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 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

    Links for the day



  3. Let Them Eat Patents

    A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings



  4. Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It's Just Summer's Recess (and Silence)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat



  5. Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

    Links for the day



  6. The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

    A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)



  7. More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

    The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies



  8. Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

    Links for the day



  9. Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than 'i' Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

    Links for the day



  10. Good Job, David Kappos, Says the 'Boss' (IBM)

    Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US



  11. Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

    Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as "anti-patents", IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is 'trolling' the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate



  12. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  13. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  14. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  15. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  16. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  17. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  18. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  19. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  20. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  23. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  24. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  25. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  26. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  27. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  28. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  29. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  30. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day


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