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Microsoft Advised To Learn To Love Linux

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the start-facing-up-to-it dept.

Microsoft 418

mikael writes "ZDnet is reporting that the management guru Clayton Christensen (author of "The Innovator's Dilemma") has advised Microsoft to learn to love Linux. In particular he advises Microsoft to purchase "Research in Motion", otherwise they will see their applications sucked off from the desktop and onto handheld devices such as the Blackberry."

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poo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555095)

poo

bar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555228)

bar

i want to flame but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555273)

whats the famous /. user group called? GNAA?

i forget, someone help me out here

thanks babe! 3 U

What's up with /. these days? (-1, Offtopic)

laptop006 (37721) | about 10 years ago | (#10555099)

I got the "nothing for you to see here" again when trying to look at this story. Is /. really starting to fall under the load after all these years?

First post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555100)

But does it fly?

Love already there (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 10 years ago | (#10555101)

Microsoft already loves Linux.

They bought SCO didn't they?

Re:Love already there (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555122)

> Microsoft already loves Linux.
>
> They bought SCO didn't they?

Erm no, they just invested in it through Baystar. Perfectly legal!

Re:Love already there (3, Funny)

Joel Carr (693662) | about 10 years ago | (#10555238)

Microsoft already loves Linux.

Well I'm not so sure about Microsoft, but I know Bill Gates does. The internet says so, and it never lies!! [bbspot.com]

---

yeah (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555104)

first post suckers !!!!

Re:yeah (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555211)

we suck?

hahahahhhahahahahaha you fail it you uncle fucker!

Article has a flair for the dramatic (5, Insightful)

Dante Shamest (813622) | about 10 years ago | (#10555109)

Microsoft's revenues/profits have been positive so far. Maybe they will face "oblivion"...but not in this decade.

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 years ago | (#10555134)

Agreed, at times people seem to think that Microsoft could just implode one day due to a bad business decision and almost immediately cease to exist.

People seem to forget that if Microsoft were to completely pull out of the Operating System, Office, games and internet markets (and just about everything else) and devote themselves to say... selling sol.exe (Solitaire for the non windows persons) for a dozen different platforms... even without a single sale, the pile of cash they are sitting on, in addition to their assets would be sufficient to keep them afloat for many many years.
--

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555208)

"their assets would be sufficient to keep them afloat for many many years."

???

Hey, here's an idea. Find someone who can learn your dimwitted ass about bizness.

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (5, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 10 years ago | (#10555239)

The trouble with a "pile of cash" is that unless you are paying dividends and/or getting good stock growth, investors will start looking at it.

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (4, Insightful)

Spoing (152917) | about 10 years ago | (#10555394)

  1. The trouble with a "pile of cash" is that unless you are paying dividends and/or getting good stock growth, investors will start looking at it.

Exactly. This is also one of the main reasons for Microsoft and many other companies doing really dumb things for short term gains.

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (5, Funny)

Kippesoep (712796) | about 10 years ago | (#10555284)

Considering how many people use their PC for the sole purpose of playing Solitaire, it might actually be a viable business model.

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (4, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | about 10 years ago | (#10555376)

That pile of cash can be wittled away very quickly if they aren't just forced to not sell anything, but are forced to fight a losing marketing battle which, again, can get extremely expensive.

None-the-less you're right - Microsoft won't burn in a day.

Re:Article has a flair for the dramatic (2, Insightful)

jordandeamattson (261036) | about 10 years ago | (#10555136)

Hi Dante -

What Christen has demonstrated in his research, is that innovative companies have an unfortunate tendency to hold onto their existing business and an unwillingness to "eat their own young".

While this doesn't lead to an immediate collapse, it does impact them negatively and once the downward spiral starts, it can go very fast.

Yours,

Jordan

RTFB (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | about 10 years ago | (#10555393)

If you read Christensen's fine book, you'll see that Microsoft is acting *exactly* as predicted. So did all the other companies mentioned in "The Innovator's Dilemma". And that's what makes it a dilemma. Why should a company abandon its business to start on another, apparently less lucrative line, which offers less utility to the company's clients?


Well, Christensen argues, according to many examples in many fields, ranging from excavating equipment to department stores, the new businesses, despite being apparently inferior in some ways, will end in dominating the whole field. That happens because the new way of doing business will evolve faster than the old, established way. Why evolve, if it's the best and most lucrative way? And, when the old managers wake up, it's too late.

Ahhh (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | about 10 years ago | (#10555113)

they will see their applications sucked off from the desktop
Wow. Now that would be some innovative internet pr0n.

Extremely interesting... (4, Interesting)

jordandeamattson (261036) | about 10 years ago | (#10555121)

As someone who has read much of Christensen's work, I am not surprised that he would make this suggestion (and I agree with it), but I am excited to see it out in public...

I agree with him that the greatest threat that Microsoft faces is the unwillingness to destroy its existing business to create a new business.

Why won't Microsoft bring Office to Linux? Because that would undercut the Windows business.

Why hasn't Microsoft gone ahead with a truly revolutionary approach to a MediaPlayer or Handheld? Because that would undercut the Windows business.

It is about keeeping the Windows business going. Think about it, how many differnet flavors of "Windows" have we seen for totally different uses and platforms?

Yours,

Jordan

Re:Extremely interesting... (4, Interesting)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | about 10 years ago | (#10555154)

Why won't Microsoft bring Office to Linux? Because that would undercut the Windows business.

Hafta take issue here....umm.. do you actually think that anybody in the Slashdot community would use Office if it were ported over to Linux? (I would, I don't mind Office as much as I dislike Windows, but I think I'm in a clear minority...)

Re:Extremely interesting... (5, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#10555183)

If Office were on Linux I could port all my end users to Linux without issue.

OOO /Star/Koffice/whatever just aren't good enough to prevent the person proposing the change losing their job once the end users have trouble interoperating with Windows clients. If it's Office, just blame Microsoft and keep your job.

And yes, I would keep a copy to stop from having to dual boot like I do now.

Re:Extremely interesting... (5, Insightful)

prescot6 (731593) | about 10 years ago | (#10555235)

If Office were on Linux I could port all my end users to Linux without issue.

I completely agree. Think about everything that your average user uses their computer for. You get internet/email and office, and a couple other programs such as Quicken... and games.

If you have Office, it makes it so much easier for the user because instead of having to learn ALL new programs, they just have to use a different internet browser.

Re:Extremely interesting... (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 10 years ago | (#10555352)

If you have Office, it makes it so much easier for the user because instead of having to learn ALL new programs, they just have to use a different internet browser.
Don't be so naive. If Office is ever ported, it will be ported with IE, ActiveX, VBScript and all other goodness.

Shameless Plug (-1)

isolation (15058) | about 10 years ago | (#10555255)

Just use CrossOver

Re:Shameless Plug (1)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#10555317)

Crossover isn't good enough. It's not faultless, and the problems you have aren't explainable to the end user. Plus, it costs more money when you've already bought Windows licenses.

Re:Extremely interesting... (3, Insightful)

skiman1979 (725635) | about 10 years ago | (#10555337)

If Office were on Linux I could port all my end users to Linux without issue.

If MS Office was ported to Linux, do you think it would operate in the same way? With the same features? I've seen other applications ported from Windows to Linux and the Linux version did not have nearly the same capabilities. For example, IM clients like AIM and Yahoo Messenger. The Linux ports of those apps are a bit different from the Windows versions. They may have less bugs (perhaps), but the application itself has a different interface. If MS Office were ported, I can see the same thing happening. MS ports a watered-down, ugly version of MS Office to Linux so they can say "See, Linux isn't so great." If the Linux port of Office isn't exactly the same as the Windows port, Windows users won't so easily switch.

Re:Extremely interesting... (4, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#10555369)

All I can say in response to this is that the Macintosh version of Office has always been a superior looking product, if not always superior operating. Version 5.1 for the Macintosh (circa 1992?) is still damn usable today.

If they put out a crappy version, no one will use it at first. They'll be forced to improve. 3 revs later and it'll be decent.

Re:Extremely interesting... (1)

Down_in_the_Park (721993) | about 10 years ago | (#10555339)

I have used MS Office and OOO for nearly 10 years now and I don't see the big differences once you start using the alternatives. Beside, writing a letter or anything similiar you could even use a simple text editor. What most people forget when they write is the simple rule; it's the content that counts and not the form! And I remember crashes/reinterpretations of layout by MS Word once I tried to assemble a PhD-thesis. Export to OpenOffice of the 100+ page document and the printer start printing 10 sec later exactly what I saw on the screen ( yes, with all the pictures exactly where I put them).

Re:Extremely interesting... (2, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#10555383)

Let's bring over the Excel spreadsheet with the clunky macros written in VBA format that they use for payroll.

How about a powerpoint with multi-megabyte embedded graphics. Will the layout be identical? I can tell you now - no.

How about that Access database they use in HR to keep track of some absolutely vital bullshit that I have no idea about...what about that?

Re:Extremely interesting... (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 10 years ago | (#10555428)

The last excellent addition to Word was tables, and I don't even mean the table drawing thingy that I could do without.

I wrote my college papers on a non-WYSIWYG word processor with a single font circa 1986. Tables and embedded images are both great, though, but the problem is, they've run out of useful new features to add.

I have written a number of documents in OOo, printed them, exported them to Word and PDF and no-one's ever complained.

Re:Extremely interesting... (2, Insightful)

Gandalfar (599790) | about 10 years ago | (#10555194)

Lots of users would use MS Office because they're lazy and they know how to use it.

Re:Extremely interesting... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555203)

I don't dislike MS Office either. I only dislike Micrsoft's practices, but not their products.

Re:Extremely interesting... (1)

prescot6 (731593) | about 10 years ago | (#10555261)

do you actually think that anybody in the Slashdot community would use Office if it were ported over to Linux?

I actually (sort of) dealt with this over the weekend. You see, there's a lot of Xbox games out/coming out that I really want (Fable, Halo2, KOTOR2, etc) but I haven't allowed myself to buy an Xbox because it's made by Microsoft. But then I got to thinking, really I don't hate Microsoft. I just hate Windows... and IE... and Outlook. But other than that, I have no beef.

Re: Extremely interesting... (5, Insightful)

gidds (56397) | about 10 years ago | (#10555267)

Actually, the point is: how many Linux users would buy Office?

Even in the Windows world, where users are used to paying exorbitant fees for software, Office would still be in trouble without OEM deals, bundling, and other reductions. Without those, and in a market used to getting software for free, the prospects can't look good...

Re:Extremely interesting... (2, Insightful)

kasperd (592156) | about 10 years ago | (#10555277)

do you actually think that anybody in the Slashdot community would use Office if it were ported over to Linux?

Too late for me. I would have liked to use Microsoft Office ten years ago, but there was no version for AmigaOS. I probably couldn't have afforded it anyway, the price was pretty high for a highschool student. At the university using LaTeX was a requirement for some of our exercises. I still use LaTeX and is satisified with it. Plaintext works well with version control systems, and you don't have to deal with corrupt files in binary formats.

Re:Extremely interesting... (5, Interesting)

DJ-Dodger (169589) | about 10 years ago | (#10555174)

How about: they won't bring Office to Linux because there aren't enough potential customers to justify the cost of the port?

There may be more Linux users than Mac users now, but I believe and I'm sure their market research must show, that a much smaller percentage of Linux users would actually purchase and use Office.

You are naive my friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555358)

You're being naive and innocent, and while it's cute, it's far away from the economic facts. Microsoft can sell Office to Apple, in fact Office was developed on the Mac-platform, with a nice profit. This is because Mac and Windows are in the same league, they both cost alot of money per seat. But for Microsoft to release Office to Linux, would undercut their OS dominance severely, because now people can download Linux for free and still use office. No, selling to Mac users make sense, both because of money and Office-dominance, but with Linux they are too afraid to rock the Windows-cardhouse/milking-machine yet. That's just a matter of time though.

As a side note, I've just installed Office 2000 and Filemaker Pro for a humanitarian organisation on a Knoppix hd-install (Linux). Wine does the trick, and with a few custom shell-scripts it even plays nice with KDE (required a few tricks to support spaces in directory and filenames etc).

So MS Office 2000 works in Linux NOW. With crossover office you can pay your way out of your Windows-prison.

Re:Extremely interesting... (2, Insightful)

arendjr (673589) | about 10 years ago | (#10555375)

But then again, currently Linux is slowly eating into Windows' market share. Right now for about every lost Windows user they also loose an Office (which earns them more than Windows) user. Currently, Office is a very strong instrument in keeping the Windows monopoly intact, but if Windows looses out too much it will also undercut Office. So porting Office to Linux could at least keep their Office monopoly intact a bit longer. So it may not be a matter of attracting potential customers that much as it will be about keeping their existing customers.

Re:Extremely interesting... (1)

szo (7842) | about 10 years ago | (#10555432)

How about: they won't bring Office to Linux because there aren't enough potential customers to justify the cost of the port?

With winelib, it should not be that hard, I don't think they would have to 'port' it to X, recompiling with winelib would be enough. And of course, release the neccessery winelib fixes to the community:)

Szo

Re:Extremely interesting... (1)

kerby74 (798328) | about 10 years ago | (#10555367)

Don't forget that Microsoft does and has long made a Mac version of Office. And that version is actually better in many ways than the Windows version. I would not be surprised if MS did have a version of Office for Linux in the works and is just being like MS always is, secretive.
And no, I am a Mac guy not a MicroSoft guy so not taking sides with MS, just wanted to remind the /. crowd about the Mac version of Office. Which by the way, they are pimping big time in my Mac mags I get every month... and I also have no intention of ever putting on my Mac.

just as (0, Redundant)

coolcold (805170) | about 10 years ago | (#10555123)

we have to learn to love our enemies

Unpossible (5, Insightful)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | about 10 years ago | (#10555126)

I almost feel sorry for Microsoft reading this article. He's right, and what's more I'd be surprised if many people at Microsoft didn't know it.

But they can't; how precisely can Microsoft remain a profitable publicly traded company while embracing open source? Their software is all they have.

IBM was in a fortunate position of being a major hardware vendor and therefore capable of switching revenue stream focus.

But Microsoft?

Can anyone else imagine Microsoft five years from now being known more and more as that company that makes really nice mice and peripherals?

Look at Novell? (5, Interesting)

e6003 (552415) | about 10 years ago | (#10555188)

Netware (hammered throughout the 90s by Wintel servers) and Unixware (offloaded to Santa Cruz Operation after only about 3 years) was "all" that Novell had. They are going through a painful, but necessary and promising, transition into a software services company. I think the more accurate summation of MS' problem is that they've angered far too many people for far too long, and even if they take the Damascus road tomorrow they may find a severe lack of partners and customers would kill them instead.

Re:Unpossible (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 years ago | (#10555201)

But they can't; how precisely can Microsoft remain a profitable publicly traded company while embracing open source? Their software is all they have.
The article suggests that Microsoft should embrace Linux, which has nothing to do with open source. Microsoft could, for instance, create a non-free, closed-source Linux version of Office to take advantage of that slice of the market. The main challenge for Microsoft would be the change in their business model; which is the fact that they can exploit the customers' dependance on Office and Windows to interoperate with other users. To communicate with others in the corporate world, you pretty much need MS. Office. And once you have learned to use that product at work, people naturally use it to work at home as well. And to run MS Office, you'll need Windows: that is what their business depends on.

Re:Unpossible (2, Insightful)

Begemot (38841) | about 10 years ago | (#10555233)

Can anyone else imagine Microsoft five years from now being known more and more as that company that makes really nice mice and peripherals?

Wishful thinking.

What about this [microsoft.com] , this [msn.com] , this [microsoft.com] , this [microsoft.com] ... oh well ... this [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Unpossible (2, Insightful)

e6003 (552415) | about 10 years ago | (#10555274)

It's well known that 90% or more of MS' profit comes from Windows and Office. The other divisions you cite either lose money or just about break even/make a small profit (check MS' annual reports for full details). That profit isn't enough to keep the MS shareholders happy - yet a lot of MS' corporate debt is "hidden" in share options and they need to keep the share price high. A few months ago, MS had a higher market capitalisation (i.e. shares outstanding times share price) than IBM but which would you rather have your pension fund invested in?

Re:Unpossible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555259)

Euhm ...i switched from logitech to microsoft periherals for a few years (intellimouse years), but in recent times logitec has made a nice comeback, so i guess it's ping-pong in that area too :)

Re:Unpossible (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 10 years ago | (#10555302)

IBM's bag is more about services than hardware AFAICT. Also, a lot of other companies are positioning themselves in terms of support etc (eg MySql).

Microsoft's best move would be to go into the consulting business in a much bigger way than they are now.

In the same way that people fought progress in other industries and got wiped out, unless Microsoft makes it's move sooner than later, they could end up going to the wall. People can laugh all they like, but the open source genie isn't going back in the bottle. Red Hat, Suse, MySQL are all growing, and establishing themselves. If Microsoft wait too long, they won't get in there.

Re:Unpossible (0)

zxv (815649) | about 10 years ago | (#10555360)

Me fail english? That's unpossible!

i hope not (0)

aramith (773470) | about 10 years ago | (#10555127)

good god I hope Microsoft doesn't buy RIM, it's bad enough in Waterloo already with them around, if it turned into Microsoft East it would just be horrible.

Hard enough to drive around the University from 7-9am and 5-7pm.

1st Article (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555128)

Microsoft advised to learn to love Linux

Martin LaMonica
CNET News.com
October 18, 2004, 09:40 BST

A US management guru has advised Microsoft to acquire Research in Motion and pay closer attention to open-source projects on mobile devices, or face oblivion. Management guru Clayton Christensen has a paradoxical answer for Microsoft to the challenge posed by open source: invest in Linux applications for handheld devices. Christensen, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, is the author of the 1997 "Innovator's Dilemma," a book that describes how good companies often fail because business managers don't embrace "disruptive" technologies. Open source is a clear disruption to Microsoft and the software industry in general, Christensen told attendees at the Future Forward technology conference here on Thursday.

"Where Linux takes root is in new applications, like Web servers and handheld devices. As those get better, applications will get sucked off the desktop onto the Internet, and that's what will undo Microsoft," he said. The software company can respond to this market disruption by setting up a separate business that will "kill Microsoft," Christensen said. If it doesn't react to the rise of Linux desktops on handheld computers, it will miss a coming wave of new applications and market opportunities, he said. Microsoft has already conceded that open-source software poses a significant challenge to its business. The company could not be immediately reached for comment on Christensen's remarks.

Christensen has observed that companies regularly stumble when they follow the well-established management practices of planning and listening to customers. To succeed, companies should not only cater to customers and continue improving their existing products, he argues. They should also set up separate business units to capitalise on new technologies, even though these may be poor-quality, low-margin products. Digital Equipment, for example, grew rapidly in the late 1980s by selling mini computers, which were a simpler, lower-cost option to mainframes, he said. But when other PCs began to take hold, the company didn't pursue that market for economic reasons: PCs offered substantially lower profit margins and didn't meet the technical needs of existing mini-computer customers.

In Microsoft's case, Linux applications on handheld devices are a threat to its lucrative business of selling desktop PC applications for its Windows operating system. "As computing becomes Internet-centric, rather than LAN (local-area network)-centric, their stuff runs on Linux, because it's all new," he said. He noted that people increasingly leave their laptop PCs at home when they travel and instead rely on handheld devices, such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry. Linux also provides a cheap, commoditylike alternative to Windows -- the basis of Microsoft's business. Although Linux didn't use to be as functional as Windows or Unix, adoption of the operating system grew rapidly because it met the needs of simple applications and is relatively cheap. A similar dynamic is now occurring in the database market with open-source products such as MySQL, Christensen said.

Christensen said that Microsoft should move progressively into Linux applications over the next six or seven years, because that sector will offer better opportunities for growth than operating systems or databases. He suggested that Microsoft acquire Research In Motion to accelerate the move, rather than continue to invest in making Windows run better on handheld devices. "As the BlackBerry becomes more capable, applications will get sucked onto it. Those are kind of places where growth is," he said. "If Microsoft catches it, they'll be all right."

Re:1st Article (2, Interesting)

Flaming Foobar (597181) | about 10 years ago | (#10555237)

"applications will get sucked off the desktop onto the Internet, and that's what will undo Microsoft,"

The desktop is going nowhere anytime soon. Internet won't be reliable enough to replace it in the foreseeable future, and I can't imagine using an Office package on a handheld anytime soon, either.

A lot of Micro$oft's core business is such that it won't translate easily or at all to the web nor a handheld, most notably desktop OS's (duh) and office software. And I think we'll see them going more towards handhelds in terms of games and OS's too, but I don't think that's what Christensen was after.

To me, this seems a bit like saying that Hollywood should start making more Spanish films, because films made in Spain are getting more and more popular.

What this love will consist of (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 10 years ago | (#10555139)

Half-baked port of .NET to Linux w/ large licence costs. Half-baked port of various network management protocols such as WBEM, to allow Linux to be a node in network managed by XP. Re-animated mouldy, half-baked IE for Unix. New 'Services for Linux', half-baked Linux layer for NT. Ad Nauseum.

All of the above will receive scant support and will be axed after one release. A MS spokesman will cite 'no interest' for the reason even though the half-baked, shitty software and uncertain future has more to do with it.

Re:What this love will consist of (5, Interesting)

korielgraculus (591914) | about 10 years ago | (#10555268)

Half-baked port of .NET to Linux w/ large licence costs.
That would be Mono then.
to allow Linux to be a node in network managed by XP.
And that one would be Samba!
New 'Services for Linux', half-baked Linux layer for NT.
Or how about Services for UNIX? Already up to version 3.5. Apart from that a very reasoned out comment.

Re:What this love will consist of (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | about 10 years ago | (#10555447)

Half Baked [imdb.com] ? I don't really think Microsoft is in the movie tie-in business, and even if they were why would they want to link their products with a lame move from the late 90s? Dave Chappelle was pretty good, but Jim Breuer is a veritable human wasteland on par with Jeff Goldblum

Interesting article, but (4, Interesting)

nmoog (701216) | about 10 years ago | (#10555145)

But it seems wierd that the guest speaker at an event hosted by Research In Motion [rim.net] would advise Microsoft to purchase Research in Motion.

That seems a little, um, strange.

Two bits (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555152)

1) MS Linux exists, and has existed, for a while. It'll appear whenever there's a business need for it.

2) What's stopping MS from having a non-GPL applications layer which enables them to deply Office and whatever they'd want on THEIR linux. Assume they'd charge a little under the standard distro's, or even include it in the cost of Office for Linux.

The only hassle will be hiding the DRM for said Office where it can't be seen/modified - so it can't go in the kernel, etc. Could a binary loadable MS Driver do this for them?

Re:Two bits (1)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | about 10 years ago | (#10555170)

MS Linux exists, and has existed, for a while

Would u mind posting some links to support this? I googled and found zilch. Thanks.

Re:Two bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555187)

I didn't say it was available, merely than it exists. It's good business sense to plan for eventualities, and MS is usually awash in good business sense...

I guess I should have been clearer - there's a gold master disk sitting in somebody's cabinet, safe, whatever.

Re:Two bits (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | about 10 years ago | (#10555200)

That's not how they'd do it. They'd buy out somebody else already in the game -- that's how MS enters new markets.

Re:Two bits (2)

richie2000 (159732) | about 10 years ago | (#10555220)

Maybe he's talking about this MS Linux [mslinux.org] effort? :-)

Re:Two bits (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | about 10 years ago | (#10555229)

Try looking for Xenix and Microsoft on google e.g. like this [google.com]

Re:Two bits (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 10 years ago | (#10555351)

MS sees Linux as a potential threat. They also know that they can develop their own version of the OS without having to pay a licencing fee. It would be pretty bad business for them not to have at least a small team looking into ways to make "Microsoft Linux", add features to add product diversity, and add some closed source applications software.

Re:Two bits (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555173)

MS Linux already exists http://www.mslinux.org/ [mslinux.org]
Been out for almost a year!!!

Re:Two bits (2, Informative)

jlar (584848) | about 10 years ago | (#10555240)

And if you read the top stories they are:

- Microsoft Invades Cuba

- Microsoft Monkey Colony on Mars

If it has slipped past anyone MS Linux is a parody;-)

Re:Two bits (2, Insightful)

afd8856 (700296) | about 10 years ago | (#10555319)

What kind of a f* moron finds this interesting? Who believes that bogus page on MSLinux as proof that Microsoft has a Linux distribution? Who, in their right mind, thinks that DRM needs a kernel driver to function? DRM in a specific application... Hey guys! PDFs also embed DRM information... shouldn't we have by now some PDF-loading kernel module?

Idiot...

Obvious, thanks a lot (5, Interesting)

MadMirko (231667) | about 10 years ago | (#10555155)

It's an obvious business tactic to mimic a competitor if he is successful. Microsoft has done that before, and still does: Look at their Monad shell, which is designed by a team with an extensive Unix background. Microsoft is slowly testing the open source waters (f. ex. FlexWiki).

It's not like another poster said that they fear it would undercut their Windows business. Why would there be an Office for Mac?

So in conclusion, thanks for telling me the world isn't flat, Mr. Christensen

Re:Obvious, thanks a lot (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555176)

MS needs a competitor they can point to and say "see, we're not a monopoly". Apple has done this "service" for years, and I see them continuing to do so as long as MS has any fear from monopoly proceedings (and as long as MS Office pays its way and then some).

Re:Obvious, thanks a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555407)

Why would there be an Office for Mac?

Easy: Office domination.

Mac costs money, as do Windows, so Apple is a "real" competitor.

Linux is just the big penguin engulfing all the rotten SW companies in its way..

Microsoft Linux (1)

datadriven (699893) | about 10 years ago | (#10555157)

I'm waiting with baited breath. It makes sense to me that their best option would be to release a distribution of their own. Then wehen companies choose between windows and linux, they can choose their distro.

You know the old addage "if you can't beat 'em ... join 'em"

Re:Microsoft Linux (2, Interesting)

hfis (624045) | about 10 years ago | (#10555178)

That's just it though - it's a "cant beat them join them" scenario. I doubt Microsoft feels that threatened by Linux's current market share in relation to their own - sure, it's a threat, but nowhere near as that of, say, MacOS.

Re:Microsoft Linux (1)

datadriven (699893) | about 10 years ago | (#10555221)

Are there any "real" statistics available? I find it hard to believe that linux does not already outnumber MacOs.

Also Microsoft's target market is NOT the knowledgable computer user, it's Joe Sixpack & every PHB in the world. A Microsoft Linux distro would instantly take a HUGE bite out of Red Hat & Novell's market.

I disagree (2, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#10555355)

Microsoft embracing Linux would immediately convince many people, particularly in the small business market, that they can dump Windows. It would imperil other sectors of their business that currently are solid. Also, many environments are 'anything but Microsoft' as much as they can be. RH and Novell would do fine in that kind of world.

step away from the crack pipe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555349)

OSX is a threat to Microsoft? Keep dreaming.

Re:Microsoft Linux (2, Interesting)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 10 years ago | (#10555385)

OSX isn't that much of a threat because it loses on price.

I'm not arguing about the TCO of a Mac, but when I've proposed the idea of "have you checked out a Mac", they always say that the price is too high. Although, many people I've met who own them consider that the extra cost outweighs all the Windows hassles.

bend over Linux (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555159)

...microsoft is about to show you some hard lovin'

Early days yet (5, Insightful)

delta_avi_delta (813412) | about 10 years ago | (#10555160)

While I think this is encouraging, I feel that it's a little alarmist: Microsoft still have an incredible monopoly. Of you non-techie friends (if you have any unconverted) how many *don't* run Windows? How many are terrified by the prospect of having to learn something other than Windows? How many think that Windows, OfficeXP, IE, and Outlook are the only applications they need, apart from games, which lets face it, are mostly written for Windows.

I think Microsoft would have to play a lot of consecutive bad hands before they'll cede their desktop stranglehold.

Lessons from history (5, Insightful)

e6003 (552415) | about 10 years ago | (#10555165)

History is full of companies who fell out of the limelight because they couldn't or wouldn't adapt to new technology. One is happening right now as Kodak struggles to remain relevant in the world of digital photography (and it seems to me, they are trying to earn money from "traditional" photographic services such as printing, applied to digital photography - I'm not sure this will be successful). Where are all the typewriter manufacturers in a world of word processing? Despite the FUD and lock-in tactics (tactics that are becoming less and less successful with each iteration IMO), the same fate awaits Microsoft it they refuse to adapt. In contrast, look at IBM - in hibernation throughout much of the 1990s but emerging ready to do business with open source - and that's just one example of how they've adapted over the course of their history. Gates and Ballmer would do well to study this.

Re: Not Adapting? (2, Insightful)

Hassman (320786) | about 10 years ago | (#10555313)

But aren't they adapting? Here are some of their major complaints:

1) Criticized of security problems
-- Put a team of developers on making XP more secure. Release SP2 with focus on security. It isn't perfect, and there are still flaws, but they are listening to the critics and working on the public's number 1 concern. I believe we'll see Longhorn as a very secure. Does that mean it will be full-proof? No, that would be impossible, but I do think that it will be much, much better. After all, Linux has security problems. Mozilla has security problems. They just don't get as much attention and are fixed slightly quicker.

Look for this as the number 1 improvement in the coming months / years.

2) Product Quality
-- In the past MS has sacrificed security and to some extent quality for ease of use. I think they will still but ease of use as a top priority, but look to see the quality level increase. They have already delayed Longhorn and cut feature in order to really nail down the important ones.

It is very hypocritical to read here how people blast MS for their quality problems and then blast them again for delaying a future product in order to enhance the quality. I just don't get that.

3) This article talks about apps being sucked away
-- I fail to see this. It will happen to some extent. That is inevitable. MS can't do everything (nor do I or anyone else want them to). So they have to pick and choose.

So let's take a look at a few things they have done:
- MSN - recognized the AOL threat and jumped in to compete
- online music - recognized a growth opportunity so they are now competing with iTunes
- XBox - jumping into the home gaming / entertainment center market

Again, note the hypocrisy. Blast MS for being a monopoly. Blast them for not adapting to the business market...effectively losing market share. So what do you want? A monopoly or a competitor?

To me MS screams adaptation. Maybe I just don't get it. Maybe I'm just a little dense. Or maybe people just love to hate MS...no matter what.

Before I get modded down let me also say that I'm not advocating MS. There are many, many superior products on the market than theirs and I urge everyone to use the better products. After all, why not use the best? I'm just trying to point out the hypocrisy.

Re:Lessons from history (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 10 years ago | (#10555372)

I think there's another thing - "evil" tactics like lock-in eventually undo. People will find another way.

The Blackberry is not a Linux device (4, Interesting)

njdj (458173) | about 10 years ago | (#10555186)

The article seems confused. Microsoft is advised to develop Linux apps and "in particular" go for the Blackberry.

But Research In Motion's Blackberry is not any kind of free-software platform. It runs yet another proprietary operating system, requiring (at the moment) proprietary development tools. It has nothing to offer over Windows CE (except possibly quality of implementation).

Re:The Blackberry is not a Linux device (1)

NoseyNick (19946) | about 10 years ago | (#10555373)

Errr... It's JAVA. Is that proprietary enough for you? Or were you taking the p1$$?

Re:The Blackberry is not a Linux device (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | about 10 years ago | (#10555386)

But Research In Motion's Blackberry is not any kind of free-software platform. It runs yet another proprietary operating system, requiring (at the moment) proprietary development tools. It has nothing to offer over Windows CE (except possibly quality of implementation).

What's worse, it's extremely unlikely that everyday word processing and spreadsheet calculations move to small devices such as the Blackberry. For writing letters, you really want to have a decent keyboard, and for spreadsheets, something that is larger than a 5" screen is probably a very good idea as well.

Will RIM employees still get to (4, Funny)

xRelisH (647464) | about 10 years ago | (#10555212)

keep their RIM jobs?

Re:Will RIM employees still get to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555297)

Dont worry xRelisH... I thought it was funny.

Re:Will RIM employees still get to (1)

skiman1979 (725635) | about 10 years ago | (#10555377)

Looks like the mods didn't get that the parent was trying to make a joke. Of course, the humor of it is in the eye of the reader. Isn't the article talking about Microsoft purchasing RIM? The parent is not off topic here.

yummy (0)

Mr._Hole (665558) | about 10 years ago | (#10555216)

I wonder what it is like to "Suck" an application off a desktop... :-D yummy... I want M$ and it's billion dollar software inside me.

Learn to love Linux my arse. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555225)

The only reason that Linux is still here is because Microsoft hasn't yet got around to making it go away.

Money talks, folks. And Microsoft has lots and lots of it.

Hey Now! (1)

beejay54 (781673) | about 10 years ago | (#10555246)

I'm in my last year of study and I'm taking some serious interest in doing my internship with RIM. They are my area's only real big tech company, and I really like the values they've taken up. Just the thought of Microsoft coming in and running the show makes me cringe!

no, they need to.., (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555251)

"Microsoft to purchase "Research in Motion", otherwise they will see their applications sucked off from the desktop and onto handheld devices such as the Blackberry."

Uhhh, yeah right. As a RIM user for many years I find my BB indespensible but every time a new device becomes available I start to wonder at the limitations of the RIM devices. The Treo 650 will be the first non-RIM device that I will seriously consider and it is just the first of a new phase of devices that these days more and more devices are offering direct synchronization with outlook/exchange.

Also look at goodlink. http://www.good.com, a better RIM than RIM at much more affordable rates for small companies.

MS doesn't need to learn to love Linux or buy RIM. They need to embrace open source, fix their damn OS problems, and start acting more like a startup and less like a monolithic giant.

I bet Microsoft has now seen the light. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555275)

After all, a harvard business professor told Microsoft that he obviously knows their business better than the 2000 harvard business MBAs that work at Microsoft building business plans and schemes.

I bet that Microsoft had never thought about that before. Now all they need to do is weigh the advantages and disadvantages against each other. Since this "Management Guru" from Harvard says that this is the correct choice, they'll need something as big as a 50 mile wide asteroid striking Redmond to level the scale out again.

Maybe it's possible that the most sucessful computer marketing machine in history has a few bright minds deciding how best to sell their products which apparently only managed to dominate like 90% of the entire world wide market against an amazing number of competitors as different times.

I would say that from my experience, there's a good chance that Microsoft has ported most of the Windows apps using software like MainWin, but there's no reason to release them. They more than likely already have a solid business model laid out.

Half way there (1, Funny)

Slashcrunch (626325) | about 10 years ago | (#10555314)

Well, they've already got a head start I think.

"...poor-quality, low-margin products"

Why (2, Insightful)

suezz (804747) | about 10 years ago | (#10555350)

why waste the breath on microsoft - Billy and Steven are going to do what they want to do rather people like it or not - I personally think microsoft is going way of cable companies except they are going to take it further by providing end devices in the house that either connect to fiber/cable/or dsl. they have been working with a major telecom giant in getting fiber to premis - bet ya you can only have microsoft products to use it. this is where they are going next and they will put in writing with the companies they contract with that they don't work with linux. so I think we should all save our breath and quit trying to tell Billy and Steven what to do.

Dvorak vs Christensen (4, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 10 years ago | (#10555357)

Take what Christensen says with a grain of salt. I used to admire Clayton Christensen, but over time found he was more business pop culture than substance. John Dvorak put it better than I could when he wrote a piece ome time back http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1628049,00.as p [pcmag.com] Christensen's 15 minutes is up. Back to business.

the wayback machine (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555380)

Posted by Hemos on Monday October 18, 1997
mikael writes "ZDnet is reporting that the management guru Clayton Christensen (author of "Outsource is the key") has advised young RedHat Inc. to learn to love Windows 2000, as it will be for sure the ultimate UNIX killer(tm)."

Those guys never learn to shut the fuck up.

Tough Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555389)

I can feel the love. I can almost smell it now. Here's how it will look.

Office will NOT REALLY be ported to Blackberry. You'll be able to use web-based versions of Office from Linux, IFF you use Internet Explorer to access it. So instead of having the Windows monopoly, they'll have an Internet monopoly.

There will be a ban on most desktops, all laptops, and all smaller devices that don't contain DRM hardware compatible with Office and its ilk. You will only be able to conduct business on the Internet if you are not using "pre-ban" hardware. The market for "pre-ban" hardware will be like today's market for Apple Newtons except for undifferentiated hardware, which will be in landfills.

Obligatory Dr. Strangelove quote . . . (1)

harley_frog (650488) | about 10 years ago | (#10555425)

"Mein Führer! I can walk!"

Ha, ha, ha ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10555438)

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha !
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