[Linux-aus] Microsft a Reality? Get Over It?? - A followup

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Thu Mar 6 10:40:02 UTC 2003

On Thu, Mar 06, 2003 at 10:25:18AM +1030, David Ruwoldt wrote:
> Dear All,
> My two cents.
> Microsoft have a marketing machine that is second to none. Novell, Sun, 

Perhaps, but they are not perfect, nor are they as good at delivering a
message that people will swallow now, as they were 10 years ago. Yes, tens
of millions swear by Micosoft and their technologies, but just as many
swear at them.

This isn't new. I wrote about this issue 5 years ago
(http://www.osopinion.com/Opinions/ConZymaris/ConZymaris2.html) Much of
this material is out of date, but even then, Microsoft's much vaunted
marketing machine was increasingly missing its mark. Things have gotten
worse. To wit, the recent .Net naming fiasco and industry confusion over
the brand's dilution; negative response to Microsoft's Software Assurance

In order to better deliver the message on Linux and FOSS to the same core
audience that Microsoft is targeting, we must understand what the audience
wants, and how to outcompete Microsoft in some of its marketing tactics.  
If these tactics include spreading obviously false information about
Linux, we need to speak out. If their marketing message posits that
Microsoft is supporting open standards and formats, we must demand action
as well as words. (I'm still waiting for Microsoft Australia MD, Steve
Vamos to let me know when Microsoft will release the specs for Word DOC
files and Exchange's RPC protocols, as he promised.)

Remember, we _are_ competing in all the same markets. 

> Digital are good product that have advantages as well and have tried the 
> "our great product will shine through". All of these companies have good 
> products that are not selling as well as MS products. In fact in a 
> number of instances MS products are replacing these products. MS 
> marketing gets to senior management. Management listen to MS and tell 

Different vendors' win or lose business for numerous reasons, not all of
it to do with marketing. For instance, Microsoft's concerted push into
serious-grade servers has been mostly blunted by the likes of IBM and Sun.  
Marketing can take you far, yes, but you need substance to deliver
results, and organisations don't (always) trust important functions to
mere hype.

It would also be worthwhile noting that outside two distinct product
groups (namely, Windows OS platforms, and Office Suite productivity
software)  where they make a killing due to their monopoly lock-in
situation, they are generally (often woefully) unsuccesful in other
domains, where they cannot use existing market/platform leverage to gain

That's not to say that Microsoft's (vendor) competitors haven't made 
serious strategic and tactical mistakes; they have, and far too often. 

Interestingly, the FOSS community makes the least number of marketing
mistakes of any of the major 'parties' involved in purveying software
technologies to the mainstream. I find this curious and heartening.

> (read they have right to tell techs, sys admins etc what to do) their 
> staff to implement a MS solution. This leads to MS marketing listing the 
> company as a great example of the benefits of their products and the 
> cycle perpetuates itself. Another company that wants to compete against 
> MS needs to have a marketing machine that is just as devious and just as 
> good if they want to start winning serious market share. Linux can be 
> included in this. Just because it is free does not mean anything in 
> regard to marketing. People will often pay for a bad solution because 
> they have comfort that they have spent a lot of money so it must be 
> good. On the other side people will often go with a free solution 
> because of cost ("Linux"). The people who go with a free solution need 
> to be marketed to senior management that the solution is stable and 
> works. The free solution has to be marketed as a good solid solution to 
> senior management in companies otherwise it will never be accepted as a 
> choice by larger companies. Certainly Linux sneaks in because of techs 
> that run it outside of management's knowledge but until senior 
> management can start to see it as a choice rather than that free 
> software it will not gain mainstream acceptance as a solution.



Con Zymaris
Con Zymaris <conz at cyber.com.au> Level 4, 10 Queen St, Melbourne 03 9621 2377 
*** Cybersource: We Have Moved. Please note new Address & Phone details. ***
Specialists in Unix/Linux, TCP/IP and Web App. Development  www.cyber.com.au

More information about the linux-aus mailing list