Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Jim Lasco » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 05:52:11



There's been no lack of outrage in the Linux and open source arenas
lately over Microsoft's actions, particularly some of Ji m Allchin's
recent statements regarding the "threat" of open source or GPL'd
software or whatever it was he was really talking about. Every time I
see the Linux and open/free source supporters getting all huffed up
about this incident or Microsoft's ongoing FUD war against Linux, I
have to laugh. Not because it's just so much silliness from Microsoft
(which it is), but because it doesn't even scratch the surface of what
they're capable of and routinely do. Microsoft is not only far better
at this game than you imagine, they're far better at it than you can
imagine.

Since this tussle between Linux and Windows is now largely a PR battle
for the minds and hearts of the vast ocean of computer users, let's
look at the situation in political terms. Imagine your candidate, Tux,
wants to run for some fairly high office in the US, perhaps governor
of a large state. Tux is extremely well educated, pure of heart,
compassionate about helping people and making government more
effective and efficient, and has not the slightest trace of political
baggage--there's literally not a single skeleton in his closet. But
he's hampered by very meager funding, almost no campaigning
experience, and far less name recognition than his main opponent, the
incumbent, Billion Dollar Bill, a.k.a. BDB. What's worse, BDB and his
staff have almost unlimited funds and vast experience in running and
winning big campaigns, sometimes by integrity-challenged means. Not
only does our guy Tux have to deal with BDB's obvious public moves,
like his massive use of media ads, including negative campaigning, but
he also has to worry about BDB's political connections and other, more
creative and secretive, ways to spend money. If you think Tux has much
of chance in the election, you obviously know just about zippo about
the American political system.

(To those who take metaphors too seriously and love to fire off angry
e-mail: I'm not suggesting that Linux's chances of making serious
inroads beyond the server and embedded segments are this grim. There
are significant differences between this political fable and the OS
market; my point is that like our mythical Tux, Linux is facing a lot
more serious threat from Microsoft than the silliness we've been
consumed with. So put down that e-mail client and keep reading, OK?)

Want specifics? How about this: A couple of weeks ago I received an
unsolicited magazine in the mail, a copy of something called
eDirections: Enterprise Solutions for the Digital Age. I had never
heard of the magazine, but it was very obviously a big-budget
operation--it was printed on high-quality glossy paper with excellent
use of photography and typography. I noticed that several of the
article blurbs on the cover mentioned Microsoft products, but there
wasn't a hint of a "should you be using Linux"-style article, which
seemed odd, given what a pressing question this is today for this
publication's intended audience. Flipping through the magazine I
noticed that three of the six feature articles had author bios at the
end indicating that the author's name was really a pseudonym. I can
tell you without hesitation that this is very weird; a technical
writer has nothing to sell but his or her reputation, so we
aggressively collect resume bullets and use them whenever and wherever
possible. And that means that anonymous writing is a waste of time,
not to mention being very suspicious.

http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/opinions/3048/1/

Jim

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Roodwri.. » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 06:15:19



> There's been no lack of outrage in the Linux and open source arenas
> lately over Microsoft's actions, particularly some of Ji m Allchin's
> recent statements regarding the "threat" of open source or GPL'd
> software or whatever it was he was really talking about. Every time I
> see the Linux and open/free source supporters getting all huffed up
> about this incident or Microsoft's ongoing FUD war against Linux, I
> have to laugh. Not because it's just so much silliness from Microsoft
> (which it is), but because it doesn't even scratch the surface of what
> they're capable of and routinely do. Microsoft is not only far better
> at this game than you imagine, they're far better at it than you can
> imagine.

> Since this tussle between Linux and Windows is now largely a PR battle
> for the minds and hearts of the vast ocean of computer users, let's
> look at the situation in political terms. Imagine your candidate, Tux,
> wants to run for some fairly high office in the US, perhaps governor
> of a large state. Tux is extremely well educated, pure of heart,
> compassionate about helping people and making government more
> effective and efficient, and has not the slightest trace of political
> baggage--there's literally not a single skeleton in his closet. But
> he's hampered by very meager funding, almost no campaigning
> experience, and far less name recognition than his main opponent, the
> incumbent, Billion Dollar Bill, a.k.a. BDB. What's worse, BDB and his
> staff have almost unlimited funds and vast experience in running and
> winning big campaigns, sometimes by integrity-challenged means. Not
> only does our guy Tux have to deal with BDB's obvious public moves,
> like his massive use of media ads, including negative campaigning, but
> he also has to worry about BDB's political connections and other, more
> creative and secretive, ways to spend money. If you think Tux has much
> of chance in the election, you obviously know just about zippo about
> the American political system.

> (To those who take metaphors too seriously and love to fire off angry
> e-mail: I'm not suggesting that Linux's chances of making serious
> inroads beyond the server and embedded segments are this grim. There
> are significant differences between this political fable and the OS
> market; my point is that like our mythical Tux, Linux is facing a lot
> more serious threat from Microsoft than the silliness we've been
> consumed with. So put down that e-mail client and keep reading, OK?)

> Want specifics? How about this: A couple of weeks ago I received an
> unsolicited magazine in the mail, a copy of something called
> eDirections: Enterprise Solutions for the Digital Age. I had never
> heard of the magazine, but it was very obviously a big-budget
> operation--it was printed on high-quality glossy paper with excellent
> use of photography and typography. I noticed that several of the
> article blurbs on the cover mentioned Microsoft products, but there
> wasn't a hint of a "should you be using Linux"-style article, which
> seemed odd, given what a pressing question this is today for this
> publication's intended audience. Flipping through the magazine I
> noticed that three of the six feature articles had author bios at the
> end indicating that the author's name was really a pseudonym. I can
> tell you without hesitation that this is very weird; a technical
> writer has nothing to sell but his or her reputation, so we
> aggressively collect resume bullets and use them whenever and wherever
> possible. And that means that anonymous writing is a waste of time,
> not to mention being very suspicious.

> http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/opinions/3048/1/

> Jim

Just for what it's worth, two things occur to me when I read about
Microsoft's efforts to squash Linux. One is that they really want to kill
it off, which is no surprise and even understandable. I'm sure buggy whip
company A would like buggy whip company B to disappear also. The other is
that during the monopoly trial Microsoft liked to portray itself as
embattled by competitors. This excused its behavior, in its mind.

Beyond the competitive aspect, I sometimes wonder if Microsoft makes more of
the threat of Linux than it actually feels. (No, I don't believe Linux will
kill off Microsoft. I'm not even sure that's desirable. But cutting it down
to size would be nice so it couldn't get away with some of its more
outrageous licensing.) I have two reasons for wondering about this. One is
that it "excuses" Microsoft's moves on the theory that Microsoft is just
protecting itself. The other stems from the sense I have that there's often
a paranoid and hysterical note behind some of its statements.

What does everyone else think?

--Rod

--
Author of "Linux for Non-Geeks--Clear-eyed Answers for Practical Consumers"
and "Boring Stories from Uncle Rod." Both are available at
http://www.rodwriterpublishing.com/index.html

To reply by e-mail, take the extra "o" out of my e-mail address. It's to
confuse spambots, of course.

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Lin?nu » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 14:24:18



Quote:> Beyond the competitive aspect, I sometimes wonder if Microsoft makes more of
> the threat of Linux than it actually feels. (No, I don't believe Linux will
> kill off Microsoft. I'm not even sure that's desirable. But cutting it down
> to size would be nice so it couldn't get away with some of its more
> outrageous licensing.) I have two reasons for wondering about this. One is
> that it "excuses" Microsoft's moves on the theory that Microsoft is just
> protecting itself. The other stems from the sense I have that there's often
> a paranoid and hysterical note behind some of its statements.

> What does everyone else think?

"Developers!  Developers!  Developers!"

Reminds me of scientology and also of grape Kool-Aid.

--
In the server, embedded in the PDA, or on the desktop, Linux works great!

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Donn Mille » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 18:37:47



Quote:> if they're 'far better' why are they losing?

> bill grates is the wicked witch of the west.

> linux is a bucket of water.

Actually, that would be gcc.  Without gcc, none of this would be possible.

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Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Adam » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 20:02:59




>There's been no lack of outrage in the Linux and open source arenas
>lately over Microsoft's actions

You got that right.

You freaks want the world to revolve around you and others do their
business like you would like them to.

Sorry kids, but reality is different from your fantasy world.

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Roodwri.. » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 20:06:31




>> Beyond the competitive aspect, I sometimes wonder if Microsoft makes more
>> of the threat of Linux than it actually feels. (No, I don't believe Linux
>> will kill off Microsoft. I'm not even sure that's desirable. But cutting
>> it down to size would be nice so it couldn't get away with some of its
>> more outrageous licensing.) I have two reasons for wondering about this.
>> One is that it "excuses" Microsoft's moves on the theory that Microsoft
>> is just protecting itself. The other stems from the sense I have that
>> there's often a paranoid and hysterical note behind some of its
>> statements.

>> What does everyone else think?

> "Developers!  Developers!  Developers!"

> Reminds me of scientology and also of grape Kool-Aid.

You entirely lost me on that one. Please explain.

--Rod

--
Author of "Linux for Non-Geeks--Clear-eyed Answers for Practical Consumers"
and "Boring Stories from Uncle Rod." Both are available at
http://www.rodwriterpublishing.com/index.html

To reply by e-mail, take the extra "o" out of my e-mail address. It's to
confuse spambots, of course.

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Lin?nu » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 23:07:13



Quote:>>> One is that it "excuses" Microsoft's moves on the theory that Microsoft
>>> is just protecting itself. The other stems from the sense I have that
>>> there's often a paranoid and hysterical note behind some of its
>>> statements.

>> "Developers!  Developers!  Developers!"

A reference to a video of a sweaty Steve Ballmer exhorting a bunch of MS
developers in an auditorium.  Google for it and watch it.

Quote:>> Reminds me of scientology and also of grape Kool-Aid.

Scientologists are often paranoid and hysterical.
The grape Kool-Aid is what Jim Jone's followers used to kill
each other in Guatemala.

Quote:> You entirely lost me on that one. Please explain.

See above.

--
In the server, embedded in the PDA, or on the desktop, Linux works great!

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Lin?nu » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 23:08:15


While restarting Outlook, Adam grumbled:



>>There's been no lack of outrage in the Linux and open source arenas
>>lately over Microsoft's actions

> You got that right.

> You freaks want the world to revolve around you and others do their
> business like you would like them to.

> Sorry kids, but reality is different from your fantasy world.

Oh, okay Adam.  Returning the favor.

P L O N K

--
In the server, embedded in the PDA, or on the desktop, Linux works great!

 
 
 

Playing Hardball with Microsoft

Post by Roodwri.. » Sun, 15 Jun 2003 23:21:12




>>>> One is that it "excuses" Microsoft's moves on the theory that Microsoft
>>>> is just protecting itself. The other stems from the sense I have that
>>>> there's often a paranoid and hysterical note behind some of its
>>>> statements.

>>> "Developers!  Developers!  Developers!"

> A reference to a video of a sweaty Steve Ballmer exhorting a bunch of MS
> developers in an auditorium.  Google for it and watch it.

>>> Reminds me of scientology and also of grape Kool-Aid.

> Scientologists are often paranoid and hysterical.
> The grape Kool-Aid is what Jim Jone's followers used to kill
> each other in Guatemala.

>> You entirely lost me on that one. Please explain.

> See above.

I got one out of three. I understood the Kool-Aid part.

Thanks.

--Rod

--
Author of "Linux for Non-Geeks--Clear-eyed Answers for Practical Consumers"
and "Boring Stories from Uncle Rod." Both are available at
http://www.rodwriterpublishing.com/index.html

To reply by e-mail, take the extra "o" out of my e-mail address. It's to
confuse spambots, of course.

 
 
 

1. How a Giant Software Maker Played the Game of Hardball.

http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/10/biztech/articles/08microsof...
[cypherpunk/cypherpunk]

Excerpts:
"For any company, a meeting with Microsoft is often a charged affair. Every
computing device from keyboards to disk drives, and every software program from
games to browsers, must mesh smoothly with Microsoft's Windows operating system.
This is necessary to make computers reliable and easier to use, but it also
gives Microsoft its role as the industry's gatekeeper."


"A new competitor 'born' on the Internet is Netscape. Their browser is dominant
with 70 percent usage share, allowing them to determine which network extensions
will catch on." Netscape's strategy, Gates wrote, was to "move the key A.P.I."
into the browser "to commoditize the underlying operating system." "

"But on Dec. 7, 1995, Gates declared that Microsoft would not only deeply
integrate its browser into Windows but would give it away. The announcement
caught the industry, even Colbeth, by surprise. At the time, Spyglass had
licensed its technology to 82 other companies, including I.B.M. and Digital
Equipment, for use in their software products -- a licensing revenue stream of
about $20 million a year."

--
-------------------------------------------------------------
It is impossible to foresee the consequences of being clever.
{Christopher Strachey}
-------------------------------------------------------------

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