Sunday, December 10, 2006

Want Satisfaction? Go Red Hat, not Microsoft.

CIO Insight have published the results of their 2006 survey of the 40 most important IT vendors. Here are the rankings. So what do they tell us? First of all, decision-makers are generally dissatisfied with their vendors. With a few exceptions, the perception of performance is down from last year.

But a couple of statistics do jump out. If you want to buy from a supplier, choose CDW. They rank #1 overall.

But here's something more interesting. As you may have seen, Microsoft have engaged in a huge marketing campaign in recent times, touting the TCO of Windows over Linux, and trumpeting Microsoft success stories. You know, the "we lowered our costs by choosing Windows" sort of thing. So would it surprise you to know that Red Hat surpassed Microsoft in every particular? Here are the numbers side-by-side:
Keep in mind that this survey is only of people who have actually dealt with these companies within the last 12 months. It is not a measure of market perception, but of actual performance. Now, considering Microsoft's "Get the Facts" campaign, why are Microsoft doing so poorly, hmm? They lost to a pure Linux vendor in every single category. Every one.

One possible explanation lies in the phrase "meets expectations". Microsoft's ad campaign has certainly raised expectations for their products, and Windows in particular. Could it be that the expectations set by Microsoft's marketing exceed their ability to deliver? Probably. Could it be that the "facts" presented by Microsoft are skewed, and don't represent reality? Probably that, too. It's also possible that the expectations for Red Hat are dismally low and easy to exceed. That's certainly possible given the FUD and disinformation (mis-labeled as "facts") contained in Microsoft's ad campaign. But that wouldn't explain why 90% of companies would do business with Red Hat again, compared with 80% for Microsoft. And it wouldn't explain why the companies chose to do business with Red Hat in the first place.

What is clear is that the movers and shakers in the CIO Insight study don't seem to agree with Microsoft at all. And neither do I.

I suggest you get facts, alright; and not just from Microsoft. Take a look at Red Hat. And take a look at other Linux distributions, like Ubuntu. If you're in that %20 that wouldn't do business with Microsoft if you had a choice, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you do have a choice, today.

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