Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Fans Still Spread Microsoft's Lies Against GNU/Linux

Microsoft lies



Summary: Statements from Microsoft that are already confirmed to be incorrect FUD keep surfacing through the Microsoft-faithful crowd

AS Dell (vendor) and analysts have both argued publicly, Microsoft is lying about sales of GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks and their return rates. That's just what Microsoft does to compete -- it lies.



The lies can stick if reiterated endlessly by malicious or unsuspecting "reporters" and a classic example of this involves the measuring of GNU/Linux desktop market share [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

An author who for quite a few months (relatively new) has been promoting Microsoft and bashing competitors in ZDNet UK has just spread Microsoft lies again and Jamie Watson (also a writer for ZDNet UK) rebuts:

Your article states:

would getting the OS for free be enough to tempt them back after the way Linux netbooks came flooding back as returns?

Do you have some valid proof of this unsubstantiated statement, or are you just regurgitating something that you heard or read somewhere once, because it serves the purposes of the Windows-centric world to keep repeating it until it is accepted as fact regardless of validity?


The FUDMeister then makes up some numbers and it backfires when Watson replies again:

Note: I have removed the links from this comment, to stop it from triggering the (very irritating) "spam filter". If you want to read the original quoted articles, they are not difficult to find, just do a search on something terribly complex like "linux netbook returns". The real information is out there, if you are interested enough to bother looking for it.

All right, first, my comment on your article related to the unsubstantiated statement about "Linux netbooks came flooding back as returns". That has nothing to do with whether Windows is more popular than Linux on netbooks, or any possible reasons that might be the case. Of course, if you can't substantiate a blanket statement, it is always a good strategy to change the subject.

Second, if you think there is any relationship between Linux and MacOS X, there is no point in continuing this conversation because one of us doesn't know what we are talking about.

Third, I have personally been told by the CEO of every netbook manufacturer on the entire planet that returns of Linux netbooks have been running at about 10.736% of the return rate of Windows notebooks, but unfortunately they also requested that I not name them. Drat. I guess my "anonymous information" is every bit as valid as is yours. Nice try, though.

Fourth, and most importantly, some direct quotes and relevant information:

- The Register published this quote from Open Source World in August 2009:

Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, said the number of Linux returns are approximately the same as those for Windows netbooks. He categorized the matter of returns as a "non-issue". "They are making something of nothing," he said of Microsoft's claims.

- In an October 2008 interview with Laptop Magazine, the ASUS CEO was asked specifically about Linux/Windows return rates, and said this:

I think the return rate for the Eee PCs are low but I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates.

Ok, but what about the numerous claims that return rates are higher? Well, I found one totally unsubstantiated statement from the Microsoft "Chief Operating Officer" that Linux netbook returns were "like four or five times higher than Windows". No proof. No attribution. No numbers. Honestly, I don't believe a single word that comes out of the mouth of anyone at Microsoft, period. They could tell me that today is Wednesday, and I wouldn't believe it until I checked the calendar. One thing they could say which I might find marginally interesting is the return rate on Vista netbooks, but I am under no delusions that they will ever do that, because the word Vista never passes the lips of anyone from Microsoft.

The only other documented reference to this that I could find was the quote from MIS's Director of U.S. Sales in October 2008 that Linux netbooks were being returned at a rate 4 times higher than Windows netbooks. That sounds pretty convincing, until you find out that when he made that statement, MSI was not even shipping their first Linux-based system, and like everyone else making these statements, he provides no information about where he got that number.

So I say again, if anyone has any clear, concrete proof that netbooks loaded with Linux are, were or will be returned at a significantly higher rate than netbooks loaded with Windows, I would love to see it. I believe that this is nothing more than FUD originally sewn by Microsoft, and since then repeated, blindly, as gospel truth, by various uninformed industry executives, "pundits" and journalists, such as yourself. This is the way Microsoft works. If you state something as "fact", and repeat it often enough, and get your minions to repeat it, even without any proof, it will eventually be generally accepted as "fact".

The real "scandal" in the netbook market was Microsoft forcing manufacturers to use Windows Vista. Even after it was obvious that Vista was a stinking pile of garbage on typical netbook hardware (the primary problems were the Atom CPU and 945/950 graphics), very little was written about it. I personally own three netbooks which came with Vista: an HP 2133 Mini-Note, which was loaded with Vista Buisiness and included an XP Professional "downgrade" DVD; I literally couldn't get it to boot Vista to a stable, usable state, so I ended up trashing Vista and loading XP (but of course Microsoft booked it as a Vista sale). An ASUS N10J that came preloaded with Vista Business and an XP Pro "downgrade" DVD. It will at least boot Vista, but it is so slow and prone to hanging, "White Window of Death" syndrome and various other instability that I only boot that partition when I need to look at something to help someone else. An HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez that came preloaded with Vista Home Premium, and is actually the most "usable" of the three, but then it has an AMD Athlon Neo CPU and Radeon HD graphics, so it doesn't really fit in the classic "netbook" category. Oh, and in addition, when I let it try to install Vista SP2, it thrashes around for a couple of hours and then informs me that the installation failed. Excellent.

The point is, all three of those netbooks, which came with Vista, "should" have been returned as unusable, but in fact have been "saved" and made very useful by having Linux loaded on them. So while we are bandying about unsubstantiated numbers, let me add one more to the mix. My information, which was given directly to me by "a source who asked not to be named", indicates that 36.82% of netbooks which are purchased with Windows, regardless of whether it was XP, Vista or Vista with Lipstick (Windows 7), have in fact been wiped and reloaded with Linux, and thus should be counted as Windows "returns".

By the way, the nice term for "information from a source who asked not to be named" is unsubstantiated rumor. There are other more accurate, but less nice, names for it.

Have a nice day.


The FUD being addressed above came from a source of other FUD, Microsoft's Kevin Turner. One has to watch out for those who take a leading role in propaganda against GNU/Linux. This is done by seeding and disseminating lies. Here is an entirely new FUD piece intended just to smear Linux based on cost (the "TCO" talking point Microsoft always uses). Scroll down to the bottom and see the author's disclosure.

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