Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

The Return Of Microsoft: Part Two 312

Posted by JonKatz
from the sometimes-they-come-back dept.
Microsoft has battled back to the top of the Internet heap, with more heavy-duty products coming to market this year than ever before, profits soaring again, and more research and development money in the bank than most of the world's nations can ever get their hands on, not to mention Microsoft's many out-maneuvered competitors. Microsoft, reports Business week in a thorough report in its June 4 issue, and discussed in on Slashdot two weeks ago, is drowning in cash: $30 billion, more than any other company in the Corporate Republic formerly known as America.

Microsoft is not, as the new administration has made abuntantly clear, about to be broken up. It has cashed in on its enormously profitable near-monopolies for desktop and server software. Analysts believe it will soon return to 20 percent revenue growth, up from 14 percent today, which already is nearly double last year's.

The company is also launching a mind-boggling series of sweeping and expensive new initiatives:

  • .Net services, software that permits unrelated Web sites to talk with one another and with PC programs, without the user having to open new programs or visit new sities. This is the company's wedge into Web services.

  • XBox. As we know, this is the company's huge leap into the $20 billion game console business, scheduled for launch on November 9. XBox is supposed to be three times more powerful than Sony's or Nintendo's boxes, and Microsoft says it plans to spend $500 million on advertising in the first 18 months alone.

  • Small Business Software. For the first time, Microsoft will jump into the $19 billion small-business software arena, says Business Week, having bought accounting software specialist Great Plains Software for $1.l billion in April. The company says it then plans to offer customer-relationship, human-resources, and supply-chain software.

  • Stinger, Microsoft's latest effort at software for cellphones, begins trials in Europe later this year.
  • Ultimate TV. Described by industry analysts as a "set-top box on steroids." For less than $400, this box will allow people to surf the Web and interact with TV shows, and record progams on hard drives for storage and later viewing.

On top of that, Windows XP, the biggest update in more than five years, is scheduled for late October. The company is also breaking out of the low end of the server market with Windows 2000, which began shipping last year. Services running Win2000 claimed 41 per cent of the market, says Business Week, up from 38 per cent in l999.

There's much more. MSN is now one of the most heavily-trafficked sites on the Web, the msn.com portal ranking second in this country behind Yahoo. Hotmail is the world's most used free e-mail service, and MSN Internet Access second only to AOL as the most popular consumer route to the Web. This from a company much criticized for failing to perceive the Web's importance a few years ago.

The rise of MSN demonstrates just how difficult it is to compete with this company. Were it owned by anyone else, the long-struggling MSN would have gone belly-up long ago. But Microsoft can subsidize its products through good and bad times, creating an environment in which it's difficult, if not impossible, for competitors to survive. Microsoft now operates under its own notions of Darwinian business evolution. That is, the rich prey on potential competitors and hang on until they win.

Microsoft is also getting serious about the handheld devices market; its Pocket PC has begun eating into Palm's market share. According to Net market researcher IDC, Pocket PC should hold 19 percent of the market by year's end, up from 10 percent two years ago.

The market for Windows servers grew 32 percent this year, while sales of servers running Unix grew only 14 percent.

Furthermore, Microsoft will spend $4.2 billion on research and development this year, while unleashing the above cavalcade of significant new products and initiatives, starting this week with the launch of Office XP.

Waiting in the wings are Microsoft's "pipeline initiatives," under development or planned for later launch: the first table PC; natural-language processing (talking to computers the same way you talk to people); face mapping (using digital camers to scan a PC user's head into a 3D image so that software can add a full range of emotions for gamers); information agents (software agents that sift and sort through information for businesses and consumers).

It seems almost silly to argue that this is too much power for a single company to wield over something as central to the country's business, entertainment and cultural life as the Net and the Web. But Microsoft's power is barely mentioned in politics or the popular press, and seems of little concern outside of the open source and the boardrooms of some competitors. No company has ever dominated so enormous a part of the country's economy as Microsoft is about to do. The company is moving far beyond the ability of competitors to challenge it, and thus offer consumers any real choices. In fact, the company has grown much more monopolistic than when the government sued it.

Since almost everyone who goes online intersects with a Microsoft product, there are substantial privacy concerns. It follows that MS knows more about the Web habits of Americans than any other company. And should the company ever decide to impose political or cultural values on its users and properties, it could have an enormous impact on speech and the transmission of political ideas.

The return of Microsoft, and its ferocious onslaught on well-funded new initiatives and projects is re-writing both government and civic history. We now have the Unaccountable Company, bigger than the government of the nation in which it resides, beyond the reach of legislators, regulators, citizens, critics, victims, or more individualistic and entrepeneurial competitors. People who need the Net and the Web in their personal loves or workplaces will do business with Microsoft, or they won't do business.

That returns Gates to his pre-lawsuit position as the pre-eminent figure of the Internet, invincible as Frankenstein's monster, the creature that really can't be vanquished or driven off.


Note: Here's Part One of this piece, if you missed it.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft's Return Part Two

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Its high time us Americans start to support this great national treasure. Here we have a company that serves most of the world in an important arena, and we try to break them up?? It is a world economy now, we have a company with a lot of money and a huge staff willing to research and produce products that no one in the world can touch. And we get pissed?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and this got marked insightful??? (should be troll).
    I.E. is not free software, in the true sense of the word. Service packs darn well better not cost anything. If you ship a broken product that you charge a lot of money for, you should support it.

    'wuite' is not a word. 'Write' maybe? 'write' would still be wrong in this case.

    Hundreds of gigabytes of completely free programs (warez? hundreds? not "free software" by any stretch)

    Microsoft is so bog?

    Insightful my ass.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Paul Allen sold all his shares years ago, and left the company.

    The CEO of MS is Steve Balmer.

    If you are going to rip Paul Allen, rip him for the fact that the Portland Trail Blazers still suck, in spite of all the money he spent.

    If you are going to rip Bill Gates, let's talk about that haircut.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Instead of bitching, moaning, whining "Microsoft THIS" -- "Microsoft THAT".. get off your ass and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I bet a good number of people who use this site are coders, and if you were actually out cOdInG instead of reading/posting news articles, a difference could be made about it. So Microsoft is making some new products, who the hell cares! If Linux had a good strong concentrated effort, it would actually *be* something instead of the "renegade OS"....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    no one is forced to use Microsoft products! This article is written as though microsoft just forces people and businesses to use their products. In reality, there are MANY alternatives. Microsoft just realized one thing at the beginning of the computer revolution:

    most people are lazy and/or stupid.

    don't blame microsoft for capitalizing on this! Instead of ranting, i suggest you try educating people on the alternatives.

    bye now,

    rhad

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not all cases are consumers even given a choice. Consider that when Microsoft invested in AT&T so that AT&T would drop the set top box they were developing and use a box created by Microsoft instead, even though AT&T originally found the other box superior for their consumers, consumer choice entered nowhere in this picture. When one can buy exclusive markets, even where your products had already otherwise been rejected, consumers loose.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ".Net services, "
    Has no substance, its only marketing.

    "XBox. ..."
    Nintendo blew them away at E3 and Sony have a years lead on them and are much bigger and own related music and movies industries. Microsoft are toast.

    "Small Business Software. For the first time, Microsoft will jump into the $19 billion small-business software arena"
    They failed to take the money crown from Quicken at the low end, so now they're trying again in the mid market. Why do you imaging they will succeed when they have less of an advantage than they had over Quicken?

    "Stinger, "
    The top 5 phone manufacturers have all opted for other software. MS was stung by Stinger.

    "Ultimate TV."
    They already have set-top internet boxes that don't sell. This is just another attempt with a VCR attached. Tivo have patents for MS to choke on in that market. Why do you think Compaq are discounting the iPAQ MSN Companion?

    "Windows XP"
    Windows 2000 had lousy takeup among corporations (the reasonable numbers were HOME USERS), they are having to threaten companies with steep price increase to force them to upgrade, why do you imagine XP will succeed when you have to bully customers into buying it?

    "MSN is now one of the most heavily-trafficked sites on the Web"
    No a lot of traffic is *routed* to MSN, its not by choice they go to it. MSN as an ISP has a tiny fraction of AOLs subscriptions ( $250 market instead.
    They made loud noise because they knew people would look at the 10% figure and realise that Pocket PC had failed.

    Utter bullshit designed to hide miserable failure.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look at Europe for an answer. Everyone whith a serious interest in curbing Microsoft's illegal market practices (have been convicted in the US) should look at Europe to get a much more level playing field.

    It is illegal to jointly sell products (bundling) in Europe. I think you can get a conviction for producers only selling PC's with Microsoft windows and/or Microsoft office.

    In some countries it is illegal to sell products below the price it costs. So giving away IE for free is illegal. Offering it installed automatically on your PC is illegal too (illegal bundling).

    Other rules might also apply, but I'm not aware of that.

    People allways should be given a choice. I think it is enforceble in Europe. And if Microsoft takes a blow in Europe, it hurts and creates openings for other players to stay alive (even other US firms).

    But this action should be organised from the US, because most Europeans are unaware of what's happening.

    P.S. political leaders in Europe think Bill Gates is a god. But people handling complaints are officials who are very knowlegeable and independent. A job at the European Union is something you don't let go by ;)

    P.P.S. monopolistic behaviour should be curbed very quickly. Otherwise it anoys the public (and the politicians). The moment they try something new (bad), someone should file a complaint at the European Comission or at the European court of Justice. But this is work for lawyers, not me.

  • Nader is a _lot_ smarter than Jon. I hope you're joking ;)

    Jon's got the right idea but a lot of his facts are total vapor. Actual performance of XBox protoypes suggests it's a lot weaker than PS2- 'Halo' starts to crawl when doing nothing more complicated than splitting the screen four ways. Microsoft's money is often talked about, but I for one am deeply skeptical- prove it. Whose figures are we citing here? Microsoft's. There's talk that they are operating a share-valuation pyramid scheme, and plenty of support for that position. In effect, Microsoft's money is strikingly similar to the dot-com 'bubble'- cash or not, it could be burned up awfully fast, and you've only their word that this cash reserve is even there. Many companies would not have a reason to lie about the amount of assets they have- but Microsoft is not normal, and they do have such a reason and have constantly lied, even in court, much less outside of it.

    Microsoft's a huge threat, but far from invincible. The important thing is to try and get at the truth, and to not be a damned Pollyanna about their future plans. There are many things they can do to seize control of world commerce, for instance, if they're not subject to higher authority- and of course everything they say confirms that in their opinion, they are not.

  • Since when are 'we' blind uncritical supporters of anything with the word 'free' stapled to it?

    It would be great if 'free market' actually meant something to the effect of 'people are free to enter it and conduct business', but seeing as 'free market' demonstrably means 'free to put up barriers to entry and drain business off to sweatshops in Costa Rica', why should anybody consider that a good thing?

    Face it, we've been trying 'free market' in the sense you mean. We've given it a good try, and this _is_ what happens. So what is so wrong with the idea of wanting to support a BIG market for a change, one with a LOT of players in it? What is wrong with wanting to have a lot of choices? I mean, just to HAVE choices! Bring 'em on!

    And if the only practical ways of doing this seem socialist or commie to you, because they give Microsoft only 70% of the world rather than 99% like it'd get without regulation... well boo hoo. Poor it. Poor you. Then wipe your tears and get busy participating in a REAL market- one that you can get a goddamn foothold in, one where you may not be guaranteed monster success but you _do_ have more assurance that you're not going to be flung out of the market entirely by the shifting of a giant.

    Welcome to the real world. You might like it- if, that is, we get a chance to _implement_ it that way. First thing we do, we'll find a better word for 'free' for _your_ kind of market. How about 'constricted'?

  • It's particularly disconcerting that the brainwashing is _literally_ stadiums of people chanting "Microsoft, kill 'em! Microsoft, kill 'em!". I mean, whaaat??? Who on earth considers this normal or sensible or right? I'd love to see the modern German citizen's take on that spectacle- Germany is a better country than the USA these days- certainly a lot wiser.

    Are there _videos_ of the Microsoft rallies involving this chant? Can _footage_ be put on television? If it is mysteriously impossible to put the footage on American television, is it possible for other countries to run it heavily on television?

    This time around _we_ might be the ones who need to be stepped on and straightened out- to the extent that we _do_ align ourselves with 'Microsoft, kill 'em!' and behave like we support Microsoft seizing control of world commerce and communications. I don't care about junk like X-Box (doomed) or the specifics: they may not be invincible but their _attitude_ is damned worrying and that needs to be fully considered.

  • Gee. Gosh.

    So what kind of jail times does that usually get?

  • No, not at all. Linux has built-in balkanization. Anytime someone wants to take a distribution in a different direction they can fork it and put effort into producing their own spin on things. Because consumer preference is extremely subdivisible into smaller classes and categories, no single dist of Linux can ever be in the position that Microsoft is in.

    If you could do that with Microsoft, there would be somebody out there with a stripped down, debugged version of W95 for gaming and functional use, that would be eating W2K's lunch. You can't, so there was never the possibility of forking existing hugely popular market sections off as their own OS. It was always expand expand, debug AND expand more, bloat and migrate people unwillingly. If Microsoft's having trouble doing this, a Linux dist would find it flat impossible.

    The Linux model isn't much like, say, the market for cable. It's more like the market for food. Personal taste can wildly differentiate. That's actually an advantage...

  • by Enry (630)
    How many windows boxes would you need to buy to compare to a Sun E10k?

    And that if you have X Linux boxes running services, you probably need 2X Windows boxes to do the same darned thing (that gui sure eats memory and CPU).
  • This is classic MS FUD, and you're helping them!

    Everyone in the press (counting you, Jon) is so terrified with what MS WILL do, as opposed to what they ARE doing. Competitors get afraid that MS will beat them at their own game they give up and basically hand MS the market they want. Duh!

    If you want to complain about what MS IS CURRENTLY doing in terms of products, fine. Everything else (until it ships) is fiction. Their "pipeline initiatives" should be called "pipe dream initiatives", because there's little chance it will see the light of day.
  • yes, big brother takes good care of his little brother. . .
  • It may not be fair that a cheetah can run faster than a rabbit, who's sole purpose in life is to run fast (and breed).

    Poor rabbit.

    luckily, rabbit can breed quickly to offset this problem.

    Netscape can't breed. It can only become extinct.
  • by jafac (1449)
    ya see, that's why I keep Jon Katz enabled. So I can find these poor lost souls and say; you can go into your profile and disable Jon Katz!!! And ANY MS bashing article.
  • Come on, you read Ballmer. This is just ``fair compensation'' for copies of your ``intellectual property''.
  • Okay, now it's early in the morning and I am a bit irritable, but PLEASE GOD somebody tell me how it is that this troll got moderated to FIVE?

    This person appears to think hat any software running on windows is made by Microsoft. How could such an ignorant statment be moderated anywhere but DOWN?

    Hundreds of GIGs of free software? Are you sure you know what a gig is? Or are you just confused as to what FREE means?

    And there's just one more thing I've got to say.. something-O-O something-O-O economics?? VOODOO Economics.

    Just give money to rich people and out of the kindess of their heart they will make damn sure that he give all the money back to the people by employing people for exactly the minimum amount they can possibly be paid while the 5 or 6 fat cats make ALL the money and buy sports teams, ridiculously large houses and stupid looking museums.

    Three cheers for the monopoly! Hip-hip-hurray! Hip-hip-*gag order*
  • ... it costs USD$29 for an individual license.

    Perhaps your ex-boyfriend had a hard-drive full of illegal warez!
  • That's what comes of having billions in the bank, and being patient enough to let your investments pay off. Even so, it doesn't always work. WebTV was still a poor investment (although if you count UltimateTV they are still working on it).

    The fact of the matter is that no one is going to beat Microsoft at their own game. If you develop software for Windows eventually you will get screwed. Every year Microsoft picks a couple of software niches and targets them for domination. For example, now that Great Plains has been bought out by Microsoft you can bet that the other small business accounting systems are going to be hard pressed to compete. Microsoft will undoubtedly come out with a server package that includes Great Plains and that is less expensive (probably considerably less expensive) than the competition.

    This is bad for Microsoft's competitors, but it is great news for small business owners. It is exactly what they want.

    This cycle has been repeated over and over again, and by this time it should be clear to software developers everywhere that the only way to beat Microsoft is to change the rules. That's part of the reason that Microsoft has become so crticial of Free Software. They see Free Software as the one software development strategy that is immune to their current tactics. Free Software development doesn't rely on the resources of one company to flourish. There's no one to bankrupt, there is no one to buy, and there is no possible way that you can win a price war.

    It is almost certainly true that no company that bases their fortune on Free Software is ever going to be as profitable (or as powerful) as Microsoft. But at least there is potential for success. With commercial software, especially in the Windows world, it is only a matter of time before Microsoft destroys you.

  • ...'cause this guy's saying something that's not getting reported: The Appeals Court case was handled by amateurs with the guys who won the case at lower levels sitting helplessly in the front row. It's reasonable to expect that Bush would not use David Boies after Florida. But making ALL the guys who knew the case sit there and watch fools sabotage the mission amounts to judicio-terrorism.

    I frequently said during the campaign the Bush administration would not make a big impact on the anti-trust trial. I was wrong. These guys have gone to a level of legal corruption unprecedented in American history. I never anticipated they would attempt anything so blatant.

    It will be interesting to see what the state attorneys general do.
  • by Repvblic (4658)
    make the bad man go away!
  • The point is, MS has enough money that they can outlast anyone. Examples:

    Windows - Windows 1.0 - complete failure. Windows 2.0 - complete failure. Windows 3.0 - complete failure. Windows 3.1 - success

    MSN - until 2001 - complete failure

    Internet Explorer - 1.0 - complete failure. 2.0 - complete failure. 3.0 - success

    Do you see a pattern here? MS has so much money that they can continue to pump it into crappy, failing products until they overtake the market. Eventually they usually do become better than the alternatives, but that's after millions of R&D and marketing, while the competitors had a good product to start with.

    Basically, anything MS is willing to put pressure on, they end up winning at least after a while.
  • If you make it your production O.S. today you will get your improvements faster :)

    Seriously, if you are frustrated with the situation you should work to change it, not just wait for someone else.
  • The difference is not whether their doing right or wrong technically. With free software, user's freedoms are preserved. Period. No matter how bad the software or how evil the company, your rights as a user are preserved. With proprietary software, you are at the mercy of the company. And in this case, the company has no mercy.
  • "Corporate Republic formerly known as America"

    Oh enough with the bleeding heart liberal whining, Katz. America was built on capitalism and I like it that way. I hate microsoft too. Just means people need to work that much harder to beat them at their own game. It isn't impossible to do.
    IRNI
  • You bring up a lot of good points and I respect them. I just don't know what we can do except elect independant candidates to change the world. Which doesn't seem to be working. I don't know if I see that the way to fix everything is to go totally socialist and I don't know if that is what everyone is suggesting. I just wish there was a way that this capitalist society held a way to say what is right and wrong and what is acceptable but let there still be huge companies. Just not monopolies. Guess we have to have one extreme or another. Totally socialist or totally big business. Anyway maybe I was harsh in what I said. But katz still sucks :)
    IRNI

  • From what I have seen, Microsoft really does quite a lot for free software. It provides competition and so on, true, but it also writes free software itself.

    When people on /. refer to "free" software they normally mean "free as in speach" not "as in bear".

    Also, if competition is so good, then why is MS killing off all of theirs ?


    --
    echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln80~Psnlbx]16isb15CB32EF3AF9C0E5D7272 C3AF4F2snlbxq'|dc

  • by BrerBear (8338) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:42AM (#168887)
    ...is that you completely buy into the Microsoft marketing hype without any critical thought. Don't you remember, with the advent of NT years ago, Microsoft was supposed to own everything by now?

    "Microsoft is not, as the new administration has made abundantly clear, about to be broken up."

    Really? I follow this case closely, and I've never seen the administration say that. It's not only a political dead-end, but they don't have control. It's in the courts. And the states AGs will pursue no matter what the feds decide.

    Even if they aren't broken up, they still face a strong possibility of other remedies. It will be very difficult for them to be exonarated.

    "Anaylists believe it will soon return to 20 percent revenue growth..."

    Again, not what I read, and I read a lot. Most stories I see project single digit growth, at best. Some of their divisions have had declining revenue.

    "The company is also launching a mind-boggling series of sweeping and expensive new initiatives:"

    Keywords here: mind-boggling, as in "consumers are generally unfamiliar with any of them" and "expensive", as in "how do we (MS) maintain expected profit growths when we're spending billions on new products, our money-makers are slowing, and the PC industry is now predicted to show its first annual sales decline?"

    ".Net... the company's wedge into Web services."

    .Net isn't even released yet, and it's already facing competition from the other big players (IBM, Sun, Oracle). Also, it's not entirely clear the MS will be able to lock people into their own web services due to the fairly open nature of that market.

    "XBox... huge leap... three times more powerful... Microsoft says it plans to spend $500 million on advertising."

    First off, that's wrong. MS is spending $500 million on _marketing_, of which the bulk of that will be spent on non-advertising sources like wooing developers. Do you think Sony and Nintendo spend nothing? It's only an interesting amount b/c it's coming from Microsoft.

    Also, it's the games that count. XBox will face fierce competition, and speaking as a hardcore gamer, I see no buzz about XBox around at all, other than that cooked up by ZDNet.

    "Small Business Software..."

    Microsoft just made a whole score of new enemies who are going to be more than happy to put up a fight.

    "Stinger... for cellphones..."

    Who cares? Who wants to write apps for specifically for Stinger phones when Java is already becoming the lingua franca? Many, many millions of phones are shipping with Java, and according to Nokia's president, they alone will ship 100 million of those in only a year or two.

    "UltimateTV"
    Only works with satellites, thus limiting its adoption, and a massive money drain on the company, just like WebTV...

    Most of the rest of your points are just as ridiculous, but I've got more important things to do -- hey, I'm off to develop software that competes with MS! -- to waste any more time responding. I'm sure the other Slashdotters will pick up the slack.

    So John, quit pushing this defeatist idea of Microsoft inevitability.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @08:37AM (#168888)
    The thing I always remind people is that no matter how much you dislike Microsoft, they are still one of the largest companies in America and they didn't get that way by making bad decisions and backing stupid ventures. I don't think they would make a move on something they weren't guaranteed to at least break even on.

    Wow that is not true. Microsofts sole purpose in buisness is to make money. I agree to that but the way the do it is not been by making good products. It's been by maintaining their monopoly. PERIOD. The money they spent on licensing Java from Sun and corrupting it on the Windows platform didn't make them money. Or how about the Millions they paid SpyGlass for Mosaic only to eventually rewrite it as Internet Explorer v3(?). Remember, they gave that product away too while Netscape was selling theirs for $50/ea and had a massive amount of the market.

    These are just some of the examples of the fact that Microsoft makes money by monopoly and their business goal is always to maintain that monopoly so they can do to the competition what they did to Java on the client, to Netscape Navigator, etc.
    These other "ventures", Xbox, UltimateTV, .Net, etc are just another example of them protecting their monopoly. They will never call the Xbox a PC, but that is what it is, and mark my words it will someday run full MS Windows applications ( most of the FROM MICROSOFT ). They don't install the dll's now so they can call it a console and keep the label "PC" away from it. The DOJ wouldn't like that.... Anyway, there are many battles today that Microsoft has to fight because of the Internet. The INet has allowed for so many new innovations in how we and our "tools" interact that each has a potential of changing Microsofts monopoly status.

    That is the only reason they are backing these products/services ( or many in the past ). Making money is their goal. By protecting the monopoly the goal is a given.

    Until now. ;>

    Lob

  • Microsoft .NET is probably the biggest threat here, because it ties things together in a Microsoft-centric way. However, their ability to make this fly is going to be entirely dependent on whether they can make the technology work well enough to run reliably, and whether people can trust them.

    Microsoft has a long history of releasing stuff before it's ready, and that may well be fatal when it comes to .NET.

    I personally would not want a centralized exchange to have my credit card number, even if it did make it more convenient for me to order stuff. See, it would also make it more convenient for people to steal my credit card number. Could you imagine a clever CGI exploit that combined a password cracking program with an automated login to .NET to let anyone hack into the system and buy stuff without your knowledge or permission? Of course you could.

    For an alternative perspective on .NET, see Lincoln Spector's Microsoft NYET column. An exerpt:


    Microsoft no longer believes in private ownership of software. Office ICU will be the first product released under Microsoft's new EXTended ORdinary restituTION (EXTORTION) policy. Rather than buying the program outright, you will pay Microsoft a monthly fee for the right to not have your files destroyed. Microsoft will even give you a percentage of any income it makes off its copyright on your creative work.


    For the rest, visit:
    http://www.computeruser.com/articles/2006,3,7,1, 06 01,01.html

    D


    ----
  • "Corporate Republic formerly known as America"

    Oh enough with the bleeding heart liberal whining, Katz. America was built on capitalism and I like it that way. I hate microsoft too. Just means people need to work that much harder to beat them at their own game. It isn't impossible to do.


    Yeah. Arbeit macht frei.

    If you believe "hard work and perserverance" is enough to displace the very rich and powerful, who can buy laws, legislatures, and legislators by the armload, then I have some excellent lakeside property in Florida I'd like to sell you.

    GNU/Linux and other Free Software can be killed outright by legislation. Proposed UCITA legislation would impose onerous default warranty conditions on software which only corporations are to be allowed to disclaim ... pray it doesn't pass in any more states than it already has. Microsoft has already sounded the "unamerican" theme, which among other things is clearly a trial balloon to test the waters for the possibility of buying legislation banning free software outright, perhaps arguing that it has an "unfair" advantage in that it costs nothing and is written by volunteers, and there are other threats as well ... such as patents and changes in the copyright laws at the federal level designed to favor the large copyright holders at the expense of individual copyright holders and consumers.

    Now, why is this a concern? Because suppression at the point of a government gun may be the only recourse Copyright Cartels and Patent Barrons such as Microsoft have to fall back on. Certainly efforts to get hardware manufacturers to produce only closed-spec hardware are having a small effect, but fortunately for free software most hardware vendors are intelligent enough that by allowing everyone to write software to use their hardware they generate more customers, hence more demand and profit. Not all are so wise, and a big cash payment from the likes of Microsoft can tip the scales of advantage far the other way.

    It is true that free software is hard to kill. Unlike proprietary software it can thrive in unkind markets, living soley off the time and energy of its own adherents and enthusiasts, improving and competing against such behomeths as Microsoft without the underlying capitol. But in a country, or a world, in which large corporations can and do routinely buy governments we can, all of us, very easilly be forced away from the keyboard at gunpoint and back to the couch where the media and copyright conglomerates would prefer us to be, as happy, compliant consumers of whatever they choose to push down our throats.

    Having said all that I suspect the worse case scenerio won't come to pass, or if it does, it will be limited to the United States and possibly (and this is a remote possibility I think) Europe. Microsoft and its ilk have already lost most of the rest of the world ... probably one of the reasons they are taking off the gloves in the part they still, as yet dominate.

    One certain way to usher in the worst of all possible outcomes is to dismiss it completely, as many on both sides of the Microsoft/Proprietary vs GNU/Linux/Free Software argument do (though for very different reasons). These dangers are real, immediate, and our vigilence in standing up to them leaves a great deal to be desired.
  • Godwin Law. You lose.

    I suppose if I were a juvinile in some kind of a pissing contest this notion of "winning" or "losing" a discussion, rather than merely conducting one, would matter. As it is, if you wish to take an old and somewhat worn bit of humor far more seriously than even its author ever intended and thereby ignore one of history's most potent and relevant lessons and consign it to a noman's land of "taboo, oh we mustn't allude to it" then, quite frankly, I am uninterested in trying to persuade you of anything anyway.

    It is probably pointless to continue replying to such an obvious troll, however, on the off chance someone with a mind even slightly open is reading this thread ...

    Our fundamental rights are under concerted and widespread attack in ways which parallel many of the lessons of history. If you do not wish to acknowledge or learn from those lesson neither I, nor anyone else, can help you. If you think anyone with a grain of intellectual thought is going to bow to your absurd notion of what historical references can and cannot be referred to in a discussion, you are sorely mistaken.

    Hard work isn't always enough, and the good guys lose their battles as often as not. It is important that we recognize this and not be complacent, assuming that merely because we are in the right we will inevitably avoid being crushed by the likes of Microsoft. Indeed, if we are complacent quite the opposite is likely.
  • So it's ok to compare the holocaust, with tens of millions people dead, to a business enterprise?

    I made no such comparison. An inane comment was made about "lets just work harder and everything will be allright," a belief which is nearly axiomatic in American society. I pointed out its obvious flaw and invalidity by pointing to an obvious and dramatic historical example in which the same belief was propogated and demonstrated to be very unambiguously wrong.

    If you cannot see a historical allusion and reference for what it is, and furthermore are incapable of understanding the difference between pointing out disturbing paralles and equating disparate events, then it is you with no sense of proportion or logic, and an even more tenuous grasp of reality.

    I strongly suggest you reconsider your priorities and open you mind, even a crack.

    Oh, and by the way, after reading your comment I called a couple of jewish friends and asked them to read the thread and give me their opinions. They found the concept of Goodwin's law far more offensive than my historical allusion, for whatever that is worth. One went so far as to speculate that Goodwin's law is effectively a conspiracy of silence with respect to the holocaust (I disagree ... it is an old, worn out joke, hardly a conspiracy), a reaction rather the opposite of what your accusations of "insulting all the jews" would imply.

    But then, clearly you have no wish whatsoever to discuss the issue at hand (modern day threats against our basic liberties and freedoms and how to address and counter them), as your initial invocations of Goodwin's venerable joke makes clear. I can only say that, if the time ever comes and you actually develope an interest in such things, history does offer positive lessons in how to resist and even succeed against such onslaughts, even from overwhelmingly stronger forces such as those represented by Corporate America today. Until such a time as you decide to constructively address these issues I can only say "good luck." With current trends, even under the best of circumstances, we are all going to need it.

    In anticipation of your next cut-and-paste from old USENET threads in an effort at realizing a tautological fulfillment of prophecy implicit in Goodwin's law...
  • I agree. Solutions to these sorts of things are difficult to find. History offers some insights (and hints at some strategies), but we are fighting the combined might of some very powerful interests in bed with an ever more powerful government. We are also fighting the intertia of history itself and the decline of our civilization. Like entropy, these forces will one day probably emerge victorious, but, like entropy, by adding (positive) energy to the local system from outside (grass roots involvement of people and word-of-mouth spreading of information as to why these issues are important) we can stem the tide and even make localized progress.

    Just because the world will someday end doesn't mean we need to let our opponents usher it in today. :-)

    Anyway maybe I was harsh in what I said. But katz still sucks :)

    I agree. Sometimes he writes brilliantly, but more often his diatribes read like long-winded slashdot posts. Like you, I often find myself agreeing with his points will taking issue with some of his specific arguments and how he couches his points. Just as in this case I agreed with the underlying motive of your criticism while taking exception to the specifics of one of your arguments. :-)
  • COOL is C#, which hasn't shipped yet but will.

    I agree that Microsoft has many many market failures under it's belt. This is primarily due to their paranoid desire to be in every market possible to ensure that nobody is sneaking up on them (as they did to IBM and DEC). And their enormous cash reserves which make this sort of shotgun approach feasible.

    What's worse is that they are very effecive in wiping out the collective memory of failed products in nearly Soviet fashion. Remember "MS Commercial Internet Mail Server"? You won't find much about it on their site - all technotes and so on have mysteriously disappeared.

    This attitude translates to their userbase quite effectively. Last year it was "Windows DNA and COM+ Rah Rah Rah." Now folks are already talking about .NET as if it really existed as a product and not just a preview kit. How long until you are being sneared at for using COM+ instead of .NET?

    Microsoft gets that they need to be in the enterprise software market. However, they don't quite get how to act like an enterprise vendor (provide proper technical documentation, don't just "disappear" products, provide legacy support and migration tools, providing patches for older product releases, provide a sane way of delivering and installing patches, etc etc.)

    And that's why software rental maybe isn't the worst thing if you are a MS shop. Right now, most of the industry has this little concept called "annual maintenance" which often runs up to 40% of the purchase cost -- Essentially a rental fee, although it's sorta optional. It also give the manufacturer a strong incentive to support legacy customers. Microsoft most all their residual income off not off of support but instead off of upgrades, which is a huge incentive to NOT support legacy customers and to make it as painful as possible to avoid spending the considerable amount of money (labor and licences) to upgrade.
    --
  • Quick trip to MSDN shows that you are correct .. certain types of NET calls thunk to COM+. I was confused by the earlier propaganda that .NET was independant of COM.

    Now the obvious two questions are:
    1) Is this an architectual decision or a stopgap -- will we see 'Enterprise .NET Beans' sometime in the future?

    2) How the hell is NET portable to other platforms if it heavily relies on COM+? MS seems to be having their cake and eating it at the same time.
    --
  • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:30AM (#168906) Journal
    Speaking of "FUD and misconceptions"....

    Every Compaq or Dell server that I've seen come out of a box comes BLANK. In fact, the drives are often packaged seperately. If you don't install the OS, you can certainly pay an 'integrator' to do it for you, someone who is also happy to install NetWare or Linux.

    Now, I have no doubt that there's low-end server bundles with NTS pre-installed. However, at $500 for the base licence, that's not an insigificant sum to pay if you don't want it. It has to be easy enough to order a version without NT installed.

    Bundling has been Microsoft's practice in consumer space. But the server market has always been too diversified for this to fly (has MS ever had more than 50% marketshare?). There is no "Microsoft tax" for servers.
    --
  • Boy, you picked the wrong forum on which to demonstrate an alternative use of the phrase "free software" :)

    Oh, wait, its only LA,T. You've been here long enough to know better, which makes you a troll instead. At least I'm not the only one that took the bait...

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • You can make up whatever definition you want for monopoly, but legally the absolute absence of competition is not required. AT&T never had 100% of the market, yet they were regulated as a monopoly. Most utilities do not have absolute monopolies, because after all, you can always buy bottled water and run your own generator! But this does not excuse them from being regulated as a monopoly.

    The simple fact is that Microsoft has been legally found to be a monopoly. Even if the appeals court finds that they have not abused that monolpoly, it is unlikely that they will reverse the finding that they are in fact a monopoly. So, the fact remains, Microsoft is a monopoly. That is a legal fact. You can say otherwise all you want, but the existence of their monopoly is a simple fact.
  • Why is that bad? Katz, you're knee-jerking again. They coming up with new projects and products. That's *wonderful*, not terrible. It adds to the "marketplace of ideas." If we don't like them, we don't have to buy them.

    What if we DO have to buy them? Do you own Windows? Why? Because it was the best thing for the job? Or was it because you had no choice? Do you run Office? Why? Because it was the best thing for the job? Or was it because you had no choice?

    Personally for my use I've found many alternatives to Microsoft products that work good enough, but yet for many things I must own Microsoft products. Example: if you try to get a job, any recruiter you talk to will want you to e-mail them a resume IN WORD FORMAT. So, to get a job, I have to own a copy of word.

    If it was really as simple as choosing not to use things I'd be happy with them. It's not that simple though...

    ---

  • And, it's not free. It's shareware.


    MS does provide zip-folder functionality in it's Win98 Plus product. But that isn't free, either.

  • This is the way that Compaq has shipped servers for the last several years, but only more recently has Linux been an option with Smartstart (IIRC, SCO always has been).

    However, many large Compaq servers are bought through integrators who buy and install NT for you before you get the system.
  • The company is offering an amazing array of new features, and it's becoming extremely influential. Those are the two main points in the article, and the conclusion Katz draws is that this is a problem.

    Katz is unbelievable. Nobody -- including Microsoft -- has ever used FUD to such an outrageous extent. There's nothing in the article which argues that Microsoft is anything but a brilliant and powerful competitor, creating new products, solutions, and value for voluntary customers. But the conclusion Katz wants you to draw is that Microsoft should seem scary and threatening.

    In other words, Microsoft is doing exactly what we would hope free-market companies would do... and Katz is totally against it.

    Katz, you're a buffoon.

  • Well you have to remember Corperations are people too. And last time I checked it was illigal to bribe, rackater, and blackmail. And its definatly UnAmerican to not punish someone just because they are popular. Though it becoming the "American" way.
  • by sabat (23293) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:56AM (#168930) Journal

    Oh, I agree. They aren't guaranteed a win here, if we fight hard enough.

    For instance: ".NET". If I understand correctly, this is a software subscription service.

    Problem:

    • the only user-level software MS makes that anyone really wants to use is Office

    • no one really needs to upgrade to newer versions of Office. Most businesses, large and small, are still using Office 95 or 97.

    • Once it costs them more to use -- as in, you have to continue to pay -- then they'll stick with 95 or 97 forever until someone writes something that's truly compatible with the file format.

    • Then, fork. Remember IBM's MCA? And what the industry did instead (invent its own Buss)?

    What we really need here is:
    • one of these desktop projects (Gnome, KDE, Ximian, whatever) to get a clue and learn enough about what interface means to really produce a useable Linux desktop (for the masses)

    • one of the free Office suites (Abiword + Gnumeric, KOffice, I don't care) to get off its ass and work diligently on complete import and export compatibility with MS Office

    • a modern browser that actually worked (with Flash and Java) would be nice

    Give a company the option of using that stuff for free, or .NET for big $$$, and guess what it'll choose?


    ---
  • Aw c'mon, this is a bit simplistic isn't it? Microsoft has the ability to be infinately more invasive than Linux, or FreeBSD. As has been shown time and again they can afford to buy out universities, high schools, businesses, ISPs, etc. They make them offers "they can't refuse" and this indirectly inflicts these products on the end user.

    I know. I know. We don't have to go to school, eat at restaurants, buy a house, buy a car, go to the grocery store, or use the Internet, but then thats not much of a choice is it. When a company is this invasive and creates as many problems as Microsoft does than it is perfectly legitamate to lambast them.

    This is the one flaw with so many libertarians. I don't think they have truly been faced with the decisions required for their "free market utopia" to exist. I say this as a libertarin by the way.

    There needs to be a way to deal with companies such as Microsoft and I am very open to non-governmental alternatives. Because as the Katz article basically pointed out, a boycott ain't gonna work this time.
  • If you want to throw UNIX on a server, why the hell did you buy it with a WinNT or Win2k license? ...and you say this took place on hundreds of them...which translates to hundreds of thousands of dollars to Microsoft in licensing.

    Often, companies will not sell you a server without an OS. And often, requesting Linux and other alternatives will cost more than Windows.

  • Uh, no. Microsoft does not 'give [power] back' to anyone. They consolidate and control. The only reason MSIE was 'free' was because it was competing with Netscape, also 'free'. They could not have sold it.

    Err... and no matter how bloated all things Microsoft may seem, they're not 'hundreds of gigs'.

    Go back under your bridge.

    -grendel drago
  • Dump Jon Katz? [slashdot.org]

    I find the poll results.. interesting. And the singular comment.

    this was posted in '98, about a month after Katz got here. Staying neutral, i ask - Does anyone think its time to revisit this article?
  • by imac.usr (58845) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:36AM (#168952) Homepage
    Waiting in the wings are Microsoft's "pipeline initiatives," under development or planned for later launch: the first table PC;

    But I already have a PC on my table.


    --
  • by pos (59949) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @09:25AM (#168954)
    You know... every one of those Compaq Proliants that you bought and wiped to put unix on is still money as far as Microsoft is concerned.

    They don't really care if you buy them and throw them away. It pumps their market share statistics just the same; it makes Compaq and Dell believe that you wanted a Win2k computer; it is one less computer that Rackable, VA Linux or whatever would have sold.

    -pos

    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • by joq (63625) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:22AM (#168955) Homepage Journal

    The market for Windows servers grew 32 percent this year, while sales of servers running Unix grew only 14 percent.

    It's amazing how people always try to argue some broken facts about the server market and Microsoft. Let me add something to this thread that many people don't see in write ups by news agencies.

    Many companies I've worked for including the one I do work for surely purchase MS based servers, but that doesn't mean that the company who purchased them will be running Microsoft on them. E.g. we've purchased hundreds of Compaq Proliant servers with MS only to wipe the entire contents of it and place a Unix base system on it.

    Lets look at another angle here. Not too many vendors are shipping servers with FreeBSD or Linux pre-installed and instead your likely to find about a 4-1 ratio of servers being pre configured with MS on them. How many of those servers are wiped and a Unix based system thrown on them? There are no stats for this, nor can you say more MS is being sold when many of the Unix based OS' are free.

    So for those who follow these so called stats, there are always other sides to the issues which never see the light of day.
  • I'm writing this from the convention floor of JavaOne running on a pretty nifty SunRay 150 workstation. It's amazing for one company that's "dominating" a technology at how many Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies use combinations of Unix/Solaris/Linux + a Java server for a significant portion of their company's systems. Of a survey of 104 Forutne 500 companies, 80% of those use a Java-based approach to web services using systems like iPlanet, Weblogic or Oracle9i. The OS itself is becoming increasingly irrelavant in today's technology. One application writting in NT is a quick drop-in into a Solaris machine running the same server. Let Microsoft try and dominate this area and it'll fail.
  • by selectspec (74651) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @08:25AM (#168964)

    Microsoft has battled back to the top of the Internet heap, with more heavy-duty products coming to market this year than ever before, profits soaring again, and more research and development money in the bank than most of the world's nations can ever get their hands on, not to mention Microsoft's many out-maneuvered competitors.
    Microsoft is not ontop of the internet Heap. The server side of the internet is still heavily weighted by *nix platforms runing open source software. Microsoft is a minor player in the ISP market compared to the likes of AOL and Earthlink. They also are not driving the content of the web, nor do they have any presence as one of the major web retailers.

    Microsoft, reports Business week in a thorough report in its June 4 issue, and discussed in on Slashdot two weeks ago, is drowning in cash: $30 billion, more than any other company in the Corporate Republic formerly known as America.
    FUD. Microsoft put 4.8 billion in cash on the books last quarter. They have over 30 billion in current assets (cash, short-term investments, stocks). However, most major banks and large investment houses have hundreds of billions in current assets.

    Microsoft is not, as the new administration has made abuntantly clear, about to be broken up. It has cashed in on its enormously profitable near-monopolies for desktop and server software.
    Server software monopoly? cough cough Apache cough Linux cough Java cough Perl cough cough Send Mail cough... etc. You are the Wotan Master of FUD.

    Analysts believe it will soon return to 20 percent revenue growth, up from 14 percent today, which already is nearly double last year's.
    Good for them.

    The company is also launching a mind-boggling series of sweeping and expensive new initiatives:

    .Net services, software that permits unrelated Web sites to talk with one another and with PC programs, without the user having to open new programs or visit new sities. This is the company's wedge into Web services.
    Well, if they practice what they preach, this is the first place-nice integration MS has ever done. Exporting their software with soapy xml (w3c standard) is actually a step in the right direction. If they don't f-it all up. As for .NET, totally unproven, risky gamble.

    XBox. As we know, this is the company's huge leap into the $20 billion game console business, scheduled for launch on November 9. XBox is supposed to be three times more powerful than Sony's or Nintendo's boxes, and Microsoft says it plans to spend $500 million on advertising in the first 18 months alone.
    Those same analysts say that if X-box every turns a profit, it wont be for at least 4 years out. Not to mention, MS has always failed in consumer electronics, and they are up against Sony. Plus, alot of that money being pumped in to the X-box is going to the game designer companies, that view this as a win-win.

    Small Business Software. For the first time, Microsoft will jump into the $19 billion small-business software arena, says Business Week, having bought accounting software specialist Great Plains Software for $1.l billion in April. The company says it then plans to offer customer-relationship, human-resources, and supply-chain software.
    You're in some fuddy waters again. I would call MSOffice small business software, and frankly Office is MS's most profitable and lucrative monopoly. However, Microsoft's small business software suites that you are referring to have all landed them as duds. Sales are relatively dismal for this unproven market which nobody has had any success with todate. As for Great Plains, anybody that has used this software welcomes the change. Maybe we can finaly upgrade our NT 3.1 boxes now that Great Plains is being run by Microsoft. Great Plains is good stuff, but man was it always behind the OS times or what?

    Stinger, Microsoft's latest effort at software for cellphones, begins trials in Europe later this year.
    Oh my god how terrible. R&D in a new market. The way I see it this is fine. They aren't leveraging any monopoly here (and because of it they will get their ass's toasted).

    Ultimate TV. Described by industry analysts as a "set-top box on steroids." For less than $400, this box will allow people to surf the Web and interact with TV shows, and record progams on hard drives for storage and later viewing.
    Boy this market is on fire too. Let them piss their money away. a) nobody uses it or is going to use it. b) good for them, they aren't leveraging their OS or Office software here either!

    On top of that, Windows XP, the biggest update in more than five years, is scheduled for late October.
    XP is just Win2k with some extra crap thrown into it. Win2k is just NT with some bug fixes and a cleaner UI. Microsoft's NT OS versions are just like their Word product (nothing different, except that you'll spend a few hours configuring it after you upgrade). Plus, XP signs the end of the shitty win95/win98/winMe kernel. Thank god! Poor suckers have been living with that unprotected piece of sh*t for 6 f'ing years now!

    The company is also breaking out of the low end of the server market with Windows 2000, which began shipping last year. Services running Win2000 claimed 41 per cent of the market, says Business Week, up from 38 per cent in l999.
    Mixing your facts up. Microsoft is trying to get into the high-end (traditional RISC you know what the f I mean) market. Tred softly MS, because these guys are serious and they mean business. There names are IBM, SUN, HP to name a few. I see this as good news and hopefully will drive down some of those sun fire prices! As for this Services figure, thats the back-office stuff, not the high end market. That stuff is priciply driven by MS's monopoly on Office software.

    There's much more.
    Uhg. I'm getting tired.

    MSN is now one of the most heavily-trafficked sites on the Web, the msn.com portal ranking second in this country behind Yahoo. Hotmail is the world's most used free e-mail service, and MSN Internet Access second only to AOL as the most popular consumer route to the Web.
    FUD FUD FUD. MSN's traffic is driven mostly by idiots browsing to it after they install windows for the first time. Earthlink is #2 for internet access, not MSN. Hotmail has the marketshare of the free-email services (free mind you) but the competition is still present (competing for what I wonder?)

    This from a company much criticized for failing to perceive the Web's importance a few years ago.
    True, they were scared sh*tless, because the web was driven by servers (*nix) not windows 95.

    The rise of MSN demonstrates just how difficult it is to compete with this company.
    Compete for what? Portal space? Yahoo is #1. AOL in a wierd way is also #1 if you think about it.

    Were it owned by anyone else, the long-struggling MSN would have gone belly-up long ago.
    True because it is just a website. Websites alone aren't a business (/.)

    But Microsoft can subsidize its products through good and bad times, creating an environment in which it's difficult, if not impossible, for competitors to survive.
    Yes, this is true, however any large company can also do this. Sun subsidizes its lowend servers and software from the highend sales. IBM is subsidizing all of its current Linux spending with sales from its other businesses. Subsidizing is not nessessary evil; leveraging however is. And Microsoft does leverage its OS and Office suite.

    Microsoft now operates under its own notions of Darwinian business evolution. That is, the rich prey on potential competitors and hang on until they win.
    Actually that is the socialist theory. Microsoft believes the most productive will survive and that they are the most productive.

    Microsoft is also getting serious about the handheld devices market; its Pocket PC has begun eating into Palm's market share. According to Net market researcher IDC, Pocket PC should hold 19 percent of the market by year's end, up from 10 percent two years ago.
    Suprizing what color screens will do. Again, MS is not using any leverage from its OS or Office suite here. Palm integrates pretty well with Office.

    The market for Windows servers grew 32 percent this year, while sales of servers running Unix grew only 14 percent.
    Grr, back here again eh? Think carefully... Oh yeah, linux is free. No OS... Hmmm. When you add in the OS-less server sales the figures quickly change in favor of Non-Microsoft servers.

    Furthermore, Microsoft will spend $4.2 billion on research and development this year, while unleashing the above cavalcade of significant new products and initiatives, starting this week with the launch of Office XP.
    Just whose side are you on? Spending 4.5 billion on R&D. Releasing significant new products and initiatives. Hmmm, whats the problem here?

    Waiting in the wings are Microsoft's "pipeline initiatives," under development or planned for later launch: the first table PC; natural-language processing (talking to computers the same way you talk to people); face mapping (using digital camers to scan a PC user's head into a 3D image so that software can add a full range of emotions for gamers); information agents (software agents that sift and sort through information for businesses and consumers).
    Great. Meanwhile, on the Open Source front, Star Office is still trying to read a f-ing word file. No offense to Open Source and Star Office, but the intiatives you just mentioned are all good things.

    It seems almost silly to argue that this is too much power for a single company to wield over something as central to the country's business, entertainment and cultural life as the Net and the Web. But Microsoft's power is barely mentioned in politics or the popular press, and seems of little concern outside of the open source and the boardrooms of some competitors. No company has ever dominated so enormous a part of the country's economy as Microsoft is about to do. The company is moving far beyond the ability of competitors to challenge it, and thus offer consumers any real choices. In fact, the company has grown much more monopolistic than when the government sued it.
    Blah blah blah. Too much power eh? Hmmm, maybe we should set up some sort of Committee to oversee it. Some kind of Vangaurd Elite Committee. You could be... Chairman. All kidding aside, I agree with you on the OS and Office issues. Its a monopoly and they are abusing it. On all other counts you are smokin crack.

    Since almost everyone who goes online intersects with a Microsoft product, there are substantial privacy concerns. It follows that MS knows more about the Web habits of Americans than any other company.
    FUD. Its a concern, but one that watch groups are constantly monitoring, just like the Intel serial numbers.

    And should the company ever decide to impose political or cultural values on its users and properties, it could have an enormous impact on speech and the transmission of political ideas.
    Too bad this wasn't the crux of your arguement, because I do feel there are some issues here surrounding IE. I wouldn't characterize the impact as "enourmous" however.

    The return of Microsoft, and its ferocious onslaught on well-funded new initiatives and projects is re-writing both government and civic history.
    What the f are you talking about? Dude, you are seriously paranoid.

    We now have the Unaccountable Company, bigger than the government of the nation in which it resides, beyond the reach of legislators, regulators, citizens, critics, victims, or more individualistic and entrepeneurial competitors.
    Bigger than the government again eh? Whatever FUD master. I wish it was bigger than the government. It shames me to think how big our government is. It would be nice if there were some private enterprizes that spent more. Also, Microsoft is 100% to its shareholders don't forget.

    People who need the Net and the Web in their personal loves or workplaces will do business with Microsoft, or they won't do business.
    To some degree yes, principly because MS is still getting payback for unifying the desktop OS.

    That returns Gates to his pre-lawsuit position as the pre-eminent figure of the Internet, invincible as Frankenstein's monster, the creature that really can't be vanquished or driven off.
    Spare us Katz. You are the monster with this horrible analogy that you keep making.

  • by puppet10 (84610) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:47AM (#168970)
    No company has ever dominated so enormous a part of the country's economy as Microsoft is about to do.

    Damn ever hear of Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller -- They (and their monopolistic practices as "robber barrons") drove the creation of the anti-trust laws in the first place because they became so dominant the public at large actually was forced to do something about it (instead of the usual sheep role). Hell even after some of the controls went into place Morgan still had enough cash to bail out the New York Stock exchange (can Bill G do that?).

    I'm not advocating we should retun to the times of the "Robber barrons" just that this is not the first time corporations and individuals have had such concentrated power, and in fact I believe they had more power in the "Robber barron" period.

    What this should do is allow us to learn from our history and try to prevent the kind of concentrated wealth that occurred in this period and hurt a enough people to create a general public outcry. Unfortunately we seem to be quite good at repeating the mistakes of history.
  • Once Microsoft has another $10-20 billion in cash, Bill Gates will finally be able to buy himself a decent haircut.

  • While I voted for Nader in the last election, it seems he didn't consider his showing significant enough to really leverage his political points. Which is too bad really since he could have made a strong case that he did lose the election for Al Gore and that the democratic party should listen to him or continue losing elections to disenfranchised voters turning third party.

    If Nader had followed through I'd have been quite happy with that vote, but right now I think it was just a waste. So, in essence I'm not too worried about how smart Jon is (he isn't going to become president anyway), rather in how well he can connect with people and with the problem.

  • I don't usually like to respond to posts like this but, why don't you just get off your ass and write what you want yourself? I know I know... you don't have the time to do it, or the knowledge, or whatever, but then please stop bitching about what you're getting for free.

    It seems that the golden rule of free software, the do it yourself mentality that actually produces code, is being lost in the noise of people who just want shit handed to them.

    "Our browser's not good enough, Mozilla is slow!" Well, go help speed it up.

    "Our interface sucks!" Change it to suit yourself.

    "I want a good office suite!" Go pick one help out on it.

    Geez... you'd think you were living in a world that didn't encourage users to participate in software development...

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • by briancarnell (94247) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:26AM (#168982) Homepage
    For somebody whose regularly complaining about how adults and legislators stereotype kids, Katz certainly has a rather black-and-white view of the world.

    Microsoft is neither an unstoppable Frankenstein (in fact I think it is in far worse shape than Katz lets on), and neither is it the wholly benevolent innovator that its worst apologists claim.

    This article by Katz is just as distorted and one sided about Microsoft as Craig Mundie's FUD-filled speech about Linux and open source was.
  • Another misguided definition. A monopoly is created by the absence of competition. Notice that I did not put any qualifiers on the word "competition". The lack of "reasonable" or "valid" or even "technologically similar" competition does not make a monopoly.

    Here's a brief list of Microsoft's chief competitors (very brief, no need to e-mail me with additions):

    • Internet Explorer - Netscape Navigator
    • Windows $DESKTOP-OS - Linux, MacOS (particularly MacOS X)
    • MSN Portal - Yahoo!, Netscape.com, hundreds of others
    • Office Suite - Corel WordPerfect Suite, StarOffice
    • PocketPC - Palm, Handspring, Compaq
    ...and on and on and on...

    Also, the ability to form a coalition against competition (cf. packs of wolves vs. their predators) actually moves forward the Darwinian model of evolution, it does not disprove it.

    MSN evolves as a function of the evolution of its "social group", in this case, Microsoft, just as Netscape.com evolves as a function of the evolution of AOL/Time Warner.

    The fact that the rewards of success of other arms of the company are used to prop up not-as-successful arms of the company could be said to be an evolution in the sense that altruism is further evolved than selfism.


    Zaphod B
  • by Zaphod B (94313) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @10:54AM (#168984) Journal

    I'll ignore the obvious troll here and just go for what little you actually said.

    Why is it so bad that Joe AOL uses a computer? Just because you're able to write your own OS entirely in Motorola 68K does not mean that that should be the minimum knowledge (notice the word choice, since intelligence implies the ability to learn).

    I can think of a hundred reasons off the top of my head as to why Joe AOL should be using a computer. I realise that you're not quite old enough to have experienced this yourself, but find someone who was working in offices before the PC revolution. Ask him or her to describe the productivity level. Now look at today's office, which (though far from the 'paperless office' trumpeted at us 7 to 10 years ago) are immeasurably more efficient and productive. Look at enterprises with more than one office, especially if they're spread out.

    Joe AOL, or, if you like, Joe BusinessExec, does not care how computers work or what platform they run on, nor should he care. Joe BusinessExec's job is not to know computers inside and out, and Joe BusinessExec's job (trust me on this) takes up too much of his time already without having to worry about it.

    I'm incredibly tired of hearing people whine about the intelligence level of users who use Windows, and I'm sick and tired of hearing how Joe BusinessExec should embrace being able to modify his own source code.

    That, my friend, is why there are IT professionals. If you don't want people to use Microsoft, then get a job where you have influence over such things and then change it, damn it.

    As for your aircraft carrier analogy, well, if aircraft carriers made the lives of the typical person so much easier that they would ever be in popular demand (ignoring the obvious defects of having millions of aircraft carriers anchored in navigable waters), then you would have two choices: (1) Have someone who knew the aircraft carrier inside-and-out attached to EVERY SINGLE AIRCRAFT CARRIER owner as an employee, or (2) dumb down the aircraft carrier. Which would be better? Probably 1, though it's improbable that that would ever happen. This leaves (2).

    You want people to stop using MS products? Go start finding users and training them on other products. I mean it. Now! I'll be too busy doing the same to kill myself.


    Zaphod B
  • by Zaphod B (94313) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:25AM (#168985) Journal

    Microsoft now operates under its own notions of Darwinian business evolution. That is, the rich prey on potential competitors and hang on until they win.

    Jon, I don't know where you get YOUR definition of Darwinisms from, but where I come from, the Darwinian model boils down to "the strongest [or most adaptive] shall survive".

    And as much as I hate to say it, have you looked at MSN lately? The portal, I mean, not the lame dial-up ISP. It's really not all that bad.

    I fully realise I shall be thrown into the dungeon for this, but... <gasp> some of Microsoft's things aren't too bad!

    We won't, of course, mention the travesty of a platform that is .NET... not without laughing... but their Windows 9x GUI is a shining example of something that can be quickly grasped by Joe AOL, and their Visual Studio products have made programming accessible to those who shouldn't ever have considered a career in devel...er, wait, never mind, I'm having Freudian slips here. Never mind.


    Zaphod B
  • and they skewer everyone, not just MS.
  • After yesterdays garish depiction of the juggernaut brought out 900+ posts spanning the full ranks of trolls, indignant types on all 7 sides of the political spectrum, astroturfers, and probably Elian Gonzalez and Timothy McVeigh as one time posters, I think we've seen the pro and the con adequately.

    Enough already!

  • by zpengo (99887) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:30AM (#168989) Homepage
    more than any other company in the Corporate Republic formerly known as America.

    What's so unamerican about a company having the freedom to make and sell products as they see fit? If anything, all the rules and restrictions placed on Microsoft (and our efforts to put more restrictions on them, and in fact to break up the entire company) could hardly be called "American."

    The company is also launching a mind-boggling series of sweeping and expensive new initiatives:

    Why is that bad? Katz, you're knee-jerking again. They coming up with new projects and products. That's *wonderful*, not terrible. It adds to the "marketplace of ideas." If we don't like them, we don't have to buy them.

    But Microsoft can subsidize its products through good and bad times, creating an environment in which it's difficult, if not impossible, for competitors to survive. Microsoft now operates under its own notions of Darwinian business evolution. That is, the rich prey on potential competitors and hang on until they win.

    If Linux (or anything else) is going to make it in the marketplace, the people behind it will have to stop whining about not having the market equivalent of affirmative action, and instead will have to develop business models based on something other than "If we make it, they will come."

    Since almost everyone who goes online intersects with a Microsoft product, there are substantial privacy concerns. It follows that MS knows more about the Web habits of Americans than any other company.

    Uhhh....what about the fact that almost everyone who goes online also intersects with Cisco routers? You're not using any logic, Katz.

    That returns Gates to his pre-lawsuit position as the pre-eminent figure of the Internet, invincible as Frankenstein's monster, the creature that really can't be vanquished or driven off.

    If it was Linus Torvalds, Slashdot would praise it as the second coming.

    This Microsoft garbage is getting really old. Aren't there any important tech topics left in the world?

  • We won't, of course, mention the travesty of a platform that is .NET... not without laughing...

    And why is it a travesty? Because you say it is? I hope you realize that while you're laughing at it, Microsoft is laying out billions of dollars to say otherwise. And who are the masses going to listen to, hmm? Will they listen to some joe out in cyberspace, or are they going to listen to $$$?

    Are you familiar with the song "Sixteen Candles"? The song was basically a flop (barely broke the top 100 on the Billboard chart if I remember right) until some guy named Dick Clark played the song on some show called American Bandstand. And he played it again, and again, and again. Suddenly, the song was a hit. Why did Dick Clark play the song over and over? Well, the newspapers soon found out that he was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so, aka payola. Money speaks, and millions of teenage fans listened.

    Now I'll be frank. Right now I'm using the Windows 98 platform to type this message to you. My machine has Micrsoft Works (which I often use for word processing), and my DSL ISP will [unfortunatley] soon become MSN (although I'm still using Netscape). I enjoy using Microsoft Works, and there isn't an easier-to-use and highly-supported OS out there right now than the Windows lineup.

    Why do I have all these products? Because this is what the economy has shoved in front of my face. Sure, I can bash it all I want...call it a travesty, say that Win9x is a piece of crap, rip Internet Explorer apart...but it's no use. It is what the world uses, so it is what I must use. Why is it what the world uses?

    It's the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

    Personally, I thought this was one of Katz's better articles. There wasn't as much biased onslaught against MS, but instead he laid out a huge list of facts which basically gave out Microsoft's position. His last couple paragraphs (rather than his entire article) showed where he stood.

    But I thought this summed it up real nicely: "People who need the Net and the Web in their personal lives or workplaces will do business with Microsoft, or they won't do business."

    Truthfully, Microsoft is being innovative. I can't deny that. They're pushing technology (and my swap file) beyond its limits, always trying to see what it can do. But they're pushing it their way...the way they want it to go, so that they can maintain the power. They claim that they'll make the internet greater than it was before. The problem with this is that the internet was born WITHOUT MICROSOFT. The internet became what it was in 1996 WITHOUT MICROSOFT. What we worship in the internet was not created by Microsoft.

    Look at where the internet is going now.

    Netscape --> Internet Explorer
    E-Mail (Eudora, PINE, Pegasus, etc.) --> Outlook
    Movies (Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc.) --> Microsoft Media Player
    Streaming Audio (RealPlayer) --> Micrssoft Media Player
    Java --> .NET / XML
    Shockwave --> .NET / XML
    Chat (AIM, ICQ, mIRC, etc.) --> MSN Instant Messenger

    Sure, one could argue that I'm being too paranoid, but when billions of dollars coming from one company alone are being used to push a product, people are going to listen. On the left side, each company worked on their own branch of the internet. Microsoft's working on them all. Why? When people listen (or rather are blindly following the pied piper), the $$$ has the power.

    I know that Katz-bashing appears to be the mainstream, simply because he's got an opinion. My advice for Slashdot readers: Don't bash him because he's opinionated. Opinions are like assholes: everyone's got one, and everyone thinks everyone elses stinks.

    Here's the problem: everyone keeps bashing (in some way or another) Microsoft, but when Katz tries to absorb everyones' opinion into one article, they bash him for it, since it appears to overly-dramatic, to biased, or whatever (even though many of us all write that way ourselves). My advice for Katz: rather than trying to follow and reflect what people are saying in their postings, write what you truly believe. That way, people will fight with what you have to say (which leads to better conversation) than bash the way you write.
  • by Carnage4Life (106069) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @09:02AM (#168995) Homepage Journal
    OK, so Jon Katz regurgitates information that anyone who bothers to keep track of the computer industry (i.e. the typical slashdot reader) already knows and turns this into an article? Why???

    Here are my ideas on possible reasons, feel free to reply with more.
    1. Jon Katz wants the slashdot community which seems to consist of people who primarily use slashdot as their major source of news to realize that all their ideas that Linux and Open Source were crushing Microsoft were premature celebration. Unlike most other tech companies not only has MSFT not had massive firing binges in the past six months but they have lots of cash and are involved in several projects that will probably bring them success in the near and far off future.

      This is not a time to rest on your laurels.

    2. The Slashdot readership has begun to lose its anti-MSFT focus as can be seen by the number of highly moderated posts which say "MSFT isn't all that bad" that have become common over the last few months and Jon Katz is part of the Slashdot vanguard that is trying to reverse this trend by showing exactly why MSFT is evil to all the slashdot newbies that didn't realize that this was a pro-Linux/OpenSource, anti-MSFT/corporations website.

    3. The banner add market is getting tighter and since anti-MSFT articles always generate high page views there is now a quota of anti-MSFT articles that must be churned out weekly by Slashdot and if there is no news ("Open Source is a Cancer") then Slashdot authors are required to conjure it up out of available information.


    --
  • ...from this? Seriously... for all their evil, unethical, potentially illegal actions, Microsoft is doing some things _really_ well. Surely there must be some lessons that the OS/FS community can learn (besides from "kill your competitors at dusk with .45's") from this. After all, for all it's flaws, more people like windows than linux. Yes, that's right. More people. And this is despite the fact that Windows (at least 95/98/Me) is still often quite unstable... but then again, so is a poorly configured system, which seems to be the rule these days, rather than the exception. Why?
  • <RMS>Free-as-in-beer and Free-as-in-speech are two VERY different things. Microsoft does little for Free Software.</RMS>

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to make my donation to the Freedom to Innovate foundation.
  • I love that joke, but I don't really think it's very accurate anymore. Linux is, in general, very easy to install these days. Red Hat 7.1 went onto my computer way easier than Windows ever has, and everything works (well except for my printer which will print post script fine, but not text, but I can't say that I have ever had a completely cleans Windows Install either) without a whole lot of effort on my part. This isn't the problem. What is the problem you ask? Well there's actually two of them that I see.

    1. Windows comes on the computer- "Why should I install this Linux thing? The computer works fine now." There is not a damn thig to be done about this. Until you can go into CompUSA and buy a computer with linux on it and get support from some guy sitting behind a counter at a major retail chain, forget it. People are afraid to install APPLICATION SOFTWARE, forget about OS's. When I look at the CompUSA ads and see that they offer free installation of simple utility programs, I think "Damn, there is actually a demand for someone to install Office as an add on service.", my neighbor thinks "Well great, now I don't have to pay someone to install Office for me." The non-technical user is a lost cause until an alternative OS can get preinstalled in a retail chain.
    2. Applications- "The server at work only accepts MAPI mail connections, The kids teacher is requireing all their homework in .doc format, my wife's web design class is teaching Front Page, and the kids really like that new Black and White game. Linux sounds good, but how'm I going to do all this stuff?" Wine works on some stuff, but it's a pain to configure, The virtual machine software avaialable is the price of Windows, won't do 3-d graphics, and what the Hell's the point of using Linux if your just going to run Windows on top of it anyway? Even 100% Office compatibility would be nice, at least then people could work on the documents they generate at work and school. You could say "well if you don't like what's there, write something better", but the fact is that if Sun and Corel can't write an app with 100% Office compatibility, I don't have much chance of doing so. Besides we're talking about popular adoption here, and as bad as my chances of outdoing the entire Corel programing staff are, they are better than Joe Average's chances. I like Linux, I use Linux, I still keep a Windows partition because, well, I like games. I will admit that Linux Game support is getting better, but I still can't get Baldurs Gate for Linux, and I really like Baldur's Gate.

    This is why Linux is not on more desktops, and unless we can do something (like I said, number two is improving alot) about these two problems, Microsoft will keep on ruling the desktop

  • Microsoft's XBox, Stinger, and UltimateTV will all be failures for their business. Their small business software and .NET will catch on, but they won't be the next best thing since sliced bread like they think.

    Just because they *have* new products doesn't guarantee they'll catch-on and make the company money. Just look at Sidewalk ;-D

  • a modern browser that actually worked (with Flash and Java) would be nice

    Thanks for agreeing with me on the parent post, but there is an OSS browser that works very nicely and is the best that's out there right now (I starting using it probably before 95% of the /. crowd did) -- Konqueror from KDE.

  • Point is, if you're so sure about the platform you're on, probably other people feel the same way you do. If a product is worthwhile, it'll survive, if it dies, it's because it's badly marketted or not an absolutely needed product.

    You linux people (not the old hardcore but the new commers) have been living against microsoft for what, less than 5 years? Guess what, Amiga owners have been living against PC for 10 years before switching platform, and why did they? because the PC finally catched up with multimedia capabilities, content creation tools, etc etc... not only raw cpu power... If amiga would still have been the computer to do the job I needed it to, I'd still use it 95% of the time, not the opposite.

    In the end, machines are a tool, there'a a bit more philosophy behind platform wars and buisness practices, but in the end, is your tool right for the job? yes/no? are there any other alternatives? yes/no? good... not take it and do the job you need to do for god's sake.

    Microsoft doesn't control everything yet, I can still chose my beer.

  • * The Slashdot readership has begun to lose its anti-MSFT focus as can be seen by the number of highly moderated posts which say "MSFT isn't all that bad" that have become common over the last few months

    I wouldn't say that Slashdot isn't so much a Pro-Linux or Anti-Microsoft site anymore. It's more of a safe frustration outlet for dissident Windows users.
  • Here is the trailer from the WinZip website: WinZip is a registered trademark of WinZip Computing, Inc By the way, did you know that Phil Katz died a few months ago?
  • from the give-it-a-fucking-rest dept.

    Jon's article started out this time with more of the MS-bashing, US-bashing hysteria from part one, but after a couple of paragraphs, his main points seem to be:

    1. MS is coming out with some irresistible new products.
    2. MS is one of the most solvent companies in the world.
    3. MS can not possibly lose.

    I'm starting to think that Jon Katz is actually a Microsoft shareholder, and that he wants to make them out to be an unstoppable juggernaught so his stock value will rise more.

    Somebody should call the SEC and have this guy checked out.

  • by onion2k (203094) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:26AM (#169041) Homepage
    Microsoft can do wrong. Linux can do wrong. Microsoft get things right. Linux gets things right. But its not a black and white, MS bad, Linux good world. There are arguements for and against both. An article such as this simply panders to the slashdot majority, it shows little research, and less thought. A shame considering the potential of such a piece.
  • Or M$ Bob....

    Jaysyn
  • I do agree with your main point of the statistics being sketchy (it is incredibly simple to lie with statistics, ask any math major). However, it is interesting to note that if MS servers (preconfigured with MS stuff) are outselling UNIX servers, it means the OEMs like Compaq and Dell are still probably paying MS for the licenses on the server they just sold you (which you probably indirectly paid for by a slight price increase on the line of servers). Just more to think about...
  • Isn't his the same thing that was posted yesterday? Really, this was not so much a Part Two, as a Redundant Agitation Attempt.

    Are those cynical souls who question Jon's sincerity actually correct in their view that this is thunder to generate "discussion"?

  • by briggsb (217215) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:23AM (#169052)
    And trying to increase their power by contending that the US government is a monopoly [bbspot.com]. I'm not sure who I'd root for in that lawsuit.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:24AM (#169054) Homepage Journal
    1999 or 2000, i forget which, I had an opportunity to hear Bill speak at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. After a couple days prowling the floor looking at all the promising new electronic toys and such I had a pretty good idea what was going to be pushed in portable, handheld, household, etc. stuff.

    Bill opened with some self deprecating humor, to loosen up the audience and put them at ease. Then he went on to spell out all the great things the future beheld and how Microsoft would create this technology. Not pausing to mention that there were hundreds of products at the show, which used established technologies (e.g. MP3) and those product lines, if the companies didn't get under the Microsoft Tent, would die. By the end of the evening I was pretty sure he had threatened, indirectly, but most definitely about half the companies at the CES. Not a minor thing to do, when you consider the initiative it would take to do it.

    Well, much of that hoopla is coming out, and nobody can't say they didn't have fair warning. Where you want to go tomorrow is increasingly limited to diversity of ideas, which is being whittled down all the time.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • It a simple tactic really... Come out first with easy to use software and then build on it till you get where they are today. I don't think M$ is the best company there is, but when I look at how the average guys has trouble installing Red Hat, supposedly the easiest distro to get working, I know exactly why they are as dominating as we see them to be. Average people want their hands held. Average people are still afraid of computers, even with Windows. Average people don't even own PC's on the whole. M$ holds their hand and let's them think they are being productive. In some cases they actually are. Most Slashdotters don't fit that category which is also why the Open Source movement suffers. If you want to make software solutions for software developers, cool. However, don't get mad when the company the makes stuff for the user make more money than you. It's simple math, there are more computer illiterate people than there are l33t hackers.
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @09:31AM (#169065) Homepage
    The company is also launching a mind-boggling series of sweeping and expensive new initiatives:
    .Net services, software that permits unrelated Web sites to talk with one another and with PC programs, without the user having to open new programs or visit new sities. This is the company's wedge into Web services.


    Umm, Microsoft is repackaging Back Orifice?
  • So, Microsoft is introducing a lot of new products. Great. Good for them. IF you don't introduce new products, you can't stay in business. Not all will succeed. This is normal.

    My problem is with the way microsoft introduces products. John aludes to this with respect to keeping MSN on life support for so long until it cought on. Microsoft is now in a position to be able to introduce poor quality products and be immune to the market forces that would cause other companies to abandon poor quality products.

    Microsoft has two options they seem to make use of often, they either buy the competition, obsorbing the superior product and integrating it into their own, or simply outlast the competition, allowing them to exhausr their available marketing capital and then stepping in when they are the only remaining player in the market, after the competition goes belly-up/chapter 11

    John also mentions darwinian Busines practices. On this he's dead wrong. Microsoft has grown to the point now there they are immune to the normal darwinian evolution of businesses and markets. Microsoft's practice are more draconian than darwinian. Microsoft now has the ability to lay seige to an industry and simply wait out the competition. This is not a healthy business enviroment, however, most unhealthy business enviroments of this sort have a minimum efficient scale beyone which efficiencies are lost and corporations of such larger scale suffer inabilities to compete in markets governed by these forces. Microsoft is a strange animal in this way. It's difficult to sum up it's business activities in a paragraph at this point, and as such, it's hard to determine where efficiencies could be gained be a reduction in the company's scale.

    Microsoft seems to behave more as a keiretsu than as a single business. Interestingly, this behavior was a model used (asside from in Japan) by HP in the early 1980s where managers were granted resources and personel to pursue product development from end to end, and grow their 'canton' on the success of each activity. Microsoft has taken this to practice (derived from the company's roots) to the next level, where there seem to be small conclaves of people pursuing entirely disjoint businesses. I'm not a big fan of Microsoft but you have to give BIll credit for weaving common threads throughout such a large empire.

    --CTH
  • No company has ever dominated so enormous a part of the country's economy as Microsoft is about to do.

    Oh, really? Tell me, Jonny, from which orifice did you so casually pull that statement?

    Allow me to present 78 examples [fortune.com] of companies that are each dominating an even more enormous part of the country's economy at this very second.

    ...and this list doesn't even take historical cases into consideration.

    ...and, hey! I'll be damned. There are even [ingrammicro.com] a [lucent.com] few [ibm.com] tech [hp.com] companies [compaq.com] on [motorola.com] that [intel.com] list [dell.com].

    Of course, I realize that the Fortune 500 is not a foolproof, catch-all guide to measuring a company's worth. You'll understand, though, if I have a tad more faith in it than in baseless rantings...

  • whoa whoa whoa, there is no difference between the monopoly of Standard Oil and AT&T. Except that Microsoft's is scarier. And the fact that no one seems to give a damn anymore.
  • by rixster (249481) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:34AM (#169086) Journal
    Crikey. Here I am with those golden moderator points and I choose to write on this forum instead. I was shocked and dismayed to read "part 2". Crikey. Part 1 was only worth reading coz of the flames that followed it. Is it just my imagination or is it that every day a MS bashing piece of news comes out, and if it doesn't, then JC'll just write on e anyway? This really is getting tedious. When I first discovered /. I actually thought it was a refreshing, up-to-date finger on the pulse site that informed me of stuff that I actually found interesting - just the like the title says - news for nerds. Now, instead of hoping /. puts up more stories during my working day, I'm finding I visit theregister.co.uk more often coz it's often more relevant, more interesting and more amusing. The only thing it doesn't have is the comments from joe public (which makes /. sooo much more compulsive). But today - jeez - it's as if today is a no-news day in the world of /. , but theregister still seems to make something out of it..
    Please please please start publishing stories that aren't just anti - MS. I hate them as much as the next MS hating man (or woman), but I'm bored of x stories a day just bashing MS. Please
    IF ONLY I COULD HAVE USED THOSE POINTS ON THIS ARTICLE!!
  • I think that you hit the proverbial nail on the head with that one. The main point of a capitalist society is that you are free to make products and sell them as you see fit, the government can't interfere

    I'm sorry, I wasn't aware of the section of the Constitution that declared America a "free capitalist enterprise zone", or declared unrestricted business and industry to be the most important principles of this land. If you want a government-free society, there are some lovely mosquito-infested countries where your corporation can do pretty much what it wants; just remember to hire a small mercinary army.

    Of course, if you want to live in America, one of the more vibrant economies in the world, you'll have to learn to live with our longstanding tradition of government regulation, particularly anti-monopoly regulation. It seems to work quite well for us, but of course it's your choice.

  • COM+ *is* .NET
    .NET is a huge subject, mainly because MS likes unified names, so they push everything but the kitchen sink into a .NET, but writing .NET application is just an evolution of COM+ ones.


    --

    Two witches watch two watches.
  • 1> Absolutely not, AFAIK. EJB has several weaknesses, I suggest that you will read www.objectwatch.com about them.
    2> COM is not unique to Windows. Solaris has it, Mozilla has it (XPCOM) Gnome has it Bonobo. If .NET require COM+, it could be implemented on other systems. You could possibly do it with CORBA, I suppose.

    --

    Two witches watch two watches.
  • ObjectWatch has an article about why he doesn't like EJB.
    It's mainly because there is a probability to a database corruption.

    I don't think that .NET *has* to have COM+, the implementation on Windows relies on COM+, and a COM+ application can be changed to be .NET one quite easily, apperantly.

    But it's possible to create a .NET implementation that relies on something else.
    You mention that XPCOM & Bonobo are incompatible, but they can be *made* compatible. They are close enough that they can be used.

    Again, this is just theorizing, because MS has not yet revealed to what other platform it will release .NET (they have to if they want to standartise it.)

    I was surprised that they choose Linux, I would assume that they would go to the Mac for the second implementation.



    --

    Two witches watch two watches.
  • by rseuhs (322520) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @08:05AM (#169117)
    That's right. In fact Microsoft lost more often than they won:

    Just look at all the failures:

    Windows/Mips

    Windows/PowerPC

    Windows/Alpha

    The "Homer" Project

    Modular Windows

    Das "Otto" Project (1992)

    MMOSA (Set-Top-boxes Operating System

    Blackbird/Internet Studio (1995)

    MSN

    COOl (C++ Object Orientated Language)

    PenWindows

    And by "MSN" I mean the planned proprietary "Internet killer", not today's MSN that is just another ISP.

    I'm looking forward to Windows XP. The activation thingie will make sure no sane business will use it (Admin to boss: "Do you really want to fire the guy who has all your CD-Keys?").

    And at least here in Europe, where nobody pays for Windows to run it at home, Windows XP will have a hard time at homes, too.

    The only worry I have about X-Box is that it may be such a complete disaster that it won't be released in Europe. (If you put in 256MB RAM, it will be a great and cheap Linux-desktop ;-)))

    Roland

  • their input devices are good. although i currently use a boomslang 2k for quake3. but i've been using ms natural keyboards for a long time now, and i'm not going to quit any time soon...
  • Just look at Sidewalk ;-D

    Or Microsoft Bob. Or Clippy.

  • We now have the Unaccountable Company, bigger than the government of the nation in which it resides, beyond the reach of legislators, regulators, citizens, critics, victims, or more individualistic and entrepeneurial competitors.

    Microsoft net worth: ~4 x 10^11 US$
    US GNP / Year: ~ 1 x 10^13
    Weeks for the US economy to generate wealth on the order of Microsoft's: ~2
    National debt: ~7 x 10^12
    Portion of the national debt Microsoft could pay off if liquidated for the purpose: ~6%

    My point, of course, being that Microsoft may be large, but it's not (to quote John Lennon) "bigger than God."

    -- MarkusQ

  • "Since almost everyone who goes online intersects with a Microsoft product, there are substantial privacy concerns. It follows that MS knows more about the Web habits of Americans than any other company. And should the company ever decide to impose political or cultural values on its users and properties, it could have an enormous impact on speech and the transmission of political ideas."

    I agree that Microsoft is pretty much an abomination, and I agree with most of the things that this author says; but I think that the arguments need to be strengthened. The above paragraph doesn't move me to revolt, for example.

    What are the privacy concerns, explicitly, and why do they follow from interacting with Microsoft products?

    MS probably does know more about my Web habits than any other company, but show me why that is a problem.

    All of the arguments in the paragraph above appear to be based on the somewhat scary hypothesis that someday MS will impose its values on users and properties, but those values are already imposed by the very software that they create and the business practices that they employ, which are really just reflections of a capitalist economy. Are you implying that MS will impose its religious values on me? It's family values? If you are implying that it will impose its business values/ethics on me, don't worry: competitive, capitalist, Darwinist aggression has been imposed on me since the first day I went to school.

    I'm a new initiate to the open source movement; I happen to love it (and increasingly to depend upon it). But I'm concerned that this movement may become reactionary, and when you react, you like the asshole and it is easy for your competitors to point their fingers. Why not try some passive resistance? Take your GPLs and BSDs and continue to make excellent software. Maybe the best way to fight this is not to fight.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

Working...