15 Feb 2004

Mr Gates’ Dire Straits

Microsoft is having its problems lately, of which the news that it has managed to convince East London’s Newham Council to stick with Windows rather than shift to free software by providing unsustainably deep discounts in pricing looked like the very worst, until something even more dismal came along. Valentine’s Day found the monopoly coping with the unauthorized release of a large quantity of Windows NT and Windows 2000 source code, apparently stolen from or mistakenly made accessible by a commercial partner with a source code license. The first news item passed for a victory at Redmond, no doubt, in keeping with the “Never Lose to Linux” strategy for public-sector marketing previously propounded in Orlando Ayala’s famous secret memorandum leaked last summer. But the Pyrrhic victory at Newham Council and the Stolen Source Escapade—unrelated as they seem—represent very neatly the two blades of the scissors that are, to paraphrase Mr Gates himself, cutting the oxygen line of the tottering giant.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2004.02.15-00:00.00