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Linux Business Microsoft

How Microsoft Could Embrace Linux 424

Posted by timothy
from the mslinux-not-so-far-fetched dept.
securitas writes "In a commentary and analysis piece, BusinessWeek technology editor Alex Salkever discusses how Microsoft can embrace Linux, and asks the question, 'Considering Redmond's slim odds of conquering developing nations, why not offer them a low-cost Linux version of Office?' Salkever explains that 'Microsoft faces increasing competition in both PC operating systems and in desktop applications' which are its core businesses, while corporate customers would likely adopt Microsoft Linux products." (Read more below.)

"He goes on to cite the governments of Paris, Munich, Brazil, Peru, China, Korea, and Japan which are all embracing open source software to varying degrees. Meanwhile, when they choose Microsoft software, fast-growing emerging markets like China and India opt for pirated copies. Salkever explains that the concerns for customers like these are the 'relatively high price of Microsoft software' and the 'concerns about buying proprietary software to run critical government operations.' Finally he points to recent moves by Sun and IBM to leave the commoditized software and hardware business behind, writing 'When the world's largest and most respected IT consultancy draws a clear bead on your crown jewels, it's time to mount a bold counterattack.'"

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How Microsoft Could Embrace Linux

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  • by phantasma6 (799340) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:50AM (#9809720)
    why not offer them a low-cost Linux version of Office?

    why would any linux user use MS Office, especially when they have to pay for it?

    considering heaps of people use OpenOffice.org and the like on Windows, I really don't see many people using MS Office under linux.
    • Just because you don't pay for OpenOffice.org doesn't mean nobody does [openoffice.org]
      • But the difference is that you don't have to if you don't want to. Besides, in a developing country, do you think that they will want to pay the faceless corporation or the little people who make open source?
    • by Elektrance (310019) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:54AM (#9809734)
      I think there would be a market for this. Consider an IT department that is transistioning to Linux. If they can use Microsoft Office on Linux, there is one less area to re-train the users, saving the business money and time. That is of course assuming that the cost of the Office liscenses is less than the cost of training all your users.
      • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:56AM (#9809748)
        I have a whole lot of VBA written in Office. I could redo it all in OOo, but it's probably not worth my time if Microsoft's price for Linux Office is reasonable.

        From what I heard, it's Office that's the real cash cow anyway, not Windows. Why shouldn't they?

        • python drives COM objects nicely
        • Office is the cash cow. Office produces 1/3 of their profit. Not sales, but profit.

          This is why there was a story here on /. several weeks ago pointing out that a lot of good ideas which have to be round-filed because the overall contribution of two vital sources (time, people) would interfer with things such as Office. Unless and until something mysteriously is left on their doorstep, they're kind of wearing golden handcuffs.

          What's interestingly is this week's Barrons'...the cover shows a picture of
        • by orzetto (545509) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:09AM (#9810269)
          Why shouldn't they?

          Because they would be exposed to competition in office suites. If I write an excellent office suite for Windows, and somehow have a real chance to take on MSOffice, all they have to do is wait for the next deadly Windows worm, release a patch that everybody will have to install, and attach it something that will make my program crash; then blame me for my poor programming.


          In Windows they own the house, in Linux they would be guests. Windows/Office is a powerful combination, and it makes no sense to break it. Rather, they will give discounts on Windows, give away software (typically to schools), or tolerate piracy as in China, so that when the market gets rich they can start some enforcing.

        • by hendridm (302246) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:14AM (#9810316) Homepage
          Their whole system is built around integration - the more Microsoft you use, the more "pleasant" it's supposed to be. Exchange with Active Directory and SQL Back End, IIS for the web server, etc. If they make their products interoperate with competitor's technologies, they lose this sales tool.

          We ran into this problem when we were looking to buy a new web server. The director actualyl gave me a choice on what was loaded on it. Although my last employer was a Linux shop, this place is Microsoft/Novell. As much as I love all things Linux on the server, we eventually decided to put Windows on it because a) we didn't want a third environment (Windows, Novell, Linux), b) most of our department expertise is Windows/Novell, c) Many of our apps are written in ASP, and although it wouldn't have been out of the question to rewrite them or use an emulator in the short term, it was a drawback.

          I wouldn't doubt, however, that the major reason our director (is generally against free software) was okay with Linux is because Novell is backing it now, which is a good thing.
      • Er... I install OpenOffice on all machines that I format for friends. Much better then that junk WordPerfuncted... or whatever it is. One of them once said to me (I was at his house), what is this? I said "it's word, or like it anyway, works just like it". Within a matter of minutes he was using is happily, even shortcuts which he told me are "just like Microsoft Office" so he could use them very easily. Sorry but "open office doesn't work the same as microsoft office" just doesn't cut it.
    • by julesh (229690) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:55AM (#9809741)
      It _would_ help persuade management to switch. "Can we still use Word?" "Yes."

      Of course, this ignores (a) the existence of Crossover Office, which I understand is capable of running Word virtually flawlessly, and (b) the fact that MS wouldn't do it because they know that they'd lose -- the number of people switching to Linux because of the availability of office would cut directly into their Windows revenues, and probably into some of their other application-based revenues also.
    • I can think of many reasons why one would like to use it,

      100% compatibility with the other 95% of office users is one ...
      • by GreatDrok (684119) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:21AM (#9809882) Journal
        Since when does having a copy of MS Office guarantee 100% compatibility with other MS Office users? I have Office X on my Mac and it can't successfully share files with the PC version. Fonts and formatting get minced so I don't see any reason why a Linux version would be any different. I can run Office under Linux using Crossover and it is pretty good but none of the MS Office formats should be used if you want to preserve and share your documents, the 'format' just isn't good enough. OpenOffice files transfer much better between Windows, Linux and MacOS X.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Are you sure it's due to crossplatform issues and not crossversion issues? Different versions of Word are notorious for playing badly with each other.
          • That is really the same issue, the Office format files are not a good solution as different versions of office can't reliably read each others files. I have Office 2K on my XP box and Office X on my Mac. The fact that I can't reliably share files between the two versions is a major issue. I recently wrote a document on my Mac and noticed when loaded into Office 2K that the text in a table was minced. I fixed it on the PC and saved the file again with no other changes. Once loaded into the Mac again the
    • by !the!bad!fish! (704825) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:02AM (#9809782) Homepage
      why would any linux user use MS Office
      There are some things [microsoft.com] that just don't work on other word processor. :-)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Linux with MS Office would be like eating chocolate cake with mustard. Yuck. Phthewy. Bleh.
    • why would any linux user use MS Office, especially when they have to pay for it?

      Because in my experience as a user, MS Office offers more useful features, is faster, and is less buggy than Open Office.

      • I can imagine however, that MS Office on Linux would require an emulation/compatibility layer of software that could make your points moot.
        • You just hit the nail on the head with that one!

          MS Office is probably one of the most OS dependant applications there is, porting it to ANY OS would be a nightmare I'd expect. Even with some compatibility layer below, the likelihood of something breaking and support headaches would keep such an endeavor from occurring as the potential market just isn't there.

          Given the choice between loosing potential sales to piracy or investing large sums of money in a porting project with a low probability of commercial
    • why would any linux user use MS Office, especially when they have to pay for it?

      Because they have ten years of archived documents in various MS formats (including VB automations) which require MS Office to make them all work. The value of those documents far outweighs the cost of MS Office.

      Which is why MS won't make a Linux version of office any time soon. If there was a Linux version of Office, one of the major roadblocks that holds corporations back from adopting Linux would be gone as well. If you c

    • why would any linux user use MS Office, especially when they have to pay for it?

      Because they may want the combination of an extremely stable OS, coupled with a very popular office suite? There are many reasons, but the heart of your question is the unspoken assumption that Linux users don't want to pay for software.

      I think you're wrong. Using myself as an example: right now I'm in the market for another digital camera. Since my home desktop PC runs Linux, unless I want to use my wife's XP machine every

    • As an accountant, I can tell you that there isn't another spreadsheet program that can compare to Excel. I ended up buying Office for my Mac, just so I could do spreadsheets on my own time.

      I use Appleworks for word processing, but Escel is the king.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    When you can make MSLinux?
  • Er, OpenOffice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrStrangeLug (799458) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:54AM (#9809735)
    If people have already decided to go for a linux OS then finding a good open source office suite to go with it is no problem at all. I think the time for MS to try to gain a foothold in the linux application market was about 2 years ago and they missed it.
    • Re:Er, OpenOffice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Clansman (6514)
      Finding an 'OK' office suite is fine but finding one that completely replicates the entire functionality of MS Office (especially macros, pivot tables etc) is not that easy. The current options are either much slower or as fast but with half the features.

      Now it's true that most people dont' use most features but, in any reasonably sized organisation, there will be enough people doing important work using these extra features that will make the transition require like for like feature replacement.

      Someone m
  • by otisg (92803) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:55AM (#9809738) Homepage Journal
    I would venture to say that if Microsoft were smart and if they could lose some of their stubborn pride, they would adopt a UNIX kernel the way Apple did.

    Before that move, Apple's Mac OSes were a joke - constantly crashing, freezing, etc. They integrated BSD kernel and built their pretty UI and nice apps on top. Good move by Steve Jobs. Apple lost nothing. This is the real reason why MacOS is so popular among the 'computer owners elite' today.

    Microsoft could do the same and really hurt all of their competition whose existence is based on the fragility of various/all Windows versions.

    Of course, MS could also just make their own Linux distro (MS Linux), make it better than RedHat and 100% free. That's an easy way to get all other Linux distro companies out of business. With their thick bank accounts holding over 30 billion USD, they could offer it for free for a looong looong time. On the other hand, that's Linux distro companies' bread and butter.
    • For desktop use XP is as reliable as Linux. Comparing it to OS 9 is off base.

      MS controls 100% of the market that they want to, the businesses that pay for software. Why change?
    • by Twylite (234238) <twylite@crypt.co.TEAza minus caffeine> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:13AM (#9809836) Homepage

      Thank you for displaying your profound lack of knowledge of MS operating systems.

      The kernel behind Windows 2000/2003 is as solid as Linux. Crashes are almost without exception the result of third party device drivers. The perceived frailty of MS is (a) a hangover from the Win95/98/Me crap and (b) because of the UI and application communication layers, not the kernel.

      As a developer I get to see the side of Windows and Linux that many don't -- low level interfaces to system functionality. And many aspects of Windows, from a developer perspective, are ahread of *nix.

      The Win32 threading and synchronisation models are ridiculously powerful compared to *nix, which is precisely what makes it so hard to port a lot of Win32-based software to other platforms. The fact that you can't do a simple operation like "wait for a mutex to be released or a socket to become readable" deserves to be a joke about legacy operating systems, not a persistent reality. At least BSD's kqueue comes close.

      There are many other places in which the *nix kernels show their age compared to the design of Win32 (not to mention MS's ability to maintain a consistent API over 10 years of product developments). 30 year old technology may be "mature", but its not always The Right Thing To Do for the future.

      So try to get the facts before you succumb to FUD about the state of computing -- from MS or FLOSS.

      • or a socket to become readable

        Ummmm.......what about select?
        $ man 2 select
        explains it, or am I missing something here?
        • there is no POSIX call to wait on a mutex *AND* a change in the state of a file descriptor. you can't wait on different kinds of events at all (semaphores, file descriptors, mutexes, signals). its bad.
          • There's no individual POSIX call to do that, true. But using the asynchronous I/O model specified in Posix.1 you can do away with blocking waits completely and just employ a signal handler. It's not that bad. In fact, it's pretty good.
      • The Win32 threading and synchronisation models are ridiculously powerful compared to *nix, which is precisely what makes it so hard to port a lot of Win32-based software to other platforms.

        Absolutely. Can you say CreateRemoteThread()?? Can you say global memory space? Indeed, ridiculously powerful to exploit for malicious software!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:50AM (#9810097)
        Condition variables (available under any half decent implementation of Pthreads Posix standard) give you just that kind of ability.

        Granted you don't have the ability to set up asynchronous callbacks to be called when something does happen to your mutex/socket.

        Before someone points out that a call to select() will tell you when data becomes available for reading, the important distinction is that in the asynchronous callback model in Win32 you get told when and don't have to hang around waiting for it to happen. Obviously you could simulate something along the same lines by having a select() in a single thread notify you (or do a callback) when data is available but in Win32 this takes almost no effort on your part.

        If doing communication based software that has to actually be cross platform (and your stuck with C++ for some reason) then ACE is your saviour.

        It is a bit unfair criticising the features of the Pthreads model vs the Win32 model - as with everything Microsoft they only had to make it work on one platform theirs ! Portability and real cross platform applicability does come at a cost.
      • The kernel behind Windows 2000/2003 is as solid as Linux. Crashes are almost without exception the result of third party device drivers.

        or Microsoft Office or Microsoft Internet Explorer or Microsoft Print Spooling or gizmo happy Macromedia.

        Year+ uptimes on NT4 Server. And no I wouldn't call it stable.

      • Astroturf (Score:3, Funny)

        by germinatoras (465782)

        So, how do you like working for Microsoft? Do they still have free sodas in the lounge?

        You made a pro-Microsoft post that got modded +5 on Slashdot of all places -- you'll probably get a big raise at your next performance review.

      • What ??!!! STraw men and red herrings !!!

        Stop spreading such lies. Each one of your sentence seems unfinished to spread half truths.
        Well, I suppose you know the Windows kernel pretty well. But it is NOT as solid as Linux, at best, it is as solid as the PART of Linux that deals with the same hardware and functionality. Windows still does not scale as well as Linux, even with threads
        on a single processor. It fails also faster under heavy load.

        And you are switching easy (and bloatty) API with "ahead of *nix"
        • So here's a programming challange for you. Create a function that takes a mutex, a file/socket handle and a timeout as parameters, and returns when the first of (mutex available, IO readabe, timeout occurred) happens.

          Oh, and don't do something like userland polling. This has to prove that the scheduler can wake a thread under those conditions, not that you can sit in a busy loop checking the environment.

          Hint: you can't do it. The IO waiting primitives provided by the kernel (select, poll, /dev/poll,

      • by mosschops (413617) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:10AM (#9810896)
        The perceived frailty of MS is (a) a hangover from the Win95/98/Me crap and (b) because of the UI and application communication layers, not the kernel.

        What about the current inability to cancel create requests in the kernel? That's responsible for a lot of application-level hangs, without involving 3rd-party drivers. You also end up with unkillable processes - not just Unix-like zombie processes, but multi-megabyte monsters that won't go away. In such situations Shutdown is merely a wishful request, and even W2K/XP will struggle to complete it with hung applications.

        And many aspects of Windows, from a developer perspective, are ahread of *nix.

        Such as? I've been coding for Windows for 10 years, and I still yearn for the simpler and more powerful approach of Unix coding (which is mainly in my spare time at present). From a coder's point of view, the only thing Windows has going for it is Visual Studio, which is still much nicer than KDevelop. The new Visual Studio 2005 Beta is very sluggish, so I hope they've not ruined it.

        I had the misfortune to be working on a file-system driver under Windows last year, and it's beyond a joke. Writing even a simple new filesystem requires spending thousands of dollars on the MS IFS kit, and it's far from easy from there. It's a complete spaghetti of interactions between your driver and the cache manager + OS, with many subtle pitfalls. Why else could OSR charge $50K for a driver framework kit just to aid development?? Did I mention that a file-system driver for 9x/Me is completely different from NT/W2K/XP? Now compare this to the simplicity of the VFS layer Unix, and weep...

        Windows seems to go out of its way to make everything complicated, just for the sake of it. I'm pleased to see the push for .NET and Web Services is going "so well", as it's another step down the road to hell.

        30 year old technology may be "mature", but its not always The Right Thing To Do for the future.

        If it works well, why change it? As a coder I'd rather work with a tried an tested system. With Windows I seem to too much time testing on and coding round the subtle differences between different versions of Windows than , and I'm sure Longhorn is going to be yet another version to include.
      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:10AM (#9810907) Homepage
        What's interesting to note however...
        The kernel that you talk about, was mostly stolen from DEC..
        The UI and application layers were microsoft's own code bolted on top...
        The original kernel was a microkernel architecture where device drivers shouldn't have been able to drop the whole system, microsoft screwed that up by allowing drivers to be loaded into kernel space.
        The stable parts of windows were stolen, the unstable parts were their own code.. Tells you something about the quality of their development process. The same thing applies to a lot of their other products, the more stable ones were bought/stolen from elsewhere.
      • by bit01 (644603) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:30AM (#9811162)

        wait for a mutex to be released or a socket to become readable

        And there speaks a programmer who has been ill educated by the MSWindows environment. There are dozens of events that a program may need to wait on, everything from mutexes to sockets to GUI callbacks to USB events to power fails to signals to virtual memory events to whatever. To have a special call to wait on only two of them is stupid, precisely the sort of nonsense you expect to see in the MSWindows environment, rather than consistently solving the general problem with powerful, general purpose tools like threads and asynchronous IO. Related to the above, programmers who like the MSWindows kitchen sink API frequently have a poor idea of what a race condition is and how to avoid them, a large part of why MSWindows and MSWindows applications are so flaky. The Unix/Linux API isn't particularly clean either but it's a lot cleaner architecturally.

        ---

        It's wrong that an intellectual property creator should not be rewarded for their work.
        It's equally wrong that an IP creator should be rewarded too many times for the one piece of work, for exactly the same reasons.
        Reform IP law and stop the M$/RIAA abuse.

        • Sorry fuckwit, but I learned multithreading and most of my programming skills on FreeBSD and Linux. At some point you have to use your ridiculously fucking power general purpose threads and asynchronous IO to solve a problem rather than just mentally masturbating about it on Slashdot, and in some instance that problem might just be that you need to resume processing once either a mutex is available or a socket is readable. If you every studied software engineering you'd probably even think about abstracti

      • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:37AM (#9811250)

        The Win32 threading and synchronisation models are ridiculously powerful compared to *nix, which is precisely what makes it so hard to port a lot of Win32-based software to other platforms. The fact that you can't do a simple operation like "wait for a mutex to be released or a socket to become readable" deserves to be a joke about legacy operating systems, not a persistent reality. At least BSD's kqueue comes close.

        If that is true, then it's a shame that the performance of the Win32 sockets are so meagre compared to the Linux implementation. Take a look at this article on Developerworks [ibm.com]. Maybe you can spot the changes required to close the performance gap between Windows and Linux (Linux running about 2 and a half times faster on the same machine).

        And I think I'll take you to task for your blind assertion that "you can't do a simple operation like "wait for a mutex to be released or a socket to become readable" on a Unix platform. If you call pthread_mutex_lock in 'fast' mode it simply waits for the mutex to be released and will pick up as soon as the mutex becomes available. And there are plenty of other options around. It's also totally trivial to write a spin-check to check the TCP status of a socket.

        Cheers,
        Toby Haynes

    • "MS could also just make their own Linux distro"

      They are banned from doing such after they got dragged through the courts against Caldera.

    • What are you, nuts? Why the hell would MS do such a thing? There's only downsides, from their point of view: switch to MS Linux, and overnight you forsake the biggest software trove on earth. You lose all your developers, who have been trained in the quirks of dos/win32/.net/etc. You lose all your products, make your documentation/knowledge base irrelevant.

      And what do you get in return? Higher security, plus a steep learning curve for your developers, the need to reconquer the whole market from scratch, t

    • Before [moving to OS X with a UNIX/BSD kernel], Apple's Mac OSes were a joke - constantly crashing, freezing, etc.

      Microsoft could do the same and really hurt all of their competition whose existence is based on the fragility of various/all Windows versions.

      Hate to break it to you, but the Windows kernel has not been particularly fragile/constantly crashing/freezing since, let's say, Windows 2000, which was (IIRC) released in 1999, so your comment is like 5 years outdated <insert standard comment abo
    • Yeah, that was a really good move for apple. I recently read in a history of Mac OS X, that it is in fact just the latest "NeXT Step" platform.

      NeXT Step was from the start (according to the document I read) a BSD like system built on a Mach microkernel, and with a windowing system on top of the BSD.

      So what happens is that Jobs is forced out of Apple, he starts NeXT, returns to apple a few years later, and uses the stuff he started at NeXT, thus effectively Steve Jobs never stopped working towards a be
    • They did, it was called Xenix [wikipedia.org].

      A free MS-Linux offering isn't a bad idea, but Microsoft would have to first demonstrate a profit channel for other products on Linux.

      For example, if they could show a market for MS Office for Linux then it would make sense to expand further onto this platform. In all honesty, the presence of MS on Linux is immaterial, open source is still going to change the way we work with computers. The only detriment it would have is MS will emerge as irrelavant within the next decade, n
    • It's not pride, it's wisdom. First of all, as for changing their kernel to Unix, there's many things wrong with that plan. First off, as Twylite points out below [slashdot.org], the latest NT kernels aren't less stable than Unix. There are several reason to choose Linux over 2000/2003 for a production server, but stability isn't one of them. You're right, Mac OS before X was unstable, as were Windows 3, 95, 98, and ME. Win 2000 and 2003 aren't.

      Secondly, if they were to change their kernel to a Unix flavor, all of a sud
  • Of course not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:55AM (#9809743)
    Why would Micro$oft make the Linux platform more appealing by creating apps for it?
  • and extend
  • They won't ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jalet (36114) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @07:59AM (#9809762) Homepage
    They won't embrace it, because they can't extend and extinguish it as they have done for other software.

    Thanks for the most part to RMS and the GNU GPL.
  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:00AM (#9809765) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that an editor of BusinessWeek has no clue about business? If Microsoft embraced Linux by selling a low cost version of Office for it, migrating to Linux would be even easier --> no money for Windows, less money for Office.

    With no MS Office for Linux, migrating is a lot harder. OOo works fine for most people (better in my experience, but my experience probably differs), but in some cases you just simply need the original, which means you also need Windows (or Crossover Office).

    It really is as simple as that. Office isn't just MS's biggest cash cow, it's also their most important selection of proprietary file formats.
  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@xmsnBLUEet.nl minus berry> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:00AM (#9809766)
    It lists two reasons people are moving to Linux/OpenOffice, but doesn't address either of them.
    Quote: In November, 2003, the government of Brazil ordered its agencies to use Linux and other open-source software as much as possible. A month later, Israel's Commerce Ministry announced a decision to migrate to OpenOffice, an open-source desktop suite that runs on Linux and Apple's (AAPL ) OS X system, as well as on Windows. The city governments of Paris and Munich both announced their intention to switch to Linux and open-source applications. In Peru, a state legislature nearly passed a law banning the use of proprietary software by government agencies. And the governments of China, Korea, and Japan have announced an alliance to promote open-source software.
    All of these organisations are switching because they don't want to use proprietary software. Providing a Linux version of MS Office won't solve this, as there's no chance in hell MS will release it as OSS.
    So that's one of the concerns the article mentions, but leaves unaddressed.
    Second is the price. Why would MS offer Office for Linux for a low price, when it can just offer existing products (Windows XP plus Office) for a low price, ensuring a lock-in that wouldn't occur with Office/Linux?
    • All of these organisations are switching because they don't want to use proprietary software.

      That makes sense. But from the blurb:

      Meanwhile, when they choose Microsoft software, fast-growing emerging markets like China and India opt for pirated copies. Salkever explains that the concerns for customers like these are the 'relatively high price of Microsoft software' and the 'concerns about buying proprietary software to run critical government operations.'

      So China and India are opting for pirat

  • every time (Score:3, Funny)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:02AM (#9809778) Homepage
    Every year at least once an acticle appears about a rumour or someone proposing that MS should or will release an MS-Office 4 Linux. So far I haven't seen anything. It's just like waiting for Doom 3...

    ehm

    HEEEEELPPP
  • M$ on linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarastrobert (800232) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:02AM (#9809783)
    It would be nice but I think there is too much speaking against it.

    First of all I don't think it would be an easy port to make considering how M$likes to intermingle it's OS with it's applications. Office is bound to be using alot of OS specific API's, com objects etc... If the main selling opportunity would be low priced copies to the third world, then maybe they don't think it is worth the cost.

    Thirdly I think it would be to much an admittance of defeat for M$ to aknowledge Linux that way.

  • by Cheeze (12756) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:11AM (#9809825) Homepage
    They only make money off of their OS and office suite. If they offered a low-cost office suite, no one would need the expensive operating system or expensive office suite. Who really wants to pay $750 for Longhorn, and then pay another few hundred for an Office suite? Then, 5 years down the road, have to upgrade again because MS stops offering bug fixes. Multiply that by 500 workstations and you have a large budget that you're basically giving MS. That probably funds upgrades to calc.exe and clock.exe.
  • by McCall (212035) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:13AM (#9809832) Homepage
    There are really three scenarios here:

    You want a low cost, or free, system.
    - In which case you use Linux and OpenOffice.org both of which are already proven products.

    You want a UNIX based system as your using legacy UNIX products, but need Microsoft Office.
    - In which case you use MacOS X and Microsoft Office.

    You need Microsoft Office for office productivity and compatibility with other products.
    - In which case is the $100 for a Microsoft Windows license really an issue?

    I agree developing nations should find better and cheaper ways of doing things, but doing the same things a different way just for the sake of it doesn't seem justified to me!
  • Microsoft did have its own Unix clone waaay back called Xenix [wikipedia.org]. It is now better known as the "SCO Unix" (-insert-star-wars-analogy-here)...

    Microsoft gains the same things it gained when it shipped Internet Explorer for Mac OS a few years back..

  • That word, embrace. It is more flexible than I had initially thought. And it took an article title like this to demonstrate this.

    We could, for example, begin using it in lieu of opposites and still retain the original meaning, like if we were talking about the Boston Embracer [wikipedia.org]. Or this [darwinawards.com]warm and fuzzy story about cooperation, understanding, and symbiosis between man and pet.

    With this new meaning-neutral language which we here at /. have pioneered, all I can say is, thank you Microsoft for the wonderful prod [toronto.edu]
  • Microsoft knows about the danger for its core business. Bill Gates invested his money in gold mines and huge content data bases. But what can MS do?

    Microsoft has to find new markets. They brought into the PDA market, the TV market, the search business. They could attack comptetitors very successful with billions of dollars, but by that they destroyed the markets. After MS has destroyed a market they had to find new ways to generate profits again. But in most cases this was not successful yet.
  • <rant>

    To do so they would be admitting that Windows is on the way out and they'd never do that. While they have Windows they control everything else in the software market - they will never give that up under any circumstances.

    The sad fact is that the desktop market is owned by Microsoft and this will never change. Corporations, who are ultimately the ones that decide on standards through their software purchasing habits, are more interested in playing it safe. Most corporate IT decision makers are
  • Microsoft has argued Linux is insecure and vulnerable to attack because the source code is readily available, yet a significant factor for government agencies not adopting Microsoft is concerns about it being proprietary software! Many governments don't want to rely on Microsoft - go figure!

    Windows 95 or Me anyone?

  • to Linux. That's is the crux of MS's problem.

    It is the unpredictability of the entire market response that would give their management waking nightmares. It is a concern that has more than a bit of merit.

    At this juncture they have the hopes of locking in much of the industrialized (really formally would be more accurate) via local laws and trade agreements combined with a new operating system that locks down a greater proportion of users. A columnist just risks his/her reputation, those managing risk t
  • 1. It's completely OS.
    2. It's completely interoperable with the non-Linux versions (i.e., document transportability)
    3. It's guaranteed to keep step with changes in non-Linux versions, with respect to #1, #2, security, and all other maintenance.
    4. MSFT publicly promises that the above conditions will be in perpetuity, to avoid any "get 'em addicted, then cut them off" tricks.
  • I used to joke with some former coworkers about the Microsoft Linux distribution. They of course thought it was just a joke, but the truth of the matter is that if MS did come out with a version of Office for Linux and even a whole MS blessed Linux distribution, it would be a total nightmare for their competition. Why? Simple, it would solve a lot of the antitrust related problems they've had recently and it could even help them deal effectively with any defections caused by security concerns. If Office exi
  • by Vexler (127353) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:38AM (#9809981) Journal
    Note that the article points out that being in the position to dictate file formats and to control the flow of data is far stronger than what Redmond envisions now. I would say that if they really want to tighten their grip on the global market, they can do one better and stop thinking of "products" as their cash cow and start thinking of "services". Back in the days when the software cost was a small fraction of a PC, they could get away with it. But in light of a study a few years ago that indicated that they could slash prices across the board by 90% (yes, that is EVERYTHING) and still make money, and in light of the fact that price erosion of PCs has commoditized the market, they must shift their direction to providing software services (i.e. customized solutions for businesses). It doesn't really go against their overall strategy (in fact, you hear faint echoes of it in the ".NET" framework), but they have to adapt quickly to lock steps with Linux and other open-source initiatives.
  • If Microsoft would simply integrate an X-server into Windows, I'd be satisfied with that. Still gotta buy the Windows and Office, yet I'm not actually forced to _use_ Windows. Sounds fair enough.

    Wouldn't solve the games issue, but then again, even the X servers that Linux has don't have indirect rendering capabilities. Too bad...

    -Erwos
    • In the meantime the Cygwin [cygwin.com] X server works well for me. It has normal (entire x desktop in one huge window) and root (X and Win32 windows mixed) modes, with a special window manager for the latter. There's an experimental GLX accelerated build as well.

      Jon.

  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:46AM (#9810053)
    MS has already figured some of this out and it wasn't by adopting linux or porting to linux. Look what they did in Thailand. They build a one-language (i.e. country specific) stripped down version of XP and sold it for cheap. They did this specifically to keep Linux out. If they did it in Thailand, they could do it in Brazil, India, China...etc. It's just a matter of how much money they will make on licensing the traditional way versus licensing the stripped down version.

    Secondly, Windows and Office are mutually supporting monopolies that are enhanced by the "net effect". You run Office because its the standard on Windows and you run Windows because you need Office. And everyone else you share files with run Office and Windows, so that reinforces the matter. If any cracks appear in that ediface, the whole thing more or less collaspes. MS will never chance that. MS could afford to make Office for Mac because Mac never a threat because it costs more than a PC, so it never challenged MS's model of being the low-cost solution. But Linux *is* a threat. Linux is cheaper and it has the potential to eat Microsoft's lunch in MS's native environment (i.e. low-end workstations, PCs, and servers), so they will never give it an opening.
    • > If they did it in Thailand, they could do it in India

      India has such a HUGE variety of languages that almost 100% of computer users know English and are often unwilling to use PC's in their native language. (I belong to this category). A Hindi version of WinXP would suck totally ... in the market and everywhere.

      I was involved with a bit of work on Pango rendere r for my mother tongue ... the unicode renderer was fairly easy to handle - but the translation was a horror . Imagine translating Abort

  • Discussion of offering big MS apps for linux or switching to a linux kernel is all moot. It's not going to happen. What MS could do is just improve interoperability with Linux and *NIX apps in general.
    They aren't going to remove all possible migration to other OSs. What they can do, however, is make it easy for those that migrate to interact with others that have not migrated. Or rather to allow people to only migrate portions of their systems, portions they think could benefit from using Linux, and maintai
  • Considering Redmond's slim odds of conquering developing nations

    Don't count on it. Monsanto ... uh I mean Microsoft ... can muster lots of support for such a campaign.

    The United States forbids [cnn.com] poor countries from making generic versions of antiretroviral drugs for AIDS treatment. Given the limited financial resources involved, this will certainly cost lives.

    Monsanto [monsantoafrica.com] Company is suing farmers [corpwatch.org] for re-using seed where patented genes have been found, whether said farmers wanted them or not [etcgroup.org].

    How will software be any different? Countries developed enough to need office suites will be signing trade agreements with the United States. Undoubtedly there will be intellectual property conditions.

  • by Ktistec Machine (159201) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:45AM (#9810664)
    Microsoft's stranglehold on many organizations (including the University where I work) is not based on its operating system, it's based on MS Office. THE issue is whether or not people can exchange files. Training issues involved in using a different user interface are secondary, and minor.

    This is the mechanism by which MS can keep Apple in check. At any time, Apple knows that MS can stop providing Office for the Mac, neatly pulling the plug on any problematic growth in Mac user share.

    If Microsoft cares about keeping Windows on desktops, it would be utterly foolish to release a version of Office for Linux. Unlike OSX, Linux is free, removing one of the barriers to acceptance. If Office were available for Linux, corporate types (and Universities) would very quickly embrace Linux as the desktop standard. It's a no-brainer.

  • by Thimble (468492) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @11:09AM (#9811692)
    MS Linux bundled with a compatible MS Office makes more sense...

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