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Comes vs Microsoft Case Shows How Microsoft Actively Attacked Innovation

"Our friends up north [Microsoft] spend over five billion dollars on research and development and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple."

--Steve Jobs, 2006



Summary: A look at some old quotes and court material shows that Microsoft not only failed to innovate but that it also chose to attack progress rather than embrace it and attempt to compete on/with it

YESTERDAY we wrote about Microsoft's attempts to portray itself as innovative after a former vice president had slammed the company for lack of innovation. People like Mary Jo Foley and Gavin Clarke go on with their Microsoft-boosting articles about "innovation". It's just a lot of spin, that's what it really is.



The PR campaign of Bill Gates is currently trying to portray the man as an innovator, as opposed to what he has really been for decades: a plagiarist, a pillager, a violator of the law, and suppressor of innovation. GatesKeepers says:

After years of stifling innovation at Microsoft, why is it assumed that Bill Gates is competent to lead innovation worldwide?


This really requires some nerve. Oracle's Larry Ellison, a friend of Steve Jobs, says that Microsoft's business strategy is to "copy the product that others innovate, put them into Windows so they can't be unplugged, and then give it away for free." Sybase Chairman Mitchell Kertzman said that "Microsoft's claims of succeeding through innovation are a complete fraud. Their only innovation has been in inventing predatory business practices. Other than that, they have been perhaps the greatest borrowers in the history of the software industry."

Robert Pogson has this new post about how Microsoft hindered innovation, based on a Comes vs Microsoft exhibit:

Isn’t that interesting? While M$ was telling the world it was innovative, it was looking at ways to stifle the competition and to sell consumers stuff they did not need. Note that M$ felt pressure from sub $1000 PCs in 1997. How must they be sweating with PCs at $100-$300 and M$ have raised prices again? Well, the higher-priced units are not selling. The lower-priced units are having to cut prices to compete. That means the cash cow is drying up. Do you really need a quad-core CPU and video card that can do 200 frames per second 3D? Do you see competition in the market or do you see OEMs, Intel and M$ colluding to keep prices high? This year, OEMs will be under a lot of pressure to dump M$ because ARM will sell and do it all without the OEMs and without M$. To keep moving units, OEMs will have to cut prices. Hardware is already at rock-bottom, so the cut will have to come in software. Good-bye M$. Hello GNU/Linux.

Business basically buys no-OS PCs in bulk and writes disc images to them or uses thin client technology. They really have no need for the M$ tax to raise their cost of acquisition. Businesses compete. If the competition adopts GNU/Linux and thin clients, others will follow. It’s happening.


The post above contains an exhibit which illustrates that without doubt, Microsoft is hindering progress in order to protect its interests. Pogson has another new post where he includes a Comes vs Microsoft exhibit, this time about NetPC which Microsoft attacked with the help of Gartner.

They were a little ahead of their time because Java was new and networks and servers dragged but people still call thin clients dumb terminals because of the FUD spread by M$ and its partners. You can see part of the story in these summaries of M$’s campaigns about the time of Lose ‘98. That is a document produced as evidence in Comes v M$ and it shows that not only did the NC have a few problems of its own, M$ actively connived with its partners to dig a hole and bury the NC. I will use that document in a grade 9 class outlining the history of the PC. The students will be using network computers/thin clients so they will know FUD when they see it. These are not dumb terminals or Java-based thin clients but regular X terminals showing the pictures and sending the clicks to a powerful machine built four years after the FUD campaign. The NC works.


There is also an HTML version of the exhibit/s.

"Microsoft, a rather new corporation, may not have matured to the position where it understands how it should act with respect to the public interest and the ethics of the marketplace."

--U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin

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