Feeds

How Web 2.0 evangelists make the Microsoft monopoly stronger

Delusions of grandeur

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft, you'll recall, agreed to a gentle program of regulatory oversight in the US five years ago. Now that program is up for renewal, Microsoft says it doesn't need to any more oversight. Why not? Because of the software as a service revolution!

The war of words has been ongoing for some time. Marco Iansiti from Harvard Business School has been making the 2.0-case for Microsoft. Two experts, John Kwoka and Ronald Alepin, have been deployed to rebut it on behalf of the Ten States.

On November 6, both parties filed an update.

Microsoft filed a supplemental written by Iansiti: you can download it here PDF 660kb, 12pp]. It's a must-read.

"The Internet as an alternative platform is ubiquitous," he claims. Microsoft also adds that the pace of innovation since 2002 has risen - and Web 2.0 is proof.

(Yes, all those lame excuses for websites that are mercilessly lampooned by Uncov, are actually bleeding edge innovation. Fancy that! )

According to Iansiti, Google, Salesforce.com, Mozilla and Tim 2.0'Reilly's mighty army of JavaScript-typing, buzzword-spouting monkeys are all cited as proof that Microsoft doesn't need to be regulated at all.

But if Microsoft prevails, then even the small fissures opened up by the "Seattlement" may soon close the door on new opportunities, the States Fear.

"The 'Internet Platform' ... does not even exist, much less constitute for the foreseeable future a practical or viable alternative to the desktop platform," responds Alepin, in a filing made the same day.[PDF, 223kb, 32pp]

(Props to IDG's Greg Keizer -the only reporter to follow the arguments).

Such worries aren't shared by the Web 2.0 cultists however - they either don't have any worry cells in their heads, or their worry cells are fully preoccupied with persecution fantasies about the dying record industry, or telecoms companies.

These evangelists think that Microsoft is dead, dying - or at the very least, irrelevant. This utopian optimism has affected others, too. CNET blogger Matt Asay voiced similar thoughts in a recent Open Season podcast here. Listening to Matt, Microsoft belonged to a distant era, such was the magical power today of "open source". He didn't really care how it was regulated.

( This is an odd position to take. One of the small concessions Redmond was forced to make was to agree to document and license its protocols. It's a tiny crack in the monolith, and it has permitted a small number of MS-compatible open source companies to spring up. Zimbra, for example, was acquired by Yahoo! for an improbable $350m. Zimbra's is a rock-solid open source email service, but its inflated valuation is because it also offers a very limited Exchange-compatible client. )

Nor does the happy-go-lucky Digg crowd, many of whom weren't born when the first FTC investigation began in 1991.

Who are you kidding?

Not to labour the point, here are some inconvenient facts.

OS innovation has never been slower: Windows and Mac users have never had to wait longer between OS releases. They've never been unhappier, either: many users of the latest incarnations of these operating systems - Vista and Leopard - feel like abused guinea pigs. And Microsoft and Apple? Never wealthier, thank you very much.

So this is what the 2.0 revolution looks like: a concentration of power with the people who had it already. ®

Share your hallucinations with the author here, please.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.