This is a non-story. Or is it? It seems that according to the press announcement for
the WebMasters 2001 Exposition in London last week, "Microsoft will be providing copies of Visual Studio .NET Beta 2 for all attendees." And this it did, packaged in a cutsie accordion fold-out pack. However, the press announcement also advised us the
behemoth would "be providing copies of the Linux Migration Guide."
According to Microsoft, "The Guide contains technical information to aid developers and IT specialists in migrating Linux e-commerce solutions to a Microsoft
web solutions platform." (While the Guide was apparently never distributed at the conference, it's online at Microsoft.com.)
And according to the program for the expo, Microsoft had a booth. However, there was no Microsoft booth, nor were there any of the company's representatives or
spokesmen anywhere in sight, except during the seminars they were conducting. When this reporter contacted one of the company's offices in the U.K. and
asked to speak to a public relations spokesman, true to form for Microsoft, we were connected to the human resources department.
When the event organizer tried to chase up a Microsoft spokesperson or seminar speaker, he was told the guy couldn't or wouldn't talk with me. No need to try
to divine why that might be.
This reporter spent all day trying to track down one of these wondrous publications. They proved to be as elusive as company personnel. The event organizer then informed me the company had apparently decided, after publication of the press announcement, not to distribute "The Guide" and not to take a booth.
So rather than go away empty-handed, our intrepid reporter tracked down a spokesperson from a major Linux distribution company. She agreed to speak on
terms of anonymity.
Anyway, when asked "why Microsoft would want or feel a need to give out a migration guide for Linux to .Net," she speculated, "Because they realize the Linux market is
growing. They would like to find a way to get some of the Linux market back to Microsoft."
But, what percentage of Linux users do you think would be crazy enough to be interested in migrating to Microsoft, she was asked. "I'm not aware of any at the moment."
"None?" I asked. "Not that I'm aware of," she reiterated.
Finally, I asked, "why do you think Microsoft gave up the idea of distributing The Guide?" To which she responded, "I don't know. Maybe it's costing them too
much in marketing budget to send them out to customers."
"You mean in terms of return of investment," I suggested.
"I just don't know," she demurred.