Is Microsoft attacking Microsoft?

[ The opinions expressed by authors on Linux Today are their
own. They speak only for themselves and not for Linux Today.

I saw something the other day on TV that had me in stitches. It
was a commercial in an avante garde style with music listing off a
to-do list with feed the dog type items… then the music became
discordant and the text was “Check to see if the web site is
. Well this was too rich for me. I began to laugh
hysterically. I mean who could they be talking about? My wife saw
it and began to laugh too. She said something to the effect that
someone was really slamming Microsoft. Who else could they be
talking about. According to IDC Linux is their biggest competitor
in the server arena, but Sun and IBM would be two other candidates
to run an ad like this. Still something in the back of my mind
said… look out for the punch line.

Make sure the web site is up… Look out
indeed. The ad was for Microsoft Windows 2000. It made
sense in that they are spending a fortune for advertising to try
and recoup the fortune they spent on development. I personally
believe that, given their development time tables and incremental
bloat ratios that this is the last iteration of the core system we
will see in the typical Microsoft format. Still… why run that

Obviously there are a few reasons for that ad.

  1. Microsoft knows that existing customers are the first
    place to look for new sales
    . This makes me feel really
    sorry for Microsoft customers. Well, some of them anyway. They are
    trapped in whatever revenue generating scheme Redmond throws at

  2. While it is typical look for business in the other guy’s camp
    this doesn’t seem to be the case here. Microsoft doesn’t
    seem to be putting anything in that commercial to attract Linux
    . Maybe it’s because they know they won’t have
    any luck there.

OK, bottom line here. Saying “You better get rid of that garbage
I sold you last week, it’s no good. Here, take a look at what I’ve
got this week” takes amazing arrogance and total disregard for
decency. It begs the question “Why wasn’t reliability important
in your last product? Couldn’t you do it?”

I predict that little will be made of this hubris, but that the
writing is on the wall and Microsoft knows it. They’re not getting
those customers back without strong arm tactics. In fact their
entire marketing program has revolved around strong arm
. I guess they figured they’d fix it later, put XYZ
company out of business first. Linux was a broadside that they
would have preferred a few more years to prepare for. Too bad. What
I believe will happen here is that Microsoft will continue to lose
market share… and they know it… and that is why they
are advertising. That is why they are looking to get IT shops over
extended in Windows 2000 so they have to justify their
expenditures, and buy even more software. An evil game to be sure,
but the reality is… no one is really sure how much time
Microsoft has left to rule the marketplace… but the major players
all know it’s coming down to being only a matter of time.

Everyone is snubbing Microsoft and looking for an edge to
get their market. Being astute marketers, even Microsoft is taking
swings at Microsoft. Get the popcorn… this one is gonna be