1: Microsoft have always played a scorched-earth game. Look specifically to the DRDOS/Novell trial for some choice quotes. Note Nathan "Microsoft Patent Pool Company Founder" Mhyrvold among others:
The strategic side is: ... We put a bullet in the head of our would be
competitors on DOS like DRI, Desqview, dos extenders etc.
- Nathan Mhyrvold, Microsoft Corp., May 9, 1989. Business as usual.
I thought about it all night. Since I came here I said there were two
things that concerned me related to Novell: one Novell partnering with IBM
and two Novell coming at us at the desktop. Both fears have now come true.
- Jim Allchin, Microsoft Corp., Jul 17, 1991 All that's old is new again.
We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger.
- Jim Allchin, Sept 9, 1991. Business as usual.
This really isn't that hard. If you're going to kill someone there isn't
much reason to get all worked up about it and angry -- you just pull the
- Jim Allchin, Microsoft Corp., Sept 18, 1993. Business as usual.
2: Microsoft have sung the "different game" song before. They really haven't changed yet. I see no reason they will.
3: Microsoft have been very adept players at stacking the political deck and weilding standards (de facto and de jure) to their advantage.
4: Microsoft have waged war by proxy in the past. Wang vs. Netscape and SCO vs. IBM come to mind.
5: Microsoft are starting to show very credible signs of an end-of-growth/end-stage tech giant. A decade of flat to no growth, significant loss of buzz, and restating / rejiggering of financial statements to provide the appearance of growth/health where reality is much less certain. While I look forward to the day when they're no longer a blot and impediment to tech growth and development (and conceding that they've made for certain advances), one downside is that dying tech giants almost always become patent trolls. The one trick left in their bag is a set of patents which they can milk, and shareholder obligations pretty much require them to do so.
7. Apple, Oracle, Google: Yes, size, in and of itself, is a problem in the tech world. Somewhat worse as the big players are frequently something like teenagers training hard with a high-protein diet and steroids: they've gotten to be a lot bigger and stronger than they realize. At least Oracle and Apple have some maturity, though they're not particularly acting like it (megalomaniacal, charismatic, powerful CEOs don't help). That's an "and also", not "but" to this discussion.
8: Yeah, MSFT are being public (but very cagy) about this. Seems the North Koreans recently invited western academics to tour a putative uranium processing plant. For some reason, the two remind me of one another.
I'll be really interested to see what Groklaw turns up here.