Earlier this month the Redmond, Wash.-based software company launched a new advertising campaign, referred to as "Get the Facts," which is designed to give customers information about the advantages of using its Windows operating system versus Linux, its open-source competitor.
Building on that campaign, Orlando Ayala, the senior vice president for Microsofts small and midmarket solutions and partner group, sent an e-mail to all his staff late Wednesday night, telling them that "there continues to be a great deal of noise in the marketplace about the growth of Linux."
He went on to urge them to "separate hype from reality and make sure we work to understand what is really happening in the industry."
In the e-mail, seen by eWEEK, Ayala pointed his staff to a study entitled "An assessment of server operating system deployment share and preference share among Value-added Providers (VAPs)," by Management Insights Technologies.
The study, commissioned and paid for by Microsoft, surveyed some 1,700 value added providers. Those VAPs surveyed included an international assortment of network integrators, application integrators, PC builders, ISVs and custom software developers from the U.S., Brazil, U.K., France, Germany, Australia and China.
The survey found flat deployment of Linux among small and medium VAPs over the past year and likely usage for the coming year. "Linux deployment share among VAPs experienced its most significant growth between 2001 and 2002, increasing from 6 percent to 12 percent, mostly at the expense of Windows desktop operating systems being used as servers," the Management Insight study said.
But Linux deployment share growth had slowed, and was unchanged between 2002 and 2003, the study went on to say, adding that VAPs forecast that Linux deployment share would remain virtually unchanged over the next year, growing slightly from 12 percent to 13 percent of server deployments.
The survey also noted that the share of Windows Server deployments had only risen by a percent to 75 percent between 2002 and 2003. But if Windows desktop operating systems used as servers were excluded, deployments grew by 8 percent last year—a fact Ayala pointed out in his e-mail.
"VAPs also indicated a significant preference shift towards Windows Server 2003 over the past year—a good leading indicator of future deployments," Ayala said in his e-mail.
However, Microsofts plan to provide customers with "objective third-party research and facts," most of which is paid for or sponsored by Microsoft itself, has not always been that well-received.
In fact, after Forrester Researchs Giga Information Group unit went public in September with a research study that was paid for by Microsoft and found that Microsoft offered a cost advantage over J2EE/Linux as a development platform for certain portal-type applications, the research firm later said it would no longer publicize any similar future studies.