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Ballmer Claims Linux Is Top Threat To MS

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the well-of-course-it-is dept.

Microsoft 500

Greyfox writes: "According to Techweb, Steve Ballmer now claims that Linux is one of the top threats to Microsoft going in to 2001. This up from his previous accounts of Linux as being nothing more than a toy etc. Expect to really see the FUD start flying now. As IBM found with OS/2, once MS percieves you as a threat, they attack like a rabid pit bull. I expect we'll see a lot more negative Linux press on zdnet, reporters paid to laud Windows and slam UNIX, fake grass roots movements, and all the other favorite MS tricks." Well, I'm not that quite that paranoid, but I'll be keping my eyes open

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M$ doesn't matter (3)

Snoobs (43421) | more than 13 years ago | (#515397)

I'm sure that we will all be able to use Linux whether M$ percieves it as a threat or not. There is nothing that M$ can do to stop Linux. They can't buy it and make it go away. Tough shit M$.

Hmm... (2)

Trumpet (42631) | more than 13 years ago | (#515400)

Paid praise for one side versus the other... Sounds like Election 2000 all over again. Let's just not leave to Florida to decide who has the better OS. ;-)

Move along, nothing to see here (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#515403)

just the standard "look, we really have competition, so don't break us up" Microsoft disinformation campaign.

Sure, Linux is a competitor, but it's not Microsoft's #1 priority.

Well... (1)

nd (20186) | more than 13 years ago | (#515407)

This is all well and good - but honestly there's not much new here except for the fact that MS is being more open in acknowledging Linux.

We've really known this since the Halloween documents.

I disagree. (4)

MrEd (60684) | more than 13 years ago | (#515508)

I think that this is much more likely another attempt to say, "Gee whiz, it's tough being Microsoft, we're constantly having to innovate and compete, don't break us up, please!" Linux is certainly a threat to NT/2000, but the 98% of home users who have Windows aren't going to go anywhere soon. Let's keep one eye on Redmond (isn't that always the case?), but I think that this press announcement is more DOJ appeal than anything.

coming soon.... (4)

KurdtX (207196) | more than 13 years ago | (#515512)

Slashwin
A site dedicated to all the windows geeks out there pointing out all the shortcomings of linux... wait, shortcomings of linux... oh yeah, that's why there's not already a site like this.

Kurdt

The PR firms get paid to fud (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#515516)

I just read a book I picked up at barns n noble
called " trust us were experts"
It explains how PR firms sway public opinion
on all sorts of things and flat out lie
I'm sure M$ will use the same tactics
It's an excelent read
It will really open your eyes
about how big biz works when it comes to PR
FUD is nothin new

If they attack Linux, it will draw more attention (1)

Scrag (137843) | more than 13 years ago | (#515519)

If MS starts an all-out attack on Linux, I think it will backfire in their faces.

Right now, no one knows about Linux, they might have heard it mentioned, but have no idea what it really is. If MS has AD campaigns, etc... against Linux, people will start looking into this "threat to Microsoft". No matter what they do they are screwed. If they don't do anything, Linux will eventually get big enough on its own. A real strategy for them would be to start leaving their Windows division behind, and become an all app company.

It was bound to happen sooner or later... (2)

Bill the Cat (19523) | more than 13 years ago | (#515522)

This is what could be considered MS's first major fight since they took out Netscape. It'll be interesting to see if MS's continuing legal problems hamper it in any way.

Historically speaking, Linux/Unix has the best chance of not getting crushed, IMHO. Borland, Netscape, Work Perfect, IBM all really didn't have a prayer.

Thank you, Gandhi. (4)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 13 years ago | (#515524)

Ahem:

First they ignore you.

Then they laugh at you.

Then they fight you.

Then you win.

Heh. (2)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#515527)

Ballmer is right.

That's because if the breakup goes through, Microsoft will have to play fair...

And, as we all know, they've never been able to win on merit, so it should be interesting to see what they do.

P.S. I'd love to debate this with any rabid MS fanatics who think Windows is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it might be too easy. Bring it on.
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

I dont think they're going to fight Linux .. (1)

Ashran (107876) | more than 13 years ago | (#515531)

They will even start to support it, because if Linux gets a higher market share, it will still be no real threat, but the Anti Trust case will be void .. Linux must take the oppurtunity and exploit it!

it is official (1)

mirwor (198892) | more than 13 years ago | (#515533)

now we are in the phase "then they fight you"

And MacOS X? (3)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#515535)

What about MacOS X? Taking the power of Unix based platform, the flexibility of OpenStep and the ease of use of the classic Mac environment this certainly makes it more than just a blimp on M$'s horizon.

What will be interesting is whether MS will move to embrace and port all its office software to Linux or play its usuall dirty tricks, with lawyers et al. Somehow I believe from experience that the latter is true, unless someone is willing to let them have to non voting shares :)

You can know someone (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#515547)

or something from the people who hate it. I'm so glad to be in good company. BTW this shows that they really do understand that in the long run the server room is more important than the desktop and know we can beat them in both. Looks like the next little while is going to be *really* fun.

Interesting (4)

rabtech (223758) | more than 13 years ago | (#515554)

From what I see by the submitter, he seems to think that any time a reporter praises something about Windows and/or derieds a *nix variant, that the reporter in question must be paid by Microsoft.

The reality is, in my opinion, that the free software movement must learn to accept that is GOOD about other platforms, which includes Windows, and take people's criticisms to heart. If people are complaining that Linux doesn't have "FEATURE-X", in many cases energy would be better spend developing something similar (and hopefully, though not always, better) than in trying to tell people why "FEATURE-X" sucks or isn't relevant. (Granted, in some cases that mindset is appropriate.)

Anyhow, those are just my musings.
-
The IHA Forums [ihateapple.com]

What MS doesn't get is... (1)

Amon CMB (157028) | more than 13 years ago | (#515556)

Linux cannot be contained, Linux breaks free, expands to new territories, painfully perhaps even dangerously, well, and, there it is.
- Amon CMB

The Bigger they are, the harder they fall! (2)

Lede Singer (253091) | more than 13 years ago | (#515557)

Microsoft is the biggest threat to microsoft. I thank God for the competitive marker, knowing that a once small idea like Linux, can grow to outplay the big boys!

If Linux doesn't kill itself... (4)

Zwack (27039) | more than 13 years ago | (#515561)

...with infighting about package formats and which distribution is the best.

Then Microsoft will produce lots of documentation "proving" to managers that Linux is much more costly to run.

OS/2 was better than it's MS competition. It still lost because it wasn't marketed correctly. Linux has to be seen to be a viable, trustworthy and above all useful alternative for it to be accepted.

Much as I hate to say this, MS has the minds of the managers, what Linux needs is...

Easy install and use by "normal" users that are ALREADY used to the MS way.

MS compatible applications.

And above all, companies that are willing to provide paid for support for it so that other large companies will accept it as an alternative OS. "What do you mean that there isn't anyone responsible for fixing bugs?"

Zwack...

Top threat to Windows is Linux/UNIX!!? (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 13 years ago | (#515563)

I'd think somewhere towards the top of the list would be the Government. Or, you could, creatively, say that Windows is its own top threat... nothing sells the competition like a bad product. Or bad business practices. So, in a way, Microsoft Corporation is a good candidate as a top threat to Windows.

I read it as interesting concerning Oracle/Sun that they "are second-tier rivals because I think that server sales are our biggest potential short-term return". I think *potential* is the key word here. Lots of potential. Not a lot of opportunity.

not on the desktop. (1)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 13 years ago | (#515565)

The biggest threat to MS from linux is in the server and the handheld environmets, the 2 areas where MS doesn't have a monopoly right now. I'm sure that they're not too concenrned about the destop yet.

MS still fighting anti-trust suit (1)

_azure23 (238110) | more than 13 years ago | (#515566)

Actually, I expect Linux to keep getting good press until the anti-trust suit is completely settled. MS may even be paying reporters to talk Linux up, as it creates for potential juries/judges the impression that there is indeed serious competition.

The true test will be to see how the mainstream press treats Linux post-settlement.

MS's Marketing is Irrelevent (2)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#515573)

No matter what they may say, what their friends may say, and what the people who love Microsoft (I don't talk to these people... I pretend not to care) say, the reasons Linux (and the BSDs) has become popular are not going to change.

Unless and until (ie: never) MS puts out an OS that is cheap/free, open (or mostly so), and much more geared to security and maintainability (as opposed to backwards compatibility with dumb MS decisions of the past decade), they will HAVE to spend money to keep market share.

Those who know will make up their own minds about the relative merits of this OS vs. that OS. The truly enlightened will even use MS products in their proper place. Nobody but executives cares about what marketing says. And even they are starting to see why "free as in beer" makes a lot of sense.

Now, if we could only beat into their tiny minds why the other "free" has a place in industry, too...

embrace and extend (2)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#515576)

I'm not sure if I'd rather hear him say that or something along the lines of "I think Linux will give us a new platform that we can use to fill in some of the missing holes in our product lines."

On one hand, it would be nice to have outlook and office for linux so I could cooperate with the rest of the company. (the embrace part) On the other hand, I guess it's good that they still aren't publicly admitting to making up their famous (incomopatable) improvments yet. (the extend part)

I'm glad I'm finally hearing the world's largest software company talk about the OS I use, but I think I'd like some software from them for it.

hmmm (1)

brick (11890) | more than 13 years ago | (#515578)

about all they can do now is give away their OS for free...

Usability is the biggest concrern. (4)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 13 years ago | (#515582)

I believe that MS was judging Linux as threat because its usablity has become much better. Aside from server type applications, where I think MS knew it had serious competition all along, I don't think that it thought that Linux would ever grow much in the desktop market. But the usability has grown very much over the years, and people are starting to choose it over windows. These people are not novices, but they aren't necisseraly hard-core computer junkies. I fall into this catagory, I am slightly less than a computer wizard. I use Gnome quite a bit, and I find it as easy to navigate as Windows, though it did take a bit of getting used to.
Additionally, Linux seems to be making a toehold in the embedded markets, and since the convention wisdom seems to forsee a migration from large, centralized desktop computers to individual devices, I know MS wants a hefty share of what it sees as the future. Hell, Windows CE wasn't exactly a smash hit.

Slightly OT: GNU's Not UNIX (1)

dragonfly_blue (101697) | more than 13 years ago | (#515585)

OK, I am seeing this more and more, and maybe somebody out there can help explain it to me. I thought that GNU stood for, among other things, GNU's Not Unix. So why, pray tell, does everybody mention Unix whenever there is a Linux article? Are they that close, that people cannot distinguish between them? Or is it simply a matter of Linux advocates wanting to associate the OS with other highly reputable *nixes?

I ask this in all seriousness, because as a BSD and Linux user I've been giving this some consideration lately. The most major differences I've noticed between the two are the startup scripts! What other major differences exist between "Unix" and Linux? Thanks for any insights.

This has to more than a bit 2 do with the appeal (2)

HiyaPower (131263) | more than 13 years ago | (#515587)

The old nasty judge said that we were a monoploly. See that nasty, nasty, threatening penquin over there (probably armed no less). That penquin is a real threat to us. really really. Now, see, we have to innovate and beat that nasty, nasty penquin at his own evil, evil game. So pleeze don't break us up. We are really the good guys and that nasty, nasty penquin is the evil evil one.

I'm sure that this thought never crossed the minds of any of our lovely legal minds at M$.

Threats (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 13 years ago | (#515589)

Linux is no threat to MS on the desktop, Linux zealots nonwithstanding. MS is (correctly) not afraid that the public will switch en masse from Win9x/ME to Linux.

On the server front, it's another matter entirely. Here Linux is a direct competitor to Microsoft and so, a threat. It's a competitor that can't be bought out or underpriced (like Netscape was by IE) and thus is more of a threat.

Whether we see MicrograssSoftroot-movements spring up, I doubt. Server software is bought by either techies or management and neither particularly cares about grass roots. We are likely to see more money thrown at sales and marketing, now that is nearly certain.

Kaa

What kind of threat? (1)

kninja (121603) | more than 13 years ago | (#515591)

Linux has weaknesses in support of new hardware, user frendly installation, and variety of software to name a few, using windows as a measuring stick. I suspect that if MS tries anything it will be to hold developers off from making linux drivers, and more windows only hardware AKA winmodem. Soon we get winEthernet, wintel processors, win harddrives with copyprotection :), winsound and video cards. More and more software will be ported to linux, and the installation isn't too difficult for an intermediate user.

I'm currently aboout to do a dual boot this week. Anyone got any tips on a good kernel modification and updating site is?

That explains this article (1)

LtFiend (232003) | more than 13 years ago | (#515605)

Microsoft Whistler Beta 1 By Larry Seltzer, PC Magazine November 3, 2000 Not just another version of Windows, Microsoft's Whistler has the potential to make PCs something they are not known to be: stable and reliable. I mean who the fuck are they kidding? it's the PC's fault that the OS isn't stable? And whistler is going to fix that?

Re:If they attack Linux, it will draw more attenti (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#515606)

wrong. people don't care what the threat to MS is. Linux is obviously a better made OS yet it doesn't have the support that Windows does... Look at OS/2. It was an incredibly robust OS, ran Windows 3.1 apps, and it had a wide range of freeware software available to it (including the somewhat easy porting of UN*X apps), yet b/c MS has dominance in the applications market (and in the ad market) it failed and failed miserably.

Linux won't "fail" b/c it has been chugging happily along the whole time, but any anti-Linux campaign that MS does will not bring Linux ahead of MS.

Re:M$ doesn't matter (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 13 years ago | (#515611)

They can't buy it and make it go away.

One word: M$Linux.

Re:The PR firms get paid to fud (1)

jjjack (302285) | more than 13 years ago | (#515615)

Another book about PR firms and their tactics (as well as corporations that use their services) is "Toxic Sludge is Good For You!" Another great read, and it's extremely sarcastic as well (always a plus).

Are we talking Linux or bragbrag (1)

mauddib~ (126018) | more than 13 years ago | (#515618)

At first I noticed a little inconcistency in the above article. UNIX is not at all the same as Linux. And at the moment it doesn't seem to be UNIX versus Microsofts OS'es, but Linux versus Windows.

Why do "massmedia-reporters" always say things which are already known? Is it because we (as geeks) know more, or is it because they are too uncertain about what is going on?

I think it is the latter, and prepare for it: it's not going to get any better real soon. All you'll read in magazines like that is stuff which says: "Look at me, I know that the world is round, not flat", years after it is proven that the only flat world is Discworld (a series of books by Terry Pratchett).

And yes: Windows is at the moment beaten up by Linux, and no: We're not talking 98 or ME here, we're talking about their previous topprofit Windows NT (or atm 2000) here. So what? Most experienced users have made their bet by now, or will do so in a not so wide timespan. It /is/ known to most administrators or users that Linux (or BSD) is a viable alternative.

Linus is a Top Threat! Really, Mr/Ms Atty General! (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#515622)

"See, we have lots of competition! Look at those penguin guys, ooooh scary! We're getting our lunch eaten by folks who GIVE AWAY FREE SOFTWARE! How can we possibly compete with FREE? AIEEE!"

C'mon, read between the lines and figure out who this was targeted to.

Re:Thank you, Gandhi. (2)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 13 years ago | (#515624)

Just like Netscape, right?

I don't think M$ will be a real threat... (1)

Ingenium13 (162116) | more than 13 years ago | (#515627)

Since M$ is preoccupied right now with the government trying to split them up and their .NET strategy, they might not attack Linux with their usual force. And even if they do, will it seriously effect Linux's growth? I personally don't think so. From my experience, the main reason why people switch to Linux is because they don't like Microsoft and/or they are tired of Microsoft products crashing on them all the time (ie Windows). M$ attacking Linux won't make their software any better or more stable.

Josh

M$ has changed (1)

CroyDax (211988) | more than 13 years ago | (#515628)

The Microsoft which attacked OS/2 like a rabid pit bull is not the same Microsoft today. All empires must fall. They will fight, but there's a strong user base to be reckoned with when considering strengths of Linux vs. OS/2. Although they will probably win in the consumer market, the back end (servers and such) is Linux's territory.

CroyDax

Microsoft's real enemy (1)

Amon CMB (157028) | more than 13 years ago | (#515645)

Microsoft should be worrying more about Sony using Playstation 2's to direct missles towards the Redmond, WA area. After all, PS2 is a Linux-based console!

- Amon CMB

In their best interests (2)

srichman (231122) | more than 13 years ago | (#515649)

This strikes me as a bunch of malarkey. It just seems a little too conveniently advantageous from an antitrust PR standpoint to publicly say, "Oh yeah, Linux! They're real competition! They scare us!" If Ballmer truly considered Linux to be a threat, why would he air his views publicly? Isn't this a bit akin to Microsoft putting money and app development time into MacOS products so they could point to MacOS and say, "See, no monopoly; we have real competition!"

I wish.... (1)

canning (228134) | more than 13 years ago | (#515650)

Ballmer would make up his mind. How can he say that Linux is the number one biggest threat after he dumps all of his Linux Apps? He's not making sense.

Did he really think that this statment would make him sound smart? Of course Linux is the number one threat but when it comes to your average home user, I don't think Linux a threat at all.

Maybe not too paranoid (4)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#515655)

As IBM found with OS/2, once MS percieves you as a threat, they attack like a rabid pit bull. I expect we'll see a lot more negative Linux press on zdnet, reporters paid to laud Windows and slam UNIX, fake grass roots movements, and all the other favorite MS tricks." Well, I'm not that quite that paranoid, but I'll be keping my eyes open.

Interesting you should mention it, because the article referenced had this nice little bit:

It is widely expected that Corel, which received a critical $135 million infusion in cash from Microsoft (stock: MSFT) in October, will dump its Linux line of products, such as its WordPerfect suite for Linux, to focus on Microsoft's .Net initiative.

Now I'm not going to go and shout and scream about how Microsoft is buying off a potential competitor, but it does look kind of suspicious. Here's a company that could do a lot to boost Linux as a desktop competitor for Windows, and after getting a big cash infusion from Microsoft they're giving up their plans to do so. It's not a cut and dried as pay for non-competetion, but it does deserve careful scrutiny.

Taco Taco Taco (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 13 years ago | (#515657)

Havn't you figured out by now that Microsoft doesn't have ideas of their own? They bought DOS, bough Office, bought Mosaic (now IE) stole ideas from apple, stolle ideas from IBM, they have copied and stolen ideas from anyone and everyone, there arn't free thinkers over there.

You may have just given them ideas on how to compete with Linux, up until now they prolly had no clue what to do!!!
Thanks Alot!!! ;-)


Re:M$ doesn't matter (2)

joto (134244) | more than 13 years ago | (#515658)

They can go through their patent file and go for anything in Linux that looks remotely like some patent they have. Given the state of the US Patent system, I am sure there should be a few hits...

Re:Slightly OT: GNU's Not UNIX (1)

nd (20186) | more than 13 years ago | (#515673)

Don't take the acronym too seriously -- I think of it (GNU's not UNIX) more as the "anti-commercial" feel that UNIX once had (still does?), rather than a technical objection.

Re:M$ doesn't matter (1)

Amon CMB (157028) | more than 13 years ago | (#515676)

You mean to say that Linux users are going to actually buy a Microsoft version of Linux?

- Amon CMB

Yah. Lovely, really, it is.. (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 13 years ago | (#515679)

Well, that's just great.

This can go two ways. Either things will be like Data General in the 70s, where all of the DEC salespeople told their customers how Data General was an awful company with an awful product and stuff. So the clients would make sure to call Data General and see what they had to say before they made their decision. In this case, MS's attacks will merely serve as extra advertising for Linux.

And companies will port their crown jewels to Linux to give them a crowbar to use on MS the next time they negotiate anything.

Or Linux will die. There are a LOT of interpersonal open-source issues that Linux has to deal with. MS has the advantage of writing a single desktop system. Linux has KDE and GNOME, plus various other efforts. Linux has all of the features of Unix, now it needs to innovate and cover new area, and it isn't doing as well at that.

Plus, remember that MS almost got caught with their pants down with that whole Internet thing and they still managed to come out on top. They have been watching the Linux and BeOS developments for a while. The Halloween documents date from 1998. That's over 2 years of examining the Linux crowd's behaviour. That's NOT their behaviour with regards to the 'net, where they got whapped in the ass and needing to make a costly u-turn.

If you rob the stagecoach, the town starves. (1)

Le Pillsbury Du Bois (267730) | more than 13 years ago | (#515681)

Microsoft is not afraid of Linux itself. They are afraid of all the companies who are supporting linux efforts and open source standards. These companies are spending real money on linux. To get the average guy to use Linux, you have to advertise in mainstream media, and that takes cash.

Microsoft will try cut off the money. Make sure you pat your favorite Linux-related companies on the back! Don't let them fall off the wagon!

Re:coming soon.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#515684)

Actually, this [slashdot.org] site points out the primary problem with Linux. Unfortunately, it seems likely that the problem will never go away :(

Ofcourse it is the BIGGEST threat. (1)

LoneCoder (161808) | more than 13 years ago | (#515686)

With computer literacy increasing every day (young kids treat computers just like any other toy), MS is finding it increasingly difficult to dismay Linux (and other OSes). MS has its place too. I personaly think it shouldn't be as large as it is, but say, 30% of the OS market... and I believe it will happen in the nearby future.

Re:M$ doesn't matter (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#515689)

I'm sure that we will all be able to use Linux whether M$ percieves it as a threat or not. There is nothing that M$ can do to stop Linux.

Insightful? *chortle*

I can think of tons of things MS can do to stop MS. Like:

1) Support tons of peripherals that Linux doesn't
2) Have a nice standard, easy to use and intuitive GUI
3) Using MS means you never have to hear stupid arguments about licenses or asinine definitions of "free"
4) Plus it will be a cold day in hell before you have Office for Linux anyway...


Linux legal vulnerability (5)

mgflax (207076) | more than 13 years ago | (#515690)

It's been a full fifteen minutes since the original post, and I've already seen many articles bragging about how Linux can't be bought or otherwise made to "go away." Yet the Halloween documents point out how M$ is going to try to smash open-source: not with copyright, but with patents. They will find (or buy $$$) some lousy, overbroad, fundamental patent which is relied upon deep in the kernel, and while that won't dissuade the hobbyist, it will dissuade the system adminstrator and company management. And they'll keep throwing this sand in companies' face each time they consider using Linux in earnest. ("You, the company are responsible for violating our patents, regardless of how open the copyright is", they will say.) I hope I'm wrong. Perhaps smaller, more self-contained systems such as the *BSD might be less vulnerable, but that's another discussion. Marshall

Re:I disagree. (4)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#515708)

But if you follow the link you would see that Ballmer is much more interested in the server room than the desktop. Simple reason PC sales are way down but the server market is still growing. The following is from the article "In his talk, Ballmer identified Oracle Corp. (stock: ORCL) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (stock: SUNW) as second-tier rivals because "I think [server sales are] our biggest potential short-term return." And this is why the server room matters more than the desktop for now.

Re:Well... (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 13 years ago | (#515711)

Unless of course they are trying to get one of their other competitors (Sun, Oracle, AOL) to fall asleep at the wheel while Gates, Ballmer, et al steal their market.

Re:And MacOS X? (2)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#515717)

MS now seems to feel that the server market is their true core business, and Linux (and Unix in general) is their strongest competitor there. When you look at the cost of MS server OSes (like Win 2000 Advanced Server) you can see why they view that as a critical market. Since OSX isn't really playing there, while Unix/Linux most certainly is, you can see why Unix/Linux is their key opponent, not OSX.

The FUD is already flying (5)

em_tasol (166929) | more than 13 years ago | (#515721)

At the end of last year at a Microsoft Direct Access briefing (yes, I'm a member, yes I sell and support Microsoft products, yes I make money out of it - cope with it), they had a video intro type thing for Windows 2000 Professional in which they had a female actress kicking the crap out of a guy in a penguin suit with her saying, "Still using Linux, sissy?", plus other little gems of class and character that show Microsoft for who they really are.

The point they have completely missed is that people are not "still" using Linux, more and more people are just starting to use Linux because it's a more and more attractive option.

Bring it on, Microsoft! (1)

cylence (129937) | more than 13 years ago | (#515723)

Honestly, I don't see what Microsoft can do to permanently render Linux a non-threat, short of

  1. Making Free software illegal
  2. Contributing (shudder!) =)

Even if the most paranoid of these "vicious Microsoft attacks" become reality (many of them are quite likely, and in fact I think we've been seeing some of these already), so what?

Worst case: Enterprise and main-stream business world gets so plastered with anti-Linux propoganda that they start believing it. Linux loses most of its hold in the server market. Linux, however, not being devestated by the sudden loss of non-existent consumer dollars, continues to exist, and to be used by all of us who use it as our personal OS and would never believe such propoganda anyway. So Linux doesn't die, and only loses a market in which it has only recently acquired wide-spread notoriety. A year or two down the road, people will have had, um, a year or two to re-examine the accuracy of what they've heard hitherto, being still able to compare words with a still-existant OS. Eventually, Linux regains its market as before. Since Linux can't be "killed", no matter what Microsoft attempts, why would anyone (except Microsoft) have any cause to worry?

Re:Thank you, Gandhi. (5)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#515724)

Um.

First they Ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you get bought by AOL.
Then they laugh at you.
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

One company that isnt going to follow Microsoft (1)

schroedinbug (207181) | more than 13 years ago | (#515725)

Well, there is only one company that I know will now buy into M$'s bull: TechTV.
I've watched it for about half a year now and I don't think I've heard them refer to M$ as Microsoft once. No matter what they are talking about its always something like Microshaft, Moneysoft, etc...

Truly though, the only people who are gonna buy into this is all about of 10 people who are microsoft whores.

And anyways, shouldn't Windows be on Microsoft's threat list? I mean, my god, Win98, well 'nuff said there, we know the rest.

Oh well, nuff rant, Later yall

Re:Slightly OT: GNU's Not UNIX (2)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 13 years ago | (#515728)

Remember, GNU Linux is just a stopgap measure until the REAL GNU Operating System is ready.

Re:M$ doesn't matter (3)

lemox (126382) | more than 13 years ago | (#515729)

MS used to have their own UNIX. After they sold the rights to, a term of the contract was that they never produce another version of UNIX.

So, I doubt that's going to happen.

Re:If they attack Linux, it will draw more attenti (2)

joto (134244) | more than 13 years ago | (#515730)

I can see the ads coming now:

We at Microsoft have always believed there should be a marketplace for innovation and competition in the IT-field. Linux is a threat to this, because it is free. There is no innovation of value going on under Linux. After all, Linux is an attempt to rebuild an operating system that reached the peak of it's popularity in the 70's. And because nobody pays for Linux, there will be no incentive to innovate. We at Microsoft try to make a better operating system and to take care of all your computing needs.

Linux is a threat to free markets and free competition because it's free. Why would anybody pay for Microsoft products when they can get Linux for free? After all, getting something for free sounds good when you consider the short-term benefits. But over time, this will stiffle competition. Everyone will be using Linux, and progress will stop. After all, when nobody pays, where will the money for innovation come from? If you worry about the long-term IT strategy for your company, you should go with Microsoft. Microsoft stands for innovation and competition in a free marketplace.

Oh, and remember, this was an attempt at sarcasm, so before you flame me, remember that this was an attempt at visualizing future Microsoft marketing strategies, not my personal opinion.

Microsoft Unix (1)

eGabriel (5707) | more than 13 years ago | (#515731)

You just wait and see.
And it will start out really nice, then it will start getting ports back from 2000, and the dependencies on MS libraries will increase. Games too; Microsoft knows programmers love 'em.

These libraries and games will run on Linux too, of course, but will be in binary form. Once they become ubiquitous, they will slow down the updates to the 'free' versions.

Those of us who run 100% free software needn't worry too much. The rest of us... well, you loaded the gun that shot you.

Re:If Linux doesn't kill itself... (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#515732)

You mean something like this [linuxcare.com] .

Juuri claims windows subjects are top ad sellers. (2)

juuri (7678) | more than 13 years ago | (#515733)

*sheeh*

Who in the world really cares what Ballmer thinks are threats to microsoft? Okay thats a bad question. Who should really care? Microsoft shareholders? Microsoft VARs? MCSEs?

Slashdot needs to grow up. Its about time to stop fueling these petty discussions. Nothing of merit ever comes out of them except a lot of AD impressions and a lot of people making asses of themselves (like this post Im making). I see the editors of slashdot go on weekly crusades against one innane thing or the other, or even better call for protests of sites. Well if you are adult enough to call for such actions you should be adult enough to not keep pushing this crap along.

... rant over ...

Few things left. (5)

be-fan (61476) | more than 13 years ago | (#515734)

While I do agree that Linux is the biggest threat to MS, that's not saying much. While on the server front, Linux has a fairly easy trip to the top, the desktop market will be a much harder road.

A) Linux still hasn't proven itself on the performance front. Even after several months, the Linux NVIDIA drivers are noticably lower in performance than their Windows counterparts. This happens even at low resolutions where the bitblit thing is not an issue. And with DirectX 8 and, later, Whistler promising huge increases in 3D performance, I don't know how Linux will deliver. Of course, MS could be overinflating their performance claims, but if NT4 and DirectX7 (which essentially made DX faster and more featureful than OpenGL) are any hint, MS *can* make good products, it just depends on if there is the motivation. When you add mediocre 3D performance to the slow desktops (in comparison to Win2K's, anyway) and high memory use (same as Win2K) then you have little reason to use Linux if you're looking for (desktop) performance.

B) Linux's stability won't play much of a part in this. Win2K is very stable, to the point where the average user (meaning one that shuts down at least once a week) won't be able to tell the difference.

C) Linux is still hard to use, and problematiclly, disunified. MS has been taking more and more steps to make configuration and control of Windows more "sane." Linux has been taking more steps in the other direction, especially with new distro like Mandrake that introduce prorietory config scripts. Adding hardware in Linux is not the simple (plug the hardware and the disk in) that it is with Win2K, and doing anything non trivial (meaning intermediate level use) is decidedly difficult. While the desktops are more or less easy enough to use, the system itself needs major retooling. Here are the problems I see
1) Confusing configuration. Get rid of /etc and replace it with something sane.
2) Stupid directory structure. My dad can handle installing programs, but with the mess of /usr, /home/_username_, /usr/bin, /usr/lib, /lib, /opt, /usr/local/*, ad nauseum, I doubt he could handle it. I barely can. (Of course I'm just terribly pampered by /boot/apps and /boot/home/config/lib)
3) Make the system cohesive. Get back to the UNIX roots. You know how UNIX treats *everything* as a file? You know how all UNIX console apps work together in a nice harmony of streams and pipes? You know how UNIX programs can be chained together to do complex work? You know how UNIX (well, BSD one's anyway) tools have more or less the same interface? Starting to get the idea? That means out go GnomeAPI and KDE-API and in comes Unified-Linux-Desktop-API (with GNOME and KDE serving as implementations) Out goes /etc, in comes a nice, organized config structure. Out goes LinuxConf, MandrakeConf, RedHatConf, DebianConf, ad-nauseam (yea, I'm making these up, but you get the idea ;) and in comes UnifiedConf. Out goes modules.conf, samba.conf, XFree86Config, etc, and in comes a unified text file format. Out goes ipconfig and friends entirely. Use text files or use programs, but choose one for god sakes. Well, you get the idea.

Sadly, I enumerate all of these EVERY time an article like this comes out, and while everybody screams about how Linux has come so far, all I see are more propriatory configuration files, more stupid config programs, and a more fragmented set of APIs. Disgusting...

BTW> Don't get the idea that I don't like Linux. I really do. I just can't stand to use it.

Not at All (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#515735)

I'm pretty sure the main reason that Zdnet likes MS stuff so much (apart from all that ad revenue) is that they're not very technical and don't mind having Microsoft tell them how they should work. However, Microsoft has been known to pay reporters for good press and start up fake grass roots movements in the past. Try searching google on "astroturf" and "microsoft" and you'll get some historical references. Possibly the most amusing example of this was the 1994 COMEDEX in Atlanta, where I and a good bunch of Team OS/2 members showed up and ran across "Team Microsoft" -- Apparently Microsoft employees trying to do the same thing we were. We were the ones who got the press, though.

Uh oh... (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 13 years ago | (#515752)

M$ has never made an honest statement, so if they're acknowledging that Linux is a threat, do they *really* mean that it's *no longer* a threat? Shouldn't we be concerned?

But maybe they know that we know and they're just messing with us... but...

My head hurts.

Microsoft can kill Linux, any time that it wants. (1)

chipuni (156625) | more than 13 years ago | (#515753)

If Microsoft comes out with its own distribution of Linux, we're doomed.

Re:Threats (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#515757)

>On the server front, it's another matter entirely. Here Linux is a direct competitor to Microsoft and so, a threat.

Amen. The end-user's desktop will remain Bill's, if for no other reason than the fact that most of the games out there are being written for 'doze, and the Office monopoly.

But the big bucks are in the operating system licenses for servers.

> Whether we see MicrograssSoftroot-movements spring up, I doubt.

Ditto. Astroturf is a technique used when you have a many-to-one relationship, you want to influence the "one", and the "one" is both visible to the "many" but insulated from reality. Politicians are great examples of creatures that can be moved by astroturf campaigns.

IT managers are invisible - the turfers can neither identify nor contact them. IT managers are legion - the turfers can't concentrate their campaign on a single target. And IT managers draw their expertise from multiple sources - and consequently it's difficult to influence them by influencing key underlings like congressional staffers.

Everything we're seeing today was reflected in the Hallowe'en documents. The world is unfolding as it should.

Re:Threats (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#515759)

>On the server front, it's another matter entirely. Here Linux is a direct competitor to Microsoft and so, a threat.

Amen. The end-user's desktop will remain Bill's, if for no other reason than the fact that most of the games out there are being written for 'doze, and the Office monopoly.

But the big bucks are in the operating system licenses for servers.

> Whether we see MicrograssSoftroot-movements spring up, I doubt.

Ditto. Astroturf is a technique used when you have a many-to-one relationship, you want to influence the "one", and the "one" is both visible to the "many" but insulated from reality. Politicians are great examples of creatures that can be moved by astroturf campaigns.

IT managers are invisible - the turfers can neither identify nor contact them. IT managers are legion - the turfers can't concentrate their campaign on a single target. And IT managers draw their expertise from multiple sources - and consequently it's difficult to influence them by influencing key underlings like congressional staffers.

Everything we're seeing today was reflected in the Hallowe'en documents. The world is unfolding as it should.

Say *what*?! (1)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#515761)

"I think you have to rate competitors that threaten your core higher than you rate competitors where you're trying to take from them," Ballmer said.

What the fsck is that supposed to mean??

--

"Microsoft sunk my battleship!" (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 13 years ago | (#515762)

This isn't a boxing match.

This isn't some kind of a game.

This is technology and operating systems, the instruction that runs computers and their application all around the world.

Microsoft isn't a battleship. It doesn't attack. It is just business. And they are corporation. They don't have mind.

As far as consciousness, it all comes down to the thousands of software engineers, quality assurance members, marketers, sales reps, accountants, lawyers, secretaries, graphic designers, animators, reasearch teams, computer scientists, and ganitors, executives, and administrators---each of them in their office doing their own thing that is described on their job description, wondering why the heck you care so much about what Balmer said to some press people.

OS/2 wasn't "beat". Its just not used that much any more. That's okay. No animals were harmed.

If GNU/Linux serves your needs right now, then why would you stop using it? Will GNU/Linux stop functioning somehow because of Microsoft "attacking" it? No, of course not.

You slashdotters are too fearful. Don't worry, there is no war. No one has sunk your battleship.

Re:M$ doesn't matter (4)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 13 years ago | (#515763)

I can think of tons of things MS can do to stop Linux. Like:

1) Support tons of peripherals that Linux doesn't


That doesn't mean Linux won't exist any more. It'll just mean that Windows supports more peripherals.

2) Have a nice standard, easy to use and intuitive GUI

Can't argue with the "standard" part. But it's not easy to use. It's easy to learn. It's not intuitive, it's just that everyone has already used it. Understand this: easy to learn doesn't mean it's easy to use. Mind you, I'm not putting down easy-to-learn interfaces, but the difference merits mention.

3) Using MS means you never have to hear stupid arguments about licenses or asinine definitions of "free"

Flambait alert! :) Yeah, and using Linux means you never have to hear stupid stories about software vendor lock-in, nor asinine definitions of "ownership".

4) Plus it will be a cold day in hell before you have Office for Linux anyway...

Hey, I've heard hell has the occasional cold snap.

Dave

Barclay family motto:
Aut agere aut mori.
(Either action or death.)

Absolutely they will! (4)

mosch (204) | more than 13 years ago | (#515764)

After all, it'll be fully compatible with Microsoft Office, which, whoops, requires a binary only library that only ships with MSLinux. And besides, this next gen of Linux users wouldn't be geeks, they'd be the current generation of Windows users, and they wouldn't even know what was different. They'd just think it's cool that Windows 2003 seemed really stable.

--
"Don't trolls get tired?"

Re:Slightly OT: GNU's Not UNIX (3)

Silver A (13776) | more than 13 years ago | (#515765)

Which won't be until RMS finishes rewriting the kernel in LISP, and figures out a way to convert the GIMP into an EMACS mode.

Windows for the Enterprise (2)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#515766)

Many observers consider Linux 2.4, which was released late last week, to be a much-improved operating system kernel that can compete more aggressively against Windows 2000 and Unix in the enterprise market.

There's a reason Amazon and Ebay don't run Windows NT/2000 on the backend, and it's because NT/2000 virtually never crash if spoonfed properly... and that isn't good enough! Datacenter and mission-critical backends need something that NEVER crashes, PERIOD!

That's why Linux/*NIX are the thorns in Microsoft's side, and will continue to be until Microsoft cleans up the shoestring and Scotch® tape that holds together its operating systems.

--

Oh, stop whining (1)

reubenking (220479) | more than 13 years ago | (#515767)

Sheesh do I get tired of the anti-MS whining. Linux will or will not succeed compared to Windows based on the mass market appeal Linux can gain in the coming few years. Microsoft will market their product as any company does, and if there are weak points in Linux (and there are) to be exploited in their marketing efforts, then of course they're going to use them. A company has to make money!!

Re:embrace and extend (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#515768)

As far as office goes get staroffice yes it is big and kind of ugly but it works really well with office apps. I don't know about a outlook replacement but personally think that it would be a bad idea.

Re:Antitrust under DOJ's nose (4)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 13 years ago | (#515769)

it's ok because linux is like a house infested with cockroaches. sure he can squish the corel roach. it's a relatively small one. now that big mutated thing in the corner giving balmer the bird that's star office :). it has koffice/gnumeric/etc running around at its feet.

use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that

Re:Microsoft can kill Linux, any time that it want (1)

nothng (147342) | more than 13 years ago | (#515770)

not really, if M$ makes their own distro for linux it would have to follow GPL... so any modifications would be public for other disto's to use... might actually be good for the community

Re:M$ doesn't matter (3)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 13 years ago | (#515771)

1) Linux isn't Un*x.
2) When was the last time M$ abided by the terms a contract if it didn't suit their needs?

Re:Slightly OT: GNU's Not UNIX (1)

dragonfly_blue (101697) | more than 13 years ago | (#515772)

Thanks, that was what I had been gathering. I'm finding these gaps in my understanding of the history of Unix\Linux, and I hate ambiguity so I always seem to ask dumb questions.

Re:M$ doesn't matter (1)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 13 years ago | (#515773)

How has this stopped Linux so far?
___

No. They'll download ISO's, just like ... (2)

torpor (458) | more than 13 years ago | (#515791)

... they do with all the other distributions (Mandrake, Debian, RedHat, etc).

Thus, M$Linux won't make any money for Microsoft... So there's no motivation to do it.

Re:Thank you, Gandhi. (2)

Silver A (13776) | more than 13 years ago | (#515794)

yes, but that's what Netscape did to IE.

will negative media really do that much damage? (1)

nothng (147342) | more than 13 years ago | (#515796)

"As IBM found with OS/2, once MS percieves you as a threat, they attack like a rabid pit bull. I expect we'll see a lot more negative Linux press on zdnet, reporters paid to laud Windows and slam UNIX, fake grass roots movements, and all the other favorite MS tricks." Well, I'm not that quite that paranoid, but I'll be keping my eyes open"

I think negative media will not effect Linux as much as it did OS2. It's very easy to target a product of a single company and push it under the rug by trying to bring down profits. Since Linux is open source and many many companies distribute it targeting them all will be very difficult. Attacking linux as a whole will still not remove the core linux users and if one company was to actually have problems there would be 7 more to replace it. Also unlike OS2 linux is free. I don't think people will have the same problem of trying to decide do I want to spend $200 on OS2 or $200 on winXX with linux. Instead it will be, I'm might download Mandrake(it's just an example don't get huffy cause it isn't your favorite distro) and try that Linux thing... won't hurt since it's free... It's hard for people to turn down free :)...

And don't forget about all the free marketing Linux gets. How many of you have participated in an install fest with your local LUG. Generally I've noticed a very good turn out for all the ones I've attended. The local lug here also does community service here by setting up computer systems/networks using linux for nonprofit organizations. That's a lot of publicity for free.

In the long run Linux will be very difficult, even for Micro$oft to sweep under the rug.

Meanwhile, MS porting Office to *BSD^H^H^H^H OSX (2)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 13 years ago | (#515797)

See this Reuters story [yahoo.com]

"Microsoft loves OS X, at least our division does. Other divisions might be sweating a bit," Browne said, in a joking reference to Microsoft's Windows operating system that competes with Apple products.
.....
the upcoming version of Office would be written specifically for OS X, Browne said.

"This (OS X) is going to give us both the requirement and the opportunity to rework our applications so they work much, much better" ,Browne said.
Interesting how they think re-writing Office to run on a modern OS will improve the quality of the Office code itself isn't it?

Unix Phenomenon? (1)

MikeLRoy (246462) | more than 13 years ago | (#515799)

Since when is unix a phenomenon? Linux, maybe... but unix has been around almost 20 years longer then Windows?

On another note, if we want to see a version of Microsoft Linux one day, why don't we all just go out and buy a few shares of Microsoft stock? Slowly but surely, Microsoft will be ours... {evil grin}


-MR

Re:Thank you, Gandhi. (2)

flip-flop (178593) | more than 13 years ago | (#515800)

Not quite like Netscape. When M$ took on Netscape by releasing IE (for free), they were facing the leader in the market, and by a huge margin (I think back then the next most common browser would have been Mosaic). So for once they started as the underdog, although of course they used their usual underhand tactics to make sure they'd win the browser wars in the end.
Hence, the ignoring and laughing stages never happened in this case... well not by M$ anyway.

Re:Heh. (3)

softsign (120322) | more than 13 years ago | (#515801)

Well, I'm not a rabid MS fanatic, but I disagree with your assumption that MS couldn't win on merit.

Neither Linux nor Windows is good enough to become dominant given tabula rasa. Microsoft, through luck and clever marketing, however, has the upper hand presently (at least in terms of marketshare).

Having said that, there's absolutely no evidence to suggest that Microsoft couldn't produce a significantly better OS given the impetus to do so. They've demonstrated in the past that they can produce excellent, excellent software (I point to IE5 for Mac as an example).

The problem, up until this point, has been that they haven't had the pressure to do it right the first time (or the second time, or the third time...). Good enough has been the prevailing theme from Redmond for some time now when it comes to operating systems.

This is rather unfortunate for us at times, but not for their bottom line it seems.

I welcome any DOJ ruling that brings increased competition into the OS market. I don't think a DOJ ruling against Microsoft is necessarily a victory for Linux though. It doesn't negate the giant headstart MS has in terms of vendor support, nor does it preclude the leagues of developers at Microsoft from building a better OS to compete on its own merit. If anything, it might just have the opposite effect.

--

Sure is a threat, but unstoppable (5)

Micah (278) | more than 13 years ago | (#515802)

Open Source Software WILL make MS change their entire business model -- or die. And sooner that most people think.

I've long predicted that in the next recession, Linux use will grow by leaps and bounds. That's because licensing issues will be more important to people, and companies will be looking for more ways to save money. With OSS, no longer will companies need to pay exorbitant amounts of money to stay in the Windows/Office loop.

And the recession seems to be coming -- just after KDE2 and Helix GNOME, Nautilus, etc. are finished, and Star Office is made GPL'd, with its excellent Office interoperability. Just when Linux is REALLY ready for the desktop. And yes, with a few exceptions that will soon be rectified, Linux is ready for the desktop.

The best part is -- there's nothing MS can do about Linux! They can try FUD, but enough people know the truth by now to make it really effective.

Re:I disagree. (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#515803)

Who's wrong?
I think that the truth lies somewhere between. Certainly MS wants to protect their share of the server market, espically since MS is starting to limit their OSs by #of CPUs.
What this does for Microsoft is it allows them to say that,
a) Our server market share is being threatened by a free os b) look at us, poor microsoft being attacked by both sides.
It's not one or the other, but both.
---

Re:M$ doesn't matter (3)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#515804)

I'm sorry, but when it comes to general license crap, MS kicks all over inane arguments of Free. After all, they charge you a different heaping pile of money based on which semantic argument they are perpetrating on users at the moment.

Re:I disagree. (3)

donutello (88309) | more than 13 years ago | (#515805)

Did you even read the article?

The article simply quotes him as saying that he considered Linux to be Microsofts biggest problem. He argued this on the basis that Linux was a competitor in a market Microsoft controls while Sun and Oracle hold market share which Microsoft aims to capture and by saying that he considered the former kind bigger problems than the latter. How can you possibly disagree with that?

Every company has problems. Steve Ballmer was simply ranking MS's problems. No intelligent reading of the article can possibly read any more than that. Remember that this was a meeting organized by a financial institution - not a press release - most likely attended by people interested in the future business prospects of the company.

Re:Heh. (1)

Ronin75 (21473) | more than 13 years ago | (#515806)

That's because if the breakup goes through, Microsoft will have to play fair...

It hasn't even been decided what "fair" means yet, in terms of the breakup. If they don't get absolutely crippled in terms of what they can do in business practices, they'll do everything they have to hold market share. Microsoft is one of the best led companies around, so no matter what happens with the breakup, expect a serious effort from them.

Juuri claims windows stories are top AD sellers. (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 13 years ago | (#515807)

*sheeh*

Who in the world really cares what Ballmer thinks are threats to microsoft? Okay thats a bad question. Who should really care?
Microsoft shareholders? Microsoft VARs? MCSEs?

Slashdot needs to grow up. Its about time to stop fueling these petty discussions. Nothing of merit ever comes out of them except a lot of AD impressions and a lot of people making asses of themselves (like this post Im making). I see the editors of slashdot go on weekly crusades against one innane thing or the other, or even better call for protests of sites. Well if you are adult enough to call for such actions you should be adult enough to not keep pushing this crap along.

(try #2)
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