Microsoft survey says IT execs support Microsoft-Novell pact - hmmm, really?

Just how strong is the support from the end user community regarding the Microsoft/Novell deal?

That Novell-Microsoft agreement and deal will simply not go away. In reaction to the huge outpouring of criticism about it, Microsoft commissioned a survey and Novell actively participated in distributing the results.

In the press release accompanying the results, Novell says: "A survey of technology decision-makers shows very strong customer support for the recent agreement between Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc." Well, it just might be that Novell is learning some of Microsoft's marketing skills!

In fact, the survey shows no such thing. According to the press release, "the results came from 201 interviews held Nov. 17-20 with IT executives, managers or staff whose primary job is in a formalized IT department, or who perform IT functions in a non-IT department but who have significant technology purchasing authority. Organizations had to have at least 500 PCs to participate in the survey." Yet fully one-third of the interviewees claim they've not "heard anything about the recent collaboration between Microsoft and Novell"! Frankly, I haven't been able to avoid reading about it no matter which periodicals I peruse - technology mags, business journals or even the daily newspaper.

So if only 67% even knew about the agreement, how could the survey indicate "very strong customer support"? Or, as the results document puts it, "Over nine out of ten Information Technology (IT) Decision Makers approve of the Microsoft and Novell collaboration"? I believe this refers to the results for three questions. Interviewees were asked, "Do you agree or disagree with this statement?" and the first three were:

* I want platform providers to improve the interoperability of their systems.

* Technology companies should create partnerships to ensure that their products work well together.

* I want tools that make it easier to manage IT environments that have both Windows and Linux.

The surprise to me is that some people actually disagreed!

Now the folks who indicated they knew about the agreement weren't actually asked their opinion of it. Instead, the interviewer read a Microsoft-friendly synopsis of the agreement and asked if this was a good thing. Again, it's surprising that 9% of the respondents said no.

Fortunately, the marketplace seems to be seeing through this self-serving exercise. Gee, maybe Novell's marketing fiascos are now influencing Microsoft's - wouldn't that be a great legacy for this agreement!

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