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Microsoft Doesn't Care About Destroying Linux 330

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the to-busy-drinking-baby-blood-i-think dept.
techie writes "A latest column on MadPenguin.org suggests that Microsoft may not be really interested in killing Linux for mainstream users. It's after something else, and it's getting its way already. Read on to find out what it is. The author states, "Love it or hate it, Microsoft's IP attacks will continue, Linux user numbers will continue to grow and broad spectrum adoption throughout the rest of the world will grow and flourish. Microsoft's not interested in destroying Linux in the slightest. Why would they? it's been a fantastic vehicle for them to land a firmer grip on the corporations throughout the US."
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Microsoft Doesn't Care About Destroying Linux

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  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:03PM (#19718403)
    Now Microsoft plans to brainwash Linux and then marry it in a dramatic wedding ceremony that will cement its rule over the two kingdoms.
    • by monk.e.boy (1077985) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:08PM (#19718475) Homepage

      Microsoft need to make money. Not kill Linux.

      If they could see a way to make more money by working with Linux, they'd do that. Hell, they're not that stupid ;-)

      Just stating the obvious.

      monk.e.boy

      • by EvilRyry (1025309) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:35PM (#19718837) Journal
        Normally, you'd be right. Companies like to make money however they can. However this is Microsoft.

        Microsoft makes its money by controlling the market. Linux allows for multiple vendors to compete in the market (aka capitalism), preventing any one vendor from controlling it. Even if Microsoft could make a boatload of money on Linux, they would never risk their precious (and profitable!) monopoly on the OS market.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pharmboy (216950)
          But the more fragmented the Linux market is, the better MS looks as a corporate choice. The Linux community is way fragmented, like the Unix market was 15+ years ago. Right now, I'm burning CentOS 5.0 because I don't want to pay RedHat to test and play with a new OS that I don't need support for, and it is only one of a few different RH clones.

          A clone of a clone.

          Microsoft has to be liking what it is seeing, with every day a new distribution of Linux coming out, and no single standard. Different files in
          • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:31PM (#19719537)

            But the more fragmented the Linux market is, the better MS looks as a corporate choice.

            But Linux is not "fragmented".

            Right now, I'm burning CentOS 5.0 because I don't want to pay RedHat to test and play with a new OS that I don't need support for, and it is only one of a few different RH clones.

            And each of those "clones" works in almost the exact same way.

            There is no "fragmentation". Any software that runs on the latest version of RHEL will also run on the latest version of Ubuntu. Or Slackware. etc.

            Microsoft has to be liking what it is seeing, with every day a new distribution of Linux coming out, and no single standard. Different files in different places...

            And yet that does not seem to be hampering Linux's growth at all.

            So maybe it isn't as big a problem as you believe it to be.

            Anyone who knows Red Hat can pick up Ubuntu in less than a day. And Slackware in another day. And Gentoo over a weekend. At which point, you pretty much know every distribution out there.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Conor Turton (639827)

              But Linux is not "fragmented".
              Really? How many package managers? Some use apt-get, others RPM whatever. How many desktops? How many X Windows servers? Sorry but Linux is a good example of fragmentation. You wanted choice, you got it. What that means though, is that it's fragmented and for Corporate World, that's not good.
              • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday July 02, 2007 @02:29PM (#19720199)

                Really? How many package managers? Some use apt-get, others RPM whatever.

                rpm
                apt
                slackware's pkgtool
                gentoo's emerge

                And learning them would be included in the single day it would take for anyone familiar with any distribution to learn a different distribution.

                How many desktops?

                So it seems that you're trying to define "fragmentation" as "choices".

                Why is that?

                No one refers to the car market as "fragmented" just because you can buy a Ford OR a Chevy.

                And if you buy a Chevy you can get a sports car OR a pickup truck OR an SUV.

                And you can get them in manual OR automatic.

                "Choice" is not "fragmentation". Learning to drive a manual pickup truck does not prevent you from learning to drive an automatic sports car. And the learning process will take less than a day.
                • by misleb (129952) on Monday July 02, 2007 @03:45PM (#19721173)

                  rpm
                  apt
                  slackware's pkgtool
                  gentoo's emerge

                  And learning them would be included in the single day it would take for anyone familiar with any distribution to learn a different distribution.


                  How long it takes to LEARN one package system or another is irrelevent. The real issue is that each package front end means a different package *backend*. Actually, there are more backends (repositories) than there are package managers. That means: if you want to release a binary version of your software, you have to compile and package it for each and every distribution you wish to support. This is a sign of fragmentation.

                  No one refers to the car market as "fragmented" just because you can buy a Ford OR a Chevy.


                  No slashdot discussion would be complete without a car analogy. :-)

                  And if you buy a Chevy you can get a sports car OR a pickup truck OR an SUV.

                  And you can get them in manual OR automatic.

                  "Choice" is not "fragmentation". Learning to drive a manual pickup truck does not prevent you from learning to drive an automatic sports car. And the learning process will take less than a day.


                  No, choice alone is not fragmentation. But when one car requires diesel fuel and another requires unleaded gas, that is fragmentation. Add in cars that charge from a high voltage/current line, and you have even more fragmentation. Each gas station that wants to support all these cars has to implement all the different ways of refueling. Just as any Linux software vendor who wants to support all of Linux has to build and test packages for a dozen or more different distributions. And a corporation trying to decide WHICH flavor of Linux to adopt has to be worried about which distribution will get the support of third party vendors. THAT is fragmentation.

                  -matthew
                • by westlake (615356)
                  Learning to drive a manual pickup truck does not prevent you from learning to drive an automatic sports car. And the learning process will take less than a day.

                  car analogies are inherently suspect.

                  the pick-up and the sports car are two very different vehicles that function in two very different environments and you will be not be mastering one or the other in a day - no matter how experience you think you think you bring to the problem.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by jedidiah (1196)
                Package managers? 2 major ones. (that interoperate)
                Desktops? 2 major ones. (that interoperate)
                X servers? 1

                Linux is hardly a good example of "fragmentation".

                Commercial Unix is a far better example of fragmentation.

                Compared to HPUX vs AIX vs Solaris a couple of corporate Linux distros that share 99.9% of their inner workings is not so bad really.
            • by misleb (129952)

              And each of those "clones" works in almost the exact same way.

              Except that they don't, from a commercial vendor's perspective at least. Or even from a system adminitrator's perspective. Each distribution has its own packaging system, it's own unique versions of libraries, a different default desktop environment, etc.

              There is no "fragmentation". Any software that runs on the latest version of RHEL will also run on the latest version of Ubuntu. Or Slackware. etc.

              Sure, as long as you have the source to recomp

        • by sconeu (64226)
          Linux allows for multiple vendors to compete in the market (aka capitalism)

          Come on. Linux is communism. Both SCO and Microsoft have told us so!
        • >Linux allows for multiple vendors to compete in the market (aka capitalism)

          So Microsoft monopoly isn't capitalism then?
    • Now Microsoft plans to brainwash Linux and then marry it in a dramatic wedding ceremony that will cement its rule over the two kingdoms.

      But I thought its goal was to use the marriage to unleash the Chaos Heart and destroy all worlds?

    • by east coast (590680) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:55PM (#19719097)
      Now Microsoft plans to brainwash Linux and then marry it in a dramatic wedding ceremony that will cement its rule over the two kingdoms.

      Bill Gates: This Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who. I see this not as losing a son, but gaining a daughter in a very legal and binding way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Maxo-Texas (864189)
      Inconceivable!

      Linux will not die. Death cannot stop true love... all it can do is delay it for a while.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Daychilde (744181)
        So... who wants an M.L.T.? That's a Microsoft, Linux, and tomato sandwich.
        • I just have to say that you win. I nearly sprayed tea across my monitor

          but couldn't we make the T be something like "Theo de Raadt?" =]
    • That never seemed to work for Bowser, no matter how many times he tried to brainwash Princess Peach.
  • "So, I see this leading to one very definite scenario. As previously described, the US corporate world will pay a price and continue to fall behind with desktop Linux technologies. The casual Linux user within the US will become more empowered and adoption will continue to grow, regardless of the usual Microsoft dogma."
    • continue to fall behind with desktop Linux technologies
      Someone is very confused about the current situation, nevermind the future.

      regardless of the usual Microsoft dogma
      Not too clued up on what dogma means either are we. Microsoft are hardly dogmatic compared to FOSS. MS will jump on whatever flavour of the month looks like a money maker for them and tell you its the latest and greatest.
    • by stretch0611 (603238) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:23PM (#19718669) Journal
      The article is pathetic. The author makes a haphazard attempt to explain the current situation then draws his conclusion. He does not explain how he arrived at that conclusion or give any evidence. The Psychic Friends network gives better supporting evidence.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bmw (115903) *
        No kidding. I kept searching the page for the "Next" link to move to the next page of the article but there wasn't one.
      • by Shotgun (30919) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:18PM (#19719377)
        Spot on, dude.

        Even worse, the conclusion he draws doesn't even make sense. Linux helps Windows domination in the enterprise (where it is a monopoly) when users switch to it at home (where Windows is also a monopoly)? How-d-hell does that work?

  • It makes sense. Without something to denigrate, what Microsoft could do? How could Microsoft claim to be "better"?

    For many business managers that went to business schools who know fuck-all about IT, it's very easy to believe that something that is "free" in both senses of the word is not good. After all, business is about control and profit, two things that are absent from "free".

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jshriverWVU (810740)
      But one thing business do care about most if the "bottom line" and if free as in beer and free to use and modify to your benefit will help their profit margins grow, Linux and FOSS sounds enticing.

      Say you're in charge of a datacenter:

      1. One one side you can have Windows on all servers, 10 IT people to take care of them all, headache of licensing, updates, patches, crashes, recovery.

      2. Run linux on them, free updates, more secure, no worring about having to keep track of licenses, less staff because th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by michrech (468134)

        Which do you think they'd pick? Granted it depends a lot on what kind of work needs to be done, but for something like web/email/sql server then Linux does the job very well. You can always have 1-2 Windows servers for those few clients that absolutely insist on having MsSQL and IIS.

        You answered your own question. Of course the hosting company would pick both, if "the bottom line" is all they care about (as you assert in your previous statement). Whether we like it or not, Windows is a HUGE market, and if all they want is to rake in the cash, there is no way they'd ignore those who wish to use a MS environment.

        • You answered your own question. Of course the hosting company would pick both, if "the bottom line" is all they care about (as you assert in your previous statement).

          While, he wasn't talking about hosting companies. I'll bite. Most hosting companies (at least all of the ones that I checked) which offer both platforms charge less for their linux platform, even though it provides broader functionality. That makes the linux benefit really obvious, even to the clueless pointy-haired manager types. No guessing at TCO and other hard to measure metrics - instead they have two straightforward choices with two straightforward prices.

          Whether we like it or not, Windows is a HUGE market, and if all they want is to rake in the cash, there is no way they'd ignore those who wish to use a MS environment.

          As long as linux is a consistently che

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:16PM (#19719363)
        If the goal of IT management is running a cost effective operation, Linux has some advantages. However, if the real goal is preservation of budget and headcount, Windows is the way to go. Sometimes, the easiest money to get your hands on is the "non-discretionary" cash you need to maintain the status quo. Notice how IT management is quite content to outsource work to India and elsewhere, so long as the original IT management is still in charge of the projects and the bodies performing the work. Delivering IT systems and services is secondary; maintaining "control" is job 1. Rock the boat by making some of that infrastructure unnecessary, and you will have to beg and plead for every dollar -- even if you have day-1 savings that more than cover what you want to do.

        Bear in mind, that reducing headcount means one-time expenses related to severance, etc. And savings on license fees will take at least a few months to hit the bottom line (sometimes longer). In most cases, it takes at least a year to show the savings to be had by dumping MS. It may very well be worth doing, but the first year is not going to put big savings onto the scoreboard. And it may take a while before users discovers that things work more smoothly than before. In the short run, dumping MS might be a rough ride.

        Sadly, it is the people who don't spend much money who are often taken for granted. In many companies, the path to success in management is to grow your budget and headcount faster than anyone else.

        I have met a whole generation of IT professionals who like what MS does for their careers more than it does for their business.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)
        The ironic things is this...

        Things that break a lot- you stay sharp about fixing them.
        Things that break once a year- it can be very tricky to remember how to fix them.
      • by Nick Driver (238034) on Monday July 02, 2007 @02:29PM (#19720195)
        There's still that perception by business management types that a Windows-based IT shop can be staffed adequately by cheap, plentiful , easily-replaceable fresh grads right out of the local community college who have MSCE paper stuck to their foreheads. And there's still that perception that Linux/Unix qualified people are hard to find, tend to demand lots more pay, want real offices instead of an open bullpen with cubicle dividers, and that they tend to be more argumentative against the bean-counting management and they dislike strict dress codes and are less punctual when management expects them to always be there at 8:00AM sharp every morning despite whether or not they had to work until midnight the prior evening (for no overtime of course). In short, business management types prefer to keep their IT staff well under their thumbs, and squirming in fear of their positions... management hates, in the most profound way, to ever let themselves get into any position that looks like their IT people might have any kind of leverage to hold over them. Microsoft has convinced the business world that as long as they run a pure Windows-based IT operation, then their IT staff will always be a controlled commodity and easily replaceable with standard off-the-shelf "parts".
      • by Vancorps (746090)

        Really? All Linux software is free of licensing headaches? Licensing the OS has always been brain dead easy for most any platform. It's the software running on the OS that causes the headaches. Of course on both platforms I have tools for inventory management to keep all the licensing straight. It's even unified so I can monitor and control both environments with it. I don't manage a lot of servers, about 24 so far. 20 of them are Windows and four are Linux based. I visit each of my servers on the same sche

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tieTYT (989034)
        I'm not entirely convinced that open source is less expensive than closed source. I'm especially skeptical about your implication that close source software requires MORE developers than open source developers. Has anyone ever done an in depth study about this claim? You may reply, "It's obviously cheaper" but there are service costs, costs associated with understanding how to use the software, etc.

        But regardless, I think that the biggest benefit to open source software is that you can change it. If you
        • "I'm not entirely convinced that open source is less expensive than closed source"

          It doesn't have to. Open Source is about power and suitability, not price. That being said, it's usually up to you having a cheaper solution (maybe less powerful) or expend more or less the same but end having a more suitable, powerful and flexible environment, or even paying more so you can have the environment exactly as you know you need it instead of being the way your vendor imposed upon you.

          "I'm especially skeptical ab
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xvicex (1096231)
      That's just BS! Why would you need to claim your product is better then your oponent's one if there aren't any?

      In any case they do claim their product is better then the previous version just not in a clear way like "Way better then XP!". That's why in the product charts comparing the several Vista licencies they have fields that make no cense like "Better Security" with just the most expensive ones selected, are they saying the cheapper ones have crappy security? Are they assuming to be selling a unsecure
  • Bad Headline (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sorry, but that headline doesn't follow the same as the summary...

    Headline sounds like its saying "Microsoft is killing Linux and doesn't care that it is doing so", while the summary sounds more like what it should be, that "Microsoft is not trying to kill Linux and has no interest in doing so."

    *sigh*
  • by ezh (707373)
    MS does quite effectively. I guess, (pocket) size does matter... I think companies should unite with Linux Foundation and contribute to the patent defense fund. Or fall one by one to MS FUD machine. Its your choice, business people...
  • Mad Penguin (Score:2, Informative)

    by rudlavibizon (948703)
    That's one mad penguin indeed!
  • Microsoft doesn't care about destroying Linux.
    Ya don't say?
  • Microsoft doesn't care about Linux people.
  • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:20PM (#19718625)
    As long as OEM's keep selling machines with windows preinstalled, I seriously doubt if MS cares if you clean it and load Ubuntu on the machine. They still got their $75 for the license.

    That's one reason I respect Dell for having the guts to sell machines with Linux preinstalled.

    • by Bazman (4849)
      The last two models of Dell Laptops we bought absolutely sucked for Ubuntu Linux installs. They weren't the ones sold with Ubuntu installed (that's still limited to certain models and only to certain classes of buyers) and my techies have had all sorts of problems with video chip compatibility apparently. We've probably bought a dozen models of laptop - including Dell's - in the last five years and they've all Linuxed up nicely, give or take the odd little problem with wireless or sound. But these new Dells
    • by secPM_MS (1081961)
      Dell, HP, etc are Microsoft's largest and best customers and Microsoft listens carefully to them. What do you think that the vendors want? They do not want a small and simple OS and application suite! Customers for such a product would buy once and never be seen again -- I have a cousin who is still writing papers on a Win 3.21 system running on a 286. The vendors want "improved" OS's and applications that have features and improvements that can be used to induce customers to replace their existing PC's (w
      • Though I think you're making an unfair comparison. Installing Windows which takes an entire DVD for just the OS is a lot different than a linux distro that has the OS + many many applications. To be completely fair try comparing it like this:

        1 linux distro on DVD versus
        20 DVD's for Windows Vista, Office, and similiar programs that are on the 1 linux distro DVD.

        Granted these numbers are random but the point is valid.

        • by secPM_MS (1081961)
          I personally prefer the smaller and leaner approach. Clearly the general customers buy the feature-rich approach. It is easy to market "Now, with more features and gizmos than ever before". Your point is valid, but I think that you will find that the difference between MS and the upcomming rich-featured *nix distros is between a factor of 2 or 4 and in either case, the advancment of disc capacity has rendered the difference moot. The small USB drive I bought from Costco last year had 4 GB on it and it cost
  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:22PM (#19718661) Journal
    until the corporate users realize "wolf" has been cried one too many times.
  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:23PM (#19718681)
    Of course, they weren't considering directly competing with the iPod before either, and Windows XP Express was just for a different demographic, they didn't care about the OLPC and thought SmartPhones were the way to go, and that OLPC wasn't going after the same market because they didn't share exactly the same goals...

    Microsoft is forever expanding into new markets because Windows and Office aren't the "revenue streams" they used to be, and eventually they will be trying to get money from people using Linux. Even if they don't go after Linux directly, they will probably be going after Linux users saying they owe Microsoft something for some reason. Microsoft isn't interested in putting products on the shelf that a user may or may not buy.

    They're more interested in taxing or selling a "service", simply because it's a guaranteed income if the customer is tethered to Microsoft in some way. If you don't buy Windows, then you can't keep it on your PC when Microsoft releases a new version. Instead, MS wants to be charging you yearly for using Windows (like with business Licensing) or yearly for using their IP in Linux. It's guaranteed money every year, as opposed to you maybe not upgrading every year like their ideal situation.
    • by quanticle (843097) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:43PM (#19718943) Homepage

      Microsoft is forever expanding into new markets because Windows and Office aren't the "revenue streams" they used to be, and eventually they will be trying to get money from people using Linux.

      If they really wanted revenue from Linux users they would come out with Office for Linux. However, that's not what they want. The want to keep businesses locked into using Windows on the desktop and the server, hence the flood of patent litigation threats. This is just the latest iteration in their campaign to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

      First they claimed that Linux was unreliable. Then they claimed that it was insecure. Now they're claiming that it allows for intellectual property violations. This isn't a change in strategy, just an adjustment in tactics. Their long term goal is still to scare businesses away from Linux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HalAtWork (926717)
        If they really wanted revenue from Linux users they would come out with Office for Linux.

        No, because that helps people migrate from MS's tether. What they want is people being further entrenched into MS tech. People considering Linux are migrating away from Windows. Linux is growing at its own pace, but also at the expense of Windows users. I used to be a Windows user, and so did a lot of other Ubuntu and Fedora Core installations. These are the fastest growing community Linux projects because they d
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:24PM (#19718691) Homepage Journal
    Hell, they don't even have to frighten business users. Linux already does.

    Look, hoping that Microsofts actions lead to more adoption of Linux isn't going to work. They don't have to do anything, its up to linux promoters to convince people that it will work AS WELL AS windows WITHOUT any interruption in their use of it, meaning that they don't have to think.

    Until you can provide a "don't think about it - it just works" Linux desktop the users aren't going to switch. Even then it had best come preinstalled and have a near seamless way to run windows software that they might want.

    Linux and Windows don't compete for the same people and the Linux people should understand that, it sounds like Microsoft already does
    • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:40PM (#19718905) Homepage Journal

      Until you can provide a "don't think about it - it just works" Linux desktop the users aren't going to switch. Even then it had best come preinstalled and have a near seamless way to run windows software that they might want.

      I disagree. There's tons of stuff you have to think about when using Windows. The difference, however, is that Linux makes you look at a command line, while Windows wraps it all in pretty GUI screens that all do essentially the same thing.

      So Linux doesn't have to be "don't think about it - it just works" to succeed. It needs to be "don't think about it - just click OK" to succeed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Tempest451 (791438)
        I disagree with your disagreement. What most Linux users dont seem to understand is that the majority of Windows users dont even know what a Command Line Interface is. Microsoft understood that years ago and thats why everything is wrapped up in a "pretty GUI". If at any point my 60 year-old mother-in-law has to know where to find the CLI, that OS has already failed.
        • That's what I meant. They just take all the quirks that require a trip to the CLI and wrap a GUI around them. Then it's just as good as Windows.
        • by jedidiah (1196)
          I disagree with your disagreement.

          Linux has been trying to get away from the commandline since Slackware 96. In some ways, Slackware 96 even did a pretty good job of it. Much like Windows itself, Linux these days tends to mainly need to the commandline when you need to debug some gui app that's not quite right.

          The Unix commandline utilities also provides a nice stable toolset. You don't have to worry about where in the GUI the network config wizard is hidden this time. ...which reminds me: Is there a nice s
  • by gelfling (6534) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:26PM (#19718729) Homepage Journal
    Redmond doesn't want to obliterate all comers such as Linux and Apple because that would trigger yet more legislation and court cases. Redmond has to 'suffer' a 10% or 15% market share to its competitors in order to preserve the illusion of a loyal opposition.
    • Redmond doesn't want to obliterate all comers such as Linux and Apple because that would trigger yet more legislation and court cases. Redmond has to 'suffer' a 10% or 15% market share to its competitors in order to preserve the illusion of a loyal opposition.

      You're right about Apple. Apple is the perfect 'competitor' for Microsoft - an opponent that has no intention or capability to conquer any sizable portion of the market (and why would they? Apple makes more money per computer than Microsoft do, since they sell hardware as well. Market share != profit).

      But Linux is nothing like that. Linux can run on the same hardware, and costs less. It already controls a very large part of the server market. Given time and opportunity, it can do the same to the desktop

  • by kripkenstein (913150) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:27PM (#19718741) Homepage

    Microsoft's not interested in destroying Linux in the slightest. Why would they? it's been a fantastic vehicle for them to land a firmer grip on the corporations throughout the US.
    That makes no sense whatsoever. How can their grip be any firmer than having a monopoly on all the software that is used by corporate America?
  • Linux Good for MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ykswordnab.ddot)> on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:29PM (#19718771) Homepage Journal
    Linux provides Microsoft with a competitive reason to further intertwine its entire Windows software stack into a set of offerings targetted directly to different users. I imagine, in the future, there will be Windows : Developer Edition, that comes with some sort of Vista Pro and Visual Studio, or Windows : Home Edition, the comes with some sort of integration with XBox 360 integration and a slew of built in game subscriptions.

    These moves would shut out or down Windows ISVs, but would provide a bit more revenue growth for Microsoft. Were someone to cry anti-trust foul, Microsoft could, and has, pointed to Linux as a real competitor. This isn't unlikely. When Linux couldn't even run with many kinds of mice and had little hardware graphics acceleration, Microsoft claimed they were a competitor during the Netscape trial.

    It's the Dunkin Donuts defense, and it works. The backstory is that Dunkin Donuts drove Amy Joy out of business, but argued that it wasn't a monopoly because you could still buy donuts from Entemanns and other local bakeries. Microsoft is doing the same thing.

    And, the other thing, too, is that the consumer OS space really doesn't have much room for MS. Consumers generally don't go to the store to buy operating systems, all the MS money is in preloads. So, if consumers do switch to Linux, MS has already collected its first payment. Then, as most consumers do, they switch back to Windows, by going to the store and buying a copy of something like Vista. In other words, the more frequently a user switches back and forth between Windows and Linux, the more likely they will make Microsoft even more money.

    So they don't want to support Linux, but they don't want to quite kill it off either.
  • Non-sequitur (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:30PM (#19718781) Journal
    TFA is a complete and utter waste of time to read. It doesn't make sense to itself. It's something like:

    Microsoft doesn't care about Linux because people are starting to use it more and more, but not as much in America and America is going to hell in a handbasket so Microsoft really doesn't care if Linux eats their lunch if they do it slower and that helps Microsoft get to the corporations with Ubuntu in their back pocket. /TRIPE.
  • Microsoft's only interest is in capturing the dollars that may flow to Linux. Monopoly status doesn't magically come to an end like blowing up the Death Star with a single shot.

    I'm left wondering why anyone ponders this question any more. Maybe so nothing gets done?
    • Monopoly status doesn't magically come to an end like blowing up the Death Star with a single shot.

      Somehow I don't think Ma Bell [wikipedia.org] would agree with you there... The battle may've taken about 8 years, but in the end, all it took was a torpedo up that two-meter exhaust port.
  • Riding the Wave (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:43PM (#19718937)
    Microsoft's fortune was made on riding the wave - making money off the shift in the industry from proprietary hardware platforms to commodity based platforms. IBM was the big loser as it lost control of the platform they made popular. Meanwhile, every single (or close enough) "PC" was a payment to Microsoft no matter if it was IBM, Compaq, or Joe's Whitebox Store.

    Linux is a large part of the next wave - shifting the OS as proprietary product to commodity platform. But instead of IBM, this shift directly threatens not only Microsoft's core products but a large portion of their business model (and development). Microsoft is looking for a way to get on top of this wave as well.

    The IP shennanigans going on is simply Microsoft's attempt to gain control of Linux and hash out a way so that every commodity hardware platform that runs a commodity OS (specifically Linux) also includes a payment to Microsoft.
  • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:45PM (#19718967)

    Article summary:

    Microsoft blahblahblah Linux blahblahblah Corporations blahblahblah Users blahblahblah Doesn't Matter blahblahblah Or Does It blahblahblah Who Cares? blahblahblah Apparently, none of the above blahblahblah click here to make me some money.
  • by stim (732091) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:50PM (#19719027) Homepage
    I'm sorry but I have said this a thousand times, windows is not ready for the desktop. Every so often I install the newest incarnation XP, vista, what have you, hoping that they have gotten their act together but they have not. Until MS can make an operating system that 'just works' without grepping through cryptic registry keys or deciding what antivirus/spyware programs to run it just won't be good enough for grandma. And don't get me started on package management! Theres no standard way to install software, do I click setup.exe, setup.msi , install.bat ? Windows has come a long way, maybe 2008 will be the year of the MS Desktop. if you mod me funny instead of insightful then your a jerk!
    • by thethibs (882667)

      do I click setup.exe, setup.msi , install.bat ?

      Click on readme.txt and do what it says. This assumes, of course, that you can read.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      ...do I click setup.exe, setup.msi , install.bat ?
      Just clicky-clicky on whatever was attached to your email and be done with it.

  • >> "A latest column suggests that Microsoft may not be really interested in killing Linux for mainstream users. It's after something else, and it's getting its way already [...]"

    You know that phase when the person being dumped says "I never even liked you, so there"
    and a little while later comes crawling back saying "Please give me another chance"

    Cue the Microsoft "Try us again, we really changed this time" publicity campaign in 3,2,1...
  • Its simply not in their best interest to 'do something' about Linux or particularly BSD. Attacking this resource would simply destroy them. Where else would they get any ideas? I'm quite sure they realize their corporate culture and policies completely destroy innovation, resulting in what many say is one of the least innovative companies that has ever existed.

     
  • ...perhaps because it's not a threat ? The linux end-users market share is a tiny one, and MS just doesn't want to spend money where there is basically none to be made.
  • Standard FUD Play (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:09PM (#19719293)
    It's a bluff - if Microsoft went after say, Red Hat, they'd have to name the patents that were being "infringed". That would cause:

    1) Many of the patents to be invalidated due to prior art.
    2) OSS programmers to code around the "infringing" patents.
    3) IBM (and it's huge patent portfolio) to come after Microsoft. Since
          IBM has a huge vested interested in Linux.
    4) Enormously BAD publicity for Microsoft, and call for actual enforcement
          of the antitrust ruling against them.

    It would be an extremely self-destructive move. By talking about infringement (but not doing
    anything), they cast doubt over the competition and even get some gullible corporations to cough
    up some cash (woah! free money!). It's a FUD play, fairly standard in Microsoft's (anti-)
    competitive playbook.
  • Taco, please (Score:4, Informative)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:19PM (#19719391)
    Taco,

    Get this trash of an article off the front page. It's making /. look bad
  • Theft? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ryzzen (1078135)
    I had a thought. What if Microsoft isn't trying to destroy Linux, but trying to steal it? The contracts they are making are so neither company can sue the other. Now, if Microsoft were make these deals with every major Linux distributor and then were to start incorporating GPL'd code into their next version of Windows, who would be left to sue? Novell, Xandros, and Linspire already can't...

    Microsoft already knows Vista sucks, and stealing code would not be a new trick for them.
  • Software is support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by athloi (1075845) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:37PM (#19719595) Homepage Journal
    It's no longer possible to make money selling software alone to corporations. The support contracts and maintenance are part of the package and are in fact the biggest money maker. These were once add-ons, when the price of software itself was high relative to costs, but as complexity has expanded, so has the cost of production and with it, the tendency toward bugs and incompatibilities.

    As a result, corporations aren't going to buy any software that does not come with support, because those gotchas can delay vital money-producing work. Software companies have quite sensibly as a result been drifting closer to a license/service model, where software is "sold" but that purchase is really an entry point to the purchase of yearly support contracts and licenses that entitle them to updates.

    Microsoft is not concerned about Linux because Microsoft makes money from selling its support contracts. Their goal at this point is not to slander Linux, but to leave it as a free option with no clear support path, because Linux is divided into thousands of distros with no clear market leader.

    This can benefit OSS/FOSS in that where Microsoft tackles the broadest, unspecialized market, Linux distros can shine in specialized areas, for example music production, and offer unofficial support to those who are smaller companies or individuals wanting to forge their own path and not be dependent on expensive support contracts.

    What OSS/FOSS should do at this point is to cease any emulation of Microsoft or Google as market leaders, and look closer to the Apple model, which is selling a specialized service to a number of specialized needs. So goes my experience, and whatever "wisdom" has been imparted to me by it.

  • I think the IP angle will run out. Microsoft if counting on companies being panicked by Linux and that's just not happening. Some are but there is far more adoption going on and that's probably why they played this card. Why not play it, get what mileage you can out of it until it's useless? I think that's the idea. The IP will not pass muster in the courts and they know this. In the meantime, they sign up some skittish Linux companies, keep some corp users in line, and wait.
    • by thethibs (882667)

      Microsoft is offering patent indemnities to linux users. That is one sure-fire way to scare large corporations away from linux.

      I don't usually think of Slashdot as a source of comic relief, but what the hey.

  • The large MS customers - governments, military, fortune 500s - have spoken and told them that they want a 'full service'. MS should support everything in the data centre, like IBM does. MS eventually listened and is beginning to do that.

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