Commentary on Vista Security and the Microsoft Monopoly
This is right:
As Dan Geer has been saying for years, Microsoft has a bit of a problem. Either it stonewalls and pretends there is no security problem, which is what Vista does, by taking over your computer to force patches (and DRM) down its throat. Or you actually change the basic design and produce a secure operating system, which risks people wondering why they're sticking with Windows and Microsoft, then? It turns out the former course may also result in the latter result:
If you fit Microsoft's somewhat convoluted definition of poor, it still wants to lock you in, you might get rich enough to afford the full-priced stuff someday. It is at a dangerous crossroads, if its software bumps up the price of a computer by 100 per cent, people might look to alternatives.
That means no MeII DRM infection lock in, no mass migration to the newer Office obfuscated and patented file formats, and worse yet, people might utter the W word. Yes, you guessed it, 'why'. People might ask why they are sticking with the MS lock in, and at that point, it is in deep trouble.
Monopolies eventually overreach themselves and die. Maybe it's finally Microsoft's time to die. That would decrease the risk to the rest of us.
Posted on April 27, 2007 at 7:03 AM
The market is changing. Computer hardware, operating systems and applications are becoming commodities.
The only reasons that Microsoft dominates are:
a. The desktop monopoly that IBM handed them.
b. The proprietary file formats that continue to drive the desktop monopoly.
c. They have GREAT development tools. Just about anyone can QUICKLY build an app that will run on Windows. It might suck. It might be insecure. But it will finished, quickly and it will run on 90%+ of the desktops out there.
Microsoft is vulnerable in the foreign government market. Why would a city in Germany want to send money to Redmond every year for something that is a commodity?
That's where Linux and the Open Document Format (ODF) come into play.
A German official can declare that they will abandon Microsoft, migrate to Linux and only use ODF compliant apps. The money they will NOT be sending to Redmond will be used to pay LOCAL programmers to add features and patch bugs in Linux and the apps that they use.
Once one city has managed it, other cities will base their migrations off of that. The new migrations will be faster than the first migration.
The more cities/countries that migrate, the larger the pool of programmers working on adding features and patching bugs.
The only things that Microsoft can do to slow this is to push for software patents in all those countries and dump software into those markets for $3 a copy.
Then Microsoft needs to lobby the US government to tie trading status to software patent enforcement.
Otherwise, Microsoft will die. Their cash cows will be marginalized by the Free software alternatives and the rest of the world will be focusing on getting jobs for their local programmers.
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