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Microsoft’s Numbers a Lot Worse Than IDC Tells

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG, IDC and Microsoft

Summary: If IDC says Windows Server is down 29%, then it is a lot worse in reality and in practice

AS we wrote yesterday, IDC indicates that Microsoft’s server revenue is down 29%, but IDC's numbers are notoriously useless, except perhaps for a relative basis on preinstalled units in particular countries.

It was pleasant to see the following critical comments about IDC’s latest numbers. “How is it measured,” asks one person in ZDNet.

Estimated sales blah blah blah. How do they estimate ? My company buys servers from Dell, after they arrive some get Windows and some get Red Hat Linux. We don’t tell Dell what they are being used for.

All of them come with a Windows image preloaded, which is erased no matter what OS we put on top. Is that counted as a Windows sale ?

If the answer to that question is “yes”, then the estimate (for us) is out by about 75%, since of the ones coming in about 75% are used for linux. What if everyone does that ? What if no one does that ? What is some people do that ?

As Matt Asay has just pointed out:

Microsoft’s Windows Server revenue is down 29 percent. Meanwhile, Novell’s and Red Hat’s Linux businesses are thriving.

These numbers do not tell the whole truth. They were designed to actually flatter Microsoft, so the truth would be a lot worse for Microsoft. Other numbers that are rigged (in Microsoft’s favour) come from Netcraft [1, 2] and from Net Applications [1, 2]. Bias is where money can be made in this business of surveying, otherwise it’s unsustainable charity/voluntarism.

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

“We are not on a path to win against Linux”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft's Platform Group Vice President

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  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 31, 2009 at 11:39 am


    The Firefox stats might give a hint. MSIE *can’t* be uninstalled from WIndows, so where it is, you have Window. Where you have Firefox, you can have anything else. Firefox can be run from modern operating systems and many are running it from Linux, OS X, or BSD.


  2. Karsten said,

    May 31, 2009 at 12:37 pm


    Oh, he prepares his shareholders

    “Well, first let’s start with the basics. It is really a bad economy. Business is tough. People really are being laid off. We had a round we did yesterday. It really is a tough, tough, tough environment. There is no question about it. And I like to characterize, at least for folks at Microsoft, that I don’t actually think what we’re doing – we didn’t go down, and we’re going back up. The economy is kind of resetting over a year, two years, three years, at a lower level. And then we will build from a lower base. And that happened because essentially the world borrowed too much money. The question I got here five years ago, should I go borrow a bunch of money, it’s a prescient question. The world had too much debt, just as a statistic.”

    A different tune than at the Democrats a month earlier where he told an anecdote that tried to hint at an homosexual relationship with Bill Gates (don’t be surprised to find even more gay hinting from Microsoft, that is the way they challenge Apple) and stressed the value of mind and hand (in the middle we find the heart as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis told us) with his typical stereotypes, the brain (gates) and the hand (ballmer), optimism and education overcomes the crisis, reboot the American dream for the next cycle.

    “When I got to Microsoft and we were this tiny little company, we didn’t have the budget to put people up in hotels, so I lived with Bill. And every time I sat down, in every corner, nook and cranny of couches, tables, I’d find these little yellow pieces of paper with Bill’s writing that had a bunch of people’s names and companies’ names and numbers….. So, finally I said to Bill, what is this? He says, Steve, I’m really always worried about whether we’re going to have enough cash to pay people. So, every night I write down everybody who works for us and how much we pay them, and every contract we have and how much it’s worth. I’ve got to count the pennies tightly and that’s why you’re here now.”

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Truly weird. Bill has affluent background and upbringing, so shoestring budget makes little or no sense.

    The quotes about borrowing money are truly telling and we shall find out how Microsoft really operates (financially) some time in the future. Ballmer lobbied very aggressively for the bailout and also checked the bank at the end of 2008. GM is bankrupt already (who would have guessed?) and Ballmer’s dad has background in this industry too. Microsoft lost $18 billion in 1998 but concealed it. A year later an employee blew the whistle on Microsoft fraud.

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