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How Microsoft Could Embrace Linux

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the mslinux-not-so-far-fetched dept.

Linux Business 424

securitas writes "In a commentary and analysis piece, BusinessWeek technology editor Alex Salkever discusses how Microsoft can embrace Linux, and asks the question, 'Considering Redmond's slim odds of conquering developing nations, why not offer them a low-cost Linux version of Office?' Salkever explains that 'Microsoft faces increasing competition in both PC operating systems and in desktop applications' which are its core businesses, while corporate customers would likely adopt Microsoft Linux products." (Read more below.)

"He goes on to cite the governments of Paris, Munich, Brazil, Peru, China, Korea, and Japan which are all embracing open source software to varying degrees. Meanwhile, when they choose Microsoft software, fast-growing emerging markets like China and India opt for pirated copies. Salkever explains that the concerns for customers like these are the 'relatively high price of Microsoft software' and the 'concerns about buying proprietary software to run critical government operations.' Finally he points to recent moves by Sun and IBM to leave the commoditized software and hardware business behind, writing 'When the world's largest and most respected IT consultancy draws a clear bead on your crown jewels, it's time to mount a bold counterattack.'"

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zedde gij zot ofzo? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809716)

microsoft en linux? ik denk van niet!

offtopic? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809729)

lik mijn ballen, vuile amerikaanse homo's

argh! my eyes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809717)

Congrats on the new section, but the color scheme is killing my eyes.

And we thought the games section was bad...

Re:argh! my eyes (5, Funny)

Ralph Yarro (704772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809797)

Congrats on the new section, but the color scheme is killing my eyes.

Color scheme looks okay to me, nowhere near as bad as the Games ones but I'm wondering whether they really have enough Italian readers to justify a special 'it' section.

Office for Linux? who'd use it? (5, Insightful)

phantasma6 (799340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809720)

why not offer them a low-cost Linux version of Office?

why would any linux user use MS Office, especially when they have to pay for it?

considering heaps of people use OpenOffice.org and the like on Windows, I really don't see many people using MS Office under linux.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (2, Informative)

1000101 (584896) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809726)

Just because you don't pay for OpenOffice.org doesn't mean nobody does [openoffice.org]

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1)

phantasma6 (799340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809750)

true, but I meant that you were under no obligation to pay for it (as in, it's legally free to use)

(btw, if I had money free (ie, not a student) I would happily donate to some OSS projects, such as OO.o)

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (2, Insightful)

Sogol (43574) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809779)

if I had money free (ie, not a student) I would happily donate to some OSS projects


I used to say that when I was a student. Now I have a family to support....

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (2, Interesting)

samjam (256347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809824)

I used to say it as a student, then as married.

then when I started working independantly and still hadn't starved I thought I'd better put my money where my mouth was.

I joined EFF and GNU and I donate to beg-ware software, as they are generous, I be generous back.

Sam

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809767)

But the difference is that you don't have to if you don't want to. Besides, in a developing country, do you think that they will want to pay the faceless corporation or the little people who make open source?

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (5, Insightful)

Elektrance (310019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809734)

I think there would be a market for this. Consider an IT department that is transistioning to Linux. If they can use Microsoft Office on Linux, there is one less area to re-train the users, saving the business money and time. That is of course assuming that the cost of the Office liscenses is less than the cost of training all your users.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809748)

I have a whole lot of VBA written in Office. I could redo it all in OOo, but it's probably not worth my time if Microsoft's price for Linux Office is reasonable.

From what I heard, it's Office that's the real cash cow anyway, not Windows. Why shouldn't they?

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809823)

python drives COM objects nicely

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809736)

You can't compile Office, so geeks are not interested. I think Microsoft tries to attract all the n00bs who only download pre-compiled binaries of the programs.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809833)

Face it : Geeks are not a significant part of the workforce.
Most of my colleagues would actually rather use Microsoft products because it'd ease their transition.

BTW, Microsoft confidence in this market might be related to BEA (WebLogic)'s success which could bring their commercial apps to Linux.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (4, Interesting)

julesh (229690) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809741)

It _would_ help persuade management to switch. "Can we still use Word?" "Yes."

Of course, this ignores (a) the existence of Crossover Office, which I understand is capable of running Word virtually flawlessly, and (b) the fact that MS wouldn't do it because they know that they'd lose -- the number of people switching to Linux because of the availability of office would cut directly into their Windows revenues, and probably into some of their other application-based revenues also.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809801)

And c) the article is talking about the developing world which probably doesn't have a large installed user base for Word.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1)

giampy (592646) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809813)

> the number of people switching to Linux
> because of the availability of office
> would cut directly into their Windows revenues

that is very true, but on the other hand, in the long term, if linux prevails microsoft can survive only by porting its apps over linux.

not an easy decision though ...

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (2, Insightful)

giampy (592646) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809759)

I can think of many reasons why one would like to use it,

100% compatibility with the other 95% of office users is one ...

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809808)

yeah sure.. like it was on the Mac or on other mswindows versions

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (4, Insightful)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809882)

Since when does having a copy of MS Office guarantee 100% compatibility with other MS Office users? I have Office X on my Mac and it can't successfully share files with the PC version. Fonts and formatting get minced so I don't see any reason why a Linux version would be any different. I can run Office under Linux using Crossover and it is pretty good but none of the MS Office formats should be used if you want to preserve and share your documents, the 'format' just isn't good enough. OpenOffice files transfer much better between Windows, Linux and MacOS X.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (4, Funny)

!the!bad!fish! (704825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809782)

why would any linux user use MS Office
There are some things [microsoft.com] that just don't work on other word processor. :-)

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809788)

I have a different vision: Why in JHC's name would a multi-billion dollars company write software for a different operating system? If they did that, that would be the beginning of the end...

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809802)

Linux with MS Office would be like eating chocolate cake with mustard. Yuck. Phthewy. Bleh.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (0, Troll)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809850)

Free Software is NOT about price!

I would hope nobody would want Office for GNU/Linux because it wouldn't be free software, and they value their freedoms.

Price isn't an issue. Some people pay for copies of OpenOffice.org, some download it, some would probably pay more for a nice printed manual.

Re:Office for Linux? who'd use it? (1)

write_with_numbers (779746) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809866)

I hope that MS does make office for Linux.

It would be a big waste of their money and we could start a movement to make sure that instead of buying it everyone who feels they have to run Office could just WINE the Windows version.

Do you think if we try really hard we could get MS to bankrupt themselves writing code for Linux? I just want it to happen for the irony factor.

New Office Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809724)

If the new Office is not something like this:
bash# cd Office-3.5b/src
bash# make
I'm not interested...

That would be a wise move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809731)

I think that such an innovating company like Microsoft can perpetuate its dominance of the home PC market by leveraging off the enormous technology vault offered by Linux.

MS has shown in the past that it is willing to integrate the leading technologies in the market within its products. For instance, the import of Wordperfect document in MS Word lead to a great migration of users from one office suite to another. Support for TCP/IP in Windows 3.11 revolutionized the computer industry and lead to the wide acceptance of the Internet by the common folk.

I for one welcome that move by Microsoft to bring Linux into its fold. It can offer nmap, ipchains and Konqueror in the service pack for XP which would allow all business user to increase their productivity.

Which is nice.

Re:That would be a wise move (2, Insightful)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809795)

Support for TCP/IP in Windows 3.11


Are you implying that Microsoft provided this? If so, that is not correct. The product you're thinking of that brought TCP/IP to to Windows 3.x is Trumpet [trumpet.com] Winsock.

Re:That would be a wise move (2, Informative)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809820)

Actually you are incorrect, it was available for Windows for Workgroups 3.11. It wasn't a dialup stack, it was for NICs. The primary reason for its existence was for those who were only running TCP/IP on their networks, so that they could use the WFW clients for SMB networking over IP, which was supported in the versions of NT available at that time, as well as LanMan.

You can still find a copy on an old install CD of NT 4 as well as 3.51 in the CLIENTS directory.

Re:That would be a wise move (2, Informative)

ecc0 (548386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809838)

No. Microsoft did provide TCP/IP for Windows 3.11 for Workgroups [yale.edu] . It didn't have PPP or dialer software, which Trumpet Winsock provided... But again, Microsoft provided the same starting with MS Internet Explorer 5.0 (which isn't really relevant though.)

"an innovating company like Microsoft"?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809843)

You're either a very subtle troll, or you've been paid for a lame astroturfing effort.

Or maybe you're being sarcastic.

Because saying "an innovating company like Microsoft" should raise all kinds of alarms about veracity...

Re:That would be a wise move (1)

ncaHammer (518236) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809896)

You forgeting something, WordPerfect had a very large share in the market, while Linux is not the dominant OS in the desktop market.
Second MS is marching to the Longhorn release and such a move only distraction can offer inside MS and to its customers
And last i fail to see what 0ff1ce bloatware can offer to a linux user

Wh make a Linux Office version (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809732)

When you can make MSLinux?

Re:Wh make a Linux Office version (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809846)

That's an interesting 3rd alternative. If MS views it as strictly a business decision, then they decide based on the anticipated profits of each choice:

1) No quarter given -- slightly eroding desktop OS market, rapidly eroding server market, office applications slightly eroded by OO.

2) Office on Linux - increases the losses in OS, but cuts OO off at the knees (I would probably switch, I miss Word).

3) MSLinux, embrace and extend - Office only runs on MSLinux because of proprietary libraries, for example. OO runs on competing distributions. A free-for-all ensues. Note that MSLinux would still be GPL and free to copy, but the library license would prevent you from running Office on other distributions. MS would wipe out the other distributions overnight and gain control of Linux.

Er, OpenOffice (5, Insightful)

DrStrangeLug (799458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809735)

If people have already decided to go for a linux OS then finding a good open source office suite to go with it is no problem at all. I think the time for MS to try to gain a foothold in the linux application market was about 2 years ago and they missed it.

Re:Er, OpenOffice (2, Insightful)

Clansman (6514) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809868)

Finding an 'OK' office suite is fine but finding one that completely replicates the entire functionality of MS Office (especially macros, pivot tables etc) is not that easy. The current options are either much slower or as fast but with half the features.

Now it's true that most people dont' use most features but, in any reasonably sized organisation, there will be enough people doing important work using these extra features that will make the transition require like for like feature replacement.

Someone mentioned Crossover Office from Codeweavers. This is an excellent product as it runs Word and Excel perfectly and much faster than Oopen Office on any platform. If MS produced a native version, it would save me having to pay extra for Crossover.

yeah (1)

mihal (753927) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809737)

I guess it's the least probable thing for microsoft to do, the one before writing linux kernel modules and going open source.

If MS were not so proud... (3, Insightful)

otisg (92803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809738)

I would venture to say that if Microsoft were smart and if they could lose some of their stubborn pride, they would adopt a UNIX kernel the way Apple did.

Before that move, Apple's Mac OSes were a joke - constantly crashing, freezing, etc. They integrated BSD kernel and built their pretty UI and nice apps on top. Good move by Steve Jobs. Apple lost nothing. This is the real reason why MacOS is so popular among the 'computer owners elite' today.

Microsoft could do the same and really hurt all of their competition whose existence is based on the fragility of various/all Windows versions.

Of course, MS could also just make their own Linux distro (MS Linux), make it better than RedHat and 100% free. That's an easy way to get all other Linux distro companies out of business. With their thick bank accounts holding over 30 billion USD, they could offer it for free for a looong looong time. On the other hand, that's Linux distro companies' bread and butter.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (1)

kcar5150 (55850) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809764)

There's a big difference between 'computer owners elite' and 'elitist computer owners'. I suggest that you may have confused the two.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809771)

- if they could lose some of their stubborn pride, they would adopt a UNIX kernel
- Apple's Mac OSes were a joke
- MS could also just make their own Linux distro (MS Linux), make it better than RedHat and 100% free.

+5 Funny!

Re:If MS were not so proud... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809780)

NT has an OpenVMS kernel and it is free from freezing and crashing just fine, at least to the same level as Unix is concerned. Kernel panics and blue screens are synonymous, except that blue screens at least, by default, dump memory, explain the problem and then reboot so that I don't have to drive into work on a Saturday in order to reset a RedHat server. And frankly, aside you retards, who gives a flying fuck what the kernel is?

Microsoft had already commented on Office for Linux. In order for it to work they would have to feel that Linux's market would be willing to pay for such a product (and judging by the current comments they are not) and that there would need to be some standardization of UI. Microsoft runs a business, not a charity. They will provide their software on platforms that make sense to them.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (2, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809799)

For desktop use XP is as reliable as Linux. Comparing it to OS 9 is off base.

MS controls 100% of the market that they want to, the businesses that pay for software. Why change?

Re:If MS were not so proud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809827)

You mean I can remove Linux and install WindowsXP on my P3-300MHz with 128Mo of RAM, and still expect a fast and reliable OS?

Re:If MS were not so proud... (1)

CarrionBird (589738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809889)

Reliable, but it does have security problems. OS9 is more like Win 9x than any NT based system. Some people won't leave it though.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (1, Funny)

kawaichan (527006) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809800)

Dude, where have you been for the past year?

Microsoft had released its own version of linux, called
MS Linux [mslinux.org] in November of 2003!!!!


Seems like nobody is using it though :(

Re:If MS were not so proud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809803)

Of course, MS could also just make their own Linux distro (MS Linux), make it better than RedHat and 100% free. That's an easy way to get all other Linux distro companies out of business.

and how long before someone brings an antitrust lawsuit against them?

Re:If MS were not so proud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809821)

Mac OS X doesn't use any BSD kernel its still the same Mach kernel I think, they just used all the apps from BSD. Still much better than the previous Mac OSes tho.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (4, Informative)

Twylite (234238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809836)

Thank you for displaying your profound lack of knowledge of MS operating systems.

The kernel behind Windows 2000/2003 is as solid as Linux. Crashes are almost without exception the result of third party device drivers. The perceived frailty of MS is (a) a hangover from the Win95/98/Me crap and (b) because of the UI and application communication layers, not the kernel.

As a developer I get to see the side of Windows and Linux that many don't -- low level interfaces to system functionality. And many aspects of Windows, from a developer perspective, are ahread of *nix.

The Win32 threading and synchronisation models are ridiculously powerful compared to *nix, which is precisely what makes it so hard to port a lot of Win32-based software to other platforms. The fact that you can't do a simple operation like "wait for a mutex to be released or a socket to become readable" deserves to be a joke about legacy operating systems, not a persistent reality. At least BSD's kqueue comes close.

There are many other places in which the *nix kernels show their age compared to the design of Win32 (not to mention MS's ability to maintain a consistent API over 10 years of product developments). 30 year old technology may be "mature", but its not always The Right Thing To Do for the future.

So try to get the facts before you succumb to FUD about the state of computing -- from MS or FLOSS.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809844)

Of course, MS could also just make their own Linux distro (MS Linux), make it better than RedHat and 100% free. That's an easy way to get all other Linux distro companies out of business. With their thick bank accounts holding over 30 billion USD, they could offer it for free for a looong looong time.

That's also an easy way to get sued. Firstly by the DOJ for such a blatantly anticompetitive action, and secondly, by their shareholders who are legally entitled to expect the Microsoft directors to do whatever is in their power to make them money.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809855)

I totally agree, this step has been so obvious for the past 2 years!

All they have to do is use a standard BSD kernel, even Darwin, sponser 10-20 BSD developers, to ensure that BSD kernels/drivers keep up with modern hardware and features, and produce

XP GUI desktop
XP Compatibilty libraries
DOSShell

Apple did this work very quickly, I'm sure microsoft, with a bit of help from Codeweavers could do this in months!.

At this, point everyone could enjoy scalable OS, that consumes resources in a controlled manner, less prone to viruses/worms etc

Re:If MS were not so proud...or bound by lawsuit (1)

Oddly_Drac (625066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809860)

"MS could also just make their own Linux distro"

They are banned from doing such after they got dragged through the courts against Caldera.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809873)

What are you, nuts? Why the hell would MS do such a thing? There's only downsides, from their point of view: switch to MS Linux, and overnight you forsake the biggest software trove on earth. You lose all your developers, who have been trained in the quirks of dos/win32/.net/etc. You lose all your products, make your documentation/knowledge base irrelevant.

And what do you get in return? Higher security, plus a steep learning curve for your developers, the need to reconquer the whole market from scratch, the need to compete on equal terms with everybody. Meanwhile, you lose your old market at an accelerated rate, since nobody's going to continue investing in windows if you're now pushing Linux fulltime.

Don't forget that Apple is a hardware company, with a tiny market share and were on their way out, so taking the huge risk they took was still much less risky than if MS did the same thing.

Re:If MS were not so proud... (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809877)

Before [moving to OS X with a UNIX/BSD kernel], Apple's Mac OSes were a joke - constantly crashing, freezing, etc.

Microsoft could do the same and really hurt all of their competition whose existence is based on the fragility of various/all Windows versions.

Hate to break it to you, but the Windows kernel has not been particularly fragile/constantly crashing/freezing since, let's say, Windows 2000, which was (IIRC) released in 1999, so your comment is like 5 years outdated <insert standard comment about slashdot, nerds and caves here>.

There are many parts in Windows that are causing a lot of problems right now (IE, Outlook, whatever else you can come up with), but the kernel is not the part where I'd look for problems in Windows - so suggesting to replace it doesn't make any sense, IMHO.

They would like to embrace it allright. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809739)

Much the same way the embraced Novell...
"No we add these services to SUPPORT novell"

.... 3 years later ...

"These services are for helping people upgrading to Windows"

Of course not (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809743)

Why would Micro$oft make the Linux platform more appealing by creating apps for it?

Too logical a proposition (1)

Rengi_Neer (800492) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809753)

It would probably make good business sense to do that, but given the 'dog-eat-dog' culture of that grand corporation, I doubt if that will ever happen. I believe the fear is that it will encourage the user base in developed nations to give Linux a try. In any case, it won't make it to Debian mirrors if the oh-so-pure purists are considering dumping Mozilla. MS Office for Linux would make them pop a few essential capillaries in that small space between their deaf ears, but I am sure than Linspire, and maybe Lycoris would be happy to include it in their distros.

Easy (1)

0x54524F4C4C (712971) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809756)


1. Hire Linus Torvalds 2. ??? 3. Don't profit

It would never happen (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809757)

The author should give his head a shake. If Microsoft adopted Linux as a supported offering... well that would open it up for competition and we all know the arch enemy of Microsoft is competition. The only thing that keeps Microsoft competitive is proprietary products and their secret sauces. If the recipe is not secret anymore there will be competition and innovation. Imagine if you will, Kentucky Fried Turkey outlets opening up all over the place at half the price for a bucket.

Embrace (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809760)

and extend

Re:Embrace (0)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809791)

.....your middle finger...

They won't ! (5, Insightful)

jalet (36114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809762)

They won't embrace it, because they can't extend and extinguish it as they have done for other software.

Thanks for the most part to RMS and the GNU GPL.

Re:They won't ! (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809829)

Yeah, and icebergs couldn't sink the Titanic either.

Why? (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809765)

Why is it that an editor of BusinessWeek has no clue about business? If Microsoft embraced Linux by selling a low cost version of Office for it, migrating to Linux would be even easier --> no money for Windows, less money for Office.

With no MS Office for Linux, migrating is a lot harder. OOo works fine for most people (better in my experience, but my experience probably differs), but in some cases you just simply need the original, which means you also need Windows (or Crossover Office).

It really is as simple as that. Office isn't just MS's biggest cash cow, it's also their most important selection of proprietary file formats.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

secondsun (195377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809792)

Because in 2000 Microsoft was broken up by the justice department into an Operating Systens unit and an applications unit.

Oh wait sorry, the yellow header sent me into my happy space where the world was fair and McCain was president.

The article doesn't think things through (4, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809766)

It lists two reasons people are moving to Linux/OpenOffice, but doesn't address either of them.
Quote: In November, 2003, the government of Brazil ordered its agencies to use Linux and other open-source software as much as possible. A month later, Israel's Commerce Ministry announced a decision to migrate to OpenOffice, an open-source desktop suite that runs on Linux and Apple's (AAPL ) OS X system, as well as on Windows. The city governments of Paris and Munich both announced their intention to switch to Linux and open-source applications. In Peru, a state legislature nearly passed a law banning the use of proprietary software by government agencies. And the governments of China, Korea, and Japan have announced an alliance to promote open-source software.
All of these organisations are switching because they don't want to use proprietary software. Providing a Linux version of MS Office won't solve this, as there's no chance in hell MS will release it as OSS.
So that's one of the concerns the article mentions, but leaves unaddressed.
Second is the price. Why would MS offer Office for Linux for a low price, when it can just offer existing products (Windows XP plus Office) for a low price, ensuring a lock-in that wouldn't occur with Office/Linux?

Re:The article doesn't think things through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809828)

In November, 2003, the government of Brazil ... All of these organisations are switching because they don't want to use proprietary software.

No. They are choosing the lowest cost option. OSS is not the motivator. Free as in beer is the motivator. If Windows were free they'd be all over it.

Micro$oft and Linux ??? (1)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809768)

You must be kidding ! The reason why Linux rocks is cause its OPEN.If Microsoft makes office for linux,will it be open ?? And of course its not gonna be free.I dont think it will click.It will rather suck with their awkwark development cycles and business practices.

boxed versions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809770)

they could by linux boxes and hug them, that is the only way :)

I've wondered this myself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809774)

One of the biggest problems MS has, is it's lack of security in it's products - most notably Outlook. It would make sence for them to produce a similar version for Linux. All those worms and email viruses could then affect Linux ( or at least to user account level / not root ) as well. MS could at least then say it's not only Windows that has such security issues.

A missed opportunity I think.

every time (2, Funny)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809778)

Every year at least once an acticle appears about a rumour or someone proposing that MS should or will release an MS-Office 4 Linux. So far I haven't seen anything. It's just like waiting for Doom 3...

ehm

HEEEEELPPP

I'd love to see X11 support (1)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809781)

If I could pick one feature to add to Windows, I'd add the ability to redirect displays from a remote *nix server to my Windows box.

Of course, going the other direction would be nice, too.

Re:I'd love to see X11 support (1)

zyche (784345) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809812)

In reverse? Like this [rdesktop.org] ?

Re:I'd love to see X11 support (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809816)

It's there all the time, only not from Microsoft. X11 servers for Windows exist.

Re:I'd love to see X11 support (2, Informative)

smoyer (108342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809835)

Just one word ... cygwin. It leaves my boss with the appearance that I'm using M$.

Re:I'd love to see X11 support (1)

littlefoo (704485) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809840)

"Of course, going the other direction would be nice, too."

That's already there for Unix clients -> Windows servers running terminal services, via rdesktop (http://www.rdesktop.org and the project site at Sourceforge). Admittedly that terminal services caveat may be a gating issue for a home network, but for many networks it's not a problem. Rdesktop is quick, light and works a charm in my experience.

Re:I'd love to see X11 support (1)

jovetoo (629494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809851)

Install cygwin and install their X server. Wish granted.

Re:I'd love to see X11 support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809854)

err... This already exists in both directions, supplied by many sw companies...

M$ on linux (5, Interesting)

Sarastrobert (800232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809783)

It would be nice but I think there is too much speaking against it.

First of all I don't think it would be an easy port to make considering how M$likes to intermingle it's OS with it's applications. Office is bound to be using alot of OS specific API's, com objects etc... If the main selling opportunity would be low priced copies to the third world, then maybe they don't think it is worth the cost.

Thirdly I think it would be to much an admittance of defeat for M$ to aknowledge Linux that way.

Need a split (1)

sridhar.g (791166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809784)

If MicroSoft Need to do this, First they need to restructure Company.
Split OS division from Desktop applications division, give freedom for strategic decision, keep competition between both.
Probably App division will take this step ;)..
For now who ever suggest, I dont think MS will look for this..

Re:Need a split (1)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809804)

Isn't that what the DOJ ruling wanted them to do, causing MS to bleat on about how it would "impact the ability to develop quality, integrated products for customers". Yeah. Right.

If MS wants to move into low-cost software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809789)

They should just buy that division off sun, and simply sell ".NET Desktop" machines with low cost, less fully-featured versions of Windows running Office. Maybe strip down the latest directx support so people cant use them for everything MS wants them to buy full versions of Windows for.

Not enough guts (1)

smoyer (108342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809796)

I don't think that any of the Microsoft executives actually have the nerve to push this idea through the company, board of directors and take the short-term stock price problems. In fact, I don't think they have the nerve to SUGGEST it.

MS Linux (1, Funny)

Cronopios (313338) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809806)

Oh, I thought Microsoft was already distributing MS Linux [mslinux.org] !

Do you mean that MS will not invade Cuba as stated there?

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809807)

Why would they offer a low cost version of Office for Linux? Why not just offer a low cost version of Windows? That's what they actually have been doing. It means they don't need to port products to Linux, they don't encourage adoption of a rival, and it doesn't hurt their profit because they can slice up the market quite efficiently anyway - in fact it might even decrease piracy.

Fails to accomodate one small thing ... (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809814)

... Microsoft know that x86/PC-based computing, as a 'significant factor' in computing use among general populations, isn't necessarily as viable, nor as guaranteed as everyone assumes.

Thus, the investment in alternative-platform/embedded computing. XBox.

The way Microsoft will 'embrace' Linux is by becoming a Hardware Company. They certainly have the cash to do it, and they certainly have the cash to compete with other hardware companies.

What they 'need' is a decent operating system code-base that they can use to truly dominate cross-platform embedded-computing application development...

Look around you. You use more non-x86 computing platforms than you realize. x86 is the one thats sucking all your attention, though ...

it would be their death (4, Insightful)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809825)

They only make money off of their OS and office suite. If they offered a low-cost office suite, no one would need the expensive operating system or expensive office suite. Who really wants to pay $750 for Longhorn, and then pay another few hundred for an Office suite? Then, 5 years down the road, have to upgrade again because MS stops offering bug fixes. Multiply that by 500 workstations and you have a large budget that you're basically giving MS. That probably funds upgrades to calc.exe and clock.exe.

This is probably *bad* for Microsoft... (3, Interesting)

McCall (212035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809832)

There are really three scenarios here:

You want a low cost, or free, system.
- In which case you use Linux and OpenOffice.org both of which are already proven products.

You want a UNIX based system as your using legacy UNIX products, but need Microsoft Office.
- In which case you use MacOS X and Microsoft Office.

You need Microsoft Office for office productivity and compatibility with other products.
- In which case is the $100 for a Microsoft Windows license really an issue?

I agree developing nations should find better and cheaper ways of doing things, but doing the same things a different way just for the sake of it doesn't seem justified to me!

They like to make everyone carry the price (1)

corvair2k1 (658439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809837)

Really, I think that Microsoft would rather dump Office than have a 'low-price' version being marketed. There are thousands of features that most people don't know how to use, and Micorosft probably wouldn't want to invest in those features if they didn't have everybody paying for it.

This is a rather moot point really. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809841)

This is rather comical to say the least. And while I will most likly be marked down for stating the truth, or not bothering to create an account to post my view once a year, Take this for what you will.

The desktop market is what...at least 75% dominated by microsoft? linux has taken what...8 years to cut into it 10%? This translate into a few pennies less per day the company makes..on just one of it's fronts. I am sure people would love to dream of the day *nix is on equal ground in the desktop market as windows, it is simply not going to happen in the next 10 years minimum.

Why you ask? driver support for new, exotic hardware. Gaming support(DX9 ring a bell?). propritory drivers and software to power those drivers. software users have been using for years and years. All of these are things linux could "do" per se..or any other *nix. just not now. The turnaround rate to get new drivers, software, and ports made is simply too long to be useful. and that is a simple, painful fact when it comes to desktops.

As for corperate resources using linux in a widescale deployment..There are just too few companies that are willing to try that. Why? It takes time for hundreds or thousands of people to "relearn" how to use thier computer. remember that most of the work force in the world had "windows for dummies" to get them employed years ago? Companies do not want to take the time, or the money training the entire staff..for such a change. it would end up costing the same, if not more, then windows products. Not to mention the time lost in the process..That in itself could cost far, far more then the liecences. This is just another simple fact that people tend to turn a blind eye to.

And before the zealots start, I am a unix sys admin..have been for 8 years now. Please do not start with the whole "blah blah blah LINUX R00LZ blah" rant, Because it serves no point. Direct that energy to making drivers and supporting hardware and ports.

Either way. Microsoft really has nothing to fear from Apple or Linux...or unix either in the desktop market. Even if Apple and linux combined have 40% of the desktop market..that translates to what..only 100 billion a year in revenue for microsoft off windows? Please.

--nitedog

Revival of the Xenix ? (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809847)

Microsoft did have its own Unix clone waaay back called Xenix [wikipedia.org] . It is now better known as the "SCO Unix" (-insert-star-wars-analogy-here)...

Microsoft gains the same things it gained when it shipped Internet Explorer for Mac OS a few years back..

Bollocks (1)

tobybuk (633332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809848)

This guy is an arse hole. Why on earth would MS want to stop people having to by Windows to run office? Office draws people to Windows like nothing else - period.

MS would only do this if they had real competition for their office suite and people were moving to Linux at such a rate that Windows was being sidelined.

Wake up people - it aint happening!

Funny thing about the english language (1)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809849)

That word, embrace. It is more flexible than I had initially thought. And it took an article title like this to demonstrate this.

We could, for example, begin using it in lieu of opposites and still retain the original meaning, like if we were talking about the Boston Embracer [wikipedia.org] . Or this [darwinawards.com] warm and fuzzy story about cooperation, understanding, and symbiosis between man and pet.

With this new meaning-neutral language which we here at /. have pioneered, all I can say is, thank you Microsoft for the wonderful product you are kind enough to allow me to buy from you [toronto.edu] .

who has the porting date pool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809865)

the penny pinchers would buy it at $30 $40 and the author is right corporate is going to keep on with XP and what not for a long time, the peons in the cubes and call centers are getting striped linux now. As long as they can keep their file formats to them self's it make perfect sense, a little something is better than a whole lot of nothing.

The search for new markets (1)

tmk (712144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809870)

Microsoft knows about the danger for its core business. Bill Gates invested his money in gold mines and huge content data bases. But what can MS do?

Microsoft has to find new markets. They brought into the PDA market, the TV market, the search business. They could attack comptetitors very successful with billions of dollars, but by that they destroyed the markets. After MS has destroyed a market they had to find new ways to generate profits again. But in most cases this was not successful yet.

That would be an admission that Windows is crap. (1)

geo_2677 (593590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809871)

If MS support Linux for any Desktop applications then it would be an admission that Linux is certainly better than MS windows. Would they like to kill their own baby? I doubt.
Then would a linux distribution coming from MS be as reliable as the ones coming from say RedHat or Suse.? When MS is not able to manage it own windows releases properly (news of SP breaking compatibily or applications is not uncommon) can it swallow its ego and cooperate with Open Source developers? And more importantly, will Open Source developers be keen to support MS especially when MS has been trying to stifle Open source development spreading all kinds of FUD about open source.

Enhanced Office for Linux (1)

Observador (224372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809872)

The author talks about a "stripped-down version of Office for Linux targeted at emerging markets"

And though it is actually a great idea...

Instead, who not get an "enhanced" Office for said markets?

"Enhanced" being some multimedia creation capability (think PowerPointMovie&Sound), make a better Image Composer part of the suite along with FrontPage, offer Frontpage extensions for apache running on Linux and while you're at it, make said extensions able to compile asp pages. Get it running out of the box with minimum user intervention complete with personal web site. Stick in a little drm and user information gathering by the side...

Mind you this is not for the slashdot crowd, but those "emerging markets"... handled well could make DRM ubiquitous and Office the defacto standard for the next ten years...

God, I hope they don't have a clue...

Shameless Businessweek shills for Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809876)

So what's new? Businessweek shills for Linux yet again!Why don't these clowns change their name to Linuxweek and be done with it? Then at least the reading public will know up front what they are in for when they spend their hard earned money buying the shameless Businessweek.
This is one of the most brain dead ideas I ever heard of.
I come from Africa, which is about the poorest continent on the planet, and yet everyone who has a computer in my own country that I know of is using Windows (which comes pre-installed on nearly ALL computers there) plus a pirated copy of Microsoft Office.
Every single bank, insurance company, government department I have seen in my own and other African countries in West Africa is using Microsoft office running Windows
Where does this guy come up with his idea that Microsoft is struggling in developing countries nonsense from?
For his information, Brazil is NOT equal to all developing countries. The current Brazilian government is rabidly anti-American, having recently introduced laws for take mug shots and fingerprints of all American visitors.
As for the pathetic French and Germans going for Linux for political anti-American reasons,the less said about them, the better, apart from the fact that spitting on Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, just because he's kicking the sorry butts of French and German cyclists is disgusting, dirty pathetic behavior, and another low, even for these the French and Germans !

Even in China, the second biggest PC market on the planet, Microsoft continues to rule on desktops AND servers, in spite of government efforts to steer people to Linux. After all, its easy enough to buy a pirated copy of Windows AND office for pennies by just walking down the local street market, and Chinese consumers, like consumers in the rest of the world continue to vote their pirated CD's for Windows over the "free" Linux.
This piece of self-serving Linux propaganda by Businessweek represents pretty much what we have come t0 expect from this fast deteriorating tabloid business rag. Its nothing but a mouthpiece and propaganda organ for Linux.
Microsoft will of course reject this moronic suggestion of bringing out Microsoft Office on Linux out of hand, and treat it with the contempt it deserves!

Microsoft will never offer linux software (2, Insightful)

matdodgson (203405) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809887)

<rant>

To do so they would be admitting that Windows is on the way out and they'd never do that. While they have Windows they control everything else in the software market - they will never give that up under any circumstances.

The sad fact is that the desktop market is owned by Microsoft and this will never change. Corporations, who are ultimately the ones that decide on standards through their software purchasing habits, are more interested in playing it safe. Most corporate IT decision makers are more like politicians in their laziness and inaction - they're more interested in their pay packet and their reputation.

The smart corporations have seen the way MS react to the threat of a Linux deployment and will start their own. It is clear that the threat of a large scale Linux deployment is a way to reduce MS software licensing costs. Unfortunately most corporations do not follow through on the deployment.

In any case it's much easier to sack IT people in western countries and rehire them in India than to retrain your entire work force to use a different OS. I mean how many people who ring the help desk would even notice the difference?

</rant>

good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809891)

despite how much spin /. tries putting on it, linux is still a very small percentage of desktop users; why should microsoft bother putting out a version of office for linux? how about the linux developers getting the windows version of office to run on linux?
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