EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.31.10

Microsoft’s Lock-in Tricks Decrease Rather Than Increase Microsoft’s Market Share

Posted in DRM, Europe, Microsoft, Standard at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Microsoft’s insistence on ignoring international standards and limiting access is hurting adoption of its very own software rather than have the intended effect, which is to impede migration to competitors or to pressure for upgrades

THE British Government chooses to stay at risk with Internet Explorer 6, as we mentioned back in July and well into August when arguments about it began. The British public started demanding that the government no longer stays one decade behind with a rusty Web browser. The good news is that “Home Office does u-turn on Internet Explorer 6″ and the bad news is that they stay stuck with Internet Explorer:

A government department has abandoned browsing policy by deciding to upgrade its machines from Internet Explorer 6 to IE8.

The UK government has received severe criticism from many security companies for sticking to IE6 – a now non-supported Microsoft browser which is considered insecure.

A Home Office representative confirmed to TechEye today that it will upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, although the department gave no indication when the move will happen.

They should at least offer the option of Free/libre software like Firefox or as Glyn Moody put it, “great; now let’s have Firefox as an option” (remark is from Identi.ca and a fellow Identi.ca user from Romania responded by saying that it’s “strict policies and bureaucracy! Here, people would install whatever browser (or version) they want, without even asking”).

The UK is an exceptional case because the British public sector is still overwhelmingly tied to the US, just like in a lot of English-speaking nations. It is an issue that spans a wide range of institutions we covered here before (even defunct ones like BECTA). Last week it was the British Library (BL) that got another good spanking from Dr. Glyn Moody, whose memory of the BL’s services to the Microsoft monopoly (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) was recalled in this post about locking down knowledge that belongs to the British public.

The British Library was also heavily involved in the formalisation of Microsoft’s OOXML, providing the vice-chairman for the original TC45 Office Open XML group (that is, OOXML). The convenor of the much-contested ISO meeting that finally approved OOXML, Alex Brown, is also linked with the British Library:

Alex Brown is convenor of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Ballot Resolution Process, and has recently been elected to the panel to advise the British Library on how to handle digital submission of journal articles.

Interestingly, Brown now seems to view the OOXML standard in a somewhat different light:

In short, we find ourselves at a crossroads, and it seems to me that without a change of direction the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure.

Which makes the British Library’s support for Microsoft’s format even more problematic.

But the real problem with the British Library is not just this technical short-sightedness. There is a far deeper issue that goes to the heart of what a research library is for. This can be seen most clearly from the existence of the “Business and IP Centre” at the British Library, where we are told:

Intellectual property (IP) can help you protect your ideas and make money from them.

Our resources and workshops will guide you through the four types of intellectual property: patents, trade marks, registered designs and copyright.

Now, recall that “IP” is just a polite name for time-limited, state-enforced intellectual monopolies. These are fundamentally and inherently about limiting people’s access to various kinds of knowledge. They are diametrically opposed to the stated role of the British Library, whose exhortation to visitors to its home page is: “Explore the world’s knowledge.”

Glyn Moody later pointed out that “publishers haven’t got a clue” because of this new British article about DRM:

For libraries facing dwindling borrowers and brutal budget cuts, the ebook seems to offer an irresistible opportunity to reel in new readers and retain old ones too busy or infirm to visit during opening hours.

A third of libraries across the country have embraced the new technology, allowing members to check out electronic literature without setting foot in the building.

But following abuse of the system – with China-based readers attempting to circumnavigate copyright laws by joining British libraries and plundering their virtual collections for free – publishers have now threatened to prevent libraries from accessing ebooks. It’s a move described by one library boss as “regressive” at a time when they are trying to innovate as they fight for survival.

Cheryl McKinnon in the Red Hat-led Web site opensource.com calls it Dark Ages 2.0 when “long-term preservation, provenance, and accessibility of digital content” is simply ignored, as we already find in the BL. Cheryl concludes by writing:

I hope this recent piece in opensource.com on the importance of open standards will be an ongoing discussion theme, as open source and open standards together provide one of the few realistic solutions to this escalating problem of digital preservation. The content management technology field, where I’ve spent most of my career, needs to escalate this debate. In a space currently dominated by proprietary technologies, managing the long-term preservation, provenance, and accessibility of digital content is often downplayed or ignored.

Going back to Internet Explorer lock-in, Mr. Pogson says that “Lock-in Is Double-edged Sword” as “IE6 addiction throws monkey wrench into Windows 7 migration” and: [via Slashdot]

Enterprises addicted to Microsoft’s nine-year-old Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) browser are having a tough time migrating to Windows 7, an analyst said today.

No wonder Vista 7 is having a tough time in businesses (no matter what Microsoft says). Another blogger says that Internet Explorer 6 is “Another Case of Microsoft Shooting Itself In The Foot”. Basically, a lot of enterprise simply cannot and will not leave Windows XP because of Internet Explorer 6.

The Gartner Group says that Windows is losing market share and as Matt Asay (Canonical COO) explained this before he pinged me about it, “Microsoft is selling more Windows (desktop), but losing market share in terms of units shipped and total”:

Sure – in absolute numbers, Microsoft is clearly selling more copies of Windows as the number of PC users in the world continues to increase. But when looking at market share, Windows is losing market share. The drop in market share may seem small, but when you are talking about hundreds of millions of machines installed worldwide, every tenth of a point of market percentage drop is a large number.

IDG’s Gregg Keizer has just published “Enterprises: We’ll run Windows XP even after retirement”:

Nearly half of the companies still using the nine-year-old Windows XP plan to keep running the aged OS even after Microsoft withdraws its support in 2014, a research analyst said today.

“IT just really, really likes the XP operating system,” said Diane Hagglund, a senior analyst at Dimensional Research, which recently surveyed more than 950 IT professionals about their Windows and Microsoft Office adoption plans. “They say it’s just that good, and don’t want to mess with it.”

Then there’s this interesting new statistic: [via]

Forty-nine per cent will deploy Office 2010 on a version of Windows other than Windows 7, released a year ago by Microsoft. Users are split on whether to upgrade from Windows XP: 47 per cent said they’d upgrade to Office 2010 when Windows XP’s support is discontinued — in April 2014 — while 48 per cent said they’d soldier on using Windows XP even without support.

Here is what happens to people who buy a laptop and expect to have Windows on it:

…if I wanted the OS installed, I had to pony up $130.

Welcome to the crazy world of proprietary software. No wonder Android is getting so popular, and not just on handsets anymore.

In summary, Microsoft has attempted to lock people in by deviation from standards, but in turn it also shoots its own foot because people cannot upgrade to other versions of the same software from Microsoft (because it attempts to correct things by better conforming and complying with standards). It not only affects Internet Explorer (which continues to lose market share rather than ever gain any) but it also harms adoption of Vista 7. Microsoft got served for its own bad behaviour.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. stonebit said,

    October 31, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Gravatar

    UPS still uses XP as its primary OS for all purposes. Vista7 was approved in the spring, but is very unstable and causes a lot of headaches. Consequently, XP is still king. Also, IE6 is the only browser allowed on the UPS intranet; the only exception is Vista7 boxen with IE8. I keep waiting for some mass virus to come along and eat up everything. I will laugh when it happens. Enterprises are big dumb animals running on momentum alone when it comes to tech. I can only image the hilarity which will ensue when the tripwire is a little to strong and the animal falls flat on it’s face.

  2. Will said,

    November 1, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Gravatar

    Regarding the Best Buy article: “Sorry, we sold you a laptop, not an OS”.

    Gee, I wish these retailers would take that stance when you actually go to buy a computer from them. Even dare to raise the question of buying a PC without Windows and they look at you like you’re a lunatic that just threatened their child. I’m convinced the proprietary world mostly just makes up, bends, and breaks the rules as they go along; anything to squeeze a few more dollars out of the sheep.

    Incidentally, I nearly got thrown out of a Best Buy once just because one of the nearby sales people overheard me talking to another shopper about Open Office. As I was talking to them about the possibility of using OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Office, I saw a group of about 6 employees and a manager gathering not far away and giving me dirty looks, and every now and then I overheard bits of conversation about how they might try to find some pretence to kick me out, but they just couldn’t come up with anything that would hold water, to their frustration. Seriously, all because I might prevent them from pushing Microsoft Office on a shopper or two.

What Else is New


  1. Links 31/3/2015: New BlackArch Linux, Mozilla Firefox 37.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 30/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC6, OpenELEC 5.0.7

    Links for the day



  3. Techrights Cited by European Politicians in Support of EPO Staff's Causes

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man is characterised as suspected of corruption in European Parliament questions



  4. When the EPO Came Under Fire From the Netherlands and Before Systemic Corruption Was Revealed

    Questions that targeted the Dutch Minister of Justice amidst EPO abuses against staff and a shameful failure to enforce a court's decision



  5. Links 29/3/2015: Red Hat's Stock Soars, Kodi 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Speculations That Microsoft is About to Buy Cyanogen (or at Least Officially Partner) to Attack Google's Android/Linux, Replacing Everything With Microsoft

    Articles in the corporate media and some analysis from smaller media sites serve to highlight the role which Microsoft plays in Cyanogen



  7. Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be 'Open Source', Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

    Microsoft's charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media



  9. Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader's Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

    Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader's highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail



  10. Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

    Links for the day



  11. The EPO's Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

    EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities



  12. Microsoft Won't Let People Wipe (Off) Windows But Happily Wipes Android, Wipes Android Apps Through Cyanogen and Blackmailed 'Partners'

    Microsoft's obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place



  13. Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  14. Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

    Links for the day



  15. Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

    UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts



  16. The EPO's Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO's Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States' delegations are urged to call for action



  17. IRC Proceedings: February 22nd - March 21st, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  18. The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of 'love' whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions



  19. Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

    Microsoft's Android coup d'état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection



  20. Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

    Links for the day



  21. Concerns Over Željko Topić's Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

    Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić



  22. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign 'in the Longer Term'

    The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court



  23. Benoît Battistelli's EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

    More EPO interventions -- this time from France -- target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions



  24. Bribes and Extortion Help Turn Android (Linux-powered) Into 'Microsoft Android'

    A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft's arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google's (and users') detriment and beyond regulators' range of visibility



  25. Microsoft-connected Black Duck Software Created by Microsoft Marketing Man as an Anti-GPL Operation, Admits the Management

    Black Duck "was founded [on] the idea ... to keep GPL-licensed code out of corporate codebases entirely," according to a new report



  26. Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft Admits Lying (or Deceiving) About the Cost of Vista 10

    After much hype in the press about Windows being 'free' it turns out that Microsoft just lied yet again, leaving that lingering perception that Windows is as inexpensive as GNU/Linux



  28. Politics of Blackmail at the EPO

    Comments serve to highlight the role of bribes (or contrariwise blackmail), as allegedly exercised by the current management of the European Patent Office



  29. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Attack From the British

    A British MEP criticises Battistelli and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) while Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister for Intellectual Property, gets closer to Battistelli in a tactless effort to improve relations



  30. The Royal Norwegian Department of Labour on the Right of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers to Strike

    The role of bureaucrats from Norway in defending (or not) the rights of EPO workers -- rights that the EPO's management is actively trying to deny and punish for


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts