Recently, Microsoft announced that they are going “above and beyond” the call of duty by offering to license parts of the the Windows Server Source code. The press release can be found HERE.
In Europe, the EU Commission had ordered Microsoft to license its protocols to help servers interact with Windows Servers. This was to prevent a repeat of the way Microsoft had competed unfairly in the 90’s. You know … the Monopoly thing. The EU commission had to ORDER Microsoft to hand over CLEAR documentation regarding Server protocols. So, Microsoft hands over documents – 12,000 pages worth. But it is incomprehensible. So the commission threatens to fine Microsoft $2.4 Million per day unless Microsoft complies. So what does Microsoft do ? Instead of providing the documentation that they have been repeatedly ORDERED to provide, they throw a bunch of server source code on the table. Their way of saying – “Here, you figure it out!”.
And they have the gall to say in their press release that – “Microsoft is going far beyond the European Commission’s March 2004 decision and its legal obligations to provide companies with the technical specifications of its proprietary communications protocols.”
What a Crock !
I know some of you are thinking – “Hey, they offered the Source Code”. Isn’t that the “ultimate documentation” as Microsoft themselves describe it ? No it’s NOT. It’s a cute way of Microsoft circumventing the legal order. And no one is laughing.
Let me give you an analogy. Let’s say I have a new car and you want to supply the fuel for the car. But you have no idea what kind of fuel is supposed to go in the car. For years, I kept this information secret and that’s how I illegally maintained my monopoly. By making sure only my fuel would work with my car. But now I tell you I have reformed my ways. So once again, you ask me for documentation about the type of fuel, – and I supply you with reams of pages about the history and mechanics of the internal combustion engine. Doesn’t help you one bit. So you threaten me with fines and I hand you the keys to the car. My way of saying – “Here you go, you figure it out!” Now tell me, how does that help you ? And to add insult to injury I will charge you rental fees for the car. Oh, and I will provide you 500 hours of free tech support. And all you wanted was for me to say “87 Octane”.
These are the kind of games Microsoft plays over and over again. And the Tech media just eat up every word that comes out of the Microsoft PR department. It took Andrew Tridgell years of painstaking analysis of Windows Server packet transmissions to come up with SAMBA. Without SAMBA only Windows machines would be able to talk to Windows Servers.
This kind of crap from Redmond makes a mockery of the efforts of people like the SAMBA team and anti trust settlements around the world. But then again, I never did believe that Microsoft had ever reformed their ways.