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Microsoft’s Highly Confidential GNU/Linux Share Figures (2003)

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Antitrust exhibit unleashed

According to Microsoft’s own intelligence, almost 20% of the organisations in Brazil intended to move to GNU/Linux in 2003. Is that why Microsoft sends lackeys over there [1, 2]?

Microsoft calls this “Linux Heat Map.” It pretty much contradicts claims that Microsoft is not bothered by desktop GNU/Linux.

Linux heat map
View large image
View the original PDF

That’s Microsoft own estimation and that’s just for desktops in 2003. GNU/Linux has gained a lot since.

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008

Update: Here it is in ODF format, thanks to a reader who transcribed it by hand. Some of the numbers were hard to make out, so the reader would not claim 100% accuracy.

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  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 9:57 am


    It pretty much contradicts claims that Microsoft is not bothered by desktop GNU/Linux.

    Where does it show that Brazil is moving to Linux on the desktop?

    It might be true, I don’t know, but the “proof” you supplied does not show that at all. It just says Linux (which could just as easily be on servers or some mix).

    The 20% you mentioned for Brazil is also just percentage of businesses evaluating-or-deploying Linux, just wanted to be clear that it isn’t the percentage of businesses actually running Linux (which is nearer to 0.4% to 4%, depending on the business size).

    It should also be noted that these figures don’t tell us how many of the servers/desktops at these businesses run Linux. For all we know, it could just be 1 machine or it could be all of them (or anywhere in between).

  2. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:01 am


    The 20% you mentioned for Brazil is also just percentage of small/medium sized businesses.

    Although, to be fair, there is a good percentage of other sized businesses evaluating Linux as well.

    (MidMarket: 26.6% and Enterprise: 13%)

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:01 am


    “Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

    Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

  4. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:04 am


    And… that refutes my comments, how, exactly?

  5. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:17 am


    In case it still hasn’t sunk in yet, my point is that this data sheet taken completely out of context (which it is), is useless for drawing any meaningful conclusions about how badly Linux is eating into Microsoft’s install-base (on either servers or desktops).

  6. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:20 am


    Dan, it’s hard to parse the phrase “primary OS” as anything but desktop OS, unless M$ recommends dual booted servers. Besides that, Windows on the desktop is where M$’s big money comes from. Servers to them are more of a way to keep that lock in than they are a source of revenue. The figures have only gotten worse for them since the Vista Failure.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:32 am



    I’ve been busy doing something else while you carried on spewing your usual heckles.

    If you hate this site so much, read another site.

  8. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:37 am


    twitter: I don’t think Primary OS means desktop, necessarily.

    However, after re-examining the sheet it seems I was missing the “% Organizations that will Change Primary OS to Linux” row which is the row that had 19%, 26.6%, 13% (which I mistakenly noted in a previous comment as being from the “Evaluating…” row).

    Phrased like that, I would suspect that “Primary OS” likely means that the businesses are planning on installing Linux on a majority of the machines they have – hence “Primary OS”. I doubt they are talking about dual-booting here.

    So it’s a bit clearer than I had originally read, but we still don’t know how many of those businesses actually stuck with Linux (I remember a lot of businesses at that time making a big fuss about switching to Linux only to later discover that their purpose was to get a cheaper price from Microsoft).

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:39 am


    I should have the text soon.

  10. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:43 am


    Roy: “the text” as in the rest of the context that this chart was meant to be viewed with?

    If so, could you consider, in the future, posting these sorts of things in the same article rather than posting the chart alone and then the context in a later article?

    I think it would help everyone (including yourself).

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:48 am


    I’ll modify this one as I go along.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:54 am


    Okay, ODF-formatted sheet added.

  13. Master Myztry said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:55 am


    Virtualization and Terminal Services will be important in the transition.
    A lot of the original Windows boxes commonly had a Telnet connection to the existing mainframe software.
    In situations where Linux is rising, Windows becomes like the (legacy) mainframe. Thus the overlap of Operating Systems.

  14. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:13 am


    It would be interesting to compare Microsoft’s numbers with other people’s. I doubt Microsoft is gathering these numbers directly; it would be interesting to see who they trust (since this is effectively competitor analysis).

  15. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:28 am


    Dan, there are some very good public indicators of where things have gone since M$ made this chart. Especially telling is the US market, which was one of the lowest GNU/Linux adaptors at the time. As early as July 2007, a Patchlink study of 250 businesses found GNU/Linux migration plans up from 2% to 8%. By November more than 40% of IT pros had plans to leave Windows in the next year. In April of 2008, Gartner declared the collapse of Windows. At the same time more commercial developers had switched to GNU/Linux than Vista. By the end of the year both large and small businesses were planning to skip Vista, leaving OSX and GNU/Linux to take up the slack. I have not seen recent numbers but they have to look worse for M$ – the only thing the company had going for them was a set of inferior defacto standards. With both large business and government looking to get away from those standards, that advantage is nullified.

  16. zeke123 said,

    February 4, 2009 at 3:33 pm


    You had a few links to Brazil yesterday like:

    and I just found in my links this April post from KDE developer Mauricio Piacentini:

    50,000,000 brazilian students will be using KDE based Gnu-Linux distros once their project is completed by the end of this year.
    Yeah, these are not buyers but users which is an important distinction.

    I travelled to Brazil in 2006 and Venezuela in 2008 and got to learn a lot about the Brazilan recycling programs for old hardware for the favelas. Both countries have a rich upper class and a huge dirt poor population although Venezuela is light years ahead in terms of accessibility to education (imagine the nerve of that bastard Chavez giving medical and dental care to the 75% of the population which has never seen a dentist or doctor).
    Gnu-Linux is an important component when it comes to recycling old and still usable hardware and their purchases of new equipment is overwhelmingly penguinlike.
    Most importantly the Brazilian FLOSS community is huge and vibrant and recognizes the importance of collaboration and controlling their own destiny.

    I would say that the Brazilian Gnu-Linux deployments are the largest anywhere on the planet and its community one of the strongest. Of course, in the anglophone world, it might as well be invisible.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm


    We have a regular contributor here from Brazil. The Linux mindshare (and market share) over there is high.

  18. David Gargan said,

    February 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm


    I am very interested in the topic of market share of MS vs Open Source in Brasil. I am thinking of moving to Brasil shortly and was considering on how to leverage my IT skills in that market.
    I am currently a Livelink consultant with most of that experience on Windows (I am MCSE NT4) though I do have some exposure to Sun OS (Solaris 7).
    Should I be considering becoming more proficient at the Open Source or is MS making enough progress in Brasil that I may find opportunities by cerifying at the newer MSCE levels?

    Thanks inadvance, I would really like to get in contact with your Brazilian contributor (Eu falo Portugues).

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm



    There are many videos right here that you may find informative. These includes chats with people who provide GNU/Linux training in Brazil. Let me know if you need more resources.

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