Can we cut Microsoft some slack here?

Can we cut Microsoft some slack here?

Summary: Larry Dignan nicely summarizes today's news from Microsoft:Here are the four points beaten to death today in the tech press:Ensuring open connections;Promoting data portability;Enhancing support for industry standards;Fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.I didn't think there was much to add until later in the day, I participated in a phone in episode of NewsGang.

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Larry Dignan nicely summarizes today's news from Microsoft:

Here are the four points beaten to death today in the tech press:

    Ensuring open connections; Promoting data portability; Enhancing support for industry standards; Fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

I didn't think there was much to add until later in the day, I participated in a phone in episode of NewsGang. Steve Gillmor made the point that when it comes to openness, Microsoft is making a much better job of it than Google. Steve used the argument to suggest that a Microhoo makes for what's really needed to break down the problem of attention data ownership i.e. competition. Steve thinks what's needed is a tool that users can easily adopt that allows 'us' to move our social graph data around as we choose. Competition creates the conditions under which this could happen.

This is an interesting idea but I wonder whether Microsoft would be prepared to step up to that particular plate. I sense that regardless of what Microsoft attempts to do, it is tarred with a bad boy image that refuses to die. You can see that in the skepticism expressed by Mary Jo Foley and others.

I'd prefer to be more generous because in the last few months I've met a LOT of Microsoft middle managers who I believe really do care about doing the right thing. In that sense I agree with John Carroll. It would be unfair to single individuals out but the message I hear is one of trying to figure out how to organize and coherently communicate the value of what are after all, thousands of individual parts, that sometimes seem bizarrely grouped. Rather than 'bad' I'd describe the company as 'unsure of itself' as it transitions. Even so, my Irregular chums are not so certain about the announcements.

In our Google Group (sic) discussion, Brian Sommer, who has a long pedigree in consulting, specifying and implementing enterprise software asserted that:

This is a blatant attempt to pre-emptively look like their Yahoo deal won't lock up the Internet. This is a posturing move and it's one everyone, including FTC and EU regulators were probably anticipating. I was fully expecting them to announce a slew of stuff about why Google is the next great Satan and that only a strong MSFT/Yahoo can stop Google from enslaving all of us. I expect them to use the 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' angle in why they have to have Yahoo and why regulators should let them get it.

Fellow Irregular and Freeform Dynamics analyst David Tebbutt wondered:

It seems unlikely (ie too quick) but IBM has been making loads of 'open' noises recently. I wonder if Microsoft's cage was rattled.

I claim no more insight than anyone else but I am starting to wonder whether we should not start cutting Microsoft some slack. The PR effort may suck and the timing may appear cynical but let's realize what's going on here. A dogfight to wrest power from Google. I want that competition because as a contributor of attention data, I want the control to which Steve Gillmor alludes. As an enterprisey guy, I most certainly want to feel that 'our' data is under 'our' control.

Topics: Microsoft, Google, Government, Government US, Open Source, Social Enterprise

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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59 comments
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  • Who is that loon?

    That guy in your blog talking about pre-emptively whatever is a kook. They are the ones that act like Microsoft is the great satan. I think Microsoft has done alot to help advance this industry and no one can deny that fact. Its funny how Google wants everyone to come to their site, use their products and only their products. Does anyone honestly think that the heads of Google wouldn't want that to be the case??? Its really easy sometimes to spot jealousy in this world. Microsoft has become what it has because of its products, and its sad to see some people lie and manipulate to make their point, while not giving me too many real reasons to change when the products are great. This day in age loud mouths get all the attention, thats why I like that Microsoft is more humble than to stoop to the lows of their peers. You might not like them, but why the hell would anyone feel so strongly as to hate them, thats counter productive activity in my book, I like facts and straight up talk, but thats just me.
    OhTheHumanity
    • which loon are you talking about?

      The one who posted that comment?

      You can take your blinkers off anytime you like.

      Microsoft may have done a lot to make the industry what it is today, I can't deny that, but what the industry is today is not all good. AND they've done a lot to stunt the industry too.
      mdsmedia
      • Dont act like its a sin to make an honest profit and...

        employ thousands of employees, who have good paying jobs, and a company which gives 100's of millions to charity too, plus gives away fully functional database software, thousands of free tools, 05 and 08 express editions for all of their languages.. and the list goes on and on...

        nobodies perfect, but it doesn't hurt to try.
        pcguy777
        • Broken Window fallacy

          You need to be careful that you don't employ it.

          MS may have created 5000 jobs, but what if it came at the cost of the loss of 15,000
          jobs elsewhere. Doesn't sound so rosy, now, does it?
          frgough
          • Data? Any Shred of Logic? (nt)

            NT
            PMC-CON
    • act like Microsoft is the great satan............

      And you disagree, huh? You "like facts and
      straight up talk", eh?

      The Halloween Documents
      Introduction
      Where will Microsoft try to drag you today?
      Do you really want to go there?

      http://opensource.feratech.com/halloween/

      Boycott Microsoft
      Dirty Tricks
      A GRAB BAG OF DECEPTION, DISHONESTY &
      HIGH-HANDED TACTICS

      http://www.vcnet.com/bms/departments/dirtytricks.shtml

      Microsoft's lobbying efforts eclipse Enron

      http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-835267.html

      Microsoft : The Fall From Grace

      http://www.darkjedi.dk/?p=214http://searchenterpriselinux.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid39_gci1245710,00.html

      If that doesn't tire you of reading for now,
      ask for more. I can give you plenty
      of "straight up talk".
      Ole Man
      • Yeah thats convincing Sir???

        Once again someone struck back at my post with opinion posts and some stupid thing about lobbying. I like Microsoft because their products work, and companies are always looking out for themselves and I don't think that if MS alienated people that they would be where they are today? Its the reteric of MS is bad all the time that makes people question your motives and why you need to bash one man to make yourself look good. The bashing has been going on for so long people are tuning out and not taking the open source community seriously. Maybe they could get MoveON.org to help out. They don't like coming up with solutions to things, just bring down the other guy some way some how. I know Americans will pay for things that work, so just another reason that open source is disconnected from society.
        OhTheHumanity
        • You like Microsoft products

          because you're just a kid, and you don't know anything else.

          We've got years of your type ahead of us, screaming that the little IT knowledge they have "IS IT KNOWLEDGE", and believing anything that Microsoft says.

          The US is failing because the bullshit is eating itself. You've been "religioned". Some future you represent.

          Muhahahaha.
          fr0thy
          • Again, cheap shots because of my beliefs

            "You like Microsoft products
            because you're just a kid, and you don't know anything else.

            We've got years of your type ahead of us, screaming that the little IT knowledge they have "IS IT KNOWLEDGE", and believing anything that Microsoft says.

            The US is failing because the ******** is eating itself. You've been "religioned". Some future you represent.

            Muhahahaha. "

            I love it, this sounds like US politics. Bash me without knowing who I am and what I do. I like their products so yeah I am just another dumbass folks. The jealousy is funny and after only being in this industry for 3 years and I am already an IT manager with no college degree, but yeah I am just a dumbass microsoft dude??? My job is to keep the company productive while yours is to make a point about some vendetta you have, two different worlds my friend. I have worked for a fortune 500 company that ran mostly windows across their network and you what do you know, the stuff just worked, but yeah your right its all just crap software forced on us by the Microsoft Gods. But honestly I believe in personal opinions and freedom, unlike the socialism which is what you prefer.
            OhTheHumanity
          • 3 years and no degree. What a surprise!!!

            So back to what I said, you're just a kid and we've got years of your type ahead of us.

            There's only one reason that Microsoft are pretending to open up. That's so they can make half-educated wannabee's think they know stuff, perhaps the "new young managers" of the world ;-)

            Click, click, click, look at me Mom!!!!!!!!
            fr0thy
      • its all about the money

        everyone thinks theyll still be able to pay their bills if everythings free someday.

        look ... i like the open source languages like most devs, but if everything was little or no cost, all of us IT pros would be hurtin for cash huh?
        pcguy777
        • So it's better to let a monster control and protect you?

          So you'll be "safe", huh?

          No thanks!. I'll take my chances protecting
          myself.

          Let me give you a good analogy of you kids
          and Microsoft:

          A bunch of little cowards following a big
          overgrown bully around cheering him on while
          he beats up on the smallest dried up little
          shrimp he can find...... yaaaaaa!... way to
          go man! ... letim have it.....
          Ole Man
    • Cut Microsoft NO slack

      If you do, you'll be the only country in the world stuck in a knowledge economy of deliberately diseducated consumers.

      It's up to the US to wake up to its own reality.
      fr0thy
    • daMax you're just a kid

      and it's clear. When you grow up a bit more you'll see the same.

      Pointless endless greed is not the way to go.

      The knowledge economy won't involve the US the way things are going.
      fr0thy
  • Slack?

    On the slack front, I tend to agree. No reason to rush to judgment here, the most reasonable course is to continue on the basis of Microsoft's well-established track record.

    They deserve a few years to build up some history for any change of direction before we need to worry about reevaluation. I would think that we can look to Microsoft for guidance here and consider a time frame similar to those that regulators and courts have taken to reach decisions.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Too late ...

      ... years of bullsiht and crap software ... and it can't continue because they can't just kill/own it/say it was their idea in the first place.

      OH NO WHAT CAN WE DO NEXT WITH OUR BILLIONS? I KNOW, DECIDE THAT VISTA SIMPLY NEEDS MORE ADVERTISING.

      LOL. LOL. LOL. LOL.

      Hurry up and die Microsoft. Your pathetic mentality seems not to be taking over the world.

      Aw shucks.
      fr0thy
  • RE: Can we cut Microsoft some slack here?

    no.
    james.faction
    • Agreed

      No. The "interoperability" is designed to exclude anything except the casual home user.
      lordshipmayhem
      • I know ....

        ... let's pretend we're nice and not all about money for a bit and then suck them in and screw them later.

        Duh, can't see that coming? Can you?
        fr0thy
  • uh, here they come, the knee-jerk Microsoft-is-always-bad -ers

    !
    killerbunny