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Disinformation on the Rise, Shameless Linux FUD Makes a Comeback

The number of targeted attacks on Linux definitely seem to be rising. The usual suspects, so-called 'analysts' who have hidden ties with Microsoft, are constantly taking a hit at Linux. They take turns, so to speak.

"In general, IDC, where Al Gillen takes the lead, does a lot of business with Microsoft."Days ago, a headline appeared which simply says that Linux is losing to Windows. Losing where? Where is the proof? A closer look revealed that Al Gillen, who is a friend of Microsoft, spread some selective and fairly meaningless statistics (as in "lies, damn lies, and statistics"). His connection with Microsoft is explained in The Register, among other places.

In general, IDC, where Al Gillen takes the lead, does a lot of business with Microsoft. Examples include the story cited above.

Part of the problem stems from the reticence of companies such as IDC and Gartner to reveal their clients. That should make everyone nervous, but it doesn't. So called objective technology publications keep publishing material bought by vendors without telling you this.


Consider this Microsoft-commissioned study from IDC which implicitly pronounces Linux unimportant to European economy.

A recent IDC white paper on the economic impact of Microsoft's super soaraway new Vista operating system seems to be lacking one crucial ingredient -- other operating systems.


More about this here:

While reviewers debate the merits of Windows Vista and analysts puzzle the over the pace of adoption, IDC and Microsoft are in little doubt over its impact for the economies of America's 50 states.

To date, IDC has estimated Windows Vista will create 37,000 new jobs and generate $15.5bn in related products and services across just four US states.


We all know how Vista ended up, don't we? Last week it was reported that Vista sales had even slowed down. More on IDC's promise and flawed (paid-for) prediction here (page now expired):

The study, conducted by research firm IDC and commissioned by Microsoft, said Windows Vista will be installed on over 30 million personal computers in Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom within the first year of shipment.


I suspect that the following 'smoking gun' incident [PDF], which was highlighted by Comes vs Microsoft solicitors in Iowa, actually involved IDC.

[Microsoft manager:] I don't like the fact that the report show us losing on TCO on webservers. I don't like the fact that the report show us losing on availability [windows was down more than linux]. And I don't like the fact that the reports says nothing new is coming with windows .net server.

[...]

I don't like it to be public on the doc that we sponsored it because I don't think the outcome is as favorable as we had hoped. I just don't like competitors using it as ammo against us. It is easier if it doesn't mention that we sponsored it.


How about Microsoft paying IDC for a 'study' on OOXML? There you have it:

Today, Microsoft made available an IDC study about so-called open desktop file formats. It's yet another Microsoft propaganda effort, as a crucial format standards vote approaches.


More here:

This study is a fact-based analysis of the emerging open document standards, Open XML and ODF.


If only it involved just "facts".

Remember Dell's gentle steps into the Linux world? There will always be some entity like IDC around to discourage Dell. Consider this:

Dell's refusal to sell Ubuntu machines to small businesses makes sense, because those customers typically want PCs that let them get to work right away. "It makes sense because the assumption is they want everything to work right out of the box," Richard Shim, analyst for IDC, said. "With something like Ubuntu, it's going to require some tinkering."


Guess what? Dell began selling Linux to small business only weeks later.

The iPhone was another threat to Microsoft because of Windows Mobile. Neither Steve Ballmer nor IDC could keep their mouth shut. They had to speak out about the iPhone's impending failure, even before its release.

IDC has poured cold water on Apple's iPhone just days after a previous survey led M:Metrics to talk up the new entry to the cellphone stakes. But are the new numbers sound?

[...]

The most obvious difference is in the sample size. M:Metrics had 11,060 respondents, IDC just 456. The sample space was also different, with M:Metrics apparently sampling from mobile phone subscribers, while IDC looked at online mobile phone shoppers.


Who had the last laugh? Apple or IDC?

In general, the problem that we face here is explained well in the following article.

It's often difficult to figure out the motivation behind a particular study - until one finds out who has commissioned and paid for it. The so-called tech consulting companies would love it if the consumer believes that they have conducted an "independent" study. The worrying thing is that not many people blow their cover.


Microsoft Watch adds:

Research firms aren't in the business of giving away information to the news media, but selling it to clients. The information provided to the press should be incomplete.


I have many references to show similar connections between Gartner and Microsoft. The same goes for NPD and Jupiter (among others) since the evidence is out there for all to see. Analysts are motivated by those who pay for research, so they should be trusted only with a barrel of salt.

In the case of Linux, this is a brainwash/stereotype/FUD/propaganda campaign that has gone on for many years. It's part of the old tactic which is to use so-called 'independent' analysts to spread FUD and/or praise Microsoft.

A shocking antitrust exhibit [PDF], called “Evangelism is War” (from Comes v. Microsoft). It is damning proof of the fact that Microsoft hires analysts that should appear as 'independent' as possible and then have them attack the opposition while praising Microsoft.

They tried this with another so-called analyst (Garternberg), who is very senior. What he did not reveal to the press is the fact that he is former Microsoft evangelist. A few weeks ago he used his 'analyst' hat to write about "Linux not being ready for the desktop". It's preferable not to link directly to a story of those that bait/crave attention to spread FUD, but here is a good rebuttal. Sadly, even reasonable rebuttals could not reach an audience large enough to catch up with the spreading of this 'article' in many tubes of the press. It must not be forgotten that Microsoft has many relationships with journalists (that's a story for another day), so it's merely an exercise in string-pulling.

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