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01.22.08

Is Microsoft ‘Pulling a Netscape’ on Flash, Firefox, VMWare?

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Windows at 10:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Silverlight

If you are new to the great dangers of Silverlight, then you are advised to read some of our writings from earlier this month, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The European Commission currently investigates Microsoft’s plan to hijack the Web using proprietary .NET technology that is embedded in Web browsers. Microsoft will play innocent, but the company knows far too well what it strives to accomplish by this. It will achieve growth by spreading such proprietary software through its own Web properties and partners. It’s happening as we speak.

What’s even more disturbing than Microsoft’s plan to increase its control and widen its grip on the Web is news about the force-feeding (push comes to shove) of Internet Explorer 7. What’s new in Mary Jo Foley’s coverage of this is the addition of Silverlight as part of Windows update, which is of course automatic.

There are still two more weeks until Microsoft pushes its latest Internet Explorer 7 update to corporate users via its Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) patch mechanism.

But this week — specifically on January 22 — Microsoft will make its Adobe-Flash-alternative Silverlight available via WSUS, as well as via Microsoft Update (MU). In order to have Silverlight 1.0 pushed to users, admins will need to select it; it will be an optional, not automatic, download.

“The point to make here is that Microsoft is doing it again. What about Adobe and Flash?”Ponder this: can Mozilla, Apple and Opera push their latest Web browsers via automatic updates of an operating system? Can they have their browsers preinstalled? Will OEM’s be permitted to remove Internet Explorer? Can they? Will they be allowed to add additional browsers? Mind Microsoft’s older deals with OEMs (leaked documents) which reveal exclusionary contracts that discriminate against rival browsers, notably Netscape.

The point to make here is that Microsoft is doing it again. What about Adobe and Flash? Can they have the plug-in preinstalled? Can Flash be obtained using automatic updates of Windows? Of course not. That’s how it all begins. Since we mentioned Citrix and XenSource a couple of days ago, it’s worth adding that Microsoft intends to use similar tricks (prebundling) to fight VMWare. We will return to virtualisation in the next post.

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5 Comments

  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    January 22, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Gravatar

    No matter how ludicrous Microsoft are, I think they’ll eventually fall under their own weight. People out there don’t want to install software anymore. The more Microsoft enables virtualization, the more they are cannibalizing themselves, since they open up scenarios that would have been forbidden just a few years ago. Virtualization allows anyone to run an old operating system version on their computer and as such completely disregard Microsoft’s forced upgrades. It’s a big deal in the long run and will kill Windows cash cow. For the Office cash cow, it’s about the same : the more Internet services they open up (like viewing Office documents in full fidelity with just HTML in a web browser), the more they give reasons not to purchase Office software anymore.

    And, since Microsoft can’t seem to be able to fix dll hell and component versioning (the Windows installer MSI is flawed since day one, Microsoft hired consultants to help them fix dll hell and versioning hell, but said consultants have since then moved on to other subjects), I also have good hope that Silverlight updates will crash themselves and create PR disasters.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    January 23, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Gravatar

    Is there anything we can do ? I mean, seriously, Microsoft is attempting to hijack the web with silverlight and make .net a requirement to .. browse the world wide web, can’t we do something to prevent this? I don’t know, perhaps someone should begin information campaigns? I guess we might need people to boycott any attempt of websites to move to it as well.

    It would be a shame if Microsoft is able to pull out a netscape once again, as if the world did learned nothing from the past.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Gravatar

    Victor, that’s just what appears to be happening. At the moment we ought to just rely the most on Vinje et al in the Commission. A large group which includes IBM reported this abuse approximately a year ago. I don’t know what took the EC so long to respond and take action.

  4. Straddle my Paddle said,

    January 23, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Someone needs to ask EFF to take action on this.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 23, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Gravatar

    I was thinking more along the lines of FSF or some standards committee. It seems to be beyond the scope of EFF. I’ll drop Brad Templeton an E-mail later.

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