<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d6566853\x26blogName\x3d1%25+inspiration\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://patke.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://patke.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d2795022480681574377', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Friday, January 21, 2005

Microsoft should open source Windows 2000. ...and release it's patent rights.

It occurred to me the other day that Microsoft is losing. If Microsoft continues along the same track, it will lose. Possibly going out of business. It is losing because it is investing heavily to develop systems that exceed customer requirements tremendously. ...and it is expecting customers to pay for those systems. Meanwhile other companies are adequately meeting customer requirements - and giving the software away for free.

Consider the kinds of companies who are hiring Microsoft (VB / C#) developers. They are the fortune 500 - not the software development companies. To say it another way, if you are a serious Microsoft developer you are either working for a consultancy (who works for a fortune 500 company) or Microsoft. You are not working for Oracle, or Sun, or IBM (in SW development), or BEA, or Red Hat, or Macromedia, or Adobe, or Ebay, or Google, or Amazon, or...you get the point. The only significant software company in the world which is placing long term bets on Microsoft is - Microsoft. Who is writing software for Windows? It is very much Microsoft vs. World.

Then consider the biggest new markets for software. India and China. Free software has tremendous advantages over, well, non-free software. How can windows compete in a country where a $99 price tag represents the better part of a years salary? Sure you could just give it away rather then open sourcing, but what about open source office applications (OpenOffice)? ...and Web servers (Apache)? Right now, India and China are producing SWARMS of Unix programmers - simply because it is too expensive for people to learn how a windows OS works.

Consider the cost of anti-competitive action against Microsoft. Half a billion dollars in the EU alone - and I don't even want to think about what Microsoft spends on it's legal defence every year. (Shudder.)
Consider the disruptive innovation that is operating systems for Smart Phones, PDAs, refrigerators, etc... Does anyone really think that microsoft has made serious in-roads in the "small OS" market? Microsoft needs to refocus - in a big way.

Consider the long term vision of web services (or "web service" like technology) - the network as the "operating system". The network delivering all the services that users want in a way that is compatible with extremely lightweight devices.

Consider the benefits in Microsoft's brand name recognition! Benefits in public "good will". Certainly, this would put Microsoft back up there with Google.

Consider the effect of a open MS operating system on current Linux / Solaris investments. Currently, there are two types of operating systems - Windows, and open source. Open source OS's are Unix based. Adding a MS build to the lot adds significant competition. Suddenly CEO's need to think about "the other free option" when considering open source operating systems.

...and let's face facts. Microsoft is the better OS for most users. When Windows 2000 is used properly, it is every bit as stable and secure as Red Hat or Solaris. On top of this it is MUCH more user friendly. It may not be as fast, but most people don't care if something takes another millisecond or two. If it is slower, it is only because it is doing so many things for the user.

An open source windows version would be an investment for Microsoft. Rather then adding directly to Microsoft's books, it subtracts from it's competitors books - and adds to the overall health of the industry. An open source windows version would trumpet a level of innovation on and acceptance of the Windows platform that hasn't been seen in years.

Sure, Windows 2000 is still bringing in BILLIONS for microsoft. I appreciate that. But I am certain that Microsoft doesn't really need that revenue. Let's face facts - there is a tremendous amount of fat within Microsoft. Microsoft should throw itself into the deep end with the sharks. Sink or swim. If it sinks - and I can't imagine it will - the world will be a better place because it's code will always be in the public domain. If it swims, well, that will mean it has crushed the competition - again. As it stands, they are swimming in their own private pool - not a care in the world. They don't have to compete because the competition HAS BEEN so appallingly bad.

Microsoft needs to encourage competition and allow other companies to "stand on the shoulders of giants" and continue the work Microsoft has started. Encouraging others to innovate on the Microsoft platform will increase the value of the platform and decrease the value of competitors investments in other platforms.

...and let's not forget about Avalon. Avalon is the ace in the hole. It has no competition. Microsoft has a straight flush and the competition has a pair of twos. Unfortunately for Microsoft, there is nothing Avalon does that Red Hat (or whatever) doesn't do. Both can handle spreadsheets, documents, email, the net and, and, and - that is all that matters right now. Sure, it does it better. But does it justify the cost? How many companies are planning on upgrading? How much cost savings can be expected?

Microsoft needs to keep it interesting before the rest of the world starts playing their own game...and doesn't invite Microsoft.

As far as releasing it's patent rights - Lessig explains that better then me. Do it for innovations sake.

Comments: Post a Comment