United States-based The Middleware Company also claims its agenda is "not to demonstrate that a particular company, product, technology, or approach is 'better' than others".
In a "Research Code of Conduct" statement that exemplifies the lengths research companies go to to allay industry cynicism over vendor-commissioned research, The Middleware Company claims "Simple words such as 'better' or 'faster' are gross and ultimately useless generalisations.
"Life, especially when it involves critical enterprise applications, is more complicated.
"We do our best to openly discuss the meaning (or lack of meaning) of our results and go to great lengths to point out the several cases in which the result cannot and should not be generalised".
However, in its research report that gives .NET the big tick relative to WebSphere/J2EE, The Middleware Company is not shy about using those terms. The word "faster" is peppered throughout the 109-page report about 10 times and "better" around 30.
To add a finishing touch, the report concludes: "Overall, by most indicators in this study, the .NET implementation running on Windows Server 2003 was better, in some cases significantly so, than either WebSphere/J2EE implementation running on Linux".
The Middleware Company does stress that its arrangement with sponsors is that "we will write only what we believe and only what we can stand behind, but we allow them the option to prevent us from publishing the study if they feel it would be harmful publicity".
Microsoft, unsurprisingly, was rather pleased with the results and alerted journalists in an e-mail which lists the key study findings under headlines such as "better developer productivity", "better reliability" and "faster, easier management."
Microsoft Australia's platform strategy manager, Martin Gregory, said the study results "show that the Windows Server 2003 and .NET solution was significantly less expensive and offered better developer productivity, performance, reliability and management than the Linux/WebSphere/J2EE solution".
The software heavyweight said it was releasing the study under its Get the Facts campaign.