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Microsoft Acknowledges Linux Threat To Windows

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the credit-where-due dept.

Microsoft 348

angry tapir sends along coverage from Good Gear Guide of a recent Microsoft !0-K SEC filing: "Microsoft for the first time has named Linux distributors Red Hat and Canonical as competitors to its Windows client business in its annual filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The move is an acknowledgment of the first viable competition from Linux to Microsoft's Windows client business, due mainly to the use of Linux on netbooks, which are rising in prominence as alternatives to full-sized notebooks. ... 'Client faces strong competition from well-established companies with differing approaches to the PC market,' Microsoft said in the filing. 'Competing commercial software products, including variants of Unix, are supplied by competitors such as Apple, Canonical, and Red Hat.'"

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This Is News??!!! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950669)

A throwaway line in a 10-K report which nobody reads or takes seriously is given a front page news story on slashdot??

Are you guys really this desperate to drum up the anti-Microsoft pagehits?

Re:This Is News??!!! (4, Insightful)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951145)

Are you guys really this desperate to drum up the anti-Microsoft pagehits?

Posted by kdawson on Tue August 04, 20:46

In short, yes.

Re:This Is News??!!! (1, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951373)

I dunno I like this

'Competing commercial software products, including variants of Unix, are supplied by competitors such as Apple, Canonical, and Red Hat.'"

Is it me or is there a subtle jab a Richard "GNU is not Unix" Stallman there. Is it possible that they hate him so much they are trolling him in a SEC filing. Or are they trying to troll Apple by pointing out that (unlike Cutler's highly succesful NT project) their Copland kernel project failed and they ended up using a BSD kernel from Nextstep. Is the idea that their enemies will read this and be driven into chair hurling rage that will sap their productivity.

I'd like to think so.

Antitrust avoidance (5, Insightful)

pasamio (737659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950671)

This isn't an acknowledgement of Linux, its something to use as ammo to prove that they don't have a monopoly. Don't get the warm fuzzies over Microsoft acknowledging Linux because its just marketing and politics.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950723)

I'm no Microsoft fan, but I'd say that does prove they aren't a monopoly. (They're just a near-monopoly.)

Re:Antitrust avoidance (5, Insightful)

lamadude (1270542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950771)

A monopoly does not necessarily mean that you have no competitors.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (2, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950825)

Not according to my dictionary...

1. Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: "Monopoly frequently ... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals" (Milton Friedman).
2. Law. A right granted by a government giving exclusive control over a specified commercial activity to a single party.
3.
a. A company or group having exclusive control over a commercial activity.
b. A commodity or service so controlled.
4.
a. Exclusive possession or control: arrogantly claims to have a monopoly on the truth.
b. Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled: showed that scientific achievement is not a male monopoly.

Unless you think 'exclusive' doesn't mean 'exclusive'...

Re:Antitrust avoidance (5, Insightful)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950891)

In the real world and for anti-trust legislation, you aren't required to have 100% market share to have a monopoly. The fact is, Microsoft were found to have one, and they aren't in a much different position now, as far as Windows installed based goes.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951043)

Maybe the more meaningful part is the 'control' part.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

fryjs (1456943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951169)

What is the standard companies are measured against to determine if they are monopoly or not? 90% market share? What ever 'feels' about right? How can one avoid crossing anti-trust laws if one cannot know when they will apply or not?

Re:Antitrust avoidance (4, Insightful)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951357)

The real kicker is what can the company try and coax/cajole/force other companies / people to do based on their desire/want/need to get their product.

In the case of M$ Winbloze, they had the gall (and it worked) to demand that computer manufacturers buy 1 license of their product for every computer they sold, regardless of the O.S. it was distributed with.

They did this with a plethora of other currently existing and now extinct computer manufacturers.

They then continued to grab anything that they thought could entice users, and bundle it into the operating system. gui text editors, word processors, games, disk degragmentation, disk compression, networking, to name just a few...

They buddied up to software houses, talking about improving their products, only to release their own competition of said products within a fairly short development cycle.

They stole websites and product names from other companies, by threatening lawsuits, just so they could use the name. (A quick search can find at least one - look for a product with M$ main OS name, and defender in it)

They embedded their own borked web browser, then made the automatic update/patch processes only work with theirs, disallowing any 3rd party browser from being used to simplify fixing/patching their OS.

They took international standards and bastardized them, and released them as their own, under their own lock and key product names / tools - usually breaking them utterly.

They ran roughshod over the international standards boards across the world to force (in any way they could) their standard down everyone's throats, without it even really working, or having a truly definitive definition of said standard.

Those and literally thousands of other examples are the reason that a company like M$ can be considered to be monopolistic regardless of the number of competitors they have.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

Important Remark (1604945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951077)

Even if exclusive means exclusive, it lacks a definition of a commodity or service. Is an operating system with a browser one commodity, or is it two? How about an operating system with a TCP/IP stack, or support for USB ports. Is that one commodity, or are they several? Every producer of anything has a monopoly, given a tight enough definition of the product.
I have a total monopoly on writing this message!

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951201)

You could have googled a legal definition. I'll note that "from collusive agreements" fits MS exactly.

"An economic advantage held by one or more persons or companies deriving from the exclusive power to carry on a particular business or trade or to manufacture and sell a particular item, thereby suppressing competition and allowing such persons or companies to raise the price of a product or service substantially above the price that would be established by a free market."

Even in Al Capone's Chicago, other people produced and sold alcohol. Al still had a monopoly.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Monopoly [thefreedictionary.com]

You can't possibly believe that Microsoft got where it is today by embracing "free trade". How many individual companies did they bankrupt or otherwise run out of business, often times with the mere threat of a lawsuit that the smaller company couldn't afford to fight?

Re:Antitrust avoidance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951205)

Given the massive ubiquity of the Windows operating systems, I would think it reasonable to consider, "the ability to run software written for Windows" as a commodity service. Obviously Microsoft does indeed exercise exclusive control over this.

What market? (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951433)

The "market share" of Linux is hard to define, in any case. Sure, sales of RedHat or other commercial distros can be counted, or you could make a case (maybe) for using the LinuxCounter stats, but the simple fact is that there are many who simply download a distro and distribute it ad lib, which is sort of the whole point of free software. We will never really know how many users are running Linux.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (0)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951363)

A monopoly does not necessarily mean that you have no competitors.

yes it does. wtf?

Re:Antitrust avoidance (3, Interesting)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950953)

Would you be happier if they were using the term oligopoly [wikipedia.org] ? Then you could chuck Apple in with MS and it would be blazingly accurate.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951123)

I think(hope) you're being funny. The use of the word
prove[s] is my hint.

Shareholder trust advice (4, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950743)

It's more of an indication that they want to discharge their obligations in reporting threats to their business from competitors. The stock exchange and rules for publicly traded securities require this sort of disclosure to holders of a company's stock. I think it's purely a matter of adhering to their obligations for honest reporting to the people who own them. NTSHMA.

Re:Shareholder trust advice (4, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950789)

I think it can serve both purposes, if played right.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950749)

I don't think your average Linux zealot will get warm fuzzes, but rather a raging hard-on. They've warped computers and software into something of a battle between forces of good verses evil on a level that could inspire it's own Star Wars sequel. They will use this as proof their crusade has the "Dark side" worried. They are so like children.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (2, Interesting)

fleton (1612167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950779)

Use the Linux Luke, use the Linux. I agree that Micro$oft is using Linux as a pawn in their game to make a "legal" monopoly, they have done it before in previous anti-trust lawsuits so this really is not that new of news.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (2, Funny)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950925)

Yeah, but it'll come back to bite them when 2010 is the year of the Linux desktop.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

fleton (1612167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951225)

I hope 2010 will be the year, I have been a Linux user for 2 years and I love every second of it.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951307)

For me, 2001 was the year of Linux on my desktop (exclusively). What others say about 'the year' is really irrelevant, isn't it?

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951005)

Darth Gates: "Linus, I am you father." Linus Torvalker: "Noooooooooooooooooooo!"

Re:Antitrust avoidance (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951071)

They are so like children.

We are not ... you big poopy-head.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950761)

Very good point. The true indicator of Microsoft considering itself to have real competition is when it starts pricing its products competitively.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950833)

That's not possible without competition to define the true value of the software. A big chunk of Microsoft's business model has always been to hide the price from the actual customers by bundling their software in with hardware so that most of the end users don't even know what it cost them.

The problem with pretending that any Linux distro is a competitor to anything is that none of the Linux distro's have a viable economic model. Living on charity doesn't cut it for real programmers.

My suggestion of a new economic model for open source software is 'reverse auction charity shares'. The wannabe programmers would sell a certain number of shares to pay for the effort of the project, and start work once it was funded. The reverse auction part is that they could sell extra shares at decreasing costs. It's still charitable since their profits are not increasing and since the finished software becomes part of the public domain, but the wannabe users have an incentive to "sell" the software to their friends so that everyone gets a lower price per share.

You could actually extend the model to other forms of charity. For example, PBS could sell shares for various programs and possible programs so the donors would help them decide what gets on the are. Political parties could auction shares in politicians so their funding would be visible and linked to the public rather than done underground by lobbyists.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951291)

> The problem with pretending that any Linux distro is a competitor to anything is that none of the Linux distro's have a viable economic model. Living on charity doesn't cut it for real programmers.

There are currently an estimated 1.5 million equivalent-full-time developers working on Linux/FOSS. Regardless if you believe it or not, they are in fact perfectly real.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

CountOfJesusChristo (1523057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950895)

How big of a price-cut do OEMs get for Windows XP on netbooks again?

Re:Antitrust avoidance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950921)

There is nothing to compete with.

On one hand we have Linux/BSD which is free, which you can't compete with. On the other hand, we have OSX which is cheap, but bound to very specific hardware, so it's not really in competition.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951261)

That's the most asinine statement I've ever heard.

Our Windows licenses are cheaper than our Redhat licenses and always have been. By your definition, Redhat "has no real competition". Please.

Re:Antitrust avoidance (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950807)

Don't get the warm fuzzies over Microsoft acknowledging Linux because its just marketing and politics.

Oops. I already fapped. Is there any way to take that back? Maybe if I adopt a kitten?

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950931)

Not anti-trust avoidance at all.

Havent you been reading?!?

Microsoft is accusing Linux of cyber-bullying and will use this to have linux outlawed in the US, Germany and the UK.

another diabolical move.

a few millions to Apple will take care of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951341)

>This isn't an acknowledgement of Linux, its something to use as ammo to prove that they >don't have a monopoly

That's why Apple is there.
Heck, that's why those millions were pumped into Apple, not out of some kind of generosity but rather out of a need to have an option even if its a limited option (which is the best kind for MS).

Re:Antitrust avoidance (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951349)

Laughably, acknowledgment changes nothing. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't party for the blue skies above us!

"Look, we dont own the market, really!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950715)

Just looking for excuses to claim they are not a monopoly. Nothing to see here, move along.

According to UNIX.org (1)

vfs (220730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950717)

If only there was a Linux that was actually UNIX certified by The Open Group...

http://www.unix.org/what_is_unix/single_unix_specification.html [unix.org]

Re:According to UNIX.org (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950867)

... and why does that matter? Linux is clearly not "Unix" (and GNU's Not Unix)

I don't see Free/Open/Net BSDs on those lists either.

Most of the software available compiles with the Gnu toolchain. The GNU base system (coreutils etc.) isn't exactly the same as on most Unix variants either. Use it on its own merits.

I hear shit like this from Solaris snobs all the time.

Re:According to UNIX.org (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951399)

Linux snob disses Solaris snob.... lmfao.

You guys are a spectacle. I guess microsoft is like a budweiser, then?

keep fighting each other, it only makes people like your OS less. Try understanding and unity... see where that takes you.

Re:According to UNIX.org (4, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951487)

It matters because as long as GNU/Linux isn't standardised, and can subtly change behaviour between releases, you don't have a stable platform to target. If you're developing against the UNIX 03 specification, you know that your application will behave as expected on any of these systems [opengroup.org] . Stability and standardisation means a lot when supportability is a major consideration.

Re-confirmed (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950725)

This is the second major occurance of such an acknowledgment.
I think that within two years we may see a tipping point where Microsoft will certainly NOT be the "the only company that does..." from the standpoint of management who refuse anything that doesn't have a Microsoft sticker. Consumers are well on their way to this, though there might be a situation where if it isn't Microsoft and it isn't Apple then its still "not worth knowing about".

Re:Re-confirmed (0, Redundant)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951489)

Dude, can I have some of what you are smoking? Seriously dude, the OS ain't got shit to do with anything. Hell I work with Windows users all day and frankly they can't tell you which Windows they are using (Unless it is Vista, which is usually followed by a stream of curses) but they CAN tell you what they like to run. They may not know the names, but they can point out the pretty little box in the Wally World.

And THAT is why Linux is boned. Do you HONESTLY think when Joe can't pop in his CD and get Quicken to work he is gonna think "Oh, I need to find a FLOSS alternative" nope, that box is gonna go back because it is "broke". And NO major software companies are gonna support Linux because of the "No DRM" rule, even though we all know the crap is cracked usually before it even hits the shelves. But with no DRM at all, even Joe can copy a Linux software CD.

So sorry pal, but no Adobe or EA or Quicken or Quickbooks? No Dice. And please don't say Wine, because that CLI crap is less likely to happen than Joe solving cold fusion in his basement. If Wine "just works" then great, but most of the time it is CLI land, and that won't fly with Joe. Better luck next time.

... and have for many years in their SEC reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950785)

That's the way the cookie turns. That 0.05% desktop can DOUBLE in a few years, and then it's 0.10% desktop share. O-nozzzzz !!

Re:... and have for many years in their SEC report (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950875)

And doubling each year, it would only be 9 years before a quarter of the market was on Linux. Not saying that is likely, but no one really expected Firefox to become the standard it has. One should never judge their competition solely on market share, because it cannot be relied upon for the future.

This TFA is so sfull of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951449)

Netbooks? Riiight. B&M don't sell linux netbooks because they get returned. Those that do sell and don't come back get windows put on it. Don't delude yourselves and more than that glue makes you. But (fumes...overpowering) I think you're right. 2009 IS THE YEAR OF THE LINUX !! Yowza !!

how is this news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950815)

WGA, alreaydy checks for wine registry keys
http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/05/02/17/1318212.shtml?tid=125&tid=109&tid=106

plus I recall seeing a "presentation" somewhere around the web (which claimed to be from microsoft), which placed Linux as a much bigger threat than apple to their business...

and there's enumerable accounts of anti competitive behaviour towards linux, such as getthefacts (to those who remember that campaign, which attempted to place linux as inferior), and a mentality of open source (or was it just the GPL?) being a cancer.

so how's this even news?
must be a slow day...

Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, SCO (4, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950819)

Watch this sort of announcement very, very carefully. Microsoft loves to describe Linux as a 'UNIX variant'. In both its basic kernel and its accumulated software bundles, it's as valid as calling Windows XP "DOS". (For those new to Microsoft history, XP is actually a Windows NT descendant, which is in many ways descended from VMS and many of its fundamentals stolen by David Cutler from DEC, where David wrote much of VMS and was hired to work on NT.)

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (4, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950899)

"Microsoft loves to describe Linux as a 'UNIX variant'."

Microsoft is right. Linux is Unix. It's why I started using it. Can it legally be called Unix? No. But if it walks like a duck, etc, it's a duck. Linux is after all a clone of Unix. It's Unix in all but name. A clone of a dog isn't a cat after all... it's a copy of a dog. Comparing Unix and Linux to DOS and XP isn't a good comparison. The former is an OS and a copy of that OS. The later is an earlier OS and it's evolutionary descendant, and XP is more of a nephew to DOS than a son, considering that NT was conceived as a different OS than DOS... it was just built to be largely compatible with DOS.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951133)

> Linux is Unix

Wrong !!

Linux is _NOT_ Unix.
Linux is _like_ Unix.
Both are Posix, Linux sometimes less so.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951347)

Wrong !!

Linux is _NOT_ Unix.

Do you believe in anything that can form a recursive acronym?

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951279)

By your analogy:

1. clone the dog
2. clone the clone of a dog, but make some vast genetic modifications
3. ???
4. Linux

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (4, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951451)

Linux is not Unix. It's a close approximation. For one, the base APIs are not fully POSIX compliant. Right there is a big hurdle to being Unix. If someone were to pony up the cash for certification (RedHat, Novell, Cannonical), there are issues yet to be fixed before it can be called UNIX, so it's not just a question of certifying it.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950943)

Isn't Linux a Unix variant?

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951095)

No, but "Windows NT is a better UNIX than UNIX." Linux is a minix-like monolithic kernel operating system.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (2, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951135)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Torvalds and Tanenbaum get in a famous fight over the fact that being a "monolithic kernel operating system" is precisely unlike Minix's microkernel solution?

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (2, Informative)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951473)

Yes, they did. Here's Linus' announcement of his "minix-like" kernel: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.minix/msg/2194d253268b0a1b

And here is the famous Tannenbaum/Torvalds "Linux-is-Obsolete" debate: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.minix/browse_frm/thread/c25870d7a41696d2

" Most older operating systems are monolithic, that is, the whole operating
      system is a single a.out file that runs in 'kernel mode.' This binary
      contains the process management, memory management, file system and the
      rest. Examples of such systems are UNIX, MS-DOS, VMS, MVS, OS/360,
      MULTICS, and many more.

      The alternative is a microkernel-based system, in which most of the OS
      runs as separate processes, mostly outside the kernel. They communicate
      by message passing. The kernel's job is to handle the message passing,
      interrupt handling, low-level process management, and possibly the I/O.
      Examples of this design are the RC4000, Amoeba, Chorus, Mach, and the
      not-yet-released Windows/NT."

Though I've heard here and in a few other places that NT/Windows is a microkernel, I've also heard teh opposite. No opinion there, as I'm not a kernel hacker, just a PHB.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951157)

And Minix is Unix clone, which would basically make Linux (assuming GNU is included) a Unix clone as well.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951479)

...that's what the SCO lawyers want you to think. :P

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951143)

No. Linux is a kernel that implements some common Unix features (like a single root filesystem), but not all of them. When you run GNU on top of Linux, you get a Unix clone, but there are plenty of people who are not running GNU on top of Linux, or who are only using small pieces of GNU like the linker. Even though the OLPC is running Linux, and has a fairly significant portion of GNU, I would hardly say that an OLPC is running a Unix variant or clone -- it is running what is best described as Sugar/Linux + 1/2GNU.

If anything is to be called a Unix variant, it is GNU, since GNU implements (mostly) everything that is "Unix."

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (0, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950963)

Go ahead and throw the troll mod on me, but Linux is not even a UNIX variant, its a UNIX wanna be. OS X is a UNIX variant, Solaris is a UNIX variant, Linux isn't.

I realize this is going to piss a bunch of you off and they'll be a bunch of posts about how it is using some silly BS justification that simply doesn't hold true.

You should be happy its been elevated to that level in their eyes.

Oh Good God... Cutler "stole"? (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951185)

which is in many ways descended from VMS and many of its fundamentals stolen by David Cutler from DEC

If David Cutler stole Window NT from DEC, then Linus Torvalds stole Linux from Tannenbaum... or for that matter, SCO...

I just love how the FOSS community routinely rips someone else that borrows, but then has no problem supporting their own borrowing.....

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951431)

Watch this sort of announcement very, very carefully. Microsoft loves to describe Linux as a 'UNIX variant'.

They do? News to me.

Re:Variant of UNIX according to their sockpuppet, (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951453)

Stole everything but the stability? NT was a lot better than 95/98/ME but hasn't come close to the reliability of VMS.

        Brett

Forget Linux, cloud computing is their next enemy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28950837)

In 2003 Microsoft wanted everyone to have a 'trusted computer' to make sure the owner couldnt fuck with the proprietary software. of course many software companies and Google realised that wasn't going to happen so they decided to push SaaS and have everything run remotely through a horrible, JavaScript laden web interface.

but i tell ya its better than the alternative MS was pushing. still because the good old enemy that is MS is being cut down to size does not mean it's a good idea to give up on free desktop-based client software. Web apps and other remote apps are not the best way and certainly not the most efficient method but it is the new way of making money from software.

As the owner of a webb app you have total control over when it is accessed, you can see everything clients are doing, you can put as many ads on it as you like and nobody will slate you for distributing 'adware' or 'spyware'. As long as you do everything server-side you have almost 0 chance of your stuff being pirated. This is better than DRM, its better than trusted computing and all without the invasive 'get out of my PC' sentiment associated with Microsoft's client-side type of security

Re:Forget Linux, cloud computing is their next ene (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951371)

Someone wanting to run software a different way than you do doesn't make them your enemy.

Steve Ballmer is throwing chairs again (0)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950879)

Linux just made it into his hit list next to Google.

Will Microsoft buy out SCO and get SCO Unix to compete with Linux? Will they bring back Xenix?

Will Microsoft start releasing more GPLed code to Linux?

Will Windows 7 get a "Linux Compatibility Mode"?

Will Microsoft start developing their own distro of Linux?

Who knows, anything is possible. Maybe if Microsoft can't beat Linux they will join them? Imagine if Microsoft started to write commercial software for Linux like MS-Office, MS-Money, Visual Studio, etc? What would that mean?

Re:Hell will freeze over when Microsoft announces (1)

defireman (1365467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950941)

Microsoft Lindows.

Re:Steve Ballmer is throwing chairs again (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951017)

According to Torvalds, it means we've won.

Re:Steve Ballmer is throwing chairs again (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951217)

Who knows, anything is possible. Maybe if Microsoft can't beat Linux they will join them? Imagine if Microsoft started to write commercial software for Linux like MS-Office, MS-Money, Visual Studio, etc? What would that mean?

Victory. In all honesty, it would end up being a victory for Linux, you could then choose the OS you really wanted. Either take a free OS with a few proprietary components, a pay-OS that is familiar, and a pay-OS that is tied to a brand of computers. All running the same software.

It's not just political posturing (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950885)

It's not just posturing for the SEC this time. Talked to one of our vendors back east this afternoon and his mom liked his netbook so much he bought her one, then his dad wanted one, then another one for his step-mom. That's bad news for Microsoft for two reasons: One, Linux really is competitive on low-end hardware. The combination of Linux, Gmail, GoogleDocs and online services gives netbooks functionality that makes the OS less significant.

And, two, Microsoft can't demand their normal margin on a netbook OS. The cost of the unit is so low MS is forced to price their product lower. That's hurting revenues and that trend will only continue to accelerate. Windows 7 will run on netbooks, but not particularly well. Windows Mobile isn't going to gain them any market share and they can't sell XP on netbooks indefinitely.

The netbook trend caught MS flat-footed and they threw XP at it to fill the gap while they scramble around to try and find a solution. But there isn't one this time. Microsoft built their market at the top end of the scale, not in the appliance market. Their software isn't made to run on low-end hardware, they have no appliance market strategy.

This time, I think they're entirely justified of being afraid of Linux.

Re:It's not just political posturing (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951323)

This time, I think they're entirely justified of being afraid of Linux.

I agree but not for the reasons you give. Mobile phones are the new platform. Microsoft, Symbian, Apple and Google are going head to head in that market. Google may push the linux kernel into a leading position against Windows.

Re:It's not just political posturing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951467)

Their software isn't made to run on low-end hardware, they have no appliance market strategy.

Then what are all those Windows CE devices doing?

In my house, Microsoft need not worry (-1, Flamebait)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950909)

As I write this, Microsoft need not worry about their relevance in my house. Linux is no threat to its dominance at all and here's the major reason why:

Multimedia is just broken on Linux. Period. I must say I have not tried the latest KDE 4.3 to see how its Phonon implementation has changed the landscape. I will check it out.

On the other hand, Windows XP SP2 has been quite stable in my household with no major viruses or crashes at all.

Talk about Google's OS then I will pay some attention because with this new OS, I know there will be some sanity in "Linux land" with Google's leadership.

Re:In my house, Microsoft need not worry (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950985)

It's not multimedia, it's still hardware and software. Recently we needed to get one of our Linux test boxes on wireless lan. So I went out to Staples and googled the only PCI wifi card they had left. According the the results, it was an atheros chipset, therefore it should work. There were even a bunch of positive reviews of the card on linux.

Got it home and as it turns out it was a different hardware revision from the ones I read about using another chipset. A chipset without Linux drivers. (At least none OpenSuSE could find). I ended up having to use a NDIS wrapper, which worked fine. But I have about a decade plus experience administrating FreeBSD and Linux boxes. 99% of the people I deal with aren't able to do this. They wouldn't know where to begin.

Same goes with software. They can't install and run any boxed software from the big box marts. Hell, even Best buy/staples/et. al. have a section of Mac software again (although be it one shelf or a very small section).

Re:In my house, Microsoft need not worry (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951351)

Did you try a different distro? openSUSE is kinda outdated (last stable release was 7 months ago), and as such might not have as recent of drivers.

And eventually people will stop running boxed software. Outside of game consoles I can't remember the last boxed software I bought, I honestly think it was a sealed copy of Windows 3.1 I got at a garage sale for about fifty cents. And that was like 2 years ago. Most everyone I know has the same experience as they either download freeware, pirate it, or download it as trial-ware and re-download it when it expires.

Re:In my house, Microsoft need not worry (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951147)

Definitely not disagreeing about multimedia issues on Linux, but I would be interested to hear more specifics on what problems you have. My biggest beef was finding a decent, user-friendly video converter. No such luck until the newest version of HandBrake. Up until that I still primarily used windows for video conversion. Thanks to it, though, Ubuntu is one step closer to converting me as far as multimedia goes. What I do like in Ubuntu is the ability to play any kind of video format in MPlayer and just have it work, whereas in windows there is always the off codec or container that in order to play I have to download some mickey mouse media player made specifically for that one purpose that reminds me to "go pro" and buy the registered version every 10 seconds. So what I'm saying is that Linux has to potential to be a multimedia powerhouse if they can get their act together. Unfortunately Linus doesn't seem to care much about that in particular.

Re:In my house, Microsoft need not worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951213)

> Windows XP SP2 has been quite stable in my household

That is more of a worry to Microsoft than Linux is.

What worries MS is not just whether they go to Linux, but also that they don't do anything and stick with XP. Where's the revenue in that ?

Unless you are throwing money at MS on a regular basis then you _are_ a worry.

Linux failed on netbooks. (3, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950935)

I hate to say it, because I'm a linux fanboy, but Linux on netbooks has more or less failed. Manufacturers like Asus dropped the ball by shipping too many Linux machines with screwed up configurations (and also with the crappiest Linux distros available). MS also recognized the threat and entered the ring fighting. The result is that most retailers are pushing netbooks with Windows, and most people buying netbooks are buying them with Windows. Maybe this will change if ARM-based netbooks really take off, but I suspect it will be the same story all over again.

Re:Linux failed on netbooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951019)

I think MS is trying to come up with a solution to the possibility of an ARM future with their current development of "Windows Phone" OS, which I suppose they hope to build into an iPhone OS competitor which can then translate to netbooks and tablets.

Re:Linux failed on netbooks. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951111)

MickeySoft cockroaches posing as "linux fanboy".. priceless!

Re:Linux failed on netbooks. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951287)

Exactly, I feel sorry for the person who used the awful distro that is Xandros and thought that was all Linux was. Asus while the original EEE PCs were good and seemed to be seamless, some of the later ones were strange. Mix in the fact that the hardware was questionable, and no real "advantage" to use Linux and the drop in price on some full laptops (I'm typing this on a $300 new Toshiba with a 15 inch screen, 2 gigs of RAM and an Intel Celeron 900 at 2.2 Ghz) lead to the death of Linux on netbooks. However, it did do a major thing, and that is showing people that Windows is not the only way and showing people the the major big-box stores that people will buy non-windows platforms.

Re:Linux failed on netbooks ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951301)

Most buyers were never offered a choice between 'Linux on netbook' and 'XP on netbook'. The reason for this is twofold: 1) MS bribed and bullied manufacturers and retailers into selling XP, in many cases only XP; and 2) Retailers do what makes them the most revenue, with XP they can sell-up on games, 'security' and other add-ons. With Linux this was all that was needed.

What buyers were offered was a choice between 'XP on netbook*' and 'Vista on laptop'. In many cases the laptop was cheaper. They did not want Vista so they bought XP, it was irrelevant that they were called netbooks because they no longer were.

When crippled Windows 7 is forced onto netbooks, and no XP, we will see that 'indows netbooks' will just be another small laptop and real netbooks with Linux will be offered again.

* Netbooks used to be light, cheap, no moving parts, long battery life. XP broke that because they required bigger disks (HD) more processor and more screen real estate so that they became small laptops.

Not entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951505)

While I agree with you for the most part, I wouldn't say that Linux has totally failed on the netbook. I recall reading the Dell was claiming 1/3 of their minis were sold with Ubuntu and that the return rate was comparable to the Windows netbooks. What this means to me is that the failure doesn't belong to Linux but rather to the manufacturers. In order for Linux to take off on the ARM-based netbooks, the manufacturers will have will have to not screw-up-by-the-numbers as they did the first time around. If nothing else, their half assed offerings the first time around forced Microsoft to do something that they really didn't want to do (extend XP and slash prices).

Just another small step (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950955)

Nothing to get too excited about, but Microsoft's actions speak much louder than the naysayers who yak on about how Linux on netbooks was a total flop. Indeed it didn't take long for XP to dominate, but how many people actually think Microsoft liked using it to get the job done when they were already trying to axe it in favor of Vista? Fact is they had no choice. They aren't stupid enough to just ignore what could grow into actual competition for them, no matter how insignificant it might seem. The question is which will be the bigger threat to their continued dominance, Linux or XP?

So? They acknowledged the threat in 1998! (4, Informative)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28950971)

From the article:

Microsoft for the first time has named Linux distributors Red Hat and Canonical as competitors to its Windows client business in its annual filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Yeah, there are lots of pointless legal disclaimers in 10-K filings to cover respective companies' own asses.

It's not the first [catb.org] time [catb.org] that [catb.org] Microsoft [catb.org] has acknowledged [archive.org] Linux as a threat to their business model. It might be the first time they have put it in their 10-K report, but I don't consider legal disclaimers in an annual SEC filing to be newsworthy.

Has anyone read the Red Hat, Inc. 10-K report. Anyone take the time to count the number of competitors, listed by name, in there? Now ask yourself, is that newsworthy?

I smell (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951065)

Bailout money!!!

The Netbook makers and the bad distros. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951069)

Canonical and other Linux players need to take steps needed to make certain that the Linux that the netbooks ship with is not some bizzarely broken configuration. A netbook that ships with Ubuntu should ship with the same Ubuntu you find on the Ubuntu installation CD. No more of this "Custom distro crap".

Netbooks are not as powerful (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951237)

The last thing anyone needs is a netbook that is running an OS that was intended for a full-power PC. The latest Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, etc. all ship with features and software that expect lots of memory and CPU time -- not something you are likely to have on a netbook. What should really happen is for the distro maintainers to create their own netbook spins, which cut out a lot of the features that are unneeded on a netbook and slim down the OS.

Old news. (1)

killthepoor187 (1600283) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951103)

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19990307&mode=classic [userfriendly.org]

I feel like such a nerd for posting such a web comic from 10 years ago....

Re:Old news. (1)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951183)

Ha, BeOs!

Ok Ok.. I get it (2, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951121)

.... I'm supposed to load Ubuntu, fire up chromium, load microsoft.com and flip off the screen before jumping on the bed for a quick victory fist pumping.... ........ now my point... what does 'acknowledgment' do to reality? Nothing. It's about as effective as some guy on the side of the road giving you a 'nod' because he looked your way... Doesn't really change anything you're doing, where you're going, or whats actually happening... does it....

Its nice to see linux prevailing, but lets not all get so worked up about 'acknowledgements' quite yet, lol.

Note the absence of Novell/SUSE in the release (4, Interesting)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951153)

I am not surprised to see this kind of release. After all, they need to hold on to that monopoly position on the desktop to keep their server business afloat.

What was interesting was the complete lack of any mention of Novell's SLED product. Remember, that MS and Novell are in cahoots to put servers out there running both Windows Workstation 2008 and SLES. In fact, I distinctly remember Ballmer last year mentioning "suzie" in one of his speeches at the Visual Studio 2008 launch event.

Oddly enough, also, there's no mention of a distribution running KDE. Both Ubuntu (which I use now on my laptop) and Red Hat are GNOME-based distros by default. SLED (and openSUSE) are also becoming more GNOME-centric. (I know you can put KDE on any of these, and I run KTorrent as well as KRDC in my desktop.)

Linux as leverage against Microsoft. (4, Informative)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951179)

It seems Dell, ASUS HP and others have invested in shipping linux based machines partly as something to threaten MS with. Simply put, Linux doesn't sell PCs (yet), Windows does. Watch TV, you'll see Microsoft and Apple ads but you won't see a damn thing about linux. TV, Print and Radio validates the product to consumers.

Add in the the evergreen problem: Windows PC tax is more or less the same regardless if it is a $200 netbook or a $3000 overkill gaming rig. You think PC/Laptop manurfaturers like having only one choice of OS? It's a liability.

Frankly all the OEMs are probably pissed at having their bottom lines hurt by Vista too.

Linux offered something they could bludgeon MS with and demand a discount. Result, MS really did come up with cheaper OEM licences and are even producing Windows 7 starter, but only after Linux gained some traction in the netbook arena.

Google sees the oppurtunity to pimp it's cloud services by doing Chrome OS, which is going to fill the need of PC makers to have yet better tools to apply leverage against microsoft.

I'm not convinced that Linux will ever squash Windows, the test of this being possible will be seen in the smartphone arena. Can Android conquer the iPhone? If it does then I'd believe Linux becoming the no 1. OS within a decade.

Frankly, Linux is inside routers, set top boxes, embedded devices, PMPs, mobile phones (WebOS and Android are linux), and runs more than half the internet servers and the majority of the worlds top supercomputers and datacentres. Yet none of these companies are wearing the Linux badge, you don't hear Palm, Google, IBM, Linksys, Cisco evangelising Linux all over the TV and radio.

It's rather worriesome. I don't really have an answer why.

Re:Linux as leverage against Microsoft. (3, Insightful)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951231)

It's rather worriesome. I don't really have an answer why.

Because no one outside of the faithful really care. Why would vendors waste time advertising something that is irrelevant to 99% of consumers? At best, for business sales Linux is more of a bullet point than a feature to be trumpeted.

!0-K ??? (1, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951335)

"!0-K"

Microsoft's secret way of letting programmers that things are not okay!!!

Quick! To the Bat Chair!

Linux is dead on the desktop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951419)

Average people don't use Linux, so if Windows and Linux are competing products, only nerds and geeks would use windows.

Microsoft conspiracy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28951437)

Linux was created by Microsoft in order to prove that they are not a monopoly. Microsoft know that any project without a coherent strategy or objective will never be greatly successful, so they created Linux - at no cost. And you all lapped it up like the dogs you are.

Acceptance is the first step... (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28951491)

Acceptance is the first step in overcoming a problem...

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