Open source reputations build brand loyalty

Open source reputations build brand loyalty

Summary: Linux users are more like to go to Ask.Com than Bing. They may be more likely to shout their questions across the cube farm than try Bing.


Let me start today by saying I have tried Microsoft's Bing search engine.

I like it., It's good. Sometimes it's better than Google. (Illustration by Dan Ruby of Chitika, a search-targeted ad agency.)

Yet a search of my personal Web logs would doubtless find that Google still gets my business. This is partly out of loyalty to its open source heritage. All else being equal, reputation tips the balance.

And on the Internet, the most important thing to remember is all things always are equal.

It's not just me. A recent study by Dan Ruby of Chitika found Google has 16% more market share among Linux users than Windows users. That's 78% share on Windows, 94% on Linux.

Linux users are more like to go to Ask.Com than Bing. They may be more likely to shout their questions across the cube farm than try Bing.

What this tells me is that reputation has both positive and negative components. If you see a company as an enemy you may avoid them even if their stuff is better. Had Rupert Murdoch bought Facebook might MySpace have won the market? Maybe.

This holds important lessons for Microsoft. Having a better product may be less important than having a good reputation.

Topics: Software, Google, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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  • Bing might be lower if..

    I continue to use Google on a regular basis, but when setting up PCs and having a Windows update change the search provider to Bing, I get frustrated and have to change it back. I am sure that I have entered a query in there once or twice. I am certain that many people have the same thing going on where they tried to use Google and ended up getting Binged by Microsoft.
    • MS has done that for years

      They always have their PCs shipped with set-ups
      that favor Microsoft products. Always. This is not
      • done that for years

        Which only makes sense; if you sell a product, whose product should you highlight? Duhhh!
  • Or...

    Linux users are will use a lesser product because they have an emotional attachment.

    The facts you've provided don't really support any conclusions - just provide anecdotal evidence of your opinion. I think more evidence is needed before anyone can make a declaritive statement, no?
    • re: Or...

      I've seen it first-hand. MS is making Bing the default search engine on every product they make. That includes IE.

      Since the majority of business is currently using Windows with IE6, that means the majority of employees are using Bing at some point, accidentally or not.

      Linux doesn't have that problem for one very good reason. MS doesn't make applications for Linux.

      Funny story, every person I know goes out of their way to not use Bing. They're not extreme advocates of open source, they're not even MS haters. They just don't like Bing.
      • Pity MS can't fix all the bugs in IE6

        (CSS, PNG compatibility)

        Businesses really need to stay updated in order to remain competitive.

      • That's my point

        I think the reason your acquaintances go out of
        their way not to use Bing has nothing to do with
        the merits of Bing as a search engine. I believe
        it has more to do with the perceived reputation of
        • How About the ACTUAL Reputation of Evil Empire Micro$haft , Dana?

          They're incompetent, viciously anticompetitive and currently run by a stupid bully named "Ballmer".

          I'd say that makes them as beyond redemption as the Limpbaugh Rethuglican Party....
      • RE: Open source reputations build brand loyalty

        If you see a company as an enemy you may avoid them even if their stuff is better. Had Rupert Murdoch bought Facebook might MySpace have won the market? Maybe.<a href=""><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
  • RE: Open source reputations build brand loyalty

    I tried a few queries on Bing and the results sure looked different from Google. The Bing results looked like someone had filtered out some links that weren't Microsoft friendly.

  • Yes, reputations matter to me - a lot.

    I have never tried Bing and won't. I have never used IE and won't.

    I still use XP and Vista, but will at some point go open source.

    I do not like MS (nor Apple) - both dishonest manipulating bullies, and will therefore avoid their products if I can. If Google becomes too arrogant, they will lose me too.

    You have to be free if you can.

    PS. I liken fanboys to prostitutes, and I do not mean users, I mean fanboys.
  • RE: Open source reputations build brand loyalty

    I have tried both google and bing, and the results were way toooo many useless/unrelated responses. Bing even had the weirdness of responding to 'wdc' with the asian websites at the top of the list (actually the whole 1st page). I use yahoo for regular searches and only switch to google when 'I feel lucky' or need to sift through lost of unrelated stuff to find what I am looking for.
  • To each their own, maybe techies = more loyalty

    To joe and jane user, where word of mouth and pre-installation by the company IT staff probably means a bit more than what they did(n't) read in a blog, a tech site or heard in a LUG they're not a part of. Heck, if a java update or a drive by web page offers them Bing, Yahoo, or Apple Cores, they'd probably allow the shiny new toy install with no loyalty playing any part.
  • RE: Open source reputations build brand loyalty

    There's no doubt that many go by reputation, but the reality for most average users is whatever's in front of them. If Google is the first on the list or Bing or Wikipedia or what have you then that's what they'll use. The true nature will be when updates/patches are applied that the vendor (MS) doesn't automatically switch it to their search engine of choice. It's actually happened a couple of times in IE.
  • OR... the notion that the Open Source movement is driven more by Microsoft hatred than anything constructive.

    Hopefully that's not the case, but as @Fark suggested, drawing conclusions from this data is dangerous at best.
    • Microsoft hatred is a problem for Microsoft

      Fans of Microsoft don't see it as a problem. They
      look at "Microsoft haters" the way Democrats look
      at Republicans, and vice versa. As the other
      party. Not worth considering.

      But tech choices don't have to be political
      • MS haters

        Actually there are few MS fan boys (except this web site) , but there are plenty of Linux fan boys who turn it into a religion.

        People who favour MS tend to be older , have lived with IBM , seen many upstarts killed , fundamental changes , remember the pre MS dominance integration issues etc. ie a very practical approach and the thing that comes close to a religion here is the fear of returning to the past and the massive integration issues you get - MS organizations tend to be organizations where users are more powerful then IT so enforcing a setup will be difficult. eg some user will insist on power point so providing open Office will just give an extra environment you need to support.

      • Yes, They DO, Dana - M$FT and Republicans Are Evil, Period Paragraph

        And thus should be PUNISHED.

  • Master Joe Says...

    There was a time when I beleived brand loyalty meant something. However, seeing my bank get taken over by PNC has changed my mind, along with the various other recent events. Where are the Pontiac loyalists now? Where are all of thsoe who were loyal to their local car dealerships, which went out of business now? Where were all of the Adelfia cable loyalists a few eyars ago, when the company went bankrupt? In addition to all of this, I submit another statistic. Since when did 2% of the tech population make a big difference? The fact is, brand loyalty is everywhere. Apple users will defend and use Apple products to the death. Windows users, Outlook users, Exchange users, SQL Server users, Office users, and Visual Studio users are the same. Linux users, however, have one distinctive trait, which is lacking in these other groups. Apple has it, somewhat, but not at all to the same degree. What is that open source community trait you ask? Hate. Open source users, and members of that community, focus so much effort on bashing and attacking Windows. If they took that effort and invested it into improving the open source products taht THEY think are superior, maybe others woudl think they were also. Mud-slinging works, to a degree. However, if all you are preaching is that the other guy's product sucks, outsiders begin to tune you out. They want to hear about YOUR product, and what YOU have to offer. The other guy's product is an opinion. Those people, who you are very likely trying to sell YOUR product to, are probably using the other guy's product. If that is the case, bashing that product is the same as bashing them. If you say that Windows sucks, or that Office is stupid, then you are suggesting that Windows users suck, and that Office users are stupid. That isn't the best sales pitch. Wouldn't you agree? So, to give this a bit of relation to the story, until open source makes up more than 2% of the market, their practices and techniques won't mean much. If you don't believe me, just look where sits in the search engine wars. How often does anyone say ANYTHING about, in relation to Google, Yahoo!, and Bing? Now, with Bing's deal with Wolfram Alpha, they offer even MORE to their users. What is doing to innovate? What is offering to users that is new and exciting and more inclusive? I'm not saying that these are bad things. What I am saying is that these are questions that shoudl be answered, and I don't mean answered with shots fired at Bing, Microsoft, or anyone else, but answers that actually explain WHY people should consider or open source alternatives to the products they are using. What can you offer me in your product? Don't tell me about the products I am currently using. I have my own opinions of them, and am familiar with them. Tell me what YOU can bring to the table, and how YOU can benefit me.

    --Master Joe
    • Grand Master Joe

      I liked your paragraph. I think you made a lot of
      sense. Thanks for contributing it.