Linux threat a "misconception", says MS executive

'Sensationalism and media hype'

Linux is no threat to Microsoft and any claims to the contrary are simply a misconception created by sensationalism and media hype, Microsoft Australia's platform strategy manager Paul Roworth said last week.

Linux, he said, receives far too much publicity because the truth is that Linux is not challenging Microsoft's leadership position in the marketplace. Speaking at Microsoft's partner conference on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Roworth said Microsoft's losses are generally sensationalised; low profile wins by Linux are over-rated, all of which contributes to the misconception.

However, he said, as discussions about Linux and its competitors mature, it will become more pragmatic.

"It's no longer a technology discussion, it's starting to evolve into some of the business realities people actually face," Roworth said.

He stressed to partners there are opportunities out there to demonstrate the benefits of Microsoft over Linux, particularly when it comes to security and server upgrades.

"There are great opportunities to move people across to a Microsoft platform," Roworth said. "On the server side, as organisations look at their business, they're looking at how they move to the next generation of products, so there are great opportunities out there."

Microsoft New Zealand platform strategy manager Brett Roberts addressed several points that IBM presents in its case for Linux vs Microsoft. Among the claims, Roberts said, is that "Linux costs less to acquire".

Refuting this claim, Roberts presented the results of studies by Bearing Point and IDC that Microsoft commissioned stating Windows Server 2003 was more cost-effective.

He said although Microsoft commissioned the studies and they were not undertaken independently, the brand name companies make the reports credible.

"And [the researchers] haven't just published the numbers, they've published the methodology as well," Roberts added.

Roberts also rejected other arguments for Linux put forward by IBM including lower total cost of ownership and greater security.

"What we find is that when Microsoft is reviewed against the Linux platform we actually win a lot of business," Roberts said.

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