[ubuntu-za] Microsoft free software ad campaign

Matthew French matthew at gillyweed.co.za
Thu Oct 8 19:40:47 BST 2009


On 08 Oct 2009, at 6:31 PM, Andre Rossouw wrote:
> Right, I don't want to alienate people or start a discussion on  
> Ubuntu vs Windows. But I'm sitting in a Microsoft partner meeting  
> (please don't hate me). The presenter is currently talking on  
> piracy, and they are presenting a new marketing campaign aimed at us  
> consumers. One of the ads is a web banner advertising free software,  
> click on the link and it brings up fake errors and warnings... And  
> the message that free software is dangerous. "There is no such thing  
> as free software". Ouch.


I feel your pain.

Over the decades the one thing Microsoft has been good at - actually  
they have almost perfected it - is FUD:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

They have been doing it for so long that I begin to worry when they  
don't have FUD.

Unfortunately when it comes to FOSS I suspect people are quite capable  
of making up their own FUD. Microsoft didn't create many of the  
dubious reasons for not using FOSS, people came up with those by  
themselves.

Still, Microsoft's "Get the facts..." campaign of two years ago was  
incredibly irritating example of FUD. They managed to include some  
important and valid points - the OS is only a small part of the cost,  
Linux administrators cost more than Windows admins, etc. But they  
never produced any convincing case studies. Each case study could be  
debunked, but the effort involved was not worth it. Imagine if they  
had put all that time into improving their software.

And of course the campaign should have been called "Get the facts we  
want you to hear without worrying about the facts we don't want you to  
hear."

It is probably best to ignore the latest round of FUD and focus on  
keeping your Linux users happy. FOSS mostly spreads by word-of-mouth,  
and these amateurish scare tactics are unlikely to impact that.

- Matthew




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