Mark Damon Hughes R.I.P. Microsoft, Scoble is laying down fertilizer [Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics] [about]

Michael Malone says R.I.P. Microsoft. I think it's premature to call MS dead yet--they've always smelled bad, even if it has got worse recently. However, MS has entirely too much history of psychotically antisocial behavior and too much money to go quietly into that good night--they'll try to take everyone and everything else with them when they do die. We're just lucky they don't have nuclear weapons. Since I live in blast radius from the Microsoft cult compound, I really don't want Windoze-controlled nukes.

Anyway, Robert Scoble apologizes for Microsoft again, but manages to shoot himself in the foot badly, both in the article and in responding in his own comments thread.

Scoble writes:

It says volumes that I have written several letters to Bill Gates on my blog telling him how to change his company and I'm still here. Compare to other companies around us. That really is pretty unique. We all know several other billion-dollar companies that don't allow that kind of bottom-up kind of feedback. (If you're a Microsoft employee, and you're thinking of doing that, though, do it smartly. Remember, your words will get into the New York Times or Wired Magazine).

Robert, you haven't been fired for what you say because you're not a "journalist", you're not any kind of respected voice, you're just a dancing bear. Microsoft desperately needed a marketing shill like you to make it look like they were more open, but you haven't actually produced any of this "openness", "innovation", or in the latest round of Gatesian NewSpeak, "interoperability".

If real Microsoft programmers went ahead and said what they think without fear of censorship, that would be open. Linux developers say whatever the hell they want, and are only judged on the quality of their software. Even our insanity is better--our crazies are crazier than your crazies. Even Sun developers can say what they think these days, now that Schwartz openly kicks sand in the face of corporate rivals on his blog.

Scoble writes:

"Justin: When's Microsoft going to make that one thing that every other company is going to have to copy?"

Oh, you mean OneNote? Or Halo 2? Or SQL Server? Or the Tablet PC? Or Media Center? Or the SPOT watch? Or Channel 9? Or Xbox Live? Or Portable Media Center?

If Microsoft had invented a single one of the products you listed, or they were in any way original, that would be innovative, using the real meaning of the term. Innovation does not mean "anything branded by Microsoft". It means "creating a new idea or product". Yeah, take a while with that one, it might be a new, even innovative idea for you.

In case you're not following: OneNote is, essentially, Lotus Notes (great data model, inadequate user interface), tied into Office (terrible data model, inadequate user interface). Halo 2 was made by Bungie, and is just another in a long series of Wolf3D/Doom/Quake clones, a gaming genre invented 18 years ago. SQL Server is just another RDBMS, and a really bad and standards-violating one at that; if you want innovation, you look at Oracle, who had the first SQL RDBMS, and still have the best, or PostgreSQL, which is superior to MS's product in every way and is free. The Tablet PC is the Apple Newton, the Grid Pad, or the Tandy Model 100 reborn yet again. Media Center is an inadequate Tivo ripoff. The SPOT watch was built by another company, and purchased by Microsoft. Channel 9 is just another round of astroturf marketing; technologically, it's just a blog and wiki, both of which were innovated as open-source software. Xbox Live is just another version of the find-other-players features of Quakeworld, or TEN, or any of a thousand different game networks before it. "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it... And think they're innovating!"

If Microsoft helped users use their files across platforms, whether those are Mac, Linux, or Windows, and followed standards-based network protocols, that would be interoperable. Show that you're interoperable. Dump SMB and switch to NFS, dump ActiveX, dump .NET and switch to Java, and make your web pages work correctly on all browsers. Of course, that's not what Bill means by "interoperable", he only thinks there are Windoze machines in the world. The one area where Microsoft uses a protocol more-or-less correctly is TCP/IP, which they directly copied from BSD Unix, which has a true open-source license that allows that.

But that's okay. Microsoft doesn't need to be interoperable. If anyone else cares to interact with Microsoft's increasingly irrelevant software, they'll eventually just decode MS's deranged formats and make tools to deal with it, like Samba, OpenOffice, and Evolution, and when we have to deal with the pseudo-HTML your apps generate, we'll just use demoroniser. Mostly, people don't bother because they have work to do on real software.

Your time has come and gone, old man. Your kung fu is weak.

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