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04.14.10

Another Example of Microsoft’s Platform Xenophobia and Chronic Dumping

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice, Oracle at 2:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Racist spices

Summary: Microsoft discriminates against platforms other than its own, but more interestingly it may be trying to suppress OpenOffice.org adoption (and thus development)

MICROSOFT is all about exclusion sometimes. To give just a bunch of recent examples:

The latest example of exclusion is the following:

“They [Microsoft] didn’t cite the Mac and Linux versions [as reasons for the refusal] but it’s quite clear that’s the reason.”

This relates to Xbox, which performs rather poorly. The short story is that Microsoft allegedly turned down a company because it was cross-platform-supportive, not Windows-exclusive. There were many other reports about that, including for example this more complete quote:

Amanita founder Jakub Dvorsky told Joystiq: “They told us, ‘It’s not Microsoft-exclusive, we don’t want it.’ They didn’t cite the Mac and Linux versions [as reasons for the refusal] but it’s quite clear that’s the reason. It means if we want to release the game on XBLA we must throw, probably, most of the profit out of the window — to the publisher. Just because we created Mac and Linux versions.”

As a secondary item worth paying attention to, Microsoft may attempt to discourage OpenOffice.org development at Oracle by playing the price game, whereby it tries to kill competitors, then elevate the prices.

Perhaps provoked by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s pronouncement that “we want to put Ubuntu and free software on every single consumer PC that ships from a major manufacturer, the ultimate maverick move,” Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) saw fit to shed some new light on Office Starter 2010, Ina Fried, over at CNet, reports. This free edition of its Office software — which will not include PowerPoint but will have crippled versions of Excel and Word — will be given away with consumer machines in an effort to poison the well for competing open source productivity suites like OpenOffice (which includes a PowerPoint-compatible presentation application and full-featured spreadsheet and word processing programs.)

Microsoft appears to have woken up to the fact that free open-source Office clones like OpenOffice may prove to be the thin end of a very slippery wedge, and if users discover they can get by with it instead of paying for a full version of Microsoft’s Office, then the next step will be to switch to Ubuntu (or some other Linux) instead of paying for Windows. Far better to nip the whole thing in the bud by giving away Office — albeit a cut down version with cheesy ads that rotate every 45 seconds — for free, while dangling the chance to upgrade to a fuller featured version instantly (by purchasing an unlocking key) in front of frustrated users’ noses.

Is Microsoft just trying to starve the competition which is the biggest ODF bearer? In relation to Netscape, former Microsoft Vice President Paul Maritz once wrote: “We are going to cut off their air supply. Everything they’re selling, we’re going to give away for free.” This strategy ought to be familiar.

“They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”

Robert X. Cringely

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3 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    April 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Gravatar

    I would call it restraint of trade (the X-box part of this article). Time to look up Sherman….

  2. NotZed said,

    April 27, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Gravatar

    openoffice must be hurting them badly – but a few freebies for consumers wont make a lick of difference to that.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Remember how Ballmer and Gates made a surprise visit to Sun and demanded that Sun pays Microsoft for each download of OOo (for alleged software patent violations). Schwartz revealed it only weeks ago.

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