Post of the Day
April 23, 1998

From our
Microsoft Board


Subject: Re: Is it realy a monopoly?
Author: Absynthe

"Nobody is going to want to innovate anything if they fear that MSFT is just going to steal it and give it away for free."
"Hah, what's more accurate is all sorts of companies innovate and many of them pray to heaven that Microsoft will come buy them out for huge $$$."
OK, here I have to take exception. Example? Drive Image. Windows NT holds lots of security info that relates directly to the local machine, so simply copying all the files from one machine to the other compromises the security of the network. Along comes a company that not only creates a way for this information to be copied, but runs a nearly bulletproof algorithm to change the security infromation so there is no security hangups.

MSFT denies any responsibility for this program or any problems it causes. No problem. I can understand that. I can't expect my mechanic to guarantee my hack of a rebuilt engine. But in the next version of Windows NT, this feature will be incorporated by MSFT. They will support their version, which is the same bloody program in every way save original code.

  This is the problem with innovation. Every time innovative technology comes into the marketplace, MSFT tries to railroad it by first refusing to support it... it's MSFT's way, or it's "at your own risk".

This is the problem with innovation. Every time innovative technology comes into the marketplace, MSFT tries to railroad it by first refusing to support it... it's MSFT's way, or it's "at your own risk". Then, after the public support for this competitor dies down, they take the idea and absorb it in their OS, where the competition stands no chance. They've done it with Novell's NDS structure. They're doing it with Drive Image, Internet Explorer, the Palm Pilot's OS, and countless others.

With this in mind, I can't blame companies selling their intellectual rights to MSFT. At least this way they're getting credit (and payment) for their hard work. But to call MSFT the innovative force behind it all is a farce of the highest order, and I doubt that companies are doing this innovation for the *sole* intention of being bought out. There's enough venture capitalists who are eating up anything with the word "Internet" connected to it who are much more eager to pay and much less tech-savvy to know the difference. If their target isn't themselves, it's closer to these VCs than MSFT.

(Admittedly, I came into this thread late. In fact, it's my first at the Fool. Fire away.)


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