by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
damn lies, linux, servers, statistics


Microsoft's Comparison To Linux In The Server Market Conveniently Leaves Out Free

from the let-me-write-the-definitions... dept

If you get to define a "market" you can create all sorts of misleading results. Take, for example, this recent blog post from Microsoft, where it tried to show off just how big the company was using a variety of numbers. Thankfully, Charles Arthur, over at The Guardian went through the numbers in greater detail to point out where and how they were misleading. One example, highlighted by Glyn Moody is the claims of Linux server market share, and how it supposedly "failed" to live up to expectations. Here's what Microsoft had in its blog post (which I recreated by hand, because, as Arthur notes, Microsoft's HTML is full of ridiculous crap):
Linux Server market share in 2005. [source]

Predicted Linux Server market share for 2007 (made in 2005). [source]

Actual Linux Server market share, Q4 2009. [source]
Now, this might strikes some of you as not sounding right. After all, most of have have noticed that Linux servers seem to be pretty damn common throughout the world. Most of the biggest online companies in the world use Linux, and it's difficult to think of an online startup that doesn't use Linux. Charles Arthur breaks down how incredibly misleading this is:
This is a really interesting one, because it is a distortion of reality that would have Steve Jobs applauding at its subtlety. You look at those numbers and think: wow, Linux servers really aren't popular. How odd, because you'll notice that you come across Linux servers all over the place: Google, Facebook (which runs F5's Big IP, which is Linux), Yahoo, Amazon, (which hosts millions of blogs), Twitter... so why such a small number? (The only major site I could quickly find that runs Windows Server is eBay.)

Answer: because those "market share" figures are for Linux server licences sold. Microsoft doesn't count them - and because the market research companies can't count them - if money doesn't change hands. True, this indicates that companies selling Linux servers (principally hardware) aren't making headway against Windows Server. But what it doesn't tell you is what progress Linux is making overall on the web. For that, you need Netcraft. And that suggests that Linux has a really big market share.
In other words, to make these numbers come out this way, Microsoft is pretending that "free" Linux servers are not competitors. This is a silly sort of willful blindness. Obviously, free Linux is a huge competitor to Microsoft's servers, and widely used in place of it. To ignore those numbers to try to suggest Linux has less marketshare is to deny reality.

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  1. icon
    vivaelamor (profile), 1 Jul 2010 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    '"the internet community thing is still pretty young, companies made their software choices in the past when linux was not a very good business option, and those companies continue down the path they have chosen". when the companies were making the choice, there was not a strong online community to support this stuff, and still to this day, while there is a strong community, it is often filled with people who dont have answers.'

    Support wise, the key difference between Linux and its closed source competitors is that Linux has public bug trackers and source repositories. Why you put more faith in people who are paid to deceive you than those who are committed to open development boggles the mind.

    "business people like their answers quickly and from an authoritative source. upper management isnt thrilled by "bob on the internet said we should...". they want to know that someone from a company they trust is on the job."

    Do you have a red phone marked 'Steve Ballmer' or something? I ask because the chances of getting an answer from an authoritative source via the normal channels as a Microsoft customer seems slim to none.

    "so again, while the internet thing might be cool right now, as little as a few years ago it sucked horribly. businesses do not change their operating systems and environments every year, nor do they do it lightly."

    That's hardly a point in closed source's favour. Famously, when Office 2000 reached end of support, Microsoft accidentally deleted all of the service packs. Of course, it's not actually lawful for anyone else to distribute them and Microsoft couldn't care less, they didn't even bother updating the broken links.

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