Robert Cringely has some interesting things to say about the recent Microsoft/Sun settlement in this column:
“A company wanted to hold off on upgrading Microsoft Office for a year in order to do other projects. So Microsoft gave a ‘free’ copy of the new Office to the CEO — a copy that of course generated errors for anyone else in the firm reading his documents. The CEO got tired of getting the ‘please re-send in XX format’ so he ordered other projects put on hold and the Office upgrade to be top priority. This is an implementation of Microsoft’s treadmill way of abusing its customers. Put them on a treadmill and start spinning it so fast that the customers can’t look at anything else besides Microsoft products. They even have their own language, something that would fit perfectly into Orwell’s 1984. A ‘neutral PC’ has 100 percent Microsoft software. Their ’embrace and extend’ is really ’embrace, extend, and exterminate.’ Even how they view competitors, they have the term ‘NOISE’ (Novell, Oracle, Intuit, Sybase, and Everyone else). When they say they work in a heterogeneous environment, they list MS 95, MS98, NT4, W2K. Oh yeah, that’s heterogeneous. In Silicon Valley, hardware people look forward to the day someone like Cisco buys their company or technology and makes them rich. Software people fear the day that Microsoft notices their niche because they will get sucked dry. Some have even said that venture capital people are tending to avoid software companies ‘…because Microsoft will pull a Netscape on you.”
Another nice point he makes is that Microsoft can survive on the money they have in the bank for 5 years if they have no revenue whatsoever.