by Henry Farrell on September 9, 2003

Why is it, that when I see a “headline”:http://www.nytimes.com/cnet/CNET_2100-1016_3-5072973.html like “Study: Windows Cheaper than Linux,” I can expect with near 100% certainty to see the words “Microsoft commissioned” in the text of the article?



Mark 09.09.03 at 11:18 am

Jeez, Henry, don’t you know that Linux stifles competition and innovation?

This just in — cigarettes don’t cause cancer, people cause cancer.


Barry 09.09.03 at 3:17 pm

For the same reason that the Tobacco Institute’s name pops up, or whatever institute the coal industry sponsors.


Gil 09.09.03 at 5:48 pm

Could it be that it’s because you’re aware if it’s true, then nobody but Microsoft has a financial interest in making people aware of it?

Is your point that all of these studies are completely worthless and completely determined by the wishes of the sponsors? Or does that just apply to Microsoft commissioned studies?


Barry 09.09.03 at 6:38 pm

Actually, consulting firms might well have a financial advantage in doing so. If the conventional wisdom was that free software was cheaper, competantly determining that that wasn’t true might be a nice advertisement for consulting/analysis services.

For example, there was at least one study done in the mid 90’s or so, which found out that the total cost of corporate ownership of Mac’s was less than that of PC, due to reduced training, tech support and employees spending time bailing each other out of trouble. It violated the conventional wisdom.
(Of course, it had no apparent effect on the market place)


Loren 09.09.03 at 7:08 pm

The microsoft-funded study also fails to account for the long-term costs of cavorting with evil:



Tom Runnacles 09.09.03 at 10:22 pm

To shift perspective a little, the other battle is Linux vs various brands of proprietary Unix on the server side. A lot of big Solaris customers are moving over to Linux, partly for licensing cost reasons, partly because they get so many more hardware choices on that platform. (IBM have been very smart in exploiting that source of motivation.)

On the desktop – dunno. Quantifying TCO is very tough when considering the productivity of non-techie users who have to move over to KDE or Gnome. I think Ximian’s effort at producing a really nice desktop environment will help a lot here; and the fact that their mail client can be set up to expose a clean interface to Exchange Server is a real threat to MS.


Mac Panther 09.09.03 at 10:23 pm

The University of Virginia just bought 1100 Apple G5s to make a super-computer cluster out of. They chose PPC970 Macs over Intel Itaniums running Windows or Linux, AMD Opterons running Windows or Linux, and SPARC machines running Solaris because the Macs were half the total cost (the whole shebang, not just hardware cost) of the cheapest competitor.

Now, granted, super-computing is a different game, but that’s real-world results.


Robert Schwartz 09.10.03 at 3:23 pm

From an article in The Register (Biting the Hand that Feeds IT) titled MS’ Linux obsession – time to call in the shrinks:

If we were talking about a person, successful and perfectly normal apart from a compulsion to prove they’re better than another, particular, person then we’d regard it as a case for analysis, right? If you’re that secure in your success then you’re confident, cool about rivals, you don’t go on about them like that. Basically, this Linux stuff shows that Microsoft is going corporately nuts.

You Should read The Register more often. It is very snarky.

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