. Here is why, based on the words of a Microsoft fan.

August U.S. search share data shows ugly declines for Microsoft in 2008.

Microsoft also bemoans the dominance of VMware, not just GNU/Linux (on servers and supercomputers). It’s all just Microsoft’s means of being portrayed as an heroic knight fighting to restore competition. How hypocritical.

Here is a new example involving VMware. Microsoft speaks about an “opportunity to democratize virtualization.” The slog against VMware and the bundling are not even being mentioned, but the source of the article should not surprise.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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A Single Comment

  1. Matt Asay said,

    October 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm


    One nit, Roy: Ballmer did *not* say that 60% of *all* servers are Linux. He was talking specifically about those that run web applications, like at Google, Yahoo!, Digg, etc. I sell into a lot of enterprises and though more than half of our installs are on Linux, I can see into other areas of the enterprise and Linux is nowhere near half of installs.

    This isn’t cause for alarm: it means we’ve got a lot of market to clean up.

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