What a crappy day for Bill Gates.
First word gets out that the feds want to bust up his company, then a bunch of analysts
downgrade his stock, which tanks, and then .... Then, the capper -- he loses his title as
world's richest man to number one swaggering nemesis, Larry Ellison.
As of market close Monday, Ellison's 689,706,050 shares of Oracle were worth
a hair less than $50 billion. Gates 740,964,300 shares of Microsoft, meanwhile,
dwindled in value to $49.4 billion -- pushed down in no small part by the
antitrust assault Ellison helped orchestrate.
Microsoft is replaying previous tactics, leveraging its
desktop operating system monopoly to gain dominance in
the server and computer networking markets, an industry
group said Wednesday.
"Microsoft recognizes the importance of the network market and is
moving aggressively to control that market, much the same way it
moved successfully to control the market for desktop operating
systems and Internet browsers," the Computer and Communications
Industry Association said in a white paper titled "Windows 2000:
Blueprint for Dominance."
For a company that prides itself on the quality of its software development prowess, Microsoft Corp.
has encountered a rough patch of late, racking up two security holes as well as committing a major
faux pas in the space of less than a week.
One of the security holes could allow an attacker access to pages on a Web hosting service. The
other hole could enable malicious code to be run. All the while, a message in the code crowed that
"Netscape engineers are weenies!"
If ever there was an incident demonstrating a need for companies to pay more attention to the code
they ship, this was it, according to Elias Levy, chief technology officer for security information site
c|net news.com has an extensive report on Microsoft's attempt at gaining control over the streaming media market from competitors RealNetworks and Apple.
IBM's enthusiasm for Windows 2000 has cooled somewhat, according to an company internal memo
obtained by US publication Smart Reseller. According to the memo, which is said to have been sent to all
employees, "IBM employees are not permitted to directly or indirectly connect Windows 2000 to the IBM
production network infrastructure".
With recent announcements in mind, this ought to be more than a little embarrassing. IBM was announced
as a "Microsoft Windows 2000 Global Launch Partner" back in January, and in October IBM VP Dick Sullivan was telling us IBM was early-adopting Win2k as its standard
desktop OS, and would be rolling it out to 300,000 seats.
Microsoft said its engineers included a secret phrase, "Netscape engineers
are weenies," in some software that could be used to gain illicit access to hundreds of
thousands of Internet sites worldwide, according to reports.
The affected file is installed in Microsoft's Internet-server software with Frontpage 98 extensions that's
believed to be used by many Web sites, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Steve Lipner,
manager of Microsoft's security-response center.
A MacInTouch reader and professional photographer shared his perspective on Microsoft's growing impact on his profession:
"With the results of the Microsoft trial and its anti-trust behavior, it is very odd how the media has been completely oblivious to the other arm of Bill Gates. Corbis is actively working to require photographers in the various organizations it has bought out over the last year to sign contracts that assign the copyright of future and past work to Corbis (this is outside the benefits of being an employee). The photography market has grown so competitive that some photographers have signed such contracts to continue working not realizing that they gave away their life's work and livelihood. These individuals are essentially financially ruined."
Microsoft has retained Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition and now "senior
consultant" to the George Bush presidential campaign. The reason, if it needs to be spelt
out, is to persuade Bush to speak against the DoJ case.
A comparative test carried out by the German computer magazine c't revealed that Unix servers are five times more
reliable than servers running Microsoft Windows NT and Internet Information Server (IIS).
During the 32-day test run, Microsoft IIS servers were unavailable for an average of 15 hours (which amounts to 1.9% of
the total time), whereas Linux servers
were unavailable for an average of only 4 hours (0.5%), and those running Solaris for only 2.5 hours (0.3%). NT/IIS servers were
particularly prone to failure during weekends, which indicates that they require significantly more administrative effort.
Standards Project (WaSP) today denounced Internet Explorer 5.5
Windows Edition for abandoning Web standards Microsoft has
publicly committed to supporting, and focusing on proprietary
technologies which are certain to fragment the already-troubled
"We are incensed by Microsoft's arrogance, and perplexed by its
schizophrenic decision to support standards on one platform while
undercutting them on another," said Web Standards Project group
leader Jeffrey Zeldman.
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