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Three Regarding Microsoft: Dead Letter Writers, "Resistance is futile," and Linux Tips for Partners

Aug 23, 2001, 18:25 (104 Talkback[s])

LA Times: Lobbyists Tied to Microsoft Wrote Citizens' Letters [ Thanks to Paul Eggert for this link. ]

"Letters purportedly written by at least two dead people landed on the desk of Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff earlier this year, imploring him to go easy on Microsoft Corp. for its conduct as a monopoly."

"Because each Microsoft letter is different, the cost of the ATL campaign probably is on the high end of the scale. If the group is aiming for 100 letters in each of the 18 states, the tab easily could exceed $100,000."

..."When a caller started asking Minnesotan Nancy Brown questions about Microsoft, she thought she was going to get help figuring out what was wrong with her computer."

The Guardian: Pragmatists love Microsoft [ Thanks to Hugh for this link. ]

"There comes a point during an occupation when resistance seems futile and the pragmatists collaborate. In Silicon Valley's long struggle against Microsoft, we have reached that point.

... And web services are seen by many developers as the next frontier for the internet. Rivals among the developer community, such as the Linux operating system, have lost momentum. Even if Microsoft only appears innovative by comparison with an industry that it has stifled, the company is producing more interesting technology now than at any time in the past decade. As a consumer, it is easier to be warm to a company if you respect the ease of use of its software.

But that does not explain the acquiescence of rival technology companies in Silicon Valley. For that, one needs to look at the effects of the collapse in IT spending and stock valuations, the third important change in Microsoft's environment. The fall in the Nasdaq stock market index, down more than 60% since its peak in April 2000, has undermined Silicon Valley's confidence in itself. When the first pure internet companies collapsed, companies such as Sun, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle thought they would benefit from a flight to security by corporate IT spenders."

MS Hands Out CDs on How to Compete With Linux to Select Partners

FS writes:

Hi,

I thought this might be of interest to you:

I am currently working for a client with a Microsoft Premier Support Contract, Select Contract, etc. So every month, we receive a bunch of CDROMs ranging from service packs & beta software to the occasional CD filled with marketing mumbo-jumbo.

Surprisingly enough, this month's edition contained 2 CDs titled: "Competing with Linux".

One is a "Sales Training CD" aimed at resellers and solution partners. It primarily deals with how MS-zealots should deal with clients asking tough questions about Linux viability. As you can guess, it's really focussed on downplaying Linux as possible competition for MS-based solutions. From the tone of it, it looks like there is some serious concerns about Linux from the boys in Redmond. It talks about the threats Linux poses to MS solutions, but even goes as far as telling resellers & solution partners whom to focus on in a enterprise when trying to convince enterprises not to opt for Linux. There is even - and this is *really* hilariously stupid - a multiple choice game at the end of the CD where you have to answer a fictitious client's questions about Linux. You score points by clicking on the answers that dismiss Linux as a viable enterprise solution. I know some people here at the office (and those folks are primarily an MS-centered business) had a good laugh about this.

The other CD is a "Power Tools CD", which contains a little more info, whitepapers and audio stuff about essentially the same subject.

Really, now you have all the best MS FUD about Linux, bundled on two cool CDROMs ! Get'em while they're hot. Hours of great fun & entertainment :-)

"...The Achilles' heel of Linux is its lack of desktop applications, and the lack of adoption of those desktop applications, particularly office automation applications, that do exist on Linux."

"...Linux should be taken seriously as a competitor, but there are threats to its continued success. Encourage your customers to consider these as part of the complete Linux picture:

  • The development model is likely to fail as Linux grows into a "real" OS.
  • Fragmentation - it is already happening.
  • Self-destructive license that may not hold up in massive commercial use.
  • If the Linux pure plays fail, will Linux follow?"

Responses to the "Linux is free" Argument
Microsoft software is already essentially "free" in large projects-typically less than 3% of the hardware/software cost and less than 1% of the total project cost.

Because supportability and integration are so important, Microsoft software and commercially supported software in general help customers where it counts: minimizing total cost of ownership and maximizing business value, making it less expensive for customers over the long haul. "Open Source Code"
Customers want to have some influence over the direction of their computing platform. The lack of a single owner and well-known decision making process for open source software makes it difficult for customers to influence or guide the direction of features. There is no certainty that in the long term Open Source Software will evolve to meet the changing needs of the customer and the marketplace.

The open source development model also depends on its users for testing. Windows NT® is tested daily on hundreds of OEM configurations, connected to thousands of peripherals, running thousands of different applications. Such a testing lab requires deep investments and strict discipline that cannot be easily reproduced through a loosely connected group of individuals on the Internet.

"Reliability"
Linux is being used for simple tasks such as file/print and static web page serving. Microsoft customers are using Windows NT Server for demanding, high performance, mission critical applications such as messaging, data warehousing, decision support and e-commerce. Less heavily loaded systems with less complex software suites have high reliability.

"Linux has an extensive developer network"
The Linux development community is comprised of technical hobbyists and UNIX enthusiasts whose idea of usability is a good text editor with which to modify configuration files.

If the users are the developers, then the product will be shaped to suit the mind of a developer, with ease of use taking a back seat to flexibility. This developer focus also manifests itself in the way a problem is often resolved: posting a patch file that the user must apply to the original source file, then recompile and link it, and finally re-install it.