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The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the a-friday-without-cringely-is-like-a-friday-without-bagels dept.

Microsoft 1002

Bitseeker writes "Robert X. Cringley's latest article is online. He opens with: 'When I wrote last week about my conclusion that the legal system -- any legal system -- is unequipped to change Microsoft's monopolistic behavior, I had no idea that within 24 hours, Sun Microsystem would be throwing in the towel, trading its so-called principles for $1.95 billion in cash. So I guess I was right. Only now, a few thousand readers out there expect me to blithely produce an answer to the problem of what to do to bring Microsoft into the civilized world. Well, I say it can't be done.'"

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Ich FP GNAA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823589)

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Re:Ich FP GNAA! (-1, Offtopic)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823681)

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Re:Ich FP GNAA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823719)

Why not duct tape your eyes shut and enjoy your very own self reich of nazi censorship, you jew loving faggot?

so what... (1, Insightful)

rohan_leader (731431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823591)

Only now, a few thousand readers out there expect me to blithely produce an answer to the problem of what to do to bring Microsoft into the civilized world. Well, I say it can't be done.'"

hmm... What's new?

Re:so what... (4, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823684)

That's true of most large established industries. I don't expect GM to stop making cars, or Wal*Mart to give up retail, or P&G to stop making consumer products either.

Just another sign that software is leaving high-tech and becoming a mature industry.

If you want high-tech for the next decade or so, think bio, nano, and robotics [rutgers.edu] , not software.

hsdsafsdg (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823593)

He's right. Nothing can be done. Lets all give up.

Re:hsdsafsdg (3, Funny)

hoyd (113360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823599)

you mean, just start to use microsoft warez?

Re:hsdsafsdg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823672)

you mean, just start to use microsoft warez?

Thats the way to go... from Windows 2000, to XP, to 2003 Server. Screw paying the MS Tax.. doesn't mean you still can't use their software ;-)

Re:hsdsafsdg (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823692)

Yeah I have to agree with this for now, though it may change soon enough with the advent of good desktop OSS.

I build a *lot* of PCs for friends and friends of friends of friends. Here's what I give 'em:

1) XP (Warez)
2) Firebird
3) Thunderbird
4) OpenOffice
5) AVG Antivirus
6) Ad-aware
7) Spybot S&D

Now eventually as programs like 2,3,4 become more popular and Wine for programs like Quicken improves and Linux configuration becomes less of a nightmare, the transition away from XP will be much smoother.

Public Awareness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823595)

I think that the public needs to be more educated about the alternatives to the monopoly which controls the machines all around us, as well as about the monopoly itself and the harm that it does. Then again, there have been such attempts made on various scales, yet on the whole, apathy seems to be the victor.

Re:Public Awareness (5, Interesting)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823661)

Well, I'm probably much closer to "average consumer" or general public than a lot of posters here are... I know about this stuff because I have an interest in computer and tech, but I'm not really involved in it...

Then again, there have been such attempts made on various scales, yet on the whole, apathy seems to be the victor.

Is it really apathy? You need to find a way to make ordinary people understand why it matters what they run on their PC at home to check their email and surf the web, when they have to take their kids to the Dr, remember to pick up dog food on the way home, call their mother to talk about getting the family together for the weekend, pay bills... and so on and so on.

I really would love to use Linux on my home PC, and I did my best to make myself a dual boot system but I couldn't get it running on my own. There are a lot of programs I have to have that are only on Windows, so Windows it was. But I work my butt off and don't really have time to devote hours learning a new operating system, when I already know my way around Windows, and on the list of Important Things Demanding Attention in my life, it's a pretty low priority. I used Mandrake on my ex-boyfriend's computer when I was staying with him, but he was always around to fix it when something went wrong. When Windows goes nuts, I can usually manage to get things working again on my own, at least.

The main obstacles to Linux, or any alternative OS, in my opinion are making it easy to use and configure right out of the box for someone with little to know computer knowledge, like me, and not only educating people about the alternatives to the monopoly, but why they should care when there are so many other important things to worry about.

Re:Public Awareness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823710)

Yes, admittedly the open-source community does need to do their share to make the alternatives more friendly to new-comers, but it goes beyond that. I mean, most people don't install and configure Windows on their machines, either. It comes pre-installed from whichever manufacturer they choose for their PC purchase.

Now, if the public were to speak up and say, "Hey, why can we not buy our computers with this alternative to Windows?", perhaps some effort would be made by OEMs to appease the masses.

Unfortunately, to be realistic about it, this is not something that could happen overnight. In fact, for the bigger OEMs, it would be a huge gamble, because of just how Microsoft will not allow these distributors to offer a Linux alternative if they still want to keep their MS licenses. Perhaps some smaller companies could catch on, or even Joe Average's geeky friend may lend a hand and provide a sufficient machine and Linux install.

Essentially, it comes down to the open-source community to inform the public, and to make certain aspects of the Linux-based operating systems (software installation, drivers, etc.) a little more streamlined for a point-and-click world, as seems to be the case with the current dominant family of OSes known as Windows.

I just wonder if these efforts would catch on, as the public does tend to be weary to change, and with Microsoft so ingrained in our culture, people may naturally be reluctant or apathetic. We just need to keep fighting the good fight and not giving up, I suppose.

Re:Public Awareness (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823662)

"I think that the public needs to be more educated about the alternatives to the monopoly which controls the machines all around us"

I think there needs to be a much stronger effort by these alternatives to effectively replace Microsoft. It's not like I can just switch to Linux and automatically be happy.

Re:Public Awareness (3, Insightful)

mek2600 (677900) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823685)

I disagree that apathy has been the victor so far- we're just fighting a very uphill battle. Microsoft got lucky in the fact that the time in which they came "into power" was when the industry was very open to someone rising up and dominating. Now we just just have to do what most of us are doing- dispelling FUD, contributing to the open source community, and doing other activities that generally chip away at Microsoft's base.

Remember, Rome not only wasn't built in a day, but also wasn't destroyed in a day either. We're on the right track, but it's going to take a while to get people over to the alternatives of Microsoft.

What about by a well-placed highly skilled sniper? (-1, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823600)

Just wondering. :)

So Microsoft has enough cash to subvert any governing body it pleases, or any company that dare challenges it.

Frightening to say, but this isn't exactly news.

The interesting part is that it isn't a government or some major corporate conglomerate that has Microsoft quietly (or not so quietly) quaking in it's collective boots.

They're scared by, and largely for the same reasons as, the (MP|RI)AA is scared of P2P networks.

How can you stop or strike down something that is largely unaffected by large wads of cash?

Re:What about by a well-placed highly skilled snip (4, Insightful)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823631)

"Bill Gates will again turn his corporate supertanker and add full power, but this time the competing ship will not only have a head start, it will be able to accelerate faster than Microsoft."

At that point Microsoft buys the other ship.

Re:What about by a well-placed highly skilled snip (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823639)

What about by a well-placed highly skilled sniper?

I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. That's the only way to be sure.

Re:What about by a well-placed highly skilled snip (1)

mek2600 (677900) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823689)

I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. That's the only way to be sure.
This suggestion is obviously coming from someone who does not live in the northwest US. As someone who does, I think the sniper is a much better idea.

Re:What about by a well-placed highly skilled snip (1)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823646)

I dont think it really matters how big a company is they all eventually die. I mean really how many large annoying companies are around that were around in the 1920s for example????

None!

Re:What about by a well-placed highly skilled snip (2, Informative)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823690)

You're kidding, right? Ford. General Electric. DuPont. Most of the seven sisters of Big Oil. Ericsson. And those are just off the top of my head. There are thousands more. When they get to a certain size, they go zombie. Nothing really kills them - they just merge, spin off daughters and re-brand. Maybe some kind of silver bullet would work, like for Enron. But even if Microsoft did invent that kind of accounting, they have the cash flow to prop it up, almost indefinitely.

Re:What about by a well-placed highly skilled snip (1)

Ralph Yarro (704772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823696)

You are correct of course. Companies grow and fail, powers rise and fall, empires are built and crumble and through it all everyone thinks that whatever they have now will last.

Whether it's the Roman Empire or the Cold War or dominance of this or that country or continuation of this or that alliance or the domination over an industry of Ford or of IBM or of Microsoft, there's a determination that now things are different because this is NOW and how can things ever be different to that?

Re:What about by a well-placed skilled sniper (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823703)

.plan
1. Research a way to create earthquakes.
2. Trigger one in the Cascades [rice.edu] .
3. Watch Redmond slide [oregongeology.com] into the Pacific Ocean.
4. Profit!
5. Oh yeah: Warn the Japanese about the tsunami. (Note, maybe we should bring this item up higher on the list?)

Re:What about by a well-placed skilled sniper (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823714)

Ideas like that make microsoft india [microsoft.com] sound like a good idea.

Principles? (4, Insightful)

Bobdoer (727516) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823601)

trading its so-called principles for $1.95 billion in cash
How many people wouldn't trade their principles for almost 2 billion dollars?

Re:Principles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823616)

Howard Roark won't....
Is that what this world is waiting for?

Re:Principles? (2, Funny)

bgog (564818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823623)

I'll trade... I'll trade.
Of course it depends on which principles you mean. I wouldn't kill innocent people but hey I'll become a closed-source promotin, drm lovin, riaa employee for 2bil!

Re:Principles? (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823660)

Hmm well I'd definate trade my principles, the ones I had in highschool anyway assuming they haven't passed away.... Oh wait you meant, errr never mind.

Mycroft
(sorry I couldn't stop myself:) )

Re:Principles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823706)

principle/principal.. it could have been funny, but you failed.

Re:Principles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823707)

I'll trade... I'll trade [my principles]. Of course it depends on which principles you mean. I wouldn't kill innocent people but hey I'll become a closed-source promotin, drm lovin, riaa employee for 2bil!

Hey, you've left out SCO!

Or are you trying to say that there are some things you will not do for money...

-cmh

Re:Principles? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823682)

Richard Stallman wouldn't.

Re:Principles? (4, Funny)

ottawanker (597020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823715)

Richard Stallman wouldn't.

No, but I'm sure he'd sell them as long as the buyer promised to but GNU/ in front of them.

Re:Principles? (1)

God! Awful 2 (631283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823693)

How many people wouldn't trade their principles for almost 2 billion dollars?

You know what they say... a billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it adds up to real money.

-a

Re:Principles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823694)

What if accepting ~$2 billion now meant less revenue later on? Or the demise of the company? Is Sun really that desperate?

I mean, even Apple has a few billion dollars in cash. Of course, Apple also sold out to Microsoft but managed to stay alive -- but then again, Apple is a much more dynamic company than Sun.

Re:Principles? (0)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823699)

me

Re:Principles? (3, Insightful)

mashiyach (757252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823711)

Not Microsoft, nor any other company nor any one else could cause me to trade my principles for any amount of money. There is a world to be saved out there. To keep ones principles is the most important we can do. Principles are holy! Microsoft has signed their own death sentence.

The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823602)

The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide

So is there anything we can do to help?

Re:The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823614)

dunno, if he was a server, we could /. him

Re:The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823615)

Sour the milk?

Poison the wine? (No, not that WINE)

Finely ground glass in the mashed potatoes?

With the candlestick, in the starewell, with Mr. Green?

Spank the monkey?

Who's ya daddy?

Erm...wait a tick. :P

Re:The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823723)

How about slipping powdered viagra in his tea and then setting a 300 pound sex deprived woman loose in his house. :P

Kalinga

The smartest.... bah (4, Insightful)

Peridriga (308995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823603)

The smartest reader of all suggested that companies be taxed on their market share so that a company like Microsoft with 90 percent share would pay 90 percent sales tax.

The simply response to the smartest reader, as an Economics major, is why in the hell would I even try to get market share in the first place since I now have a strong fiscal insentive NOT to try to.

Imagine a world where the better you get at something the more punished you are. Why would you get better? It's like smacking a child every time s/he tries to walk. Why would s/he walk?

Someone please explain why saying "bad" for being "good" at something is a Good Thing. Please! I want to know...

Re:The smartest.... bah (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823628)

Well, tax rates tend to increase with salary amongst citizens. Why shouldn't the same apply to companies? As long as they're still making more money...

Re:The smartest.... bah (3, Insightful)

cubyrop (647235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823634)

of course you're right...it is after all unreasonable to punish someone for being good. for being successful.

for creating a product with such a strong business plan that you end up the most successful company in modern history, dominating your field.

if your principles demand you stand up for companies who are punished for getting better, then stand in front of microsoft and defend them too.

Re:The smartest.... bah (5, Insightful)

dave1g (680091) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823643)

well yes that was extreme, but you could start the insane taxes at about 66- 75% market share as the idea being that consumers can only get hurt by a company controlling that much. And in economics you do learn that monopolies are bad, they dont serve the economy well. Economist know that society gets the best value when there are many competitors for a given output.

Economics is not about the betterment of the few but the betterment of the whole. In most cases a monopoly doesnt benefit the whole. In some it does. Those are usually natural monopolies, such as utilities and governments.

If you had multiple electric wres coming into your home from different vendors then your energy prices would sky rocket because in order for the companies to all compete they would need to all build wires to all the homes.

So it is better to have a regulated monopoly.

what are you mods thinking? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823644)

Although the smartest reader's insight may or may not be a good solution, your criticism of it is certainly not good. When you graduate with your econ degree you'll enter into a world of progressive income taxation. According to your theory your incentive will now be to not try and increase your income because that will increase your taxation.

Instead of turning down increases in your salary outright, if you want to donate them to me I'm sure we can work something out.

Your post glosses so much that is complex about taxation and incentives and comes to such a simple-minded and obviously wrong conclusion that I'm not going to address those other issues.

Re:The smartest.... bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823647)

When I first read your post, I thought you meant microsoft's competitors have no incentive to innovate, because microsoft punishes them by stealing or using their power to shut them out, so why do they bother?

Capitalism is like a race.. once somebody wins, there's no reason for anybody else to keep running.

Re:The smartest.... bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823654)

Microsoft isn't being punished for being good. The restrictions attached to monopolies are meant to keep them on the good side of society. Microsoft has abused and still abuses its monopoly; that's why they're being punished. There are still a lot of legal ways to profit from a monopoly.

Re:The smartest.... bah (4, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823673)

I agree but disagree.

Imagine limiting the model. Impose the tax-levy at market share of 70% or greater. That would encourage companies to get big, but not get too big. That is, it would create a very strong incentive to not kill off too much competition.

But the problem there is that microsoft is engaged in many markets and some products that attain monopoly in their markets are given away for free... So in the case of Netscape, how would the government applied such a tax-levy?

Perhaps rather than a tax, perhaps the revocation of all patents on said companies products in the given market.
So in the event of IE's market monopoly, all patents obtained by MS related to IE's functionality would be revoked, allowing for new competition to step in and compete without having to worry about IP infringement.

But there is no silver bullet here unfortunately.

Re:The smartest.... bah (4, Informative)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823708)

Well, actually... if there is a direct correlation between percentage market share, percentage of the overall money being gotten in the market, and percentage tax rate, there is incentive to gain market share... until you hit 50%.

A couple minutes with a spreadsheet will show that 1 - 1% is .99, and 99 - 99% is also 0.99 ... but 50 - 50% is 25! It's a bell curve, and there's definitely a sweet spot there.

So under that "extreme" example, you could have two major competitors in any market operating at, or close to, maximum profitability, while a monopoly would basically self-destruct. Perhaps it's a little smarter than some people think.

Of course, the numbers could be adjusted to move the "sweet spot" higher or lower. You could make it so diminishing returns kicked in if a company had more than, say, 75% market share, so there could still be one big player, but leave room for smaller ones too. Or you could put the sweet spot at 33% or even 25%, thus encouraging the existence of 3 or 4 fairly evenly matched competitors in a market.

But yeah, Cringely's right that it won't happen. The folks who create taxes don't have much incentive to do that, considering who's lining their pockets, and besides, the math might be too hard for them. ;)

An Alternative Way (0, Redundant)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823604)

1. Pwn Bill's box
2. Mass email his private confessions to Steve B.
3. PROFIT!!
4. Watch as Bill takes on a malicious, narcissistic revenge complex that causes him to invoke the DMCA on all Windows users
5. In their fury to preserve the law, the Feds decide to have Windows declared illegal

so you mean.. (0)

unknown_host (757538) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823606)

24 hours from now, Bill Gates is gonna commit suicide!
The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

Hmmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823607)

I for one, think we should just let Microsoft be. Let Linux take over in its natural course. Linux would not be a widespread if it were not for Microsoft.

Anyway, microsoft could go for 40 years without earning any money at all =)

well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823608)

I for one welcome our old microsoft overlords.

afterall, can you imagine how difficult it would be to write 10 different versions of the same virus! agh! it would be horrible!

If MSFT dies (0, Troll)

Ronan_The_Barbarian (766623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823609)

If Microsoft goes, the industry will be like iraq without Saddam Hussein.

The industry needs a good dictator to keep peace, snuff out resistance, and generally keep order in an otherwise disorderly arena.

Yes, Microsoft is Bad like saddam hussein, but are we willing to replace him with a viable alternative?
We will end up bleeding like we do today.

Microsoft is a necessary evil. Period

Re:If MSFT dies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823617)

AMEN!

Re:If MSFT dies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823620)

If the industry gets a large dictator again, it's because the free solution has failed. And it's gaining ground.

When the free solution becomes larger, more encompassing, takes more market share... let's say for example that Linux reaches a market share of 90%... it's free, becomes simpler, is everywhere... then the controller, that dictator will be... ...who? every coder who's contributed to linux. That's all. there WILL be no dictator, needs will be fulfilled as they are needed by those who need them, not fulfilled by those who will PROFIT from them. if a group X needs ability Y, then group X will get ability Y, and won't have Company A forcing an attempt at ability Y upon them with no other option.

And it will be good

Re:If MSFT dies (-1)

Ronan_The_Barbarian (766623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823650)

In theory what you say will be right. Like socialism. In reality each company will strive to become a monopoly publishing its own standards and divide the industry in to a thousand fragments. DO you remember the days of Wordstar, DR-DOS, Wordperfect, Lotus, etc?

You can't open one file in another because they were closed specs.

Humans and especially companies are not so enlightened as to work for the benefit of consumers. They exist to create wealth, and the best way to create wealth need not be in consumer's interest.

That is why you still can't open a Mac executable in Windows or vice-versa. If Mac and Linux were so "open" and consumer-friendly, they would have long allowed competitors access to their propreitary stuff...

Deep down everyone is a ferengi.

Re:If MSFT dies (-1, Flamebait)

lastberserker (465707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823629)

If Microsoft goes, the industry will be like iraq without Saddam Hussein.

The industry needs a good dictator to keep peace, snuff out resistance, and generally keep order in an otherwise disorderly arena.

Yes, Microsoft is Bad like saddam hussein, but are we willing to replace him with a viable alternative? We will end up bleeding like we do today.

Microsoft is a necessary evil. Period

And, let me guess, the buddy who moderated the parent down is Fox News avatar? Mmmmkay....

Just another proof (1, Offtopic)

TildaBang (670599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823611)

that modern civilization sucks. I wish i were an indian pre-1500, life was so much simpler.

Re:Just another proof (0, Flamebait)

mek2600 (677900) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823701)

I wish I were an Indian right now. It would be sooo much easier to find a tech job if I were.

MS committing suicide (4, Interesting)

sirsnork (530512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823612)

The thing is if Longhorn isn't secure out of the box they will be. That means no open services binding to interfaces other than 127.0.0.1. Whilst this won't kill them outright people are now starting to learn just how fundamental some of the problems with windows are and just how futile it is to try and keep a system up to date on a dial up modem.

Based on the way SP2 for XP is looking they may finally be learning this lesson, but if they don't it may not be a question of running out of money and more a question of running out of customers (one leads to the other I know but they have a LOT of money to spare even without customers)

Re:MS committing suicide (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823641)

The thing is if Longhorn isn't secure out of the box they will be. That means no open services binding to interfaces other than 127.0.0.1. Whilst this won't kill them outright people are now starting to learn just how fundamental some of the problems with windows are and just how futile it is to try and keep a system up to date on a dial up modem.

This is also a problem with other operating systems. To show the validity of your comments, there are many people in my town who have had to ask friends in other states to send them a CD of macos x updates,

So far, the largest update has been around 80MB. For people here, where there is no DSL, no Cable, satellite if you're insanely rich, and getting a connection above 33.6k is HIGHLY unlikely, you just don't go download 80MB. The closest apple centre (which will burn for free, apparently) is 3 and a half hours away. So what do people do? Sit on the older release and just keep using.

So when the point comes that larger security holes that desperately need patching come up, there will always be many thousands of people worldwide in the same situation who simply CANNOT update their systems.

While they can't update with an 80MB update (and these are just going to get bigger and bigger) they'll be still just as vulnerably to a 30kb virus/worm/trojan/whatever as anyone else out there.

And security will still suck, until it's done right first time

Re:MS committing suicide (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823653)

The thing is if Longhorn isn't secure out of the box they will be.

Insecurity sure seems to have hurt their bottom line greatly in the past.

Re:MS committing suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823668)

Given all the things XP SP2 is supposed to do, (ie enabling ICS by default, and breaking some apps) SP2 might be the suicide weapon of choice

It might just cause enough of a headache in a corporate environment not to get rolled out.

As for Windows XP YetAnotherEdition which is rumoured to be coming soon, a lot of companies havent even upgraded from Windows 95 yet, and now to be 6 (NT4, 98, 98se, ME, 2000, XP, ???) releases behind ?

My works client still has people running windows 3.1 (because it is good enough to do the job).

And who's to say that there wont be an office 2005 in the wings to go hand in hand with then new OS.

A better idea... (3, Flamebait)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823613)

Would be to have a new company come along and actually produce something new rather than recycle old and existing ideas.

Rather than try to bring Microsoft to its knees so that others can compete, why don't we put more effort into actually creating competition?

I think Bill Gates himself has proven that it only takes someone in a garage with a damn good idea...

Mod me down if you wish, just an honest opinion from someone sick of hearing about Microsoft's monopoly.

Re:A better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823626)

I would have to agree. We need to get the public informed that we CAN make something better than Windows. Its called Linux but it needs to be in the minds of everyone, just as Windows and McDonalds are today.

The problem is, the public is stupid. Over the years they have learned they can get by without knowing almost anything. We need to turn it around. I live in the Sillicon Valley and most of our school dont even have computer courses, much less a PC. Sad is the world we live in.

Re:A better idea... (2)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823688)

I think the reason the public don't bother with Linux as much as we might have wanted isn't really because they're stupid, but because they have no good reason to abandon a lot of their well-known software (no, Wine isn't a universal solution) for a still uncommon operating system with worse hardware support and where you'll have trouble viewing those PowerPoint presentations from work or whatever. To make users want to do the big jump of switching to an entirely different OS, you really need to convince them they'll for twice as fast with it or something like that. Less security holes won't do this, by the way. I've noticed inexperienced users might get a virus, spam a bunch of people, and then get told about it sooner or later and then they fix it and are happy. So security flaws are usually a non-issue to them.

Also, the OS on its own isn't as mature as we might want either. For example, when I was going to use the latest version Knoppix a bit, the entire OS froze when I tried to access my hard drive. Maybe it didn't support Serial ATA? So I tried to look this up, and it boiled down to having to know which SATA controller my motherboard had (something not even the manufacturer listed), and know which patch to get, and even then I wouldn't know if that was the problem. So what does a human (not stupid) user then do? Well, maybe throw the CD in the trash can and say "screw this unfinished software, why do I even bother?"

Just saying that you don't get many chances nowadays if something doesn't work right, especially if it's about an alien OS to the user and they aren't even convinced it'll do their job better. I'm not quite sure how a regular user would best be convinced. Keep in mind that you aren't trying to convince a computer geek. They don't care about technicalities, but how fast an OS get their job done. Even if Linux works really well, I doubt it gets their job done noticeably faster than a Windows box, and I think that's where the problem is.

Re:A better idea... (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823722)

That's why web application are good, if there are only webapplications, you only need a NC.

This could then be Linux and desktops can be simple again, maybe games at home, what do I care. If there is no data on there, you can just reinstall after installing a game or something or get an X-Box type thing from Microsoft

Microsoft creates to difficult desktops, they want something the DoD wants and sell it to every1 else (I'm talking rights & capabilities here).

In the meanwhile Microsoft fucks up all the other software and makes it insecure with bufferoverruns.

So what do you have ? Every1 uses default security settings, the system sometimes kills itself because it was to complex to make.

Coupled with the buffer overruns... ok, sorry for the rant

Re:A better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823642)

Billy G never had a good idea - he's just a low grade crook who got lucky and happened across a stupid to the point of criminally negligent company (IBM).

Re:A better idea... (4, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823656)

From the article:

Some have even said that venture capital people are tending to avoid software companies '...because Microsoft will pull a Netscape on you."

MS have shown again and again that they are prepared to do pretty much anything, even break the law, to prevent competitors getting a foothold. How can some company running in a garage compete with that?

Re:A better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823657)

Yeah, but good ideas come and go, how the hell do you get the good ideas on people's desks and in their businesses?

I know lots of people who think product XYZ is better than Microsoft's (like, Mac OSX, Phoenix browser, etc., etc), but *they don't use it* because it takes too much effort to switch/reinstall/migrate your files.

Why do you think people still use windows even with the viruses, the bugs, the interop problems, etc., etc...??

Re:A better idea... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823658)

But Billy boy didn't have a monopolistic company watching and waiting in the wings with enough money to squash him using dubious/illegal business practices and get away with it.

Re:A better idea... (5, Interesting)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823677)

Would be to have a new company come along and actually produce something new rather than recycle old and existing ideas.

As if it hasn't been tried a few thousand times? Every single time, Microsoft has either bought the company in question and either integrated it or disbanded it, or created enough vaporware and FUD to shut it down. Remember Go, anyone? Where do you think Visio, Excel and Exchange comes from? Developed in-house? Ha! One of the guys behind Exchange even came over and tried to "ease our transition" when Bill'n'Steve bought us [1] out. You can not out-innovate someone who buys and steals innovations for a living and has forty billion dollars to play with. It can not be done, not on the same playing field. You will have to either out-gun them (maybe IBM could, if they had a visionary to push them, which they don't) or take the fight elsewhere and play by different rules as OSS is doing.

I think Bill Gates himself has proven that it only takes someone in a garage with a damn good idea...

Jobs and Wozniak proved that. Bill never worked out of a garage, his parents were a bit too wealthy for that kind of rough start. He was speeding his Porsche down in Albuquerque from day one.

Mod me down if you wish, just an honest opinion from someone sick of hearing about Microsoft's monopoly.

Well, I'm sick of living it. And I have been for close to ten years now. Do some research and you'll know why you're hearing about it. God knows there's enough books and websites written by the ones who have gotten their de-programming and gotten out. Start with Marlin Eller and go from there.

[1] Sendit, later known as Microsoft Mobile Internet Business Group and now known as NOTHING since they killed it off, apparently just for fun. Forty billion dollars allows you to have fun like that. Laugh, dammit!

That is a foolish idea. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823619)

Microsoft isn't the first corp to be on the top of the world. Times change, attitudes change. There is no way to say that microsoft will always be here, at least not in the form that they are now. Microsoft's products weren't always the dominate software, there is no reason to assume they always will be.

Having said nothing important, I'll now go read the article.

Not Easy (0)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823621)

But possible. The only problem is human stubbornness-namely those users who don't know and aren't willing to use/learn/try anything other than Microsoft products. This includes narrow-minded PHBs obsessed with bottom lines, and home users who've been conditioned through past experience and marketing efforts to jump at anything with the Microsoft logo and that bears the words "New," "Better," "Best," or the like. They use Windows, they know Windows, and they'll keep feeding the beast their dollars to get the latest Windows (or other MS product-insert your favorite here).

This is where we really, really need advances made in Linux GUIs-so that they're intuitive enough for Mom and Dad to use and say "Oh, gee, this is just like Windows," and for the PHB to say "Oh, okay, training costs will be minimal." If Linux (or, again, insert your favorite OSS solution here) can break into the areas MS controls the most tightly, namely the home desktop market, then OSS will pose a threat to MS on more than one front, and it will (hopefully) lead to an adapt-or-die scenario. They'll have to do something to compete with free software, and it will become evident that the 800-pound gorilla can't outmaneuver the chimps...so to speak.

It's like Leia said in Star Wars: the more they tighten their grip, the more potential customers will slip through their fingers. The only real way they can try to ensure their market dominance without some severe adaptation is to buy more DMCA-esque laws and hope for TCPA to take hold and be their savior. And even then, there'll always be underground movements to hack TCPA hardware, distribute OSS applications and operating systems...it's too late for them. Unless MS wants to play fair with the rest of the software world, it's only a matter of time before more progressive, open, versatile solutions outpace the Windows/Office/.NET juggernaut.

Disagree, this assumes they fail playing catchup (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823622)

One thing you have to admit, MSFT is both good at playing catchup and has enough resources to play catchup after it has missed the boat. There are plenty of examples:

1. MSFT ignoring TCP IP, saying it is inferior to NetBIOS as well as charging a small fortune for a minimal add-on IP Stack ported from BSD. That was only 10 years ago. They caught up on this one

2. Same with browsers - IE 3.0 was nothing but mosaic repackaged. It took them less then 2 years to catch up.

3. Mail clients - I still remember the days when Pegasus and Eudora were the de-facto corporate standards as far as Email on windows is concerned. 3 years to get from 0% market share to 90%+ market share.

4. Microsoft ignoring wireless, thin clients, etc.

In every one of these cases they caught up before the rest of the market could do anything about them.

Re:Disagree, this assumes they fail playing catchu (2, Funny)

PerpetualMotion (550623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823676)

You just switched from software to hardware. Unless I am mistaken, MS has not jumped into the Hardware/Cellphone/Cable TV/Telephone/Blender/Kitchen Sink buisness.

That's Walmart.

Re:Disagree, this assumes they fail playing catchu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823686)

Or in other words, they missed the boat on just about everything. We'll see what happens with PocketPC and the X-Box.

Re:Disagree, this assumes they fail playing catchu (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823695)

But the difference is that they choose NOT to play catch up, at least for now. Which is good for open sourcers. We don't know about later strategies, which I think Microsoft will someday reconsider. Even then, it's a very different playground and it's a lot harder because what can you do to recoup lost market to beat a free price? You bet it bundling a whole lot of another package in... But can MS escape from DOJ's eyes? I'd say it's very hard...

Of course there are technology that open source provides and MS doesn't and vice versa. So, future can't be outright easy to predict.

What we need is to make open source be a tempting platform for (all) companies to build new technologies in, not just porters. Once we managed to do that, MS would be forced to play catch-up in a hard way or die...

Erm...huh? (2, Interesting)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823624)

The smartest reader of all suggested that companies be taxed on their market share so that a company like Microsoft with 90 percent share would pay a 90 percent tax rate. The nice part about this idea is that it actually would encourage competition as well as industry alliances. The naive part is that it assumes legislative resolve that does not exist and also assumes Microsoft actually pays taxes which, for the most part, it doesn't. Still, the idea is clever.

What? That's the silliest thing I ever heard. I'm as anti big-business as most moderately anti big-business people are, but taxing businesses according to market share seems stupid and doesn't give them much incentive to want to grow, as least how I see it. If you want to go after corporations, start cracking down on tax shelters and loopholes that get them out of paying anything at all.

I know MS sucks donkey balls, but changing the entire tax structure and the market just to take care of them seems a little excessive. Hell, I'm using Windows but I still have Apple and Real products on my PC. Is it really that bad?

So... (1)

FreemanPatrickHenry (317847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823625)

I had no idea that within 24 hours, Sun Microsystem would be throwing in the towel, trading its so-called principles for $1.95 billion in cash.

Does this mean that ESR was right? Or at least, that his critics were wrong?

So much for Sun needing to hang on to Java...

Kill Bill (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823627)

Obviously, the only way is to kill Bill Gates. Not figuratively, but literally and personally. Snipe him in the head from afar. Bomb his cars. Nuke his home. Poison his coffee. Better men than him have been killed in the street, on balconies or in the theatre. And for lot worse reasons.

Without their visionary, their cheif guidance, their spiritual advisor, their dark star - Microsoft will fall apart, rendered asunder by the will of all the power-hungry Vice Presidents suddenly left without a dictator keeping them in check. Ballmer? He's just a large, dancing bag of smelly gas. Prick him with a needle and watch him fly.

Re:Kill Bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823687)

Obviously, the only way is to kill Bill Gates. Not figuratively, but literally and personally.

Dude, Bill Gates is already dead. [billgatesisdead.com]

MSNBC [209.61.162.98]
Los Angeles Times [209.61.162.98]

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823633)

Anyone want to explain why try and slay Microsoft? I don't know about you, but I'm happy with the little market Linux and open source has. I think it's all we need.

death by assumption (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823635)

A common way for a person to lose at chess is by assuming eminant victory and staying ones course without further thought. So it is entirely possible that Microsoft could now see themselves as above the law and grow more bold in their arrogant disregard of law, and on the consumer level by simply going about business as usual with windows while the world slowly starts to realize that having a computer doesn't mean constantly getting hit with a daily exploit.

Personally, if looking at their core product is any indicator, it looks like MS is already on the decline. I think in 2006 the public will be underwhelmed to license XP-redux and give a look at those 2ghz G4 iMacs running OS X Ocelot over at the Apple store...

Re:death by assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823665)

Personally, if looking at their core product is any indicator, it looks like MS is already on the decline.

MS's products have only gotten better, especially over the past 2-3 years.

Re:death by assumption (1, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823716)

"MS's products have only gotten better, especially over the past 2-3 years."

That's a statement of praise for MS fulfilling basic expectations. Of course it's better.

What I am referring to is yesterdays announcement of the cutting of many features from longhorn-leghorn which shows that they are having some MAJOR problems with Windows development.

Consider their marketing hype over .Net that they publicly announced Blackbird (longhorn) in 2000 as the pure .NET Windows OS. Managers bought into .Net because MS hyped all these nifty things that were in the works for OS's after XP. So 6 years since that announcement they will still be without the full meal deal on .NET as advertised... And even saying it could take a decade to deliver some of these things they hyped longhorn over. think that might make some major customers look elsewhere for a server/client solution? And what happens when it's shown that Longhorn-leghorn is just as insecure as XP especially after all that "security is job 1" crap that the Gatester huffed about?

capitalism--monopolies (5, Interesting)

Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823637)

It is my theory that capitalism, or more precisely free markets, lead to monopolies and oligopolies. As long as you keep introducing good products, have good marketing, have a lot of capital, keep trying hard, and/or have good employees, you will aways dominate. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, ExxonMobil, BP, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and others, will always dominate.

A lot of people in the tech industry, and in particular on Slashdot, are very anti-Microsoft. But the fact of the matter is that Microsoft has not done anything that other companies don't do on a regular basis. If anything, Microsoft is one of the better companies relative to its size (companies like Intel and IBM are far worse). If you think Microsoft is bad, you know nothing about Wal-Mart, ExonMobil, and others. A company like Walmart, for example, has far more power and is more monopolistic than Microsoft ever was. What you refer to as Microsoft's monopolistic behaviour is a total joke compared to the clout Wal-mart has over suppliers and consumers.

Sivaram Velauthapillai

Apu, Is That Really You...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823664)

OK, just checking...

Re:capitalism--monopolies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823700)

"As long as you keep introducing good products, have good marketing, have a lot of capital, keep trying hard, and/or have good employees, you will aways dominate."

So which is it?

Their products suck. It's true, no matter how much the M$ Certified suckers might scream.

Their marketing is straight from the Heinrich Himmler school of Social Development.

They DO have an awful lot of capital.

Their employees? You mean Steve Ballmer? Or does somebody besides Bill and Steve work at M$? Not that we've ever heard of anyway.

So it's money then...

The question is... (1)

zeruch (547271) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823655)

...when will they committ another small act of hari-kiri? Their death won't be by one grand mal act of stupidity (they have proven capable of at least flubbing through those) but will many small errors eventually provide enough drag to make them vulnerable to many attacks running in parallel (when you have as many enemies as MS does this is a real possibility with more of a "when" rather than "if" looming overhead...but what other acts of shitheaddedness will MS have to do to drive enough of those parties over the edge and into the breach?)

The new subscription model is an act of stupidity (-1, Redundant)

RoLi (141856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823718)

Because Microsoft maneuvered themsleves into a very difficult situation:

If they release often, customers will be pissed because of the big transition costs involved with every upgrade. Also, most customers don't need the upgrades anyway or do you know anybody who really needs any features of MS Office after Office97?

If they don't release often, customers will be pissed because they don't get anything for their money.

In this environment, the OSS-idea of "upgrade when you want for free" just became a lot more appealing.

SUN isn't really the threat anymore (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823659)

What this article misses is that SUN really isn't the threat they were, it's IBM. SUN is small beer, now look at IBM, Novell, and all the non-US/EU countries turning to alternative platforms. Look at Apple and how you can now buy a very nice and usable Mac for cheap PC money and drop all the MS platform problems. MS can only control the market if everyone agrees to it, they cannot really force upgrades, they cannot really force us all to use MS platforms. There will always be competitors and MS will just keep on being hated if they don't start to cooperate with standards and stop expecting to control everything.

Re:SUN isn't really the threat anymore (1)

surgeonsmate (633065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823674)

There will always be competitors and MS will just keep on being hated if they don't start to cooperate with standards and stop expecting to control everything.

Microsoft is hated so much that people keep on throwing serious money at it. Sounds like a good business strategy for success, going by the results, wouldn't you say?

Re:SUN isn't really the threat anymore (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823713)

They live by the old adage that it's safer to be feared than loved. And this is true, for a period of time.

The Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823670)

But the only way they can regain any honor is by seppuku.

Microsoft will die in the PC OS Market. (imho) (4, Interesting)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823675)

I think Microsoft already saw the writing on the wall, they are moving towards home appliances and entertainment. They are moving into music, video and games. HDTV will have Microsoft media format for recordings, Music will be some DRM'ed version, and video games are out in the form of the Xbox. There already into PDA's, Phones, and Tivo clones. Microsoft will be around in all forms of entertainment. The OS market is dead, its time to move towards the bigger, larger honey pots.

As for software, besides the XP OS so I can run video games, all most applications are open source or free. Mozilla, Thunderbird, putty, Winamp (free version), Open office, cygwin, opengaim, windows player classic. iTunes, PowerDVD and Nero are pay, but they could move to Linux easily enough.

Besides free software for PC, everything else costs for most entertainment. Xbox games, HDTV DVDs, DRM'ed CDs, whatever. Microsoft will be a monopoly in other markets.

the dark side (1)

Silas is back (765580) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823678)

if microsoft continues it's path of clouding everything with their money, it's only a matter of time till their suizide is complete.

trust me.

Re:the dark side (2, Insightful)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823725)

And that would be how ? Enlighten us !

its worse (1)

skymester (323871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8823698)

hmm, i think they tried suicide several times
nothing happened

Sun's Going to Cut 30% of Its Staff Not 9% (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8823709)

According to Linux Business Week [linuxworld.com] yesterday, Sun is going to cut not 9% of its staff (3,300) but 30% - all in the next 12 months. So Redmond basically just has to wait a year and...pouf!
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