It’s no secret that I’m no Microsoft fan. Their business practices annoy me and the way they treat their customers like criminals makes my blood boil. I mean really, what exactly is the genuine advantage consumers like you and I get from ‘Genuine Advantage’? I’m a big fan of open source. I like the openness and the community and I think that approach leads to better software in general. Having said that I’m no Linux zealot. I do use it both at work and at home and do run it regularly as both a desktop and a server OS. However, I’m also a dedicated Mac user. One thing I do not own is a Windows machine. Linux and OS X all the way for me!

This week Microsoft provided me with yet another reason to hate them. They are now threatening to sue open source users for supposedly using their patents. Leaving aside the fact that I find software idea patents objectionable and a bad idea and that I think the American patent system is a disaster, this all strikes me as a great big load of FUD. MS are not naming the patents. They are just making threats. They are trying to use fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) to scare people back to MS software.

[tags]Micorsoft, Litigation, Patents, Linux[/tags]

Regardless of the legalities this is an insanely stupid thing to do. You cannot get loyal customers through fear or litigation! What MS need to start asking themselves is WHY people are leaving in droves! I can tell you why I left:

  • I objected to their abuse of their monopoly
  • I got frustrated by their bloated code
  • Their poor design, particularly of the UI, annoyed me
  • I felt I was getting bad value for money
  • I fundamentally object to all their ‘Genuine Advantage’ rubbish
  • Buggy code annoys me
  • I have no confidence in their security practices. They have been improving a lot but for me it was too little too late. They still expose too many services by default, there is still a lot of very old and very bad code in the bowls of even Vista and their terribly slow response to the Animated cursor flaw shows they still don’t really get security.

From the various tech news sites I read one thing is clear, I’m not the only one who thinks this is all FUD and that these new threats show just how desperate MS are getting. Redmond are worried, and, like the MPAA and others, they seem to think of lawyers as some form of panacea to cure all that ails them.

So far of all the responses I’ve read Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz has put it best in his blog article entitled Free Advice for the Litigious…. I think his conclusion hits the nail on the head perfectly:

You would be wise to listen to the customers you’re threatening to sue – they can leave you, especially if you give them motivation. Remember, they wouldn’t be motivated unless your products were somehow missing the mark.

All of which is to say – no amount of fear can stop the rise of free media, or free software (they are the same, after all). The community is vastly more innovative and powerful than a single company. And you will never turn back the clock on elementary school students and developing economies and aid agencies and fledgling universities – or the Fortune 500 – that have found value in the wisdom of the open source community. Open standards and open source software are literally changing the face of the planet – creating opportunity wherever the network can reach.

That’s not a genie any litigator I know can put back in a bottle.

I’m one former MS customer who will not be going back to MS any time soon. This legal action only makes me more determined never to give MS a cent of my hard earned cash. MS need to listen to people like me. I’m fed up with their crap and threatening me with legal action is not going to endear them to me! They need to put their lawyers back into their box and start producing better software!