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Is Microsoft 'Pulling a Netscape' on Flash, Firefox, VMWare?

Bad Silverlight



If you are new to the great dangers of Silverlight, then you are advised to read some of our writings from earlier this month, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The European Commission currently investigates Microsoft's plan to hijack the Web using proprietary .NET technology that is embedded in Web browsers. Microsoft will play innocent, but the company knows far too well what it strives to accomplish by this. It will achieve growth by spreading such proprietary software through its own Web properties and partners. It's happening as we speak.

What's even more disturbing than Microsoft's plan to increase its control and widen its grip on the Web is news about the force-feeding (push comes to shove) of Internet Explorer 7. What's new in Mary Jo Foley's coverage of this is the addition of Silverlight as part of Windows update, which is of course automatic.

There are still two more weeks until Microsoft pushes its latest Internet Explorer 7 update to corporate users via its Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) patch mechanism.

But this week — specifically on January 22 — Microsoft will make its Adobe-Flash-alternative Silverlight available via WSUS, as well as via Microsoft Update (MU). In order to have Silverlight 1.0 pushed to users, admins will need to select it; it will be an optional, not automatic, download.


“The point to make here is that Microsoft is doing it again. What about Adobe and Flash?”Ponder this: can Mozilla, Apple and Opera push their latest Web browsers via automatic updates of an operating system? Can they have their browsers preinstalled? Will OEM's be permitted to remove Internet Explorer? Can they? Will they be allowed to add additional browsers? Mind Microsoft's older deals with OEMs (leaked documents) which reveal exclusionary contracts that discriminate against rival browsers, notably Netscape.

The point to make here is that Microsoft is doing it again. What about Adobe and Flash? Can they have the plug-in preinstalled? Can Flash be obtained using automatic updates of Windows? Of course not. That's how it all begins. Since we mentioned Citrix and XenSource a couple of days ago, it's worth adding that Microsoft intends to use similar tricks (prebundling) to fight VMWare. We will return to virtualisation in the next post.

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