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


Forgot your password?

Microsoft at the Tipover Point 824

David Gerard writes "In the wake of Microsoft's first flat quarter, The Inquirer brings us The IT Industry Is Shifting Away From Microsoft - Linux is being taken seriously, Microsoft is not trusted and our favorite monopoly is finding it harder and harder to compete with 'free.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft at the Tipover Point

Comments Filter:
  • Oh shit! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:12PM (#7822038) Journal
    You know what this means right? We've backed Microsoft into a corner, so now it's going to pull every dirty trick in the book to get it's profits back...

    No, really, I wouldn't put it past them... Wonder what technology area they're going to monopolize next? Tivo looks prime for the picking... ;)
    • Re: Oh shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:22PM (#7822087)

      > You know what this means right? We've backed Microsoft into a corner, so now it's going to pull every dirty trick in the book to get it's profits back...

      And this differs from their previous behavior, how?

    • Re:Oh shit! (Score:4, Funny)

      by DrLZRDMN ( 728996 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:30PM (#7822127)
      Wonder what technology area they're going to monopolize next?
      Embeded systems in vaccum cleaners, aiming for the market of products that don't suck.
    • Re:Oh shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dmccunney ( 715234 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @05:52PM (#7823557)
      The Inquirer's article is interesting, but the underlying forces have little to do with open source, and have been building for years.

      For years, Microsoft was the classic "growth" stock. MS revenue and profit regularly posted double digit gains and beat analyst expectations. As a result, the value of MS stock soared into the stratosphere, making Chairman Bill Gates the richest man in the world based on the value of his Microsoft holdings, and making millionaires of many Microsoft employees. Growth companies don't pay dividends: they plow thier profits back into the company, and people invest in them because they expect the value of the stock to go up.

      What happens when your company hits the limits of its growth? The dilemma MS faces is its own success. They own 95% of the desktop world. Almost everyone who _can_ use Windows and Office _does_ use it. They won't get continuing double-digit increases in revenue and profit from thier core business, because they've saturated thier market.

      They've managed to narrowly beat revenue and profit estimates the past few years, but if you look closely at thier numbers, they _haven't_ done it from sales of Windows and Office. They've done it from gains in and returns on thier investment portfolio. MS has something like $49 billion in cash and short-term securities, and is getting an increasing number of complaints from investors that they ought to start returning some of that cash hoard to investors in the form of dividends.

      Microsoft is in transition from a "growth" company to a "mature" company. Mature companies generate large amounts of cash, but _don't_ show tremendous growth. If it _doesn't_ show tremendous growth, the value of MS stock will drop out of the stratosphere, and folks whose wealth depends on the value of their MS stock won't be happy.

      The challenge Steve Ballmer faces as MS CEO is to somehow support the value of MS stock while looking for huge new markets MS can enter and dominate to continue its growth.

      So yes, you can look for MS to use any means it can to generate revenue and increase profits. But we didn't back them into a corner: they did it to themselves by becoming _too_ successful.
      • Re:Oh shit! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @07:56PM (#7824183) Homepage Journal
        "The Inquirer's article is interesting, but the underlying forces have little to do with open source, and have been building for years." ...

        "What happens when your company hits the limits of its growth? The dilemma MS faces is its own success. They own 95% of the desktop world. Almost everyone who _can_ use Windows and Office _does_ use it. They won't get continuing double-digit increases in revenue and profit from their core business, because they've saturated their market."

        Good point, but you are only partially right. MS has saturated the US market for sure. The world market is just starting up in many places, and if MS could count on similar success in China, Brazil, India and so on they would be able to run their ponzi scheme a lot longer. The existence of Open Source, finally has presented a barrier through which they will not pass unchanged. Had Open Source been more prevalent back in the OS/2 vs Windows days I'm not sure we would still have a Microsoft any more. As it is, thanks to their war chest, they still have an opportunity to mutate themselves into something else.

        I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them do a merger with someone like Dell to get into hardware and with one of the remaining big consulting companies to try and become a body-shop powerhouse. That is, of course if the government will allow them to do it. They will lose to Sony and friends if they keep pounding on the consumer electronics door. With margins like they are used to they just don't have a chance. Really, with the exception of the dirty tricks they pulled to create the Windows and Office monopolies Microsoft's history reads like a comedy of errors.

        Basically Microsoft needs to once again go head to head with IBM. If they can't manage to do so they will simply start to evaporate. I'm not too sure they will be able to change fast enough to make a difference. That $40B will go fast.
  • by civilengineer ( 669209 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:14PM (#7822043) Homepage Journal
    ...is not far away! If they can make money off it, tehy will make money off it!
    • by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <charleshixsn@nOSpAm.earthlink.net> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:24PM (#7822093)
      But could they? It would destroy their MSWind system. It would put them into competition with OpenOffice on a system where they don't control the APIs. And the people already using it despise them. And once their current customers realize that there's an alternative, they'll despise them too.

      MS might come out with a BSD derived OS though. They can do that without giving up everything. And Apple has, again, proved that it can be done by a commercial company. But don't look for MS to do anything that causes them to need to admit ANYTHING.
      • They won't make a BSD derived OS. Ignoring the fact that there is competition in that field..
        The geek crowd would howl. The Mac crowd would crow. Consumers would see MS stray from Windoze and may decide to explore alternatives themselves. Their apple cart would truly tip then.

        Still, they in a bind: The Inq does have an anti-MS edge to it, but the underlying problem for MS is true. Linux/OpenOffice hit hardest where their 90% profit ratio exists. Even it it doesn't translate into any actuall wins, it
      • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:25PM (#7822378) Homepage
        But could they? It would destroy their MSWind system.

        Remember there are two Windows OSes, Server and Desktop. Linux has been eating away at the Server OS and looks like it's winning, but MS is still strong since they have AD and strong integration on the back end. That won't last long with Novell and Suse attacking it.

        As for the desktop OS, people will still be reluctant to use anything but MS Office; OO may be good, but when it comes to documents which have been edited by dozens of people and have hundreds of pages with different formatting everywhere, only the same version of Word that created that document opens it without any errors. Even if OO does open it correctly, the cost of reviewing the document just once for formatting inconsistancies makes buying the same version of Word worth the price.

        MS could port MS Office to Linux/BSD, which would ensure their cash cow continues to bring in money. But would they do it? Probably not since Office is about the only reason people don't desert Windows. And without the desktop Windows OS, the server OS loses a lot of the functionality.

        They could build Windows on top of existing distributions; but then they lose control of plug and play, which would be the biggest complaint from users of Windows on Linux; people would blame MS for Linux's shortcomings when their brand new digital camera failed to connect properly. They could build their own distribution to have better control of plug and play, but then they'd have to release under GPL... I doubt MS would be willing to do that. To build a hybrid OS like Apple and keep it closed source would do nothing for MS since it's no different from what they have now.

        So unless (until?) there's a shift in their thinking about Open Source, I think they're just gonna keep fighting (losing) the battle by adding new bells and whistles and spending a lot more money on the PR FUD front.

    • While I have always admired MS's marketing (they normally figure out what is going to hurt them and address it), Gates will never allow this to happen. Their monopoly depends on Windows being everywhere. This will go down the same way that Sun is going down; Screaming that they are growing and making headway while units decrease and profits increase until it is over in a flash.
    • MS will never adopt/modify a BSD or Linux system. Their culture simply wouldn't support it. They want to control everything about the code they write and use - what you see, what you can edit, what you can critically analyze. They honestly believe (through hubris, not maliciousness) they have assembled the brightest developers on the planet. Everyone else is simply a hack or unenlightened. Sure, they take a few things from "outsiders", but they are always slightly modified due to percieved deficienci
  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:14PM (#7822047) Journal
    It's an extended holiday, and any opinion peices you see during these days are little more than weak efforts to fill a quota. I would also assume that this article was posted on slashdot to fill a similar hole.

    • For the record (Score:5, Informative)

      by Groo Wanderer ( 180806 ) <charlie@@@semiaccurate...com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @05:03PM (#7823298) Homepage
      I wrote that piece because I wanted to. I have a bunch more to write, and some that I have already written. One got slashdotted yesterday in fact. I am under no pressure, deadlines, or quotas, and as far as I know, the Inq doesn't do that. I just happened to have free time, and no news to report, so I did a lot of the stories that I have not had time to do recently.

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ivern76 ( 665227 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:15PM (#7822051)
    On one hand, I'm breaking out the wine for a little celebration. On the other, this is the Inquirer we're talking about guys. I might save the bottle for when a reliable source follows up this story.
    • by Pavan_Gupta ( 624567 ) <`pg8p' `at' `virginia.edu'> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:29PM (#7822122)
      Come on now people, companies go through good times and bad times, and I wouldn't count Microsoft out so easily -- especially since our point of fact is from The Inquirer. (The most reputable source for news since man put script to paper.)

      Moreover, let's keep in mind, Microsoft is a heavily diversified company with an overwhelming monopoly to weild, and thye've taken losses in some very touchy areas -- especially the home entertainment business. Their business on a whole may be flat, but some parts of their business doing AMAZINGLY well.

      In business, there is no single factor to bring down a company (well, besides money of course), but rather it's a aglomeration of tons of facts which balance the company. Even with Microsoft's "flat" quarter, they've got a lot of steam to pump other products up. Just look at their cash reserves.
      • by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:34PM (#7822427) Homepage Journal
        The thing that makes Microsoft special is that it can (reasonably) legitimately cook the books such that their results don't go through good times and bad times. In good times, they put their extra income into hiding, such that they can pull it out later to cover the bad times. The fact that they're actually having a flat quarter, therefore, means that either they decided they wanted to have a flat quarter (other companies getting too jealous and dangerous, perhaps), accounting standards have become such that they can't do this trick anymore (in the wake of Enron, it's possible), or they've been actually having bad times for long enough that they've run out of ways to cover them.

        It's certainly possible that the market for MS products hasn't grown any since the mid 90s, when they saturated the market for everything they make money on, and so their trend of making more on paper each year has now caught up with them. This could be simply a result of the fact that you can't make any more money when you already have all the money.

        It's also possible that their tricks have now been outlawed in such a way that someone would actually end up in jail, so now they have to report what they actually make when they actually make it. I wouldn't be too surprised if this were the case, since regulators and Congress have been really worried about companies doing exactly what Microsoft does not to maintain the appearance of slowly and steadily improving, but simply staying in business.

        Or maybe Microsoft is actually at the end of their rope, and have avoided appearing this way due to their enormous assets and complex accounting, and will lose all their money next year. I wouldn't bet on that, but I wouldn't be surprised if this quarter signals that Microsoft will no longer be performing (in an earnings way) absolutely reliably in the future, which may shake the market's weird (from a technical standpoint) confidence in them.
      • Their business on a whole may be flat, but some parts of their business doing AMAZINGLY well.

        Their two big profit makers are Windows and Office. Since 1/3 of their existing customers didn't sign up to their new Office licensing scheme, that means they are obviously planning to switch to something else (or they would have signed up for the new licensing since it would be cheaper if they weren't going to switch). Linux has already pretty much won in the server space. Goverments, schools, and business
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Funny)

      by OECD ( 639690 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:47PM (#7822199) Journal

      On one hand, I'm breaking out the wine for a little celebration.

      If true, it would certainly be time to break out the wine [sourceforge.net]!

  • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:17PM (#7822063) Homepage Journal
    To be fair, does Microsoft's flattening revenue have to do with "open source" taking their marketshare, or is it because many customers are quite happy with older Microsoft products and have refused to sign up to the recent licensing agreements? I know a couple of very large corporations whose desktops are NT 4, and they're only grudgingly finally upgrading to 2000. This same thing can be seen with countless users continuing to use Office 97, etc -- Given this, a flattening or declining revenue stream seems obvious.
    • Exactly! I bought Windows 98 in 1999 and next Windows 2000 in 2002. I still use my old copy of Office 97. There is no need to upgrade. My MS machine only locks up about 1-2 times per year. I reboot when I feel like it. I have never got a blue screen on this machine. Conclusion: I don't need XP or 2003. It's not broke. It does what I need it to.

      That's just me. Entire companies of hundreds of machines have to consider
      A) Do we NEED this or are we still productive?
      B) Can we INSTALL this after we ou
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:51PM (#7822211)
      If those companies had signed up for the new license, then they would still be paying Microsoft.

      #1. Open Source is part of the equation. It allows companies that do sign with Microsoft to get huge discounts.

      #2. Other companies do not upgrade their old Microsoft products. But they may have problems getting licenses for those products in the future.

      #3. Other companies have migrated all or a portion of their systems to Open Source products.

      #4. Microsoft's other products are losing money.

      It is a bit complicated. There isn't any single factor. And that is why Microsoft is having such a hard time dealing with it.
    • It doesn't really matter if Microsoft is competing against Linux or old Microsoft releases. Their current releases are losing market share. Shit, I still use Visual C++ 6.0 at work.
    • Saturation (Score:5, Informative)

      by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:11PM (#7823037)
      Microsoft's business model has built up around the ever increasing share price, to buy other companies and to woo developers. The share price has increased steadily because the revenue has gone up steadily. The long article describes this in a lot more words.

      Revenue can't increase any more. The US market is saturated. Foreign markets can't afford list price or anything close, so Microsoft has condoned piracy up until recently, rightly figuring a stolen copy buys mindshare that a legitimate copy of somebody else's software doesn't. But with all their carping on piracy, and especially with Hollywood screaming about piracy, foreigners have been cracking down on piracy and turning to alternatives like Linux.

      That's the cause of the flattening.
  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd DOT bandrowsky AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:18PM (#7822070) Homepage Journal

    Office and Windows rely on being ubiquitious to drive sales. Every free copy of Word that goes out there, every stolen copy of Windows, serves to cement Microsoft's monopoly in place. When people now have to think in terms of Windows and Word as a paying proposition, the relatively high prices for Windows and Office suddenly become a factor. Free is pretty good, but Sun seems to be making money off of "reasonably priced."
    • ...relatively high prices for Windows and Office suddenly become a factor. Free is pretty good, but Sun seems to be making money off of "reasonably priced."

      Yes, all true, except for the "making money" part about Sun!

    • Sun seems to be making money off of "reasonably priced."

      LOL, Sun, the company that hasn't had a profitable quarter in 3 years, that is showing billion dollar losses every quarter for the last year? They are "making money" no, my friend they are losing and losing badly.
  • by Brento ( 26177 ) * <brento&brentozar,com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:24PM (#7822092) Homepage
    The editorial points mostly at Microsoft's failed offerings like MSN and Xbox, saying that the 80% profit numbers for Windows and Office can only sustain the failed products as long as Windows and Office remain profitable. It suggests that Linux and GPL'ed office products will erode that 80% profit number.

    The "failed" products aren't a problem: that's exactly what big business is supposed to do. When you've got a product or two that bring in tons of money, you throw lots of money around trying to invent other moneymakers. You know that your main product or two will eventually run dry: that's no surprise, and that's why you continue to throw money at other ideas trying to come up with the next big moneymaker.

    Most of these other sideline products (MSN, Xbox, smart phones) will fail. But that's not unexpected: most small businesses and startups fail. This is what big businesses do: fund R&D trying to come up with the Next Big Thing to replace their current revenue stream.

    It's the same thing Microsoft did with Office: initially, they were an OS-only company. They got into Office because they needed to diversify, just like every big business did. Office started as a pretty crummy product that got routinely spanked by both WordPerfect and Lotus. But given enough time and enough money, Office became a profit machine. Microsoft is actually pretty lucky to have two dynamo products in the market at once.

    Think of MS like 3M: could 3M survive simply by producing Post-It Notes? No, they have a huge amount of diversity and R&D running to find the Next Big Thing. The more products you throw at the market, the more chances you have of staying power.
    • The editorial points mostly at Microsoft's failed offerings like MSN and Xbox, saying that the 80% profit numbers for Windows and Office can only sustain the failed products as long as Windows and Office remain profitable

      Humorously that article on the Inquirer (which is notorious for such factless drivel) repeats an oft stated claiming that only two Microsoft products make money (which is something that is classic in the community -- repetition eventually is presumed to be proof). In reality two Microsof
    • I give too much of "R&D" to Microsoft.

      Microsoft says they spend 6.8 billion dollars in R&D, but they must count also software development for the "D" in R&D instead of counting as "production costs".

      It's impossible MS spends more in R&D (6.8 billion) than IBM (less than 6.billion according to their own numbers).

      • by HaveNoMouth ( 556104 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:02PM (#7822982) Homepage
        Most of Microsoft's R&D budget seems to be geared not toward producing innovative Microsoft products but to paying the salaries of a lot of world class computer scientists [microsoft.com] just so they won't go to work for MS's competitors. It's incongruous that with such a large research budget and with such incredibly innovative people working for them, their products remain so consistently mediocre. Although a large number of fun-sounding research projects [microsoft.com] seem to be going on at Microsoft, how many of them have actually made it--in some form--into Microsoft products? Now ask the same question about IBM research. I suspect (but am willing to be corrected) that the number is much higher at IBM. I'm certain that the number is much higher at Apple.

        Another explanation could be that Microsoft really is interested in the fruits of this research but is banking them as part of a careful business strategy, so they can pull "innovations" out only when they're needed to shore up a sagging bottom line and no earlier.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) * on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:27PM (#7822112) Journal
    Does more, is more secure and costs less. At least that's the argument that I have been pushing at my military contract where I work and lo and behold we are now switching to Zope (OSS CMS system). The fact that Oracle recommends Linux as it's platform has resulted in us installing a fair number of Linux boxes.

    Government agencies have been feeling the pinch and they really have no choice but to consider it.

    I think I may have been the only person at my contract to be REALLY excited about the fact that we needed a lot of new functionality without having much money.
  • wishful thinking? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gyratedotorg ( 545872 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:27PM (#7822113) Homepage
    i dont mean to sound like a troll, but this guy seems to have a lot of facts and figures but no indication of where they came from.
  • Pardon me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:27PM (#7822116) Homepage
    Pardon me, but the article seems like a bunch of half-assed opinions with no facts to back them up, mixed in with a little bit of good old fashoned flaming/ranting.

    Licensing 6.0 is a disaster, and so is Product Activation. At least we know that much.
    • Re:Pardon me (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:11PM (#7822303)
      Pardon me, but the article seems like a bunch of half-assed opinions with no facts to back them up, mixed in with a little bit of good old fashoned flaming/ranting.

      Well to be honest, most articles on /. talking about Microsoft are nothing but a bunch of half-assed opinions with no facts to back them up. Nothing new here, and certainly not unexpected.

      Licensing 6.0 is a disaster, and so is Product Activation. At least we know that much.

      Microsoft certainly took a hit with Licensing 6.0, they've admitted as much.(Which, BTW, is the secret to Microsoft's success... admitting failures and trying to correct them)

      But Product Activation? Hasn't impacted Windows XP sales at all. In fact, one could point to it as evidence that Product Activation can work if done correctly.

      Now Product Activation with Intuit's tax program, that was a disaster, and Intuit admitted as much.(again, another sign of a sucessful company) But then that's because they didn't implement it correctly.
  • by MadFarmAnimalz ( 460972 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:30PM (#7822126) Homepage
    Yes yes, somewhat offtopic I know, but a google search on the author gave me this [indymedia.org] piece which I found hilarious.

    Although to be honest, I did expect this fellow to be a ranting flamer from the Inquirer article...
  • by Allen Varney ( 449382 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:35PM (#7822146) Homepage
    Tell me honestly, my boy. Don't you think it's rather unwise to continue this philanthropic enterprise, this Inquirer, that's costing you a million dollars a year?

    You are right, Mr. Thatcher. I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year! You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in -- sixty years.
  • by carndearg ( 696084 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:37PM (#7822153) Homepage Journal
    It would be nice to believe that the Dawning of a New Era of Open Source Peace and Harmony was nigh and Microsoft were about to be consigned to the pit of doom from whence they came, but before we get too enthusiastic we should consider one of the things that put them where they are.

    Anyone who installed one of the earliest versions of Windows 95 (look, I crave forgiveness, I was younger and being paid to do it, OK!) will remember that it didnt come with MSIE, instead it came with the Microsoft Network. Back in the early '90s (so went the script) the internet wasnt going to happen, instead we were all going to use paid online services like AOL and Compuserve. MSN was on the roadmap as Microsoft's entry into the market and in the MSdream it was going to sweep aside AOL and Compuserve lust like MSIE swept aside Netscape a few years later.

    Of course, we know it didnt happen that way. If MS had been IBM we'd have seen them soldier on with the MSN dream and suddenly have to backpedal in about 2000 just in time to miss the dotcom thing and lose loads of cash. As it was they dropped the idea like a hot potato and changed the direction of the entire company in record time to embrace the Internet. It's an overused phrase, but the rest is history.

    My point? Dont write off Microsoft. They've stayed where they are by flexibility and they wont have lost that flexibility. It could be different this time of course because the flexibility of the OS movement is what makes it so cool, but I'll start dancing on Microsoft's grave when I see the headstone.

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:38PM (#7822155) Homepage Journal
    This must have been written by a fanboy, and not a serious person. The flattening of Microsoft's profits is long overdue; it is a sign of a company reaching middle age. The growth of a startup company in an undersaturated market cannot be maintained forever. Eventually, new products cease to be useful. At least not worth replacement for the sake of replacement.

    For thirty years, Microsoft competed in a market that had essentially zero competition. Now, after having delivered fairly robust and stable systems (Windows XP and 2k), they are no longer selling to untapped markets. Of course their profits are going to taper off. This has absolutely nothing to do with Linux, BSD, Apple, or Sun. This has everything to do with classic market mechanics.

    The article leads some fun 'rah rah' type cheerleading, but it misses the point. Are things changing for Microsoft? Undoubtedly. Are they solely or even mostly due to 'upstart' operating systems? Not a chance. I'd love it if some vertical apps (particularly EMR systems) were being written for Linux. But they aren't. Beating MS isn't going to be like overwhelming an enemy. It'll be more like digging Frenchman out of trenches, one inch at a time, in WWI. (Feel free to run with the analogy. I haven't got the time;)

    • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:54PM (#7822223) Journal
      For thirty years, Microsoft competed in a market that had essentially zero competition.

      Actually, they had a tons of competition. However MS usually was usually off creating new markets for their products, while the competition was maximizing profits in the old markets.

      Despite the fanboyism of the editorial, it's a real point that now Microsoft is the one playing profit maximization, and others are off blazing new markets.
  • What a load (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:38PM (#7822157) Homepage Journal

    Man, that article is a huge circle-jerk. Look, I like Linux. I use it every day -- for development. I use XP for my everyday apps, because it's a better tool for those.

    Linux has almost no penetration desktop, non-server applications. Evidence? Coming right up. Note Google's usage breakdown [google.com].

    Note that Linux ranks dead last, below Windows 95! Yes, we're talking about Google, which is the geek's best friend, which would have naturally higher numbers than many other sites.

    Tipover point? XP ranks first at 42%! Yes, Microsoft's latest O/S (which the article seems to think is a dismal failure) accounts for almost half of all web access!

  • by dolo666 ( 195584 ) * on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:39PM (#7822162) Journal
    2004 is going to be a good year. :)
  • by Pooquey ( 549981 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:39PM (#7822164) Homepage Journal
    As a Linux user/advocate and recent Mac "switcher", the issue of free software was not the one the deal maker for me when I decided on a PowerBook instead of an x86 lappy (i.e. Dell, Acer, Toshiba, etc). I didn't appreciate Dell, and many other reputable laptop makers telling me, "We're tacking an extra $200 to the bottom line for software you don't intend to use, you have no choice in the matter, and you have to agree to some arcane license just to take it off". The Microsoft Tax is what finally pushed me in the direction of the Mac. I use Linux exclusively at work, and had been running Windoze at home simply because I didn't feel like teaching my family how to use Linux systems. The last virus that hit our intranet was the straw that broke that camel's back and we went to a strictly 'Nix shop at home. So no, free was never an issue for me, reliability and integrity (both of which M$ has displayed less and less of IN SPITE of recent Anti-trust findings) is what sealed the deal for me.
  • by NeoBeans ( 591740 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:42PM (#7822173) Homepage Journal
    ...for Microsoft. It's true that eventually, faced with free alternatives, Microsoft will eventually lose marketshare at both the high-end and at the "cheap PC at Wal-Mart" levels.

    I have a feeling that Microsoft's slide won't be quick, nor complete... remember when IBM was supposedly going to fall into the ocean because they weren't able to compete with Sun, SGI, and HP in the UNIX market?

    Functionally, the company can continue to generate revenue and remain "profitable" for a long time. If you look at Microsoft's strongest competitors in each business, how many of them can retain a lead on M$ for another 3-5 years while Microsoft tries to reinvent itself to boost profits?

    IBM and HP each half-compete with Microsoft while shipping their products to their enterprise customers.

    Sun and "The Linux Distros" (Red Hat, SuSE, etc...) all nudge Microsoft at the desktop level... although none of them may have the resources to survive a sustained competition with Microsoft. That said, Apple seems to thrive despite having a small market share because it has a loyal userbase.

    Sony may have a real battle on its hands with the next generation consoles given that Nintendo's weakness and Microsoft's marketing muscle (and deep pockets) may give them a big boost to narrow the gap in marketshare.

    And how is Palm weathering the Micro$oft assault on handheld operating systems?

    Perhaps the most interesting thing will not be anticipating the inevitable downturn Microsoft will face, but to consider what form a "new" Microsoft will take when they try to claw their way back to the top? I have this gut feeling that X-Box and PocketPC create a new "low-end" strategy in markets where being the provider of an OS and a reference design can be very profitable.

    • by mnmlst ( 599134 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @07:09PM (#7823961) Homepage Journal

      I am a severe skeptic of every technology company around, but have found myself engulfed by Microsoft as a Windows Geek because they just keep surprising me by not going totally braindead. (in spite of The Inquirer's article) Is it just me or didn't MS servers go from 10 percent of the market (LAN Manager on DOS or OS/2), to 20 percent (Novell ignored this), to 38 percent (where I thought they would peak), to 55 percent now? These Windows 200X Servers are pretty impressive examples of how the Borg has expanded through embrace and extend. In the meantime, Linux has been killing off the NIX'es and Novell to become the other big kid on this block. All the while, I have seen boneheaded move after boneheaded move by MS that tempted me to write them off, learn Java and Linux, and start looking for a job with "The Rebel Alliance". The phenomenal price hikes, the horrific defense they put on against David Boies and the Justice Department, SQL Slammer, Blaster, the refusal to backport Active Directory's Group Policies to pre-Windows 2X (Windows 2000, XP, 2003) machines, the forcing of Exchange customers wanting Exchange 2000 to deploy Active Directory (on Windows 200X Servers only), MSN, losing their lawsuit with Sun over Java, the threatened arbitrary defrocking of Windows NT 4.0 MCSE's (Microsoft Certified Sales Engineers :) )that was only averted four months from the deadline, and more. This company has committed about a zillion errors and it keeps coming back from them all smiling, profitable, and supremely confident like some sort of liquid metal-based Terminator soaking up shotgun blasts. Sixty billion in the bank will do that for you, I suppose.

      What to make of this? An old friend long ago advised me that whatever IBM is doing, do the opposite. He has long been an MS guy and it has paid off for both of us. Will it go on forever? Extremely unlikely. When twenty year olds come to me these days asking for long-range IT advice, I recommend Open Source. You will learn more, you have the time to learn it, and it's not going away. If they need to learn MS later, it will be easy after Open Source. MS won't be going away any time soon, but eventually we will ALL perceive that IT is not just about desktops, servers, and mainframes. When it comes to money, we need to remember those cell phones, Blackberry's, PDA's, gaming consoles, set top boxes, supercomputers, Distributed.net, manufacturing control systems, routers, firewalls, and dozens of things that don't come to mind. When viewed in its' totality, this market has MANY big players. The winds of change are blowing and the devices are bypassing MS's chokehold on innovation in its markets. Adam Smith's invisible hand will crash right through MS discounts, Justice Department inaction, and legions of lawyers to bring us the computing solutions we need. A pox on Darl McBride!

  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:46PM (#7822194)

    Wehn will people start to understand that Microsoft does not free market principles for it's success - it relies on a government granted monopoly called copyrights. There is a difference.
    • by ScottSpeaks! ( 707844 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:30PM (#7822405) Homepage Journal
      [MS] relies on a government granted monopoly called copyrights.

      So does open-source software.

      The GPL would be meaningless if not for the copyright restrictions that apply to "free" code. And the terms of the GPL are all that prevents Microsoft from swiping the Linux source and creating an "MS Linux" loaded with trade-secret/closed-source "enhancements" (e.g. support for the full Windows API). How much embrace-extend-extinguish do you want?

      Heck, without copyright protection, the incentive to keep source code under wraps would be much stronger, because it would be the only way for a developer to apply what he considered appropriate licensing terms (GPL, BSD, Artistic, proprietary, etc.) to his work.

      Copyright isn't the enemy, and it's not the reason that markets don't remain "free". Ironically, it's more the lack of government intervention that's enabled Microsoft to cripple the free market in software.

  • Panic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:50PM (#7822209) Journal
    But... Then... (Shaking voice) What are we going to do when there is no more Microsoft ?

    In the meantime...

    Perhaps is time for shorting the stock. Bill certainly thinks it's, he has been selling stock like crazy. Check this site [vickers-stock.com] and ask for a insider report on MSFT (no direct link possible to the report).

  • Once again: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:55PM (#7822225)
    I and many other people here on /. have said it over and over again:
    Mickeysoft will generally have to shift away from inhouse all-in-one lock-in concepts only to a more service oriented businessmodel if they want to stay numero uno for another decade.
    The problem Mickeysoft has, is that it clearly underestimated it's power, clutching to that now deprecating classic businessmodel of theirs instead of seeing what was coming up with the rise of Linux/E/KDE/Gnome/uNameIt. Every single one in the industry I know is gonna switch to OSS when their current stuff isn't sufficient anymore. Everybody, exept for some Mac oriented designers. And they have 'switched' with OS X allready. In this part Steve Jobs is still the entepreneur he was 20 years ago, seeing the light befor the majority of his customers do. Whilst Billy G. just seems to feel a little overconfident in Windows and not grasping a clue about the rest.
    Now there are to much people out there that have heard of Linux and OSS. 3 years ago that would have been different and MS could have incorperated a Unix/OSS concept of business themselves and everyone would have thought Linux is a new M$ thing. I guess it's to late for that now.
    So much for being a big, bloated, inflexible and greedy corp. I couldn't care less if M$ shrinks to a normal company due to it's own bloat and blind self-confidence. On the contrary. That's the best that can happen to humanity.
  • by ben_white ( 639603 ) <ben.btwhite@org> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:59PM (#7822240) Homepage
    With $50 billion in the bank comes political clout that no open source project can hope to counter. MS, along with their industry lackys, will push for, and we will have enacted legislation making it illegal to use software that doesn't have "content protection" built in at the hardware level. Of course only "approved" software will have any real access to the hardware, and any thought of truely open source operating systems will be lost. Major hardware vendors will produce motherboards, processors, and mass storage devices for sale in the USA that can only be accessed by approved software with proper digital ids and signatures. Of course this will be able to be hacked, but it will relagate open source back into a hobby! No amount of GPL'd code can overcome the fact that it will be a crime(as in DMCA) to break the "trusted computing" layer in hardware to allow code not certified "acceptable" to have free access to the CD/DVD/network/RAM/processor/video card etc.... Just a nightmare that Orwell would be proud of!
  • by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:59PM (#7822245) Homepage
    Microsoft may have been slowed by Linux, but if history has taught computer users anything over the last twenty-odd years, it's that Microsoft is exceptional adept at re-tooling itself and resuming it's domination of the software industry.

    Their doom has been forecast many times, yet it seems that they always rebound stronger and more profitable than ever before. Until they have shown YEARS of decline, I for one refuse to believe any reports of their death, much less serious injury.

    To wit, they seem to have a palpable strategy in place to combat Linux. Basically, it is their hope that the questions of IP will slow adoption long enough for them to lock their corporate customers into the Windows 2003 server, .NET and Longhorn product cycles. Then, of course, armed to the teeth with their own patent portfolios and unique proprietary technologies, their customer base will remain (they hope) safely in the Microsoft fold.

    Remember that Office 2003 is actually a salvo in the Embrace, Extend and Extinguish strategy -- their XML formats are just proprietary enough to make that so, given the inertia that they have with the largest installed office-suite base as well as (frankly, like it or not) the most functionally integrated package on the market. Add to that the B2B interaction of sending Word, Powerpoint and Excel files and their strategy very well might work once again.

    Windows Server 2003 and it's embedded technologies promises much of the same. ...And when Longhorn comes out and ties it all together, the One Evil Ring will very possibly remain firmly on Bill Gates finger.

    I say all this not as a Microsoft apologist but simply as a realist. While I strongly prefer Linux both on the server and on the desktop, the fact remains that there is much to be done, very much indeed, before it will topple the likes of a Microsoft.
    • I think Linux has a way to go. A lot of things I am used to doing in Windows aren't so easy even in KDE.

      For one, the ability to easily rearrange the "K" menu by dragging items around doesn't exist nearly the way it is in the Windows Start menu. I often rearrange the shortcuts Start menu little by little to follow the way I work, and KDE simply requires a more tedious way of doing it.

      I've gotten used to right clicking the task bar for task manager but now the closest equivalent is just deeply buried in t
      • by rufey ( 683902 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @05:13PM (#7823347)
        And it probably doesn't help much that there are several Linux distros out there (both "free" and "commercial"), and they each have their own way of doing thigs.

        I think that if Linux is to really have inroads into the desktop market, the desktop has to standardize. Sure I can train my wife to use KDE, but what if she goes to work and they use Gnome, or what if she works on a Sun SPARC and uses CDE? It would be nice to get things more standardized.

        In fact its this very reason why I run fvwm2 as my window manager under Gnome at work (I dumped metacity), because I use Linux at work/home, and a Sun SPARC Ultra60 at school, and the Sun doesn't have Gnome/KDE, and I'm a user of that system, not an admin (I take classes, not admin the network). I can run FVWM on Linux/Sun/HP-UX/SGI/BSD/AIX with little effort in compilation (doesn't require Gnome/KDE libs, et al), and have a common desktop that looks, feels, and behaves the same accross *nix platforms.

        My boss at work uses RedHat9/KDE/sawfish on one machine and Fedora1/Gnome/metacity on his other one. I use Fedora1/Gnome/fvwm2 on mine. Another co-worker uses Knoppix/Gnome/metacity. All of our desktop window management systems behave differently. I have a hard time using my boss's computer because the windows management behaves differently than mine, et al. So how can I teach my family all of this? I can't. Thats why some sort of standardization would be helpful.

        I do, though, give up some functionality that metacity or sawfish has. But I don't want to have to learn how to use X different X11 windows management systems. Thats partly what Microsoft does have going for it. I sit down at a WinNT/Win95/Win98/WinME/Win2000/WinXP machine and the windows management is the same. There is always a "start" menu, and its organized (by default) in the same way, and its easy to change some of its behavior - you change it the exact same way regardless of what version of Windows you are on.

  • by YU Nicks NE Way ( 129084 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:00PM (#7822249)
    Mike Magee must be desperate for page hits: the author of the piece can't even count.

    Microsoft only started breaking out the seven subunits about a year ago. During each of the quarters since then, three units -- not two -- have made money: client, Office, and server and tools. More than that, MSN (you know, the horrible money loser?) made money last quarter, and shows no signs of slowing revenue growth. That's four of seven making money, not two.

    The author of the Inquirer piece would like to lump the two OS divisions together, but that makes no sense: F/OSS systems don't compete against the client yet, only against the server and tools segment. Revenue in that segment is growing faster than the segment. That's not being beaten by Linux; it competing solidly, despite a price disadvantage.

    Worse, for the author's thesis, the handhelds division is hardly "losing money fast" -- instead, it's losing money at a constant rate, with its revenues more than doubling each year. If current patterns continue, that division will be profitable in the current quarter or the next quarter. That's not clearly going to happen, but it certainly doesn't seem unlikely.

    That leaves two divisions not making money: Home and Small business solutions. Those are both new businesses for Microsoft, and they're both businesses where Microsoft expects to lose money for about a decade, just as it did with servers, with MSN, and with handhelds.

    But, hey, the story predicts the death of the internet...I mean, the death of Microsoft. SO we've got to front page it to give Magee and /. extra ad hits.
  • wishful thinking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScottSpeaks! ( 707844 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:01PM (#7822258) Homepage Journal
    I'd rate that essay about about 20% fact, 30% insight, and 50% wishful thinking.

    For example, the author says that Microsoft refuses to change, but they have a history of doing just that. They followed Apple's lead on GUIs. They went from poo-poo-ing the internet to become one of its chief exploiters. One of their key corporate virtues is a distinct lack of NIH (not invented here) Syndrome; many of their key products were originally developed elsewhere (DOS, IE, PowerPoint, WebTV, FrontPage, VisualBasic, SQL Server), or are direct copies of other companies' products (Pocket PC, Ultimate TV, Windows).

    Granted, they've shown a certain unwillingness to overhaul their systems at the cost of backward compatibility (like Apple has peridoically done, with the transition from ][ to Mac, from 68K to PPC, from MacOS to OSX), but don't mistake that for obstinance.

  • by azaris ( 699901 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:11PM (#7822306) Journal

    One thing I don't get is the myth that if I operate a MS OS I'm locked into Microsoft software and paying MS eternally for updates etc. I just went through the software I use daily and while most of it runs on Windows XP, none of it's by Microsoft. Here's the list:

    Acrobat (Adobe)
    Agent (Forte)
    Eudora (Qualcomm)
    Ghostscript (AFPL/OSS)
    GSView (Ghostgum)
    Mathematica (Wolfram Research)
    MikTeX (OSS)
    Mozilla (OSS)
    Octave (OSS)
    Paint Shop Pro (JASC)
    PuTTY (OSS)
    Winamp (Nullsoft)

    Notice especially how many great open-source or otherwise free packages there exist in fields that Microsoft haven't got anything to offer. Then why do I constantly read on /. that MS have a complete monopoly on software like nothing else was available?

    Note also the complete lack of Office of any kind. I rarely need a word processor, and if I do there's Wordpad or KOffice and whatever spreadsheet it comes with on Linux. Oh, I guess I use WMP or RealPlayer (blegh) occasionally.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:38PM (#7822448)
      I just went through the software I use daily and while most of it runs on Windows XP, none of it's by Microsoft.

      Yeah, well, there's your problem. You read Slashdot. You know of alternatives to Microsoft junk and are willing to seek them out. The vast majority of people are not, and will use just what comes on their machine.

      The best examples of Microsoft lock-in are Outlook/Exchange and ActiveX. If you want to use Exchange to its fullest potential, you'd better have all Windows machines in your organization, or forget it. The Mac version was shit until late 2000. In Outlook 8.2.2, attempting to accept a meeting invitation would crash a Mac. Things got better when Outlook 2001 came around, but even that still doesn't do certain things like (IIRC) voting buttons. Now if you want OS X-native Exchange connectivity, you need Entourage. But Entourage does a shit job at it. It doesn't speak MAPI, instead relying on other protocols (IMAP, SMTP) for everything-- protocols that are typically turned off in most organizations, who won't turn them back on due to security concerns and whatnot. And the Windows version of Outlook is like the Roach Motel for your data. Ever notice that Outlook will happily import data from about a dozen different competing products, but that exporting data out of Outlook is a major pain in the ass? Think that's not intentional? That's lock-in. Make it painful to try to use or switch to something else.

      Then there's ActiveX. A Microsoft concoction designed to appeal to lazy developers. They develop stuff in ActiveX, and if you want to use it on a non-IE browser, you're SOL. That's lock-in.

      Bottom line: Microsoft products play best with other Microsoft products, and grudgingly if at all with other products. If you want cross-platform capability, you're better off with Linux or OS X-- those platforms MUST interoperate very well so they'll be adopted into Microsoft strongholds. Microsoft stuff doesn't HAVE to work with anything but other Microsoft stuff.

      Here's another example of tacit Microsoft lock-in: the Snap Server applicances. Yeah, they run some Unix variant. Yeah, they provide Windows and Apple file sharing, or a reasonable facsimilie thereof. But here's something you need to know about it: files touched by Mac clients don't get their Windows backup flag set correctly, so Windows backup software can't tell what do put on tape when a differential backup is run-- Mac-changed files don't get backed up. The Snap people know, and they don't care. What's implied is that if you want everything to work right you should get rid of your Macs.
    • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:31PM (#7822806) Homepage
      As far as Acrobat/Eudora/GSView/MikTex goes, where I work, 99% of people use Outlook for messaging, and far far too many finalized documents are emailed around as Word/Excel/Powerpoint files.

      Microsoft doesn't have to or care to get into the text-terminal emulation business, they have NetMeeting and XP's RemoteDesktop.

      Windows Media is used by a fair number of people, but yeah, a lot of normal people still use Winamp. Though microsoft always needs a couple tries before are able to dominate a market.

      Microsoft doesn't have an answer to Photoshop, but that could easily change at any point.

      And the mathematical stuff isn't used by a ton of people, so you could similarly ask why Microsoft doesn't have great MIDI sequencing or circuit layout tools, but microsoft is more interested in software that further their goal of world domination. Or they don't want to get into niche tools, or, I dunno. :)

  • In one sense, the Enquirer article seems correct. In another sense, by not naming the really serious problems with Microsoft products, the article almost praises Microsoft.

    For example, "Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP have crippled file systems." [slashdot.org] The file system cannot copy some of the files that are necessary to the operating system. Microsoft provides no way of making functional backups of its newer operating systems! (Yes I know about Sysprep and NTBackup and third-party methods. Microsoft technical support agrees with my statement.)

    Microsoft uses proprietary file formats. You can't reliably work with your intellectual property created with Microsoft products unless you pay Microsoft money!

    Microsoft can change the license terms to which you are bound after you have made your purchase and agreed to the terms!

    Who was using the more than 60 serious security vulnerabilities found in the last two years in Microsoft products before they were fixed?!!! Foreign governments? Your competitors? Hackers?
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:27PM (#7822384) Journal
    Seriously ....

    since they have 40 to 60 billion dollars in their kitty, how long will they take to burn through all of their cash reserves, even if they never sold another product ever again say, from Jan 2004?

    This page using data from 2001 [about.com] shows total (yearly?) liabilites to be in the range of 3 to 4 billion dollars.

    So it may take a while for MS to burn through all of its cash, unless it gets hit by a massive government fine, an act of god, or something equally unlikely,

  • by StrawberryFrog ( 67065 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @02:30PM (#7822406) Homepage Journal
    Re security: The fact remains that Microsoft's entire infrastructure is based on fundamentally flawed designs, not buggy code ... To change them, Microsoft would have to dump all existing APIs and break compatibility with everything up till now.

    Can you say ".NET" ?
  • by luck-is-for-rabbits ( 623743 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:02PM (#7822584)
    On the whole I view this article as fundamentally correct in it's sense of the marketplace. We can argue the details here, but this article reflects the overall attitude I've been hearing from clients (who range from single professionals to multinational manufacturing and financial services organizations) for some time now (2 years, in many cases).

    That said, there are still a great many IT people and users who still believe that Microsoft defines IT these days, and it will take years for the views expressed in the Inquirer article to catch up with them. I view this as a normal process, and I often see that perception lags progress by 18 months or more.

    My most serious problem with this article is that I cannot show it to any serious business clients; the article shows almost nothing but contempt for them as a whole, and they will (wrongly) take that as a reflection on the Linux community; the editorial choices made indicate that the author is very blatantly pro-Linux. This tends to reinforce the perception that Linux and OSS folk are rather anti-business, playing into the hands of FUD spreaders.

    We need this message delivered, but with better packaging, primarily since it will be more effective. Note that packaging and presenting is perhaps Microsoft's greatest strength, and we would do well to improve our packing as much as possible, although we certainly don't need to follow Microsoft in this regard.

  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:29PM (#7822791)
    As a developer for a Major Microsoft vendor, I value flexibility. The more flexibility I have with current software apps in production, the more options I have for development and integration. Whenever we choose a Microsoft app, I know that we will ONLY be able to use SQL Server, it will ONLY work on the Microsoft OS and my options are extremely limited.

    If one thing in that entire chain fails, the entire chain fails.

    But by going with tools and apps that are cross platform compatible, I can mix and match with no worries. The development community is much more vast and mixed as well and any problem I can possibly conceive has usually been solved. By choosing tools and apps that give you options, you have a greater fklexibility for development.

    This is one reason why whenever I we decide to purchase new software or apps, I ALWAYS evaluate open source projects first and actively promote them to the company; I have been asked if this is contradictory to our companies nature since Microsoft is our biggest client and my response has been 'We run Microsoft on every desktop here in the compny as well as on numerous servers. Do they honestly expect EVERYTHING to be Microsoft?'

    Fact remains that Microsoft decided early to be a desktop company and never really put a decent effort towards servers until recently... which is a little late in the game. They realized that by getting businesses to buy in to their product, the could get software developers to buy in and then consumers. But they focused on the desktops of the business, not the servers (as shown by their weak effort put into Xenix which was later sold to old SCO and currently owned by the new SCO).

    Linux has always been server side and as such has a ddistinct advantage; they are attacking the problem from a top down perspective. Get it on the servers and then onto business desktops. Once the worker spends 8 hours out of nearly everyday with Linux, Windows will be seem awkward and unstable to even the most computer illiterate luddite. Software manufacturers will realize that businesses use Linux for desktops as well as servers, lose their fear of the GPL and realize that you can make closed source software for open source systems.

    Once Photoshop is released for Linux, that will herald the day of the Linux desktop and Microsoft will truly be scared.
  • Get Ready, Folks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MicroBerto ( 91055 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @05:18PM (#7823371)
    Linux is obviously going to gain some incredible market share in the server department.

    That said, start expecting to see exploits coming out a lot -- there's simply going to be more people attacking as well as using.

    Security problems are bound to happen. It's going to be up to us to prove that we can respond faster and more professionally than Microsoft. Get ready!

    • by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday December 29, 2003 @05:45AM (#7826542) Homepage Journal
      Linux is obviously going to gain some incredible market share in the server department.

      That said, start expecting to see exploits coming out a lot -- there's simply going to be more people attacking as well as using.

      We've been hearing that for about 4 or 5 years.

      Now just in case you have been living in a box, allow me to point out that the market share for Internet servers is already larger for Linux than for windows, especially when it comes to the high-visibility targets, i.e. webservers.

      Pray, where are all the exploits? On my last count, the ratio was roughly 10:1, and that is counting only remote exploits against server services (i.e. ignoring all the Shatter attacks and Outlook or IE holes).

      So, we've been hearing this for years, with no indication that there's the slightest bit of truth to it. Please troll off.

  • Microsoft Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr.Spaz ( 468833 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @06:26PM (#7823720)
    I see it coming. The people who run Microsoft are clever; many readers here don't think so, but they've managed to outpace and outwit everyone from their competitors to govermnent investigators. Lately we've heard about MS doing "why do you use Linux" surveys and paying a fair amount of attention to the Linux side of the world. No imagine MS Linux: The OS is OSS, free to all. Then you simply buy the CS versions of MS software that run on it, and presto: as a business owner you now have the wonder of Linux, with its highly touted security and "free" price tag, and the integration with your existing MS Windows infrastructure. Imagine Linux web and database servers that interoperate with Active Directory and allow for seamless intranet connections with MS boxes; that's what I see happening. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a full-steam-ahead development team working on it as I type.
  • by rspress ( 623984 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @06:30PM (#7823746) Homepage
    The person who wrote this really knows their stuff. MS has been backing themselves into a corner for a while now and while most windows users can be distracted by bright shiny objects some are admitting the fact that their OS has major problems that are not going away anytime soon.

    As one reader here wrote that some websites or servers will not work without the seal of "owned by MS" in the future, it is already here. There are some sites now that will not work with any other OS and browser other than Windows and IE. Can you guess where the content creation tools that made these sites come from?

    Even the MS page to lodge a complaint against it for the anti-trust case only works under Windows and IE....which if you are running those, you will be less likely to complain. Good idea I guess....but proves the case against them.

    Microsoft will reap what it has sown and it could not happen to a nicer bunch!
  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:19PM (#7824917) Homepage
    When our firewall got hacked and I was reimplementing it in Linux or OpenBSD, I was constantly being asked, what is Linux, how much does it cost?

    I used to tell em its free but they'd give me the look that Ive fallen for a nigerian scammer or havent read between the lines, or stealing software.

    Nothing in life comes free... I got that twice as I was setting up the firewall. They also needed a big company behind the software regardless of my opinion of its stability. IT experts around the globe understand and respect opensource operaring systems, but companies as a whole cant put their trust into Linux. Microsoft is a face. It has an address and everyone knows that address. There are phone numbers to call and people to threaten should things break. You cannot call a kid in a garage and threaten him.

    So companies like RedHat leaving out desktop users and focusing on business are doing Linux a favor. They're doing IT technicians in those companies a favor by allowing them to use what they trust in most. Once you have every institution use a Linux or BSD server as a redundant firewall or file server... other applications for it will spring up, and that tide, Microsoft cant go against.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"