Bonum Certa Men Certa

Another Example of IDC Giving Bogus (Meaningless) Numbers and Mary Jo Foley Failing to Report the News

Arguing with IDG

Summary: Why the impact and market share of GNU/Linux is understated and who is responsible for it

A FEW days ago we showed a Microsoft employee stating the obvious by saying that "Mary Jo does not [do real journalism] and that's why she gets interviews at Microsoft" and on about a dozen of occasions we've explained why IDC's numbers regarding GNU/Linux are meaningless and deceiving by design (IDC lies in many other areas, but just that's how it makes money after all, by selling bias). IDG's IDC is the Fox News of IT and even its own staff is admitting that they cheat or make claims up.



Our reader Wayne, whom we hope to have on our show (TechBytes) some time later this month, has just published a rebuttal to this whole nonsense from Microsoft, Mary Jo Foley, and IDC (which Microsoft routinely pays [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). Here are some parts of Wayne's long analysis.

I was pointed at an article on The Unofficial Apple Web Blog titled Xserve End Of Life: Some opinions and ideas about Apple’s server strategy. I read it, and the numbers didn’t make any sense, so I started looking. Steven Sande, writer of the TUAW article got his numbers from an article by Mary Jane Foley at ZDNet titled IDC: Windows Server still rules the server roost. Mary Jane, who should know better by now got her numbers from an IDC (International Data Corporation) Press Release.

Note the chain. Steve, to Mary Jane, to IDC.

[..]

Now it’s quite possible that Windows does have 75.3% of units shipped, that IDC tracked. Most large servers need to be reliable, and therefore they wouldn’t run Windows. If Windows was the primary OS installed on cheap commodity hardware, then the numbers might make sense.

Curiously the IDC study doesn’t cover servers shipped without an installed Operating System. There are a lot of companies that have an OS that they’ve tuned specifically for their requirements, either on their own, or using a company like Red Hat or Novell. And that’s another issue. Red Hat and Novell are two of the largest Linux Server Operating System vendors. They aren’t mentioned in the report. Why not? A quick look at Red Hat’s latest 10K filing with the American Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Red Hat booked revenues of $748 Million American Dollars!

Now this really puts ia different spin on things. Total sales of servers with a Microsoft Windows Server variant were reported as $5.1 Billion for Q1-2010. The IDC report says that sales of servers with Microsoft Windows Servers installed for Q4-2009 were $5.4 Billion. Let’s make a rash assumption – sales of servers with Microsoft Windows Server installed came to about $22.0 Billion for a full year.

[...]

OK, so let’s compare Red Hat to Microsoft. First off, Red Hat doesn’t sell Client Access Licenses. They don’t even really sell their software, they sell support contracts for it. So a direct comparison is hard to make, but Red Hat support for one year, with unlimited users, is less expensive than Microsoft Windows 2008R2 with only five users. And after the year is up, you can keep running your Red Hat system. Oh, Red Hat would rather that you continue to pay support, and using their support means you could probably employ a smaller IT staff, so it’s probably still less expensive to use Red Hat.

But Red Hat is probably installed on more systems than Microsoft Windows Server, based on the company’s own numbers.

Hold on – it get’s better still. Have you ever heard of CENT-OS (short for The Community ENTerprise Operating System)? CENT-OS is a totally open and free version of Red Hat. Yes, you heard me right. Free. As in Beer. No Cost. Estimates I have seen (which may or may not be accurate) say that CENT-OS is probably used on ten times as many servers as Red Hat!

So let’s see – someone is saying that Microsoft holds 75.3% of the server market by units shipped? How could this be?

Simple. IDC is only recording some of the data. Some of it, such as the number of White Box (generic hardware, assembled by smaller players in the server market) servers probably isn’t available to them. Some of it, they may be ignoring. It’s curious that all of the big server manufacturers offer bare servers (no operating system), but IDC didn’t provide any numbers for bare servers. IDC has been around a long time. They know about bare servers, so rather than curious I’d say that their ignoring them is down right suspicious.


Microsoft's monopoly continues to depend (to a certain degree) on a lot of lies and alternation of perceptions. On some occasion 2 years ago Steve Ballmer admitted that “60 percent [of servers] run Linux...”

Mary Jo Foley and the likes of her should spend less time parroting Microsoft-funded entities and actually do the research (or ensure its validity). In the world of academia they would get an "F".

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