Bill Gates arrested in his younger days (photo in public domain)
ICROSOFT embracing aggressive and illegal practices?!?! You don’t say…! As unshocking as it may sound, Microsoft continue to use anti-competitive means to prevent a quicker penetration of GNU/Linux, or Open Source software in general.
One of their methods is to deter OEM‘s from supplying Linux, as recently confirmed in a Novell testimony. So what is involved exactly? The Redmond software maker is apparently allowed to penalise shops for offering a Windows alternative, for merely having it in stock. Put positively (negativity in disguise), Microsoft can always offer ‘benefits’ (a bonus) for supplying an all-Windows range. This can put free software in a position of disadvantage. This rebatement has virtually the same effect as a penalty, a fine. It illustrates the litigious subtleties which Microsoft rides on. When Compaq placed the Netscape icon for Web browsing on the Desktop, Microsoft threatened to break the contract, even though Explorer was right there among the menus (as it “cannot be uninstalled”, of course, as dangerous as it may be).
This leads to another discussion on the issue of bad practices. Back when Microsoft faced court to defend itself against Netscape, it argued that Internet Explorer could not be removed from the operating system. “It was too deeply rooted in the core”, they argued. As it finally turns out, owing to the many security issues, Microsoft have just decided to separate Internet Explorer from Windows Explorer, making it separate from the core. In other words, they lied in court and got away with it.
Lastly, let us consider the endless delays in release of Windows Vista. First, the release date was estimated at 2003, then 2005, then 2006 and now it is said to be February 2007. Similar tactics have been used in the (rather distant) past by IBM, as means to prevent the customer from defecting to competitors. Saying that you are “just there” when clearly you are not, is not just deceitful; it’s irresponsible, selfish and disrespectful.