Mark Shuttleworth has reacted to Steve Ballmer's goofy Linux commentary with considerable aplomb (and not the splenetic fervor I sometimes spew :-). Microsoft can't seem to get it out of its collective mind that open-source developers care about intellectual property (even if we don't always call it that) as much as proprietary developers do. We just opt to share it rather than to horde it.
Mark says:Intellectual property is something the free software community takes very, very seriously. There is a perception that the free software is somehow riding on the coattails of the real industry or somehow avoids intellectual property laws.
The contrary is actually the case. Mark cites Firefox and Xen as two areas where Microsoft - and the proprietary world - has actually copied the open-source world.
Which leads to Mark's most interesting comment: Microsoft is a pirate that trades on others' IP to the tune of over $1 billion each year:… Read more
Steve Ballmer apparently likes open source. Well, so long as it drives Windows revenue. And doesn't replace any. Ever. In fact, as he said at an event in Microsoft last week in London that he hopes to see all open-source innovation going to Windows, rather than Linux (more below).
His Q&A session is fascinating (you can watch it here), if for no other reason than to watch him slap around a strawman open-source competitor. I hardly recognized the open-source strawman he constructed, but he delighted in swatting its anti-commercial tendencies. I guess he has neglected to consider Red Hat, MySQL, SugarCRM, etc. etc. etc.
Among many others, Ballmer stated one absolutely dubious thing: "Our battle is not business model to business model, but rather product to product." If this were true (and if he actually believed it, which he doesn't), Microsoft could embrace open source. But since open source its very foundation, Microsoft has to fight it (which is one reason he couldn't avoid his patent canard.
It was not what a prospective buyer normally says--unless of course you're aiming to drive down the sales price.
"I think these things (social networks) are going to have some legs, and yet there's a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people," Steve Ballmer told The Times of London.
If we take Ballmer at his word, I'd say that qualifies as a public dousing of last month's speculation about Microsoft considering a 5 percent stake in Facebook.
Then again, maybe not.
In the same interview, Ballmer allowed that there … Read more
The more Microsoft events CNET sends me to around New York (the Windows Vista launch weekend, Halo 3's raucous little debutante ball), the more I realize one thing: No matter how much Gates, Ballmer, & Co. seem to always have issues (like that "Zune" debacle), that company knows how to throw one hell of a party. I'm not kidding. It even has its own wine now.
Of course, it's all relative, as The Register points out in citing an article from The Times on Ballmer's pay relative to Larry Ellison's.
As The Register notes:
Ballmer got a pay package worth a paltry $1.3m. The poor little rich boy received a salary of only $620,000 and a $650,000 bonus. He's practically a monk. What could motivate a man to wake up each morning knowing he could afford only a medium-sized fleet of solid gold luxury jets? His .3 per cent of Microsoft shares.… Read more
ABC chose the wrong tech billionaire.
I read the news today (oh boy) about Mark Cuban's upcoming appearance on the ABC television series Dancing with the Stars. I don't know what kind of shape Marky Mark is in though the good folks at ValleyWag managed to dig up a photo depicting Cuban in pre-strut form.
Still, the programming geniuses at ABC think this is a good choice. Maybe so. Could be the guy is a regular Fred Astaire in geek's clothing. However it turns out, one can only hope Cuban doesn't bark at the judges if … Read more
If this hasn't come through in my blog, I have a sincere respect for Microsoft. I particularly appreciate what it has done with SharePoint. Microsoft has grown a lightweight collaboration portal into $800 million in revenue in just a few short years. It is the fastest-growing product in Microsoft's history.
Microsoft being Microsoft, it is sharing the wealth with its partner ecosystem. Yes, Microsoft routinely runs roughshod over its partners but, to be fair, it's hard for a company that size to do much of anything without squashing partners in the process. But in the case of SharePoint, partners will help to drive SharePoint into all sizes of enterprises and into all kinds of applications, according to an article on CMP Channel.
This is where things get interesting, because what's good for Microsoft and its partners is not necessarily good for Microsoft's customers. … Read more
Instead of kicking back for the July 4 holiday, Steve Ballmer should be going crazy right now.
If you're Microsoft's CEO, the finding by Evans Data of a falloff in the number of developers writing apps for Windows desktop computers makes for grim reading.
The study, which reports a 10 percent drop in the number of developers writing software applications for Windows, also forecasts another 2 percent decline this year. The big winner--this hardly comes as a surprise--is Linux. Evans Data says the percentage of developers writing Linux applications is up 34 percent from last year.
I suppose … Read more
File this one under the heading of "after-the-fact" ruminations. But a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that Google and Salesforce.com were talking about ways to collaborate particularly piqued my interest. This potential partnership makes sense in so many ways--not the least being that it would drive Steve Ballmer to pull out what's left of his hair.
Would Google actually buy Salesforce? I'm sure Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff would sell at the right price, and Google obviously has money to spend. But these two don't have to head to the altar right away … Read more