For years Microsoft has raged — and whined — against the open source machine, once going so far as to castigate open source as being "un-American". Something must be wrong with a development model, as Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jim Gray once lamented, that evaporates the possibility of profit in software sales. And yet …
Do some research
Oh come on.
"Name one *successful* product they've put out in the last 10 years that wasn't an evolution of their own product (Win7) or a me-too of someone else's product (XBox)?"
Everything is a "me-too" of someone else's product. Hell, HTC released a touch phone, working better than anything else, months before Apple released their iPhone. Linux is a copy of Unix. Etc.
Have some standards. The Xbox was a good product, it was powerful, and it had some great games on it. It had a different shape to other products, even the controllers were different. I'm one of those people who liked their controllers too, never owned an Xbox, and I don't have big hands, but the PS2 controllers seemed small. Yes, it was a gaming platform, but that isn't in and of itself enough to make it a "me-too" product.
"Very true, but that's also the author's (and Ozzie's from my reading of it) point... you can also write a web app that can run on any Windows/Mac/Mobile device."
Lies, Java and Flash are meant to be able to do that, but Java has been rewritten enough times so that's a fail. And Flash isn't supported on an iPhone. So define "web app"? If you mean a bit of JS, HTML and CSS, then.. Wait, not all standards are supported by all browsers, Firefox for example. So this isn't just a rant against Apple.
MSFT can't win market share, they're not allowed to. :P Which is their main problem. If they make a product, people will hate it, then go buy an identical (worse from a sys spec point of view but like that counts for anything) product from someone else a few months later. MSFT have several problems.
One: Everyone hates them
Two: See one
Three: If they gain too large a market share, IE for example, then they start getting anti-trust lawsuits
Four: Google is pushing cloud computing. No country has the features in place for it to work, but that isn't stopping them. And MSFT is still primarily not cloud. Desktop/Server. Business and home, not cloud
Five: They're a software company. That's a big problem. Because they don't control every part of the manufacturing process for the hardware their products are installed on, they can't maximize their products efficiency. They let web devs do whatever they want, make dodgy as HTML markup and it would still run. Hence why IE got such a big market share. But as Google is finding, broadening out has it's downsides. Android is installed on how many phones? Quite a few last I checked. And there's what.. 3 main versions difference? So an Android phone isn't an Android phone, it's a phone that has some form of Android on it yes. But it isn't as advertised by Google. Not all phones have the same functionality, not all phones are released on the same day, not all phones are updated. And that contributed massively to consumers disliking Android phones. It wasn't the phones fault, the user just thought they'd get a different phone than what they got.
Six: They have a problem with their reputation, as per one and two, but more specifically they have a problem with security. Browsers like Firefox and Safari are getting attacked more nowadays, OS's like Apple's OS* and random *nix distro's are getting attacked more than Windows, and patched less, but they still have that reputation. Why? Because it's cool to hate MSFT.
They're definitely not dying, businesses will always use a Windows computer more than an Apple computer assuming current standards hold because Windows is cheaper, is established, and unlike Apple pays attention to security. Same goes for FOSS, which actually isn't F, and isn't OS, just S with a hippy reputation. MSFT will guarantee their software, MSFT Server failed? Call them up, they'll walk you through fixing it, or if that fails then there''ll be a techy to swing by in an hour. "Open source" won't do that. I know, I know, you can buy support for X $ and that's how open source stays in business, but it isn't included. And techies know MSFT, we grow up on it, we can make it do whatever we want. We don't know every single *nix distro and product.
Off topic here, open source can't compete with MSFT till there's one product for each category, one OS, one DB, one GUI, etc. Till then there's no standards so businesses will hate you. Canonical is trying to take over with Linux Equals Ubuntu messages everywhere, but they've got a ways to go yet.
So the problem with MSFT is that it's MSFT. They can't win simply because it's them trying. I've had the same experience with friends, I recommend a product which would suit them perfectly, they ignore me, another person recommends it, they go on and on about how much it's just _them_. And that isn't fixable. Fortunately MSFT has the business world to tide them over. And Xbox, good product. Also Windows, you can't game on any other product no matter what you hear. Mac is using Nvidia cards that went out of production on Windows gear years ago, also Intel procs. Which makes them an expensive PC with the entire markup due to the OS. And *nix.. What can I say, come back in ten years with working graphics and sound. :D
Heh, long rant and I don't even like MSFT. I liked Vista Ultimate, and 7 isn't too bad. I like IE, but only because it doesn't crash randomly on me like Opera and gets less drivebys than Firefox. I like Office, but only because the competitors are freaking terrible. Open Office was.. I last tried it a year ago, it took 5mn to load, the scripting kept crashing, it was.. Really terrible. Not at all polished, and I like polished. I like working. I also like it when I can hit open and 30 seconds later I'm typing. May have changed, I'm due for updates on all my random *nix gear. And Slackware needs some sort of application on it. If only so I don't need to boot Windows.
MSFT has good products but is hated because it's MSFT. But is far from dead for the same reasons. It has good products and it's MSFT. Business like standards, gamers like working components.
Apple PC's use Intel procs, Nvidia graphics. Same build as a Windows PC, with two differences. That being the sys specs are much lower, and there's a stupidly high markup. Which is due to.. Take a wild guess.
Hint, it's the OS.
No fee for it... In your wildest dreams :P
All that time defending a company I dislike.. I need to go shower -.-
Do your own research!
"OS's like Apple's OS* and random *nix distro's are getting attacked more than Windows, and patched less, but they still have that reputation. Why? Because it's cool to hate MSFT."
Not true, look at the numbers of windows-only malware versus Linuix/MacOS malware in this report, page 8 of http://www.gdatasoftware.co.uk/uploads/media/GData_MalwareReport_2010_1_6_EN.pdf
win32 = 1,001,902 new in 1st half 2010
*ix = 226 new in 1st half 2010
While the increase in *ix as a percentage is much bigger compared to last year, the actual number is only 0.023% of Windows-only, so quite where do you get the "attacked more" part?
"I like Office, but only because the competitors are freaking terrible. Open Office was.. I last tried it a year ago, it took 5mn to load, the scripting kept crashing, it was.. Really terrible. Not at all polished, and I like polished. I like working. I also like it when I can hit open and 30 seconds later I'm typing."
OK, I have my reservations about OO, but are you comparing speeds on the same PC? My copy of OO under Linux on my home PC (2 years old AMD AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ with 2GB RAM) takes about 10-20 seconds to bring up the word processor.
And also have you allowed for MS pre-loading MSOffice in to RAM at Windows long boot time to give the *impression* it loads fast?
You did do some research before posting, didn't you?
"it took 5mn to load.."
OpenOffice takes ~ 10 secs to load & load a quite large spreadsheet from a network drive on my system even using an old celeron laptop. So something's wrong
OpenSUSE 11.2 and OO 184.108.40.206
Yes, OO is not quite as good as Office and indeed using v large spreadsheets it's too slow but for most people it's fine
Rubbish - all personal conjecture...
What a load of crap!!
It makes me wonder why Ray Ozzie is leaving. Is it because of bumbling Balmer and his lack of vision for the future so he tries to cling to the past.
As far as I'm concerned MS have been full of piss and wind accusing Linux of infringing their patents and yet doing nothing apart from being a big bully and not pointing out the patents being infringed.
I'd have to disagree with one statement at least
"And yet open source has marched on, eventually claiming mainstream acceptance as it helped highly capitalistic companies such as Google create hugely profitable businesses."
Google made it's money on advertising derived mostly from it's search engine. The Google search engine is most definitely NOT open source.
Basic reading comprehension fail there, I'm afraid. The post says that open source 'helped' Google make money, which is perfectly true. If I'm selling lemonade, an efficient lemon press is certainly going to help me make money, even if it's not a direct revenue earner in itself.
Open source definitely helped Google
Same with Apple, they take an open source product, change it around a bit them commercialize it. They're still doing it, although instead of taking an open source product, Google is buying the creators and then implementing it, so it's no longer open source.
They also launch an open source product, let the community build it, then commercialize that. It's on par with Apple for ultimate evil. But the FOSS world doesn't hate them. 'shrugs'
Actually, we do...
We generally dislike Apple as much as Microsoft but they haven't been an issue until the last few years. They are also based on Unix so they have something going for them. Also Unix-based OSes have been around since the 60s & are much harder to break through having had the stuffing kicked out of them 30 years ago for lack of security. Also the structure is based on networking so protecting it was a far more efficient process. Breaking into UNIX software is much harder thing to do than breaking Windows because of this, a major reason why so few viruses are made to sting Apple & Linux.
You've made many broad statements, few based on fact, if any. What do you actually know?
Egocentricity is the root of all evil
I find it amazing that in this day and age where global events move faster than ever, organisations and individuals still adhere to the outdated business model where size and tyrannical control is all that matters. That model takes the egocentric view that by building a strong defence base, one is invulnerable - much like living in an impenetrable castle ruled by a bully.
Unfortunately for those that still adhere to that thought, they will simply be swamped by the passing tide much like King Canute trying to hold back the waves. The way forward surely is to constantly adapt and going with the flow... or die. The old model works fine with a captive market but the world in 2010 is made up of a too many fragments to be held captive - even by Microsoft.
King Canute trying to hold back the waves
Actually he was demonstrating that it wouldn't work.
Anyone reminded of SCO?
About that complete cobblers on iOS.
"Apple has already set the price of an operating system at $0.00"
Bollocks. There's a big difference between not setting a price and setting one at zero.
"No one pays an iOS license fee — well, no one is allowed to, but that's a separate matter."
No, that is not a seperate matter, it's the whole point. Who's to say how much of the price of your stonkingly expensive iOS device is the software license / upgrade assurance and how much is the hardware? Only Apple know and they're not saying, but there's a software license in the box with the thing and it's part of what you paid for. It's quite possible that some of that went on third-party licenses. The only thing missing here is the transparency.
The price per unit of iOS may be zero on their internal books, but I'd be prepared to bet a stack of cash a foot thick that it bloody well isn't.
Re: About that complete cobblers on iOS.
Ah, thank you! You saved me from having to type something almost identical :)
"No, that is not a seperate matter, it's the whole point. Who's to say how much of the price of your stonkingly expensive iOS device is the software license / upgrade assurance and how much is the hardware"
I had to pay for iOS 3 for my ipod touch. I'm genuinely impressed apple are giving the away upgrades for free and not trying to get a few extra quid of us. (Of course that is the only thing Apple have done for ages that has impressed me, plenty to p*ss me off though).
You missed a bit....
The part where Mr Jobs would be breaking the sound barrier whilst heading for Apple's legal dept if YOU DARED put Linux (or Windows) on Mac hardware - that's directly on the system, not in Boot Camp.
Remember, you might be able to buy iOS (eg Leopard etc) in the shops, but it's T&C's only allow you to install it on Apple hardware. So to use Apple iOS in this article is completely pointless, unless you could actually buy an iMac WITHOUT an OS.
No, the point
is that OS upgrades are free. Which add a huge amount of functionality to a phone. That never used to be the case- you'd have to fight tooth and nail for an operator to even release a bug fix. What you bought was what you got.
Boot Camp is just a tool to ease partitioning to the common folk. I did install Linux and Windows without using it. It's a matter of reading man files to resize the HFS+ partition, using a real EFI bootloader (rEFIt) which gives you a nice console and rebooting the machine to install the OS of your choice.
Same x86 processor, same EFI firmware, same HDD interface, etc of your PC box.
And actually the MacOS X they sell is a licence for a upgrade only. Even if technically it is a full installation.
Remember, you can install any OS on your device. You could install Linux on your iPhone if you wanted to. The device is yours, you own it. You just don't own the OS/firmware/whatever. The same happens with Linux, *BSD, Windows et al.
The ORIGINAL OS (iOS) is NOT free. The cost is built into the price of the phone. To make an M$ comparison, if you buy a copy of Windoze, the updates are free!
As for Operators releasing bug fixes, that was true of all Phone OSs, until (admittedly) the iPhone (the noteable exception being some versions of WM5/WM6). And, it is up to the Operator to release the bug fix, not the original writer of the OS. Especially as many customise the OS for their own purposes. So really, your argument is with the Operator, not the OS manufacturer.
Microsoft can do better
Perhaps, but then again, if they cannot, I will not suffer.
Possibly this is heretical, but:
If MS are charging large companies license fees for use of their patented technologies which are in FOSS, and these companies are paying: Do MS have legitimate patents? (Accepting that software patents are generally not viewed as a good thing.)
The companies that they are targeting are large enough to defend themselves against MS, but don't seem to be doing so, this leads me to think that MS may have a point.
I would be nice if we knew what the patents were for.
Yes and no.
With the US legal system and patent system defending yourself against a patent suit costs a lot of money. Money you'll lose in any case.
So it might be cheaper to bite the bullet an pay a license fee for nothing.
Especially when you have to keep business relations with the other part, imagine Acer and Asustek wouldn't get early access to new Windows versions, but HP and Dell did and Acer and Asustek had to wait for a general release of Windows 8 to find out how to support it with hardware when HP and Dell have theirs on shelfs everywhere?
TomTom settled with Microsoft for certain unnamed patents for navigation systems, I had a very early predecessor of TomTom, then Palmtop, on a Psion Series V in 1998. Microsoft just started with Windows CE on handhelds then and there was no navigation software from them. So what patents can they have? Patents valid outside the US?
I exclude the long filename patent, although I have my doubts about that, too.
Re Tom Tom
The recent spat between MS and TomTom was due to TomTom's use of parts of the FAT filesystem which belong to MS.
MS bought Autoroute, the first journey routeplanner software, so they've probably got a lot of IP in that area.
The Tide is Changing
For a few years now, MS have been losing their grip as people begin to realise more and more that reasonable alternatives exist to their software.
Alternatives which, in some cases, are cheaper and/or more reliable.
With windows 7/phone 7, it's encouraging to see that they are realising they need to up their game if they want customers to stick around but I wonder if they can or will change quickly enough to keep pace with the competition.
Only time will tell but they certainly can't dictate the standards like they used to.
iOS is not free
iOS is not free, to think so is to be fooled by apple's cloak and dagger pricing model.
The costs of the original iOS and almost certainly the upgrades are inbuilt into the overpriced cost of the phone itself.
Add to that the willingness to lock yourself into the apple eco-system and thus give apple a cut of every app you buy, and being encouraged to further lock yourself in, by buying apples other physical products, in order to get that extra piece of functionality.
Last time I looked the price of the HTC Desire HD was around £500. Much the same as an iPhone 4 16GB.
So even if an iPhone 4 is £20-30 overpriced it is worth it to get at least two years of iOS updates. The hardware in phones is improving, but not all that fast. So much so that a two year old phone is still going to be 3G and have a reasonable spec now.
Contrast that with HTC where you're lucky to get more than a year of updates, largely due to the number of different devices they produce (ie. too many).
As for Microsoft, how do they think that suing or twisting the arm of OEMs to pay them some money is going to make them friends in the industry?
Microsoft cannot just "do a Sun" and open source its operating system. The company would die. On the other hand, common software - operating systems, office suites, even databases and ecosystems - have become a commodity in recent years, a *free* commodity. MS cannot continue to offer paid-for alternatives in the long term.
But the World is not black and white. Open source is staggeringly successful in some areas, eg. embedded devices, just middlin' in others, eg. desktop, while it has almost no presence in gaming, the biggest part of the software business and one where MS and its X box are doing pretty well.
On some evidence, the paid-for software business model is alive and kicking. Oracle is based on it and continues to dominate, apparently unaffected by the open source avalanche. MS might do well to follow suit and indulge in a spot of acquisition. It's got the cash to purchase companies in its target area - whaterever that is - and to move gradually away from the desktop license stream that has sustained it for 3 decades.
It's entirely possible that MS can't open source their software because it's got licensed code from other companies in it. Possibly still some technology from IBM (although probably re-written by now) certainly some bits from Veritas Foundation Suite (they wrote the disk subsystem in 2k.)
Although you can get hold of the source code if you are a company that they trust and sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Do instead of sue
Maybe the point is that Microsoft should employ more developers and people in product development or R&D instead of so many lawyers?
I think that sums up the author's point pretty nicely. That's what I took out of it at least
MS lawyer must have down voted this...
absolutely no reason for anyone else would. Well, I guess a patent lawyer could have.
MS will do just fine threatening OEM's that sell Linux based products with infringement licences until someone pays to find out just what the infringement is, can't see that happening any time soon.
Pretty sick of all this Open and Closed bullshit.
"Microsoft has always struggled to compete effectively with free, .."
Microsoft has always struggled to compete with fair.
@ It Wasn't Me, I Swear how about decent products at a decent price.
There are two reasons why a job may command a salary premium.
#1 the number of vacancies is growing faster than the number of people with the skillset.
#2 the job is so crap that people with the skillset choose to do something else unless paid extra.
Create a separate "open economy"
1. Establish a separate company that doesn't operate in or sell it's products in patent-encumbered markets.
2. Make products with similar or better features and quality.
3. Ignore threats from MS, Apple & friends.
4. Destroy the royalties-encumbered competition in the target markets.
5. profit ;-)
This is already happening in Asian markets. US companies could theoretically retaliate by pulling out of such countries, but are unable to find competitive manufacturing capacity elsewhere.
Well, not quite
Lots of comments here pointing out that the cost of iOS is not zero, it is included in the cost of the phone. That may be accurate, but what isn't obvious is that once you have bought it, all future upgrades are free.
For instance, my iphone 3G came with iOS 2, and I could freely upgrade to iOS 3 and 4, and gain the features of that version that are supported on my hardware.
You can upgrade windows mobile 5 to windows mobile 6 on _some_ phones, depending upon whether the manufacturer has forked out to Redmond to allow that. That is where iOS differs, and is 'free'.
Still not 'free'
The price paid for iOS is spread out from the time you buy the first iOS device until the time you leave the Apple ecosystem. Any time you buy an app, see an ad, or purchase something from iTunes you are paying a little bit towards the development of iOS. Apple devices are merely a vehicle for content where Apple gets to wet their beak. I'm not saying this is a bad mechanism...continuing to be able to get money for ever advancing apps requires Apple to constantly advance their OS, which allows developers to write applications with more features.
If you look at the new WP7 app market, it looks like Microsoft is picking up (ok, full-on copying) this model. They will get a cut of the sales for apps, the Zune store is a pretty nice way to find new media, and in return Microsoft says that, like iOS, the WP7 will be updated regularly, for free, and in a way that limits the delay in carrier distribution.
MS has indeed learnt something
One thing that it has learnt is that many customers with Android phones get very pissed off with having to wait whilst the producer first pisses around with the new version of the os and then having to wait whilst the carrier pisses around with the already pissed around version.... and so it goes. I speak as a Wildfire owner, very pleased with the phone but _very_ pissed off with the fact that HTC still has not upgraded full-price owners. When I decide the time has come to go for a high-end model I can absolutely guarantee that it will not be Android or (for other reasons) iOS. Not because of anything in principle against the operating systems concerned, just the attitude of the producers towards their customers. I shall wait a while and see how WP7 matures and whether or not a Nokia with meego may be worth considering.
Double-jointed Russian gymnast...
Not what you think
Matt was possibly thinking about these Speznatz dudes hitting dummies with an axe throw while doing backflips over barbed wire.
They had their chance and they blew it
Microsoft pretty much had the mobile market sewn up for years but their lack of vision, their insistence that the mobile is just a proxy for some desktop, meant that the units were anemic. Windows CE was potentially a usable OS but it had the bloat ---size and performance -- that made it a non-contender for serious embedded work.
Microsoft just can't get away from the "one person / one keyboard / one display ==> one user" model of computing. This combined with their habit of putting proprietary spin on everything, no matter how ordinary, makes for an eclectic bunch of oddball tools and technologies. These take a lot of investment of time to learn so its not surprising that developers are still needed --- businesses don't change quickly.....but when they do there's no going back.
Keep on playing like you're playing, Microsoft; it's a dangerous game!
again and again
"Microsoft must change if it is to regain relevance"
doesn't someone say that every two or three years? and they never do, they just keep on getting worse and worse. face it, they're not listening and they're never going to learn
The retention problem explained
Microsoft is having a brain drain problem at the top. They've lost many top executives over the past few years. Why? Options. This article about Apple executive options has some stunning numbers: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/piked_apple_juice_359K6fdyx1FNIPxn4axfwI
$125M will buy a lot of beers at the corner pub. Microsoft executives used to pull down that kind of confetti with their stock options, in the '90s. But with the stock mired at more than 1/2 off its peak over a decade ago the options extravaganza just isn't there. The really good executives know they can launch a startup and get bought out a heck of a lot faster than they can turn Microsoft into the Street's favored child again. So they go - because farming dinosaurs is fun and all, but they have personal goals too.
WebKit wasn't Apple's originally
@ThomH said "See WebKit, which is there's originally"
Not quite. WebKit was originally made by the KDE people - it's a fork of KHTML.
Yes, Apple gave it the name WebKit, have done lots of great work on it, and made first commercial use of it. But it was already an incredibly good, well written, debugged for the real world, HTML engine before Apple got to it.
I don't think the KDE people get enough credit for this. Their web browser is on every fashionable mobile phone. Everyone thought I was quirky when I used Konqueror back in 2001...
Matt - ouch!
Yes, a very telling article that goes a long way in celebrating the new order. Refreshing to read a cogent piece of cynical (but accurate) journalism that shows Microsoft in it's replete disorder.
I think of a really old Orca or such like, once resplendent in its youth and vitality, able to innovate, hunt and find new feeding grounds. Now, slow, dejected, angry and un-fulfilled.
Microsoft gave up the innovation game years ago as Bill left the building. Steve B is just a sales guy - he reverted the company to type. There's nothing wrong in that, just the opportunities are not getting any bigger and protectionism becomes the watchword. Whilst it's ugly, adjunct with patents and such, it's just corporate jack doing his thing.
What I do find strange is that anyone with a pinch of common sense would have seen that digging into the bedrock for your crop is a limiting exercise. Windows and the PC are dead...well kind of. The PC and even maybe the laptop have lost their relevance as *the* OS platform. Both Microsoft and apple will see this over coming years. The clear difference for me is that Apple is adaptive, yet Microsoft is repetitive.
There will always be room for Microsoft Windows as an institutionalised nuisance that everyone whinges about over the constitutional. I would say that until OpenOffice becomes mainline, Steve B's best bet is to focus on the business desktop for profits (a good bet). Elsewhere I see meagre pickings; Server sales are going south to RHEL, Consumer Desktops are dis-appearing, iPad and Phone sales rise inexorably.
Sorry, what was that? Windows 7 phone? Oh, so who wants that, then? Yes, no-body I'm afraid - Microsoft have got in to the bad habit of 'me-too' creating something that no-one knows, cares, or even needs of. 3 years ago I was told (as an employee) that Microsoft virtualisation would rule the (virtualisation) planet in 3 years' time. So here we are and Microsoft are still on planet zog (virtually, as it were), whilst VMWare cough politely.
Microsoft allegedly held a 'wake' for the iPhone up to the launch of W7M (or whatever the correct 'bois' term is). But it's snerky with wireless, apparently lots of other issues too. Apple too had its waterloo with iPhone 4, but handled it *delightfully*. Sure, as I ride the train in the coming weeks, Windows 7 Mobile will become everything that I need, yet nothing that I want. The wake in itself goes to show that Microsoft, on the whole, have manufactured their own space-time continuum.
At the root cause are the die-hard old school high up on the hill in Bellevue or Redmond - "make sure it was 'MS' or 'Windows' in the name!!". As if this has any relevance any more. Microsoft as a brand is slipping down the scale of the universal soldier. Once sought as 'cool' and 'against the establishment' (which it was until about 2003), it's now seen as the lame and embarrassing uncle who insists on your coming to the disco to see him dance (and in Mr Ballmer's case, quite literally in some respects).
When a brand dies, the company dies OR re-brands. See most of corporate America and Europe. It's Microsoft's senior leadership who have the opportunity to produce a brand without shouting the company name. In some way, X-Box has achieved this, but I fear not with the market penetration and (again) copying a format into an existing market with no friendly allies.
Lastly, there's nothing new on the horizon. Kin was a disaster, Vista was a disaster, Windows 7 is...a moderate success, I suppose. But Windows 7 mobile (which is the company's ticket for the future) will be a disaster. If you're wondering why I say that, wait until the HP slate comes to market with that wonderful format and lots of buttons and good stuff (that you *need*).
What's my point? I believe you're taking a knife out of the corpse here. I don't really think that any more finger pointing or otherwise will affect the decline of this lonely old Orca. He has no friends left to turn to.
Is MS Irrelevant?
I agree with many posters, MS is not well positioned to make money from open source software. But that doesn't mean it can continue to make money with traditional business model either. MS might just be slipping into irrelevance --- and it wouldn't be the first tech company that this has happened to. But you also have to remember, even an "irrelevant" MS still sells a LOT of Windows and Office licenses, and that's not changing any time soon.
Whatever the prospects are of MS going forward, "suing Open Source" has never been a good business strategy. Remember the farce known as SCO? That story would be funny, except that this is a company that pissed away all its time and money on a legal case it could not win. In doing so, it missed its opportunity to re-invent itself and survive.
MS does not sound so different, just bigger and (currently) with more time to live. I hope they aren't so dumb as to emulate SCO.
The fact is, no business model or revenue stream is permanent. They all have a finite lifetime, you always have to figure out new ways to provide value.
Microsoft can do better...?
"Microsoft can do better" - no they can't. That's why they're issuing threats.
The Business Model...
Thinking about the way MS works they couldn't really follow the Apple or Google methodologies because it would undermine their legal ability to sue the other software infrastructures like Android & iOS. They would lose all credibility if they went on to do the same thing as the others teams but reverted to litigation on the basis of someone copying their software.
How could they hold their position legally if they were copying the litigious party's business model? Not only would they be a laughing stock it would provide the litigious one an open & shut recourse litigation putting MS on the back foot. Therefore MS has no other choices here.
They're not good enough at designing stuff anymore & so they will resort to litigious suck-holing in a court. They're doomed I tell you, DOOMED!!!
...because not everybody has been through Paris in France...
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