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US vice president Dick Cheney's 2003 Christmas card was a curious thing. The message? "If a sparrow can fall to the ground without His notice, it is likely that an empire can rise without His help?" This prompted the question: did Cheney and other neocons now view the US as an empire? With the scalps of 40 companies since 2005 …

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An XPower House ..... Brain Drained?

Gavin,

Did you get the impression that the Intellectual Property cupboard was bare and there was no killer application for them to use all their kit on?

It certainly sounds like it and with everything being very much as it has been for a while, ....with everything turning very sour and with markets avoiding dollar solutions and acquistions because of a changing perception as to the real value in its worth ..... always a problem whenever you can just print money for spending, rather than offer anything of value which can be shared to create greater value and wealth, for very soon it loses its attraction and even becomes a liability requiring a foreign black market ...... which would be the likes of an Iraq or Afghanistan, where they can bring it in by the tonne and give it away to hook/pervert the system/create a false economy to hide the deceit.

That makes them very vulnerable to foreign investors setting up facilities which pay them in their dollars for they are actually setting up a Trojan Economy which will collapse in on itself, for investors then able to dictate new terms and conditions, if they don't just walk away.

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Why don't others get the same kicking as Microsoft?

Although I am part of the Microsoft partner community I do not consider myself an MS fanboy. However when I see articles like this it makes me realise just few critical articles there are about Oracle, IBM, Apple et al.

If you follow the IT (and in many cases mainstream) news you would believe Microsoft is the only company that sells proprietary software, delivers late or has utilised questionable business tactics over the past 20 years. Whether it be the fuss that has been made over (O)OXML, the continued antitrust debates (especially in Europe), the delays in Windows Vista, SQL 2005 and now 2008 etc etc.

I am not suggesting for one minute that Microsoft doesn't deliver late, or hasn't employed questionable business tactics. What I am suggesting is that this makes them completely normal in an industry that is built on long promises, high marketing and constant change.

As you point out Oracle's purchase of BEA has led to a vacuum of information about the products direction, how it will continue to support open standards (or not), whether pricing will change to fit in with Oracle's crazy core based licensing. And Thomas Kurian's lack of comment over what was after all only a USD8.5Bn investment is shocking. Oracle are not exactly small themselves, but if Microsoft has done this there would have been press coverage everywhere about how they had "taken out a competitor" or "mistreated loyal BEA customers".

And don't get me onto Apple. As a design company that produces beautiful consumer products they are top of the tree. But I just don't get how the press and fanboy communities give them so much scope to tie people in to their closed solutions. Let us not forget our history here. Apple had a better offering than MS 20 years ago, but their reluctance to licence to the wider community for fear of loosing control meant that MS, who took an approach based on sharing with their partners won the day and left Apple in their shadow.

(http://softwareplusservices.spaces.live.com)

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Stop

Right Not Wrong

The Cheney Christmas card makes no sense until you realize that the quote is really a misquote. Try using the text, which goes back to Benjamin Franklin, "And if a sparrow CANNOT ..."

The Cheney card reproduced the text correctly, as one may expect from people on if not in the right. Maybe El Reg needs to focus on its own reproductive success. As much as I enjoy seeing Oracle and Cheney bashed, you may wish to direct your cosh where it cannot fail to fall home.

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Sparrow

The text is of course:

And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it likely that an empire can rise without His help?

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Unhappy

Microsoft really isn't like most other software companies.

First of all, Microsoft is in a position where it effectively dominates a couple of huge sectors in the software marketplace: desktop operating systems, and desktop office applications. This gives it more influence over the software most home users and businesses use than any other company, and they've been in that position since the early 1990's. This makes them an important part of people's technical decisions. The impact of actions or statements made by such a prominent and visible company would be magnified in the press and in other places simply because of its leading position in the marketplace.

However, there's more to it than that.

Second: Microsoft is almost alone amongst major software companies in having an active public strategy *against* Linux and the open source and free software movements. Not only have Microsoft executives like Steve Ballmer said things like "the GPL is a virus" on several occasions, but many of their major marketing campaigns (like the infamous "Get The Facts" campaign) were and are specifically targetted at open source and free software solutions. Is it any wonder that such directly hostile actions generate a certain amount of hostility from those two camps?

Third, Microsoft is seen by many technogy enthusiasts and pros as being a company which has historically abused its position many times, much like IBM in the past, but unlike IBM in the past Microsoft has seemingly been allowed to continue to behave in an abusive manner effectively without penalty, at least in the US. Not only has this made many people skeptical about their motives and ultimate goals, but some of their decisions regarding things like MSOOXML and Vista seem driven more by a desire tio maintain market share than a desire to provide better software and service to their customer base. This is driving some people to question the company who might not have done so in the past.

If you're the biggest person on the block, act like a bully with inpugnity, and start acting selfishly, you're bound to attract attention, much of it negative. Why is this a surprise to you?

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Alien

re Microsoft really isn't like most other software companies.

Microsoft is the only company that is seriously threatened

by linux.

If IBM, APPLE et al were disadvantaged by FOSS then they

would be hostile to it as well.

Big ocmpanies don't become big companies by playing nice.

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