Microsoft Sales Chief: Facts Show that Windows Trumps Linux

Touting 16 third-party analyses-many of them sponsored by Microsoft-Kevin Johnson says the company plans to continue unearthing evidence to help it combat Linux in the coming fiscal year.

REDMOND, Wash.—Microsofts war on Linux isnt about to let up.

The Redmond software vendor plans to step up its "Get the Facts" anti-open-source campaign in the coming year by adding more evidence, in the form of customer case studies and analyst reports, to its arsenal.

Thats what Kevin Johnson, Microsofts group vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and services, told about 300 analysts and members of the media attending Microsofts annual financial analyst meeting here Thursday.

Johnson spent almost all of his 30-minute address focusing on a question many Wall Street analysts have pondered repeatedly: How will Microsoft continue to gain market and mind share against its many open-source competitors?

Johnson used market-research data from third-party firms, as well as from the companys own researchers, to show that Windows is maintaining—and growing—its market share vis-à-vis Linux.

He said the data shows that on the server, Windows and Linux are grabbing market share from Unix and Novell NetWare, rather than from each other. And citing Gartner Group numbers, Johnson said Windows maintained its 96 percent PC desktop market share, compared with Linux with 1.4 percent and the Mac OS with 2.2 percent.

Johnson said Microsoft has a good story to tell when selling against open source on a variety of fronts, including TCO (total cost of ownership), interoperability, security, developer productivity and customer indemnification.

"Theres perceived TCO [advantage] on Linux, but that perception is not reality," Johnson claimed.

Johnson cited the collection of 16 third-party analyses conducted over the past year that Microsoft is touting on its "Get the Facts" Web site as evidence upon which customers are relying in evaluating Linux versus Windows.

He said Microsoft has documented the experiences of 75 customers who have either evaluated or used Linux and have opted for Windows instead. In total, Microsoft has a "pipeline" of 200 or more referenceable customers who are willing to talk about their Windows versus Linux evaluation experiences, he said.

Microsofts Get the Facts campaign hasnt been without controversy, however. A number of industry watchers have noted that Microsoft has sponsored the majority of these studies, thus bringing into question the objectivity of the research. (Johnson specifically noted that of the 16 studies conducted over the past year, the last five were not sponsored by Microsoft.)

And just this week at the OReilly Open Source Convention, one keynoter said vendor lock-in is more of a customer decision maker/breaker in Windows versus Linux evaluations than is TCO.


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