We’re hearing reports that Microsoft is having trouble pushing copies of the whiz-bang don’t-call-it-metro Windows 8 even at reduced fire sale prices, with one tech writer suggesting a Vista-esque rollback to Windows 7. The new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet that was supposed to make Microsoft the new Apple and Steve Ballmer the new Steve Jobs has brought less than enthusiastic reviews. What’s a down on it’s luck technology company to do?
If you’re Microsoft, you do what you’ve always done: round up the usual suspects, buy some genetically modified FUD seeds and start sowing them.
In two cases that hit the press yesterday, Microsoft has enlisted the aid of HP, their old FUD-mate Forrester Research and Dan Farber over at CNET.
Farber, a respected journalist and a bigwig at both CBS and CNET, and with a history at ZDNet, reported yesterday that research shows that most people who use a computer at work would prefer a Windows tablet over an Apple iPad. His source for this information was Forrester Research, who’s evidently back on Redmond’s payroll:
“Microsoft’s Surface Pro is apparently just what businesses want in what was formerly known as the desktop computer. If that’s the case, Apple’s brain trust may want to revisit the space where the Mac and the iPad intersect.
“According to Forrester Research’s annual survey of nearly 10,000 people around the world who use a computer to do their jobs an hour or more a day, 32 percent said they would prefer Windows over Apple or Android for their next work tablet. Currently, about 2 percent are using a Windows tablet for their work.”
Who would’ve guessed it? Here I thought the Surface Pro was going to be a tough sell at first. But heck, it looks like they’re going to go flying out the door. I imagine that already there’s a line of enterprise customers queued-up that extends from Microsoft’s Redmond campus all the way to downtown Seattle.
Forrester Research, some may remember, has a history of conducting “independent” research for Microsoft, much of it proving how astronomically expensive it is to deploy free software in the enterprise compared to good old reliable and secure Windows. I hadn’t noticed them and Microsoft working hand in hand for a while. I’m a little surprised, but I guess it’s time for the desperate to get desperater, as Yogi Berra never said.
I’m even more surprised that CNET is going along with this obvious FUD attack. After the black eye they took last week, when news got out that they and their parent company CBS had played favorites in awarding the Best of Show award at this years Consumer Electronics Show, I figured they’d be on their best behavior, trying to rehabilitate their reputation as an objective tech news outlet. Evidently not.
We also learned yesterday, from Nick Heath writing on ZDNet, that HP has also been running interference for Microsoft in the FUD game. In this case, HP was supplying Munich with figures to “prove” that a migration to Linux and OpenOffice would cost much more than using Windows and MS Office. The City of Munich didn’t buy what HP was selling, however:
Munich’s figures were challenged in a study produced by HP for Microsoft, which claimed the LiMux project would cost €60.6m, considerably more than claimed by the authority. In comparison, the report claimed, migrating to Windows XP and Microsoft Office would have cost only €17m.
However the costs in the Microsoft/HP report are based on several flawed assumptions, said Stefan Hauf, head of the press office at the City of Munich.
It seems that Microsoft’s FUD attacks aren’t getting as much traction as in days of old. I would feel bad for them, but I won’t.