Microsoft's Masterpiece of FUD

Microsoft recently commisioned research whore firm IDC to research and produce a report entitled, "The Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Vista" (link to PDF). The executive summary essentially states that the upcoming release of Windows Vista will provide a huge boon to the European economy, and is a direct response into the Europeans Commission's inquiry into whether Microsoft is playing fair with this new release.

Now, I haven't posted much about either Microsoft or Linux in quite some time (nearly 2 years in fact, which probably isn't all that surprising given that I only posted 4 articles in all of 2005), simply because I'm content to sit and watch from the sidelines at this point. However, the news I read about this report struck me as rather odd. For example:

  • In 2007 this ecosystem should sell over $40 billion in products and services revolving around Windows Vista.
  • Windows-related employment is expected to jump by 100,000 jobs.

There are some other odd conclusions included in the report, but these are the two that are most puzzling to me. For example, the "$40 billion" statement doesn't sound like something they should brag about. To me, this reads as, "Microsoft will drain the European of up to $40 billion in the form of upgrades and license fees. Additional money must be spent replacing hardware that doesn't meet the minimum requirements of Microsoft's next OS, but could continue to function fine with current software or alternative operating systems." The only boon I see is for Microsoft, in the form of transferring an obscenely large amount of money from the European economy into its own coffers.

The second example is equally as puzzling. We're talking about an upgrade, not an entirely new or revolutionary product. IT workers today will continue to provide IT services tomorrow. The only reason I can think of that Windows Vista would provide such a huge increase in IT jobs is that it will take that much more manpower to deploy and support Vista-based systems. Again, this isn't exactly something I would brag about.

The reason I bring this up now is that I recently came across two good articles discussion the issue. The first, in Business Week, gives a broader overview of the issues involved, and is a good read to get caught up on this topic. The second, in Linux Journal takes a more focused approach by specifically discussing the IDC research report, comparing the report's "benefits" to real-world benefits obtainable through Open Source software.

If you're curious about this issue, I encourage reading both articles below:

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/sep2006/gb20060913_243817.htm

http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1000097