…It seems to have ‘killed’ it
This awful new strategy has become worrying. Oracle, Microsoft and Nokia (maybe even Sun, based on Matt Aslett’s new headline ““Why MySQL sold out”) think that they can just buy competitors and then throw them down the ashtray while extracting anything that’s left in them which is still valuable.
This post is mainly about XenSource. Paula Rooney writes about Citrix:
Citrix strays far from XenSource’s original open source mission
“Citrix is not a virtualization company,” said Phil Montgomery, Senior Director of Citrix’s Virtualization and Management Division. “We’re not trying to be another VMware. Citrix is an application delivery software company.”
In spite of that new positioning, XenSource is — or was — a virtualization company. But the competitive equation is now Microsoft + Citrix versus VMware, Montgomery told ZDNet last night.
Matt Asay takes it further:
Citrix strips XenSource of virtualization, open source…everything
Citrix either got completely snowed in the acquisition or, much more likely, it’s getting pressure from its bosom-buddy, Microsoft. What it’s not getting is much value for its $500 million.
Meanwhile, thoughts about Zimbra come to mind again [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here is an annoying new writeup which someone has just brought up in a Web forum:
Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang’s Company-Wide Memo Regarding the Microsoft Takeover Bid
Zimbra will be the first product taken out back to be shot in the head once the Microsoft takeover goes through.
Also today, Oracle’s true motives are perhaps made easier to see. It doesn’t seem as though Oracle ever really cared about free open source software. From Matt Asay:
Mike Olson, co-founder of Sleepycat, leaves Oracle
Mike sold Sleepyat, an open-source embedded database company, to Oracle back in February 2006. Much to my aggravation, I’ve never heard a negative word out of his mouth about his two-year stay with Oracle, either in public or private. Mike is class and gave to his employer what was due, and then some.
Remember what we wrote about Oracle’s pointless acquisitions in the past. They were just an anti-MySQL strategy (leaving MySQL ‘naked’).
I don’t mean to incite panic, but I’m writing this as quickly as it comes up, so I am still a tad emotional about it.
This is a truly filthy, anticompetitive behaviour that we increasingly see. It’s a case of paying rivals to stop competing or spending money on sabotaging them. Novell was a similar case. When will regulators finally step in and stop this? █
Update: Another read-worthy new analysis below.
What Microsoft can learn from Oracle: greed and market share
So while Microsoft attempts to persuade the world that it just wants to befriend everyone, Oracle buys, fires thousands of people, and makes a lot of money in the process. Oracle’s method isn’t pretty and it’s certainly not the only way (nor is it the way that I’d personally choose), but it has been effective.
For Microsoft to compete it may have to start owning up to its ambition. It wants market share. It wants dominance. It wants to remove customer choice. Just like Oracle.
It might as well tell it like it is.
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No room for critics
The broken process [1, 2, 3] in Geneva will be very secretive, but we will be keeping busy during that week. Behind the scenes, Microsoft is already very busy.
Microsoft tries it with little success. It invests into European interoperability lobbying, sponsors a lot of conferences but thus is forced to spearhead the call for Interoperability — and “choice”.
Thankfully, in the BRM there will be a so-called moderator (or a fox watching the hen house).
As I have mentioned, one of my jobs this month is for Microsoft, to play Devil’s Advocate with the Ecma responses … –
This comes from Microsoft’s own ‘Wikipedia editor’, Rick Jelliffe. This was far from the only incident where Microsoft paid or promised favours in change for OOXML support. What on earth will it be in Geneva? Portugal and Ireland are represented by Microsoft employees and even devil’s advocate is a man who was hired by Microsoft. It’s just like watching a puppet show routine yet again.
If there was a cartoonist here, here is an assignment idea: several Microsoft employees and partners sit around the table pushing papers around. Some attendants are not Microsoft partners, but they sit on a large pile of Microsoft-branded cash. Then, like in a wine-tasting party, they all savour the wonderful aroma of that huge pile of paper called OOXML and basically pass their 5 days in Geneva throwing paper planes that are made from OOXML specifications and a single printout of comments from the Web site asking for public feedback. █
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A couple of days ago we stressed the fact that even Linus Torvalds has become concerned about software patents. These patents need to be eliminated because no matter how ridiculous the law is and how much corruption was involved in making it so, it does becomes a factor. People keep speaking about a reform, but whose side will the reform work for? Those with the lobbyists and the money, surely.
Reverse Reform: Making Things Even Worse
As Ars Technica might put it, a reform would not obviate the need for the EFF’s work. Instead, the proposed reform would put more barriers that hinder the EFF. It’s a case of making the system even worse under a disguise which makes it seem like an improvement.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation supports the Patent Reform Act of 2007, but the group does worry that the law in its present state could reform the EFF’s Patent Busting Project right out of existence.
Via Digital Majority:
This patent reform is about software companies who tries to get rid of the disadvantages of software patents, while keeping the advantages.
This is not gonna work.
The solution is to scrap software patents entirely.
This is not going to solve anything for small software companies that cannot even afford to go to court.
Patents: Only If You’re Rich
As was stated last month, if you are an obscure inventor, then your chances of obtaining (and keeping) a patent are slim. The Register’s new article puts it into perspective.
CIPA estimates that the new rules will save more than €7,000 in costs per patent, on average. Previously an applicant could get the right to have a European Patent Office patent just by filing in English, French or German.
The quote about talks only about the “savings”, but not the actual cost. That is why they call it an |intellectual monopoly”. Individuals can rarely afford to take things to court. All you are left with are extremely wealthy companies piling up patents which can be used offensively at times of trouble, or be sold to patent trolls. Would these patents be used offensively? They already are.
Who Needs to Develop When Lawsuits Are More Profitable?
Have a look at this new article, “Patent Exhaustion”.
Okay, this post is a bit inside baseball. But some lawyers and law students may at least find this of interest. In an upcoming case, Quanta v. LG Electronics, the Supreme Court may refine the “patent exhaustion” doctrine to make it more difficult for patentees to extract royalties from multiple parties for the same device.
This is brought up in response to patent trolls that sometimes sue over 100 companies at the same time. This is madness.
Junk Patents Du Jour
In case you wish to see bizarrely-simple patents, have a look at the figures in this new article.
A European patent application filed by Nintendo has reveals a raft of ways the console giant could extend the use of the Wii Remote, ranging from the strange to the downright ridiculous.
You will find a video with many other ridiculous patents here. █
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Bribery: just “an unfortunate accident”
Spin doctors. Don’t we just love them? Have a look at another pointless and biased articles from Australia, which being a “No” country (on OOXML), has had Microsoft hijack its press with incentives and brainwash [1, 2].
When asked about a vote-rigging incident that occurred in relation to the upcoming ISO decision last year, Microsoft’s Thomas described the incident as “an unfortunate accident”.
And… the propaganda continues. Here you have another attempt to rewrite an embarrassing history. But we never forget. Neither does ComputerWorld which published the following at the time:
Microsoft admits Swedish employee promised incentives for Open XML support
Microsoft Corp. admitted Wednesday that an employee at its Swedish subsidiary offered monetary compensation to partners for voting in favor of the Office Open XML document format’s approval as an ISO standard.
How many other countries has this happened in without Microsoft getting caught red-handed (leaked and verified messages)? It seems like quite a lot, but there isn’t always a ‘smoking gun’. Examples are appended at the bottom for your reading pleasures.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Microsoft’s Mahugh has denied ever making a damaging (and very frank) statement. About OOXML he said:
“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!”
The person who caught him on record insists that he did indeed say this. Is Doug Mahugh lying? What’s more, the same person draws attention to another outrageous statement from Microsoft.
However the latest whine from Microsoft blaming IBM for its misfortune of OOXML at ISO revealed something interesting. Read what the Senior Directors for XML Technology said:
“Let’s be very clear,” [Jean] Paoli said. “It has been fostered by a single company — IBM. If it was not for IBM, it would have been business as usual for this standard.”
Business as usual for this standard? If he thinks its usual to fast track a 6000 page document with thousands of criticisms and due for a huge overhaul after the BRM, he must be deluded. Unless he meant “Business as usual for our cash cow?” – the cash cow being Microsoft Office. Yes, conjecture I know, but that makes much more sense.
The vanity meter goes wild. █
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Time for a wedding after years of relationship?
It was several months that Novell expressed its intentions to buy small companies to find growth. BusinessWeek repeats this fairly old story (circa June 2007).
Novell (NOVL), the struggling software maker once among the computer industry’s best known names, is trying to reclaim relevance through an embrace of open-source software and a détente with onetime rival Microsoft (MSFT). Now, having stemmed a multiyear revenue decline and beefed up its balance sheet, Novell plans to start acquiring smaller software companies in a quest for growth.
This talks about “beef
ed[ing] up its balance sheet,” so you are encouraged to see the darker side of Novell's finances.
In any event, since Novell already behaves like a Microsoft subsidiary or Linux division to Microsoft in many ways, the following modest proposal to Novell is made:
My suggestion? Buy up all the .NET open source companies and become the center of the open source Microsoft universe. There isn’t a whole lot else that will be meaningful and since Novell already went to the dark side they should be happy as the Darth Vader of open source.
Remember that Novell does put many of its card on Mono [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. █
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“Microsoft expressed disappointment at our views and said “a better story” would have been the positive benefits OpenXML…”
–Microsoft pressures ITWire for better OOXML publicity in 2007
Recently, we have seen yet again how Microsoft tames journalists. If the company cannot earn good publicity, then it attempts to buy it. If it cannot buy the media company, then it turns to individuals.
Promotional journalism hasn’t a place in this world, but this appears to have been the case in Malaysia, not just in Australia [1, 2]. We have already covered many examples of this. Here is another one.
Another funny thing happened. Someone had a copy of yesterday’s Tech&U which had a feature article by one of the journalists who got a free ticket to Washington. The article is currently online here “Charting path of OpenXML.” We all had a chuckle because we all saw right through it and one of the attendees said “This isn’t an article, its a press release from a vendor!”
There is more from the same blog about poor journalism and articles that are promotional.
In essence, the article title which states “RosettaNet in Aggressive Move to Push OOXML Tech” actually should instead read “RosettaNet in Aggressive move to Push Microsoft Office 2007”. And this is a fair position for RosettaNet to take, as Microsoft Office 2007 provides an affordable interface to interacting with the RosettaNet platform the the growing SME market.
It is not about OOXML’s special features. Its about Microsoft Office features. Its very similar to the Halal Hub Open XML System. OOXML is just tacked on for marketing purposes to lead up to this months BRM.
We mentioned Malaysia quite a lot in January, primarily due to the fact that many article with Microsoft’s venom came from there [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. █
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