In his "i, cringely" column at PBS, Robert X. Cringely says that Sunis capitulation in its battle with Microsoft, coupled with the sweetheart deal that Microsoft got from the current DoJ, leaves Big Redmond virtually unchallenged. Worse, he thinks that the Open Source movement will never truly challenge Microsoft going forward, leaving Microsoft itself as the only enemy that can take the company out. From the column:
When I wrote last week about my conclusion that the legal system -- any legal system -- is unequipped to change Microsoftis monopolistic behavior, I had no idea that within 24 hours, Sun Microsystem would be throwing in the towel, trading its so-called principles for $1.95 billion in cash. So I guess I was right. Only now, a few thousand readers out there expect me to blithely produce an answer to the problem of what to do to bring Microsoft into the civilized world. Well, I say it canit be done.
Readers had ideas of their own. Some thought the government would dissolve Microsoft, but failed to note that the DoJ case against Redmond is over and Microsoft won. Where the governmental resolve would come to dissolve one of the greatest successes in world business is beyond me.
Some readers predicted Microsoft would collapse under its own weight and under the insurgence of Open Source software, especially Linux. Most of these readers have a higher regard for the competitive value of Linux than I do. All those who think Linux will clean Microsoftis clock who are also people who have never compiled software, please hold up your hand. See, it is the technical community (those who compile -- the Compilers) that sees Open Source as the ultimate winner while all the people who actually buy software donit. The truth is that Microsoft is positioning itself to take on Linux on Linuxis turf if thatis required. Bill Gates has been quite clear that his companyis need for huge cash reserves is to keep it going for up to five years in the face of ZERO sales. So Microsoft could match Open Source pricing without the Open Source and while the compilers might not be swayed, everyone else (the other 98 percent of the market) would be.
There is much more in the full column, which we recommend as a very good read.