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Is Microsoft All Bark and No Bite Anymore?

Date/Time Permalink: 02/22/08 05:08:21 pm
Category: General

A creeping realization just came over me today, upon seeing the tech media spewing their daily drenching of Micromedia: I've been hearing a lot of big talk come out of Redmond lately, but not much seems to come of it.

Vista came, and I'm not going to get into a debate over whether it's a failure. I go into computer stores; I see the line of sales-floor laptops running Vista. They're still installing it by default. But suffice it to say that I just don't see the overwhelming demand for a new Windows version that I once did. When Win98 came out, you'd think people needed it even if they didn't own a computer. Could it be that Microsoft's success was largely ridden on the back of the massive uptake of the home computer in the mainstream market?

And where's that patent lawsuit? ZDNet points out that

"Microsoft hasn't backed down from its insistence that its intellectual property isn't free for the taking, an assertion made most clearly in 2007 when Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said Linux and other open source projects violate 235 Microsoft patents."

Yes, I hear the woofing. But it doesn't seem to be getting any closer.

Meanwhile, the timing of Microsoft's announcement that it's going to start conducting business more openly doesn't even escape the consortium's standards blog...

"I expect that it is no coincidence that this announcement comes just two business days (and only one, for most of the world) before the Ballot Resolution Meeting convenes in Geneva next Monday."

Oh, yes, and there's that EU antitrust investigation thing happening. Even if there will be time to look for loopholes later, it's definitely time right now to start paying lip service to openness. And this is what the European Commission had to say to that:

"Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."

In other words: Woof, woof, woof, Microsoft!

And even the fabled "kill switch" in Vista is being dropped from WGA. What? Pirate our software? We'll shut your computer down! Oh, it's going to hurt sales? Oh, well, alright, but we're going to nag you a lot when we see you stole this copy.

Oh, yes, and where was that big Microsoft-Yahoo merger everybody was wailing about last week? Microsoft offered $44 billion for Yahoo, and Yahoo said they essentially don't get out of bed for that kind of money.

Now I know that you have 9 million bloggers out there yelling "Yahoo is doomed! They're stupid not to let Microsoft buy them out!" But listen to your Uncle Petey for a minute: Yahoo is still a Fortune 500 company. They're #357 on the 2007 list, up from #412 in 2006, which was its first ever appearance in the Forbes list. Yahoo, inc., pulled in $6.7 billion last year. OK, folks? They're not some garage start-up that Microsoft can eat for breakfast. Yahoo was running a web directory before Bill Gates had a web browser.

And all that's not a drop in the bucket compared to the excellent points raised in Yahoo The Failure: Myth Versus Reality.

I'm telling you: Microsoft-Yahoo ain't happening. And for those of you who say I never admit when I'm wrong: be sure to bring this post up if Microsoft-Yahoo ever does happen.

FOSS is Freedom!

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