General George C. Patton was no defensive minded tactician and I am now beginning to suspect neither is Redmond. They are losing bigtime to Linux in the server world. And so what Steven Vaughan-Nicholls suggested just a week ago and which looked somewhat stretched is now beginning to take shape. So be prepared for the Patent Attacks as Microsoft uses IP-Intellectual Property and patents to tilt, tilt the playing field in Windows Server 2003 favor. Besides the article linked above there are some other earthquake tremors (if you thought SCO was a nightmare, wait until Linux IP Patent wars breaks loose – hence the Earthquake metaphor).
Now to add color – the Register is doing a story on how Bill Gates and Microsoft are the second most respected business company(not just IT company) in the world according to worldwide Business Leaders. It is hard to believe that a company that has such a checkered past based in substantial part on “innovation by legalistic opportunism” and whose operating policy keeps it constantly on the border of “business ethics gone awry” and whose current strategy of IP and Patent Attack brinkmanship could unleash devastating turmoil in an industry already reeling with a new world order change – how can that company be so universally admired by business leaders who should have vision beyond being slaves to the next quarter – thi is is hard to reconcile
But of course – that monopoly power is part of their admiration. Microsoft does not have to scratch and claw for profitability. Rather Redmond has built up a monopoly engine by hard work but also by hook and by crook – and now they are not just defending but seeking to expand that monopoly reach with pit bull ferocity. And the fact that Open Source, Do-gooders, and Linux lie on the path – well thats collateral damage of really no consequence.
What our “visionary” business leaders fail to take into account, is that monopoly, especially Microsoft 90%++ market share monopoly, is a zero sum game. Win-win deals with Microsoft are only a temporary state of affairs. Because in order to gain that jaw-dropping and throat-choking 90%++ market share, Microsoft must play a zero-sum game – Redmond must win and everybody else must lose. The four markets Microsoft is currently engaged in zero-sum activities are not insubstantial: gaming against Sony, Nintendo, and all the rest; BI marketplace against onetime “partners” like Cognos, Crystal/Business Objects, Hyperion, ProClarity, etc; the small business accounting and ERP world versus Quicken, Peachtree, Lawson, SAP, etc; OS server marketplace versus Novell, IBM, HP, and new Microsoft partner, Sun. So in effect, with its zero-sum policy, Microsoft becomes the Partnering Pariah from Hell. So my question to Business Leaders is what do you do when Microsoft wants to “partner” with you ? Look for a white knight like Oracle ?