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8/24/2007
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Microsoft Axes Controversial 'Get The Facts' Site

Microsoft is replacing the site with a new Web campaign called Windows Server/Compare that it says is "designed to help enterprises with their server purchasing decisions."

Microsoft has scrapped a contentious Web site that sought to compare the cost benefits of its Windows operating system against those of the open source Linux OS.

Microsoft is replacing its "Get The Facts" site with a new Web campaign called Windows Server/Compare. Launched Thursday, Windows Server/Compare is "designed to help enterprises with their server purchasing decisions," Microsoft officials said in a statement.

The site will provide users with comparative information about Windows Server, Linux, and Unix, Microsoft said.

Microsoft launched "Get The Facts" in 2004 with an eye to showing Windows in the best light, compared to Linux. The program gained notoriety when it emerged that some of the third party research reports posted on the site were paid for by Microsoft. Most of the reports purported to show that Linux burdened users with higher total operating costs than Windows.

Microsoft is discontinuing "Get The Facts" in part because "a lot of the ambiguity about Linux and OSS [open source software] in general has been addressed," said Ryan Gavin, director of platform strategy at Microsoft, in a statement posted on the company's Web site.

Compared to "Get The Facts", the Windows Server/Compare site will feature a "richer, more dynamic conversation with a broader cross-section of information," said Gavin.

The end of "Get The Facts" comes at a time when Microsoft is forming partnerships with a number of Linux distributors, including Novell and Xandros. Those arrangements have typically included technical collaboration deals and pledges by Microsoft not to sue its partners' customers.

Microsoft has claimed that Linux and other open source software violate more than 200 of its patents.

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