Kommandeering Developers Everywhere

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kicking and screaming

Part 1: I'd bet we've all witnessed it: some mother trying to drag a child (hopefully her own child :)) into a grocery store or shopping mall. And the child is crying the entire way, more interested in playing or taking a nap. No one, including other shoppers, is happy and the mom just wants to get the ordeal over with.

Part 2: Being a U.S. citizen, I get an interesting perspective on U.S. diplomacy over the years. As military prowess and economic reach expands (translation: as we fluctuate between global cop and global bully in an attempt to bolster our gluttonous economy based on consumption), the U.S. negotiation tactics have been whittled down to: "What would you rather we send to your capitol? 2 million copies of Kangaroo Jack DVDs or several Tomahawk missiles?"

By gaining muscle, we've lost elegance. Our diplomacy boils down to the most base of barter: economic stimulus or physical threats. Good times.

Putting it all together: Of course, I'm talking about Microsoft. As the line blurs between U.S. economic behemoth and the U.S. "Bull in the China Shop" government, MS has put together yet another banner week. They have finally realize that the ostrich approach (burying their hand in the proprietary format sand) will not work with ODF. It's not going away, and their stalling isn't working and their own format is as useful as 5 pounds of crap in a two pound bag. Further, they fumble, bumble and stumble through creating/copying an initial ODF plug-in. Then Bill absolutely puts his foot down and resolutely states that after 5+ years of focus, Vista will absolutely, positively, probably pretty-much be done in January.

And of course, what week would be complete without pissing off a government? In a story covered everywhere, Microsoft receives a relatively large slap on the wallet. Best quote (from many to choose from)?

Despite these fines, Microsoft remains totally committed to full compliance with the Commission’s 2004 decision. We will continue to do whatever the Commission asks to comply with its decision as these issues are considered by the courts.

One small catch: the fines are *because* of the failure to comply. Of course, their antics have completely made any such weekly security issues boring and uninteresting.

As Geoffrey Moore will tell you, all such behavior is just to be expected of a juggernaut on its last breath. Long gone are any illusions of technical leadership. Crippling size and lethargy. They going to get dragged to the grocery store (competitive market - get it?) no matter how much they cry. And when they can't use the "Might makes Right" tactic, they're completely baffled on how to play nicely with others. The EU sensibly asked, "Why should we take 5 million euro in bribes when we can take 280 million in fines?"

Unrelated note: I just trampled over a good blog by Zack on the KDE Planet. Scroll down and read it.


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