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06.12.10

Latest Examples of Microsoft’s “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Servers, Virtualisation, VMware at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emergency

Summary: How Microsoft embraced, extended, and extinguished companies and products; examples from Ulteo, sub-notebooks, VMware, and Novell

MICROSOFT is famous for its “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” strategy (see Wikipedia for details) — a strategy that Microsoft admits engaging in, as shown in Comes vs Microsoft exhibits.

A few days ago we argued that Microsoft’s Ulteo partnership is a mistake, or rather, this is a mistake for Ulteo to make and an opportunity for Microsoft to harm GNU/Linux from the inside. Pogson calls this “partnership” “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” and he explains why:

If Ulteo starts to make big bucks with this “partnership” are they going to want to change to a pure GNU/Linux play, ever? Nope. That is the plan. Maintain the monopoly one way or another. Buy out all competition. Make users of competitive products pay a tax any way you can.

Watch out Ulteo. Do not sell your soul to the devil for a few dollars.

Another thing that Microsoft is applying the “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” treatment to is sub-notebooks (Microsoft EEE’d the EEE PC). GNU/Linux used to thrive on this form factor and prices hovered around $200 at a time when this was unprecedented (excepting OLPC). Here are some posts about what Microsoft did to the whole phenomenon by ‘embracing’ it:

The short story is that Microsoft was obstructing competition and got away with it. Liliputing says that “Windows XP netbooks are officially an endangered species… again”

Microsoft had planned to stop selling Windows XP ages ago. But netbooks have been largely responsible for keeping the operating system going long past its original expiration date. But that will all change in a few months. Microsoft is reminding us that Windows XP Home will no longer be available for pre-installation on netbooks come October 22, 2010.

Right now, some of these are released with a useless version of Windows, which compels one to just go with GNU/Linux (assuming that option is available at all, especially in places like the United States). Sadly for Microsoft, GNU/Linux is a moving target and currently it beats Vista 7 on tablets/Slates/phones. Will Microsoft pull dirty tricks with OEMs like it always does? It has already cost Microsoft billions and it shows.

We must admit that there is something a little odd going on with Microsoft’s “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” of Novell. If Microsoft boosters are to be believed, Novell moves from Microsoft to another company which is run by Microsoft executives (that constitutes another “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” example).

Microsoft hits back on expanded Novell-VMware alliance

It’s relatively rare that Microsoft execs comment officially on Redmond’s competitors. Something’s got to really hit a nerve before that happens. It seems that occurred this week, based on a June 9 post on the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog.

Novell and VMWare announced an expanded partnership on June 9, via which VMware will distribute and support the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. VMware also announced plans to standardize its virtual-appliance-based product on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The newly minted deal didn’t sit well with Microsoft — especially because Microsoft execs love to trot out Novell as an example of Microsoft’s interoperability love. Microsoft and Novell announced a similar distribution and support deal a couple of years ago (which also included patent-protection clauses that irked a number of customers and players in the open source camp). And just last week, Microsoft execs highlighted new high-performance advances achieved by Novell and Microsoft in their joint lab in Cambridge, Mass.

In a June 9 post, entitled “VMWare figures out that virtualization is an OS feature,” Patrick O’Rourke, director of communications, Server and Tools Business, highlights the 3.5 year partnership between MIcrosoft and Novell, claiming it has benefited more than 475 joint customers.

Another Microsoft booster wrote about it. It’s still a move against Red Hat, which works quite well for Microsoft. That’s what pro-Microsoft sources are saying anyway. This pro-Microsoft virtualisation blog even cites the Gartner Group for support. Looking outside their biased scope, we find another type of coverage that continues well into the weekend [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some of the coverage is just being reposted by IDG (as usual), which put a copy of Paul Krill’s early article in its UK-based domain. Amy Newman wonders, “Will Server Virtualization Save Novell?”

It’s been a long time since Novell held center stage. One would would have to go back more than a decade, to the heady days of NetWare and GroupWise, to find Novell at the top of its game. These days, you’re more likely to hear Novell described as “a company going nowhere fast.”

Harsh, no doubt, but the SUSE Linux OS Novell picked up back in 2003 has barely picked up enough steam to be an also-ran against Red Hat’s Linux. And Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) has lumbered along since then. In March, it received an unsolicited bid for purchase from the hedge fund Elliot Associates. Novell’s board of directors turned it down, believing the company to be worth more than the $950 million, or $5.75 per share, offered. At the time it said the company said it was looking at other options, including “a sale of the company.”

Novell has ambitions in Fog Computing these days (we wrote many articles to show this in May and June), so whether Novell succeeds or not, it hardly matters for software freedom and GNU/Linux anymore. Novell is just more of the same problem. Speaking of a problem that fights against another (like Apple versus Microsoft), one reader wrote to tell us about the end of the SCO case [1, 2]. “The SCO case went on so long,” he argued, “that Novell is no longer one of the good guys. The only ‘good guys’ in the SCO case were PJ and the folks running Groklaw. Novell is going to be a severe problem because it will do what Microsoft partners do — push a Microsoft agenda while calling it Open Source.” Yes, Microsoft embraced and extended Novell over the years when former Microsoft executives entered Novell and GNU/Linux developers were laid off (unless they worked on projects like Mono and Moonlight).

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