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MS struggles to discredit Linux

Another gem from Windows chief Brian Valentine

Updated What's cheaper than an OS you can buy outright once and install on every PC in your shop -- and upgrade cost-free for eternity to boot? Why, a slew of cheesy licenses for Microsoft Windows, 'Doze Division VP Brian Valentine claims in his latest cheerleading effort for his sales associates.

That's right; a putatively independent analysis by 'we'll-conclude-anything' whores DH Brown is going to rip Linux a new one and find that Windows is actually cheaper. How Valentine knows this is anyone's guess. Perhaps he has a mole in the Brown organization as good as the one we have in his. Or perhaps MS simply paid for it. We don't know.

It also appears that MS has bought off a number of Linux/Sun 'insiders' whose job it will be to explain to the sales team how to pitch the illusory advantages of Windows to unsuspecting IT managers. "Dumber people can run Windows" is the best advert I personally can come up with, though this is without the benefit of expensive analysts and turncoat 'insiders' to feed me intriguing tidbits.

But let's let Valentine tell it in his own words:

From: Brian Valentine
Sent: Wed 12/26/2001 7:14 PM
To: WW Sales, Marketing & Services Group
Subject: Me again -- Linux updates

Microsoft Confidential -- Do not print, copy or forward this email and do not share this email with anyone out side the company. For internal use only!

Now that the whole world knows we are taking Linux seriously based on the leak of my last email... Wait -- stop there -- since when did they think we weren't taking them serious?!? Did they think we are not going to build the best products possible? Did they think we were going to just be fat, dumb and happy and not continue to win business? Did they think we were going to forget about taking care of our customers??? NO!

Who do they think we are? We have the best d*mn sales force in the world backed by the best engineers in the world -- of course we will take any non-Windows OS serious. The thing about the leak that made me mad was not that we would legitimize Linux, etc. it's good in some places, we are better, and it's not very good in other places and we are much better. but they are a competitor and we will compete. What made me mad was that my friends -- some of you and some of our customer's names where in that email and then available for all to see on the web. That made me mad. I want you selling and supporting our products -- not having to take random calls, emails, etc from the press and others and I know what out customers share with us is in confidence that we will keep it internal. I have no problem any random Linux person sending me hate mail, junk mail, adding my email address to every list server out there, you name it -- that comes with the job, but I don't want my friends to have to deal with the same junk.

Ok, Ok, enough of that. On to some new things we are doing for you around Linux.

Linux is out there in some of your accounts and you may not know it. The ground up nature of how Linux is introduced into our accounts means that we need to modify our traditional approaches of finding out about Linux in our customer base. We have to be more hands on and dig deeper in your accounts!

Many Linux projects in CAS and Depth accounts happen below the IT Manager/BDM level. It's crucial that you get out there with your TSP/SE/MCS folks and do actual walkthroughs in your accounts. Ask open ended questions; find out what they're evaluating for both key projects as well as smaller, more tactical projects. Ask about the 'connector' pieces -- you'll potentially find Linux in these areas. This is a great way to not only find out about Linux, but also other IT projects that may include Novell, Sun, Oracle, and other competitors! If you are struggling with how to do this, then do the simple exercise of walking through you accounts data centers and when you see a Sun or IBM machine, ask what it's used for, if you see some strange servers you don't what they are doing -- ask what is running on them and take notes. I would like to challenge each of you to have these conversations with your customer as soon as you can. Oh -- and you can bet anyplace IBM is talking to your accounts, they are saying Linux and switching to higher end non-pc systems. With the current economic times we are living in, just about every customer is looking into how they can get rid of those over-priced, legacy Unix systems and ride the PC economics wave. We need to be there when they are making these decisions and prove to them the Windows platform is the best platform for them across any aspect of their business.

I want you to know just how seriously we're taking Linux here in Redmond. We're investing major efforts in creating easier processes and resources for you.

I. To start, we have expanded the in-field Linux Competitive Champ program and renamed it "Linux Insiders". Like the other TSP Champs programs, it has been changed to use the new TSP role-based database and will be ready to roll out with its new name at the Envision event in January. It is up to each regional TSP manager to select or assign each member; therefore, anyone wishing to become an Insider should see their manager to be signed up. Much like the support "communities" that define the Linux experience, the FCS team will strive to build a community to cooperate in winning business against Linux. By building a virtual team of field staff and corporate resources, we will enable the field to have one place to go for communication and competitive information. The Linux Insiders will have access to a centralized web site where personnel can request help, route issues, and share best practices that the entire field can leverage. This site, a restricted sub-set of the http://infoweb/linux site, will be accessible by all "Insiders," for items such as SLT reviews, web-casts, notes from conference calls and other sensitive information. If you have questions about the Insiders program, please email Kelly File of the FCS
team at mailto:kellyfi.

II. Second, I'd like to announce the new Linux/UNIX escalation process that is being headed up by [MS Enterprise & Partner Group VP] Charles Stevens' organization. Here's how it works:

a. First, make sure you check out the latest additions to the Web sites: http://infoweb/linux and http://infoweb/sundown.

b. If you can't find what you need there, involve your local expert: the district Linux or Sun Insider (TSPs with Linux and/or Sun competitive responsibilities). These Insiders have the expertise and the resources to help you win. You can find your local Insider on the web sites.

c. If you still need help for Global, Strategic and Major accounts, the Linux/Sun Insiders (or your GM) can escalate the issue to the new corporate Linux/Unix Escalation Team. Let me emphasize that you need to work with your local Insider or your GM because they have direct access to this escalation team. The team is committed to provide an initial response within one working day. These guys have in-depth UNIX industry backgrounds and have been winning against UNIX and Linux. The product development organization will be working closely with this team to make sure you have all the resources you need.

III. Finally, we're working hard to debunk the myths around Linux. We're approaching this in waves.

a. The first wave will attack the perception that Linux is free. To that effect, we'll have an independent analysis commissioned by DH Brown looking at a very popular topic these days -- server consolidation. If you're not seeing this yet, you probably will. IBM is proposing to use Mainframes running many virtual instances of Linux as a low cost server consolidation scenario for file and print, messaging, and database activities. The DH Brown report will be customer ready and will help your customer understand just how competitive Microsoft is in this arena.

b. The second wave will be a full blown cost analysis comparison case study between Linux and Windows in a variety of usage scenarios (web, file and print, etc.) done independently by the analysts for us. ETA for this tool is in May and it will be a great tool to help you sell the value of Windows solutions over Linux. If you have any questions on this study, please email the mailto:lnxteam alias.

You can expect us to turn up the volume on winning against Linux, as well as IBM. There is some great cross team work between PMG, SMG, and CMG marketing groups to ensure we're addressing your needs and believe me, that feedback goes directly to me and the senior leadership team so we can build better products to help you win against Linux!



Microsoft Confidential -- Do not print, copy or forward this email and do not share this email with anyone out side the company. For internal use only!

PS: I used to run Exchange -- so if you think I am not tracking this message, think again. Don't forward it! And if you have forward rules that have forwarded this message, then perhaps you should think again about forwarding internal email with those rules. I want to give you folks all the information I can in a very open way. If we continue to have bad apples or careless people out there, I will not be able to help you by sending this kind of information!


Microsoft-compliant 'consultants' DH Brown removed their amusing "Compete to Win" page linked above (now courtesy of the Internet Archive's 'Wayback Machine'), on which they boasted of their willingness to concoct studies according to the agenda of anyone willing to pay. We assume they've moved their sleazy analysis-for-hire pitch to the members-only section of their Web site. Whether this is due to excessive traffic generated by our story, or to shame, one can only guess.

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