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   Re: [xml-dev] Inside Redhell: Microsoft XAML Blogger Round-Up

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  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Inside Redhell: Microsoft XAML Blogger Round-Up
  • From: Rod Davison <rod@critsys.com>
  • Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 17:34:55 -0500
  • Organization: Critical Knowledge Systems Inc.
  • Reply-to: rod@critsys.com
  • User-agent: KMail/1.4.3

I have a lot of trouble with the anthropomorphizing of Microsoft as some evil 
entity.  I myself have declared my home and company to be a Microsoft Free 
Zone for the last three years so I'm not beholdin' to MS.

Simple fact of the matter is that Microsoft is a large corporation that has 
fallen prey to the sort of dysfunctional world view that other large 
companies, like IBM, GM, LockheedMartin and others fall prey to as well; and 
this dysfunctional world view almost ensures that Microsoft will find an open 
standards approach to technology development threatening and abhorrent.

As Microsoft has come to dominate the market, their view of their business has 
changed from seeing themselves as meeting customers needs to viewing the 
marketplace as a consumer of their products.  The corresponding change in 
corporate strategy is to stop changing the products to give the customers 
what they want but instead to start manipulating the market to be sure it 
consumes what they sell and only what they sell.

Microsoft isn't the only company that has tried this.  The television networks 
fell prey to it, the oil companies, the phone companies – and so on.  Why 
don't small companies do this?  Because you have to be be big enough to 
actually see controlling the market as a viable business strategy.  Let's 
face it, Apple can't throw market muscle around like Microsoft can.

It is an old story, once an organization tastes that kind of power, it is 
easily seduced into doing whatever is necessary to maintain that power, even 
to the detriment of the marketplace.  But there is a downside here for 
Microsoft, they have become so focused can get outflanked by more market 
focused organizations.  They are trying hard, but you can't fight market 
trends.  Business history is full of movie studios that ignored television, 
mainframe makers that ignored PCs, television networks that ignored cable, 
record companies that ignored (err are ignoring) digital music formats, phone 
companies that ignored cell phones, and major software companies that ignore 
open source; these are market trends they tried to fight.

So this means that Microsoft could come to its senses and come out and play 
nice with everyone else, but a little look at corporate anthropology suggest 
that we had better not hold our collective breath.  Microsoft might change, 
they might realize that they market they dominated is transforming into 
something out of their control, and realign their strategies to something 
more reasonable – but it takes a wake-up call like IBM had when it got 
slapped around by the PC marketplace by an upstart company called Microsoft

So we just keep on developing the standards that the market place wants, and 
deal with Microsoft and their antics until the next "evil empire" emerges.

There.  Now I feel so much better.

Rod Davison
Critical Knowledge Systems Inc.


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