Bonum Certa Men Certa

IDG's (IDC) Research So Bad Even Its Own People Complain About Its Output (Updated)

Arguing with IDG



Summary: Glyn Moody criticises the study from IDC, even though he writes for IDG (which owns IDC)

A few months ago when IDC and BSA issued their annual propaganda for the RIAA/MPAA/others we received a comment from an alleged IDC member of staff who admitted the figures were made up. Glyn Moody, who writes for IDG, has a new post where his headlines mainly puts blame on BSA (not a real company, just a front) rather than IDC which gives the BSA the lies it requires for its propaganda and lobbying that benefits Microsoft.



From Moody's post:

One important factor is that proprietary software is mainly produced by US companies. So moving to licensed software will tend to move profits and jobs *out* of local, non-US economies. Taxes may be paid on that licensed software, but remember that Microsoft, for example, minimises its tax bill in most European countries by locating its EU headquarters in Ireland, which has a particularly low corporate tax rate...

[...]

So although the IDC numbers turn out to be reasonable enough, the conclusions drawn from them are not. Reducing software piracy will not magically conjure up those hundreds of billions of dollars of economic growth that the BSA invokes, or create huge numbers of new jobs: it will simply move the money around – in fact, it will simply send more of it *outside* local economies to the US, and reduce the local employment. And it certainly won't do anything to ameliorate the quotidian problems of poorly-written software...


Moody says that "IDC numbers turn out to be reasonable enough," but there is a conflict of interest here. Other critics of such studies have a very different opinion on IDC's role and these critics are not associated with IDG. Nonetheless, it speaks volumes about the credibility of IDG. Anonymously, its staff blows the whistle.

“I feel like I have worked hard to comply with the agreement. It said you must avoid any conflict of interest or the perception of a conflict of interest. It's hard to control that last part. Perception of a conflict of interest could be anything.”

--Dwight Murphy



Update: Moody has asked to clarify his position, claiming that this is a misreading of his piece. In his defence he argues:

I wrote: "So although the IDC numbers turn out to be reasonable enough, the conclusions drawn from them are not."

As the rest of the piece made abundantly clear, those conclusions were IDC's, and I was firmly laying the blame at their door:

"Since 2002, IDC has conducted research with BSA on the economic benefits of lowering piracy – in terms of additional jobs, new local revenues and additional taxes generated. These studies have shown that the benefits to local governments are more significant than just replacing unlicensed software with licensed software.

One thing that is always omitted in these analyses is the fact that the money *not* paid for software licences does not disappear, but is almost certainly spent elsewhere in the economy (I doubt whether people are banking all these "savings" that they are not even aware of.) As a result, it too creates jobs, local revenues and taxes."


and

"IDC also suggests two other reasons why unlicensed software costs more than licensed:

Business and consumers waste time and money working with faulty and unsupported software.

For users, using unlicensed software entails not just legal risks, but also security risks


Of course, the idea that "official" software from companies like Microsoft is exempt from such "faults" and "risks" is droll, to say the least: licensed proprietary software is probably plagued with malware and affected by downtime almost as much as unlicensed versions (just ask users...)"


The *whole piece* was about IDC's flawed analysis: how much clearer does it have to be...?

"conflict of interest"? I don't think so.

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