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Microsoft's Annual Report Reveals OSS Mistakes

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the or-ignorance-possibly-willful dept.

Microsoft 348

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

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interesting.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461709)

So far, AIDS has killed more than 300,000 Americans. Why, after
so much time and money, are so many still dying?

One reason, according to a damning Wall Street Journal report,
is this: For 10 years, the government has been deliberately lying
to us about who is at risk of AIDS.

As early as 1987, Centers for Disease Control officials knew that
AIDS was likely to remain a disease of gay men and inner-city drug
users. Yet the same year, the nation's public health officials
embarked on a deliberate public-relations campaign to mislead the
American people into thinking that AIDS was spreading inexorably
into the mainstream.


Remember those TV ads featuring the Baptist minister's son, who
said, "If I can get AIDS, anyone can"? Turns out he was gay.
Remember the brochures featuring a blond, middle-aged woman with
AIDS? She was an intravenous drug user.

Surveys show that, after the PR campaign was in full swing, the
percentage of Americans who thought it "likely" AIDS would become
a full scale epidemic leaped from 51% to 69%. By 1991, most agreed
that married people who had an occasional affair had a substantial
risk of getting AIDS.

In reality, the government's own research showed that the risk of
getting AIDS from one act of heterosexual intercourse was less than
the chance of getting hit by lightening. This was the conclusion
that Michael Fumento reached years ago in his book The Myth of
Heterosexual AIDS, for which he was unjustly and shamefully reviled.

Even more remarkable, these government officials now publicly defend
their deceit. "We wanted to reduce the stigma," acknowledges a CDC
official. "As long as this was seen as a gay disease,...that pushed
the disease way down the ladder of people's priorities," admitted


What astonishing bureaucratic hubris! The first and most obvious
victims of the government's lies are the 40,000 or so Americans
who this year will become HIV-positive, overwhelmingly gay men or
poor, inner-city drug users and their sexual partners. According
to one model by epidemiologist James G. Kahn, each dollar spent on
high-risk populations prevents 50 to 70 times as many new infections
as the same money spread out among low-risk groups. Yet, of the
almost $600 million the federal government spends on AIDS prevention,
probably less than 10% is spent on high-risk groups.

If Kahn's model is correct, redirecting the $540 million now wasted
on spreading the myth of heterosexual AIDS to high-risk groups - mostly
gays and inner-city drug users - could wipe out new infections entirely.

The CDC knows the truth. Yet this year, its education program, "Respect
Yourself, Protect Yourself" is once again aimed at the general population.
Indeed, according to the Wall Street Journal, "A current focus of the
campaign is to discourage premarital sex among heterosexuals."

The ultimate casualty of the CDCs lies will be Americans' faith in public-
health officials, heretofore generally exempt from our growing distrust
in government.

Yet public health officials, afraid they couldn't honestly generate
support, deliberately frightened and deceived American taxpayers to get
them to cough up the dough. In private life, this would be known as
fraud - not only a serious sin, but a crime. In Washington, D.C., judging
from the ease and even pride with which public health officials now confess
their wrongdoing, it's business as usual.

Re:interesting.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461897)

who gives a fuck? until they start charging fags and niggers with hate crimes i see no reason to care. it's governmental endorsed racism so i feel that the niggers and fags should be punished with aids and economic crisis.

Re:interesting.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462087)

You are so incredibly brave arent you, micro dick?

News? (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461713)

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

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461789)

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

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

Re:News? (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461807)

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

Re:News? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462047)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:News? (-1, Offtopic)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462489)

Don't forget, we elected GWB TWICE.

Research for M$ includes Marketing. (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462355)

The last time I looked at one of their reports, Research was lumped in with Marketing so you really could not tell how much money they spent on "innovation". They may now list their real costs, but it does not matter because nothing original is evident in their software.

The company has long existed as a parasite. They used to brag about never entering anything but "mature markets" and doing so by purchasing "loss leaders". When it comes to original coding, they prefer to steal from other companies, BSD and other free software that has not been copyleft.

M$ is on the rocks and won't recover. People got tired of being ripped off and gave up on making money the M$ way. There's no one left to rob and M$ is incapable of doing the entire world's work. The future is free.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462393)

Like another posted said their research division is well known for producing nothing. I wouldn't blame the researchers because it's not exactly the researcher's job to make products.

In other words MS gets lots of patents, doesn't do anything with them and then threatens to sue anyone who tries to release an actual product around the same ideas.

Re:News? (1)

haltenfrauden27 (1338125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461791)

I kind of did. My expectation was they'd find some way to "embrace and extend" it, by getting somewhat involved in it.

Re:News? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461877)

I doubt that will happen while Ballmer is in charge. Why he is running the company is beyond me, but then again I'm not a billionaire so maybe I'm just doin' it wrong.

Re:News? (3, Interesting)

haltenfrauden27 (1338125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461887)

My guess is Ballmer won't be in charge for long. The guy just doesn't have what it takes. Either Bill will return or someone else will show up and take the reins.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461909)

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

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

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

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

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462029)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:News? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462217)

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

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

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

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462413)

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

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

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

Re:News? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462469)

Software patents are the problem. That and insane copyright laws. For example, if I was sued for downloading music, I should be sued at max for $5 per song, because you can usually find that song for $.99 somewhere online. The end of copyright wouldn't serve us any good, because even open source programs wouldn't have existed if not for some proprietary software, Linux was made to be like Unix which was proprietary, Firefox was born from Netscape which for many years wasn't free, etc.

Wow. (-1, Offtopic)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461723)

What a load of Frosty Piss that is.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461759)

Re:Wow. (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461781)


Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462319)

Microsoft is the root of all evil? No, that's religion [] (even if Dawkins doesn't like the name)

Open Source is poor (0, Flamebait)

B4light (1144317) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461729)

I don't see anything false about the two statements. 1) How can an opensource project fund any meaningful research, Sure they get donations to feed the guys in the basement with linux beards, but that's it. 2) Compiz made the multiple desktops, desktop cube thing, but did they make the minimize button? Maxamize,Windows, 2 button mouse, taskbar! Anyways when it comes down to it, MS, Apple and Linux all take things from eachother, but MS puts the most money into it obviously.

Re:Open Source is poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462455)

Slow down there youngling. Some of us had beards before there was Linux......

Microsoft Ain't Dead Yet (4, Interesting)

haltenfrauden27 (1338125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461731)

There's no question that they've made some missteps in this area, but I think the tales of their demise are very, very overstated. Microsoft still has an enormous install base, and I would absolutely expect them to try and apply the "embrace and extend" approach increasingly to open source. All they have to do is get more involved in coding for OSS projects, and they can change the entire nature of the situation.

Re:Microsoft Ain't Dead Yet (3, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462061)

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

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

Damn parasites (5, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461741)

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

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

Re:Damn parasites (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461829)

Neither the web browser or tabbed browsing originate from open source projects. I'm not saying that Microsoft is right saying that OSS never innovates but if you are going to debunk their claim I suggest sticking to fact.

Though that's not always necessary when talking about Microsoft on Slashdot to receive a favorable moderation.

Re:Damn parasites (5, Informative)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462137)

Yes, well they're not just wrong to say that FOSS never innovates, they've actually acquired patents bearing on innovations (probably) originally made by FOSS (such as the Enlightenment pager, fundamental aspects of RSS, ICCCM-like extended clipboard formats etc.) As far as I know they haven't yet used any of these patents to steal (no inverted commas) a FOSS developer's own invention and work, but it is not impossible or inconceivable that they might. Their claim that FOSS 'steals' or free rides on their copyrighted [wtf?] and patented "intellectual property" is simply despicable.

Re:Damn parasites (5, Informative)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462279)

Neither the web browser or tabbed browsing originate from open source projects.

False. Somewhere around here I've still got a spool with a copy of the NCSA server and Mosaic sources [] from way back when. And lookee here, you can still download Mosaic source for X Windows [] , version 1.2 in the directory called 'old'.

A quick read of the web's history [] , such as the Tim Berners-Lee book Weaving the Web [] , and you'd *learn* that the first web browser was, in fact, open-source.

That's what the internet was founded on, open principles, not proprietary, though proprietary wasn't ever excluded. Much of the internet's infrastructure was proprietary early on, and still is. But if you're going to assert that open source software is nicking code and patents from proprietary, let's see some evidence, eh?

Don't know about tabbed browsing, though it's plain for anyone to see that MS was late to that party, and brought with it a very clunky implementation.

Re:Damn parasites (5, Informative)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462157)

The parent post is right, Microsoft has incorporated BSD-derived code into its operating systems [] .

The web browser and web server were concepts and implementations that originated within the open-source community.

If MS is accusing the open-source community of absconding with its intellectual property, then why no compunction about incorporating same into their products?

Software *ideas* are just that, ideas. They should not be patented, or patentable, but that's just what's happened and has been encouraged by USPTO. Companies like MS (and many others) rode that bandwagon and have patents that one might call dubious.

Re:Damn parasites (1)

Standard User 79 (1209050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462257)

BSD? no, Microsoft is not referring to government code. In their 10-k they identify the open source business model as a competitive threat. They make no claims that the open source biz model is infringing on their IP. What they say is that products mimic their features (i.e. samba) results in reduced sales etc..

Re:Damn parasites (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462367)

I've got a question for any people who know about the BSD TCP/IP stack and the relationship to Microsoft.


In 1998 Cert issued an advisory about the TCP/IP stack in BSD [] but what's of note is that Microsoft isn't vulnerable.


So my question is whether they were still using a BSD derived stack at that time and if so whether anyone knows if the bug was fixed unknowingly or knowingly (eg, whether in refactoring the code they just happened to fix it OR whether they found a bug and kept quiet).

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


Thanks for any advice or comments,

Re:Damn parasites (2, Interesting)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462373)

he parent post is right, Microsoft has incorporated BSD-derived code into its operating systems [].

for those curious: []

Re:Damn parasites (4, Informative)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462385) []

Sorry bout that - looks like google filters out some of them. This should list (hopefully) all of them.

Re:Damn parasites (1, Informative)

th3rtythr33 (1191409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462391)

Tabbed browsing came from iBrowse, which is not open source. Mosaic was not open source. The IP stack was definitely not open source.

Extra Extra! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461747)

Extra Extra!

Slashdot spins Microsoft's spin! Zealous dorks incorrectly attribute and spread FUD about other zealous dorks! Film at 11!

Meow!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461749)

I hate everyone equally Microsoft included

Re:Meow!!! (0, Troll)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462099)

Meow, when I first read that, I thought, meow whats this about? Did you hate everyone before meow? or did something happen just meow to make you hate everything?

Meow I'm left pondering what hating everything means, if you hate everything equally, well meow, doesn't that mean you don't hate anything at all meow?

Answer meow, or later... on second thought, it doesn't matter at all meow.

I'm outta here meow... CHICKEN FUCKER!.

And vista was the product of research? (4, Funny)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461761)

That makes sense now. Leave peer review out of research and you get vista.

Re:And vista was the product of research? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461849)

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

Discussion Topics vs OSS Angst (4, Interesting)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462195)

I've noticed that stories regarding Microsoft or Apple have difficultly cultivating constructive debate. For example...

Apple topic - The iPod design is amazing, I really want one, but am concerned about DRM. (Score:-1, Flamebait)
Microsoft topic - vista suxors!!11!!1 (Score:5, Insightful)

Would it be possible for Slashdot to have two sections? One for discussion of topics, that present conclusions based upon stated facts and assumptions. And a second section for free expression of angst, like 'Bill Gates is the Borg-Devil' or 'I want to have Steve Jobs iBaby!'.

Get the Facts is TM M$FT. (1)

ibane (1294214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462427)

Slashdot can't do a supported fact based discussion because they would be sued by M$ for violating business method patents evident in the "Get the Facts" advertising campaign. I know, I know, there were no real facts presented in M$'s sponsored research, but the idea of objective conversation is still their IP. Judging from the Fine Quarterly Report, M$ people often confuse statements of angst with factual opinion. Any facts section would quickly be ruined by M$FT people writing things like, "You are all a bunch of pirates, we did this first, your work sucks, pay up, blah blah blah." What you have noticed is mostly this already.

Re:Get the Facts is TM M$FT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462467)

What the hell, twitter.

BSD Networking Stack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461771)

"Perhaps Microsoft has forgotten its own 'innovative' past copying of markets and technologies created by Apple and others."

Or how they pretty much lifted the BSD networking stack for Windows.

Re:BSD Networking Stack (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461995)

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Re:BSD Networking Stack (5, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462045)

What's wrong (or, at least, morally dubious) is that they fail to recognize what they did with the OSS-originated network stack...

MS has lost all sense of reality (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461773)

2) Open source projects don't innovate and instead mimic Microsoft's products.

They must think they invented tabbed browsing so as to not have to admit they aren't able to innovate enough to have thought of the idea on their own.

2 points? (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461785)

1) Open source companies don't invest in research and development and instead largely free-ride on Microsoft's patents and copyrights; and 2) Open source projects don't innovate and instead mimic Microsoft's products.

Those sound like the same point. Was it that way in the report or just in the summary... meh, not worth it to RTFA.

Re:2 points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462065)

Those points are not in the microsoft report.

Ad Hominem (1, Insightful)

StormShaman (603879) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461787)

Just because Micro$oft copies doesn't mean open source doesn't.

Re:Ad Hominem (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461859)

That's true and I don't think anyone's saying that isn't the case.

A good example is the GNU project, "GNU's Not Unix", need I say more? :-)

However the issue here is that like usual, the Microsoft FUD machine is doing it's best to make FOSS look like communism.

Re:Ad Hominem (0, Troll)

batrick (1274632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461895)

Learn what ad hominem means before you throw latin around moron.

Re:Ad Hominem (4, Interesting)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461905)

This is a very good point, but not one that will win favor from the MS-bashing crowd.

The truth of the matter is that much of the "Computer R&D" is incestuous and cannibalistic. Microsoft used BSD networking stack for Windows, and the whole "windowing" motif from Apple. Apple, in turn, got the windowing motif from Xerox. It would be difficult at best to say where the boys at MIT "stole" the idea for the X windowing system.

Some "borrowing" is necessary and understandable. Open Office and Microsoft Office are inextricably intertwined, but this is not necessarily because anyone "stole" from anyone else. This is because any suite of programs that perform the same fundamental functions is going to have some overlap on its functionality.

Microsoft's FUD to the side, yes, new things do come from the OSS community. Microsoft still hasn't implemented Windows over network connections like X does--instead, they use Remote Desktop, "stolen" from the VNC protocol. At the same time, Microsoft has a massive install base, and has become the de facto "standard," as much as we might wish it had not: Linux is still playing catch-up. I guess I don't see the need to respond to Microsoft's FUD with FUD of our own. After all, if it's wrong for them to do it, is it not also wrong for us?

Re:Ad Hominem (3, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462073)

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

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

Re:Ad Hominem (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462487)

Aside from the mouse, and icons, Apple really got very little from Xerox. The Xerox UI didn't have user positioned or sized windows. It didn't have the concepts of double clicking, or dragging. It didn't have the contextual menu bar that Apple added to the top of the screen, and instead relied on static buttons on the keyboard for pre-defined options. It used different desktop metaphors....

Xerox planted the seeds for the Desktop idea, but Apple and to an extent Microsoft, really fleshed out the idea and made it practical.

Compiz (5, Funny)

jadedoto (1242580) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461813)

I agree. Compiz-Fusion totally ripped Microsoft's patents to the desktop cube idea.

I just forgot how to enable it in Vista Ultimate...

Re:Compiz (2, Interesting)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462063)

Leave the desktop cube (which is rather useless, really) out. I seem to have forgotten how to change desktops in good 'ol 2D in Vista!

OpenSource innovations? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461821)

Outside of development tools what major innovations has OpenSource produced?

Re:OpenSource innovations? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461953)

Have you used Firefox?

Re:OpenSource innovations? (4, Funny)

Dr. Donuts (232269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462021)

Your posting on the internet asking such a question? The irony is strong with this one.

Re:OpenSource innovations? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462095)

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

Outside of that, nothing I guess.

Re:OpenSource innovations? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462267)

Outside of development tools what major innovations has OpenSource produced?

Oh, just...

Linux Kernel - one of the worlds most stable kernels

LaTeX - Publishing industry standard

Apache - Web server, hosts large percentage of the internet

Blender - Need I say more?

Amarok - as above.

I could keep going...

Microsoft is right, you are all wrong. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461863)

Microsoft's innovations stand on their own.
Their accomplishments with active directory, for instance, are wonderful. I'd like to see the open source community come up with anything like it.
Also, their networking stack is rock solid. It would take years for the open source community to come up with anything as polished.

From the beginning, Microsoft has been an innovative company. MS Dos, Basic, I could go on and on. Their contributions to original research have truly advanced the human condition.

Open source projects are simply parasites on the innovations of microsoft. Bah!

Mod parent funny (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461923)

At least they intended it to be I'm sure.

Re:Microsoft is right, you are all wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462075)

Anyone who cannot see the irony in the parent needs to read-up on Microsoft's history.

Re:Microsoft is right, you are all wrong. (1)

Tim99 (984437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462149)

Is that you Mike Cox?

for example: Bob (1)

A New Normalcy (1190543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462293)


Re:Microsoft is right, you are all wrong. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462523)

You mean like LDAP, NDS and their progenitors?

Microsoft is last to the party again.

Re:Microsoft is right, you are all wrong. (2, Informative)

weeb0 (741451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462535)

For the active directory, it's based on the nds tree of novel. Novel sent some of their engineer to help microsoft with their active directory ... Is it something that we can call innovative?

nothing to see here (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461875)

A 10K report is *supposed* to have a section where the CEO lays out, in gory detail, external threats and situations on the horizon that have a significant chance of derailing their revenue plan for the next year.

What Ballmer is saying here is that

  1. competitors don't have to attack Microsoft broadside, as they have the luxury of going after a niche market
  2. they have the fast follower's advantage of being able to use Microsoft's products, rather than having to do the early R&D themselves (the same advantage that Microsoft once had against Apple, Lotus, and Netscape)
  3. some of the most dangerous competitors are in open source, because they can't be finished off the same way that Microsoft crushed its competition in the '80s and '90s.

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

It's all about the patents. (1)

Inominate (412637) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461893)

Microsoft knows that a lot of open source products overlap their patents, many of which would be dubious in court. MS is positioning itself to justify using it's patents to try and crush competing open source projects.

Re:It's all about the patents. (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462175)

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

Re:It's all about the patents. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462499)

Look at it from their perspective though. All those companies are going open source, 'cause they can't successfully compete with Microsoft.

In my case... (1)

wshwe (687657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461907)

MS has made more money on me than if I had bought a PC with Windows pre-installed on it. I'm running a full retail version of Windows XP on my Macbook via Bootcamp. Everyone in our family is running either Office for Windows or Mac or both. BTW I also use Ubuntu and Windows 2000 via Vmware Fusion.

Just use pirated software (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462055)

Do what most Chinese folks do...You know what, and do not get caught. There are tones of tools to get around bumps M$ puts along the way. This way, M$will never make a dime off you. How about that?

Just make sure the folks at BSA do not pay you a visit.

Re:Just use pirated software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462229)

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

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

Re:Just use pirated software (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462331)

But, either way, MS wins. MS can tolerate piracy enough that if everyone in the world just bought one MS product, and pirated the rest, they would still be rich. When you have a business that basically is 0% cost, and 100% profit (no, it doesn't cost even $1 to burn a CD). Lets see how MS makes money, they get lucky, and can write a simple emulator to write a BASIC interpreter for an early computer and manage to sell it to the company, then they lie to IBM, get lucky again, buy some badly-coded OS, change all instances of DOS to MS-DOS, and sell it to IBM, then, after seeing Mac, they reverse engineer a Mac-like GUI for DOS and sell it as Windows, they then use illegal business practices to kill off any competition, then with a monopoly they kill off the browser market, and then use patents and SCO to attempt to take down the newest competitor, (Linux), and even though Linux and OS X are much superior OSes, via the monopoly position they have, they lock everyone into proprietary formats that will only work on Windows, so everyone buys it. The end.

Original Wording (1)

quarrel (194077) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461917)

The originally proposed wording:

"Open source means you should sell your shares."

Just got reworked to make it easier to read.


Soda Pop v. Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24461967)

Ya gotta love Balmer.

No wonder MS is so fsck'ed! They think OSS is free as in Soda Pop!

It's free as in BEER monkey-boy!

Give them MS lackeys some free beer and see how their programming and debugging skilz improve. (Not intended as a joke -- it could only make them better.)

Re:Soda Pop v. Beer (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462067)

Like this [] ?

RTFR (4, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#24461973)

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

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

Very interesting read.

Reality check? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462005)

I fail to see where Microsoft makes any "mistakes" in its filing. The statement the company made were, as far as I can tell, correct. Without making judgment calls on R&D models, it's fair to say that the proprietary-versus-open source methods are very different, and that open source products benefit from the fact that their research costs *are* distributed amongst the various contributing developers.

The filing never says that OSS companies don't spend a great deal on R&D, nor does it say that Microsoft's R&D (ie. feature development and coding) hasn't been influenced by outside factors. Therefore, I fail to see how there are any mistruths spoken here.

Keep in mind that this is SEC filing, for goodness sake, and that the questionable sections are intended to be simple, concise analyses of the competition and a few differentiating factors between them and Microsoft. I think it does that just fine.

With all the complaining we do here about the FUD inflicted on us by megacorporations, I am rather embarrassed to see us using the very same tacticts with this sort of story.

Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24462049)

Yes. Nothing Open Source or non-Microsquish is ever creative. Remember: LaTeX=MS ripoff, KDE4 library integration = Vista developer ideas, Linux Kernel = NT Clone, wcalc = Windows Calculator, Unix based command system = MS DOS ... ad nauseam.


Also, if they're measuring our research by the amount of money we put in... Well remember that we have lots of research for free.


Deliberate misinformation rather than ignorance (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462071)

The two statements from Microsoft in the summary is just their usual FUD. Spreading FUD doesn't mean the originator is ignorant, though.

pure narcissism (4, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462105)

Thankfully, most observers are able to see through this particular line of nonsense at this point. Sadly, however, it's likely that Ballmer and other 'softies actually believe it. They're so narcissistic that they really do believe that Microsoft is the epicenter of innovation, and that it really is impossible for good ideas to come from anywhere other than Redmond.

In fact, many open source projects and products use Microsoft as a reference point for how not to design software. Call it a second mover advantage if you like.

Re:pure narcissism (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462191)

Wow, did you used to work there, too?

Three years ago, I became an unwilling MSFT employee via acquisition (don't worry, I didn't stay and remain ideologically pure ), and that's *exactly* how many Microsoft employees think. It's not surprising and it's not their fault, considering how much effort and money Microsoft spends on propaganda to tell them so. The only place I've ever lived that had a propaganda drive like MSFT HQ was a communist country with huge party banners on many street corners.

Re:pure narcissism (3, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462273)

Or Apple HQ?

No mention of free software (0, Offtopic)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462113)

10 mentions of "open source" vs 0 mentions of "free software". Discuss.

Open source is evil says Microsoft (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462147)

Such statements come from the company that has been so many times declared by Novell a benefactor and the only reason for its economic growth.

Thats not an excuse (-1, Flamebait)

BackBox (1186843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462173)

"Perhaps Microsoft has forgotten its own 'innovative' past copying of markets and technologies created by Apple and others"

If they copied ideas from Apple how is open source community any different when it blatently copies Microsoft products?
Open office is a bad replica of Microsoft Office.
Sharp Develop is a bad replica of Visual Studio.
Firefox 3 search bar and navigation button interface is derived from that of IE.
Linux desktop are inharently trying to copy Windows day by day.

Open source companies do not have enough funding to invest in RnD and thats true. There IS RnD done in OS community but not as much as Google, Yahoo or Microsoft does.

Sometimes its just good to accept your short comings and try to improve yourself instead of continuely throwing mud at others for pointing them out.

Re:Thats not an excuse (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462261)

Open office is a bad replica of Microsoft Office.

Remember how hard it was getting people to switch from a CLI to a new GUI back when the first Macs were coming out? Getting people to migrate to Windows from DOS? It was hard. Now change the interface of someone's most used program, it is the same thing over again. Plus, OOo looks nothing like Office 2007, and that is part of the reason it is being adopted.

Sharp Develop is a bad replica of Visual Studio.

Again, people use familiar things.

Firefox 3 search bar and navigation button interface is derived from that of IE.

There are only a certain number of ways to improve something. For once IE got something somewhat right, so the Firefox developers took that and changed it. Guess what? The tabs in IE 7 are similar to Firefox's, which are similar to Opera's. And as for the UI, it mostly has stayed the same from Netscape onwards, and just about every browser has adopted it.

Linux desktop are inharently trying to copy Windows day by day.

Ummm... Yah. Wrong. First, take a default install of Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distros, you get, 2 taskbars, not like Windows, you get a package management tool, not like Windows, you get pre-installed programs for advanced image editing, word processing, etc. not like Windows. Ok, sure, you have a button on your window manager to close, minimize or maximize your window, but that is about where the similarities end.

And that isn't even dealing with the technical differences.

Yes, but it's the superficial people _see_ (4, Interesting)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462205)

Compatibility gets confused with copying. And when you know nothing about the history of computing, well, "UNIX? That's like DOS, right?" Because the GUIs can be made similar to Windows, because menus like OpenOffice are made similar to Office for ease of transition, because compatible file formats are often read and written, people who know nothing about the underlying structure of computers or the history of innovations can logically, if incorrectly, conclude from their experience with Windows from the earlier '90s that linux _must_ be a copy of Windows in the '00s.

Everyone has their own minifridge (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462237)

They must drink alot of soda in Redmond.

In response to... (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462283)

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

I think Microsoft is absolutely right here. I mean if you see this story [] about what they did to BlueJ I think you'd get a better picture of what I mean.

Pot, meet Kettle.

What innovation (4, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462303)

For the most part, MS has bought what is mostly mature technology and made it accessible to the mass market. This is useful, but not innovation. Most of it's problems come from the fact that it is not a super high tech company. It is a medium tech company that provides good components for inexpensive solutions to common problems. This is the second problem. MS does not provide solutions. It is up to third parties to hack together solution to common problems from proprietary MS components and commodity third party components. This can be an efficient method to problem solve, but can be expensive as the MS proprietary solutions are becoming less competitive, and the cost savings are increasingly coming from third party commodity products, products that can run non-proprietary software. A MS certified team to make everything work is not cheap either.

So what MS is and has been saying is that it acquired the IP fair in square, and is properly selling it on the market, while others are just copying. Let us not dwell on the fact that is where MS was 20 years ago when Apple acquired the WIMP interface fair and square and MS copied it to run on cheaper hardware, which let us remember that Compaq created at no small expense fair and square. No, let's just look at the claims as they stand using a classic example, SQL

SQL server was aquired acquired from sybase. Is there technology here that MS can claim was part of that deal, and stolen by the OSS community. I think not. SQL was developed by IBM and what is now Oracle, and was standardized, I believe, in the mid 80's. The two big OSS competitors, mSQL and PostreSQL were both independently developed by teams concurrently with the Sybase product and opensourced, partly or otherwise, by their creator. I am sure that both not include features that MS SQL has, but I would also guess that Oracle or IBM has the features first.

In the end MS problem is simply that they are not 2-3 years ahead of the curve. When this happened to SGI, they went bankrupt. A firm simply cannot charge a premium for this years technology. In the case of software, this is because the OSS people can do the same thing, for free. MS Office is simply too mature to be a profit center. MS Server is simply relatively too low tech. Even the X Box is not at the front of the pack, at least not by more than six months.MS has some traction through collaboration, and they can continue to make money there, but complaining about the loss os MS Windows market share is silly. They had the chance the database file system, but for some reason they did not provide enough resources. This in itself proves that they are not innovative.

MS will lose customers because they are lazy. They will continue to have enterprise customers, they will continue to have the gaming market. We will see the general desktop and server market move away from them unless they come up with something big or go back to their roots as the cheap solution. We see this in the emerging $100-$200 portable market. If this will provide the growth the stock market wants is yet to be seen.

EXTRA! EXTRA! (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462381)


In a surprising twist, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted yesterday that Free Software is the cause of better than average health for Microsoft employees. "Free software means no free soda" is the new catch cry at the Redmond, WA software powerhouse.

"We used to offer our developers free soda, and never thought about the health consequences", said Ballmer while rocking on a designer chair. "Then one day, one of our employees installed Linux on his workstation, which also happened to run the in-house Visual Basic control panel that overrides all the networked soft drink machines on the campus. Suddently, people couldn't get their Mountain Dew anymore, unless they actually paid for it themselves".

Ballmer went on to explain that the programmer who wrote the soda control software had left years ago, and nobody could replace him. Soft drinks were left in the machines for months and morale went down at first among the employees, but soon picked up again when a drop in the monthly rate of deaths from heart failure was noticed. "Free software is like a virus that actually helps you", Ballmer said. "With the money we saved in ambulance fees, I bought every employee a free yo-yo, and even had enough money left over for a new chair. Way to go, Free Software, we love ya!" Former CEO Bill Gates declined to comment.

HA!!! (5, Insightful)

josmar52789 (1152461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462429)

"open source software doesn't innovate"

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

Oh by the way, the Internet itself is an open source effort and I can't imagine anything more innovative or groundbreaking than the most advanced communications medium ever created!

Vista is actually pretty cool. (-1, Offtopic)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24462441)

I'm actually running Windows Vista Business SP1 in a VirtualBox OSE on Ubuntu Linux and I have to say, I actually rather prefer it to Windows XP. I don't think the UAC is worse than Ubuntu's "type in password all the time.". And, the polish of Vista is pretty darned good. I think Vista looks -better- than Ubuntu does and I for one do not miss the cute animals that littered XP.

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