Microsoft: Boiling Frogs Since 1975
Posted Apr 16, 2012 8:22 UTC (Mon) by khim
In reply to: Microsoft: Boiling Frogs Since 1975
Parent article: Paoli: Microsoft will engage with the open source and standards communities
You forgot one highly relevant maneuver.
When Microsoft is behind and needs to push the competition away it starts talking and pushing “standards, we really need these standards” angle. As soon as competition is crushed it immediately makes further development proprietary and often declines to share any documentation.
Netscape vs Internet Explorer is good example from your list, but the best one is probably Novel's Netware and Samba. Remember a time when Netware was a king and Microsoft's Windows NT Server was a pariah? Back them Microsoft also loved network standard, even submitted documentation to IETF… but few years later when it become obvious that Netware is no longer a thread it stopped sharing any information about any future extensions and only relented after a huge penalties imposed by court.
So far all cases where Microsoft is playing “standards” angle follow this pattern: either Microsoft is behind or it's pushed to implement some kind of interoperability by governments or court.
Note that when Microsoft is playing the standards game its efforts are genuine: software engineers from Microsoft are competent guys and they do know how to deal with standards. And since they can only do that when their management allows that you can trust Microsoft completely. I mean you can be 90%, nah, 100% sure that Microsoft will help standardization when Microsoft is under one threat or another (competitive thread, government threat, court penalty, etc) and will withdraw it's support immediately when it's no longer on shaky ground…
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