Microsoft ? Which Microsoft ?

Yesterdays post on the EU fining Microsoft did draw quite some reactions. To me (and most readers) it is the technological side which troubles me. I was wondering, it was the EU versus Microsoft. Which is a legal case. But what are you thinking of when ms is mentioned ? Let’s take three familiar faces :

  • Steve Ballmer. He is very good at shouting “developers, developpers“, but he is seldom seen in the world of developers. His main image is that of the shark ms-bashers love to hate.

  • Bill Gates. He’s about “leveraging the experience“. His talks and conversations are about a school-boys dream came/coming true. To the non-developers world he’s just ver very rich.

  • Don Box. In his days before “working for the firm” (to quote his own words) he was deep in ms’s propriatary COM. Since joining he’s deep into xml and soap, the non propriatary ways to communicate with the world outside ms. The non-developers world doesn’t know him.

To me, as a developer, Don and the many, many other inspiring people working at ms are the face of ms. I do like what they are doing and I can make a living using their products. Steve and Bill are part of a (good) sideshow, they provide the playing ground. The EU-trial is a bad side-show, they want to take the toys from the boys.


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  • Peter van Ooijen

    please Frans, I have given this a very good thought. Longer than just the past few days. I don’t see ms like a big evil empire who is mainly after money. The moment I started doing that it would be time to retire.

  • Frans Bouma

    Don’t be fooled by MS Marketing poop, and when I re-read your past 2 blogs about this topic, you definitely are fooled.

    A technology to use in your application can be downloaded from MS in teh form of an SDK. When I want to write 3D graphics I have to downloade the 120MB+ install of the DirectX SDK. When I want to develop media applications, I download the Media SDK.

    Very hard? no not at all.

    Has this ANYTHING to do with the politics to get WMP in every household, on every computer to make WMA and friends as the defacto standard and to make the websites WMP links to as the top sites for content?

    No not a single bit.

    You ask yourself, which Microsoft was fined by the EU? Well, the company Microsoft. Not employees, the company.

    What does this company do? Make money, design strategies to make money tomorrow as well and in the future. It’s been these strategies which gave us an integrated IE which opens up every application it’s in to vulnerabilities in IE and for example an integrated WMP, which will make WMP the de-facto player for internet streamed content.

    WMP doesn’t bring money on the table. THe server techonolgy will. And because every customer has the player, content providers will have to use WMP compatible streaming technology. Gosh, who will be licensing that? Ever looked into licensing for content streaming?

    It’s not about technology as in: these are bad/good. It’s about in which way technology is used to get a big chunk of TOMORROWS big markets.

    Look at it this way: if Real Media is the defacto standard (as it was!) for streaming content on the Internet, MS doesn’t control it. Because content via the internet will become more and more important, the consumer simply needs a player to consume the content. Because Realplayer runs on a lot of platforms, will MS benefit from it? No, on the contrary. Will MS benefit from the server licenses? No not at all.

    If you still don’t get it, I really wonder if you have given this any good thought at all.

    And please: "The EU-trial is a bad side-show, they want to take the toys from the boys." This is silly. You don’t get the Media SDK now also with windows. You have to accept a big EULA with all kinds of severe restrictions to get it. So nothing will change for the DEVELOPER, and that’s what you were worrying about, or not?