“the bad, old Microsoft”

Paul Thurrott's reviewed Windows Vista and in the final section, "Where Vista Fails", he talks about "the bad, old Microsoft":

This is the Microsoft that ran roughshod over competitors in order to gain market share at any cost. The Microsoft that forgot about customers in its blind zeal to harm competitors. The Microsoft, that frankly, all the Linux and Apple fanatics always imagined was out there, plotting and planning their termination. The Microsoft that threatens Windows fans with needless legal threats rather than reaching out and creating constructive relationships with the very people who prop up the company the most.

I couldn't help but think about "the bad, old Microsoft" when I went to visit Port 25 today.  In case you haven't heard about it, its the blog of the Open Source Lab at Microsoft.  A lot of people involved in the Open Source community are wary of it being a wolf in sheep's clothing (oh look, they have videos available that are 'illegal' for people to watch if they didn't buy a copy of Windows).  Bill Hilf, the head of the OSL replied:

Our goal with Port 25 is to have a community discussion on people working with OSS and Microsoft software. Many of you who know me, know that I’m a no BS type of guy and I’ve spent many years answering the 3am pager calls when problems arise in the data center. At 3am, there’s not a lot of interest in technology dogma and rhetoric.

So, ok, let's see what happens.  Initially, anyone could post.  This of course turned it instantly into a gripe-about-Microsoft site ;)  So they instituted a registration policy.  Fine and dandy I say, so I went to register…  cryptically, in order to proceed, you have to put a checkmark next to the not-linked words "Site Terms".  Hmm…

Now, when registering for forums, you usually have to agree to various conditions (e.g. you won't SPAM people, you won't post obscene material, etc.) which are fairly standard.  But not at Microsoft.  Here are their Terms of Use. Its practically a contract written in blood (aka an EULA ;)  Here's one little gem:

Microsoft does not claim ownership of the materials you provide to Microsoft (including feedback and suggestions) or post, upload, input or submit to any Services or its associated services for review by the general public, or by the members of any public or private community, (each a "Submission" and collectively "Submissions"). However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting ("Posting") your Submission you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft Services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and the right to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Services. No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of your Submission, as provided herein.

IOW, if you post to their site, they can use you in an ad campaign for free.  Of course, elsewhere in the TOU document it says that "You may not modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any information, software, products or services obtained from the Services." so its really a one way street with Microsoft.

Also, Microsoft knows what you're thinking (you dirty thief).

Any software that is made available to download from the Services ("Software") is the copyrighted work of Microsoft and/or its suppliers. Use of the Software is governed by the terms of the end user license agreement, if any, which accompanies or is included with the Software ("License Agreement"). An end user will be unable to install any Software that is accompanied by or includes a License Agreement, unless he or she first agrees to the License Agreement terms. The Software is made available for download solely for use by end users according to the License Agreement. Any reproduction or redistribution of the Software not in accordance with the License Agreement is expressly prohibited by law, and may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Violators will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible.

Isn't that lovely?  'Welcome to our open source labs!  Touch anything and we'll sue you and have you thrown in jail.'

I think at this point any sane person still using Microsoft products would be seriously wondering how best to replace them as fast as possible, like Sterling Ball did…

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3 Responses to ““the bad, old Microsoft””

  1. Microsoft's New Business Model: Extortion « Limulus Says:

    […] the way to go.  Make no mistake; that is ‘protection money’ paid to extortionists.  Ballmer & Co. are scum for this and the death of Microsoft can’t come soon enough for me.  Not only will Microsoft […]

  2. Mark Shuttleworth gets quote mined « Limulus Says:

    […] the folks at Microsoft who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this community, rather than as a hostile antagonist, will win. At that point I’d love to work with Microsoft. It’s not an evil empire. […]

  3. Of Birthdays and Bus-factors « Limulus Says:

    […] not to be holding Apple stock if he ever gets really sick! ;) and the Microsoft bus-factor is 2: Gates and Ballmer.  Of course, I don’t think that any of them will get hit with a bus per se; but they are […]

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