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MS rapped over anti-Linux ads

Running cost claims are 'misleading'

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Microsoft has been rapped over the knuckles over an anti-Lunix advertising campaign. The Advertising Standards Association in the UK has ruled that the ad makes "misleading" claims, and has told the company change the copy on the advertisement forthwith.

The campaign in question compares the running costs of Linux and Windows, and opens with the headline: "Weighing the cost of Linux vs. Windows? Let's review the facts."

The advert says that independent research from Meta group found Linux cost ten times as much to run as its windows equivalent. It said: "The results showed that IBM z900 mainframe running Linux is much less capable and vastly more expensive than Windows Server 2003 as a platform for server consolidation."

However, the ASA said that this was not a fair comparison because the two operating systems were running on different hardware - a fact which was not made clear enough in the advertisement.

The Meta study compared the cost of Linux, running on IBM's z900 mainframe, to a Windows Server 2003 image, running on 900 MHz Intel Xeon CPUs. The ASA concluded that it was "a comparison that demonstrated the price and performance between IBM zSeries hardware and Intel Xeon CPUs".

After taking expert advice, the ASA said that it understood it would have been possible to make the comparison using the same hardware, leaving open the question of why Microsoft chose not to do so.

It concluded that the advertisement "implied the comparison was between Linux and Windows operating systems only, and not about the performance of operating systems on different hardware". Because this was not actually the case, the ASA found the claim that Linux cost ten times to run as much to be misleading. ®

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