A kinder, gentler Microsoft?

Microsoft has dropped its "Get the Facts" Web site, but the replacement isn't much better.

As Mary Jo Foley reports, Microsoft has pulled down its "Get the (wrong) Facts" website and replaced it with a "Compare" website.

Consider this the kinder, gentler version of getting the "facts." Unless, of course, you're Red Hat. The site doesn't talk about Novell or other Linux distributions. But it spares no criticism of Red Hat, the one vendor that hasn't bowed down to savor its toejam.

When you visit the site, it's bathed in a warm glue, with a very helpful-looking man just itching to help you:

Microsoft

Its purpose is laudable, as Mary Jo notes below, if not super-credible (coming from any particular vendor, and not necessarily Microsoft: Microsoft has hardly cornered the market on deceit):

The goal of the site is to offer more in-depth information and customer-to-customer opinions about many of the issues IT administrators face, a company spokeswoman said. "It turns out people wanted 3rd party validation in addition to people's experiences making OS purchasing decisions so in addition to customer case studies, research reports that compare platforms the site will also offer guidance around best practices, web casts, etc."

What better way to get neutral, third-party information than from...Microsoft's site? I know that when I want to make a decision as to which CRM system to buy, I go straight to Salesforce.com's site to see what customers are saying about SugarCRM....

Open source offers a better way. Try before you buy and then, once you're leaning in a given direction (say, Red Hat), ask Red Hat for references. True, you'll get the glowing references that love Red Hat, but if the code has already inclined you toward the company's products, you're looking for confirmation, not direction.

Microsoft's site would be much more useful if its products were open source. Then the site would be a great ending point. As it is, it's too biased to be credible at all as a good starting point.

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Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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