A recent flurry of reports on the internets claim that Microsoft has been training Best Buy employees to push customers away from Linux and Mac systems to those running Windows. While some posts claim that the Gatesians are teaching Best Buy workers to become “Linux assassins,” most of what’s going on looks like typical retail marketing: a deep-pocketed supplier working with a chain to hawk its products more aggressively. However, Linux pros are up in arms about “inaccuracies” in the Microsoft program that walks customers through the advantages of Windows vs. Linux.
Most of Microsoft’s anti-Linux pitch focuses on familiarity, reliability, and ease-of-use, and the inaccuracies are on the order of statements like, “Linux is a self-help solution. There are no step-by-step tutorials provided, and help documentation is limited.” True? Only if you ignore the hundreds of online tutorials, not to mention the wizards that make installing distros like Ubuntu at least as easy as working with Vista.
Still, we sort of agree with PC World’s Tony Bradley, who points out that “Linux is getting easier and more mainstream as time goes on, but we’re talking about Best Buy customers. … they tend to buy a computer system like they buy a microwave or a dishwasher. They just want a computing ‘appliance’ to set on the desk and connect to the Internet.” If that’s the case,though, how to do Microsoft’s “assassins” go after the Mac? Oh, right, it’s expensive. Guess they had a hard time using that argument against Linux, given its price point of, oh, free.
Microsoft trains Best Buy Linux assassins [ZDNet]
Microsoft and Best Buy Gang Up On Linux [PC World]
Microsoft helps Best Buy employees troll Mac users, too [Ars Technica]