Dude, you’re getting a MacBook Pro

by Michael Alderete on 4/5/2006

I’m sure a million people will be linking today to the Apple announcement of Boot Camp, a new utility which now makes it both possible and easy to install Microsoft Windows XP onto an Intel-based Mac. I’m also sure most of them will put their amateur analyst hats on, and tell people what they think it means. (Most will be wrong.)

My interest in and comments on the announcement are quite a bit less global in scope.

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Microsoft packaging parody video

by Michael Alderete on 3/1/2006

OK, lots of people are pointing to this “parody” video, Microsoft Redesigns the iPod Package, but since it involves the iPod, I thought I’d call a little more attention to it.

Microsoft Redesigns the iPod Package

It’s funny because it’s true, and because the music is perfect. But it’s also interesting because it perfectly illustrates the differences between the Apple and Microsoft design aesthetics — and I’m not talking about packaging. The iPod is so well done not because it’s had so many features added to it, but because it has had so many taken away. The saying “Less is more” is no less true for being cliché.

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Software McCarthyism

by Michael Alderete on 5/21/2003

Reading an article on CNet today, about the SCO Group’s latest moves in their infringement case against IBM, I came to a sudden realization: the SCO Group is engaging in “software McCarthyism”.

For those that don’t know the details, SCO alleges that IBM misappropriated trade secrets and other intellectual property from SCO and added them to Linux, thereby ruining SCO’s business. They want $1 billion.

Their lawsuit is not much more than a series of wild accusations, none of which is backed up with substance. Their senior executives have been giving quite a few interviews, where they talk of “clear evidence” of “hundreds” of infringements that they will “reveal soon”, but can’t right now.

In reality, the evidence is overwhelming that SCO didn’t have anything worth stealing, and that IBM hasn’t stolen anything. But that’s not stopping SCO from pounding the drums. It’s textbook McCarthyism, wave around wild claims but keep changing the specifics, so people are wondering, “Are there 232 infringements or 487 infringements?” and not “Is there any merit here at all?”

I don’t understand SCO’s motivations. They wanted to be acquired, and thought the lawsuit would put pressure on folks to buy them out. But IBM has stated publicly that they will “blacken the sky” with lawyers, and the lawsuit itself is riddled with factual inaccuracies, to the point where some are suggesting that SCO’s suit is knowingly deceptive to a degree that they should be sanctioned under Federal civil procedure. The industry-wide (excepting Microsoft) resistance to SCO can only be toughing their opponents’ resolve. So there is no way this is going to work out well for SCO.

It is working out well for Microsoft, who is using this opportunity to continue to sow the seeds of FUD around Linux, in the hopes of slowing down the erosion of their server business (which is getting killed by Linux). Microsoft recently paid SCO a bribe to continue the lawsuit. I wonder if there is an appropriate metaphorical link from their role here to the original McCarthy.

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 2/6/2003

This rather understated quotation was in the context of a CNet article about how much money IBM is investing in Linux:

“Microsoft sees IBM spending money on Linux, making Linux more robust, getting in the way of their aspirations. I think it makes them very unhappy,” said Steve Mills [senior vice president of IBM’s Software Group].

Competition makes the industry better, so anything that makes Microsoft unhappy has got to be a good thing. Go Steve!

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“Microsoft security” oxymoron

by Michael Alderete on 2/2/2002

Bruce Schneier is recognized worldwide as an expert in the area of computer security. He puts out a regular newsletter covering current issues, and in the current issue had this to say about Microsoft’s latest “initiative” to improve the security of their products:

Honestly, security experts don’t pick on Microsoft because we have some fundamental dislike for the company. Indeed, Microsoft’s poor products are one of the reasons we’re in business. We pick on them because they’ve done more to harm Internet security than anyone else, because they repeatedly lie to the public about their products’ security, and because they do everything they can to convince people that the problems lie anywhere but inside Microsoft.

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