While in Britain last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took a swipe at just about everything - from one of the world's largest Linux vendors to a social networking company he may end up buying. He insisted that Red Hat violates MS patents. He compared Facebook to GeoCities. He even accused Google of reading your email. At the …
All Your Base Are Belong To Us
Microsoft: If there is a patent violation, put up (and sue us), or shut up!
Maybe they have a patent on chair throwing...
I think Steve Ballmer should fix Vista instead of telling nonsense comments like thay Linux is violating the patents, why he do not say which patents he is talking about.
that any Open Source development happens in DozeLand.
Did they ever get Amarok yet?
Come on :)
All open source development on top of windows ?
really ? Is he on drugs or something ?
Think that we are going to waste our time making his product more attractive ?
Dream o .. oh .. true .. he's on drugs .. got to be ..
No seriously .. he's got to be delerious , drunk , stoned or all the above
to think we're going to spend our time and talent trying to give his
Pass him that pipe again .. he's too funny stoned out like this :)
Well, if your products didn't suck...
maybe you wouldn't have anything to bitch about...
How long is this clown gonna keep hanging there? And I wonder how did he manage to keep his chair for so long.. before smashing it into the wall ofcourse :P
He is a loser, and wants everyone else to look like one. If there is a patent violation from Linux, why didn't you answer to their Show Us The Code call?
Marc Andreessen said it best ..
I respectfully submit this link as evidence:
Enjoy - I surely did. I mean, Ballmer can't even innovate in his bullshit..
"a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people"
yeah, that's why Jobs is sitting in his iPod throne, you tool.
i wonder when he's actually going to put his money where his mouth is and just sue Red Hat if they infringe so many MS patents. the man is a joke.
Maybe Compiz Fusion should be patented
If Compiz Fusion gets patented Microsoft is almost screwed coming up with anything better than Aero's lacklustre speccy effects.
Gates is more clueful than this guy.
If Ballmer had a clue, he would try to spin what he says to make it believable. He doesn't know about developing even on his own platform. He doesn't know about software, let alone software patents (well...the people writing software patents don't know about software either, but I digress). He doesn't know what a protocol is to even have an idea about what embracing and corrupting an open protocol is.
The whole "faddish" thing sounds awfully familiar. Didn't MS make a similar claim about 12 years ago about web browsers?
Ballmer is insane. And not the good kind of insane.
Ballmer's obviously twisted...
...but the comparison of Facebook (and more to the point, Myspace) to Geocities isn't half-bad.
In that it's the 'noise' in the old signal to noise ratio equations. Kind of like Ballmer himself.
Btw: The whole anonymous coward thing is pushing it a touch. I fuckin' hate slashdot. I like the icons, tho.
Not a lot to add.
But just wanted to play with these new icons.
Don't most companies use the excuse that they have to sue every patent infringement in order to maintain the integrity of their lawsuits when they have a genuine case (this is usually trotted out when suing ten year olds) so if they're not suing Red Hat for such an (supposed) egregious infringement does that mean they now have no leg to stand on anyone else utilising those patents?
Legally speaking of course - back in the real world we all know it's a different matter
Google = Big Brother Inc.
They have created the biggest data-mining operation in history. Every last move is tracked; information is taken from everything and from everywhere. Your information is bought, sold and traded with every other data-miner they can. Nothing is deleted ever. Until they offer REAL privacy options to account holders (even if it's at a premium,) such as the ability to truly delete something completely from their servers, opt-out of profile building, prevent message scanning, the holding onto search queries and partial IP addresses for eternity. With governments around the world moving toward draconian law and desperate corporations that are facing out-dated industrial models. This is the worst time to give up your privacy for the most dime-a-dozen of all things (free email, search, maps, video hosting, etc.) Boycott Google!
What else should he do?
Well just consider beeing in his situation. The last product was a complete failure, for the first time the business model of the company starts to fail as there are now competitors.
Clearly everything he can do now is spreading FUD. If they really had anything in his hands he would have sued a long time ago. Probably he is afraid that he will not win in a case where the patent infringer clearly isn't making any money of the patent and even the patent is nothing special. He might even loose that patent.
Just imagine how an investor to Microsoft would react if one of their patents was either invalidated or not enforcable by court? They would start pulling out their money as the company itself would loose some of it's value.
As for the privacy, face it, if you are using services of another company don't expect anything to be private. That's why you have GnuPG.
I am a big fan of open source software for windows.
The Ballmer's don't deserve a reply, but I would like to say I definitely appreciate those who develop open source programs for Windows.
A couple times I year I review all the software I use on my Windows installation, and switch to use open source software whenever practical.
BTW Google doesn't do anything that isn't done by every other business out there including your credit card company.
Boycott everyone won't work. Better privacy laws might.
Title Ballmer, rejuvenator of furniture.
As a representative of developers, especially OSS developers, his opinion is pretty worthless.
However, he is the top BTSOOOF (Beater To Shit Of Obsolete Office Furniture) in The Reg's journalistic category, and BOOOF (Breaker Of Obsolete Office Furniture) in the wider journalistic category, and his opinions aren't completely worthless.
I'd pay postage/shipping to have him sign the front of an office chair with a wide MarksAlot, bust the chair up almost up completely, and return only the chairback (with autograph intact) to me.
The Death of Microsoft?
If I were a shareholder I would be very concerned that Ballmer is wandering the globe doing anything but get Vista fixed.
The days when Microsoft said Linux wasn't even on their list of things to worry about seem to be a long time ago.
Get rid of Ballmer
I in no way think anything of MS. I don't need to care really, since I prefer to stay at least 10m from any MS product...
MS need to get rid of Ballmer if they want to survive. Ludicrous claims like this are damaging their own image. More and more people are starting to see through his ranting and raving as the claims get more and more bizarre. I expect by next year he'll be claiming aliens stole his kidneys and that the moon is property of Microsoft.
"I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows".
Sure. Here's how: first, make the whole code development suite free, then have all the APIs documented online instead of asking us to buy half a dozen expensive books. Is he serious ? All the decent development tools that can be used on Windows come from the Unix world.
Could spout their completely unproven FUD about Microsoft's infringed patents in a country that doesn't recognise 99.9% of them
Well done Mr Ballmer - who else could, single handedly, make Microsoft look a bunch of fools. Maybe we can buy him a Jester's outfit for Christmas.. Actually can we have that as an icon? Steve Ballmer in a jester's hat?
Why does my business use Linux?
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Looks like things are moving along nicely for RedHat then...
Dear Mr Ballmer,
I have a business. It's only small but it's growing and I'm proud of it. Almost every mission-critical activity within my business takes place on Linux. In fact we only have one Windows machine and that is because of a particular user's preference. Even then that machine runs the Windows versions of the OSS software the rest of the business uses.
Why? Is it because this businessman is against companies making money or being successful? No. I like making money just as much as the next guy. Is it because I'm a commie pinko or an America-hater? No, I like making money just like the next guy and 90% of my custom comes from the USA.
The reasons I use Linux are quite simple: It enables me to deliver a quality service to my customers because, once it's setup to my liking, it just carries on working. I don't have to spend my profits on anti-virus software to try to keep it healthy or waste time I could be using to earn money scraping adware and malware off it. I've never had to reinstall it because it broke beyond being fixable. In fact I can't remember the last time it broke. I'm more productive using it as it's quicker on my hardware and just lets me get on with the things I need to do without thinking it knows what I want better than I do. It doesn't reboot my workstation in the middle of the night, even though I've set the preferences not to automatically install updates, losing the big number crunching job I'd left running overnight.
I have 2 hard drives and when I want to upgrade to a new distribution I swap them then do a clean install on the other drive and finally copy my user files across. This works well for me as I can always put the old drive back in and be back where I was in under 2 minutes. It takes me under 2 hours to install from scratch, update and get things just how I want them. Reinstalling Windows, my software and doing all the updates, if I want a dual boot, takes me almost a whole day.
In short, your software conspicuously fails to deliver the performance, stability, security, maintainability and quality that I need to keep my promises to my customers. That is why I don't use it for mission-critical applications any more. If you want my business back then stop spending your time trying to beat your competitors by badmouthing them and invest it in improving the quality of your own product. If Windows met my needs better than Linux then I would use it.
Out of Ammunition
It's clear that Ballmer is worried. Very worried. If all he can do is bitch about unproven patent infringements, threaten litigation, bad mouth red hat and facebook, without having anything positive to say about where Windows/MS is better and worth the expense, then he's pushing a lost cause. Vista's close to being a flop, despite the spin they're putting on it's weak sales. Office hasn't really improved for years, just more and more bloatware.
One of the arguments of the weak is abuse and it's interesting to see posters here calling him a loser.... He didn't get where he is by being a loser...
Wake up guys, MS is still ahead of Open source in many areas (& I run Linux at home), but is it worth the cost? Ballmer has a serious fight on his hands, has realised it, and he's doing it the only way he knows - head on, mouth open and leading with his chin. He's not got a lot of things left to fight with, Open Source has caught up - mostly. Ballmer doesn't seem to have a good long term strategy, but bad mouthing him won't make things change faster - or get him to change his style.
Microsoft, like the RIAA needs to change it's business model - or die. & then we can kiss goodbye to free service packs, free bug and security fixes, free hotmail, free apps... .net is really about payment for use, & it won't be cheaper. Meanwhile OS is moving to commerical models (Suse, among many others). What happened to single payment for life licences (like Norton AV used to have?). They died, mostly, to be replaced with revenue generating period licences... MS will follow, & so will Open Source it's just a matter of time.
MS claimed the Internet was a fad.
Mind you they also claimed that you wouldn't need more than 640k of memory and you wouldn't need filenames longer than 8.3 (filename.exe)
Is anybody still listening?
Come on Steve, change the record. The time when FUD about patent infringement would work is past. We've heard it all before and now it just doesn't register on the radar.
Publish the violations or drop the claims.
Of course, if you publish the violations, they'll be engineered out in months and _then_ what will you do to put people off Linux?
Great. Imagine if a Microsoft tax on Linux products did come about. If I buy a machine with Windows on it I have to fight tooth and nail to get a Windows refund. If it comes with Linux on it I have to fight tooth and nail to get a refund of the MS tax because "SOFTWARE PATENTS ARE NOT LEGAL IN THE UK".
Ballmer can spout as much crap as he wants, and it is crap, but at the end of the day his comments about Google and Red Hat are libellous in the UK, and if he is indicating that UK Linux users owe them money for using their intellectual property then he is lying. Was it not the EFI who examined Microsofts intellectual property and patents and found that there was not much there? That most of it was built of current standards even though they were trying to charge an arm and a leg for it?
OSS Zelots aside, let's look at what he said:
"...the Redmond supremo badmouthed his archest of arch rivals..."
Sadly badmouthing rivals is pretty much par for the course in the IT industry these days, MS are just as bad as Apple, are just as bad as FOSS. Actually outside of a FOSS company FOSSers are probably a lot worse at bad mouthing than the rest.
"...After telling his audience that Windows Live Hotmail generates relatively little ad revenue..."
Seems fair enough, storage and bandwidth are not cheap.
"...he claimed that Google's Gmail suffers from much the same problem - despite nefarious activity from the Mountain View, CA outfit..."
Fair enough. Google are getting more nefarious IMO.
"Google's had the same experience - even though they read your mail and we don't..."
So they backup your mails, good, they format them, good, they filter them for UCE, good, they process them to deliver targeted advertising, eh? WTF? This is pretty much saying that they do read your mails (which they denied), in order to deliver advertising, for which they are paid, but it's ok because it's automated. That is pretty shitty.
"...At the same London event, Ballmer reiterated Microsoft claims that Linux users are infringing the company's patents. "We spend a lot of money - the rest of the commercial industry spends a lot of money - on R&D. We spend a lot of money also licenses patents, when people come and say 'Hey this commercial piece of software violates our patent, our intellectual property,' we'll either get a court judgment or pay a big check. I think it is important that the open source products also have an obligation to participate in the same way...."
I accept the point that it Linux/Any other OS is violating their patents they should sue/get an out of court arrangement, but they should put up or shut up. Having said that I found the whole SCO thing tedious, I'm not sure I could cope with the carping if MS did the same/a similar thing.
"...Then he went after Red Hat in particular. "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation eventually to compensate us," he said..."
People who use our intellectual property should pay us for it - seems fair enough. Not sure I like the constant going after Red Hat though.
"...Ballmer also said that "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows". You can see that gem in the same video..."
Of course he said that, he was hardly going to say that he wanted all FOSS development on MacOS or Linux was he? How is this even news worthy?
"...Meanwhile, Steve told The Times of London that Facebook could be a fad..."
Could be, I like it, but it could well be.
"... Yes, that's the same Facebook that Microsoft is on the verge of buying - according to unnamed sources..."
Yeah probably shouldn't of mentioned it if this is the case.
If RedHat have your code sue them. You can read the code very easily - if you had any decent programmers you could examine every line in RH and show RH where they violate your IP and then they would say 'oh sorry' and cough up not tell you to take a hike.
a) Balmer is lying through his teeth about IP violations.
b) and/or his company doesnt know how to write/plagiarise/run even simple software any more and has destroyed any company that might be willing to help.
Had to be done...
I think Microsoft are going to have some legs, and yet there’s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to dumber people.
WTF dose that have to do with what Ballmer had to say?
Also, I hope he dose sue Linex, and soon. Then one way or another both sides can stop this sillyness. I dont care who wins, just get it over with (Although I do beleave that it will be MS)
Would I be infringing a M$ patent if a wrote a bug-ridden, error laden OS that caused every computer it operated on to concume as many resources as possible and crash on a regular basis.
Of course I would, they call it Windoze Vista!!!
Just wondering if they'd thought that name through.
As for Google, well on the same interpretation of "reads your email" that Ballmer's using, so does Hotmail. And anyone remember the Hotmail ToS that mentioned MS had equal rights to anything you transmitted or stored through their system, including copyrights, patents and secrets?
Note: I don't use Google but that's because I don't see any value in their products, though my dad like Picassa.
@Out of Ammunition
Good points, Kevin. Ballmer is no loser and MS is still hugely dominant.
At the moment probably only OSS advocates and fans interpret these attacks as fear because most people are so immersed in the Windows mindset. However I think a tipping point is near where Ballmer's own rants will wake people up to the presence of OSS, initially buying into MS's FUD but slowly realising that there are other, valid options. And then the fun really starts. . . .
FUD, glorious FUD
Thus spake SB: "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation eventually to compensate us," he said.
Compensate Microsoft for what? If I went to Burger King, should I have to pay McDonalds compensation if Burger King used the same sort of fryer?
But here's the crux - Microsoft will NEVER reveal these so-called patent infringements. They're using them as a business tool to try and keep a black cloud over Linux.
If they did reveal the patents:
1. The opensource community would look for (and probably find) prior art - negating these patents. Ironically, Microsoft itself may well be infringing these techniques.
2. If the patents were valid, and held by Microsoft, the opensource community would re-write the offending code, thus negating the threat of the patents.
So the *threat* of these patents is far more potent than the patents themselves.
I bet you all a virtual pint that these patents will never go away. Neither will they be revealed. It's all FUD FUD FUD.
If Microsoft were confident in their own business, we wouldn't be hearing any of this nonsense. Why so worried, Steve?
Steve is off his rocker, and very worried at that
Yes, I agree with the general consensus. Ballmer has lost his balls, and is frantically trying to grasp at straws to get his company back into the favorable position it used to be in.
Unfortunately, these days, the words of CEO do not carry the weight they used to - especially when more and more users are noticing just how detached they are from the reality of their every day experience and expectations.
Bill Gates might not have had as much success without Ballmer, but he gave something positive to the world. In a time where computers could only be useful to engineers, he brought a bit of consistency in programming and an interface a moron could use.
Ballmer, on the other hand, has funded the infamous SCO litigation spree, given birth to the absolute worst version of Windows the world has ever seen (Windows Me was just incompetent decisions, Vista is deliberate sabotage), and will always be remembered as Monkey Boy.
Step down, Steve. You're simply doing worse as time goes by.
It seems to me that we have a marvellous opportunity for an El Reg survey: a vote for our favourite comment icons.
Reader suggestions for new icons could also be solicited. Steve Atty's suggestion could go on to the list right away.
I'd be quite happy for us to lose the peculiar one of Bill Gates under the hair-drier. It's hard to imagine it being used anyway, what with there being no irony icon as yet. (And there's the limit of one per comment.)
Perhaps even the traditional use of "Yahoo marks" could be reduced to the use of a custom icon.
I totally agree. I find it difficult to believe that open source can happen on a closed platform with all those insane DRM measures. Sure, there are one or two projects (PuTTY and FFDShow comes to mind), but anything full-fledged? Probably not.
I also agree that Ballmer should be disposed of. Imo he is to Microsoft what Eisner is to Disney: A dangerous madman that cares about nothing but his own pockets.
Should have purchased....
If MS bought SCO, they'd have 500 odd patents to sue the GNU/Linux community over. Do I have to think of everything?!
Please remember folks, good advertising will (almost) always win over a good product.
People flock like sheep, the past few years of tech have shown this time again. It's high time we get more movies and TV shows showing *nix on the desktop instead of MS stuff. RH/Novell/whoever, should look to make a school tailored distro (different for each country) and make a big advertisement campaign telling the world how great it all is - provided it is tailored for the job first.
Making people believe everyone else is using it is key. Get schools using it (like MS did, very clever) kids take it home. This time legally ;)
sounds more like he's talking up yahoo
..rather than talking down Facebook.
perhaps they'll buy yahoo instead and relaunch the Geocities brand as a social networking hub ?
I was only trying to remember the name of GeoCities the other day- I could remember Tripod and AngelFire and even Xoom but not GeoCites.
Anyway, last year is was MySpace, this year it's Facebook, next year it will be LinkedIn- None of these sites generate any kind of loyalty- They all reply on "well all my firends are there so I should be too". As soon as the sheeple up and move, that's it. The site because the latest GeoCities.
MS buying facebook, eh?
Well then, the first comment should surely read "All your face are belong to us" .....
Old Russian proverb...
He who chases two hares catches none.
These days Microsoft are chasing more than that. It hard to think of technology business they don't dominate or are trying to dominate. They have just made too many enemies, and seem to be making more every day.
Just like the IBM of old.
@Out of Ammunition
Open Source is already into the realm of period licences. I work for a commercial website and we pay for RHEL/MySQL on our front end servers. However, all our development systems run at the cost of the bare metal - Open Source means we don't need to pay for licences for these.
So which IP does this moron mean?
After all software patents in the UK, where this drivel was hosted, are very much stricter than the candy corner shop attitude of the USPTO.
It's unlikely the MS have any UK patents so they can go whistle.
PS. Reg, where's the "This loony is a moron" icon?
LOL, you guys are soooo funny, Ballmer only says shit like this so that afterwards he can go on line and watch you babies cry!!! Don't worry Red-Hat will finally sign a deal (secret or not) and then you girls will be sleeping with the enemy, no matter what you think Microsoft knows exactly what they're doing, always has.
"MS need to get rid of Ballmer if they want to survive. Ludicrous claims like this are damaging their own image" - Not a steve jobs fan either then are you? this shit is business banter, everyone pokes everyone else, get over it.
"Mind you they also claimed that you wouldn't need more than 640k of memory and you wouldn't need filenames longer than 8.3 (filename.exe)"
you don't need more than 8.0 unless you acctually WANT coherant file names and assosiations
Well, he's right about Facebook and Google. Facebook is just a trendy fad for kids (probably disappear in a couple of years) and Google admit they do process your personal information in your emails. How do Google get away with it so easily? Why isn't the Reg attacking Google instead of attacking Steve Ballmer attacking Google?
MS sue Red Hat or others for patent infringement? Worked well for SCO, didn't it?
F/OSS on Windows
Well actually, there's an awful lot of open source software on windows, because the best open source projects are *cross-platform*. OpenOffice.org, Audacity, various P2P clients, various Mozilla projects, Pidgin, VLC any many more.