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Microsoft's Numbers a Lot Worse Than IDC Tells

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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