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Microsoft

Microsoft Responds to Leaked Memo 373

AbbeyRoad writes "CNN, has a story on Microsoft's response the internal memo previous leaked: "Microsoft believes many of its efforts to market its products against Linux and open source are backfiring, according to a memo posted on the Internet. ... Microsoft declined to comment on the authenticity of the memo, and did not answer when asked if it believes its marketing against Linux and open source has been effective. ... Microsoft spokesman Jon Murchinson said: ''The document in question seems to suggest that the basis for evaluating products has been long-term customer value, and that's something we agree with. I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value.'' ""
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Microsoft Responds to Leaked Memo

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  • And... (Score:5, Funny)

    by inerte ( 452992 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:21PM (#4644997) Homepage Journal
    long-term customer value

    With the new licenses, the value increases every upgrade!
    • Re:And... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Archfeld ( 6757 )
      LOL, I was thinking along that lines myself...
      Long term customer value = how much money we can squeeze from a customer in their lifetime.

      Long term value != a product that the customer derives value from for an extended period.
    • Re:And... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:10PM (#4645402) Journal
      Parent should have been modded up as insightful, rather than merely funny. How can MS with a straight face say they are about "long-term customer value" when they design for short-term (3 years or so) obsolescence?
      • "merely" funny? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tony-A ( 29931 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @05:27PM (#4646072)
        Maybe it's just me, but it seems like +5 funny outranks +5 insightful. Some sense of poetic rather than prosaic.
        I think Microsoft is using "long-term customer value" in the sense of long-term value from a herd of sheep. They are referring to the value *from* their customers rather than the value *to* their customers.
      • planned obsolescence (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phorm ( 591458 )
        I work as a tech for schools and educational institutions. For many of these, they are still using windows 95. There are some 98 machines, but licenses are limited so the 95's tend to be prominent anywhere outside of a lab.
        Trying to deal with an OS which is no longer supported by the vendor, or many software/hardware manufacturers, is just plain ugly. While I never liked 95, the cost of licensing 100+ machines just tends to be a bit prohibitive, when hardware, etc is also very expensive.

        And it's not just licensing the OS, but accepting all the terms of the license agreements. We don't want to sell our souls to MS (or any other big corp) to save a few bucks. Thus, we are looking at alternatives, and open source becomes increasingly tempting solution, even though we know many will not be happy with such a changover into unfamiliar areas.

        The point is, you're right. There is quite sparse "long-term" customer value, unless there are a lot of "long-term" payments being made. This isn't to say that everything should be free, or dirt cheap, but it shouldn't be as painful as it tends to be when done in bulk.

        You also have to consider system requirements, and how much they have hiked for OS to OS. XP needs RAM, 2K isn't so bad but it can be a RAM pig too. Unfortunately linux desktops also tend to wallow in the mud unless fed something over 64MB as well (Gnome on RH8 runs, very slow in loading apps though), but at least you don't have to buy an OS and hardware too.
  • by hermescom ( 624888 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:24PM (#4645020) Homepage
    "This interview is over," concluded the irate MS representative after numerous agressive questions.

    "I will see you back here next year, for a debate on our Halloween VIII memo, now in development." he proceeded to add.

    Sources indicate that next year's halloween memo will require 20Gig for a full install, but will be available as a "web-service" for a small subscription fee.

  • by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:24PM (#4645022)
    They are dependant on the marketing and business schemes and not the quality of their product. If the above isn't working then they better become concerned.
    • by signine ( 92535 ) <slashdot@s i g nine.org> on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:38PM (#4645158) Homepage
      They are dependant on the marketing and business schemes and not the quality of their product. If the above isn't working then they better become concerned.

      Actually, Microsoft does produce a quality product, despite what the Linux-obsessed masses seem to think. It does have it's shortcomings, not the least of which being the price tag, but when it comes down to it, what Microsoft should be keeping in mind is that they have the edge when it comes to support and useability. Linux and Apache may well perform 10% faster, but an existing company typically has to hire a Linux admin to do that. Instead they can just throw money at buying a Windows Server License, IIS, and make a couple support calls to Microsoft to get it all up and running properly. If it ever breaks and the admin can't figure out the ridiculously simple administration tools, he can call Microsoft and have them fix it.

      Sun does essentially the same thing, but is substantially more expensive, has less application support, and generally also requires hiring expert technicians. Microsoft products just do what they're supposed to do, and do them reasonably well. This is why Microsoft has the edge, it's EASY. MacOS might be a challenger if they had Enterprise level server support and hardware that didn't cost an arm and a leg, and third party support.

      Lets face it, Linux has a long time to beat out Microsoft in Workstation land, and for companies that want to be able to hire any random Joe for pennies and not have to document every step of their network, Microsoft is more or less the only choice.

      Interface, support, cost. The overhead to pay MS for software and support is less than hiring Senior UNIX Admins, and that's basically what it all comes down to.
      • Thank you, random Joe.

      • by pmz ( 462998 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:02PM (#4645349) Homepage
        Sun does essentially the same thing...

        Okay.

        ...but is substantially more expensive...

        How so?

        ...has less application support...

        It depends on your point-of-view.

        ...and generally also requires hiring expert technicians.

        You'd rather have non-experts running systems that your business depends on? All but the smallest networks require experts from initial network architecture to end-user support.

        Microsoft products just do what they're supposed to do, and do them reasonably well.

        Other options, such as OS/2, Beos, Wordperfect, etc. have all come and gone at Microsoft's whims yet they were all arguable better than MS' offerings. Microsoft's products do approximately what their marketing department says they do, but not nearly as well as advertised. It's pretty rare that I'm actually impressed by one of Microsoft's products after I get to use it.

        This is why Microsoft has the edge, it's EASY.

        Not really. Microsoft's current edge really is founded on their downright predatory business and marketing tactics over the past two decades.

        The overhead to pay MS for software and support is less than hiring Senior UNIX Admins, and that's basically what it all comes down to.

        It really depends on the size of the network. UNIX scales better in cost as the size of the network increases. Unless, of course, the company is locked into Exchange, for example.
      • Microsoft products just do what they're supposed to do, and do them reasonably well.

        For some definitions of reasonable. For the definitions of customers who rely on their web services to be "always on", I'd argue that they do them pretty damn poorly though. Having experts on staff, for one example, helps ensure that you have someone who can aggressively resolve any issues that do arise. And if MSFT doesn't "need" any experts, then what are all these certifications they're always touting for?

      • Actually, Microsoft does produce a quality product, despite what the Linux-obsessed masses seem to think.

        Linux-obsessed masses? What planet is this on? On my planet, Earth, nobody knows about Linux except a bunch of long-haired badly shaven socially-inept geeks (self included).

      • by ReelOddeeo ( 115880 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:36PM (#4645625)
        Actually, Microsoft does produce a quality product

        Only now do they produce some quality products. This can be attributed to the fact that they have buckets of money to pour into development. Money that can be extorted from other market segments that have no choice but to buy.

        You don't think Microsoft spend $150 million improving IE just to give it away out of the goodness of their hearts? ($150 million according to trial testimony.)

        You don't think, a few years ago, Microsoft was giving away Microsoft Money for free out of the goodness of their hearts? (Prior to giving up on the idea of killing Quicken and then trying to buy them instead.)

        These are the classic tricks of the monopolist.
        • You can give away products for free, subsidizing them from customers who are locked in to something else you make.
        • You can develop quality products, after many poor releases that would have killed any other non-monopoly. Microsoft can afford as many screwed up releases as necessary to develop quality products. It simply doesn't matter. After some number of years, they'll get it right, and a whole new generation of Microsoft shills will appear to trumpet the goodness that is Microsoft.
        Lets face it, Linux has a long time to beat out Microsoft in Workstation land

        A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, people were saying that anybody, including Microsoft has a long time to beat out IBM in PC land. Now we have commodity hardware, and Microsoft, not IBM, makes all the profits. And it didn't take very long either. By 1985/6 the war was over. Things can have a way of snowballing. Microsoft seems to be very much on the defensive.

        You mentioned support and service. Modern Linux distros are getting pretty darned good if you hadn't noticed. Now both Red Hat has announced their intentions to go after the desktop. SuSe, and others, too.

        for companies that want to be able to hire any random Joe for pennies and not have to document every step of their network, Microsoft is more or less the only choice.

        Trained chimpanzees for admins? No documentation? Sounds like either:
        • A recipe for disaster
        • nothing custom or innovative being done (In which case, the same reasoning would apply to Linux, install out of the box, nothing custom.)
        This is why Microsoft has the edge, it's EASY

        This is why Microsoft has the edge: It's a MONOPOLY!

        With an already segmented market!

        (Segmentation is another monopolist trick. Take an identical product, and at no cost, or tiny cose, turn it into multiple market segments. Hence, XP Home, XP Embedded, XP Pro, XP Advanced Server, XP DataCenter, XP Media PC, etc. Got competition in one segment? Crush it, subsidizing it by charging the other segments.)
      • by Rooktoven ( 263454 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:52PM (#4645761) Homepage
        Actually, Microsoft does produce a quality product

        True, but you can't run a server or a decent desktop with just an intellimouse...
      • Linux and Apache may well perform 10% faster, but an existing company typically has to hire a Linux admin to do that. Instead they can just throw money at buying a Windows Server License, IIS, and make a couple support calls to Microsoft to get it all up and running properly.

        I guess I can go ahead and thank you for Nimda, Klez....et al. Yes, MS is just easy enough to get going...with swiss cheese security, a trillion buffer-overflow explots and general weaknesses. If you want to have any degree of security, I do believe apache is cheaper. In the short term, in the medium term, and in the long term. How soon until your network is melted from all the script kiddies and viruses killing it? A month?
      • by hubie ( 108345 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @05:47PM (#4646251)
        I think one could argue that the perceived lack of local expert support (i.e., a sysadmin) has cost US businesses billions of dollars due to all the MS Outlook and IIS worms and viruses. If these systems were so easy to administer, then why are there so many unpatched systems? If Joe Blow wants to set up a "it just works" server or Outlook account out of the box and doesn't pay attention to the administrative details, then he shouldn't be surprised when his system goes down and lots of money in time, software, and hardware have to be thrown at it because some l33t scriptkiddie took him down. That is one of the backend costs that others have referred to, and I think that if some of the larger companies that took a big "I Love You" or Code Red hit, that the cost in downtime and repairing/reinstalling their systems was much more than hiring and keeping the aforementioned pricy Unix admins on staff for years.

        I think your support argument doesn't hold up because at least Red Hat provides very reasonably priced support. I can't answer for Sun, though my experience with them is that everything they provide is expensive.

        I've also never understood the "long way to go" for the desktop argument. Why is Linux so far away from the desktop? What can't you do in Linux that you can do with Windows? I run RH with Gnome and StarOffice. There is nothing I have run into that prevents me from using this as my everyday computer. The only argument against it is that it can't view proprietary MS media formats, that it lags behind deciphering quirky formatting in the latest Office documents. If your standard of argument for equaling MS on the desktop rests on those points, then you'll be disappointed as Linux can never reach that standard unless you think OpenOffice developers can anticipate the next round of formatting commands before the Redmond developers do. And don't even mention the "Joe Blow can't set up Linux" because you apparently never have had to set up a Windows business machine for a neophyte secretary (as well as having them completely relearn the OS when moving from 98 to NT). The "not ready for the desktop" argument has always sounded to me like a catch-all excuse for Linux not having much marketshare and not based on any technical or otherwise decent argument.

    • It gives them the "exclusive non-revokable right to debit your savings/checking accounts as is deemed necessary to protect your computer, which includes but is not limited to new marketing/business schemes to ensure the continued profitability of Microsoft".

      Even more fun, just reading it is considered accepting it.

  • Why not ? Is it SO bad for them to publicly acknowledge Linux (an other OSOS) as competition ?

    That is the important thing here, that acknowledgement, cos all measures (legal) to gain market over your competition are ok.
    • > cos all measures (legal) to gain market over your competition are ok.

      Let me get this straight, because its an awfully confusing concept that can't be said by /.-ers enough:

      All action to stiffle competition that isn't illegal is legal?

      Wow, that just like, totally blew my mind.

      (Of course, we wouldn't want to get into a debate about which actions are ultimately _good_ for MS or good for their competition, would we? Nah, its much more intellectually stimulating just to post, "Thats ok! Remember, its legal!" posts.)
      • EVERYTING that isn't explicitly forbidden is permitted.

        My post, btw was not about this at all. It was about why its so hard for MS to publicly admit Linux as competition.

        And also BTW, MS did not take any action at all, it just circulated an interal memo with proposed actions, so as far as i can see it can circulate almost anything in a memo and it be legal (with the possible exception that they plan to kill the president, which is a federal crime, even if its a joke)
  • by b0r1s ( 170449 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:25PM (#4645036) Homepage
    The increasing number of articles devoted to Microsoft is somewhat disturbing. It is evident to me that there are only two plausible explanations for this:

    1. Microsoft has purchased VA Software and is using Slashdot for free advertising
    2. Those running slashdot are more devoted to trying to find flaws in their 'enemy' than promoting the virtues of their cause.


    It's clear to me that, much like most modern elections, the second is indeed the case. Rather than attempting to promote Linux and Open Source as worthwhile competitors, Slashdot and its parent company insist on attacking Microsoft. This attack has multiple fronts: Apple, Linux, and BSD are all praised.

    The clear bias is seen in the promotion of Apple: Apple is every bit as proprietary as Microsoft, even going so far as to monopolize their hardware market and filing numerous lawsuits to combat those attempting to mimic their 'look and feel', something that even Microsoft does not attempt to do.

    I propose that this site state its purpose: does it exist to provide news, or is it merely attempting to blast Microsoft in a selfish, childish, jealous manner?
    • Nope. The real reason is:

      3. Most Slashdot readers feel passionately about Microsoft - one way or the other. Posting lame stories about MS make these people read /., thus increasing the page hits so they can attract more advertisers and make more money.
      • by xanadu-xtroot.com ( 450073 ) <xanadu@NosPaM.inorbit.com> on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:46PM (#4645236) Homepage Journal
        Sadly, I'll have to agree with this. I'm an NT Admin. I make my daily bread by supporting and using MS OS's. I just can't find a gig that'll pay me to Admin (or even use...) a *NIX OS.

        Flame me however you may (not the poster, just anyone who reads these words), but I have to put food on the table somehow, and I have yet to find a way to do that with *NIX. Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough (and that could very well be, but) I have an OK paying gig running an MS shop that is a 10 min drive from my house. That's pretty hard to beat.

        Alhough I certainly do not feel passionately about Microsoft, they are the reason I have a good paying job. It's mostly because their OS is crappy and needs constant support, but beside the point. I have a good job because MS exists.
        • I think you've summed up why Microsoft can foist crappy software on the world. Crappy software needs support. Millions depend on the bugs and the bad design to make a living. It's sort of why cars are so flakily designed: because the service bays are the profit centers for new car dealers.

          Linux and the various other nixes don't require the large amount raw manpower for maintenance that Windows requires, at least, not after things shake down. Therefore, a whole industry is threatened.

          I know personally how hard it is to get a job right now. Perhaps it is time we start moving on to newer pastures? Most of the tasks necessary to run networks and machines will be automated or eliminated in the next decade, I'd guess. TCO issues will insure that. MS will survive, because of licensing. But our jobs will not.

          Time to think of new things to do for a living. Sad.
        • If you're too busy fixing things to make an argument for upgrading and eliminating a frightfully flawed server deployment, then you're wearing a Prometheus hat. Sure you're keeping things running, but then every wicked 'sploit is another vulture set to tear your liver out. Of course you're renewed after recovering from a back-up and applying a hotfix, but then there will always be another vulture.

          Maybe what you have is a slight case of Battered Admin Syndrome. The first indicator is a destructive co-dependency on the thing which beats your ass. It's not your fault, and in order to break the cycle of violence you have to stand up to the agressor here. We can't blame Cerf or the NSF for the current state of things, but we can finger a rather monolithic corporate abuser which has fostered and supported an environment of dependency with a cycle of licensing violence that has made it increasingly harder to be an admin when dealing with pointy-haired manager types. I have never heard of any company suing M$ for dammages because they make buggy software. No manager in their right mind is going to tell you that by saving them money and releasing them from license audits that you're causing problems. Nobody is going to value you less if you don't have to work as hard to make them happy.

          In the end, it's up to you. Either the monoculture assmonkeys that hold you down have to understand the problem, or you will lead a quiet life of back-up, patch, and recovery desperation.

          Everyone has the capacity to be a Bastard Operator from Hell, some of us just don't have to work that hard at it.
          Cheers!

      • Cynic! (Score:4, Funny)

        by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:54PM (#4645293) Homepage
        I'm not saying you're wrong. But they'd increase the page hits a lot more by drifting into sex topics ... maybe. It'd be nice if little incremental stories like this were posted without opportunity for comment.

        But, hey, it's not like rehashing the same arguments for 1001th time is a statistically significant increase from 1000, right?

        Can we start a long-overdue thread on "which OS, on which platform, is best?"
    • by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:38PM (#4645156) Homepage
      "Rather than attempting to promote Linux and Open Source as worthwhile competitors, Slashdot and its parent company insist on attacking Microsoft."

      You are implying that VA Software created the memo and leaked it to CNN?

      It would seem that the article was written by a bona fide news source, and that it is onl;y being echoed here.

      Fact is, the battle for market supremacy in the server room and on the desktop is of paramount importance to most of the readers of /.

      Fact is, Microsoft itself created this "bad news."

      You imply it is cowardly to post these articles rather than extol the virtues of the competition. Hmmm, I daresay that you are being cowardly for attacking the messenger rather than the message.

      "Apple is every bit as proprietary as Microsoft, even going so far as to monopolize their hardware market and filing numerous lawsuits to combat those attempting to mimic their 'look and feel', something that even Microsoft does not attempt to do."

      The most famous suit was the one against Windows, and Microsoft.

      They lost, BTW.

      "I propose that this site state its purpose"

      I think they do.

      Look upward at the banner at the top of the screen.

      It says "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters."

      I fail to see how this memo fails to qualify as exactly that.

    • Another reason could be that Taco doesn't read other's stories and didn't see that the previous one was MS as well. Regarding free advertising, I don't think any more coverage could do anything to a buyer's decision. If you're willing to pay, you will anyway, and ditto if you don't.
    • by belloc ( 37430 ) <belloc AT latinmail DOT com> on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:49PM (#4645260) Homepage
      The increasing number of articles devoted to Microsoft is somewhat disturbing.

      One great thing about Slashdot is cusomization. Almost everything is customizeable. That means that the Anti-MS zealots could choose to block every story except MS-related stories, effectively turning their Slashdot experience into the limit of what you're describing. They could then bash MS to their hearts' content.

      Also, you could block out every MS-related story, and never see another one again. Why don't you just do that?

      Belloc
  • reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iterations ( 623422 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:25PM (#4645040)
    ''The document in question seems to suggest that the basis for evaluating products has been long-term customer value, and that's something we agree with. I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value.''

    hmm.. marketing and product development are two VERY different things, no?
    • Re:reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:31PM (#4645096)
      hmm.. marketing and product development are two VERY different things, no?

      Marketing is the process by which companies work out what the market wants, and how its products can meet that want. Good marketing - and no-one can deny that Microsoft are excellent marketers - is tightly integrated with development, so that customer demands can influence development priorities and technological developments can be pitched to customers. There should also be a lot of cross pollination, it's not uncommon for developers to do a stint as "pre-sales engineers" and marketers to do a stint as a "product manager".
      • Re:reality check (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:51PM (#4645268) Homepage
        Marketing is also the process, more and more it seems, of manufacturing need where none existed before.

        Classic Business 101 concepts of serving customer needs may work on a local widget-manufacturing level, but organizations like Microsoft or Exxon or the old Standard Oil trusts have been working from a different playbook for over a hundred years. The similarities between classic marketing and what Microsoft does are disappearing. MS more or less has a say in who gets appointed to the heads of the DOJ, the FCC, you name it. They can annihilate any small company they desire with lawsuits, if it so suits them. They can sway, with some work, the direction that information technology will take in the future.

        They are not all powerful -- witness Tablet PC's and Bob -- but the fact is, they no longer really need to cater to the market. The market increasingly must kowtow to them.

        It's a classic dilemma of capitalism. Companies compete, some win, then the winners consolidate control, form cooperatives, and ultimately remove market forces that can hurt them. Even IT, with its mercurial nature, is not immune to this.

        Off on a tangent -- the second reason, after threatened profits, that MS hates Open Source so much is a viceral hatred by Gates et al of the cooperative aspects of software development. It's akin to communism, as far a Gates and other really hardline neocons are concerned. It's an ideological nightmare for them.

        • Re:reality check (Score:3, Insightful)

          ohh you were so close ... you almost discovered the true power of American capitalism ... When a company becomes large enough, they *tell * consumers what to want. That was the real innovation behind MTV, tell kids what kind of music they want to listen to. Tell people "be original" and drink Dr Pepper. If I believe the commercials, a Nokia phone with a red faceplate would get me laid. Pepsi, "for those who think young."

          Microsoft picks some technology, convinces everyone they want it, and then when the industry catches up, MS has already moved on.

      • Re:reality check (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Uma Thurman ( 623807 )
        The purpose of marketing is to convince people to buy a product by subverting their reasoning process. If people bought things based on reason, they would pick the products that met their needs for the best price. Instead, we have marketers that convince people to buy things based on "brand" or "image" or something fuzzy like that. That's the reason why Nike sells so many ugly high priced shoes, when for most people a cheaper shoe would do. That's the reason why Levis brand jeans are bought instead of an off-brand that's just as comfy and durable. That's the reason why so many people Chevy Suburbans are occupied by a single driver, when a much smaller car would meet their needs.

        Do not confuse marketing with sales. The purpose of sales is to answer the customer's questions about a product. It's inherently an educational process, where the customer is taught the answer to the question "why should I choose this product over a competitor's product."

        Marketing usually solves a problem by making the product in a different color, or making the package just a bit larger and brighter so it catches the eye on the shelf. Sales solves the problem by putting the specifications for the product on the box, and giving the customers the information they need to make a decision based on the facts, not a warm/fuzzy feeling.

        To push this thing over the top: Sales makes things that look like a FAQ that answers questions and educates people they call "customers". Marketing makes things that look like crack cocaine that bamboozles people they call "consumers".

        OK, I'm done with that little rant now.
        • Re:reality check (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sql*kitten ( 1359 )
          If people bought things based on reason, they would pick the products that met their needs for the best price. Instead, we have marketers that convince people to buy things based on "brand" or "image" or something fuzzy like that. That's the reason why Nike sells so many ugly high priced shoes, when for most people a cheaper shoe would do.

          Ah, you are misunderstanding need. Consider: do people just want to keep their feet warm and to avoid slipping on the pavement? No, they want to look good and make a statement about themselves. Nike create a brand image, and people who buy their products do so because they want to associate themselves with that image. Look up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. People always buy products that represent the lifestyle they aspire to. The fact that they are exclusive is a big part of that - otherwise you might as well wear cardboard boxes on your feet.

  • Is it just me.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joe5678 ( 135227 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:27PM (#4645048)
    ... or is this article not about Microsoft responding to the leaked memo at all, but rather posting the cnn version about the fact that there is a leaked memo...
    • Yes, this is true, but in depth analysis as to whether or not a story is a duplicate is even more difficult than simply determining if it is a simple duplicate or not. So, given that Slashdot often features obvious duplicate stories, them posting a duplicate that's not so obvious is to be expected.

      Besides, it's interesting to see the further analysis people here have done a few days after the initial release.

  • by jki ( 624756 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:28PM (#4645056) Homepage
    I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value.

    That was supposed to be: .... toward long-term shareholder value.

  • And this is the company considering charging extra for security?

    or is that long term customer security?
  • Advocacy howto (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:28PM (#4645062)
    Really, is the Microsoft memo so different from this [datasync.com] and similar documents?

    Organizations refine their marketing all the time. And incidentally, Linux and open source in general is the #1 threat to Microsoft... and also to Sun. I don't doubt there is a similar pro-Solaris, pro-SPARC, anti-Linux, anti-Intel memo within Sun's sales organization.
    • Really, is the Microsoft memo so different from this [datasync.com] and similar documents?

      Well ... yes, actually. Let's take a look;

      Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.

      Nope! Doesn't sound like MS.

      Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.

      Nope again! MS have declared war on Linux, declaring OpenSource S/W to be like a 'cancer'. And so on ...

      Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.

      Phbbbt! :%s/Linux/Windows. Can you believe they'd say that???

      There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

      *ahem* And so on ... you get the picture!

      • Nope! Doesn't sound like MS.

        From the article:

        Microsoft believes many of its efforts to market its products against Linux and open source are backfiring, according to a memo posted on the Internet.

        Particularly ineffective tactics include legal arguments and name-calling, the memo says.


        So it's really just Microsoft's version of the advocacy howto.
        • Yeah, I see your point. The 'New MS' .... However, I think they've a *looong* way to go as they've lost a lot of credibility over their sustained FUD campaign.
    • I don't doubt there is a similar pro-Solaris, pro-SPARC, anti-Linux, anti-Intel memo within Sun's sales organization.

      This is probably true, but Sun, at least, can dispense with a little pride by actually marketing Linux-based products. I'm sure things like the LX50 server and Sun Linux pain the SPARC-advocates, but the public wants something other than SPARC at the really low-end. At least be thankful that Sun is listening to the market rather than trying to bludgeon it like Microsoft does.
    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:39PM (#4645645)
      Organizations refine their marketing all the time. And incidentally, Linux and open source in general is the #1 threat to Microsoft... and also to Sun. I don't doubt there is a similar pro-Solaris, pro-SPARC, anti-Linux, anti-Intel memo within Sun's sales organization.

      To state the obvious, Sun isn't Microsoft. Microsoft is a convicted, predatory monopolist. They have the money and the power to completely ruin OSS, as soon as they figure out how to do it. Don't think they aren't trying.

      OSS isn't a company they can buy. It is difficult to sqaush something that is intangible and revolutionary. This is interesting to me because I love OSS, GNU/Linux in particular. I don't want to see it go away, and I want to know what Microsoft thinks about it, and what their strategies are. I want everyone else to know this too, especially the people who are able to fight against Microsoft.

      • OSS is immortal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MikeFM ( 12491 )
        Free/Opensource software is really pretty immortal as a movement and product. Microsoft could keep people from using it but not from developing it. Their efforts to do just that, as the article says, have mixed results for them at best.

        If Microsoft really wants to compete with Linux they'll release the source to Windows. Eventually I think they'll do just that but not until they think they've pumped every dime out of Windows they can. Having Windows opensourced would of course benefit their competition also but as with most OSS projects the original owner of the code carries the big stick. Everyone else is free to split their own trees.. resell.. etc but if the original owner is selling it themselves then they'll get 90% of the business. Also they'll have a better chance at selling their apps, hardware, and support.

        I believe that is one reason Linus does not sell a Linux dist. RedHat is not the first Linux dist but it's been doing it a long time and has had the most solid business of the different dists so it usually gets a large majority of the business.. but does not corner the market because Linus doesn't work for them.

        Microsoft may bully some countries, the US included, into a protection racket for their software but in doing so would probably cause a backlash from many businesses.. even those currently using Microsoft products. Companies may like Microsoft software but having their choice forcible removed would give them reason to turn against Microsoft the company. So really I can't see DRM and such as a real stick for Microsoft to beat Linux up with.

        So look for M$ OpenWindows one of these days. Microsoft is slow to pick up on trends but once they grasp the way the wind is blowing they play the game well. You can't compete with the community that makes your software and the community that uses your software when there is an alternative. They'll have to change their business model to stay in business but once having done so they'll no doubt execute the change better than most others and probably come out stronger for the change.

        They'll probably follow a MacOS path of porting Windows to FreeBSD with some semi-open UI layer though my guess would be they'll be more likely to use KDE/Gnome as their base than start from scratch. Then they'll keep the applications commercial as long as they can.. slowly releasing layers of source as those layers are no longer profitable. I think Office will follow not to long after Windows as OSS because competition is strong there. That is one reason for their current XML push for file formats. I think they'll focus on the entertainment and business markets. Games have little direct OSS competition because large portions of them are more art than code. Games have a somwhat short profit lifetime so even if an OSS alternative comes out eventually Microsoft would have earned the profits from the game already. Vertical business apps just aren't very fun so most OSS devers don't make them. A few businesses release their own but usually they don't want to release anything that gives them a wedge over their competition.
  • If only.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Salden ( 571264 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:29PM (#4645070)
    ...they had released Palladium sooner. That way, they could have kept the memo from being leaked in the first place.

    I wonder how Palladium is supposed to stop cut-n-paste though...

    • Cut & Past will be a licensed web service through M$. For $0.25 (US)
      you can cut text. The text will then be sent to an M$ server where it
      will be "scanned" for correctness and inappropriate words (such as Linux)
      will be removed. From there the "corrected" text will be sent back to your
      PC where you can paste it for $0.25 (US).
    • Re:If only.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ReelOddeeo ( 115880 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:56PM (#4645804)
      I wonder how Palladium is supposed to stop cut-n-paste though...

      Surely you jest. Given that the software controlling a box can be trusted to do the vendor's bidding, they could do anything, including stopping cut-n-paste.

      If a document, say, Haloween XI, is available only in Word 2005 Palladium Edition, and the document is marked, "only allow copy/paste if License XY288273JJw8999 is in place", then you can bet they darn well will stop cut & paste. In fact, they could allow copy, and selectively enable paste. Even in non-Palladium applications. The "untrusted" app must make system service calls to obtain the contents of the clipboard, which would come back as:

      TEXT/PLAIN


      Sorry, you do not have the proper license to paste this content.


      Heck, they could even stop screen snapshots. Certian rectangular regions of the screen could just be blacked out in the screen snapshot. Only a trusted signed app could gain access to the raw unblocked pixels. The app would not be signed as trusted unless it withstood scrutiny to ensure that it didn't leak protected content. (i.e. a hypothetical Photoshop Palladium Edition might be able to edit a raw screen snapshot, but only if it preserved the licensing conditions of those raw pixels, and didn't allow viewing, copy, paste, etc. unless the condition "only allow copy/paste if License XY288273JJw8999 is in place". If Phosothop saved protected content, then only another "trusted" application could open it. That application could edit it, but would still enforce the license restriction of the content, now in the form of pixels. A non-trusted OCR program, for instance, could not open the document. The OS simply wouldn't allow it. But a trusted OCR program, duley signed, would enforce the digital rights restrictions and transfer them to the saved OCR'ed text file. (If it didn't then the OCR program would never have gotten "trusted" status under Palladium.)

      I hope this information is useful and answers your original doubts that Palladium could stop cut & paste.

      Basically there is a trusted and untrusted side of the fence. Once data exists on the trusted side, only trusted applications can manipulate that data. The data itself carries tags (or scripts?) that enforce the digital rights restrictions. If Microsoft were to develop a really flexible design for expressing the digital rights restrictions, then a piece of data could be tagged such as: "do not allow people with green hair to read this content.".
  • Truly amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slayer99 ( 15543 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:29PM (#4645072) Homepage
    A CNN story and a Slashdot article about 39 words of vapid marketspeak from some random Microsoft employee.
  • Ya don't say... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:29PM (#4645074)
    Particularly ineffective tactics include legal arguments and name-calling, the memo says

    Gee, I always thought name-calling would be a sure way to win over customers. There's no way it could possibly backfire and cause consumers to look at other options, of course not. If company A appears scared shitless of company B, there's no way company A's customers would take a closer look at B's product, right? No way, won't happen.

    Legal arguments on the other hand still could cause damage. Support the EFF [eff.org] today!

  • Long-term value?!?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Loopy ( 41728 )
    Um, you mean, so we can pay for that OS upgrade every 2 years and patch it every few days? That kind of long-term value??? Puhleeze. I have friends who are STILL running Slackware linux in almost the SAME config they installed back in '94. Show me someone who's still running Win3.1...and getting any decent use of it.
  • by Gefiltefish11 ( 611646 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:31PM (#4645093)

    Maybe Microsoft would have better luck in their campaign against Linux if they systematically vandalized the whole of NYC with Pro-MS/Anti-Linux stickers.

    They've never that before, right? It's bound to work and probably won't cost them more than $50 or $60 in fines.
  • by RailGunner ( 554645 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:33PM (#4645117) Journal
    "The document in question seems to suggest that the basis for evaluating products has been long-term customer value, and that's something we agree with. I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value."

    Translation: I wasn't aware of this memo existing because I'm just a PR Weasel, and totally out of the loop, but just in case this is a real memo then I'd better praise it before I'm selling French Fries.

    Seriously though - if it wasn't authentic, they would have vehemently denied it was authentic in a way to discredit Eric Raymond.

  • Does anyone else find it funny that Raymond won't release the source for this internal memo?
    • Nothing funny about it. If he has a source inside Microsoft, why should he announce: "Hey, I got this internal Microsoft document from Joe Blow in cubicle 35A!" How long do you think that guy would last? And who would ever tell anything to Raymond ever again?
      • You obviously have not been to Redmond in a while; no self-respecting engineer would have a location like "cublicle 35A." After the Enlightenment of 1996, Joe Blow would have a designation such as "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero-One."

        If anyone doubts (!) /. has its own spin on Microsoft, refer to the slash icon accompanying its stories. I'm sure they realize everyone is just kidding around.

        How many Microsoft employees do you think belong to or lurk /.?

        (When I did visit the "campus" a while ago, the private offices [with doors!] looked pretty comfy, though there was bit of a stale smell in the air.)
    • Ironic. Raymond is closed-source.
  • by coene ( 554338 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:35PM (#4645133)
    "I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value."

    Now if only their PRODUCTS were geared towards long-term customer value, maybe they would be having more success.
  • I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value.

    Well, I can't comment on the marketing, but the products certainly are. In the long-term, I put a lot of "value" into MS products once I as a customer have become dependent of them (think Exchange server and upgrade costs).
  • M$ declined to comment, damnit. That's not a response, that's evasion...

    The comment they made has zero really to do with the actual memo itself, and goes on some OJ-Defense-Teamesque Red Herring that is avoiding the entire case at hand.

    It's really simple actually:
    1) Avoid the subject, and show the world how great you are by not letting them see how bad you are (Security through Obscurity)
    2) ????
    3) Profit.

    Something tells me they're just going to continue munching on their foot till they bite themselves in the ass here.
  • by GeneralEmergency ( 240687 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:39PM (#4645165) Journal

    ...Which of you wiseguys left the Microsoft XP Tee-shirt on my chair this morning?

    .

  • by somethingwicked ( 260651 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:39PM (#4645166)
    Microsoft declined to comment on the authenticity of the memo

    So, if one day, your girl friend says she heard a rumor that you have been seeing her best friend,


    DON'T REPLY "I will rather not comment on the authenticity of that rumor"!!!!!!!!

    You might as well post pictures of yourself with the friend on your front door.

    What M$ should have done here from a PR STANCE is-Say no, this is a forgery OR acknowledge the memo is the work of a remote, misguided outpost of a big corporation that has no official stance on Free software

    OR, maybe tell the truth...nahhh

    • Re:Some advice... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fava ( 513118 )
      This memo is not a policy paper, its a summary of a survey(s) The conclusion in the memo are all based on hard numbers. They cannot just dismiss them as the work of some misguided nutcase because then they would be admitting that the underlying numbers are correct.

      They also cannot simply claim that its a forgery or a fake, they tried the denial approach before (ie. the BSD TCP/IP stack issue) and it blew up in its face.

      Better to just say no comment and waiut for it to blow over.
  • "Shared Source is a Microsoft initiative aimed at combating open source by letting selected business partners have access to Microsoft source code. With shared source, the intellectual property of the code is retained by Microsoft."

    Sounds like they are trying to reap some of the benefits of having open-source code while maintaining complete control of their ip. I doubt that will work out for them either.
  • Who to sue? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by e_n_d_o ( 150968 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:40PM (#4645181)
    I'm just curious. Let's say MS finds an IP "violation" in the Linux kernel, in some fairly core area. Which of these do they have the right to sue, and who would they most likely sue?

    1. Linus.
    2. Developers who wrote IP violating code.
    3. Red Hat / SuSE / Debian / Mandrake / other distros.
    4. Companies selling Linux-based devices e.g. Tivo.
    5. Companies deploying Linux in their workplaces.
    6. Cowboyneal.

    Basically what I'm asking here is this: If Linux were found to be in violation of someone's (MS's) IP, would it be illegal to sell/distribute Linux or just to "consume" it?
    • Re:Who to sue? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:01PM (#4645342) Journal
      Nearest deep pocket is the rule of thumb in any civil suit.

      That would be Red Hat, with their 200 million in the bank. Small change for a company like MS, but at least it could pay the legal fees if they won, and take down the largest pure play Linux company.

      Of course, IBM might just have a problem with that little strategy, and has the muscle to beat MS into the ground, or at least cost them a lot of money. I could see IBM buying Red Hat just to avoid the precedent should MS win.

      Red Hat knows this, which is why you don't see NTFS in their kernels, or MP3 players in their distro, things like that. They know they are the nearest deep pockets in a lot of these cases.
  • Or these "memos" leak a bit too easily ? Almost sounds like part of Microsoft tactic :)
  • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:43PM (#4645205) Homepage
    ...that MS is more and more treated like some political institution rather than a company? E.g., the U.S. v. MS posed the two almost as equivalent entities. I can't imagine all this chatter about "leaked" memos from IBM or Adobe or Apple. Bill Gates is the potentate, MS the Empire, and so on -- at least as this is made out. Maybe Linus Torvald is Martin Luther?

    The paradigm is unique to the industry I think.
  • by djtack ( 545324 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:49PM (#4645259)
    The link in the summary seems to point to the wrong memo. Here's the correct [opensource.org] one.
  • by Zoarre ( 1487 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @03:56PM (#4645308)

    Microsoft believes many of its efforts to market its products against Linux and open source are backfiring

    The way I see it, the greatest strength of free software is that the people involved have not traditionally been greedy in their pursuits. Conversely, greed is Microsoft's achilles heel. Even if stroking the egos of those involved in open software is unintentional, the movement will most likely fail if the community acquires a lust for something other than making high-quality software available to all, without discrimination.

    That being said, I ask why we care (within reason) about what Microsoft says about Linux, be it good or bad?

  • And in other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cjmckenzie ( 602090 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:13PM (#4645437)
    And in other news, Microsoft STILL runs some of its servers on FreeBSD, Linux. Check out http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph/?host=a147.ms. a.microsoft.com and http://www.netcraft.com/whats/?host=ad.law10.hotma il.com for info. (see how they try to secure this information by obscuring it down a few layers? How Effective!) MS using linux is like Senator Joseph McCarthy carrying around The Communist Manifesto with him.
    • by KidSock ( 150684 )
      And in other news, Microsoft STILL runs some of its servers on FreeBSD, Linux. Check out http://uptime.netcraft.com/up....

      These are probably just DNS servers operated by one of their isps. It's kinda hard not to use *BSD or Linux for something like a DNS server that needs absolutly no other configuration than network and bind. Very cheap setup. Just hardware and bandwidth.
  • by Raleel ( 30913 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:14PM (#4645443)
    Really, I might believe one of these, maybe even 2 or 3, but 7? Come on...where are these coming from, and what are their motivations? Are these really leaked? or are these deliberate misinformation?
  • Can M$ "beat" Linux? Nope. Not now, not ever.

    It comes down to a matter of perspective. M$ is attempting to make as much money as possible. That is their basic business goal. If they can get people to use an inferior product by market dominance than they will do so. Especially if such a tactic is cheaper (and thereby more profitable).

    What about Linux? Since it is open source its free, so its goal, by definition, cannot be to make as much money as possible. So the goal of the open source use of linux is to make the best operating system possible.

    Regardless then, of what M$ may do, Linux will continue on. Its proponents and those who utilize it will not simply stop using it because M$ hires another class of marketers, they don't care. It will continue to be refined, it will continue to be free, there will still be those attempting to make money off of it, but it will remain, at its core, an effort to do something right.

    It is my humble belief, therefore, that M$ will not be able to ever rid itself of Linux. It is fighting a war with itself. Linux is not fighting a war of survival with M$ it is merely attmepting to improve itself. M$ must continue to make money and Linux, as a free workable OS, is a threat to that. M$, however, is not a threat to Linux.

    My $.02

    • by flippet ( 582344 )

      M$, however, is not a threat to Linux.

      Tell that to the guys who earn a wage from linux coding, supporting linux, all the rest. If Microsoft stuff gets to the point where linux alternatives aren't viable for companies and the like, there goes a lot of linux support down the drain.

      Yes, linux won't die because there'll always be the hackers and free-time coders, but without the support of large, money-making organisations that's where it'll stay.

      Phil, just me

  • Please stand by (Score:4, Insightful)

    by person-0.9a ( 161545 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:26PM (#4645546)
    "The document in question seems to suggest that the basis for evaluating products has been long-term customer value, and that's something we agree with. I think our marketing is geared toward that issue, toward long-term customer value."

    And now that they have their marketing all fixed up to be a long-term customer value, they're ready to address the long term value of their products -- please stand by for Bill Gates to announce Microsoft's "Value Computing" initiative.
  • by zentec ( 204030 ) <zentec@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:27PM (#4645553)

    Oh Microsoft, you don't get it, let me count the ways.

    Bad-mouthing Linux doesn't work. It fails because people _like_ Linux, and Linux _works_. What else can you say? Trying to tell people that a free operating system has a higher cost of ownership than their product which costs hundreds or thousands of dollars makes Microsoft look foolish. Arguing that "you'll need to pay people to maintain it" is almost laughable.

    Microsoft, the life cycle of your products is deplorable. It used to be that businesses were willing to cede that due to hardware advances, they'd have to replace office PCs every 3-5 years. That's no longer the case. The office staff will hardly tell a difference between a Celeron 800 and the new Pentium 4 machines. So, businesses are finally going to get some realistic life out of the investment. However, Microsoft still wants to maintain the same life cycle of their operating systems. Even worse, if you don't fit into their upgrade schedule, you have security problems that are likely to be unresolved as your version of their OS retires. Microsoft, people are understanding that the insecurities of your operating system _work in your favor_ to promote the obscenely short life-cycles of your product.

    Microsoft fails to understand that their money grab in licensing changes, their unmitigated gall at calling their customers thieves via the BSA and many other ways of annoying the IT managers through-out the world has -- Microsoft, get ready for the clue here --

    _alienated customers_!

    That's right. Microsoft, take a long hard look at the likes of large monopolistic phone companies and see why people will opt for something that's not necessarily better, but tolerable in order to eliminate the intolerable dealings with Microsoft.

  • by Shamanin ( 561998 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @04:47PM (#4645721)
    I find it rather ironic that this message thread in my browser just happens to have an advertisement for Microsoft Studio .NET

    There goes their marketing against Linux back-firing again.

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