Microsoft kills its 'Get the Facts' anti-Linux site

Microsoft kills its 'Get the Facts' anti-Linux site

Summary: On August 23, Microsoft pulled plug on the "Get the Facts" site, replacing it with a new Windows Server "Compare" site. Why did Microsoft make this move now? And is Compare anything more than "Get the Facts" in sheep's clothing?

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It was a long time in coming. But Microsoft has finally acknowledged that its anti-Linux site had gone past the point of usefulness.

On August 23, Microsoft pulled plug on the "Get the Facts" site, replacing it with a new Windows Server "Compare" site.

The goal of the site is to offer more in-depth information and customer-to-customer opinions about many of the issues IT administrators face," a company spokeswoman said. "It turns out people wanted 3rd party validation in addition to people's experiences making OS purchasing decisions so in addition to customer case studies, research reports that compare platforms the site will also offer guidance around best practices, web casts, etc."

Get the Facts had a long and controversial role in Microsoft's battle against open-source software vendors. Recently, it came to light that Microsoft tried to influence some of the analysts it hired to perform studies in 2002 comparing Windows and Linux to portray Microsoft offerings in a more favorable light. Microsoft's whole policy of sponsoring analysts to conduct studies comparing its products to open-source ones -- which many company observers believed would naturally show Microsoft products and strategies to be superior -- had been a bone of contention since the site launched at the start of this decade.

Why did Microsoft finally do away with "Get the Facts"? Not surprisingly, there are no talking points available on that one.Maybe its open-source partners (Novell, Linspire, Xandros, SugarCRM, XenSource, etc.) asked Microsoft to stop fanning the flames. Although there is a "Compare Windows to Linux" tab on the new Compare site, nearly all the material there is targeted specifically at Red Hat -- one of the Linux distributors that is continuing to refuse to sign a patent-protection agreement with Microsoft.

Or perhaps Microsoft agreed to do away with the site in order to regain ground it has lost with the open-source community around its patent-saber rattling? Or to win more friends in its quest to gain Open Source Initiative (OSI) approval for its Shared Source licenses?

It was a little tough to figure out from Microsoft's press statement issued on August 23 that "Get the Facts" was a goner. I heard earlier this year that Microsoft intended to kill off the Get the Facts site. But Microsoft told me, at that time, I should get my facts straight, and that there was no intent to do away with the site.

When I for an official response today, I received the following statement, attributable to Ryan Gavin, director of Platform Strategy:

"Customers have increasingly asked for not only credible 3rd party information from other customers and industry experts, but also for Microsoft's perspective on platform decisions as a key technology partner. Customers want to consume this information in a variety of formats - from short Q&A to more in-depth business cases - from videos and podcasts to research reports. Compare was designed with these requirements in mind - to provide in-depth information about how Windows, Linux, UNIX and Mainframe stack up along key attributes. Given that the /compare site will provide 3rd party information, Get the Facts will be retired as a destination."

So far, the new Compare site looks like it is little more than "Get the Facts" the sequel. I've asked Microsoft whether the company intends to continue to sponsor third-party research studies to use as ammunition on the new site. So far, no word back.

"Microsoft will have some studies that were published on Get The Facts available on the /compare site and it may commission 3rd party research if customers ask for it and there is a need for more information not currently available in existing research," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Open Source

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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54 comments
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  • I had visted the site

    It had some intresting facts. most facts were only relative to business descision makers not IT descision makers.

    I did read their case study of london stock exchange or go daddy one. they had good business analysis.
    Yet as a techinical person I only heard once them actually mentioning .net frame work and It's good performance and it's productivity that brings to developers.
    ericsami
    • The facts of Microsoft OS's and the Network Framework

      Of course they are not going to mention the Net Framework in the context of the OS war. It's hardly efficient or powerful to use software in an essentially Interpreter based (though JIT complied) manner.

      The Net Framework is only essentially for Microsoft. Not the consumer. They need a method to overcome a legacy of software for poorly designed, insecure and generational incompatible Windows Operating System.

      And in a worse case (probable) scenario where Windows fails to catch us with crucial issues (SEE: Vista) then they can use the Net Framework to plug in "control" into other Operating System by merely implementing a Net Framework Client on any Operating System.
      myztry
  • GTF-II

    [i]So far, the new Compare site looks like it it little more than ?Get the Facts? the sequel.[/i]

    We can hope so. GTF was always good for useful quotes.

    The world will be the poorer by some good belly laughs if they aren't available any more.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Foley douments MS dishonesty

      "I heard earlier this year that Microsoft intended to kill off the Get the Facts site. But Microsoft told me, at that time, I should get my facts straight, and that there was no intent to do away with the site."

      I think this is is the most valuable info in this article, and it reflects and documents the level of accuracy and honesty that should be expected from MS public statements.
      dfolk
  • Microsoft is obviously Bias

    Of course Microsoft will have "testamonials" from companies that support microsoft. Seems extremely biased to me.
    DOOMhasCome
    • But not insidious.

      A study which includes a complete description of its procedures and assumptions can be evaluated. And inadequacies in designing or carrying out the study can lead to it being ignored.

      Microsoft's studies included situations in which the company's products were likely to be advantaged. That reduced their value, except in generalizing about the characteristics of situations with Microsoft advantage.

      That may not be sufficient return on investment, but it's fair.


      One problem is when the background information is incomplete. For example, a study of the impact of open-source software availability to schools was conducted by a company advantaged by open source, and had limitations well described in the draft which somehow went unmentioned in the final product.

      The draft was a study. The final report was advocacy.

      If Microsoft were to do something similar, then of course the company would deserve blame.
      Anton Philidor
      • You sound like a politician.

        Speak plain and clear so folks can understand you.

        Fact is, Microsoft LOVES to hide behind 'words'...and apparently you like to as well!
        nomorems
        • What is hard to understand?

          Fact is, people who are so blinded by hate cannot process anything more than the most base of language. You seem to fall into this category.
          BFD
          • my hero

            haha
            DOOMhasCome
      • "If Microsoft were to do something similar"

        If? Oh ho ho my little Martian friend. You are a card.
        odubtaig
      • Brilliant as always, but better too...

        And also very fair and balanced (no (TM), I just didn't want to make up a new English phrase to keep my tongue clean of Fox droppings) in the use of excellent examples on both sides.

        I don't intend any facetiousness here. I'm sure you have about 20 IQ points on me as you can usually defeat my arguments without increasing your respiration rate much less raising a sweat.

        Have my blinders fallen off or are you mellowing?
        Still Lynn
    • And that is different from

      Red Hat, Novell, Apple, Ford, Chevy, Breyers ice cream and every other company in existence how?
      mdemuth
  • Rep asked me to carry the torch...

    My rep asked me to continue fanning the flames of dissent around Open Source at any and all opportunities. I of course accepted and will begin a speaking tour as soon as my rep aligns the dates and participants. The agenda is simple: Open Source is evil, Microsoft is good. Need proof? The WOW of Vista, the power of the Zune and the high quality of the XBOX 360. 'nuff said.
    Mike Cox
    • Just remember, Mike

      [i]Rep asked me to carry the torch...
      My rep asked me to continue fanning the flames[/i]

      1) Hold that torch by the [u]un[/u]lit end, and
      2) There's a difference between fanning the flames and flaming your fanny.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        Thanks for the end of the week belly-laugh, YBK! Good one.
        Confused by religion
    • re:The WOW of Vista, the power of the Zune and the high quality of the XBOX

      The WOW of Vista, the power of the Zune and the high quality of the XBOX 360. 'nuff said.


      The wow of Vista , that is funny , I really didn't hear any WOW's from anyone except yourself Mike .


      The Zune a complete and utter failure .


      The X-Box 360's bursting into flames , what a paradox .


      I give you a 7 for todays parody Mike
      The_Nutty_Zealot
      • Actually once again you are showing your ignorance of facts...

        but then again, look at the name...
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • 10.0 Plus!!!

      'The agenda is simple: Open Source is evil, Microsoft is good. Need proof? The WOW of Vista, the power of the Zune and the high quality of the XBOX 360. 'nuff said."

      I have coffee all over my keyboard! Great One!
      Mike is still the King! Keep reeling them in!
      johnf76@...
    • Lean over and torch me, Mike!

      The WOW of Vista? But Mike, I thought WOW was the result of vertical distortion in the physical medium. Does that only apply to *some* records? (I'm thinking DIGITAL records here, hint, hint, Big Guy) That's too negative, I think. Can't we get a better sounding sound to represent our reactions to "V"?

      More coffee? I feel the need to walk or move about...
      Still Lynn
  • Guess they finally realized it was doing more harm than good....

    When technically competent people see glaring holes in "sponsored studies" it turns them off. Wonder how many went to Linux after visiting the site..
    Basic Logic