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Microsoft

The Company Everyone Loves To Hate 274

In honor of Microsoft's 30th year, Epeeist writes "The BBC is running a Have Your Say article on Microsoft at 30." From that article: "Microsoft will always adapt and buy into other areas to keep themselves at the top. They're the company everyone loves to hate." While they're reflecting, most people are focusing on the now. teslatug writes "Brian Jones, a Microsoft PM on the Office team, has just confirmed that the new default XML format of Office 12 is not compatible with the GPL. Brian believes that LGPL may be compatible, but others have raised issues about the ability to redistribute." Relatedly, shades66 writes "Microsoft's Alan Yates tripped over his own words in responding to the Massachusetts Information Technology Division's late-August declaration for OpenDocument and other open software standards." For some more colourful commentary, smooth wombat writes "John Dvorak has written an article for MarketWatch in which he postulates that the reorganization by Microsoft is actually a prelude to its breakup into three separate entities."
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The Company Everyone Loves To Hate

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  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu@gmail . c om> on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:42PM (#13632245) Journal

    Wow, I'm breathless and speechless! Just read the litany of comments posted on the BBC article, collectively of which these posts represent the general sentiment of the posting community.

    If this is so, I'm devastated (but maybe I shouldn't be so surprised, as it is consistent conversations I have casually with friends and family). The general feelings seem to include:

    • Microsoft brought computing to the masses (what's wrong with that?)
    • Microsoft made lots of money by being good at what they do (what's wrong with that?)
    • Microsoft made computers easy to use (what's wrong with that?)
    • Microsoft is powerful and is led by the charitable Mr. Gates (what's wrong with that?)

    Most disturbing is a seemingly cavalier attitude about what are historical data regarding Microsoft's business practices, products, etc. As an excercise, note that in the list above, each "what's wrong with that?" can be interpreted in two ways.

    1. Why is everyone picking on Microsoft?
    2. explain why the point is misguided (exercise left to readers).

    As for Dvorak's speculation Microsoft is prepping to split into three companies, I don't get that. Why would they? One of Microsoft's major takeaways from the DOJ's penalty phase was not having to split up as a company. I'm am not a businessman, but I can't see Microsoft splitting unless forced to. (Though I wouldn't discount it as some huge PR spin to make it look like they're taking steps to not be the evil empire anymore while behind closed doors (and through underground tunnels) continuing to operate as a single company to ensure their continued position in the marketplace.)

    • Windows is great for the normal person who uses computers for everyday things. But for programmers, or other tech things, Windows isn't the best option. I think that most of the people who state their opinions on OS's are the people who actually care. Most of the people who are satisfied with Windows don't care to post their opinion on it compared to other OS's because as far as they know, they don't know the names of any other OS's.

      So basically, the majority of the people who don't like Windows are prog
    • Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:54PM (#13632402)

      Some time ago there was a discussion on Bill Gates' charitable donations and whether he was a "good person."

      It was interesting to watch the moderator wars. Is it troll or insightful when someone asks how many "good deeds" it takes to make up for the bad ones?

      This is similar. Lots of people use Microsoft products. They have done a lot to advance technology and in spite of their flaws there are reasons for their dominance that don't have to do with them being, if I may speak so generally, "evil."

      But it seems silly to insist that, in the absence of a Microsoft, all of Microsoft's contributions to technology and to the world would (A)simply never have occurred or (B)occurred more slowly or (C)been the work of an even more evil company. I mean, why couldn't an ethical company have accomplished all of these things?

      In the end, though, it's a great big game of "what if" and frankly not a very productive one. Consequently, while I think it's fair to acknowledge Microsoft's contributions, I think it's equally fair to recognize that their contributions are like the societal and charitable contributions of mobsters or fascist dictators or whatever "Lawful Evil" entity you want to name. Their lawyers typically manage to get them through the courts despite their actions, and their contributions typically provide a sort of "PR shelter," but in the end what they accomplish is built on wrongdoing.

      • Re:Agreed. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kiatoa ( 66945 )
        Bill Gates donating a million bucks is like me donating $10. It's hard to be impressed with a donation when the sacrifice is so slight. Of couse it is great that the donation was made, but as the song goes, "It don't impress me much". Measured in terms of impact on myself and my family I donate more than Bill Gates does. He gave up nothing (and arguably gains hugh tax writeoffs) by his pittance donations. Do a google search to gain perspective.
        • Re:Agreed. (Score:2, Insightful)

          by vcv ( 526771 )
          Too bad he's donated somewhere close to $30billion.
          • Re:Agreed. (Score:3, Informative)

            by Rycross ( 836649 )
            According to Wikipedia, Gates has donated about 5 billion dollars [wikipedia.org] in charity. Thats about 10 percent of his total wealth. The list of the accomplishments of the Melinda Gates Foundation is quite impressive.
            • Re:Agreed. (Score:3, Informative)

              by Rycross ( 836649 )
              Ack, correction, that's 5 billion in 1999. "As of 2005, the foundation has an endowment of approximately US$28 billion." I wonder how much of that comes from Gates though (other companies donate to it, I believe).
        • If your net worth is $100, fair enough. Dollar for dollar, he gives a higher percentage of his net worth to charity and research than most people do.

          -everphilski-
      • Re:Agreed. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snuf23 ( 182335 )
        "I mean, why couldn't an ethical company have accomplished all of these things?"

        Welcome to business in the United States of America.
        It's pointless to single out Microsoft for bad business practices. How about WalMart? How about Intel for that matter? What about the record labels and movie studios?
        Hell, even Apple directly violates a court decision from their lawsuit with Apple records - simply because they know the potential monetary windfall from making the iPod would be higher than any liability from a co
      • Re:Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h2oliu ( 38090 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:24PM (#13632741)
        The parts that torque people:

        1) Changing licensing schemes, raising costs for companies dramatically, and having the nerve to call it "to lower customer costs".
        2) Sending nasty letters to school districts at the end of the semester saying that they are about to have an audit of their licensing scheme, when they are short staffed as it is.
        3) Purposely building their technology so it won't work well with other environment, thus preventing interoperability.
        4) Illegal contracts regarding what computer companies can or can't sell if they want to be able to sell windows.

        Just because they aren't found guilty of a crime in court, doesn't mean their activities are moral or ethical.
    • "As for Dvorak's speculation Microsoft is prepping to split into three companies, I don't get that. Why would they? One of Microsoft's major takeaways from the DOJ's penalty phase was not having to split up as a company."

      So? AT&T could have kept the Baby Bells had they parted ways with their hardware business based upon them losing to the DOJ. Instead, they kept the hardware business and then spun off the Baby Bells. Less than 20 years later, AT&T spun off their hardware business anyways.

      Moral of
    • Regarding the "charitable" Mr Gates... let me just say this: if a thief breaks into your house, steals all your money and then donates 1% of it to charitable causes, will you commend him for being such a good person? Or will you point out that it was *your* money and that he *stole* it? Because that's what Microsoft has been doing: they're using an illegal monopoly to steal your money.

      And furthermore, it's easy to give if you have more than you could possibly ever spend, anyway. I'm not a big fan of the bib
    • by ezweave ( 584517 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:10PM (#13632591) Homepage

      Dvorak is probably all wet, but Microsoft splitting into three seperate companies would save us from Microsoft and save Microsoft from themselves.

      After reading that mini Microsoft blog that was posted earlier this week [slashdot.org] and hearing about the micro management driven from the top down, I think it is even more essential. Half of what is wrong with Microsoft is their desire to make everything Microsoft. From their own protocols and standards (Direct X, JScript) to slipping in bits and pieces of larger apps (Windows messaging not IM, IIS, SQLServer hooks). A seperate OS company and app company would really help all of us out. Wouldn't it be great to be able to run .NET on OS X(instead of IIS)? Or SQLServer on Debian? Or not have the Microsoft VM or JScript instead of Javascript.

      But Microsoft is killing itself from the inside. Judging from the comments on the aforementioned blog, it is not a place for innovation from the ground up. Instead it is Billy G who tries to drive it from the top. That is what makes google work! Developers have the ideas, not the guy at the top!

      the product development model that Bill created and fostered no longer works in our environment. It was awesome up to the time we shipped Windows 95, but now it's no longer feasible. I continually get stories from longtime MSFT employees who talk about the days when they slept on the floor of their office...stayed all weekend...and basically busted their asses to ship.
      and
      Think of Google. Their best stuff has comes out of the 8 hours a week they give each employee to tinker with whatever the hell they want.

      The stupid thing about that is that this was rumored to be the original idea behind the last anti-trust suite: make Microsoft split up. I don't know if it was directly related to GW, but I have not seen or heard of anything happening to Microsoft as a result of them being convicted of anti-trust violations.

    • by mr_gerbik ( 122036 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:18PM (#13632666)
      Uneducated? I hardly think that is the problem. Just not everyone is a RMS category zealot.

      Open your eyes, big business (read big $$$) rules. Even Slashdot was bought out. Hell, Slashdot runs Microsoft ads!

      The fact of the matter is, it isn't a Microsoft problem, this is just how commercialism on the grand scale works.

      If you want to complain about a cavalier attitude towards Microsoft's business practices, let me ask you this: can you guarantee me that you don't own plenty of products that were produced overseas in sweatshops?

      If you want to attack business practices, why not start with ones that are in gross violation of human rights, i.e. making children work 12 hour days to produce the new line of Nikes.

      • You make very good points. This is how commercialism on the grand scale works (or, in Microsoft's case in my opinion, "doesn't"). I think Microsoft is an example that reaches the far end of a spectrum.

        As for guaranteeing I don't have products made in sweatshops (doesn't HAVE to be overseas), I can't guarantee that. I assure you though I DO do research (heh!, he said "do do") to the extent I can to avoid buying sweatshop products. Unfortunately, it's not an easy thing to determine.

        I agree with you -- l

    • Wow, I'm breathless and speechless! Just read the litany of comments posted on the BBC article, collectively of which these posts represent the general sentiment of the posting community.

      Just wait until Slashdot gets ahold of it.
    • Easy. Monopolies are bad. People hate them. Period.
    • I skimmed the user comments but this one at the very bottom leered out at me:
      "Microsoft has changed the world. At this point, the fact that they have such a large percentage of the market is a good thing. It has also guaranteed that English will be the language of the world for many generations to come."

      Translation:
      "It's because of Microsoft that neither I nor my decscendents for the next 12 generations will have to acknowledge the world outside the little bubble that is Decatur, Georgia."

    • * Microsoft brought computing to the masses (what's wrong with that?)
      * Microsoft made lots of money by being good at what they do (what's wrong with that?)


      The funny thing about those comments is that in many ways Microsoft really has made the software world what it is today, and not in a good way. I can't find the original quote anymore, but IMO the most damning comment I have ever read regarding the effect that Microsoft has had in bringing comput
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:43PM (#13632263)
    Indeed, I would hate to see what a truly efficient Microsoft could do to Apple, Sun and the open source community. Considering their resources, and if they can whittle themselves down to a highly efficient company, they could put up an effort against their competitors second to none. Now, perhaps that wouldn't be a bad thing. An innovative Microsoft will force the open source community and other companies to become just as competitive, if not more so.

    • Microsoft better do something soon because they can't stay at the top forever in this environment. Their cash cow, Office and with that Windows, isn't something tangible that people can't live without. There are too many people out there able and willing to make a better product and sell it at a cheaper price. The growth of open source software is a testament to this. Other companies are realizing the benefits of supporting an open source development model.

      I'm not for or against Microsoft. I use their
      • The requirement for most computer users was filled about 10 years ago. Most people don't need office XP, or the new version of windows. I don't know how home users see any real difference between windows 98 and windows XP. As soon as people start realizing they can get products of sufficient quality from the open source community for cheap or free, they will start switching. I started trying to use Linux 6 years ago. I've only really started using it full time in the last 2 years. It's advanced a lot
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:44PM (#13632280) Homepage Journal
    Let's ask slashdotters what they think of Microsoft. Again.

    That's bound to produce an enlightening, well balanced, polite thread.
  • Not Exactly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:46PM (#13632300)
    They're the company everyone loves to hate.

    No, I hate hating them. I'd rather not have such annoyances in my life. I'd just like safe, secure software that does what I want, and nothing that I don't want.

    And I'd like them to secure the current operating system before moving to the next one.

    For a programmer an improved operating system is one with less program faults, less resource requirements, and better performance on the same hardware. Microsoft seems bound and determined to go in exactly the opposite direction.

    Cheaper would be nice too. Darn, they missed that one too.

    • Re:Not Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Delphiki ( 646425 )
      For a programmer an improved operating system is one with less program faults, less resource requirements, and better performance on the same hardware. Microsoft seems bound and determined to go in exactly the opposite direction.

      God forbid they write software that is an improvement to people other than programmers. And honestly, only one of the things you listed is high on my list of desires from an OS, even though I'm a programmer. I'd much rather have an interface that makes it easy to get things done,

      • The question is, why does their operating system have such high requirements. It doesn't really do that much more than windows 98. I mean really, is it that much more functional than windows 98, that I should need a computer 10 times stronger just to run the OS? Even the newest version of Linux will run on a pentium 1. Granted you won't be running KDE, but there are other desktops out there you could use. There's also up-to-date browsers, word processors, music players, and tons of other stuff that doe
    • I don't think any of us are going to "have to hate Microsoft" for much longer. Linux is a credible alternative and very usable. Even if you switched to Mac right now you'd find yourself with much less hate for Microsoft. In a few years, I don't think there will be any reason to choose Windows.
      • Linux is a credible alternative and very usable

        You know, that reminds me of George Bush and the economy. He kept talking about how great the economy was even though it wasn't. He kept saying it, as if saying it enough would just make it true. The economy still sucks. He also says every day that the was in Iraq is going so well, while pretty much everybody in his administration disagrees. Again, if he says it enough, maybe it'll happen. Do you, also, believe that if you say that "Linux is a credible a
    • Re:Not Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeff Hornby ( 211519 )

      For a programmer an improved operating system is one with less program faults, less resource requirements, and better performance on the same hardware. Microsoft seems bound and determined to go in exactly the opposite direction.

      Using the same logic, the car companies should be building Model T's with race car engines. After all, the only thing that a real motorhead cares about is the performance and not the "luxuries" like a comfortable seat, a good stereo system, a good environmental system, a quiet

  • Look out! (Score:4, Funny)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:47PM (#13632301)
    From Dvorak's article:
    If examined closely these three entities could easily be spun into new companies with their own CEO and stock. Current Microsoft shareholders could be given one share of each for each share of Microsoft stock. Then it's off to the races.
    Dear God....it's getting ready to reproduce!!!
  • Business practices (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SolusSD ( 680489 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:47PM (#13632310) Homepage
    lest we forget that the real problem with Microsoft are their anti-comptetive business practices.

    "Standards" designed to make a competitors entry into any given market controlled by microsoft impossible."

    An endless FUD compaign against competitors

    and choosing to stifle innovation in self interest of controlling the direction of the market to areas they already control.

  • Microsoft are the greatest company in the world and managed by a genius.
    Bill, Seattle


    You would think he would let his legal department come up with a better reply than that.
    • His legal department would have never said that, they would have said

      " Microsoft is the greatest company in the world and managed by a genius.
      Bill, Seattle"
      • Microsoft is the greatest company in the world and is managed by a genius.

        This post and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender
  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:48PM (#13632321)
    I bought a bunch of MSFT stock in 1987 and rode it up until selling in 2000. However much I despise Bill Gates, I figure I owe him my financial independence at least. So, stick it only partway up your backside, Bill.

  • Personally, I'm waiting for SCO to sue M$, then just settle and let M$ buy up SCO. Then, at least they'll own UNIX... oh, wait, SCO may not own UNIX. Well, at least they can try to own UNIX.
  • LOVE TO HATE THEM? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by s388 ( 910768 )
    i don't love to hate them.

    i love to stop using their products, in favor of better alternatives.

  • "John Dvorak has written an article for MarketWatch in which he postulates that the reorganization by Microsoft is actually a prelude to its breakup into three separate entities."

    Yea ... Well ... John Dvorak says something stupid every week and just by coincidence alone some of it comes true.

  • Yeah, Dvorak expects MS to split into:

    -MS Systems. They would make Windows, Vista, CE, whatever. They will make TeH M0ney!!!
    -MS Software. They would sell Office, Power point, etc. They will make even more Money!!!
    -Xbox division. They would sell the xbox and Halo 2. They will LOSE money, a billion dollar for the next two years, that is what MS is planning right now. They will go broke in no time.

    Mmmm. That is not going to happen. Why separate the part of the company that make money from the ones that lose it
    • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:58PM (#13632442) Journal
      If you RTFA a little closer...

      an IPO of the Xbox division would generate a metric ton of revenue. Revenue that would ride out the first few years of losses. The article explicitly mentioned that the XBOX division was getting the best and the brightest, much like an early Microsoft, whereas the other divisions were getting stagnant. A seperate XBOX company therefore would be a group of intelligent bright people who would turn a profit shortly, and whose stock would rise much like an early Microsoft.

      The reason you seperate was very clearly stated: with three cash cows in one barn, things get stagnant. Seperate them into seperate entities and you spur a little more innovation (that's the theory, anyways).

      -everphilski-
      • Yes, I read that part.

        However, if Sony and this "xbox division" instantly swapped places in the market, they would remain unprofitable for at least three or four years more. When you go public, you want fast returns, not waiting years to start getting returns.

        No, the Xbox division cannot become autonomous, at least until it doesn't lose as much money as it does today. Maybe in a couple of years, but not during the launch of the Xbox 360. They would have a great IPO, only to go broke the next year.
  • by Great Briton ( 871489 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:53PM (#13632382)
    Wow, don't look at the comments on the BBC page. It's the anti-Slashdot!
  • Anybody notice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by burtdub ( 903121 )
    I'm actually partial to MS, so I hope this doesn't get mistaken for flamebait.

    But it's pretty tough to avoid the obvious comparison between Microsoft and the Hydra. Think Google & Co. will deal Microsoft a fatal blow? Guess again! It just pops back with three heads instead of one.

  • by DARKFORCE123 ( 525408 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:54PM (#13632399)
    Splitting up the company in such a fashion seems like a good idea to me. Stockholders have the potential to be well rewarded by such a move. The Motorola Freescale split-up was a good deal for everyone involved. Freescale's stock is up (from $14 to $22) and they are doing fine on their own. If some stuff dies then it dies. Products that fail the test don't need to be on life support indefinately.
  • by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:58PM (#13632443)
    In a previous discussion here earlier this year I suggested that Microsoft was getting ready to collapse. This was based on the special dividend they paid out which only served to draw down the cash on hand and make certain people much richer. Look for them to issue a few more special dividends then start selling off chunks of the company.

    And I really like the other posters comment: "They are going to reproduce?!"
    • I don't really see Microsoft collapsing, given their massive amount of revenue. Isn't a far more likely scenario that they reinvent themselves?
  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @02:59PM (#13632462)
    namely, SCO.

    Are they dead yet?
  • by tktk ( 540564 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:01PM (#13632488)
    In the South Park movie, Bill Gates got shot in the head and everyone in the theater laughed. Once South Park wants to kill you, the teeming masses will follow.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:07PM (#13632557)

      In the South Park movie, Bill Gates got shot in the head and everyone in the theater laughed. Once South Park wants to kill you, the teeming masses will follow.

      I saw that movie in an on campus theater, at a university, with an audience of hundreds and hundreds of engineers and scientists. That scene received a standing ovation, hoots, screams, cries of joy, thrown popcorn, and other jubilation that drowned out the movie for the next 5 minutes.

    • Eh... my friends and I got the strangest looks when we all applauded and cheered that scene. Apparently, everyone else in the theater at the time completely missed out on it.

      I mean, come on... even Bill laughed a bit when Windows BSOD'ed on him at a demo/expo.

      Though I don't think the people back in Redmond were laughing after that.

  • Hate? (Score:2, Interesting)

    They're the company everyone loves to hate.

    I'm not hating them, I'm sick of them...
  • about time for one, happened with netscape, AOL, antitrust, java and now google.
  • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:09PM (#13632577) Homepage Journal

    from TFA [msdn.com]:

    The GPL says that there can't be a requirement that you give credit to the author of the program... ....The GPL also says that you can't put a limitation on sublicensing IP rights.
    which are restrictions on requirements and restrictions on limitations.

    and then later:

    I know for a lot of people the GPL is sort of synonymous with "open source." .... I really don't agree with that point of view. I think it is way too restrictive.

    So something that has limits of the limitations that can be enforced is too restrictive? I think he has it backwards!

    --jeff++

    • So something that has limits of the limitations that can be enforced is too restrictive? I think he has it backwards!

      Complete bullshit. The GPL has several serious restrictions as to what you can do with the code and binaries. The fact that it prohibits certain restrictions does not eliminate the fact that it has numerous other restrictions.
    • So something that has limits of the limitations that can be enforced is too restrictive? I think he has it backwards!

      The way I see it, the GPL trades a developer's freedoms to give the user more freedoms. So the GPL is restrictive to a developer and liberating to a user. The BSD license is much less restrictive to a developer, for example.
  • Quoting one comment:

    Any control of any market was hard-earned by a company who started out as the under-dog.

    What?!

    Nobody gave them any favours, they had to innovate and compete on the open market. And they won.

    Artists and geniuses, methinks.

    I'm an Apple user, I don't touch Microsoft products now with a bargepole, but as a business they are the greatest success story.

    Ah, an apologist!

  • by Thomas Charron ( 1485 ) <twaffle@gmaCOMMAil.com minus punct> on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:10PM (#13632589) Homepage
    How can an XML file format be incompatible with the GPL?

        Does that mean we can't link them directly, or include them embedded within a binary?

        It's a file format. They going to patent XML?

        I'm confused.. I think he only said that for FUD factors, becouse it makes NO sense at all.
  • the XML format of Office 12 is not compatible with the GPL

    Is the Office 12 XML format not GPL-compatible, or is the GPL not Office 12 XML format compatible? The sword cuts both ways; if we're going to complain about Microsoft using a license which isn't compatible with the GPL, we should equally complain about RMS writing a license which is compatible with very little.
  • My entry to BBC... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:26PM (#13632765)
    Microsoft started as a company full of innovation, looking to bring the world together thru the use of computers, to make life easier and less complicated thru the use of a lot of their brilliant software.

    Thirty years forward from the embarkation of a noble dream seems a company likened to a powerhungry politician -- they want to be number one, at all costs, and want to have the say and press their voice into the 'law' that is what we know as personal computing. Hordes of Microsoft employees are leaving citing 'poor work environments' for companies like Google, who treat their employees as their number one commodity, something not suprising -- Microsoft did the same in their inception.

    Right now, as a network administrator myself, I see Microsoft falling further and further off of the map. Organizations such as my own, and I'm sure many more, look for interoperability, compatibility, and the ability to use the latest and greatest technology with the greatest ease of lateral movement. Linux as a whole is conducive to this environment, embracing open standards so that everybody can view a document in different operating systems, different platforms, etc. And companies realize this -- Microsoft's ease of use will be lessened as time passes, while the brilliant programmers depart to work for the MS counterparts -- be it Google, Sun, Apple, or whomever. And those programmers will bring to Linux what Microsoft brought to computing in merely an idea thirty years ago.

    For Microsoft's birthday, I think a good look at their road travelled is important. It will show them how they started, how they innovated, and how they succeeded. Now instead of innovating, they are eliminiating competition, stopping people from innovating, and stopping interoperability. Look back at your history Microsoft, and see that the noble and humble beginnings you had play a huge part in where you are today. It's still not too late to make a u-turn and take a different road than you are travelling -- because the one you are on leads to a cliff.
    • by NullProg ( 70833 )
      Microsoft started as a company full of innovation, looking to bring the world together thru the use of computers, to make life easier and less complicated thru the use of a lot of their brilliant software.

      Pardon my response, but my bull$hit meter went off scale. You can't rewrite history. Have you not read "Fire in the Valley"?

      Bill started Microsoft because he thought he could get rich writing software for Micro-computers and he was right. How is this innovative? Name one thing created exclusively by Mic
  • by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:37PM (#13632894)
    I don't love to hate MS. I don't hate MacIntosh, or SunOS, or BSD after all. If Microsoft quit coming on like the motherboard-Mafia and accepted that it's own customers, as well as the rest of the world, get more value when the companies co-exist peacefully, my attitude towards Bill Gates would change from hatred to passive indifference over-night.

    The tragedy of it all is, MS persists in this at it's own expense. Imagine waking up tomorrow to see MS touting it's new open documant formats, company-hosted utilities for converting to and from other OS's native file formats, a new release of their OS (call it "good neighbor" Windows!) that accepts it's place in a hard-drive's file system and even co-operates with Lilo. Wait, don't faint, yet! How about a live Windows-CD that runs on top of Linux systems, an OS release that includes a free compiler (which creates fully capable binaries with NO STRINGS ATTATCHED!) and a Windows utility that can handle a man page, a .png file, and run .elf binaries? Now, don't you think that would change the ill will to good will? Wouldn't this be a new selling point - "Why *switch* to Linux when we'll generously let you have both?" I mean, come on, would there be any end to the marketing potential? MS is frantically clawing, looking for a foothold in the changing field - and this most obvious answer is staring them in the face, and they can't see it. So down they go, and the rest of us will have a more peaceful co-existence when they're gone.

    Hell, I don't hate Microsoft, I pity them. They might have more money than me, but I sleep soundly at night with a serene conscience.

  • by bark76 ( 410275 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:38PM (#13632906)
    Found this on the "Have your say" page:

    Microsoft are the greatest company in the world and managed by a genius.

    Bill, Seattle
  • If you view Microsoft as a software company, they have always had mediocre products. If you think that Microsoft's main product is adversarial behavior, they are one of the most successful companies in the world!

    Here's just a tiny, tiny sample: The U.S. District Court's Findings of Fact in the Microsoft antitrust case lists 207 pages of abuses [usdoj.gov].
  • by trudyscousin ( 258684 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:49PM (#13633018)
    that the story includes a photo of Bill Gates that's from Getty Images, and not from Corbis, which Gates owns.

    I didn't find the story to be entirely the lovefest that some prior posters were implying. Perhaps the BBC is updating its sampling of comments as they come in?
  • Got it backwards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wardk ( 3037 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @03:56PM (#13633085) Journal
    it's Microsoft that seeminly hates people. It shows in the condescending way they treat everyone. The way they lock people in. The way they frustrate the user at all opportunity. the way they change their licensing at will. The way they fail to play well with anyone or anything that is not them.

    It Microsoft that is the one doing the hating.
  • by atomm1024 ( 570507 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @04:11PM (#13633262)
    In honor of Microsoft's 30th year, Epeeist writes [...] For some more colourful commentary, smooth wombat writes [...]

    "Honor" and then "colourful". What's up with using the American spelling for one and the international spelling from the other?

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.

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