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Making Silverlight a Trojan Horse and Anti-competitive Tool

Force-feeding of Silverlight at programming level and OEM level

The embrace-and-extend routine shows little or no signs of abatement. At the moment, the combination of Slashdot's editorship and Paul Krill, both of whom occasionally push the Microsoft 'open source' agenda, have this to share.



Microsoft Corp. plans to demonstrate integration Friday between its new Silverlight browser plug-in technology for rich Internet applications and the Ruby on Rails Web framework.


This is not major news and it is hardly worth a front page. However, a reader sent us a pointer to the discussion in Slashdot. Here's one small portion of it, which is the old eye-opener.

What I don't get is, what happened to RubyCLR? This IronRuby has the same name as an old IronRuby. Microsoft hired RubyCLR developers and now is developing yet another IronRuby instead? Are they seriously starting over just to get it under a different license?!


First of all, remember that Silverlight (or Moonlight) are pretty much verboten in Free software distributions/desktops, for legal and practical reasons. Fedora forbids it. Moreover, regarding the use of IronRuby as a surrogate with Microsoft-controlled licences which give Microsoft the 'Ruby crown', see this recent post. Microsoft wishes to grab Ruby from the bottom. And it's not just Ruby by the way. It's part of a broader push.

Further to this tie-up, consider this Live Search-Silverlight crack-cocaine-like combination:

New HP-Microsoft Live Search deal is all about Silverlight



Following the recent announcement of Live Search cashback, Microsoft has today disclosed a new deal with HP that is expected to give a slight boost to the usage of both Live Search and Silverlight in the US and Canada, starting in January 2009. The deal centers around a Silverlight-powered toolbar (not to be confused with the recently updated MSN Silverlight toolbar) that Microsoft is specifically developing for HP.


As we stressed in the past, Microsoft seems to be begging for yet another antitrust action against it, but the company has too much to lose if it does not pull such tricks and inherits control of the Web from the likes of Google, Firefox, and even Yahoo!

“Microsoft may have found a workaround, essentially pulling the same trick it was using back in Netscape Era.”The antitrust aspects of this may seem easy to dodge by not incorporating linkage at the core product which is Windows but by letting the OEMs do the job. Microsoft may have found a workaround, essentially pulling the same trick it was using back in Netscape Era. It's a trick where the software company instructs the OEMs and makes demands -- using EULAs -- as to how to set up the PCs so as to exclude rivals.

For further background on this, also consider the Microsoft/H-P collusions and H-P's recent OOXML lobby. Those two companies rub each others' back, for sure.

As trivially observed in the leaked E-mails that you can find here, none of this strategy is new. Microsoft and H-P engage in some sort of an 'anti-Google pact' (like Novell versus Red Hat et al), similar to that from the exclusionary deals with Dell and Compaq at the time -- ones that required that the OEM puts Internet Explorer on the PC and also makes it more easily accessible to the user (desktop shortcuts and the likes of them).

Acer has been devoured by H-P and the new risk is no longer Netscape, so only technology and the players swapped roles. There is more critical information about this over at Linux Journal.

Microsoft representatives are quoted claiming 40% of searchers use the default search installed for their system. If true, the HP deal will give Microsoft an immediate audience of millions for it's search offerings, though the company has declined to speculate on the amount of additional traffic and revenue expected from the deal.


Who is to blame here? Microsoft or H-P? Therein lies the mastery of this trickery. It's a case of paying for market share rather than earning some in return technical merits, or even advertising. It's hard to point fingers, too.

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