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March 2003

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The Redmond Borg keep assimilating!

By Thomas Klein© March 2003

The Redmond Borg keep assimilating!

(Microsoft announced the acquisition of Connectix' products). While I still don't understand whether M$ in fact bought the 'company' or rather the 'product' I am afraid that the evil empire again took another step forward in the extinction of competitive technologies - or at least a way of "gaining control" of it.

For a long time, I thought that while VPC enables people to walk away from other platforms onto M$ so-called "operating systems" by providing backwards compatibility for vital applications, it also provides the risk of people moving the other way round: Run Office-[whatever version of the day] on your Mac, Linux... even OS/2? That - in fact - could mean that people won't buy M$ platforms anymore because their applications will run within virtual win-machines on different platforms. What a wonderful world this would be.

But no my dear: VPC doesn't include a license to run Win-whatsoever... this means: If you want to get away from Windows XP for example by running eCS with a virtual WinXP (for your Office XP) you still need a license for Win XP, as VPC only provides the virtual machine technology - not the machine itself!

Here's the link to the "acqusition faq" (PDF):

So here's the bottom line:

VPC will make M$ sell more Office-[whatever version of the day] because it'll run on non-M$ platforms by appropriate virtual machines. In addition, people who want to run virtual M$ machines on their Linux, Mac or whatsoever in fact need a "license" for the M$ operating system within their virtual PC. So VPC will make M$ gain access in both platform and application markets that were unreachable before. At first sight, this acquisition seems to only provide advantages: For M$, for those who still run OS/2 and those who don't care about either one (the Linux and Mac folks). But in the long term, we'll end up with a mix of whatsoever... but M$ will be in it.

And now let's take a look back:

Some years ago, Windows ran on home desktops. Word and Excel helped them gain access to the professional environments. Companies decided to change to so-called "operating systems" that where better suited to run M$-Office. (Okay, this might not be very accurate, but let's simplify the whole process this way).

Now - what can be learned from this? You'll run Office on your Linux in a virtual Win machine. Great. Your company will change to Outlook or Notes... running in the same virtual machine. And then you'll either get a new CEO who can't cope with anything but the stuff he knows (M$ products) or someone else has discovered the "VPC stuff" seems to "slow down" Notes and Office. And here you are: A native operating system to better support Notes, Office or Outlook. Another one bites the dust.


Resistance is futile - you'll be assimilated.

Personal point of view:

That's why I won't run any M$ on my OS/2: I prefer "native stuff" too.

To conclude:

If we want to fight the evil empire, we need people to work on native products. And here's for the "make it freeware" folks: Freeware is great. I want all developers to work for free... ...of course given the prerequisite of "Freerent", "Freecars", "Freefood" and "Freeheating" only! Hey, c'mon! If everything is freeware: Who'll be able to earn money?.


Other links referenced:
  Virtual PC for OS/2 -
  Microsoft Acquisiton -
  Connectix FAQ on the acquisition -

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