January 23, 2004

Why Competitors Aren't Licensing Microsoft's Tech

Microsoft's anti-trust judgement only has one fly in the ointment, insufficient competitors are licensing Microsoft protocols and other technology. The plaintiffs seem mystified why this is happening. Nobody with any sense of technology industry history should be puzzled.

The problem is simple. These sorts of licensing deals depend on the licensor dealing fairly with the licensee and not attempting to introduce incompatibilities and instabilities in the licensed implementations. Microsoft has a long and well deserved reputation for illegal and underhanded dealing to introduce exactly those sorts of incompatibilities, testing competitors products and delaying shipment until they competitor's product looks bad and it looks as if it is the competitor's, not Microsoft's fault. Uncovering the subterfuge takes years of legal footwork and is a chancy thing to get recompense. The two common responses are to let it go and to create a company consisting of the destroyed competitive product (DR-DOS was an example) whose sole major asset is the lawsuit for damages.

Would you license under such circumstances? I certainly wouldn't. There is one, and only one way to restore confidence in Microsoft's honesty and that is to not use the anti-trust laws the next time around (and there will be a next time around, you can count on it) but use the criminal fraud, conspiracy, and RICO statutes complete with perp walks on camera.

As long as the people who have engineered the great computing frauds of the 80s and 90s continue to have leadership positions in Microsoft to this day, Microsoft technology licensing will always be for the insignificant, the foolhardy, and the suicidally courageous.

Posted by TMLutas at January 23, 2004 01:31 PM