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Microsoft's Annual Report Reveals OSS Mistakes 348

mjasay writes "Microsoft's most recent annual report suggests that the company is increasingly coming to grips with open source, yet also seems determined to perpetuate myths about open source that poorly serve it and its shareholders. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has suggested before that 'free software means no free soda' for Microsoft employees; but this is perhaps the first time that Microsoft has managed to enshrine its ignorance in a public document. In the annual report, Microsoft makes two primary false claims about open source: 1) Open source companies don't invest in research and development and instead largely free-ride on Microsoft's patents and copyrights; and 2) Open source projects don't innovate and instead mimic Microsoft's products. Perhaps Microsoft has forgotten its own 'innovative' past copying of markets and technologies created by Apple and others. But at least Microsoft gets one thing right: 'To the extent open source software gains increasing market acceptance, our sales, revenue and operating margins may decline.'"
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Microsoft's Annual Report Reveals OSS Mistakes

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  • News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @10:47PM (#24461713) Homepage Journal

    Did anyone expect anything other than spin from MS with regards to Open Source Software? Hmmm.

  • Damn parasites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stox ( 131684 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @10:51PM (#24461741) Homepage

    Hmm, where did that IP stack come from? Where did they get the idea of tabbed browsing? Where did they get a web browser from? The list goes on and on. I wonder how many "patents" came from ideas inspired by open source?

    The reason Microsoft is failing is that the parasite has become larger than the host.

  • Ad Hominem (Score:1, Insightful)

    by StormShaman ( 603879 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @10:58PM (#24461787)
    Just because Micro$oft copies doesn't mean open source doesn't.
  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ozphx ( 1061292 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @10:58PM (#24461789) Homepage

    Compared to say Cnet's spin, which suggested that MS didn't spend very much on R&D compared to OSS companies.

    Apparantly half its income - around $7B spent on R&D is "not much".

  • Re:News? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:01PM (#24461807) Homepage Journal

    The R&D they do never makes it into products.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:05PM (#24461849)

    Not only peer review. Also your programmers, your users, your administrators... or rather, the programmers, users and admins that have to suffer from the result.

  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:13PM (#24461909) Homepage

    This report has very little to do with open source, it is all about marketing. The M$ board and executive team is basically treating it's shareholders the same way it treats it's customers. It is feeding them a line of non-committal B$ in order to keep their jobs and maintain a threatened share price.

    So M$'s annual report is starting to bear no resemblance to what most respectable companies would produce or what an executive team with integrity would present to shareholders. It is a empty glossy pump up produced by a marketing team rather than an management and engineering team. No new directions, no new products, no new ideas, just more of ballmer's self involved blather and bull shit.

    Psychologically it is interesting, hmm, we know everything, we make no mistakes, we are the computer industry, when it goes wrong, it is everybody else's fault, they stole it from us, they don't know anything and the customer is stupid when they don't realise this.

    Technically it is quite true that M$ help to create the OSS movement, they were such an unreliable and deceitful supplier of software that they really did do more than anybody else to drive customers to OSS.

  • RTFR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <> on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:23PM (#24461973) Homepage

    Not really worded as the author states, and is quite interesting - mainly the meat is the Risk Factors section where they must report the possible situations on investment/profit risk. Nothing really much there about stealing ideas, but what was omitted by the author was the probable losses incurred by MS "opening up" on some interoperability technology as well as being forced to open up other standards due to high court rulings.

    They still call their Licensing "Ownership" as in Cost of Ownership... sigh.

    Very interesting read.

  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:31PM (#24462029) Journal

    Did anyone expect anything other than spin from MS with regards to Open Source Software? Hmmm.


    Ok, one word posts can get good moderation but I'm willing to expand on this.

    Microsoft's innovation is to sell the ideas of others as organic product. This is not really a new idea. See "Kufu: Expansions on the Art of Building Pyramids." (not cited)

    I'm currently working my way through Cashman & Shelly's "Introduction to Computer Programming IBM/360 Assembler Language" (c)1969, Anaheim Publishing Company.

    Familiar terms there include "DOS", "Work Areas" and "Control Macros"

    I'm willing to bet there are a couple dozen ideas in this book that invalidate Microsoft patents.

    For prior art on the rest of them you need only read Communications of the ACM, origin through 1981.

  • by msuarezalvarez ( 667058 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:32PM (#24462045)
    What's wrong (or, at least, morally dubious) is that they fail to recognize what they did with the OSS-originated network stack...
  • Re:News? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:33PM (#24462047)

    $7,000,000,000??? What a monumental waste of money! mAYBE THATS how much the losers at MS have to pay their developers to come up with an OS that doesn't crash, and even then they have failed miserably judging by all the work I have had lately.

    If they're spending so much on R&D, where are the fucking results?

    Vista? Aero? You have to be fucking joking. That's really the best they could come up with for $7,000,000,000? No wonder Shuttleworth and the Linux crowd are making such fantastic progress.

    On Ubuntu I can get the latest compiz-fusion with the latest whiz-bang effects *for free* and blow minds with my desktop whether I'm in GNOME or KDE3/4.1. Vista Aero is a sad excuse for a dead donkeys ring-piece, when it comes to effects, many of which have been blatantly stolen from compiz much like IE7 stole tabbed browsing.

    Fuck Microsoft. this has been the year of the Linux desktop in my house and for many of my customers who have come to realise how easy the transition from Micro$hit to Linux can be.

    Ballmer is a retard, plain and simple, but then in a country that elected G.W.Bush as president, I suppose anything is possible.

  • by AndGodSed ( 968378 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:35PM (#24462061) Homepage Journal

    Like they did with IE? Shut out competitors by mimicking another product and making it a default install of their own?

    Didn't they JUST begin to do that with Apache?

  • Re:Ad Hominem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:36PM (#24462073) Homepage Journal

    I guess I don't see the need to respond to Microsoft's FUD with FUD of our own. After all, if it's wrong for them to do it, is it not also wrong for us?

    It would be. But the term "FUD" implies deceit. FUD against Microsoft is much more likely to simply be true. They _are_ a monopoly. They _do_ use unfair practices to "compete". They _will_ stoop to almost any low to avoid a level playing field. This isn't FUD in the normal sense of the word. It's fact.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:39PM (#24462095)

    An entire complete operating system including thousands of programs that can be freely shared far and wide at no cost by everyone, suitable for use in the tiniest embedded processors all the way to the top ranked supercomputers on Earth..and now beyond into space?

    Outside of that, nothing I guess.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @11:54PM (#24462175)
    MS will justify crushing OSS in any way possible. Honestly, if you call the people of the FSF free software zealots, then call MS proprietary software zealots. MS basically exists totally proprietary, not to make money, not to be inventive but to prove a key point in the Open Letter To Hobbyists by Gates, that quality software will not be written without a lot of money. Unfortunately for MS, it seems that the tables have turned, just about every quality application is OSS in some part if not fully OSS (OS X, Firefox, Apache, etc) and about the only major software vendor that isn't transitioning to OSS is MS, look at it, Apple mostly has with OS X, IBM has embraced Linux, Sun seems to be trying to open source everything they have, Novell has openSUSE, and everyone in between is getting things open sourced.
  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:00AM (#24462217)

    I'm willing to bet there are a couple dozen ideas in this book that invalidate Microsoft patents.

    Just about every software patent has an idea that invalidates it. The thing though is, with MS stocking up on patents, we never know which ones they really don't care about and which ones they will sue for. It is expensive and time consuming to strike down every patent, and when someone sues Linux or another F/OSS project in a major suit (like SCO) even though anyone with half a brain knows that it should have been thrown out ages ago, it still leaves CEOs (usually missing half a brain) not using Linux because they are scared they will be sued or the support will end.

    Until politicians start to realize that things that apply with the physical world make no sense in the digital world, MS has a legal advantage, and with some judges having the mental capacity of a 4 year old MS might win a few minor suits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:02AM (#24462229)

    Pirated or not, anyone using Microsoft products only reinforces the fact that they dictate the standards for file formats and data exchange.

    Don't pirate Microsoft products (it's illegal and Microsoft loses profits, but at least you help them sell more copies of Office) and don't use their file formats (it's legal and Microsoft loses control over you, something they hate more than losing a single sale).

  • Re:pure narcissism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kalriath ( 849904 ) * on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:12AM (#24462273)

    Or Apple HQ?

  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:33AM (#24462413) Journal

    We need a ruling that software patents are void. We're well on the way. Recent Supreme Court rulings are indicative of a climate change in the Court.

    People need to get behind the idea that software patents and copyrights serve to prevent "the progress of science and useful arts."

    Progress is the goal. If the tool no longer serves it, it needs to be abandoned [].

  • HA!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by josmar52789 ( 1152461 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:37AM (#24462429) Journal
    "open source software doesn't innovate"

    Ha! The article directly below this one states that someone has developed an app to graph or diagram SQL statements... Now, that's innovation - and it didn't require any Microsoft products to be harmed during testing or development!

    Oh by the way, the Internet itself is an open source effort and I can't imagine anything more innovative or groundbreaking than the most advanced communications medium ever created!
  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:56AM (#24462545) Homepage Journal

    Technically it is quite true that M$ help to create the OSS movement, they were such an unreliable and deceitful supplier of software that they really did do more than anybody else to drive customers to OSS.

    Somewhat of an overstatement or at least an over simplification. You need only look at the programs that started out in /usr/contrib from long before M$ was even Billy G's wet dream. Programs like grep and awk easily come to mind.

    That being said, M$ is what made OSS into a viable, enterprise level force in the computer software business. From their buggy programs and operating systems to their use of vaporware to string the market along, M$'s unwillingness to allow any competitor to survive (DR-DOS or OS/2 anyone? How about WordPerfect, Ami Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, etc?) made open source software necessary. Linux and *BSD would still be hobby toys if there was really a competitive commercial software marketplace with real choice.

    Microsoft didn't actually create OSS. Open source software existed long before Microsoft. Microsoft is what made OSS necessary as the only way to offer a competitive, alternative product. One that couldn't be squeezed out of existence through contractual agreements that forbade offering the alternative.



    P.S. I've been using Linux since 1998 and I was an OS/2 user prior to that.

  • by ndnspongebob ( 942859 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @02:33AM (#24463049)
    seriously, when was the last time microsoft innovated?
  • by v(*_*)vvvv ( 233078 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @02:38AM (#24463083)

    1) Open source companies don't invest in research and development and instead largely free-ride on Microsoft's patents and copyrights;

    I say Microsoft cannot sue. If they could, they would've already done it. I think if Microsoft sues, they are either afraid that they'll get sued for the free-ride they've been enjoying or they simply do not know who or how to sue. OSS isn't really making any money. OSS is not a company. Yes, MS could sue, say, Redhat, but Redhat is not equal to or represent in anyway OSS itself, and I doubt Redhat really does that much IP damage since most of their business is distributing what others have made and providing support - they are not burning CDs of Windows, if you will. Then sue GNOME or KDE? Can't. Sue kernel developers? How? For what? They would have to go project to project performing drive-by lawsuits which will all be tedious and expensive and very unrewarding.

    Like all annual reports, these are self-published documents designed to serve the appetites of shareholders. So anything written in it should be viewed with that in mind. It is not a tech document or a fact sheet. It is a spin sheet.

  • Re:News? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lanswitch ( 705539 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:16AM (#24463263)

    but do they invest enough money in preventing problems like [] ?

  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stmok ( 1331127 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:27AM (#24463311)

    This blog at c/net is just an indication that MS is in a more subtle tone, crapping themselves. They have NO effective response to open source. This has been true since their first public strike at Open Source. (Cancer, anyone?)

    The reason? The simple existence of open source is a contradiction to their very own fundamental business model.

    They rely on software licenses as their main source of income. They will do ANYTHING to protect that. We know this from their history. They're about control...Because to them, control is profit. (Examples: Protocols, document formats, de-facto standards, anti-piracy schemes like Activation and "Genuine Advantage", etc are all different aspects of control.)

    But Open Source turns that model upside down. Software licenses become $0. You don't control and "encourage" people to use your products. You let them do things on their own accord. You let your fellow man/woman choose. It puts more pressure on you to improve the technology.

    Companies who are based on this model now focus their resources on tools to give to the community. They let the community innovate while they polish up and improve for their commercially supported variants. (The cycle continues endlessly as they improve and give back).

    The result? Microsoft will find it harder and harder as Open Source improves. Granted, the closed source model gets you the money quicker, and its more polished for mainstream PC users, but you don't have genuine user loyalty.

    The fundamental weakness here is, if you can create an Open Source equivalent (features that are equal or better), closed source companies will be in serious trouble. Why would people pay if they can get it elsewhere for free? (legally).

    This is why they're so scared. They know the day will come. (On that day, be sure to note the share prices and the company's general behaviour).

    They can resort to petty distractions and occasional seasons of being nice to open source, but they know they cannot stop this stone wheel. It may grind slowly, but its coming. Consistent improvement, that's what its all about.

  • by Draek ( 916851 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:54AM (#24463423)

    Outside of that, nothing I guess.

    Wha? no, you're leaving out all the cool non-development-oriented Free Software created in UNIX such as X and TeX/LaTeX, which were already mature software before Linux was even born. And given that they still are, decades after their creation, still the "industry standard" in their respective markets, they certainly qualify as "major".

  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by init100 ( 915886 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:25AM (#24463567)

    Office and accompanying products (MS Project, visio,...) Why is everyone copying them?

    They aren't, they are copying WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:30AM (#24463591)

    Microsoft's innovations stand on their own.
    Their accomplishments with active directory, for instance, are wonderful. I'd like to see the open source community come up with anything like it.

    Despite the "Funny" mod, there is actually one very good point in there.

    Yes I know Active Directory is nothing more than a kerberized LDAP server with a fancy schema. But I also do not know of any F/OSS mechanism to automatically get all sorts of software packages, configuration and policy settings from an LDAP server. Given the number of Linux distributions that exist and the sometimes only slight resemblance between any two in terms of configuration, I suspect that such a product isn't really practical right now.

    There are things like cfengine but by and large all they provide is a toolkit which any half-competent sysadmin could re-implement with cron, shell scripts and SSH anyhow. AD, on the other hand, provides a pre-cooked list of configuration settings and it's just a matter of ticking the appropriate boxes.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:31AM (#24463601)

    IIRC it was Marc Andressen who first hit on this tactic for competing against Microsoft, when Netscape launched the Mozilla Foundation in 1998. It took a few years of fumbling around before that took fruit - probably because the Navigator/Communicator code was so badly written - but that turned out to be a masterstroke of business tactics.

    And look how well Netscape's doing today.

  • Re:News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blane.bramble ( 133160 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:33AM (#24463605) Homepage

    OK, just to point out a few fallacies:

    3 months uptime - that is not significant uptime at all. When you have a machine that has been humming along for a whole year without a reboot, then you can begin to talk about uptime. It helps if it's a machine running a real task as well (public facing web-server, that sort of thing).

    As for your mention of MS Project and Visio, you are aware that Microsoft didn't write them, they bought out the companies that did aren't you? So much for innovation there.

  • Re:News? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dword ( 735428 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:52AM (#24463711)
    Why won't they just fire all their employees and hire the guys who worked on Wine? That would be cheaper, faster and it would provide MUCH better results. They'll probably get even more income and less spendings...
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @05:03AM (#24463763) Journal

    Well, if you don't see any of it in products, I'm curious what you call R&D? 'Cause unless I'm mistaken, it means exactly that: Research and Development. It's the first step in the chain that then goes through Manufacturing and later Marketing.

    So normally even stuff like developing a new product (say, the XBox 360) does count as R&D. When Ford comes up with a new car, even if it's not revolutionary in any way or aspect? That's R&D. When NEC or Samsung come up with a new TFT, only this time with LED backlight? That's R&D. When Seagate announces a new line of HDDs, only this time with higher density (i.e., pretty much a smaller head and more precise mechanics)? That's R&D too.

    Technically even writing a program, any program, is R&D. (That's a mistake many PHB's do: thinking that programming is manufacturing and can be treated and measured like assembly line work.) Manufacturing is when you press the CDs and print the manuals and box it, later. So if none of MS's R&D made it into a product, they pretty much wouldn't have a product.

    So, yes, MS does invest in R&D. Now if you're trying to say that they never made some major scientific breakthrough, we can agree on that. But then most other companies don't, either. And I don't remember many fundamental breakthroughs from the F/OSS camp either. They too just tweak a little here and there and occasionally put lipstick on a pig... err... skins and transparencies on the same old program. Not condemning it in any way, but let's not pretend that the latest release of KDE or Firefox are comparable to discovering Penicilin or Quantum Mechanics. It's R&D anyway. And it's still R&D when MS does it.

    And yes, occasionally R&D does produce a dud like Vista. Well, that's the inherent risk of it. It happens to other companies too.

  • Re:Damn parasites (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <daengbo@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:18AM (#24464119) Homepage Journal
    I also like how Balmer claims that OSS builds on the interoperability dicuments that MS makes available at little or no charge, while completely ignoring the fact that these documents are practically brand new (giving very little time to have anything built on them) and beaten out of MS with a stick by the EU.
  • No, not really (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:32AM (#24464169) Journal

    1. Because it _is_ R&D. Manufacturing is where you already have a detailed blueprint of what cog/transistor/thingamabob goes where, and you just have to take it from bin A and stick it into hole B. And move on to do the same thing verbatim again. And again.

    In programming, the equivalent would be, I don't know, copying someone else's program by hand. It makes no sense. If you have to make the same program again, you just make a copy it, you don't go through the assembly line to make an identical one from scratch. Even bits and pieces, whatever you need again, you don't program verbatim again. You move it to some library class and call it from there. Or it's already included in the compiler or standard library.

    Programming isn't manufacturing and it makes no sense for it to work like manufacturing does. There is no mechanical taking a cog from here and placing it there, and knowing in advance exactly which cog, where, and how much time it takes. The whole exercise is, every single time, designing the whole mechanism in the first place.

    Just because the manufacturing step is missing, or trivial (e.g., just pressing the CDs), it doesn't mean you can move back one step and proclaim the development stage to be manufacturing. It's just about as silly as, if a river has no delta, moving back a step and proclaiming the whole actual river to be a delta.

    But that's what some incompetents do. They learned how to manage an assembly line, and then they re-christen a whole different thing an assembly line if they don't have one. Sorta, when your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

    2. It's not even the only one. There have been plenty of other cases where only one piece of something was built, and it was basically the prototype at the end of R&D. It may have been an actual manufactured product, but nevertheless the manufacturing step has been missing or never done, and the "product" was the prototype built by R&D.

    As an infamous case, and a botched project at that, take the Vasa. The design had been experimented with and tweaked right until it was put to sea. (And it sank.) If it were a software project, it would have been pulled out of the sea and "debugged" until it works. And it still would have been an R&D stage, rather than mechanical repetitive manufacturing.

    Or take the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There was no assembly line, and (unlike the Nagasaki one) not even testing. It was a prototype right out of R&D. The fact that it was actually used, doesn't make the whole process any less R&D.

    So basically again, it seems to me like just a case of some people not wrapping their heads around a different beast. They learned in school that if you have a product at the end it's manufacturing, and if that step is missing, they'll re-christen something else as manufacturing. Just so it fits their mental model.

    3. Well, that's still no excuse for incompetence. If an industry works differently enough from others, managing it must fit the reality of the industry, not try to warp the industry to fit the pre-existing mind-set.

    Basically, imagine if I came from agriculture, and started managing a car production plant. And went, "no, no, no, see you have to plough the land outside the factory and bury some cars as seeds." Wouldn't you think I'm retardedly incompetent and have no business managing a factory like it's a farm? Well, I'm thinking the same about those who manage R&D as if it were an assembly line.

  • Re:Damn parasites (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmac1492 ( 1036880 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:15AM (#24464355)
    So my question is whether they were still using a BSD derived stack at that time and if so whether anyone knows if the bug was fixed unknowingly or knowingly (eg, whether in refactoring the code they just happened to fix it OR whether they found a bug and kept quiet).

    So you're saying that in 1998, before the whole anti-trust thing, MS had the opportunity to cast fear in the hearts of people who use other systems with BSD stacks, uncertainty in the hearts of people maintain them, and doubt in the hearts of people who are in charge of buying them? And that's EXACTLY how the Slashdot story would have gone down.

    Also would the GPL have prevented BSD maintaining this bug for so long?

    No. The thing that "gets bugs fixed faster," for lack of a better term, is that anyone can see the code. BSD lets anyone see the code too. (For example, MS saw the code and used it in their operating systems.) The difference between BSD and GPL is that the GPL license applies to any project something GPL'ed is included in. (If it was GPL'ed, and MS used it, they would have had to distribute the source code to all of Windows. And if MS's networking libraries depend on code from their network stack being compiled into them, it would be impossible to write a networked closed source program for Windows.) From a technical standpoint, a BSD licesns and a GPL license are exactly the same. The differences between the two are political.

  • Re:News? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:08AM (#24464669)

    Why should Microsoft be scared? Free software zealots have been claiming it would displace commercial software since the 80s, and despite having been around for more than a decade and a half, the most popular open source OS, Linux, has a market share of less than 1 % on the desktop. On servers, Linux managed to more or less kill Unix (mainly because of the history of Unix and BSD, which made effectively cloning Unix relatively easy), but Windows already has a majority of the server market, and continues to gain market share. Looking at office suites, the situation is similar to desktop OSes, even with Sun having subsidised development for years. To put it bluntly, desktop Linux and are so bad that computer users won't even take them for free, and would rather pay for Windows and Office.

    It's blindingly obvious that closed source developers would be in trouble if open source developers could create equivalents, and this has been the case for as long as open source has existed. The key word there, however, is "if". In most cases, it really seems to be the case that open source developers simply can't offer any meaningful competition. This isn't altogether surprising either, and is perhaps why Microsoft appear to have calmed down with their reactions to open source: they initially panicked when they saw a threat they couldn't deal with using their usual low-price strategy, but later came to realise that for most of their businesses, open source wasn't going to produce credible competition. If Microsoft management have any sense, they're more worried about Google, and even Apple, than about open source, because Linux simply isn't good enough to be a threat, and that can be generalised to most open source. Mac OS is good enough, and Google probably have the resources to produce something that's also good enough.

  • by Hucko ( 998827 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:46AM (#24465047)
    Emacs had tabbed browsing in 88. Hey! don't knock it because it was just for local files... it amounts to the same thing...
  • Re:Ad Hominem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:54AM (#24465155) Homepage Journal

    I always thought bundling the browser wasn't even an issue. It was all really Netscape crying like a little baby because they couldn't compete. Back in those days, IE was truly superior, especially when Netscape 4 came out. I remember installing it for the first time and watching it literally take 5 minutes "updating the registry". The thing was a huge bloated mess. Of course, MS hadn't done anything in the way of usability on the thing until Firefox reminded them what innovation was all about. Today IE is losing market share because the alternative is truly superior.

    On the other hand, my wife got e-mailed a couple of attachments the other day. On was a .DOC file, and the other was .DOCX. What the hell is .DOCX? Why, it's a new XML format that only Office 2007 can open, of course. Microsoft is still up to their old ham-fisted tactics. I had to find some on-line conversion service to turn .DOCX into something readable because I don't have Office 2007 and you couldn't pay me to use Word (my wife has a student edition of Office 2003). It turns out it was just a simple letter. Thanks, Microsoft. Thanks for yet another in a long series of kicks to the groin, and more of my time wasted simply to serve the ego of that simian running your company.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @09:41AM (#24465773)

    I started this thread, and this one's me wearing my "serious" hat instead of my "snarky" hat...

    There are some areas where microsoft has really put the rest of the world to shame with really good software (design and architecture).

    One is remote desktop. Head and shoulders above everything else. I'm looking at you,

    The other is active directories. Yes, I know, it's just ldap, kerberos, DNS, dhcp, and special sauce. Even so, in one single action, microsoft managed to kerberize more systems, and make it easy to manage, than anything the rest of the world managed to with the 5 to 10 years head that comes from actually inventing and implementing the technology. In this case, the special sauce really is somewhat special. If only it weren't so brittle.

    I'm also something of a fan of their DNS management stuff. Rub fiberglass in my eyes if I have to look at another bind zone file.

    Oops, my snarky hat's getting cold.

    Oh, and for the original post -- the captcha was "delusional" -- nice.

  • Re:News? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:40AM (#24466639)
    Nice link.

    That page shows something really clearly: They have absolutely no focus whatsoever. While others might be working on advancing the state of the art in an area, MS is doing all kinds of shit in all kinds of areas. Great way to spend money and find intriguing scientific results.

    But contrast that to Apple's R&D, which is much more focused in products. Of course, the windows tax has enabled MS to pull that off, but these Billions of dollars are very likely to dry off in the coming years. They are simply not converting them into innovative products.

  • Re:News? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:56AM (#24466921)
    Yes, there is a difference between mission critical and general every day. True, it's not the end of the world if you have to reboot your machine often or that there will be serious consequences like loss of revenue, etc. That being said, it's rather indicative of how much MS software has lowered the standards of quality. When normal everyday people can get their commodity hardware running on community software to run a year without rebooting, it is not a celebration for Linux users. It's normal. Windows running for 3 months without a reboot and users think that's quality.
  • Re:News? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:36AM (#24467523)

    Which subject are we talking about Windows servers or Windows desktops? Windows servers in production can stay up for long periods of time without reboots because that's the crux of production. You need to keep them up. There are serious consequences for businesses if they are not. There is infrastructure to make sure that they are up like redundant power supplies, generators. This is true for Linux and Unix. To that end, their hardware is usually better.

    When you talk about Windows desktops (which use a different codebase), the uptime is poor compared to Linux desktops. My point was that on commodity, consumer hardware you can keep a Linux desktop up a lot longer than on Windows desktop using the same hardware.

  • Re:News? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knuckles ( 8964 ) <> on Monday August 04, 2008 @02:51PM (#24470717)

    Well yeah, but do you think that MS invested 7 billion to have nothing but cute research results that don't make any money at all? And don't you agree that despite much exciting research their actual products aren't all that hot? I think that justifies the AC's cry, "$7,000,000,000??? What a monumental waste of money!"

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