Questions Dog Microsoft on Linux Studies

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-10-07
Some researchers are questioning whether to tout vendor-commissioned studies. But thats not stopping Microsoft from relying on them in its war against open source.

Martin Taylor, Microsoft platform strategist, is undaunted and unbowed. On Tuesday, Taylor and his team released the findings of yet another study commissioned by Microsoft that is intended to help the company in its fight against Linux and open-source software. This time, the study – designed to compare the deployment time required by Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 vs. Red Hat Linux Enterprise Server 2.1 – was performed by long-time Microsoft certification and test partner Veritest, a division of Lionbridge Technologies Inc. Not surprisingly, Microsoft triumphs in the October report.

What is surprising is Microsofts timing in deciding to go public with the Veritest results. At the end of last week, Forrester Research, a Cambridge, Mass.-based market researcher, issued a statement expressing regret for its decision to allow Microsoft to publicize the results of a .Net/Windows vs. J2EE/Unix study that the researcher performed under contract with Microsoft.

ZIFFIMAGE id="28571" notable nopopup nocaption align="center">Interested in the Microsoft-Backed Forrester Study? Heres more of the study.>

"Recently, in two isolated and unrelated cases, we conducted privately sponsored studies for two vendor clients. We stand by the integrity of both studies. However, we erred in allowing those clients to publicize the research findings," reads the Forrester statement published on its Web site. Consequently, "the company will no longer accept projects that involve paid-for, publicized product comparisons."

Taylor says that despite Forresters decision, he plans to continue to make good on his strategy to provide more research and statistics to help customers evaluate Windows vs. the competition.

"Forrester made a business decision on their part," Taylor says. "But they might be surprised that customers want these facts. I have not heard one customer saying, please dont use this."

Taylor says he is well aware that it could become increasingly difficult for Microsoft to find third-party research organizations willing to be linked to the kind of studies Microsoft is interested in funding.

For the full story on Microsoft Watch, click here.

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