04.21.09

Microsoft Loses to Google and Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ll see Google as a very big corporate blob, currently benevolent by virtue of their indifference to freedom, soon to become malevolent as time catches up with them.”

Paul Gaskin

Summary: Evidence in the news of Microsoft’s losses to Google on the Web and Free software on the desktop, Web, mind share

MICROSOFT is simply unable to compete against Google, so it resorts to cheating and political intervention. Google is still hiring, whereas Microsoft is claimed to be preparing for another round of large-scale layoffs. This is very much proportional to what happens on the surface. Google reported good figures last week (financial results), whereas Microsoft is preparing to deliver some more bad news to its investors (there is already a backlash). That’s the financial side alone; on the technical side, and judging based on market share, Microsoft continues to lose ground. Here is a report from yesterday:

Year after year, and month after month we keep an eye on the search engine market share picture. Over and over again in the US, we see Google completely dominating (more so with each year it seems), Yahoo a ways back, and Microsoft even further back.

Mozilla Firefox proves that Free/open source software can be subjectively superior to its proprietary counterparts and it’s part of a Free software domination on the Web in general. Here is the press recommending against Internet Explorer 8, which has its share of known problems.

Internet Explorer 8 might not be best choice

[...]

Software like Gimp (and OpenOffice and Linux and hundreds of other titles out there) are developed by smart people who donate their efforts for the greater good. This “open source” initiative believes that a whole bunch of people each doing a little bit of work can develop some pretty cool code. This has worked in the past and will continue to work in the future. What has hampered the open source community is the lack of paid support options… if Gimp breaks, you have to rely on user groups and others to help you fix it; if you buy Photoshop and it breaks, you can call someone and they will help you fix the problem. That support is part of what you are paying for. However, you will find many open source products to be high quality and ready for your use.

Another area where Microsoft loses control on the Web is encyclopedias (information). There too, Microsoft’s Encarta is losing to openness and mass collaboration. David Wheeler characterises it as an open source win over Microsoft.

Microsoft loses to Open Source Approaches (Encarta vs. Wikipedia)

The competition is over. On one side, we have Microsoft, a company with a market value of about $166 billion (according to a 2009-04-20 NASDAQ quote). On the other side, we have some volunteers who work together and share their results on the web using open source approaches.

Also from the same day we have this from IDG:

Has Microsoft lost its war on open source?

[...]

Most recently, Microsoft settled a patent-infringement case it filed against GPS device maker TomTom over patents that involved TomTom’s implementation of Linux, a case that stirred up old feelings among open source companies that Microsoft plans to reignite a patent fight against them. Microsoft insisted the TomTom suit was a patent issue and not any specific grievance against Linux or open source software.

Most of the Linux community accepted that assessment, but leaders such as Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, says that any patent litigation against a technology that involves open source will keep the community wary. “It’s just another example in the mind of an open source developer that this is not a positive company to be jointly working on development projects with,” he adds.

Microsoft is trying to fight against openness in the courtroom, but fighting against openness is like fighting against ethics; it’s a lost fight from the get-go. Richard Stallman famously said that Free software is not about price but about freedom. Microsoft seems to be using its open source infiltrators [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] to warp Stallman’s message and insult the value of Free software in the process. Here is a rebuttal:

Microsoft to open source: Please don’t compete on price!

[...]

No, price isn’t everything: it’s simply a fruitful way to start a conversation. The reason that commercial open-source companies are thriving in the downturn is precisely because they can make healthy profits while charging a lot less.

Microsoft may not like that but, well, this is competition, not charity.

There is an extensive discussion in Slashdot about this. Here is what the Managing Editor of Linux Today wrote:

LOL! Poor Cannon Fodder I mean Sam Ramji. He has the most thankless job at MS. Though it is true that people will pay more for something if they feel they are getting a good value.

Microsoft has no clue what it’s doing, but there is not much that it can do because its business model is collapsing and no matter what it does (accept change or fight change), it’s bound to get injured. Rivers too run dry.

“Do you feel like you’re screwing a porcupine and you’re one prick against thousands?” the OSCON audience member asked Ramji. Ramji politely replied: “It takes time to change and I knew that I’d be unpopular when I took this job…”

Microsoft: Not worried about open source patents

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8 Comments

  1. Linux said,

    April 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Good luck with Wiki,

    You can use Clean URL

    http://wiki.johnjosephbachir.org/MediaWiki_Clean_URLs

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve just attempted to do this, but it’s complicated because WordPress hijacks requests to root, treating them as WP requests.

  2. Linux said,

    April 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Gravatar

    It will allow you to use sitename.com/some_link rather than ugly sitename.com/index.php?…

  3. Mike Brown said,

    April 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not Microsoft’s business model that’s collapsing, Roy. It’s their products.

    When you get right down to it, Microsoft’s business model isn’t all that different to Apple’s. And Apple is every bit as manipulative, controlling and (when they need to be) down right nasty as Microsoft. In fact, in their own market Apple is even more controlling than Microsoft, because they make the hardware and the software.

    But Apple proves that people will, indeed, “pay more for something if they feel they are getting a good value”. In short, Apple makes good stuff and Microsoft makes crap, e.g:

    * Zune. – DOA.
    * XBox 360 – coming up on four years old and *still* plagued with hardware problems.
    * Exchange – no in-place upgrades. Each new version often requires a massive rip and replace of server hardware and OS to little discernible gain.
    * Vista – bloated crap. The first Microsoft OS since WIndows Me that was actually worse than its predecessor.
    * Windows 7 – ditto. Will be better than Vista but still not as good as XP.
    * Office 2007 – massive bloat and entire new interface that requires retraining to use. OpenOffice UI is now more recognisable for long time Office users.
    * Sharepoint – sales may be booming, but companies are now running into its many limitations.
    * Search – poor third to Google and Yahoo.
    * Hotmail – an abortion since Microsoft bought it. Spam blocker is useless and you can’t even open an email in a new tab or window.

    And so on. *This* is Microsoft’s problem.

    notzed Reply:

    Apple’s and Microsoft’s business models are not the same.

    MS: Sell crap but use illegal tactics to force people to buy it anyway. Bully all competitors out of the market.

    Apple: Sell stuff people think they want. Bully all competitors out of the market.

    Just because they’re both arseholes doesn’t mean they’re doing it the same way :)

    The business model that’s starting to teter is leveraging their monopoly on the operating system and in the ‘office’ business to make further sales of their other rubbish.

    David Gerard Reply:

    Competitors don’t seem to grasp the key missing feature of Apple products that makes people pay twice the going rate for them:

    They lack the feature of making you want to smash them to a million little pieces with a toffee hammer whenever you try to actually use them.

    (not posted from my Nokia 5800)

  4. David Gerard said,

    April 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Gravatar

    If they really wanted to cut off Google’s air supply, they’d forget about search. Google’s air supply is their ad networks. Ads are what, 97% of Google’s income? They’re an ad agency with a sideline in everything else.

    There’s plenty of people unhappy with how Google swaggers about with AdSense. If Microsoft could actually compete in ads to make customers – the advertisers and the publishers – happy, they could take a sizable chunk of the market. Yahoo! with Overture manage to actually do worse than Google for ads.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft has just lost Digg and I think they compensated Digg somehow for this deal.

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