Microsoft : The open killer

iTWire – Microsoft strengthens Windows lock-in with JPEG rival

When I saw the above article, I became a little frustrated. As I continued to read, I became just plain ole’ furious. Why do they continue to do this? Don’t they realize that platform lock-in is a bad thing? They started their business off the opposite way. And the openness of the PC is what has brought about the PC revolution and in turn the Internet revolution.

When IBM first delivered the PC to consumers, they pretty much kept it locked up. It wasn’t until Compaq and others decided to reverse engineer the BIOS (software that talks directly to the hardware) that allowed multiple vendors to take a stab at it and in turn bring about fantastic competition and innovation. Without the BIOS becoming an open-ish standard, Microsoft would never be the powerhouse it is today.

It’s like when the railroad was first invented. Originally, different manufacturers had created rails and cars that would only work on their proprietary systems. Their car wheels were the only ones to work on their specific rails. Those companies failed miserably. However, once they established a standard for which all companies could manufacture their products, the railroad took off and didn’t look back for a very long time.

Same situation with the Internet. If propriety technologies like IPX and NetBIOS hadn’t been killed as quickly as they were, then TCP/IP wouldn’t have become standard and the Internet wouldn’t be what it is today. We would have all kinds of disconnected networks and it would be like the old corporate networks of the late 80’s and early 90’s. You could communicate with anyone on your private (usually corporate) network, but it was difficult to get an email to someone across the world.

So when Microsoft continues to pull stunts like this by trying to kill a proven standard (and freely used) format, it just frustrates me. Don’t thy know that by doing so, they only hurt themselves. I suppose with their 90% market share, they don’t care and figure most users don’t know any better.

Go MacOS and Linux!

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