Microsoft: IT criminals

Michael Robertson, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Linspire writes about the Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! Battle For Net Supremacy in his article “Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! The Battle For Net Supremacy“.

I was pleased to see he is in complete agreement with my views on Microsoft.

The article compares how the three rivals are dealing with the competitive threat between each other, and as he says, it says a lot about their individual company culture, management and DNA.

Here’s how he describes the evil empire:

Microsoft has recently made a concerted effort to hire even-keeled, friendly liaisons within the community, giving them the authority to speak for the company and the authorization to pay off those that might speak negatively of Microsoft. Behind the scenes, however, it’s still the same team running the show – management that has been twice convicted of illegal actions against competitors, and that sports a stunning lack of ethical boundaries. Recent court documents from a fresh legal battle over an employee jumping ship to Google report Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer throwing chairs and screaming many unprintable words, capped off with, “I’m going to %$#@ kill Google!”

The only way Microsoft knows how to operate is with an enemy in their crosshairs. A few years back, Linspire (then Lindows) was the recipient of Ballmer’s profanity-laden tirades. But Microsoft’s attention has since been somewhat diverted from the ambiguous threat of Linux – which doesn’t present a singular target – to Google, whose O’s make convenient bull’s eyes.

Look for Microsoft to employ the same approach they have used historically to fight competitors. First they will use technology barriers within new versions of their operating system to dramatically favor their own products and discredit competitors. With previous competitor DR DOS, they embedded intentional incompatibilities, spurious error messages and bogus issues of compatibility. With Netscape, they deeply embedded their own products and falsely claimed they could not be removed. Expect much of the same with Vista, their newest OS.

In addition, look for exclusionary contracts that preclude computer manufacturers from pre-installing links and software from Yahoo! and Google on PCs they sell. With the same unethical management in place, a legal process that takes years to litigate, and inevitable legal penalties only representing a tiny fraction of profits, you’d be crazy not to expect Microsoft to extend the same behavior you’ve seen over the last two decades into the next.

Read the rest of the article, about Google and Yahoo here.

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