From ZDNet: Microsoft:
Linux Is More Of A Threat Than Before
The main gist of this story is that people
are using the threat of a Linux migration to extract better terms from
Microsoft. Nothing new there. But I'm trying to read more critically
now, and a few things really jumped out at me...
"It's definitely more of a threat
than it was," said Nick Barley, director of marketing at Microsoft,
when asked if more businesses are telling Microsoft that they're planning
to migrate to Linux rather than to one of its own operating systems or
applications in the hope of getting a better deal.
Barley wouldn't say how successful this
tactic has been.
Well, it's nice to see that Microsoft is
acknowledging that there's a problem out there.
"It shouldn't be successful if
we have built an appropriate value-based relationships with our customers,
so that they appreciate the extra value that we offer," Barley said,
speaking at a Microsoft event in London. The '20:20 Seminar Series: Microsoft
Windows and Linux' event was billed as an "open and honest technology
discussion" and included speeches from Microsoft executives and independent
Whoa there... I am to believe that
a Microsoft event, with Microsoft executives and "independant parties"
is supposed to be an "open and honest technology discussion"?
Um... sure. Just like I'd expect an IBM event, with IBM
executives and independant parties, to be an open and honest discussion
about the merits of Exchange vs. Notes. Of *course* a vendor is going
to slant things.
Microsoft used Thursday's event to try
and dispel what it called "the myths" surrounding Linux. A key
plank in its argument is that open-source software isn't actually cheaper
in the long run because companies need to spend more on retraining IT staff
who may be experienced in Windows software but not in the open-source arena.
"We asked an audience of 250 or
300 business people today if they thought that Linux was a free option,
and no hands went up," said Nicholas McGrath, head of platform strategy
OK... so much for the "open and
honest" part. And I found the hand-raising exercise encouraging.
*NO* technology option is free. Hardware isn't free, support
takes time, and time is money. Licensing is certainly cheaper. The
retraining costs are a bit of a red herring. Learning Active Directory
didn't require retraining? Learning Windows 2000 server from NT didn't
require training? Going from VB6 to C# was a no-brainer? Every
technology professional has to be forever "training".
Paul Hartigan, chief executive of PharmiWeb
Solutions -- who attended the event as an example of a satisfied Microsoft
customer -- said that he would welcome more visibility regarding Microsoft's
PharmiWeb recently chose to use Visual
Studio .Net rather than J2EE or Eclipse, the open-source, Linux-based tool,
as the development environment for a portal it has build for the healthcare
sector. Hartigan said that the number one reason for making this decision
was that Microsoft was a "one-stop-shop" for PharmiWeb's various
*THAT'S* an example of an "independant
party" at the event? O...K... This customer does illustrate
that there is no single solution that works for everyone. For PharmiWeb,
going with Microsoft made sense for them. And that's good. Choice
in the marketplace is good.
I guess my point in all this is that we
all need to learn to "read between the lines" of stories like
this. Delve into the things that aren't said. Look at who has
a vested interest in an event. Read the fine print. All may
not be as it seems...