Feeds

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

If nerve holds

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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?®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.