Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Microsoft's 12-Step Program 169

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the friendly-of-borg-or-marketing-shill dept.
NevarMore writes to tell us eWeek is reporting that Microsoft, after almost 30 years of Windows, now has 12 philosophical tenets outlining Windows development. From the article: "Smith said the principles largely come from things Microsoft picked up in the consent decree the software giant signed in settling its landmark antitrust battle with the federal government, but that more recent developments led to the crafting of some of the other principles. The 12 principles are based on three main areas: choice for computer manufacturers and customers, opportunities for developers, and interoperability for users, Smith said."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft's 12-Step Program

Comments Filter:
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:34AM (#15765515)
    The 12 principles are based on three main areas: choice for computer manufacturers and customers, opportunities for developers, and interoperability for users

    They are twelve ways to deny all of those?
    • Re:Let me guess (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doug Merritt (3550) <(doug) (at) (remarque.org)> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:09AM (#15765563) Homepage Journal
      They are twelve ways to deny all of those?

      Pathetic, isn't it? I had expected to see a list of issues like, perhaps

      • Huge and bloated is beautiful
      • Ship a prototype as soon as possible
      • Embrace captive user interfaces
      • Write programs that do thousands of unrelated things
      • Write programs that don't particularly work together
      • Write programs that handle lots of proprietary data formats, but not text streams
      • (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix_philosophy [wikipedia.org])

      Instead their list of "philosophies" is more like

      • Don't poison the customer
      • Don't shoot the customer
      • Don't bomb the distributor
      • Don't ignore direct orders from the court
      etc. Unbelievable.
      • They leave out things like 1) Customers don't own the software: we only license it on terms that we can arbitrarily change at will 2) Eulas are for our benefit not the customers 3) We are not responsible for the design and security flaws that will often make your computer unusable. 4) If our software resides on your machine, then we consider it our machine and will act accordingly. 5) You must run Auto updates so we can monitor you at all times. If you fail to do so we will cripple your computer. 6) Don't a
      • Re:Let me guess (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Neoncow (802085) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:53AM (#15766049) Journal
        I took a look at that Unix Philosophy article and noticed that it links to an intriguing related philosophy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worse_is_better [wikipedia.org]. I believe Microsoft is following this one.

        Quoth the link:
        As long as the initial program is basically good, it is easier to port to new machines and situations, and will take much less time and effort to implement initially. Thus, its use will spread rapidly, long before a program developed using the "MIT approach" has a chance to be developed and deployed. Once it has spread, there will be pressure to improve it by improving its functionality, but users have already been conditioned to accept worse than the "right thing". "Therefore, the worse-is-better software first will gain acceptance, second will condition its users to expect less, and third will be improved to a point that is almost the right thing.

        (Just replace the bit about "porting to new machines" with "attracting new users")

        Microsoft has permanently stuck themselves between steps two and three.
      • Re:Let me guess (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:17PM (#15766419) Homepage Journal
        Well, remember this guy is not an engineer or PR flack. He's Microsoft's lawyer. He's basically saying that Microsoft will obey the law as the court has established applies in their case. Which of course is his job -- not only from a public standpoint, but from what his role in the company is. "IP" companies aside, the reason you have lawyers is to tell you what you need to do to stay out of trouble.

        I expect this is his sincere viewpoint. And I would not be so dismissive of this viewpoint. All the technical ills of Microsoft's products are not unrelated to their illegal behavior as regards to their monopolistic power.

        This relationship is the reason for the core philosophy of the laws that restrain monpolist power: promote competition. The holder of a legally obtained monopoly can enjoy the fruits of that monopoly, but he cannot use that monopoly to evade competition. He can't use it to prevent new competition from emerging in his monopoly areas, he can't use it to prevent structural changes in the market which may reorganize his monopoly out of existence, he can't use it to undermine competition in other market areas which are competitive.

        Companies, even countries, can't really do more than one non-routine thing at once. They cannot put their energies into innovation and improvements, and at the same time turn their products into an interlocking mechnism to keep out and to undermine competition. As long as Microsoft's products are a vehicle for exercising, maintaining and extending Microsoft's monopoly power, they'll never be very good.

        So, with respect to Microsoft's products and their future quality, the decision to abide by the law is much more significant than any technological or architectural strategy. It means they are agreeing to be subjected to competition.

      • FTFA "We've learnt humility...". So how can we believe anything if he says this?
      • I think they're actually on the right lines here.

        Yes, MS produces some crap software, but that's not the real problem. If that were all, then users would be free to choose other software, and the free market would decide; MS would either learn to produce genuinely better software, or lose customers.

        The real problem has always been MS's unfair business practices: their tying of one market to another, their embracing and extending of formats and protocols, their strongarming suppliers into not providing

    • Re:Let me guess (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dolda2000 (759023) <fredrik@dold[ ]00.com ['a20' in gap]> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @08:27AM (#15765696) Homepage
      They are twelve ways to deny all of those?
      Not too far from it, from what I can see:
      10. Communications protocols. Microsoft will make available, on commercially reasonable terms, all of the communications protocols that it has built into Windows and that are used to facilitate communication with server versions of Windows. To facilitate this, Microsoft will document protocols supported in Windows as part of the product design process. We will also work closely with firms with particular needs to address interoperability scenarios that may require licensing of other protocols.

      11. Availability of Microsoft patents. Microsoft will generally license patents on its operating system inventions (other than those that differentiate the appearance of Microsoft's products) on fair and reasonable terms so long as licensees respect Microsoft's intellectual property rights.

      (From Microsoft's site [microsoft.com])
      So in other words, it's a no-go for free software.

      I also found the 12th point interesting:

      12. Standards. Microsoft is committed to supporting a wide range of industry standards in Windows that developers can use to build interoperable products. Microsoft is committed to contributing to industry standard bodies as well as working to establish standards via ad hoc relationships with others in the industry.
      What a commitment! I think I can pretty much count all the open standards that Microsoft can be said to be committed to support on one hand: the IP stack, DNS and HTTP. Even their FTP implementation is half-assed, to say the least (considering how one cannot get out of the initial cwd), and I doubt anyone would argue that Microsoft actually "supports" any of the web standards (that is, if one isn't viewing support of the version of 10 years ago as a "commitment").

      The second sentence is interesting in its own right. I, for one, cannot interpret it to mean anything but inventing their own, new standard instead of the ones that already exist and work. "[W]orking to establish standards via ad hoc relationships with others in the industry" doesn't even need a comment...

      All the other tenets were pretty well summed up by another poster as "don't poison the customer", "don't shoot the customer", "don't bomb the distributor" and "don't ignore direct orders from a court of law". They are probably reserving the rights to boiling the customer, burying the distributor alive and following order from a court of law at their own pace, however.

      • Re:Let me guess (Score:3, Informative)

        by Fred_A (10934)

        The second sentence is interesting in its own right. I, for one, cannot interpret it to mean anything but inventing their own, new standard instead of the ones that already exist and work.

        A good recent example of this is the Multimedia Transfer Protocol [wikipedia.org] (aka MTP) which is currently being pushed towards all the media player makers. Granted, there aren't really any such protocols that are really open. So everyone (well, Apple and MS currently, others don't seem to use any rich protocol, just mass storage fi

      • I think I can pretty much count all the open standards that Microsoft can be said to be committed to support on one hand: the IP stack, DNS and HTTP.
        I wouldn't even count HTTP. [grotto11.com]
    • Originally, there were 15 design principles... but they had to drop a few in order to meet the ship date.
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <.enderandrew. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:36AM (#15765519) Homepage Journal
    Damn misleading headlines! I thought this was a 12-step plan to recover from using Microsoft products!

    With the belief in a higher power (Linus) you too can break free from Microsoft dependence!
    • Linus .... Don't you mean apt-get? Pagan!
    • I thought it was a 12-step plan to world domination, but then again, Bungie already has a 7-step plan for that and they work for Microsoft.
    • Step 1 - Download Knoppix.

      Step 2 - Burn it into a CD.

      Step 2 - Boot the computer with the Knoppix CD.

      Step 4 - Locate KPatience at the 'games' menu.

      Step 5 - Learn how to play some other 3 kinds of patience.

      Step 6 - There is no step 6. No Windows user will ever take that CD out of the driver again. But you may want to buy a new driver...

    • Damn misleading headlines! I thought this was a 12-step plan to recover from using Microsoft products!

      1) We admitted we were powerless over competition, laws, and other people - that everyone's lives had become unmanageable without our software.

      2) Came to believe that trying harder would perpetuate the insanity.

      3) Made a decision to turn our back on God as we understood him.

      4) Made a searching and scary inventory of our competition.

      5) Admitted to God to ourselves and to the human race where the competition
  • by the.metric (988575) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:36AM (#15765520)
    ...need I say more?
  • by matt4077 (581118) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:41AM (#15765526) Homepage
    post 12 posts on these 12 tennets?
  • 30 years? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:41AM (#15765527)
    Windows hasn't been around since 1976, has it? According to this find FortuneCity website [fortunecity.com], it was announced in 1983, which would make it 23 years old. I doubt a 23-year-old person would consider themselves 'almost' 30 years old!

    PS - The one-page version of the article can be found at http://www.eweek.com/print_article2/0,1217,a=18381 8,00.asp [eweek.com]

    • Re:30 years? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Enderandrew (866215)
      I believe it is Microsoft that is nearing 30 years, not Windows. Here lies the problem with the internet. Many sites just propogate links to other people's articles, like Slashdot does. If the first person doesn't fact check, then no one down the line does. They just pass erroneous information on.
      • Re:30 years? (Score:3, Informative)

        by dingen (958134)
        I believe it is Microsoft that is nearing 30 years

        Their 30th anniversary was last year. Microsoft was founded in April 1975.
    • As someone whose 23rd birthday is next week, I can tell you in all honesty there are times when I do feel almost 30. But no, most of the time I feel, and behave, a lot more like a 12 year old. Just like Windows.

  • by also-rr (980579) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:42AM (#15765528) Homepage
    Principle No. 6 deals with APIs. Microsoft provides the developer community with a broad range of innovative operating system services, via documented APIs (application programming interfaces), for use in developing state-of-the-art applications.

    If they do it fast enough they might even manage to avoid getting fined another $1bn by the EU.
  • by Godwin O'Hitler (205945) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:43AM (#15765530) Homepage Journal
    When do these 12 principles take effect?
    Surely they're not implying they're already in operation.
  • Oh really? They have a 12 Step Plan [popex.com]?
  • by DeadSea (69598) * on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:46AM (#15765536) Homepage Journal
    The list could be titled: Twelve ways to avoid being a monopoly or Twelve ways to avoid pissing off customers and third party developers.

    If Microsoft really takes these twelve items to heart, it could be a big shift for them. It would certainly go a long way to change my perception of the company. I might even consider using Windows again at some point.

    The cynic in me says that something is forcing them to say this and that they possibly don't really mean it. The options seem like:

    1. The anti-trust litigation is finally changing them
    2. Competition from Apple and Linux has them over a barrel
    3. They want good publicity and they don't really mean it.
    • I realize this is going to be an unpopular opinion here, but no one ever considers the idea that maybe Microsoft is trying to actually change it's old business practices.

      Now, don't get me wrong, they're still in it for the money, and they'll never be Google, but is it entirely unfathomable that maybe Microsoft is trying to better the state of computer software as a whole? Many reasons could be cited as to why this would be a useful move for them in the long run, and I don't think that we should just autom
      • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:23AM (#15765584) Homepage
        As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:47AM (#15765640) Journal
        no one ever considers the idea that maybe Microsoft is trying to actually change it's old business practices.

        Maybe they are, but you wouldn't know it from these "commandments".

        Numbers 1-4 are already a fait accompli from a technical point of view. There's been nothing to stop OEMs or customers from adding their own software as defaults to any version of Windows, apart from Microsoft's shady business practices. Maybe Vista will make the process simpler, but complexity was never what stopped the Dell/Gateway/Toshiba etc of the world from changing defaults.

        Numbers five and six are significant, if they happen and are not bypassed in practice, but it's really just Microsoft saying "We're not going to keep breaking the law."

        Number seven and eight are non-sequiturs. Were they ever planning to incorporate Windows Live into their OS? Given the security implications, it would be an insane thing to do - so maybe they were... And what about not blocking access to non-MS websites? Gee, thanks guys. I'm glad you've decided to let us keep our Slashdot. Seriously, what the hell were they planning to do that would make it necessary to make that a core tenet?

        Nine, they're saying they'll stop breaking the law again.

        Ten and eleven are sneaky. They'll license communications protocols and patents "on commercially reasonable terms". Given the extremely flexible nature to the term "reasonable" you can pretty much bet they'll use the licensing terms to block all real competitors, particularly FOSS.

        Number twelve, well we've seen from their behavior with ODF that Microsoft is committed to standards, as long as they're their own, and as long as they can retract the compliance if it gets in the way of their format lockin in the future.

        All in all, there's a lot implied by the tenets, but the only ones which actually commit Microsoft to any changes are the ones required by law. The rest are carefully phrased to allow plausible deniability. Note also that they've said nothing about their key lockin tool - file formats. If Microsoft were serious about fair play they'd commit, in a legally binding way, to maintain fully open protocols, formats and APIs. They have not done so, so these "tenets" are nothing more than yet more spin and misdirection.

        • Numbers 1-4 are already a fait accompli from a technical point of view. There's been nothing to stop OEMs or customers from adding their own software as defaults to any version of Windows, apart from Microsoft's shady business practices. Maybe Vista will make the process simpler, but complexity was never what stopped the Dell/Gateway/Toshiba etc of the world from changing defaults.

          I agree with you, there is nothing stopping people from switching, except the fact that people simply didn't realize there w
      • I realize this is going to be an unpopular opinion here, but no one ever considers the idea that maybe Microsoft is trying to actually change it's old business practices.

        I don't believe that anybody has ever changed their business practices with a press release. Neither have they done it with a list of a dozen trite platitudes.

        Changing a culture just isn't that easy.

        (Decide for yourself whether the MS leadership is aware of this or not, which is equivalent to saying whether this is just PR noise)

      • I realize this is going to be an unpopular opinion here, but no one ever considers the idea that maybe Microsoft is trying to actually change it's old business practices.

        Let's see:

        - did they stop their get the fud campaign?
        - did they quit redefining "downtime" in their TCO comparisons?
        - did they disctontinue the "genuine advantage" spyware program and provide uninstallers?
        - are they opening up the document formats and protocols for interoperability?
        - Are they offering

    • Bill Gates went from being a buy who publicly said he didn't believe in charity to being Time's Man of the Year.

      People can in fact change.
    • If Microsoft really takes these twelve items to heart, it could be a big shift for them.

      Absolutely. It'll be just like when Gates announced "Trustworthy Computing" and made security Microsoft's top priority in 2002, and then their products stopped being insecure.
  • by Archtech (159117) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:06AM (#15765560)
    Hmm, having followed Microsoft's activities closely for the past 20 years, I had come to the conclusion that the Windows operation was guided by one principle. In its entirety, it reads as follows:

    MAXIMIZE REVENUE

    Analysis of Microsoft's behavior and the characteristics of Windows shows them to be fully and satisfactorily explained by this one hypothetical mandate.
    • Hear, hear (Score:1, Redundant)

      by KwKSilver (857599)
      Mod parent up!
    • Congratulations! You've grasped the core principles of Business 101.
    • I'm sorry, but this is, without a doubt, the stupidest post I've ever seen on slashdot (and I've been reading a long time). That's the guiding principle of EVERY COMPANY EVER. It's so much a guiding principle that it isn't even bothered to be said. Of COURSE they are trying to maximize revenue.

      Honestly, they are a public company. If their CEO came out and said "Maximizing revenue isn't our #1 goal" he would be (rightly) fired by the board of directors. If the board refuses to fire him, they would (rightly)
      • I'm sorry, but this is, without a doubt, the stupidest post I've ever seen on slashdot (and I've been reading a long time). That's the guiding principle of EVERY COMPANY EVER. It's so much a guiding principle that it isn't even bothered to be said. Of COURSE they are trying to maximize revenue.

        The guiding principle of every company ever (including Microsoft) is to maximize profit. For most companies, this is not same as maximizing revenue, because their products are physical objects that typically r

  • by The Mutant (167716) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:09AM (#15765564) Homepage
    Embrace [chron.com], extend [networkworld.com], and extinguish [zdnet.com].

  • by rohan972 (880586) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:10AM (#15765566)
    1. We admitted we were powerless over our operating system --that our computers had become unmanageable.

    2. Came to believe that an OS greater than windows could restore us to sanity.

    3. Made a decision to turn our computers over to GNU/Linux as we understood it.

    4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of files with proprietry formats.

    5. Admitted to our local LUG and to ourselves the exact nature of our wrongs.

    6. Were entirely ready to have Free software remove all these defects of character.

    7. Humbly asked the mailing list to remove our shortcomings.

    8. Made a list of all persons we had sent malicious code to, and sent GNU/Linux install CD's.

    9. Help such people with the installation wherever possible, except when to do so would result in them being fired.

    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we had used proprietry programs, formats or protocols promptly admitted it.

    11. Sought through slashdot and man pages to improve our conscious contact with GNU/Linux, as we understood it, asking only for knowledge of how to get our hardware working and perform our tasks.

    12. Having had an awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other sufferers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
  • 30 years is a bit long though... Didn't Windows version 1 arrive in 1985 [digibarn.com]?
    • I think the 30 years is in reference to Microsoft's development history, not Windows' development history.

      MS started in 1975 (from memory), so the ~30 years would be dead accurate in that case...

      In any case, Microsoft's backstabbing tactics pre-date Windows...

  • by MarkByers (770551) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:27AM (#15765593) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft just wants to make money and they have to try their hardest to get people to trust them. Wouldn't you expect them to say that they are a nice company? Do you think it would be better if they said 'We hate consumers having choice and we are trying to prevent competition'? There is no point bashing them for using good PR. Any other company would do the same. Perhaps Linux companies could learn something about marketing from them if they would take the time to study how Microsoft does what it does best - marketing.
    • If this is just marketing talk then they're lying. That's fraud.

      Some companies walk the walk. M$ just talks the talk.

      It's a real shame that the legal system isn't sophisticated enough to deal with the likes of M$ well.

      ---

      Creating simple artificial scarcity with copyright and patents on things that can be copied billions of times at minimal cost is a fundamentally stupid economic idea.

      • Lying is not a crime. As long as they aren't promising anything in a sales contract, they can say whatever they like. If you want a promise, get it written in your contract. You are kidding yourself if you believe PR speak can be judged in a court of law.

        Everyone should learn at school: Buyer beware.
        • Lying is not a crime. As long as they aren't promising anything in a sales contract, they can say whatever they like. If you want a promise, get it written in your contract. You are kidding yourself if you believe PR speak can be judged in a court of law.

          It's certainly unethical. It's also called truth in advertising and people can go to jail if they break it too much. You're correct in that PR speak is not held to as high a standard as contracts but the standard is there. And as I've already stated the

  • Developers (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:30AM (#15765601)
    Ballmer just called and he's got them:

    1. Developers
    2. Developers
    3. Developers
    4. Developers
    5. Developers
    6. Developers
    7. Developers
    8. Developers
    9. Developers
    10. Developers
    11. Developers
    12. Developers
    • If Microsoft wants to attract developers, especially hobbyist developers, then why is it requiring a VeriSign code signing certificate, priced at 499.99 USD per developer per year, in order to have device drivers load at all on Windows Vista 64-bit edition OS?

  • So, 30 years for 12 tenets. That makes 2.5 years per tenet if I'm not mistaken. Not a particularily productive tenet-developing group if I may say so, seeing has how a single philosophical paper can contain dozens of them. If a simple tenet takes 2.5 years from concept to deployment, no wonder Vista is four years late already.

    Perhaps if they had hired a few of those philosophy PhD:s currently being gainfully employed in the fast-food industry, they could have gotten them into production faster?
    • ...no wonder Vista is four years late already.
      So what you're saying is that Vista was supposed to be released right around the time XP was released? If I remember correctly, XP was released in late '01, or in '02... Four years ago.
  • hmm... (Score:1, Funny)

    by dud83 (815304)
    How is this different from their old?
    1. Idea
    2. Marketing research
    3. Develop
    4. Create a "mysterious" website promo
    5. Spend gazillion dollars on marketing
    6. ...
    12. Profit
  • by denoir (960304) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:33AM (#15765608)
    It does not bode well when a company calls "computer manufacturers may add shortcuts to the start menu" a philosophical principle. It is such a sad statement of no core beliefs or belief in the future. Compare it to Google's naive, but uplifting "Do no evil".

    Microsoft badly needs a reboot with people in charge who can give this company a real vision.

    • It does not bode well when a company calls "computer manufacturers may add shortcuts to the start menu" a philosophical principle.

      The strange thing about this statement, is MS has never restricted an OEM from putting literally anything on the start menu. (Have you seen some of the crap companies like Compaq and Dell load on computers?)

      Now that I think about it, maybe MS would be better off if they 'did' limit this... (j/k)
  • by Amphiaurus (984533) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:35AM (#15765609) Homepage
    In his book "Trading Places" Clyde Prestowitz noted that the Japanese frustrated the US trade delegations (during the Reagan/Bush Sr era) by openly agreeing to everything asked or demanded of them, then turning away and doing exactly what they planned to do in the first place. The US guys thought the Japanese were lying, but they missed (then) the significance of the ploy. I'm sure that Microsoft's managers and spin-surgeons are savvy to the method now, so quite frankly I don't believe anything that comes out of their PR department. If they're talking you can be sure they're lying. I just watched the original "Clerks" again. I'm thinking now that working for Microsoft is like doing contract labor on the Death Star. I'm sure it pays well, but it's ignoble work, contributing to an evil empire. :)
  • What do Microsoft want to do?
  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:38AM (#15765619) Homepage
    Smith said the principles largely come from things Microsoft picked up in the consent decree the software giant signed in settling its landmark antitrust battle with the federal government, but that more recent developments led to the crafting of some of the other principles.

    Am I the only person who saw this?

    Translation: We had to make some changes to keep from getting hit by more massive lawsuits, and then thanks to the EU ruling we had to make yet more changes. But we're going to act like it was voluntary because it looks better.

    Where in there is "we've figured out some things that customers want and we're going to provide them"? No, this is all "let's keep from being sued again".
    • While I agree with your analysis on the most part, it is entirely possible that they *did* figure out things that their customers want, but it took the various law suits and potential for more to force them to actually implement those things.

      Do not make the mistake of thinking that MS is full of stupid people; they know exactly what they're doing. Just because their aims and methods are not ours doesn't make them any less able.
    • They signed a consent decree agreeing to do certain things. So they encode some of what they agreed to in their tenets for their employees to follow, in order to ensure they do what they said they would do.

      And you have a problem with that?

      There's nothing in that statement you quoted that indicates they arrived at all the tenets themselves.

      These tenets are simply a tool for Microsoft to guide the development of Windows in a direction that they believe will maximize their profits, partially by minimizing fine
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:47AM (#15765641)
    No, not because MS suddenly turned "good" and they want to repent their "evil" ways. Quite simply: When you're under constant surveillance for problems and legal breaches, you can't do them.

    Take Google. It's the "not evil" company. Now, I might be mistaken, but doesn't Google have a similar position in areas like web search and to some extent web mail that MS has in the areas of OS and office? But where's the outcry?

    MS has a huge image problem. It's become the "evil" company, it has the status that IBM held in the 70s and 80s, the monopolist who forces his solutions down your throat because you have no choice. Now, we all know what happened to IBM when the "IBM-compatible" PCs hit the market: They lost that market completely. Not because their machines were inferior or (too) expensive (yes, they were expensive but many companies care more for TCO than cost of the machine alone), they lost it with their image as the one who strangleholds you, and the customer fearing the lock-in.

    MS is in the same position today. Using an MS client product almost forces you to purchase an MS server, which in turn forces you to buy MS client licenses for the server, which in turn almost forces you to use MSSQL (if for nothing else then for convenience's sake), you have an MS domain controller (because you fear that they just MIGHT change the protocol and your Linux DC won't be able to work it out) and so on.

    A lot of companies, and also a lot of governments in Europe, are migrating to Linux because of this. And MS certainly does not enjoy this trend.

    So it's not a move to be "less evil". It's simply a move to avoid losing more market share than absolutely necessary.
    • Take Google. It's the "not evil" company. Now, I might be mistaken, but doesn't Google have a similar position in areas like web search and to some extent web mail that MS has in the areas of OS and office? But where's the outcry?

      You STILL don't get it? The outcry was not about MS having a monopoly, but about using this monoploy to illegally gain advantages in other markets.
      • I'm not talking about legal action taken against MS, the outcry about the monopoly situation of MS in the OS and Office market has been a target for various groups long, long before any governmental bodies started looking into the matter, even long before competetors tried to defend against it with legal moves.
        • Ok, I see what you mean, but IIRC also this outcry happened because MS abused the monopoly. Not necessarily in a legal sense but in the way it treated its customers. Google on the other hand hasn't done much to upset people, and it's gratis.
  • by level_headed_midwest (888889) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:51AM (#15765645)
    13. We will fully disclose our file formats so that greater interoperability with other platforms can be achieved- we will not "lock in" customers any longer.
    14. We will not treat the user as a criminal.
    15. We will fully respect the user's privacy. As such, we will install a working hosts file and NO Microsoft program can send any information back to us without explicitly stating what will be sent back, why, and who gets to see it. The Windows firewall will also be able to block all incoming and outgoing traffic, including traffic that reports to Microsoft. We will not put "backdoors" into our products.
    16. We will fully respect the user's sovereignty over his or her own data. We will never allow the OS or any Microsoft programs to prevent people from accessing, modifying, or distributing data on their computers in whatever manner they wish to.
    17. We are not the police. We cannot and will not attempt to stop users from doing any act on their computers that may violate any license, ordinance, or act in their particular region. It is the user's responsibility to comply with all local laws and regulations.
    • 18. We promise to never, EVER invade Poland.

  • Translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhmit1 (2270) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @08:05AM (#15765668) Homepage
    For those that need help understanding what MS is really saying:
    1. We will ensure that Microsoft will design Windows in ways that make it easy for people to add non-Microsoft features.
    Like viruses, spyware, adware, and so forth. Otherwise, we wouldn't have a market for getting rid of those problems and people wouldn't have a reason to upgrade.
    2. Computer manufacturers are free to add icons, shortcuts and the like to the Windows Start menu and other places used to access software programs so that customers can easily find them.
    3. Microsoft will design Windows so as to let computer manufacturers and users set non-Microsoft programs to operate by default in certain categories, such as Web browsing and media playback
    And we can get past all that antitrust litigation.
    4. Exclusive promotion of non-Microsoft programs ... indicating that Microsoft's fierce competition with Google aside, the company is dedicated to this principle.
    Oh, we forgot to mention the entire open source movement and anything they happen to create. Them and Google. Oh, and Apple. Um... how about if we just limit this to companies we can buy or crush?
    5. Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software
    Again with the antitrust thing. Of course there's nothing saying you won't buy or destroy the other company, retaliation is completely different.
    6. Microsoft provides the developer community with a broad range of innovative operating system services, via documented APIs (application programming interfaces), for use in developing state-of-the-art applications.
    #$%$^ EU.
    7. Microsoft will design Windows Live as a product that is separate from Windows. Customers will be free to choose Windows with or without Windows Live
    Wait, didn't we just say no retaliation? Oh, you meant retaliation against them? Ok, them too.
    8. Microsoft will design and license Windows so that it does not block access to any lawful Web site or impose any fee for reaching any non-Microsoft Web site or using any non-Microsoft Web service
    We had this cool system all ready to go, but the marketing dept said they couldn't find a good way to sell it without pissing off the anti-trust folks.
    9. The U.S. antitrust ruling provides that Microsoft may not enter into contracts that require any third party to promote Windows or any "middleware" in Windows on an exclusive basis and Microsoft has pledged to continue this.
    Ok, so just this one time, we are going to do what we were order to do by the courts. But don't push your luck.
    10. Microsoft will make its communications protocols available for commercial release.
    We think there's a lot of money to be made here.
    11. The company will generally license patents on its operating system invention.
    Except to those damn open source folks, we'll make sure the license is way to restrictive for them.
    12. The company is committed to supporting industry standards.
    We always have. Just ignore the fact that we then extend them to our own liking. And that process usually means we have to break a few parts of the standard.

    So, yeah, nothing to see here folks. Move along.
  • Google made the "one principle" bussiness API, as one would expect, the MS copy (err, implementation) is 12 times as big as the original and hasn't been tested properly. /sarcasm
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @09:13AM (#15765793) Homepage Journal
    1. Embrace
    2. Indulge ie Embrace
    3. Extend
    4. FUD
    5. Smart guided FUD via 'grass roots' or strange legal 'problems'
    6. Extend
    7. Extend
    8. Embrace
    9. Embrace
    10-12 Extend

    The spiritual awakening is the extinguish part.

  • The 12 principles are based on three main areas: choice for computer manufacturers and customers, opportunities for developers, and interoperability for users

    I guess 'choice for users' was to have been the 13th step, but MS thought it would be unlucky.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @11:48AM (#15766195)
    but it smells a lot like the "Contract with America" that Congress foisted upon us some years ago. A mere expression of "principles" is nothing but a meaningless PR move, and I'm willing to bet that Microsoft's guiding principle ("try and take over the world") hasn't changed one bit.
  • Spin and marketing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drasil (580067) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @12:31PM (#15766308)

    It seems like just talk to me. Microsoft are aware they have annoyed a lot of people. I think they are sincere in trying to fix that, they know that if they don't people will stop buying their products, however I still see signs they still don't 'get it'. Throughout the article I get the feeling that Microsoft cannot concieve of a world where they don't have a monopoly on the desktop. There is a lot of talk about releasing API documentation so 3rd partys can write software to run on Windows, and about how box builders should be free to install 3rd party software on the Windows boxes they sell. They even state:

    Microsoft will design Windows Live as a product that is separate from Windows. Customers will be free to choose Windows with or without Windows Live

    This indicates to me that the two products are only partially seperated, unless customers may choose to run Windows Live without running Windows, a statement which is conspicuous by it's absence. I expect what we are seeing here is partly a response to the EU fines, and partly the start of the "Next time will be different" campaign for Vista.

  • No. 8 is Open Internet access, where Microsoft will design and license Windows so that it does not block access to any lawful Web site or impose any fee for reaching any non-Microsoft Web site or using any non-Microsoft Web service, Smith said.
    • I think it's better/worse than this.

      With my best tin-foil hat on, I think they've thought about charging people for running non-MS apps on windows machines. And may well do so; of course, bigger companies like IBM will be able to pay some sort of fee - call it a rental. The main controlling mechanism would be WGA which would monitor any applications you use. And it would be forced on you by the EULA and presented as being for your Genuine Advantage.

      Of course, you would no longer be able to write your own ap
  • No. 2 is easy access: Computer manufacturers are free to add icons, shortcuts and the like to the Windows Start menu and other places used to access software programs so that customers can easily find them, Microsoft said.

    This is one of the worse things about Windows IMHO. I like to keep my desktop clean and don't want installs to drop shortcuts and folders on my desktop, in my start menu, in the quicklunch bar, in the system tray and then set it to autolaunch on startup - especially when the application

Klein bottle for rent -- inquire within.

Working...