Why does Microsoft Need a Get the Facts Campaign?

by Tom Adelstein

Related link: http://digg.com/linux_unix/Linux_News_Questions_Microsoft_s_Need_for_a_

If you offer a superior product then why would they need a "Get the Facts" campaign? I thought it was a cardinal rule in marketing not to name your competitor. But, Redmond's most famous computer technology firm has learned that buyers make decisions based on who else uses a product. They know decision makers will say to themselves, if Rayovac uses it, then it must be good enough.

So what do you see? Just about any time a major publication runs a story about Linux, Microsoft gets them to place a "Get the Facts" advertisements nearby and often right in the middle of the story. That seems pretty suspect to me.

Do you ever wonder if publications run Linux stories just to get a little of Microsoft's ad money? Great business model:
Linux developer writes article about great Linux feature. A magazine publishes it. Then, Microsoft buys a "Get the Facts" add. Then the publisher pays the Linux developer. Everyone wins!

Too many studies on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Windows versus Linux have arrived at vastly different conclusions.

People with experience in polling know that you can take a premise and form it into a question and survey on that. If you change the premise and form another question you can survey again and you will get a different answer.

For instance, one survey asks participants about a complete rollout of Linux versus Windows in existing Windows shops. I wouldn't even make such a radical change in an organization's infrastructure. So take that premise, form a question and survey participants and you will get a result favoring Microsoft, unless you just got raided by the BSA.

It seems like the Boyz in Redmond are all over 40 now. So, I 'm wondering why they don't just settled down and make some software instead of worrying about Linux. Personally, I hate those ads, they can mess up a nice web page.



2005-11-17 06:01:59
O'Reilly !!
I take it you didn't see O'Reilly's mainpage this morning. Here's my take on it along with the screen caps: http://blogs.caseysoftware.com/
2005-11-17 08:32:14
Everybody wins
I know you were probably being sarcastic with your "everybody wins" statement, but that isn't too far from the truth. And, actually, as other companies fail to switch to [insert excellent but not widely adopted technology here], that becomes the competitive advantage of companies who have switched. So, in a sense, you could encorage folks to adopt an inferior technology to boost your own competitive advantage.

I think it's pretty obvious, though, that MS considers Linux a very real danger to their market stronghold. They are afraid.

2005-11-17 14:24:50
Weird comparisons in the research
As in politics, the battle over truth in this type of research is usually won by the biggest spender. Microsoft can continue this propaganda indefinitely, as it is relatively cheaper than restructuring its server software business model.

For any who are interested, I've posted some of the weird comparisons these studies make to bolster Microsoft's position -- in my blog (www.tonybove.com/getoffmicrosoft).