Feeds

EC vs. MS: IT depts find a champ in Europe

If nerve holds

High performance access to file storage

Of course a commercial vendor can license the protocols, and hope for the best. In Luxembourg recently, Microsoft was keen to show that this could result in a happy collaboration. But it's difficult to compete effectively with the finished result - and impossible for an open source implementation to agree to the license conditions.

The key question now is who can benefit from the documentation Microsoft has failed to produce - and here the spotlight falls on software libre.

Before the court of the first instance, Samba's Andrew Tridgell held up that mythical device, the appliance server, as an example of the innovation that could return to the enterprise server business. But that isn't the kind of innovation that matters to IT users at this end of the business. It's rare to hear IT managers wishing for server appliances - but it's hard not to find one who didn't wish for reduced complexity. Opening the guts of Microsoft's software business is really about lowering prices, which are maintained at an artificially high level because of a monopoly supplier, for some very basic computer functionality.

The downstream effect could - and really ought to - concentrate minds at Redmond on Plan A, which was always about replicating functions found in expensive proprietary Unix systems and midrange systems and putting them on lower cost volume PCs. In recent years, it's been Linux that has been humming this tune.

All computer companies expect features to be imitated, and few companies can sit on features that weren't even new twenty years ago. The winners aren't just open source and its biggest backer IBM, but Microsoft's business customers.

But competitive advantage doesn't just come from copying, and joining the relentless race to the bottom. Microsoft might even try to innovate itself, rather than neglecting worthy and ambitious projects such as its on-off "future storage" project - last known as WinFS, and last seen heading for the deep freeze.

For the first time, then, we have an antitrust remedy that is not only being enforced - but might actually be able to restore some competition.

This supposes two things.

The first is that Microsoft is actually able to document these protocols adequately to the Commission's satisfaction - and there are people familiar with the protocols, and the documentation produced so far, who seriously doubt that Microsoft actually knows what's taking place on the wire. The second is whether Microsoft has the will to comply. Microsoft is already paying the fine into an escrow account, and this evening, Redmond lawyers were filing their appeal. Having played the antitrust poker game for so long, and discovered that prevarication is a successful tactic, the chances of it continuing with this gambit must remain.

What's $500m a year?®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.