Microsoft Watchers

There are a number of IT commentators and pundits that seem to agree with Keep an Open Eye about the true nature of the Microsoft Interoperability Putz … uhhh Push:

Joe Wilcox at Microsoft Watch:
About a year ago, I spoke with a Microsoft product manager about new interoperability efforts. Midway through the conversation, I realized that we might not use the same definitions of interoperability. I asked: “When you talk of interoperability, do mean Windows XP with older Windows versions or Windows and other operating systems?” After a startled pause, he answered, “Windows with Windows.”

Michael Vizard at Channel Insider
“Microsoft Extends Olive Branch with a Velvet Fist:

Any student of history will tell you that its never a wise idea to
attack multiple enemies at once. And given the fact that Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer is well-versed in Napoleonic history, this may account
for all the olive branches being extended to so many rivals lately as
Microsoft gears up to battle Google and Sony. Microsoft has even gone
so far as to say it may indemnify any of its customers that are also
Red Hat customers should it wind up suing Red Hat over intellectual
property. Nevertheless, there are others such as Samba crying foul
over what may just amount to a gentler form of saber rattling from
Microsoft. And of course, you just might want to also
the new editor of Microsoft Watch has to say about just how sincere
Microsoft may or may not be.

Eric Lai at Computerworld
Ballmer: Linux users owe Microsoft, Nov 16th, 2006:
“Novell pays us some money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SUSE Linux is appropriately covered,” Ballmer said. This “is important to us, because [otherwise] we believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

Also driving Microsoft toward interoperability were complaints by its own customers, which found the Windows platform too difficulty to tie to business applications running on other operating environments. In February 2005, Bill Gates, chairman, co-founder, and chief software architect of Microsoft, introduced the concept of “interoperable by design” as its initiative to make its products play nice with others through the use of XML technology. href=”″>Sean Micheal Kerner at Datamation
Microsoft-Novell: Bad Omen For Open Source Linux:
Last weeks surprising announcement by Microsoft and Novell on Linux is very good news for Novell. It could also be very bad news for open source Linux.Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft and Novell are supposed to work together on interoperability and patents, such as its inter-office suite (Office to OpenOffice). Certainly, interoperability and patent protection are goals that everyone running a heterogeneous IT infrastructure longs for. But instead of embracing standards and software freedom, Microsoft embraced Novell with one arm and waved an accusing finger with the other, warning others to fall in line. ”

I could cite more writings, but the critical point is that the trade press appears to agree with three key arguments I have just made. First, and foremostm that Interoperability has two different meanings within Redmond and everywhere else. Second, this move appears predicated on the need to react to EUs continued threats of fines to Microsoft. And third, that the Interoperability push is indeed a flak catcher for some decidely proprietary attacks on Linux, Open Source and other erstwhile partners.

In sum, I think CEO Steve Ballmer is throwing down the gauntlet and saying “try to come and get us”. More on this next time.

(c) JBSurveyer 2006