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Microsoft Catch-up, Apple Lock-up, and GNU/Linux Freedom

Microsoft dirty tactics
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Summary: The upper hand of GNU/Linux (and to a degree Google/Android/Chome OS) compared to consumerised production+marketing from those other two contenders

LAST WEEK we argued that Microsoft's Vista 7 is still trying to catch up with GNU/Linux. One of the writers of Lockergnome is now saying something similar about Microsoft's endeavours online, where Microsoft loses over $2,000,000,000 per year for obvious reasons. Here are some portions of the argument:



Microsoft Has Become The Follower & Will Lead No More



It sounds so wrong. Microsoft, one of the two remaining companies that helped bring the idea of personal computing into the mainstream is saying that the future it is betting on is in the “cloud”. How strange is that? That is somewhat like a black person from the 1870s stating that he was betting on the institution of slavery.

[...]

Now, in a story from PC Magazine, we have a message that Steve Ballmer has stated the company is betting its future on cloud computing. What a turnaround.

The trouble is, I don’t think Mr. Ballmer is doing anything but hedging bets, and being disingenuous in the process, because he knows (or should, anyway) that once cloud computing comes, Microsoft becomes irrelevant and unnecessary.

[...]

The problem in the end is that Microsoft is not, and never really wanted to be, like IBM. If any change in the pecking order comes as a result of “the cloud” catching on, it will be IBM, Oracle, and others that know what distributed computing, and client-server computing are all about on the grand scale. That doesn’t say Microsoft; that says the companies that make and use the big iron.


"Ballmer: Google wasn't first to market," alerts us one reader by E-mail. He cites an article written by a former Microsoft booster from the Seattle P-I (there are better articles out there). Our reader uses an analogy: '"I am sure they are sour," said the Fox.'

Microsoft uses similar excuses when asked about the iPhone and the iPod. We gave an example two weeks ago.

Microsoft not only suffers online; the reality behind Vista 7 more recently included Intel problems. The company is unable to 'upgrade' and Pogson says:

When you manipulate the world into using your stuff and you use non-standards to do it, you have to eat your own dog-food. Intel is choking on it as they move to “7″.

This is a fine example of why we should use Free Software and stick to open standards. All the IE6isms built into the web and LANs lock us forever into obsolete technology. Those of us who migrated to GNU/Linux years ago are laughing. We can upgrade with scarcely a concern for widespread incompatibilities.


Meanwhile, Microsoft announces fake numbers referring to "sales" of Vista 7 and "research" spendings. We have debunked these myths and fake numbers on numerous occasion before in this Web site. These are lies and they should be treated this way.

“Meanwhile, Microsoft announces fake numbers referring to "sales" of Vista 7 and "research" spendings.”Vista 7 is in some sense irrelevant to the future because it is too heavy for mobile devices (there are signs of the weakening of the desktop, including games, some of which go Web based or mobile as they rely on different business models). Microsoft is truly late to the game, trying to fight embedded Linux with software patents it cannot even name.

In order to keep up with the device space, Microsoft is now making some noise about "Courier", but there is no decent operating system for this device (which could end up like Zune). Roughly Drafted, a site that's close to Apple (enough to get access to confidential meetings), has already explained why "Courier" has no real chance in the market.

Additionally, the only success surrounding the Xbox as a software platform came only after Microsoft dumped many billions into a loss leader hardware platform over the course of several years, after claiming a year or two head start over rival Sony’s next generation console.

Microsoft isn’t going to give away 75 million mobile devices to catch up to Apple. Microsoft’s fan base might do well to stop and listen to what the company says out the other side of its mouth, such as when it talks about “attach rates” of games for the Xbox. What’s the attach rate for the Zune HD? Does one need more than one hand to count the number of apps for it? And how many hundred hardware units has Microsoft sold at retail these days?

In this new multitouch mobile race, Microsoft is already three years and three product categories behind. And of course, WP7, the Zune, and Courier all sport completely different interfaces that were conceived and designed by far-flung teams who were not even aware of each other’s goals within the cat herds that are Microsoft.


For those who think that iPad stands a chance, evidence suggests otherwise [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Its function is far too limited compared to that of GNU/Linux. Apple stifles and limits its users rather than empower them and the latest examples of this include the removal of Wi-Fi finders. [via]

Apple on Thursday began removing another category of apps from its iPhone App Store. This time, it's not porn, it's Wi-Fi.


Apple may find that telling its customers what to do rather than listening to them is a poor business strategy that emphasises control rather than enablement. The "think different" motto has become somewhat of a misfit. Apple is now trying to stifle Linux using software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which means that it's afraid of Linux, not Windows.

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