Microsoft’s unwinnable war on Linux and Open Source

Apple Store“How is an untouchable superpower defeated? In many cases, it foolishly engages itself in an unwinnable war and simply consumes itself,” Daniel Eran writes for RoughlyDrafted.

“Microsoft, threatened by the encroachment of competition from open source, has long waged a detached propaganda war against free software and in particular Linux, but has recently escalated its conflict into a full blown attack,” Eran writes.

Eran writes, “As Microsoft begins waging its all out war against Linux, how far will its popularity decline? And will that war be conveniently limited to a far away land, or might it cause fear and distress to Microsoft’s own customers? Would Microsoft’s own customers be targeted as potential enemies in massive, RIAA-style crackdowns?”

“When asked by Fortune whether Microsoft would ever seek to ‘sue its customers for royalties, the way the record industry has,’ Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer answered, ‘That’s not a bridge we’ve crossed, and not a bridge I want to cross today on the phone with you,'” Eran writes.

Eran writes, “That should certainly scare the Windows out of Microsoft’s customers.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

30 Comments

  1. Microsoft is the king of hypocrisy. First, they claim they support the open source community. Then they make symbolic (read bogus) deals with companies providing open source software solutions that competes with their own offerings. Lastly, they double cross their “partners” and then try to sue or force them out of business. Ridiculous.

  2. Open source will never be extinguished by M$…the best thing they could do is to use their bankroll to actually support it. Noone trusts them anymore. I think Apple should embrace again and help developers recreate an opensource Opendoc. Anyone remember Opendoc?
    What a great use for Apples upcoming flash laptop with 80211.n…choose the particular portion of the app you want and use it for what you need it for and do it all online. Imagine an opendoc, portion accessable FinalCut Studio, which currently takes up all my hard drive space, all accessed and run in an opendoc environment from two flash laptops in both NY and LA at the same time, all integrated with iChat and saved on a server in Nebraska.

  3. The idea that Microsoft could push the wrong buttons and dramatically weaken its position i the market is not that far fetched.

    The world has steadily been moving away from MS in the past few years, even if in subtle ways. Open-source and non-proprietary are gaining in mindshare and acceptance.

    What MS has more than anything else is a monopoly position, but if they try to crack down on Linux even many of their customers who use mixed Linux and Windows set ups could be pushed over the edge towards Linux and it could very easily start a snowball / chain reaction event.

    If that happened, Microsoft could fall faster than anyone could predict. It would not be like IBM that redefined itself and became another type of very profitable entity, if MS were to collapse it could literally cease to exist in any meaningful way.

    For that to happen, there’d have to be a viable alternative to Windows and Office, which don’t quite exist yet, but MS threatening Linux and OpenOffice could push things in that direction.

  4. This is it folks! Sell your MS stock and watch the empire crumble.

    They are in deep and don’t have a grappling hook to get themselves out.
    This makes me want to dump my Windows partition and resize Kubuntu.(OS X is my primary OS.)

  5. Has Microsoft ever sued anyone for using their patents? I don’t think so (answers please).

    Has anyone ever sued Microsoft for using their patents? Oh yes, dozens, maybe hundreds of times. Microsoft settles out of court with bundles of cash.

    Maybe like what happened with Novell recently, MS gave the $400 million. Unusual about this is that we know how much was paid, we never found out how much MS paid Apple soon after Steve came back and cleared the decks.

    Here’s a good read on the subject, Ooh, ooh, the bogeyman is gonna getcha with his stupid patents. Or maybe not.
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070513234519615

  6. I consider MicroSoft (and their vile lawyers) to be the one of the worst diseases plaguing the human race. I also consider Apple, MDN and RoughlyDrafted to be some of the greatest gifts to mankind. We shall prevail.

  7. I love Gates and Ballmer. They run MS like I ran Chicago. Intimidation, the protection rackets and liquidation of the competition, preferably illegal because it’s easier.

    ‘Course, it helps when the cops and politicians are in your pocket.

  8. This war has already been fought by two non-freeware heavies…Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro. Lotus lost the look and feel case. Since Linux is an OS too, and the OS does not violate any MS patents…MS is screwed. This is over before it started. Oh yeah don’t forget the recent supreme court decision on what constitutes a defendable patent. Claiming a red close window button is proprietary but a blue one isn’t ain’t gonna cut it anymore.

    Just my $0.02

  9. Someone, maybe one of the smaller, braver companys with less to loose, need to stand up to MS and call their bluff in court.

    Get them to lay their cards (or patents) on the table for all to see, and see how serious they are about this.

    Then we can all have a good laugh when the Courts throw out M$’s claims, or more usefully, get the Courts to actually look into what can and cannot be patented.

    Will M$ risk a Court saying something they’ve patented is too ‘general’ to be protected by law..?
    Will they risk the flood-Gates opening..?

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