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In the latest sign that it’s worried about Linux, Microsoft Corp. last week launched a campaign designed to give customers information about the advantages of using Windows over its open-source competitor.

Get the Facts is a print and online advertising campaign that will target leading IT publications and run for six months, said Microsoft officials, declining to say what the company expects to spend on the campaign.

The campaign is the latest attempt by the Redmond, Wash., software company to counter the success of Linux and is in line with the strategy embraced by the company’s open-source and Linux strategist, Martin Taylor, who took over the role in July. At the time he was appointed to replace Peter Houston, Taylor said he would make it his personal mission to publicize studies that showed Microsoft software beating open-source alternatives on return on investment.

Officials said that customers had told Microsoft they wanted research and information to help make value-based IT decisions. Over the past year, software cost and value has been a common issue raised by IT customers.

The ads will drive customers to a new Web site, facts, to find information on what customers and analysts are saying about Windows versus Linux, officials said.

One prominent statement on the site proclaims that “leading companies and third-party analysts confirm it: Windows [Server System] has a lower total cost of ownership and outperforms Linux.” Similar statements have been challenged by the Linux and open-source community and are certain to stir more controversy.

Taylor’s plan to supply customers with “objective” third-party research and facts —much of which is paid for or sponsored by Microsoft—also has not been that well received.

In fact, after Forrester Research Inc.’s Giga Information Group unit published in September a study paid for by Microsoft that found the company offered a cost advantage over Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition/Linux as a development platform for certain portal applications, the research company said it would not publicize similar studies in the future.

Microsoft has also been losing high-profile customers to Linux, many of them governments and governmental agencies and departments. Last month, the Israeli government said it will encourage the development of lower-priced alternatives to Microsoft software in an effort to help expand computer use by the public.

The governments of Great Britain, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, China, South Africa and Russia are also taking the measure of open-source alternatives to Microsoft, while federal agencies in Germany, France and China are already employing or are considering open-source alternatives.