December 21, 2003

Microsoft asks Linux users, "How can we get your business?'

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

Microsoft has started distributing two online surveys to Linux User Groups and Linux users in general, one asking primarily about home computer use, the other about business use. They apparently don't plan to release the results of their surveys, so we and other people in the open source community are asking you to look at them and post your answers and comments here and on other appropriate sites where, in open source style, everyone can see them. Read on for more information and links, and please help spread the word about these surveys; as far as we know, this is the first time Microsoft has asked Linux users why we use Linux instead of their products, and the more results, the merrier. Author's Note: I'll reveal some of *my* answers to Microsoft's questions in a comment I'll post shortly after this story goes live, just to kick things off.We heard about this survey through an email sent to a LUG mailing list that was passed on to us. The email started with these lines:

I am a program manager at Microsoft doing some research around how we
can improve our operating systems. My goal is to help us identify
capabilities, improvements, and features that Microsoft should be
focusing on to help our customers over the next 5 years or so.

I am particularly interested in hearing from Linux users, and get their
input about what they feel should be the priorities. In particular, I
would like to better understand what it is that makes Linux and Open
Source solutions so useful for you.

It was signed by "Michael Surkan," using the "Reply To" address lnq@microsoft.com.

A follow-up message in response to a fellow OSDN employee who emailed to ask, "Have you contacted just our LUG, or more than one?" said:

From: frankwilliams291@hotmail.com (Frank Williams)
To: [name and email address removed]

Thanks so much for agreeing to share your ideas about Linux.
Unfortunately, Michael Surkan (the Microsoft program manager who
contacted your Linux user group) is a bit overwhelmed with e-mail right
now, so I volunteered to help him by sending the survey URLs to people
who want to take his survey. I hope you don't mind.

Michael has put together some on-line surveys to make it easier to
collect your answers.

One survey asks questions about Linux in the home environment. The other
survey asks what makes Linux a great option at work. You can take
whichever survey you feel you have the most knowledge about. Feel free
to take both surveys if you wish. Or none at all. :)

On-line survey about Linux in the home:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=17174325370&c=2206

On-line survey about Linux at work:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=2550325411&c=2206

Thanks,
Frank Williams

So go ahead, make Frank and Michael happy by answering the questions. But please don't forget to share at least a few selected answers with others, either here on NewsForge or on other Linux/open source news and community sites.

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