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Visio to be bought by Microsoft 196

terrified wrote to to us with the official word that Visio has been purchased by Microsoft. Visio makes some incredible network diagramming and technical drawing software and is used extensively worldwide. The deal was a 1.3$US billion dollar stock swap between the two companies.
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Visio to be bought by Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    One less thing to worry, if I am correct, there isn't another VISIO product out there. 3 million existing users for US$200 each ... not a bad buy.

    Besides, to combat SUNW recent buy for StarOffice, they have to provide someting better than crap. Integrating VISIO into Office and bump the price tag for $20 each box, MSFT gets more revenue from Office business, and there customers are more happy, and they give their competitor a head start.

    If you know any other company that produce the same sort of tools, let everyone know and be remeber to invest in it. SUNW is going to buy it.
  • Microsoft does or has had control in these areas. They just recentyl sold soft|image, the permier 3d modeler for video production which they had control over for the past couple year. Microsoft Publisher, whihc is on everyones desktop due to office2000 is quickly becoming a competitor for pagemaker. Image Composer, or whatever they're calling it today started as a basic image editor for frontpage but has grown into a photoshop like program. I could do all of my daily tasks using nothing but microsoft products if I chose to. There isn't a single common task that can't be done, or written, using a microsoft product.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I love all these comments that are to the effect "Well I thought it was a really good piece of software, guess I can't use it anymore because I hate Microsoft so much that I can't bring myself to use one of their products because I might actually like it, or even think that (gasp!) Microsoft makes something good" gimme a break. You're all acting like a bunch of five year olds. Eww, I'm not gonna use this cause Billy made it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    visio has been in bed w/ MS forever.
    They have used OLE/OCX/COM stuff as
    soon as it came out and was a reference customer
    in all the developer PR stuff.

    I personally think Rational software is next
    target for MS. They are in bed w/ them too,
    and more garbage to add to MSDEV to jack up
    the price. Can you say "Universal Enterprise
    Edition" or some crap like that
  • Visio make a useful program, that integrates well with office. They stick with the newest MS trends (I refuse to call them innovations) and work with MS. They were practically in MS's pocket for years before being bought out.

    This is probably a good thing for users of office and Visio, integration is bound to become tighter, but its bad news for those who want Visio for Linux.

    A decent vector graphics program is pretty much the only non-games thing I really miss in Linux

    Roll on Dia and/or CorelDraw/Linux
  • They can't. Only a small fraction of Red Hat stock was sold in the IPO.
  • ...then its pretty clear that Microfot is trying to extend its Monopoly through aquisition which isn't legal.

    Actually, unless it can be shown that they're trying to extend their monopoly to prevent others from entering the market, it's perfectly legal. Let's remember, having a monopoly is not illegal in the U.S. Using it to stifle competition is, which is basically what the DOJ is charging Microsoft with.

  • The thing to keep in mind here is that Microsoft doesn't currently have any major products in the same space that Visio occupies. Since they are potentially only trying to expand their market, there's no real problem.

    Now, if Microsoft had the 2nd most popular business diagramming package and tried to buy Visio, you'd have a whole different ballgame. Here's where the fact that they have a monopoly in one area can prevent them from doing things in another. This is exactly why they weren't allowed to purchase Intuit; it was seen as an attempt to eliminate competition in an area where they had tried (and failed) to gain a majority marketshare.

  • Okay, I see where you're coming from. BIG picture ;). FWIW, I think you're dead on the money.

    Problem is, it would be a really hard sell to gov't regulators. There is a long history of these types of market consolidations, and invariably the gov't stays out of it unless it gets ridiculous. After all, it's fairly easy to show that these things benefit the consumer short term, and difficult to show the long term damage.

    Pan Am back in the early part of the century, and RCA in about the same time frame, are two excellent examples of times the gov't stayed hands off when they probably should have gotten involved. While both of these companies 'got theirs' in the end, they did a very good job of stomping competition flat (and all the innovations that come with it) for several decades first.

    As far as the legality goes, if Microsoft's intent in buying Visio is to leverage (blech; hate that word) the Windows monopoly in order to gain the same dominance in the productivity market that they have in the 'office suite' market (which, as you pointed out, they basically created for the purpose), then yes, that's illegal. Again, though, the legality is basically defined by intent. Keeping in mind that most people don't believe that giving away IE and integrating it into Windows was done to kill Netscape, I have little hope that anyone's going to do anything about it.

    The whole thing's kind of depressing, actually.

  • by Analog ( 564 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @12:27AM (#1681075)
    Okay, so probably there will never come a Linux port of this software now. Are there any alternatives?

    Dia [lysator.liu.se] is a program that is quite similar. It doesn't have all the functionality of Visio (yet), but it's early days. Still, I've heard several people swear by it. Check it out.

  • by phil reed ( 626 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @12:14AM (#1681076) Homepage
    ...that Visio would get a dancing paper clip?


    ...phil
  • Now I'm going to have to see a Microsoft building
    on the way to work. that bites.

  • by jabbo ( 860 )
    A friend asked me whether this was good or bad. I wasn't really sure -- maybe Microsoft wants to roll it into Office or Visual Whatever or something, maybe they'll fuck it up, who knows.

    But one thing is for sure. Dia, for any Unix that can build GTK+, is a great tool and in combination with LyX can produce truly professional results (embedding the dia .eps output into typeset LaTeX for that FrameMaker look) for free with little hassle. The architecture is meant to allow Visio-like plugins for transforming SQL to ER diagrams and vice versa, although AFAIK no one has implemented it (I started to look into it and got distracted).

    Check it out:

    Dia, a diagram creation program [lysator.liu.se]



  • MS wasn't allowed to buy Intuit because they have a product, MS Money, which is a direct competitor to Intuit's main product, Quicken. That would be in direct violation of anti-trust laws.

    In this case, I am not aware of an MS product which is in direct competition (at least on the same level) with Visio (then again, I'm not that current on the MS product line, either).

    Aleks
  • How much longer will it be before every company that puts out a good product is snapped up by Microsoft? I agree that this is a good move for Microsoft, but I can't help but wonder if there will be only two types of companies supporting the home PC market; those that are MS, and those that are killing themselves trying to compete with MS. Diversity of applications has alway been the strong suit of Windows and DOS. If this keeps up, it might weaken Microsofts dominance as companies move to a less hostile environment. (One can hope. :) )
  • If you log in, you can remove articles from certain posters
    However, I fail to see why this is an issue. After all, it IS technology based, and it does have an affect on the computing industry as a whole.
    But I'm afraid you're just a TROLL.
  • by Matthew Kirkwood ( 1344 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @12:16AM (#1681083)
    I always rather liked Visio, even though they were a bit too keen on Microsoft "technologies".

    I guess we now have all the more incentive to hack on Dia [lysator.liu.se], then.

    Matthew.

  • Don't forget, Microsoft can also use this as a path to get nice Big-Brother features onto the Macintosh platform, like GUIDs, and NSAKeys, and software that won't function if you move the folder it's in to another folder.

    Also, another flanking maneuver on Java, by moving MSJava (IE's JVM) to the Mac platform.

    I just don't understand why IE Mac doesn't do CaptiveX yet. Come on MS! We need another dozen or so cryptically named libraries of fragile code in our extensions folder!

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • naw. Microsoft will just ressurect Xenix.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Do you live in Redmond or the surrounding area? If you did you would soon realize how easy it is to pick out MS snots or their cohorts. Their overinflated egos and frat-boy mentality make them easy targets.

  • I visited Visio in Seattle for a developer course about a year ago, and quite frankly, I'm not surprised that they would be bought by Microsoft, given the MS-heavy atmosphere there.

    The acquisition of Visio should also strike fear into the hearts of Autodesk Inc, considering that they will now face direct competition from MS in the 3D cad market via Visio's IntelliCAD.

  • It's licensed per machine, with no option for site licensing or concurrent use from a server. That means that when people mail us round visio attachments, I can't see them, 'coz my department doesn't have the budget to put Visio on everyone's desk. A concurrent use license would be ideal, because it's not something we all use all the time...
  • Could it be that MS purchased Visio for the same reason they created Office?

    Because there is too much competition in the current market. Now if you want Visio, you get MS Office. You can't get Visio for a reasonable price outside of Office, nor are there any competing products available outside of the MS Office solution.

    ...Just like years ago it was best to pick up that silly Word program with that copy of Excel. Hey, it's not Wordperfect, but it uses that new-fangled MS GUI... and 1-2-3 just won't run anymore.

    On the upside, maybe Sun will throw support into DIA :-)

  • It's all about the money.
  • Interestingly enough, within the past two years, Visio acquired InfoModelers. InfoModelers chief product was InfoModeler, a data diagramming tool that used Object Role Modeling, a relatively obscure diagramming notation. The InfoModeler technology was integrated into Visio Enterprise last year

    Anyway, InfoModelers was once part of Asymetrix, and we all know who put a lot of money into Asymetrix - Paul Allen!

    So, InfoModeler starts at Asymetrix, leaves home, gets bought by Visio and is now part of Microsoft. Paul Allen is a genius!
  • I'd always hoped that DigiDesign would bring thier killer music tools to Linux, but I never hear hide nor hair of anything except the big NT push they are doing. This explains the whole thing...

    if ((DigiDesign == Avid)&&(Avid == Microsoft))
    {
    $linuxProTools = FALSE;
    $corruptedMusicData = TRUE;
    }

    That sucks. But thanks for the info.

  • It would also be illegal due to licensing agreements and contractual obligations Microsoft maintains with SCO.
  • "You know, for years, I couldn't quite figure out why Microsoft ported Office and IE to the Mac platform, and to be honest, it's a bit puzzling to me still." Three reasons: profit, market share & mind share. MS Office for Mac is a big revenue source paying back far more then it costs to develop & support. Furthermore remember that products like Word were originally built to be cross-platform; indeed they used to be built off of the same interpreted-code base. Unfortunately this resulted in a butt-ugly/slow/awkward Mac Word 5 so they may have diverged for Mac Word 98 (which interestingly is way nicer then PC Word 97 and even PC Word 2000.) MS Office for the Mac also allows MS to compete in the mixed Wintel/Mac marketplace. Lots of companies/schools/research organizations/etc. have Macs in place. If MS couldn't support them then they might have gone with (horrors) WordPerfect, or later, Corel Office. Thus MS was willing to go to bat with decent Mac versions to keep its competition from getting a toehold anywhere. Finally, why IE and OE? Market share and mind share. If MS sells Office for the Mac then it needs to approximate the web-abilities it offers on the PC platform. This is easiest achieved by using the same techniques it uses on the PC side - a closely tied web-browser and mail client. This of course also has the side effect of blunting Netscape's market penetration (a plus in MS's playbook.) Then there's the content-creator issue: A disproportionate amount of web and other high-visibility material is prepared on Macs. If MS couldn't produce a credible browser and such then those folks would insist on also developing for the browsers they use - Netscape. By providing an MS alternative it weakens any cross-browser development argument and can seduce intra-net managers and such with a standardised all-MS environment. -- Michael
  • "You know, for years, I couldn't quite figure out why Microsoft ported Office and IE to the Mac platform, and to be honest, it's a bit puzzling to me still."

    Three reasons: profit, market share & mind share.

    MS Office for Mac is a big revenue source paying back far more then it costs to develop & support. Furthermore remember that products like Word were originally built to be cross-platform; indeed they used to be built off of the same interpreted-code base. Unfortunately this resulted in a butt-ugly/slow/awkward Mac Word 5 so they may have diverged for Mac Word 98 (which interestingly is way nicer then PC Word 97 and even PC Word 2000.)

    MS Office for the Mac also allows MS to compete in the mixed Wintel/Mac marketplace. Lots of companies/schools/research organizations/etc. have Macs in place. If MS couldn't support them then they might have gone with (horrors) WordPerfect, or later, Corel Office. Thus MS was willing to go to bat with decent Mac versions to keep its competition from getting a toehold anywhere.

    Finally, why IE and OE? Market share and mind share. If MS sells Office for the Mac then it needs to approximate the web-abilities it offers on the PC platform. This is easiest achieved by using the same techniques it uses on the PC side - a closely tied web-browser and mail client. This of course also has the side effect of blunting Netscape's market penetration (a plus in MS's playbook.) Then there's the content-creator issue: A disproportionate amount of web and other high-visibility material is prepared on Macs. If MS couldn't produce a credible browser and such then those folks would insist on also developing for the browsers they use - Netscape. By providing an MS alternative it weakens any cross-browser development argument and can seduce intra-net managers and such with a standardised all-MS environment.

    -- Michael

  • I always rather liked Visio, even though they were a bit too keen on Microsoft "technologies".

    Yes, Visio have consistently been the most pro-Microsoft of the major software companies:

    Gates: Windows 98 delay would be a disaster [zdnet.com]: In addition to Gates, speakers included Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer, CompUSA Inc. President and CEO Jim Halpin, Storm Technology Inc. President and CEO Bill Krause, Visio Corp. Chief Technology Officer Ted Johnson and N. Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard University economics professor. Most of them pounded home the theme that if the government were to stop Microsoft from shipping Windows 98 on June 25, it would have significant impact on consumers and the U.S. economy.
  • They own Avid, which makes SoftImage. They yanked all of their logos off of Avid's web site a while ago when they realized how badly it was hurting Avid's image. But they are still the second largest shareholder in Avid.

    Microsoft *is* into 3D rendering.
  • That's putting it mildly.

    When I think of companies that are in bed with Microsoft, three immediately come to mind: Symantec, Visio, and Rational. All three have been widely quoted as supporters of MS in the trial and before.

    Symantec's former CEO Gordon Eubanks was mostly discredited while testifying for them when it was revealed that MS was feeding him the lines to say to secure favorable deals for the company.

    Ted Johnson from Visio has always jumped at the bit when the press wanted a quote about how wonderful it was that Microsoft's monopoly was creating standards in the industry. Which makes sense, because now Visio will be the standard Office diagramming tool, so I guess he's not a hypocrite!. Visio is also one of the founding members of the Association for Competitive Technology [competitiv...nology.org], an industry group formed to support MS in the trial that has widely been rumored to be a shadow group funded and directed by MS.

    It really calls into question the motives of those companies that claim to be independently supporting MS in the media. And I'd hardly be surprised if Symantec or Rational weren't acquired in the future.

    On the upside, everytime MS does this they create a whole new industry of enemies.
  • Visio is a founding member of an effort to have AutoCAD open its DWG standard (see Open DWG [opendwg.org]). I wonder what will happen now.

    As has been noted by several /.ers, it was reported that Visio was going to release its code for IntelliCAD 2000. See this article [upfrontezine.com] from upfront.eZine. The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC) supposedly will have a website up and running (www.intellicad.org) soon, but now, who knows?

    Finally, there is an OpenCAD effort that can be found here [opencad.org].
  • What? MS has sold stuff to Rational not the other way around. Until a little while ago MS owned Visual Test (until 4.0a I believe) now they have sold it to Rational and Rational owns it. I love VT, it's a great product and concept, doesn't matter who makes it IMO. If anything I would expect MS to sell more stuff they don't really need to Rational to get it out of the company and drop overhead. This is kind of like the dumping of SoftImage a while ago. It's not the core business so they have no reason to have it. Visio on the other hand IS core business. It jives well with Office and heck it already works with it pretty well anyways. I'll be pleased to see this, as much as stability is an issue the Office apps still work together REALLY well. I look forward to Visio working even better with it. - Chokai
  • You hit the nail on the head. They unloaded the Icad turkey in perperation for the acquisition. It was a money drain that had nothing to do with their core business. The icad champions in the orginazation are gone or demoted.

    It will be very intereesting to see what happens with ITC. My twitching knee tells me the FTC will have them sell all Icad stuff off, or at least cut the ITC loose. Or complete the burial and cover the corpse with loam.

    And remember, ITC is to open source what Sun's community source is to GPL. You pay to belong and they still hold the copyright.

    The more interesting piece is the OpenDWG Alliance. Will it have a life of its own? What will MS/Visio's role be going forward. Very, very interesting.

  • No, you're not far off.

    My first experience with Visio was with a sample version that was shipped on a Microsoft marketing floppy (extoling the virtues of upgrading to Windows for Workgroups) around, I think, 1992. The Visio app was limited to single page drawings but good enough that I used it for about four years. It, along with the copy of Tetrahex, were the only worthwhile things on the floppy. In those days, even the full version of Visio wasn't much more than a simple flowchart/org chart/block diagram/floor plan drawing tool.

    Visio was trying to become more ``high-end'' and then they decided to buy a network diagramming package, whose name escapes me at the moment, from Microsystems Engineering Corp. (the people who wrote the MASS-11 word processor for the PDP-11s). It was considered the Cadillac of network drawing packages. We used this package at a large bank that I used to work for and it was used, reportedly, by some of the larger telecomm firms to diagram their networks (our's was global and damned complicated). The number of images for network equipment was incredible and updates came out whenever a vendor introduced new hardware. Until they bought MEC's software, when using Visio you were more often than not just creating block diagrams with labels; the included``icons'' were awfully generic and, generally, crappy-looking. Personally, I find the simple block diagrams entirely satisfactory but some people like the fancier drawings (they're just too ``busy'' for my taste and I always end up writing on them which would render the fancier drawings almost unreadable).

    Visio was getting to be a darned BIG package as of a couple of years ago (last time I installed a version of it). If Visio is going to become part of Office, um, how many CDs will the entire Office package ship on? How much disk space you need? Will Macrosoft begin shipping a 2GB hard disk and cable along with the Office suite?

  • Nor was web publishing when they bought Vermeer to get Frontpage...

    This seems to be standard modus operandi for Micros~1: Instead of creating technology they buy the companies that have the technology they want.
  • by BJH ( 11355 )

    What benefits would this bring Micro$oft? Not exqctly their core business, is it...

  • Okay, so probably there will never come a Linux port of this software now. Are there any alternatives?

  • Wow... Dia looks good. I'll give it a whirr. I guess I found my alternative.

    Heck, I might mess around with the code a bit. Lessee wat happens...
  • Don't you recognize sarcasm when you see it?

    Look closely for the hidden tags :-)
  • the hidden <sarcasm> tags I mean :-P
  • I already saw someone else mention Dia. I'm checking it out as we speak. Dia looks okay to me. If I can just map out my network with it, I'm content. Thanks anyway
  • I guess this is what Gates meant when he said
    "Microsoft must be free to innovate". :-)
  • I thought MacIE did ActiveX (it certainly does OLE with Office) -- only that since ActiveX is binary, the objects need to be mac-specific or -urk- ActiveX coded in Java.

    (This knowledge comes from hitting a Microsoft web page long ago on my IIfx and watching IE3 unexpectedly quit.)
  • Most people use the way MS demands oems to install MS or nothing as an example of their supposed monopoly, but these companies signed those contracts willingly. They want the most money possible and most of the people buying computers want Windows. These are the same people who bought pet rocks and tamogotchis. No one needs to force them to buy useless shit, they'll do it themselves.

    These people did not sign the contracts willingly. Read the Trial Transcripts. These people signed the contracts because if they didn't Microsoft would gouge them into bankruptcy.

    Yes, I agree that anybody can write there own software and use it, but that's not what most people want to do. Most people want to buy software that others have written, that's why there is a market. But if they can't buy the software because MS has told resellers that they can't get licenses for Windows unless they bundle X with it, then that's a monopoly.

    Yes, we shouldn't be dependant on Windows. But it happened. There used to be choice of DOS vendors. But Microsoft was able to kill that off with Windows because noone had an OS that ran Windows apps. Oh, except for IBM, and Microsoft forced IBM to eitehr not preload OS/2 or lose the deal to license Windows. There was a complacency in the market at that time which let MS get away with these "business" practices while we weren't watching. And this is what we end up with.

    It must never happen that we fail to be alert to Microsoft's "business" practices. We must be vigilant. Microsoft *will* do it again. But this time let's be ready. Windows DNA is just around the corner...

    -Brent
    --
  • Given how poorly the DOJ brought out the real issues that should have been used against Microsoft, I can understand why Microsoft seems to feel so little threat from them.

    The DoJ actually brought out the real issues very well. But remember 2 things. The issues that the trial dealt with were limited because the Judge didn't want the trial to go on forever. So the DoJ had to leave out the petty issues. The other thing is that it is Microsoft who's largely the only one (Except for the "microsoft" press) that's claiming that the DoJ did a poor job bringing out the real issues. There'd better not be any surprise there :-)

    This isn't like a football game where the winning time congratulates the loser for the great game they played. Microsoft is the loser and they only "victory" they'll get is to try to make the winner look bad.

    Microsoft's defense was *really* bad. In fact, the only defense that Microsoft really had was PR. I think they were counting on the courts really not being able to do enough even if they lost to hurt them. Therefore, they didn't need to bother defending themselves in court. When they lose, a bunch of PR, and Jesse Berst's help will "fix" it all up with their customers. They'll be the winner. The verdict against them will be explained as "the judge just didn't understand the case". And Microsoft will always be right.

    -Brent
    --
  • The article stated that Microsoft bought Visio as part of their Internet strategy. Huh? Sometimes I wish those reporters would spend a little bit of time to understand what they are writing.

    Ok, here is my take. Microsoft bought Visio for its leverage into the graphics market. Corel is a sore spot for Microsoft. They want to keep Corel on life support so that there appears to be competition. But with Visio Microsoft is building a proper graphics package. Look at what Office is today.

    It means that for Sun to compete, it must include other features as well. This is going to be tough for them.
  • The effect that Microsoft's purchase has on a company which has previously voiced pro-Open Source ideas is certianly relevant to consideration for the majority of the /. community.
  • Perhaps if there is interest, we should sponsor a project request on CoSource and see if we can get some funding for an OpenSource replacement.
    • Encarta isn't being given away with every box of cereal.
      • The product in question isn't an even an encyclopedia, but something called Encarta Virtual Globe.
      • To get the Virtual Globe product for free, you have to sign up for a month of MSN access.
      • So basically, it's just like AOL's offer to get a free trial month of their service, except that instead of waiving the cost of the free month, they're sending you a software product.
    • As to your ranting about "GIVING AWAY PRODUCTS AND HOPEFULLY KILLING LINUX BY SHUTTING NETSCAPE OUT OF THE MARKET":
      • Microsoft doesn't have a browser for Linux.
      • Netscape for Linux is free, as will be Mozilla.
      • Please tell me again how they can shut Netscape out of a market in which Microsoft itself doesn't even have a presence -- and when, even if they did have a presence, couldn't make it any cheaper than Netscape/Mozilla unless they actually started paying Linux users to use it? Oh yeah, and how will this kill Linux?
      • Even if, as you predict, Netscape/AOL decided to yank the Netscape browser from the market, it doesn't change the fact that Mozilla (with source code) will probably be released within the next 12 months. If, after pulling out, Netscape/AOL decides to close up their flavor of an Open Source license (which still wouldn't have any effect on the code which has already been written), you would only have Netscape/AOL to blame for that decision, not Microsoft. If people then decided to quit updating Mozilla, you would only have the Open Source community to blame, not Microsoft.
    • And now we turn to your statement about some ZDnet editor joking two years ago about Microsoft giving away IE in cereal boxes.
      • That statement sounds a little hard to believe considering that over two years ago Netscape announced their "Netscape Everywhere" initiative, whereby they planned to use an AOL-like "carpet-bombing" (Netscape's words, not mine) to deploy 100 million browsers in the following 12 months.
      • So Microsoft (according to you) is planning to stick their browser in boxes of cereal, while Netscape had been planning to stick their browser in books and magazines. Where were you and your ranting back then?
    • I think you've got some "issues" that you need to deal with, because it seems like your virulence is causing your perception of reality to greatly differ from the actuality of the situation. And I'm not talking about your opinions and predictions of what will happen, I'm talking about simple facts, known quantities, that your mind has distorted.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Coincidentally, I've been beating my head against a wall this morning due to Visio crashing when I try to edit an object embedded in MS Word. Of course, the crash corrupts the object and I loose the work... (I know, don't use Word. Not my choice, unfortunately!)
  • ...except that Microsoft just purchased Visio. Oops.
    MS was, at one point, trying to push their own image editing software (free with your purchase of FrontPage!), but it was so annoying to use that it never took off.
  • (this is admittedly a bit off-topic)

    MS ported Office and IE to the MAC 'cause they own part of Apple.

    This whole "M$ owns part of Apple" concept is blown out of proportion. _I_ own part of Apple too, and even have more say than MS does with respect to voting in stockholder meetings etc. My point here is that M$ is a non-voting shareholder, not some nefarious big brother pulling Steve Job's strings.

    M$ has a Mac version of office becuase:
    1. There is a market for it.
    2. They need to look like they're playing nice for anti-trust reasons.
    3. They get good GUI insights for Windows by working closely with Apple.
    (Remember, Excel, PowerPoint and the GUI version of Word were all Mac apps before they came to the Windows platform. They even hired an early Mac GUI whiz, Steve Capps, back in the mid 90's)
    As far as M$ purchasing Visio, they did it because for reasons we are all familiar with:
    They can't innovate internally, and therefore need to purchase innovation.


    Uh oh, am I standing on a soapbox?
    -t
  • MS ported Office and IE to the MAC 'cause they own part of Apple. Not a hard motive to figure out.
  • What about gtk-- (gtk+ C++ wrapper) as an option for C++ development in a Gnomish environment? I haven't tried it yet, as I am just as comfortable using straight C, but it seems like something worth looking into if you want to use C++.

  • If Microsoft decides they want to play in the *nix world, its more likely that Microsoft would just buy out Novell, AT&T and the Micheal's shares of SCO, which would give them pretty close to a controlling interest in SCO, if not outright majority ownership. They could then do whatever they wanted when it came to attempts at co-opting the *nix market. Or they could just try to screw around with the licenses of the commercial *nixes. Or they could kill/maim the Monterey project (64 bit UNIX for IA-64). Or they could do all of the above.

  • Microsoft obviously believes that they will either win the current case, or that if they lose the case, the penalty will be negligible, or that they can afford to fight another case should one come up (or when one does).

    Given how poorly the DOJ brought out the real issues that should have been used against Microsoft, I can understand why Microsoft seems to feel so little threat from them.

  • I wasn't suggesting that SCO would be a big Linux competitor (because I agree with you there -- I don't think there is any good reason why a home or most small business users would choose SCO over Linux anymore). I merely think that if Microsoft decided they wanted to get out from under contractual obligations to SCO in regards to their entry into the *nix market, they could easily afford to just buy SCO out and make it a non-issue.

  • Nah, its not really flamebait (at least it is put politely and coherently). I think there is room for rational discussion, including disagreements. What we don't need are the "'huh-huh... **** sucks... huh-huh huh-huh' 'heh-heh, yea, and it sucks too. heh-heh-heh'" type of comments.

    I am not really that familiar with QT, and am only familar with KDE from the end-user standpoint so I can't say for sure, but would it be possible to make a more QT/KDE like C++ binding that worked with GTK+ as the underlying widget set? If not, maybe you can come up with your own C++ bindings for GTK+ that you were more comfortable with than GTK--? Maybe you could just suggest some improvements to the GTK-- bindings?

    If the QT/KDE and GTK+/Gnome communities are going to start working together, whatever we can do to facilitate compatibility and communication between us is a good thing, IMO.

  • Cool! Score one for the spirit of cooperation! You sound like someone who could really provide some positive feedback to the GTK+ and GTK-- developers, so please make sure you send back any ideas/patches/comments you have to them. I am hoping that they will take advantage of this if you do.

  • The DoJ actually brought out the real issues very well.

    Actually, I think that the issues the DoJ brought out were presented pretty well, I just think that they spent too much time talking about browsers and didn't bring up or didn't spend enough time on some other things (OS license agreements, databases, etc) that were as, or more important.

    The other thing is that it is Microsoft who's largely the only one (Except for the "microsoft" press) that's claiming that the DoJ did a poor job bringing out the real issues.

    Well, it looks more to me like Microsoft (and their apologists) is/are claiming that there either are no issues to be brought up or that the issues that were brought up aren't important (and that isn't what I was saying -- I just believe a lot of important issues didn't get covered). The last thing Microsoft would want to say is that there were relevant complaints against them that weren't brought up.

    Microsoft's defense was *really* bad.

    Here you are absolutely correct. I'd be really upset if I was paying what Microsoft was for legal fees and I got such poor defense. Microsoft seriously bungled things and seemed ill-prepared, which they should not have given their resources. I would tend to concur that Microsoft must not have taken this whole case very seriously. Unfortunately, I think that they may be justified in this because I suspect that the judgement against them will lack enough teeth to make any real difference at this late date.

    That means that those of us that would oppose Microsoft (or at least want to see them kept in check to a certain degree) must remain vigilant.

  • If I get some free time, I will be working on a companion library to GTK that does all the non-gui support tasks like threads and sockets in a portable, OO way.

    Cool. There are already a few C++ wrappers around POSIX threads and Berkeley Sockets which you might be able to use as a starting point. If you can build on something else, then all you have to do is make it fit within the GTK+/Gnome architecture.

  • Safeway Systems

    I think that you mean Softway Systems. While this sort of product (Cygwin32, MKS Toolkit, etc) probably make NT more palatable for some *nix orriented power users as a desktop OS, I don't see it as doing too much to help make NT a more viable enterprise solution in the server room. Call me crazy, but adding more stuff (especially from a 3rd party) to an already bloated environment doesn't seem like a good way to reduce bloat or improve stability. Those are two of the main things that Microsoft is getting beat up on in the server world.

    I'm not so sure that running as a separate subsystem instead of on top of Win32 is necessarily that great a thing (at least not if its exclusively so), as that is one of the great failings of the built-in POSIX subsystem of NT (not being able to mix and match *nix and Windows stuff easily). Licensing the NT source is kinda a dangerous thing for a small company like Softway. They should closely at what has happened to companies like Citrix and Bristol who based their future on such agreements.


  • Man I am so damm pissed about that and I can't just write what I feel about it. It just sucks. I really did feel Visio was a pretty good reason to use Windoze cause it was a really nice and useful piece of software. And it does suck because Microsoft strategy with companies that made more succesful software than theirs is:

    1) Beat them with a new product, add a really big, impressive publicity campaign based on crappy vaporware, force hardware manufactures to bundle the software and all this using unethical business tactics.

    2) If that did not made it, buy the company and then close it down. Im not shure but I think that's what happened with Intuit after MS Money lost the battle against their software, even when they gave it away free.That's they way it has been and I am sorry to predict that will be what will happen to Visio.

    I am really starting to believe Bill Gates is the Antichrist or at least something alike. If I recall, his "mission in life" is "..to put a computer in every home..", but with an attitude like that, I think he should add "..with really bad and crappy software that I think you deserve, so you suffer everytime you want to do your job, your homework, to have a little fun playing a game, to find something on the net, everytime my software and I will be there to make shure you suffer and to make shure you don't do what you have to do in time and in a easy way. We wont let you" . He is truly a prophet from hell.

    BILL PLEASE IF YOU ARE READING BY ANY CHANCE THIS, STOP DOING THAT!, LEAVE THE INDUSTRY ALONE!!, ENOUGH DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE!!! HOW MANY MORE MONEY DO YOU NEED!!! RETIRE!!!! OK WE GET IT, YOU WON !! GO HAVE FUN, TAKE A PERMANENT VACATION AND WE'LL PROMISE WE WILL STOP TROWING PIES TO YOUR FACE!!!!
  • Hey, If had a scanned picture of some Nestlé Quik (you know, that powder you put on milk so it taste like chocolate) boxes sold in México with a "bundled" MS Internet Explorer CD I think you'll reconsider that comment.
  • Look up DIA on www.freshmeat.net.

    It was at 0.4 last I saw, or something... hope the guy's still working on it, it was really slick 6 months ago!

    mindslip
  • Having used both QT and GTK--, my opinion is that I like GTK-- better, mainly because I also code in C for smaller apps, and I want a consistant widget set. (QT/C bindings were just to prove it can be done, they suck to actually use -- I have never seen a real app developed with them). The big advantage for QT is that it does a *LOT* more, stuff like socket objects, and various things you would not strictly consider to be part of a widget set. If I get some free time, I will be working on a companion library to GTK that does all the non-gui support tasks like threads and sockets in a portable, OO way.
  • I hate to tell you this, but at least one of Visio's VPs came FROM Micro$oft.
    They've been talking about this for over 2 years.

    AND Visio has been (at least since version 3) one of the few companies that M$ "gives their notes to". WHY DO YOU THINK THE THING WAS SO BLOODY STABLE?

    As for Bloat, sure, there's bound to be some. But until people like my mom can run Linux (read: needs a much lower learning curve), M$ is the way of the world. Sorry.

    -Markvs

    ...If the world put its energies into actual work instead of complaining, think of where we'd be. :-)
  • I suppose our chances of having Visio ported to Linux have just decreased to about zero. Not that it was something I was particularly waiting for, but it would have been nice. Instead it's going to get integrated into Office 2002 ProfessionalDeveloperNonsense addition. Bleah.
  • > CAD/CAM

    The buy of Visio just gave them IntelliCAD, a pretty comprehensive clone of AutoCAD. (Were I AutoDesk, I'd be nervous. I suppose AutoDesk could try to revive its Unix version, but they can kiss goodbye to kilobuck-per-seat licensing).
  • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @01:03AM (#1681141) Homepage
    Most folks are commenting on the obvious connection with Visio's eponymous diagramming package, which does make a nice (for MS) addition to their Office suite, a partial countermove to Sun's making StarOffice gratis. (Does StarOffice include anything Visio-like?)

    However, on a second front, Visio also owns a CAD software package (IntelliCAD?) that is fully AutoCAD compatible, right down to running AutoLisp macros, reading/writing the latest DXF files, etc.
    (The history goes back a bit - SoftDesk originally wrote the ACAD clone so AutoDesk bought them out, but DOJ required them to spin off the ACAD-like software (anti-monopoly move) which they sold to an obscure Australian company that Visio later bought. Confused yet?)

    In addition to an add-on for Office, and ensuring that Visio never gets ported to Linux, MS now owns a package that can (and will, count on it) compete with AutoCAD. (Not that AutoCAD, at a thousand dollars or so per seat, couldn't use some competition - but it already had that without MS buying the Visio company.) It also ensures that IntelliCAD (am I getting the right package name?) is never ported to Linux.

    This is a very clever strategic move for Microsoft, equivalent to capturing a couple of key pieces in shogi (unlike chess, in shogi you can place captured pieces on the board as your own).

    So, what open/free CAD packages are in development out there? And what visio-like diagramming packages? Time to get coding....
  • It would give them a professional drawing package to include (or offer as an add-on) to "enterprise" or "professional" versions of Office.

    I've used Visio on NT, and it already integrates nicely with Office apps via OLE/COM/whatever-the-hell-they're-calling-it-this- week. So it should be fairly easy for Microsoft to work it in under the Office umbrella.

  • Microsoft strikes again.. "Visio is slated to be a division within Microsoft's Business Productivity Group." Sounds like they're going to shovel it in with Office Pro or something.. I imagine that companies that use both products will be happy, until Microsoft manages to screw it up. What's next? Autodesk [autodesk.com]? Could happen.
  • A long, long time ago, MS put an eval copy of Visio on some of their DOS 5.0 (or maybe 6.something) diskettes.

    I used that eval copy a lot during my undergrad, i.e. flow charts, net diagrams, etc.

  • Doesn't Corel have a similar tool. I'm not sure here but if so they might port it to Linux as they are currently doing with their other products.
  • You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Freedom is irrelevant. Standards are irrelevant. All software companies will be assimilated into the Microsoft collective.
  • There go our chances for a Linux version of Visio.
  • I'm afraid to say it, but I've been thinking this would be a really good idea for ages.

    One thing that Microsoft Office is in dire need of is a *decent* integrated diagram mechanism. Visio is a great product, but it needs a better interface. Put them together, and it might actually do some good.

    Let's just hope they don't assimilate it and just "improve" the Office drawing tools and squash Visio in the process.
  • "I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft bought Safeway Systems (makers of Interix) and integrated it into Windows 2000."

    A few days after you said this, MS did buy Softway Systems and its Interix.

  • This is truly disheartening news.

    I use Visio in my work regularly, for documenting network structures. Visio *used to* have a free add-on - the Visio Solution Pack for NDS. This product could be added on to Visio 5.0 and permitted an administrator to diagram NDS trees easily, by importing live data into a Visio chart. With the release of the Visio Enterprise (priced $600 higher than the previous professional versions) this functionality was 'embraced and extended' - the free product was withdrawn. The new product does include MS Active Directory and NT Domain structures but does not seem to include any enhancements to the functionality of the free NDS Solution Pack. I cannot help but believe that MS will either direct the removal of the NDS functionality altogether or inhibit any future enhancements - it is not in MS's best interests to sell a product that enhances a competing directory-enabled network.

    Enhancements/features I'd like to see:
    -better online/offline directory reporting and prototyping similar to DS Standard (and don't get me started on CA...)
    -better performance when charting trees with large numbers of objects
    -improved charting of NDS partitions
    -the ability to easily chart server relationships (such as timesync provider groups)

    Anyone know of a competing product that includes such functionality (Dia perhaps?)

    I also note with disappointment that the new version of the Standard and Technical Editions is 'Visio 2000' - a logical precursor to its inclusion in Office 2001 I suppose. Does the year-based numbering scheme make sense for anyone but marketing?
  • They could have been bought out by Computer Associates.

    Visio would then be renamed DrawIT or something simillar, and then have CAs terrible software licensing added to it, which basically prevents the software from running until a 70 character keycode is typed in.
  • xfig is another alternative
  • L1NUX is not M$ bug-compliant enough yet. Although Caldera is getting close. Actually, RedHat isn't far behind Caldera in bug compliance. GNOME needs to crash unexpectedly more often. SuSE looks promising, if only from a national origin standpoint (Linus ist unser fUrer, ja!), but they lack the aforementioned bugs.
  • Visio is most famous in the Seattle area for their bus-side ads looking for programmers. They scream:
    43 guitar players
    13 marathon runners
    0 pocket protectors

    I was always tempted to go for an interview wearing a pocket protector... but the fact remains that I was tempted to go for an interview.

    I think the Seattle location is definitely a factor in this purchase. And that's a bad sign for the engineering-job ecosystem up here. As soon as a Seattle-area software company gets successful, M$ makes them an offer they can't refuse. Whether or not you hate microsoft in particular, it's sad that yet another unique culture is being "embraced". That's one option fewer for the Puget Sound software engineer.

    I'll be wearing my pocket protector to work tomorrow in mourning.
  • For the consumer:

    *IF* you use Microsoft products (and if you use Visio, chances are you do) then this may be good for you. AFAIK, Visio has no plans to do other platforms anyway - and they were way deep into the Office model. I don't see how they could do other platforms without a major re-write. The Office integration has been a nice feature, if you're an Office user. I can only imagine MS would make that more so. I expect Visio would become a piece of one of the Office flavors? We can even hope the cost will go down.

    For Microsoft:
    There is a little bit of a hole in their product lineup this fills nicely. It even functions as a baby CAD package. There is a Pro version that does things like network autodiscovery and database diagramming (Informix and Oracle at present, no Sybase or MS SQL. I imagine the latter will be fixed soon) which is a new market for MS. It's not like Visio was competeing with anything at MS, and it's very complimentary to lots of MS products. Heck, MS probably just wants the revenue.

    For the general populace/Anti-MS crowd:
    Well, it's yet another good product that is no owned by MS. I suspect some folks would have written it off anyway, given how heavily MS/Office it is. Overall, I don't think it changes much. MS owns one more particular market. That marekt was previosuly owned by Visio, so at least they didn't kill anyone off.
  • wow looking forward to that feature, or should i say bug?
    hihi
  • Visio has always been totally useless for network diagramming as IMHO it is missing a key feature.

    MUTILAYER - DRILL DOWN

    I tried this again with the latest release and it still doesn't do it easily or automatically.

    If you want to do good, multilayer network digrams then the only usefull tool I've found is

    NETVIZ : http://www.netviz.com

    It even exports to mutilayer HTML - including all the inter-diagram links.

    This means you can start at a state level, showing just city/town blobs with WAN links between them, and then DRILL DOWN into the city/town blobs to se the buildings and then into the buildings to see the routers and then into .....

    aahhhhh stop me !

    in any case , I'm quite thankful M$oft didn't buy NETVIZ.
  • There are always some interesting implications when Microsoft decides to buy out a company for their product, implications that should interest the Linux community. Whenever a company is bought out by Microsoft, my assumption is that any sort of a Linux port is out of the question. Is this right? I'm not up on my anti-trust laws, but this seems like snuffing out the competition by owning the market that supports the competition. Much like Barnes & Noble couldn't buy up all the book warehouses in the company to put Amazon out of business, it seems like there should be checks in place to keep Microsoft from buying up all the application "warehouses."

    You know, for years, I couldn't quite figure out why Microsoft ported Office and IE to the Mac platform, and to be honest, it's a bit puzzling to me still. But the purchase by Microsoft shouldn't surprise anyone. Someone's already noted that they have some very tight integration with MS Office, Visio was started by ex-Microsoft employees, plus the Vision offices are in Seattle! I'm just surprised this didn't happen sooner -- Microsoft could've paid less than the $1.6B they coughed up.

    --jeddz

  • I've been expecting it too, because Visio began life and always lived it as a poster child for OLE/COM/ActiveX. Microsoft always used Visio in their demos on these technologies.

    And so Visio has always been a pure Windows program, and obviously so. Why would anyone ever think there was a chance that it would be ported to Linux?

    LJS
  • I think they're just continuing their expansionistic policy -- it's a market they haven't conquered yet, so they want it. They're already snuggly with Visio, so purchase makes sense.

    I doubt that they view StarOffice as competition -- the only thing it has going for it is that it runs on Linux (sort of) and reads/writes MSOffice formats (sort of). It's slow and crash-prone, SOffice on my P200/64MB reminds me of WordPerfect 6.1 on my 486-33/4MB, 5 years ago.

    Now if Corel ports the whole PerfectOffice suite to Linux, they may get worried. If Lotus ports SmartSuite, they'll definitely be a little worried -- but not too much, because they've succeeded in making MSOffice file formats the de facto standard in almost every industry (please don't waste bandwidth responding to let everyone know that your dinky company doesn't use MSOffice file formats because MS sux and you're too cheap or poor to buy commercial software -- no one cares). And if Sun succeeds in making SOffice a true network app, they'll definitely be worried. But what's most likely to happen is:

    Sun will run SOffice into the ground -- they'll issue two "network-enabled" betas (Q2'00 and Q1'01), then formally halt development by H2'01.

    Corel will have a fully native Linux office suite for Perfect Office 9, which will capture and keep ~40% of the emerging Linux desktop market -- a brief return to the days when no one's file formats match.

    A startup will produce an MSOffice look-and-work-alike for Linux which sells for $49/seat and takes the other 40% of the desktop market. (Must remember the 10% who won't give up vi, emacs, or clay tablets, and the 10% who run the latest beta of the Next Big Thing.)

    Too much coffee? Nonsense! What are you trying to say?
  • It was the 'Microsoft Upgrade Advisor' disk.

    Besides being an ad for the 'latest/greatest' Microsoft software, it came with Visio-lite and a game. I used that version of Visio for many years.

    That disk was the first 3.5" disk that I saw that used Microsoft's non-standard (holds more then 1.44Mb) floppy formatting. The Advisor also only ran on Win 3.1, but you could copy the Visio-lite files by hand to get it running on 95/NT.
  • by teepee ( 47012 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @12:14AM (#1681163) Homepage
    I've used Visio for years, and while I've loved it, there have been a few features I've been asking for, but have never gotten.

    Finally, with Microsoft at the helm, I'm sure to get the things I've been needing to work productively. My needs are simple and few: increased instability, bloat, and improved incompatibility.

    I was beginning to wonder if I was asking for too much from Visio, and I guess I was. But Microsoft has the background necessary to deliver. Hallelujia!
  • Well, it looks like 5.0 will be last version I will be buying. This really sucks, Visio was one of the only things I had left that I would run under VMware :). Any suggestions for a replacement, it wouldn't have to be open sourced.
  • > Pagemaker

    There is MS Publisher.

    I don't know for the others, but I think MS and Adobe have some kind of deal. (Who knows, maybe MS will buy Adobe once Adobe is done eating the graphic/desktop publishing market :)
  • by Enoch Root ( 57473 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @12:16AM (#1681171)
    Visio has a history of professional and helpful products. It's mostly used by directors and other administration types. I don't think being acquired by MS will mean the product will be any less good at what it does: design flowcharts and supplement presentation.

    Visio took great pains to integrate their software into MS Office, and so MS probably recognised it and decided to go all the way with it.

    This is one product I don't mind MS touching. As far as designing flowcharts and presentations goes, MS does OK. I just wish they'd stick to that instead of trying to design operating systems. :)

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • This is horrible news. Not only because it shows Microsoft gaining a ready-made venture in another sector of the computing industry and Visio losing its autonomy, but also because Visio, not too long ago, introduced a pseudo-Open Source program for IntelliCAD.

    I should say that the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium will either be quietly killed or merely allowed to wither, with no infusions of new work.

    --
  • I don't understand why a company just producing closing arguments for an antitrust case against them would go off and munch another company. Then again, they probably will just throw lawyers at this case until everybody forgets about it.
  • Is this anything like Intermapper? Quite a good network diagramming tool, and still available for reasonable cost from Dartmouth Uni, I think.
  • I don't see them having competive products in just a few markets:
    • Photoshop or similar
    • Fireworks or similar
    • Pagemaker...
    • Illustrator
    • CAD/CAM
    • 3d rendering

    I know there are a lot more... but I figured I'd kick off the list.

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