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TechWeb - Margie Semilof
Stupid statements, Backpedaling, and distortion.

By:David K. Every
©Copyright 1999

Margie Semilof

TechWeb has a great site -- but has not yet earned much credibility (IMHO), basically because they allow authors like Margie to write such inaccurate articles.

Margie wrote an amusingly inaccurate article that made bold claims that "Windows NT is by far the most popular Web server, and Macintosh servers will drop off the face of the Earth by the year 2000."

Now technically Margie didn't make the quotes, she was just quoting Steven Auditore from the consulting firm Zona Research -- but using the quotes in the context she did was obviously using it to support her opinions -- otherwise that obviously wild and idiotic claim would have been edited out. Of course there was no supporting facts or evidence quoted in the article, it was just another ignorant and unsupported Mac bash by a wannabe analyst. You can read the original -

Bandwidth stokes wild growth (except Macs)

Mac people are not tremendously fond of trash pieces, and this was no exception. After the article was posted to Guy Kawasaki's Evangelist there was a flurry of responses -- correcting the inaccuracies (and probably pointing out the irresponsibility of publishing said garbage).

So two days later Margie posts a follow-up. This one was called "Mac Users slam Server Survey". The implication is that Mac users didn't like a survey (that they never heard about) and were ignoring the facts.

Mac Users Slam Server Survey

The amusing thing is that this article has a completely different tone than the first article (which is what users were responding to). The second article implies that there was a "survey" done, which was never quoted in the first article. So the Mac users are supposably rebelling against this mythical survey that was never quoted from or pointed to, and that no one has seen (you can get their conclusions from ZONA for a mere $900). I would like to see the Survey, methods, and sources -- of course none of that is available and was not quoted in the articles, and we are supposed to take their word for it.

Margie claims in the second article that figures from IDC show Windows NT growing from 17% to 32% market share by the year 2000 (apparently server market share), with Macintosh servers scheduled to drop from 15% to 12% in the same period.

Even if we were to agree with those projections (same as wild-assed guesses) -- it implies that Macs servers will grow at slightly less than the rate of other servers, until the Macs market share is only 12% (instead of 15%) even though volume will have increased. Remember markets are growing at up to 20%/year - so for the Mac to drop 3% points in market share in 3 years, it will have had to grow in volume in total about 70%.

So IDC is saying that Mac servers will grow by 70%, but not keep pace with the rest of the industry (and drop from 15% to 12%). This 3% drop is not exactly the same as saying "Macintosh servers will drop off the face of the Earth by the year 2000." Which was the original quote that Mac users were rebelling against. Seems like Margie's conclusions are not supported by the facts or the most supportive evidence she could find. Also one could make a case the 32% market share for WinNT would not likely be "by far the most popular Web server", as I imagine Unix currently holds most of the remaining 50% market share. So again she missed on the facts, though there are claims that Unix will start dropping in favor of Novel servers.

Margies title of the second article is that Mac users are unfairly emotional and are attacking a reputable survey. But the facts are that the Mac users never saw the survey (and she never quoted one), and were only attacking her ignorant claims and bad tone. Even then, the facts she presents do not come anywhere close to supporting the claims of the first article (even if she was only quoting others). While these kind of dramatics may attract readers, it is for all the wrong reasons. TechWeb looses more credibility each time they allow such trash to get published, and Margie ends up looking like "just another unknowledgable writer trying to play analyst or spin-miester".

Maybe in the future we can hope that Margie (and TechWeb) will realize that analysts base their conclusions on facts (and not their own desired conclusions) -- and that their job is to report the news, and not twist it. When objective analysts get caught with their facts down, they don't try to distort history by rewriting it, nor by playing martyr. Hopefully TechWire and Margie will grow up in the future, and either not write/publish such trash, do their jobs as editors and filter out, idiocy or they will not be so immature as to try to justify their own errors with childish follow-ups that only further harm their credibility.

Created: 03/31/97
Updated: 11/09/02

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