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Microsoft Planning to Buy Open Source Companies?

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the dabbling-in-everything dept.

276

mjasay writes "At the Web 2.0 Summit, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that Microsoft 'will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products,' suggesting that to avoid open-source companies would 'take us out of the acquisition market quite dramatically.' Ballmer has apparently come a long way since dubbing Linux a 'cancer.' The real question, however, is which open-source companies make sense within the Microsoft product portfolio, both from a technology and philosophy perspective. Novell? 37Signals? Jive? SugarCRM? And, equally importantly, which companies could look their communities in the eye after selling to Microsoft?"

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276 comments

Through Money tinted glasses (4, Funny)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039421)

"which companies could look their communities in the eye after selling to Microsoft?" ALL OF THEM.

GPLv3 (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039535)

"which companies could look their communities in the eye after selling to Microsoft?" ALL OF THEM.


Any that have tech they want, but are at risk of moving to GPLv3, I'd say.

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039645)

Absolutely! They could even sell their copyrights to Microsoft, and continue development on an open-source fork if they wanted. Heck, Microsoft might even decide to leave the application open source. I think it would all prove to be a very interesting experiment, to see if buying the company was really good for Microsoft, and to see if the community continued development of the product, and which ways the forks went. Quite interesting!

Also note that this isn't really a "threat" to the community because large-scale OSS projects have copyrights owned by a myriad of people, so they really can't be sold. It only applies to companies that develop completely in-house, or require contributors to sign-away their copyrights.

Related note: I work for a company that uses SugarCRM internally, and has modified it (very slightly) for our purposes. SugarCRM would become useless if we didn't have the source.

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039849)

"Related note: I work for a company that uses SugarCRM internally, and has modified it (very slightly) for our purposes. SugarCRM would become useless if we didn't have the source."

And the link to those modifications is where?

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039943)

They are under no obligation to link to the modifications as the application is used INTERNALLY.

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (2, Interesting)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039691)

"ALL OF THEM."

Agreed. Business is business. Just because M$ owns an OS based company doesn't make the code closed.

The bigger issue is if M$ ends up buying all the cards in the game, and starts to sprinkle proprietary code into the OS code what happens to the OS code then?

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (4, Insightful)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040183)

Both Novel and RedHat are publicly traded companies, which means by law they hold their investor's interests above all else. Last time I checked, you could buy pretty much anything from investors at the right price. Microsoft buying Novel and RedHat would cause less of a riot than when Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal.

Novel's market cap: $2B
Red Hat's market cap: $4B
Microsoft's market cap: $292B

Microsoft could easily buy the two largest open-source companies on the planet without denting their reserves. If Microsoft ever suspects Linux is a significant threat, they'll just buy out the largest players. Let's face it... that's how #1 companies remain #1.

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (5, Insightful)

shystershep (643874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040307)

Only problem with your theory is that Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. There would be an amazing number of regulatory hurdles it would have to jump through even to think about buying a company that makes a competing OS.

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (3, Funny)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040369)


Microsoft could easily buy the two largest open-source companies on the planet without denting their reserves. If Microsoft ever suspects Linux is a significant threat, they'll just buy out the largest players. Let's face it... that's how #1^H^Hmonopolies companies remain #1^H^Hmonopolies.

FTFY.

Re:Through Money tinted glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040177)

The question is which communities, whose attitudes are a reflection of the project, will look back?

Microsoft SuSE? (4, Interesting)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039451)

And, equally importantly, which companies could look their communities in the eye after selling to Microsoft?
Novell has already sold their soul and they're still staring people down. Guess this should be taken as an announcement that we'll soon be dealing with Microsoft SuSE.

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (4, Interesting)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039523)

Keep in mind, Novell sales are up 250% [computerworld.com] since their deal with Microsoft. Their customers don't exactly seem to mind.

So are all the other commercial distros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039619)

So are all the other commercial distros. So what?

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039635)

So is Red Hat, so is Mandriva...what's your point? Linux usage is up in general and a rising tide raises all boats.

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040039)

s/customers/shareholders/ ?

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040201)

Keep in mind, Novell sales are up 250% since their deal with Microsoft. ..

Novell wasn't doing so well prior to the MS tie up. So a 250% jump doesn't mean much. Once more corporates realise their portfolio is built on top of FUD, rather than Value; they will struggle to keep up the same turnover.

And then, Microsoft will simply ditch them and buy up another promising Open Source co. to kill off.

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039579)

Actually Novell makes perfect sense, though I doubt Microsoft would want spend that much money...NOVL's current market cap is 2.73 gigadollars. Still, when you look at Novell's portfolio:

- Novell has contributed a lot of code to and has their own version of OpenOffice.org
- Evolution and the Exchange Connector
- SuSE
- Ximian Desktop
- Mono and Moonlight

It seems perfectly aligned with Microsoft's strategy.

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039821)

And then they would own the UNIX rights aswell and could sue everyone? ;)

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039631)

Neah...

Does not compute. Neither financially, nor strategically.

Whatever people say about MSFT it actually has a very good M&A group. If we discount one stupid affair in France it has a nearly spotless record. It has to be in a company that does not innovate and buys most of its "innovation". I do not quite see this M&A finding a sound reason to buy Novell. It is a huge can of anticompetition worms which once opened will crawl all over the place, not particularly enticing financials along with a number of trademarks which Microsoft has spend decades to rubbish in the press.

Now Microsoft PHP or to be more exact "Zend, a Microsoft (TM) company" is a completely different story... It actually makes a lot of sense in many ways. There are a few other similar size players which it may be interested in as well. After an initial success with PPTP and ISA Microsoft is now mostly out of the edge security/VPN market. So openvpn as the next windows VPN platform does not actually sound implausible. A couple of other SSL/TLS/PKI related companies also probably make sense.

And so on. Small, juicy bits that and can be digested in one bite (if you are Microsoft).

Re:Microsoft SuSE? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039975)

Well, buying Novell would give them a product to directly compete with Redhat and Ubuntu, which wouldn't be terribly anti competitive unless they bought them for the purposes of burying their product lines, which would just drive former customers to Redhat.

loyality (3, Insightful)

avalean (1176333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039453)

What i want to know is, will they change the license of the software after purchase?

Re:loyality (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039773)

You can't un-GPL GPL'd software.

Re:loyality (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039803)

No you can't. But if you own the copyright on the code, then while v2 was GPL, v3 most certainly doesn't have to be.

Re:loyality (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039809)

You can't un-GPL GPL'd software.

If anyone would have a go at it, it would have to be Microsoft. Their legal dept has deep pockets.

Re:loyality (1)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039885)

Well... not quite. Depending on who owns the copyright to the sections of code they could, perhaps, change the license. The copyrights to the Linux kernel, for instance, are held by the individual contributors. As such all of them would have to agree to a license change. This is a big reason why the kernel will never to go GPLv3. On the other hand other projects require contributors to give the copyright to the maintainer. All the GNU utilities are like this.

If MS bought a project that owned all of its own copyrights they could, in fact, change the license for future releases. Despite this, all the source for previously GPL'd releases would have to remain available per the terms of the GPL.

Re:loyality (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039891)

But other licenses exist. BSD would allow MS to buy a product, change it and make it proprietary. The changes would be the the "Embrace and Extend" sort we have seen before, and be of such a nature that the forked OS projects would be less valuable in the eyes of business customers.

Re:loyality (2, Informative)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039789)

What i want to know is, will they change the license of the software after purchase?

Well, sure, most probably: it's what Microsoft Does(tm). However, it won't change anything for versions previously released under real open-source licenses. It's called a "fork".

However, will users follow microsoft's versions, or the free forked versions? That's the interesting question that only time will tell.

Re:loyality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040067)

However, will users follow microsoft's versions, or the free forked versions? That's the interesting question that only time will tell.
Ititially, it won't matter as they're all the same, or at least compatible [m-w.com] . They you'll find gee-whizz addons [yourdictionary.com] , all nice and shiny. Then there won't be a decision to make about which to choose, as there'll be no alternative anyway. [wikipedia.org]

Re:loyality (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040121)

Yes, the new license type will be called "Chair:ed source"

Evolution of strategy (1, Redundant)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039455)

Just my dream.

First they ignored us

Then they ridiculed us

Then they vilified us

Now they want to buy us

Tomorrow they will surrender to us

Re:Evolution of strategy (2, Funny)

Bourbon Man (76846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039673)

I think you have one too many steps in your dream. Shave off that last one, and your dream would be more in line with reality.

Re:Evolution of strategy (3, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039825)

"Microsoft" est-elle une firme française?

Re:Evolution of strategy (1)

bkp_42 (599993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039957)

I don't think Microsoft's "strategy" here is to embrace open source and have a great big Open Source love in with the community. They cannot compete effectively with open source so they are going to buy as many open source companies as they can and Shut Them Down. The strategy is to completely eliminate the competition.

Re:Evolution of strategy (2, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040119)

The beautiful thing about the GPL and similar licenses is that you cannot Shut Them Down. Imagine, just for once, that all the code in the whole Linux kernel belonged to Linus (i.e. all contributers would've signed over their copyright or, where not permitted by law, an exclusive license). Now imagine Linus would suddenly decide he doesn't like Linux anymore and change the kernel's license to Microsoft's Windows 95 EULA after running an s/microsoft/linus torvalds/g over it.
Would it change a thing? A bit. Linux couldn't be called Linux anymore, cause Linus would own that trademark. Linus may not continue being the benvolent dictator. Fin. The existing community would fork Linux version (change to new license - 1), call it LOLix and continue as before. It would fork. It would change it's name, but as long as somebody's interested, it would never ever die.

Re:Evolution of strategy (3, Funny)

Djatha (848102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040253)

The beautiful thing about the GPL and similar licenses is that you cannot Shut Them Down. Imagine, just for once, that all the code in the whole Linux kernel belonged to Linus (i.e. all contributers would've signed over their copyright or, where not permitted by law, an exclusive license). Now imagine Linus would suddenly decide he doesn't like Linux anymore and change the kernel's license to Microsoft's Windows 95 EULA after running an s/microsoft/linus torvalds/g over it. Would it change a thing? A bit. Linux couldn't be called Linux anymore, cause Linus would own that trademark. Linus may not continue being the benvolent dictator. Fin. The existing community would fork Linux version (change to new license - 1), call it LOLix and continue as before. It would fork. It would change it's name, but as long as somebody's interested, it would never ever die.

Let's rename it then to the ``Hurt''

Be realistic.. (1, Funny)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039457)

which companies could look their communities in the eye after selling to Microsoft?

Methinks the founders will be too busy cruising around on their shiny new megayachts to worry about such things.. and why not?

Re:Be realistic.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039575)

and why not?
Principles.

Re:Be realistic.. (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039899)

Methinks the founders will be too busy cruising around on their shiny new megayachts to worry about such things.. and why not?
And why not?
Because everyone knows that submarines are the new megayacht.

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039459)

This is an absolutely textbook way of getting rid of competition - buy it and either assimilate their product into your own or simply close it down.

Microsoft aren't bothered about small projects which don't attract much attention. Nor are they particularly bothered about large projects, provided there isn't any serious commercial backing to them.

They're bothered about commercially backed projects where there is the potential to offer significant competition. Their spouting about how "you won't get any real support" (which is probably about their only reasonably sensible piece of FUD) only works when there aren't many commercially backed solutions based on open source software. If I worked for someone like KnowledgeTree or SugarCRM right now I'd be slightly nervous.

Re:If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. (1)

llirik (1074623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039663)

Some high profile projects are hard to buy, because they already in hands of IBM, Sun and other Microsoft archrivals.

Mozilla is a tad hard to buy out due to antitrust suit.

They can however wreck some havoc on medium sized projects with corporate backing. Then again if there is corporate backing already what stops those corporates from forking?

Re:If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039731)

They can however wreck some havoc on medium sized projects with corporate backing. Then again if there is corporate backing already what stops those corporates from forking?

That's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. In many fields, there aren't a great many open source projects which are making any significant inroads, for whatever reason, and despite being open source the only people doing any significant work on the projects which are any good are employed by the organisation behind the project. This means that the chances of a successful fork are pretty slim - Nessus immediately springs to mind as an excellent example of this.

My prediction is that the kind of companies which get bought out will be those that are behind "the only half-decent open source project which solves problem X".

Re:If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040291)

MS has to find something to do with these companies after buying them. They could try and close the source for future revisions, but the products would be hard to sell (in a retail sense) if version n-1 is out there for free. They could close down the acquired companies, but nothing stops the employees from reassembling under a new name a few hours later.

The most likely scenario is that MS runs everything "business as usual", with the tiny exception of replacing GPL with a watered-down MS open source license, which becomes less and less open with each update. They might even try a "Washington Generals" [wikipedia.org] strategy. Make sure their open source products suck, to give themselves an easy way to make their traditional products look good.

Re:If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039925)

penpoint os by go corporation was bought and shut down
where is it now shut down
should be ilegal or something to just shut down tech

Can you say Hotmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039463)

> ...which companies could look their communities in the eye...

I'd wager they'd bee looking at their bank accounts, not their communities.

Stumbling block (1, Funny)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039491)

Apparently they're really upset that Linux won't sell to them...

Ballmer hasn't changed, buying companies to EOL (3, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039495)

If msft buys any OSS companies, it will probably be just to kill the competition. Remember Foxpro?

I guess he forgot? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039847)

EOLing FoxPro, eh? I guess Ballmer forgot all about that, given Microsoft released seven editions over 12 years after the acquisition. A couple of those versions are still officially supported.

Are you one of those displaced FoxPro programmers who can't seem to fathom why the rest of the world finds you irrelevant? I'll give you a hint; that's not Microsoft's fault. We think the same thing about anyone who clutches old technology as change continues to push you further into obsolescence. The rest of the world moved on a long time ago, long before MS considered canning FoxPro. File based DBs are simply not all that relevant anymore, particularly since they cannot provide any real form of integrity and they are absolutely terrible over a network connection.

Probably buy and extinguish. (2, Informative)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039497)

The only reason i could think of is to buy some companies and extinguish them.

Microsoft Cancer? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039501)

If you consider Linux a cancer, you can apply the same analogy to Microsoft (EA, ...)
It's spreading and infecting other software/companies...

Hey, the Borg Gates image fits! (4, Insightful)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039511)

"You will be assimilated. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile."

Re:Hey, the Borg Gates image fits! (1)

jdh41 (865085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039577)

More like "You will be assimilated. We will extinguish your biological and technological distinctiveness so it cannot compete with our own. Resistance is expensive."

Re:Hey, the Borg Gates image fits! (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039927)

Although in this case, it's Ballmer who can play the Borg Queen.

All of them, I think... (-1, Redundant)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039569)

And, equally importantly, which companies could look their communities in the eye after selling to Microsoft?"


They'll be looking at their communities in the eye all the way to the bank.

Deja Vu here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039571)

I have seen this before.

1. SCO buys Caldera and tries to embrace open source as their saviour
2. After a few years says this is not working and sues IBM for IP violations
3. SCO lost miserably while their stench slowly disipates.

Hmm sould more like a dream than a deja vu.

I just wish that Mcbride's gonads could be lobbed off and his sack stiched into his asshole as a permanent condom to prevent STD's in jail. And his gonads should be used as earings to make him a more attractive biatch.

This could be funny... (5, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039585)

Well, here we go, buying up this open-source company to kill competition. What do you mean our users "forked" our product? What do you mean the staff we just layed off just made a new company to support this fork? What did we pay umpteen gazillion dollars for?

Re:This could be funny... (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039679)

Now, that may be the key! Why do you think they fear OSS so much? It renders the buy-out strategy useless.

Re:This could be funny... (1)

llirik (1074623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039745)

Not useless but harder to execute. Instead of laying off dev team they'll have to let them work away for awhile and then slowly kill them with corporate bureaucracy and politics. Once people start quitting put some more devs on the team and steer development in non-portable direction and fragment the market.

Unintended Consequences (4, Insightful)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039589)

Geek to suit: "Hey look, Microsoft are now *really* getting scared by open source stuff! They want to throw *real money* at it!"

Also, people might now start investing in open source projects in the hope of getting a slice of that MS cash a few years down the line. This looks like a Good Thing.

Aaaaaaand, we developers will be dropping (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039605)

anything the company that was bought by microsoft was doing. No offense, it is an issue of trust. Microsoft screwed so many partners and non partners in the past. We cant just put that much effort on our spare time into things that can be sent to hell by microsoft in a given point in time.

Re:Aaaaaaand, we developers will be dropping (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040073)

We cant just put that much effort on our spare time into things that can be sent to hell by microsoft in a given point in time.


Many (most?) commercial open source products don't have many community contributors at all. Sure, some do, but Microsoft could easily target the ones that are developed mostly internally for their buyouts.

Buy It To Kill It (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039607)

We've seen this crap before. Companies buy up their competitors only to bury the technology. If you can't bean 'em, buy 'em. You know--at best--Microsoft would be buying an open source company only for the purpose of closing the source and making money. There is just nothing good that can ever come from Microsoft. It has been too many decades of evil behavior by them to believe they have any altruistic purpose here.

Big Deal. (1)

slobarnuts (666254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039931)

Even if Microsoft decided to re-license the source (if the company happened to own the copyright every single bit of code) then bury the company, the devs (hell, all the employees) can just start a new company with the last OSS licensed version under a new name. No technology gets buried, at the very worst a few months worth of code.

something stinks in Redmond (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039613)

maybe if microsoft would actually build a good product and sold it with a reasonable price & without the dirty shenanigans and if they quit behaving like a bunch of white collar criminals they would have better success at being a software company = the harder you use force the more it slips thru your fingers...

After patent trolls (4, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039621)

the OSS "buy-me" trolls?

1. fork the most recent open release of a recently MS bought out OSS project.
2. improve and offer support for it.
3. Now MS either has to improve its own branch or buy you out too (which is the 3b. Profit!!! part)

I mean, seriously, isn't Microsoft going to prove money can be made with OSS?

surely this is a non starter,,, (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039659)

..any open source project "team" they buy can will be pointless as if there is enough support the last version will be forked by the community if there is a perceived need. I mean, call me simplistic but isn't that the main strength of open sourced projects? If you don't like it then fork it, if there is enough support then it will work. Survival of the fittest and all that...

Pre-empt Google (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039669)

This sounds more like he's planning to pre-empt Google from buying those companies. Buy-and-kill doesn't work with open source projects, as the source is already out there and anyone can start another company based on the same code.

GPLed too? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039689)

not like if they bought something like Mozilla that they could kill it, the code is already out there, look at what debian did with mozilla's software, debian has iceweasel (firefox), iceape (seamonkey) & etc, essentially microsoft would only be buying a name, the code is easily forked and if the code is not changed then only an icon & name...

OpenOffice is one application i would be concerned about, hopefully IBM & Sun will do something to protect OpenOffice since it is a high profile *nix application...

Balmer should be more careful about his threats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039695)

There will be a new administration in Washington in 14 months, and it is likely to be one that will seriously care about antitrust matters. IANAL, if I remember correctly the Sherman Antitrust Act was created for just such a situation. "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal". and "Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony [. . . ]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Balmer should be more careful about his threats (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039971)

Nope, M$ will simply make the same pitch to the new administration to explain to them the "perils" of busting up their tidy little monopoly. It will change nothing.

Gerry

The on to get! (1)

raffe (28595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039697)

Get Red Hat!!!

Re:The on to get! (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039839)

Get Red Hat!!!


I seriously doubt this will ever happen.

37Signals! (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039699)

Has to be 37Signals [37signals.com] :
 

We believe most software is too complex. Too many features, too many buttons, too much confusion. We build easy to use web-based products with elegant interfaces and thoughtful features. We're focused on executing on the basics beautifully.

Hahaha.... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039713)

SugarCRM?


Hahahaha... hahahaha.. Jesus, you can't make this stuff up. Thanks, Slashdot!

No..., Microsoft isn't after SugarCRM, a PHP CRM system.

It's not after Novell either, since this would undermine their Windows brand. You probably understand that suddenly starting to sell another OS while Vista is having some harsh time won't be great for Microsoft's business. Partnering with Novell the way it is right now is the perfect solution for at least 5 years ahead.

Expect the OSS companies to produce products that tie well into the Microsoft development ecosystem, and thus advertising the platforms Microsoft maintains.

Re:Hahaha.... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039953)

They might finally buy ActiveState [activestate.com] . They fit nicely into the Windows Server market. It would be like buying sysinternals.

Re:Hahaha.... (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040217)

AFAIK ActiveState's main field of business is still their (nice) series of IDEs. Microsoft seems to be going rather strong with their Visual Studio, too, so I wouldn't expect MSFT to be too interested.

Well the most innovated companies won't be bought (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039733)

I can assure you that Canonical (Makers of Ubuntu) And Red Hat won't be bought out, and Debian is a community distro, and when SUSE is practically sold to MS already, there doesn't leave a lot of major distros left, I don't think that PCLinuxOS will be sold to MS or Mandriva will because they seem to be much like a community distro even though they are sponsored by companies, so with Ubuntu, Fedora, RHEL, Debian, Mandirva, and PCLinuxOS staying MS free, that doesn't give MS much room with the other distro makers, as for Novell, sure they have contributed to the Open Source community a lot, but that software is GPL'd so whenever MS makes a change to the code it becomes GPL'd too (assuming they actually follow the law this time...) But it seems that whenever MS buys a company, us /.ers won't use it (and when its open source stuff, face it were the main users of it) and so you hit a major user base that refuses to use it, but it might be nice to have a "free" Windows-Like distro like Windows thats Open Source (with a few proprietary components) to recommend to Windows users, but Im not going to switch from Ubuntu anytime soon.

Lispire (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040025)

Think about it: through the lawsuit against MS, Linspire has the legal right to distribute various codecs for MP3, WMF, etc. To add insult to injury, they are giving the other linuxes the ability to legally download various codecs, too...codecs which would otherwise be illegal in the US. Buy & shut Linspire, and you can again move the Linux desktop into territory where their users either break the law, or have a poor experience.

My money's on Linspire as the acquisition target.

Re:Lispire (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040131)

Yes, I think Linspire might be bought before Novell, but hardly anyone that I know uses Linspire (or Freespire) But for most of the codecs, MS doesn't have a right to them anyways (MP3, AAC) sure WMF and such they do, but if its legal or not, most people simply don't care including MS (Who after being convicted as an abusive monopoly in both the US and EU, had nothing done, except for the non-inclusion of WMP in Windows) but wouldn't all the WMVs and WMFs be legal to those who had a copy of Windows that was properly licensed? And if MS thinks people even care about "legality" then why are they trying so hard to stop people from getting non-licensed versions of Windows? MS is dying, Open Source is the only thing that is going to save them, I would place almost any amount of money of them going down soon, and Linux is the next thing that will take root in the OS market, if Windows 7 is anything like Vista, people will see a forced upgrade and ditch Windows altogether, a new era is dawning, MS isn't part of it.

Submitter barking up the wrong tree (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039737)

They mention Novell as a possibility... followed by a bunch of half-assed web production houses with no actual value. Think more like MySQL AB or other pieces of real software that people are choosing over MS products. Nobody gives a shit about Jive.

New MS Slogan... (2, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039843)

"If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em!"

Re:New MS Slogan... (1)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040209)

You must be new here...

Re:New MS Slogan... (1)

crimperman (225941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040239)

Sorry, did you say "New"?

Trolltech or MySQL (1)

siDDis (961791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039861)

Open source companies that loves good money and dual licensing!

Re:Trolltech or MySQL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040187)

Except that when Trolltech gets bought Qt suddenly becomes BSD-licensed under the FreeQt agreement.

That would make... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040189)

Trolltech's name a self fulfilling prophecy.

Re:Trolltech or MySQL (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040263)

Trolltech's a great idea. They probably won't be able to get their hands on Java (owned by Sun, getting freeer by the minute), but Qt could be just the already adopted and beloved-by-many technology Microsoft would want to more easily get into new (Linux software) and dominate older (Cell phones where Qt can be seen as catching on) markets more efficiently. Second that guess.

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039869)

Novell? 37Signals? Jive? SugarCRM?

O_O. You forgot phpBB...

I mean, if it'll be all random and ridiculous, why not?

It's not the crust, it's the filling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21039893)

I am more concerned over the rattling of weapons in the "who owns *nix" carusel. Now, you may call me a tinfoil-hat wearer. But Aren't some of these companies in possession of certain linux-patents?
With Microsoft acquiring those companies they would acquire those patents and all of a sudden we have another courtroom situation that is going to keep PJ busy for the coming decade. And Microsoft has a lot more money than SCO had.

Anyone else sharing these concerns?

Oil and Water (1)

pchoppin (864344) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039895)

The real problem here is incompatible philosophies. Ever since their foundation, Microsoft's philosophy of doing business has been in direct conflict with the whole concept of Open Source, and it remains such to this day.

Some day the huge chasm between Open Source and, at least Microsoft's, way of doing business may be bridged, but it certainly will not be Microsoft that builds that bridge; which would be replete with crossing guards, tariffs, and EULA's a-plenty.

The only thing Open Source companies can and should hope to achieve in order to remain a true Open Source company is a clearly defined and specific list of values and objectives which are non-negotiable and not for sale.

Microsoft's recent offers to "partner" with Open Source companies is like mixing oil and water: it just doesn't mix.

I find it interesting when a company (Novell) claims to adopt an Open Source philosophy on one hand, and then gets in bed with one of the least Open Source companies in America on the other. No! Scratch that, I find it insulting to the Open Source communities.

Buying a different type of innovation (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21039909)

Microsoft has traditionally bought software companies that could augment its software portfolio. Buying a company that has a product that you lack is not new to the software industry or any other.

This time it is different. Microsoft is not buying "software ideas". Microsoft, like most software companies, is slowly realizing that software will become a commodity in the next 20 years. Operating systems, applications....etc will all be, more or less, equal to end users and businesses.

What microsoft is doing by buying "open-source" companies is buying a business model. Microsoft hasn't yet figured out that you can make money while giving something away for free. That model is completely foreign to Microsoft. They are going to buy companies that have established customers and use them as their springboard into the software "services" business.

The music industry is also going to this model (slowly) - give away the music to sell tickets and t-shirts. Microsoft's managers are not stupid - they know the days of selling shrink-wrapped boxed software are ending.

-ted

Microsoft Lawyers (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040021)

I have to wonder if they plan to buy up some OSS projects and then relicense them. They can then start with the patent FUD and hit any forks with MS lawyers.

Before anybody tells me that the law is on the side of OSS, consider how long the SCO case took. What if MS doesn't play to win but to not lose, allowing them to delay and cripple projects until they give up?

Great American Streetcar Scandal; 1936-50 (3, Informative)

Hasai (131313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040029)

This is not a new strategy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy [wikipedia.org]

Vivendi Universal bought-up mp3.com and bulldozed it, Microsoft bought-up RAV AntiVirus and buried it. Now, M$ will probably do the same with these others; buy-up the businesses and turn them into parking lots.

Fun with quotes (2, Funny)

riffzifnab (449869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040031)

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
-Unsourced Mahatma Gandhi quote (wikiquote)

Blaaaarrrg. Take off every chair! For great justice. Pew pew pew lasers!
-/. Universe Balmer on learning of users forking OSS they just bought to kill. (my own head)

Work for Microsoft for free! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21040107)

Since open source projects rely upon a community often hostile to Microsoft for their developement, what better way to kill an open source project than to buy it? Who wants to work for Microsoft for free!

Re:Work for Microsoft for free! (2, Insightful)

crimperman (225941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040175)

according the TFS Ballmer said companies that were built around Open Source, not Open Source projects.
This - to me - speaks more of people like Linksys, some of the CRMs (as suggested) or perhaps even TiVO . That is companies that use Open Source software in their products rather than those that specifically and only produce Open Source software.

Steve Ballmer has got to go... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040219)

I swear, if I had Microsoft stock I'd be selling right now. Steve Ballmer is running M$ into the ground. (Yes, yes, I know people have hated Microsoft and will say it's always been running into the ground.) But really, I don't think Steve Ballmer has a clue what to do.

He keeps going on these rants, throwing chairs around, etc. Why would Microsoft buy 20-100 companies. There is really no benefit to doing so. I've really felt M$ has been on a bad path. I had hopes Vista would change that...but obviously that didn't work out. Vista was the best thing that ever happened to Macintosh.

Now, Steve Ballmer has devised a plan destroy the one thing that would ensure M$ survival over the next few years - namely a vast $50 billion cash reserve. And Steve Baller has decided to spend it all buying a 100 little overpriced companies. Why?

Frankly, M$ share holders need to fire Steve Ballmer and do so quickly.

Re:Steve Ballmer has got to go... (1)

pchoppin (864344) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040403)

And Steve Baller has decided to spend it all buying a 100 little overpriced companies. Why?
But this has been Microsoft's business philosophy from its inception, long before Ballmer entered into the scene.

Trust (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040327)

The last part is the crucial one.

I know I'd stop any business relations with any OSS company bought by MS. For the simple reason of trust. MS has proven time and time again that they are a dirty company playing dirty tricks and not stopping at screwing over their business partners.

When you buy OSS, you have two reasons. One is it could simply be the best product of its kind around. The other is that you trust the OSS project to not play bait-and-switch, let's-not-renew-your-license, look-at-that-smallprint, that-requires-the-extended-warrenty or any of those other games on you because it knows you can simply take the code and go elsewhere.

MS, on the other hand, hasn't been about developing good products, or being a reliable partner, not for many years. The whole company is about playing dirty games and doing it better than you.

They've done it before (1)

acb (2797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21040391)

Remember Dimension X, the 1990s Bay Area startup built around an open-source Java graphics engine? Microsoft bought them, scrapped the project, shipped the developers off to Redmond and deployed them on ActiveX projects.
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