What would make you trust Microsoft?

What would make you trust Microsoft?

Summary: What I have not seen is any reduction in intensity when I write the word Microsoft, from readers, e-mail correspondents, or the open source people I meet. Why is that, I wonder.

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In some ways these are the best of times for Microsoft, and open source gets some credit for that.

(I found this charming mashup of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as Dr. Evil at The Big Deal, a blog by Stefano Buliani.)

Without the competition of open source, I doubt Microsoft's trend toward bureaucracy could have ever been slowed. Every company goes through its own aging process, and renewal only occurs under pressure.

Open source has strained every muscle Microsoft has -- legal, marketing, development, management -- but the recession of the last year has brought a turn. Resistance within the open source industry to Microsoft's entry has gone down. This is easy to see in the writings of our own Matt Asay.

The success of the CodePlex Foundation has given Microsoft another entree into the Fortunate 500. It has allowed Microsoft to be the rabbi of these companies as they approach open source, making strategic code releases and building their own internal communities.

Then there have been Microsoft's own code releases, which have accelerated since OSI approval of its branded licenses. Plus that sweet, sweet Windows 7 cash.

All in all, a good year. A year of peace and progress. And I can hear you grinding your teeth from here.

Despite all of Microsoft's actions these last few years, the company remains intensely controversial among open source advocates. For me to write the word Microsoft (Microsoft, Microsoft) here at the open source blog leads to a Pavlovian response.

Actually it leads to two Pavlovian responses. There's the "Microsoft is evil" response, and a corresponding "Microsoft is not evil" response. And this distrust, this air of controversy, continues to cost Microsoft money.

Microsoft executives still have to walk into open source meetings with shields up, while continuing to protect their bureaucratic flanks within the company. This is easy to see when you hear the smiles on former Microsoft open source executives as they speak from their new gigs. It's wearing.

Since I began writing this blog, nearly 5 years ago, I have watched Microsoft seek to transform itself from a company that sold code to one that sells the services code provides, and I have watched open source projects see the value in having commercial arms that protect more of their right to make money from copyright.

What I have not seen is any reduction in intensity when I write the word Microsoft, from readers, e-mail correspondents, or the open source people I meet.

Why is that, I wonder. Are all those who hate Microsoft extremists, and will Microsoft ever find happiness in an open source world?

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source

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  • Flame on!

    Let me save a couple people the time of posting

    "Microsoft is the most evil thing on earth and should be destroyed" - Linux Geek, Ole Man, D.T, No More Microsoft Software ....

    "I trust Microsoft with my life" - Mike Cox, Loverock, ...

    "They are a company. I trust them only to watch out for themselves, and to make a profit. That's why they exist" - A small minority of mentally stable readers
    crazydanr
    • I think you mean lurkers

      ...for that last category.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • That's unfair.

        There are quite a few posters who attempt to take a reasoned stance. The problem is that the the extremists can't be reasoned with, and its all too easy to get marginalised one way or the other. The noisy extremist minority marginalises the moderate majority (who quickly see the futility of responding).

        Some blogs have voting buttons on each posting, and with a enough negative votes, posts are not shown by default. Subjectively, I beleive that this system allows the majority to marginalize the extremists, leading to reasoned debate becoming the best strategy.

        There is of course a number of people who think that ZDNet actual wants to stir up this flaming. I beleive they could answer their critics and improve the talkbacks with such a voting scheme. What do you think?

        Regards,
        Nick.
        njoho
        • This is a brilliant idea!

          Voting makes so much sense.

          Now back to the question of Microsoft. I don't think of Microsoft like
          one company at all, some parts I trust (even like) others... well not so
          much.

          One of the problems for Microsoft the "OS Vendor" is they have lied so
          many times, engaged in software piracy (STAC) done so many
          reprehensible things - well it is hard to trust them.

          Then there is Microsoft the "hardware company", Microsoft keyboards,
          mice, generally have been well made and jolly nice (there are a couple
          of stinkers... but those are rare). I trust this part of Microsoft, I actually
          look for Microsoft keyboards and mice above all others.

          Or Microsoft "makers of the XBox", here they often drop the ball on
          quality (the original Xbox headset, the general reliability of the
          Xbox360) but they more than make up for it with the after sales
          service. This is Microsoft at it's best.

          I could go on, but you get the idea. It all depends. Do I want to trust
          Microsoft? Yeah, but they don't behave well under pressure. The dog
          wags his tail in a friendly way, but those are some nasty teeth and
          there's blood on his collar.
          jeremychappell
          • Agreed! (NT)

            NT
            No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • Seconded (nt)

          nt
          Economister
        • Unfortunately

          The fanatics would simply vote the other side's posts down and their own side's up.

          The only thing that I can think of would be to have a moderator monitoring system. Once a certain number of your posts had been deleted (criminal, offensive, stupid, etc.) future posts would have to be approved by the moderator before they could appear.
          There would have to be an appeals process so it would mean a lot of work for ZDNet. Also after a certain period of time (with no offensive posts) you could be taken off of the watched list. If you continued to post offensively you might have to be banned.

          I have had a post deleted (I made a crack about having Ballmer's head on a pike to appease disgruntled MS Vista users).

          BTW, how do you add those cute smileys to posts?
          Perhaps a button could be added to the "Add your opinion" area.

          lehnerus2000
          lehnerus2000
          • No, becuase...

            [i]The fanatics would simply vote the other side's posts down and their own side's up[/i]

            My contention is that the extremists are a very vocal minority, and this type of forum empowers them, not the moderate, but silent majority. I am convinced many moderates would silently vote against extremist views, where otherwise they would not be bothered to respond.

            Also, polarised views by definition require conflicting views, and the extremists would tend to cancel each other out, leaving on the the moderate positions that people will vote for.
            njoho
          • It could work...

            I am not saying that it couldn't work.
            I just feel that the extremists would be more likely to vote than the moderates (just like the way noisy minorities tend to drown out the main stream points of view).

            lehnerus2000
            lehnerus2000
        • But that's after the fact

          [i]Some blogs have voting buttons on each posting, and with a enough negative votes, posts are not shown by default. Subjectively, I beleive that this system allows the majority to marginalize the extremists, leading to reasoned debate becoming the best strategy.[/i]

          But that's after the fact, after they've been read. Like at Slashdot. It hasn't prevented extremists from showing up there.

          As long as you've read it first, then I could care less what happens to it after that.

          Besides, I get tempted clicking on those so-called "hidden posts" because I want to see what kind of controversy they created. :)

          If you really want to control the debate, then switch to a closed forum using something like ezBulletin software and have 24/7 moderation.
          Wintel BSOD
          • Minority Report

            You have some proposal for voting on what hasn't yet been said?

            I would actually be against a system that prevented me from seeing comments with (many) negative votes, but if a significant majority votes against something, then that's valuable. Hide them by default, and you and your morbid curiosity can still be indulged - that's your choice, and one I believe you should have.

            Of course, people can vote FOR good comments, so we are talking about a negatve [i]balance[/i] of opinion.


            njoho
          • Pointless

            [i]I would actually be against a system that prevented me from seeing comments with (many) negative votes, but if a significant majority votes against something, then that's valuable. Hide them by default, and you and your morbid curiosity can still be indulged - that's your choice, and one I believe you should have.[/i]

            I agree. Hiding someone's comments would be pointless. Plus each side can falsely stack in favor or oppose the comment depending upon which side it takes.

            It epically FAILS on both peer pressure and behavior modification fronts.
            Wintel BSOD
        • Sometimes the majority is made up of fanatics which makes a joke of voting

          Visit slashdot for a good example.

          connor33
          • zdnet majority is not that far behind......nt

            <i></i>
            xuniL_z
      • Dana declares himself an extremeist. Linus TOrvalds even disagrees with you

        and your rhetoric.
        It's people like you who are preoccupied with fanning the flames of MS hatred. Perhaps you should take a cue from Google or Apple and find a way to leverage large players like MS to springboard to huge success. They have a right to sell their OS and other software, they are certainly no more "Evil" than Steve Jobs & company or Google, even though I'm sure you would disagree to keep your followerss...err...I mean readers happy and comfy cozy in their Microsoft hating. It sure has done a hell of a lot for open source, hasn't it?
        As Linus Torvalds has said numerous times, he did not release Linux to build an army of MS hating religious fanatics and if you don't believe you fit in that category just think for a second...you are a grown man who riles up known zealots (or makes them grind their teeth as you so eloquently put it).
        I think it's time for the extremist bloggers here to grow up and just face reality. If were not obsessed with what MS is doing constantly, then you might actually get somewhere but you frame every one of your "open source" blogs with "Microsoft is evil" or "What is Microsoft doing". You feel that they play a huge role against the plight of open source and therefore you must frame everything with MS.
        Torvalds begs to differ and wants people like you to stop what you are doing because you are actually hurting the open source cause and making fools out of yourselves.
        You are making any sane, rational people feel like open source means "religious fanatics filled with hatred" and they are backing off.
        xuniL_z
        • Rhetoic?!

          Pot, meet kettle! It's the individuals like you, xuniL_z (and SleeperService, Loverock Davison, Non Zealot to name just a few) that ruin this site! The problem with you and your ilk is that while you have good points (you actually make some in this rant!), you ruin them by being arrogant [b]d i c k s[/b]. You assume that you know better than anyone else (you don't)., and you cannot have civil discussions. You are boring and ruin it for the people that are interested in having a sensible and [b]calm[/b] debate. Trolls, the lot of you...
          A none mouse Cow Herd
          • And how do you know me? Lurker? Never have seen your nic.

            I've used the same nic since I joined here. I've noticed most ABMers have changed, what's the deal? Did you get banned under your old one?
            And don't make me laugh, your reply reflects everything you said about my post.

            If you must know, i actually posted that with a resigned state of mind, knowing it would do nothing to curb the endless MS bashing but I'm not leaving, so I will keep trying.

            The list of people who ruin this site in my opinion is way to large to even start listing names and I don't feel the need to work that way.
            Those who ruin every MS related blog know who they are, although I'm sure it's just part of who they are and happens subconsciously by now, so maybe not. Every MS blogger that has been here has been verbally crucified for having any positive thing to say about MS. Oh yeah, let Ed Bott claim MS did something right and we have 500+ replies, most of them people like you, who have a total disregard for the 95% of the world using Windows and trying to gain from the blog, which has been immpossible on an MS blog since I've joined. Every one is used as another avenue of attack as though people read these blogs who've not made up their mind and will choose open source because somebody demonstrated how much hatred they have toward MS and how little respect they have for anyone that uses it, mentions it without putting it down or especially blogs about it.
            That is so embedded in forums now over many years I'm sure you feel it's the norm and getting in someone's face for not being totally respectful and bowing to an open source blogger is blasphemous.
            Please seek counceling and find out just how far out of touch with reality you are...please. for your own good.

            And what was your past nic(s)? I want to know who is replying to me like you did, or need you hide it in shame?
            I'm not giving my real name here and that's a choice 99% of all forum users make. Knowing that using Windows and not having hateful words about it, or not showing proper worship to Steve Jobs, can result in death threats being the main reason. I'm protecting my family.
            But unless you have no balls, what is/are your former nic/nics.
            xuniL_z
          • Thank You, A none mous :)

            It's always a pleasure to watch Micro$haft Bigot Right-Wingtard Fanbois get bitch-slapped until they crawl back under their Bush-Ballmer luvvin' treasonous rocks!
            drprodny
          • hmmmm. I'm a bigot eh? Stereotype much? LOL!!!

            You ABMers are as predictible as the sun rising in the east. It's hilarious the double standards and hypocrisy and stereotyping. Much like a junior high kid with no grasp of the real world. Way to go there drprod.
            So because I use Windows I'm automatically a right winger and because I'm a republican, I'm automatically a bigot and because I'm a bigot I love Bush and Ballmer. LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!
            My six year old has a larger intellect than you numbnuts.
            I'm not a republican for starters, not that it matters, but I thought you should know.
            I hate Steve Ballmer and was not happy with George Bush, although he was not running anything, so it's Cheney who i really despise.
            However, BO seems to be just kind of winging it on Afghanistan. How long has it been since he decided to run and told us Afghanistan should be the priority, but his strategy is failing miserably and he hasn't a clue what to do now. He's sitting at the Whitehouse counceling with the spirt of Abe Lincoln while kids are getting blasted to pieces by the dozens. Don't even start with the "I think it's smart to take his time and think it through and council with everyone he can and get as many options as possible". That sounds all well and good but he should have done that months ago. Wasn't it Bush who was blasted for not having an "exit strategy". This is no different....and I'm a moderate democrat, so I'm not "biased".
            But I digress, it's a pure pleasure to watch a jizzwad like you make a string of assumptions, each as laughable and predictable and one before it. LOL LOL LOL.
            So what about all of the other Linux distros? Leaving them for dead to have one giant Linux seems very much against what you've tooted your horn about for years. ABM motto, lie, have double standards, and when caught lying, lie some more. LOL LOL!!!
            What a mental midget you turned out to be.
            xuniL_z
    • @crazydanr

      You forgot to mention honeymonster and NonZealot
      Axsimulate