“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
Summary: Forrester’s FOSS-hostile survey leaves many questions unanswered
LIKE ALL businesses, Forrester is being paid by clients for a service, e.g. in order to support some of their claims. It’s better if an argument comes from a supposedly “expert” and/or “independent” source, according to Microsoft
[PDF]. As we mentioned some days ago, Forrester was previously paid by Microsoft to publicly smear GNU/Linux. Forrester analysts make a living this way. Right now they are attacking Free software using the “security” myth and Jack Wallen rightly doesn’t buy it. He raises some of the typical concerns — loopholes for well-designed deception. These are textbook examples.
Let me break it down for you. In two reports done by Forrester (”The State of SMB Software: 2009 and “The State of Enterprise Software: 2009.”) of the 2,227 people polled…
I would like to ask both Forrester and those polled a few questions myself. To Forrester I would ask you:
1. “Who is funding these surveys?”
2. “Do you know anything enough about open source yourself to actually create a fair poll?
3. What’s with the large change between enterprise and SMB in the “very concerned” category?
To those polled I would like to ask:
1. “Have you ever tried open source software?”
2. “How’s the security of your closed-source apps working out for you?”
Another concern, which Wallen leaves out unfortunately, is the bias of the studied population. It is being selected rather than voluntarily invited. Microsoft was previously caught commissioning IDC to ask Microsoft customers about GNU/Linux and then pretend that their views are representative of the population as a whole (see the 5-part Analysts Cartel series [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] as well as some other examples of corrupted analysts like IDC and Gartner getting exposed [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Wallen shrewdly points out that push-polling could easily be applied here. Microsoft does this all the time, e.g. against Google and in favour of the patent deal with Novell. The Microsoft-corrupted ISO did the same thing after very sheer corruption had led to formal complaints from several national bodies.
Whether Microsoft directly sponsored this latest survey from Forrester, it may be extremely hard to tell. Microsoft need not even pay for it directly if it is treated as a favour for which a reward will be granted at a later date. We have concrete examples of that. These are different degrees of bribery and the level of depth makes it profoundly harder to find the culprit. It’s analogous to money laundering and it may related to the previous post about SCO receiving funds despite having no business prospects.
In other interesting news, last week we wrote about the dangers of Vyatta accepting money from a Microsoft ally. Dana Blankenhorn expresses similar concerns right now.
Is Vyatta now part of Microsoft keiretsu?
Citrix, which also owns Xen, the virtualization company, has long-standing links with Microsoft such that open source advocates routinely think of it as being in Microsoft’s orbit. (The illustration above, from Bob Warfield’s Smoothspan blog, illustrates this keiretsu concept in terms of cloud computing.)
The Citrix-Vyatta link, discussed here by Dan Kusnetsky (who also has the good sense to partner with our own Paula Rooney) is a second-order link. That is, Microsoft links to Citrix links to Vyatta. (A litle like Bacon’s own relation to Hitler, as seen on The Daily Show.)
This time, as always, it is highly important to follow the money. █
“They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”
–Robert X. Cringely