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Microsoft Attacks Open Source by Comparing Today’s Products to Open Source Rivals From Windows 2003 Era

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Videos, Windows at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like the scorpion and the tortoise

Dead scorpions

Summary: Additional proof that the “Open Source” policy at Microsoft is still something along the lines of “We are not allowed to be seen as attacking Free software but quietly we have to”

THE RECENT REMARK from Hernán Rincón (insulting “Open Source” [1, 2, 3], which gets adopted widely where he works for Microsoft around Brazil) have helped a lot of people see that Microsoft it no friend of “Open Source”, but this does not prevent Microsoft from carrying on with this PR charade. Microsoft’s booster Marius Oiaga is helping them right now:

Microsoft, once the anti-open source poster child, says that the company has evolved as the world changed and that it is now committed to openness.

Watch them use their beloved Novell to spread this lie:

Microsoft made a critical move in 2006, when it inked a Windows and Linux interoperability alliance with open source vendor Novell.

Since then, both Microsoft and Novell have made investments into making sure that Windows Server and SUSE Linux can play nice together for customers that need to run both platforms in their heterogeneous environments.

Let’s face it, Microsoft’s biggest cash cow is suffering (that’s Office) and while Microsoft keeps pretending to harbour “open source” on Windows it is actually attacking OpenOffice.org for Windows, even though it’s “open source” and for Windows. What does that say about Microsoft’s attitude towards “open source” on any platform at all?

Microsoft’s hiring of people specifically to fight OpenOffice.org (and LibreOffice or Lotus, by extension) is something that we covered before [1, 2]. It has turned rather pathetic. Microsoft is now blatantly lying in new videos. “Source of one of the quotes in #MSFTvOOo video,” says Jan from Red Hat, is a case “from 2006(!) about Windows 2003(!)” (he also gave a pointer to Microsoft.com). Someone who prefers to remain anonymous has chosen to study Microsoft’s ‘beef’ in this latest FUD campaign and here is what he or she found, based on this video:

The people quoted in the spot against OpenOffice:

James Fleming, Infrastructure and Support Manager, Speedy Hire
Jeff Cimmerer, Director of Technology for the Pittsford School District
David Sterling, ICT Manager, Central Scotland Police
Bülent Türker, Product Manager, Scarves Department, SARAR Group
Eugene Mariotto, ICT Director, Cobra Automotive Technologies
Eros Borgogelli, Information Systems Coordinator, Ciar
Randall C Kennedy, InfoWorld
Tisome Nugent, Educator, Orange County Public Schools
Sergey Sakharov, Business Process Optimization Manager, Art of Transport Logistics
Darek Muraszko, Information Systems Admninistrator, Kaczmarski Inkasso
Igor Gentosh, Head of System Integration Department, Kredobank JSC
Tiziano Battilana, Information Systems Coordinator, Euromobil Group
Joerg Lenze, System Administrator, Heinrich Berndes Haushaltstechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Leonid Medvediev, Head of IT Department, CJSC SPC, BorschagivskiyChemical and Pharmaceutical Plant
Bailey Mitchell, Chief Information Officer, Forsyth County Schools

I am in the process of checking the quotes and I have noticed they are effectively taken from quite old “success” stories, here some examples:

David Sterling, ICT Manager, Central Scotland Police
Source of the quotes:


This is a “success” story of 2006 about a migration to Office 2003/Windows 2003. Linux desktops in 2003 and OpenOffice in 2003 are ancient IMHO, not really a good way to convince customers NOW :-)

You can find more, for example:

Tisome Nugent, Educator, Orange County Public Schools


Joerg Lenze, System Administrator, Heinrich Berndes Haushaltstechnik GmbH & Co. KG

Etc. etc.

All you will find are arguments on how the lock-in of Microsoft Office makes sure noone can switch to alternatives.

Decide for yourself :-)

Here is some coverage about Microsoft’s latest steps (the video is said to have been removed/gone private, probably for PR/damage control reasons):

  • Microsoft launches attack on OpenOffice

    Microsoft has a long-established practice of disarming competition by not acknowledging it, because acknowledging the competition gives it power. Well, the Redmond giant has changed stance when it comes to OpenOffice and launched a video attack on the free alternative to the Office software suite.

  • Microsoft posts video of customers criticizing OpenOffice

    A few hours after this story was published, Microsoft set the video as “private,” meaning it can no longer be viewed by the public. We found it hosted on Microsoft.com, however, so if you have Silverlight, go watch it there.

  • Get the FUD is Back…

    Educational organizations get locked-in and so do students. What happens if a student goes to work at a place that uses OpenOffice.org on GNU/Linux? Are they doomed? Nonsense. It’s a GUI and they point, click and type. For a school district to spend $millions annually on software they can do without should be a crime or at least a breach of fiduciary responsibility to use the tax payers’ money wisely. What does it teach a kid that his school spends more on software that they don’t need when the system has to be cut back somewhere else because the premise of the whole situation was that the budget was tight? Do you think they might have to cut something that does educate students, Homer?

    Oh! The Horror! The Horror of educational systems that cannot do the maths. There are thousands of systems that have deployed OpenOffice.org and GNU/Linux with no problems except what to do with the savings.

  • Microsoft Gives its Blessing to OpenOffice.org

    In due course, more details emerged of how Mindcraft had been able to draw directly on support from Microsoft when tuning the system, but had not involved Red Hat, whose distribution was being used for the tests, in the same way. This meant that several important tweaks that would have improved the latter’s performance were lacking. Indeed, it later turned out that the tests had actually been conducted in a Microsoft laboratory.


    It seems that Microsoft has forgotten this important lesson. For it has put together a three-minute video of customers explaining why they switched from OpenOffice.org to Microsoft Office.

    The criticisms made in the video are not really the point – they are mostly about OpenOffice.org not being a 100% clone of Microsoft Office, and compatibility problems with Microsoft’s proprietary formats. The key issue is the exactly the same as it was for the Mindcraft benchmarks. You don’t compare a rival’s product with your own if it is not comparable. And you don’t make this kind of attack video unless you are really, really worried about the growing success of a competitor.

    Just as it did in 1999 for GNU/Linux, Apache and Samba, the company has now clearly announced that OpenOffice.org is a serious rival to Microsoft Office, and should be seriously considered by anyone using the latter.

    Thanks Microsoft.

  • Alternatives to Microsoft Office 2010


    The most popular open source office solution is OpenOffice, original released as an office suite for Linux but later released for Windows.

    OpenOffice features the Writer, Calc, Impress and Base applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and database management, all free, while technical support is provided in the form of help documents on the website and a directory of consultants, although this last option is intended only for businesses. OpenOffice is available from download.openoffice.org.

    Note that in the near future, OpenOffice will be available as LibreOffice.

    Oracle Open Office

    If Open Office appeals to you but you require online support, then Oracle Open Office might be your best choice. Offering the same functionality as OpenOffice, Oracle Open Office is available to purchase from www.oracle.com as an enterprise-class office suite based on the same open standards as OpenOffice.

  • Oracle Demonstrates Continued Support for OpenOffice.org

Regarding that last one (a press release), the Microsoft booster just had to say something negative:

Oracle is spinning its participation in a forthcoming Open Document Format (ODF) event as proof of its continued commitment to the OpenOffice.org community.

Gavin seems to be the one spinning, not Oracle. He too seems interested in hurting OpenOffice.org, so it’s not just Microsoft which does it very publicly right now. If it hurts Microsoft, it means we need more of the same. It’s an indication of weakness.

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  1. NotZed said,

    October 14, 2010 at 7:41 am


    What I find most sad is ‘office’ applications are basically horrible legacies of a past long forgotten. Word processor – 1980 technology. Spreadsheet – 1980 technology. Slideshow – just poor technology.

    Word processors are the worst offenders though. There’s simply no reason to ever use a word processor. Anything fewer than 5 pages long may as well be text and anything longer should be type-set. But no, people like the illusion of ‘control’ by being a slave to a machine, telling it every little detail and usually doing a piss-poor job of it …

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Word processors still assume that we need to print stuff out (like books, no hyperlinks), sildes assume we use an overhead projector and can’t just have 200 images flying by in 15 minutes while the speaker goes along, and I generally find that LaTeX with latex-pdf-html tools serve me much better. Google has already attempted to integrate office suites+collaboration with the Web (plus multimedia).

    twitter Reply:

    There are a few places where workflows have not caught up with technology and people expect printed reports. School reports and places where paper files are still used are good examples. It would be better if work places moved to wikis but issues of “cheating” through collaboration dog this in school settings.

    Wherever these issues arise, free software word processors are more than up to the task. Kword is my favorite for quick reports on paper, but Open Office is fine and others swear by Abiword. Thanks to ODF and Open Office, you can use any of these and coolaborate with the few dinosaurs that insist on Microsoft Word.

  2. twitter said,

    October 14, 2010 at 7:45 am


    I’m surprised that Microsoft could find anyone who says they like the ribbon interface they threw onto Office. I remember Word fans cursing it back in 2005. I suppose this is why the company had to dredge up pleased customers from 2003.

    Compatibility with their own file formats, which they needlessly changed to their phoney open XML, is also a sore spot. Very few people actually use OOXML and when Microsoft does force it on people, they get a lot of pushback. People expect information to come from the web, where standards rule, and won’t cooperate if it means they have to pay $400 for an office suite. It’s easier, they will rightly tell you, to use Google Docs, Open Office, or plain old text if you are not swift enough to run a wiki. Office file format wars are ancient history because people routed around this damage a decade ago.

    Microsoft is also FUDing up Java, according to Groklaw’s news picks. There is so much spin, it goes in different directions and none of it is worth much attention. The nastiest quote also attacks the FSF and comes from someone who was recently hired by Microsoft.

    All of it goes to prove that Microsoft is still fighting rivals from the mid 90s that no one cares about anymore. Free implementations of Java provided by GNU are safe and Open Office is more than adequate for escaping the Office trap. Once you get your old Docs to ODF, you really do have choices about what software you can use. Microsoft is lost in the past and can be safely ignored.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft is also FUDing up Java, according to Groklaw’s news picks. There is so much spin, it goes in different directions and none of it is worth much attention. The nastiest quote also attacks the FSF and comes from someone who was recently hired by Microsoft.

    Can you please add some links/quotes to this?

    twitter Reply:

    Look at PJ’s news picks for Mr. Rabellino. She points to both his FUD and his declaration of “Redmond, here we come.” I’d rather not feed him more and simply say that I believe the FSF when they say that their free java implementation is not troubled by Oracle’s recent moves against Google’s Tivoisation and non free software friendly Android. The FSF’s great attention to details is always a winner and people who boldly ignore such issues because they are “not afraid of code” are always losers.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    OK, the name and post titles are enough for people to look it up some time in the future (news picks lack permalinks).

    twitter Reply:

    Ick, it’s like a Micrsoft talking points troll parade. PJ has collected java doom from all sorts. All of them act like Oracle is above the GPL. Here’s a list from the last couple of days:

    Stephen O’Grady, RedMonk
    Simon Phipps, Wild Webmink
    Stephen Colebourne’s Weblog
    Mike Milinkovich, Life at Eclipse
    Gianugo Rabellino, Boldly Open
    Mike Milinkovich, Life at Eclipse (yes, two times)
    James Governor’s Monkchips, RedMonk

    Anyone can look these up if they want to but probably should not because there is no real issue for users of GNU code. Add PJ’s news picks to their favorite feed client. My point was that there’s a lot of FUD out there as the Microsoft friendly people take advantage of Oracle’s ill considered move against Google to FUD their mid 90s rival and promote Mono. I like PJ’s advice,

    I hope the value of the GPL is now clear to everyone. If Java had been GPLd from day one, all of it, what a difference it could have made now to Java.

    but don’t see doom, gloom or “sharecroppers”.

  3. Agent_Smith said,

    October 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm


    Does this FUD still work ? I mean, after Ribbon, DOCX, i4i ? Do they still have the shameless face to badmouth OO after all their own shortcomings ? And, does anyone still believes them ?

    twitter Reply:

    After changing everything for the worse, they have the nerve to tell people to stick with them to avoid change.

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