February 03, 2004

Microsoft Explained

I present here, the best article I've seen in quite a while that explains why Microsoft is so distrusted by its competitors and why there is such fear and loathing in tech land directed at the Redmond giant.

Microsoft has, as a matter of policy, done exactly as William Safire describes the NSC attacking the USSR. Beyond the usual FUD jousting and trash talking of competitors' products that normal competition entails. Microsoft has been rumored to, and the rumors have been proven in court, tailor its code to break its competitors' products in a way that throws the blame on the product, not on the Microsoft sabotage.

Unlike the USSR, competitors are not engaged in any sort of theft or underhanded dealing. They took in good faith that Microsoft was not committing a fraud and that its documentation was accurate, its legally binding contractual promises of working with its partner/competitors on interoperability were legitimate, and that they could treat it like any other technology company.

Microsoft has broken faith so many times that nobody believes them anymore and so even judicially ordered compulsory licensing schemes for Microsoft technology generate few takers.

One other thing that Safire's Cold War story brought to mind. The story itself never came out to the public until long after the USSR was dead. DR-DOS may have eventually won its owners a nice $40M settlement but as a product, it died a long, long time ago. Microsoft banks $40M in a matter of hours. For it, paying a fine years down the road is nothing.

Posted by TMLutas at February 3, 2004 10:43 AM