The "new MS" is not new.

The new microsoft is not new, and it poses a greater threat to the open source community than ever before.

Microsoft, under Ballmer, had forgotten their golden rule: "embrace, extend, exterminate." Sataya Nadella has realized microsoft needs to take a couple steps back to recapture the modern computing landscape. The way EEE works is first MS embraces a section of the market they're seeking to capture. They play nice and cozy up to their competition. The next step is to extend the market/product. The important part of this step, though, is to add these extensions first, fastest, or only within their ecosystems. By adding these extensions into their ecosystems, they're encouraging users to lock-in with MS for the best experience. The final step is to exterminate, or drop support for the parts that don't run in the MS ecosystem.

Look, for example, at minecraft, and the super duper graphics pack.


Nice, right? (if you're into minecraft, anyway, which, if you're not, what's wrong with you?!). Well read the fine print, which says: The pack will be released on Xbox One and Windows 10, performing best on high-end PCs and Project Scorpio.

That's the "extend" phase of EEE. Next up, they'll drop the java client altogether, or just continue pouring all their effort into the scorpio version until the community all-but abandons the original. Minecraft won't be cross-platform anymore, and you'll need windows or an xbox to play.

So that's minecraft, but what about open source? VSCode runs on linux and MS is doing a lot with the open source community. It's frankly shocking MS released a cross-platform application. MS doesn't have any other desktop applications for linux, but they're pushing VSCode together with typescript and their "open" efforts as a way of embracing the open community. "Extend" will come next when their products start getting features that only work on MS platforms. If MS cared about their users and wanted to offer cross-platform applications, they'd let office run on linux. But office is one of their crown-jewels that keeps drawing users back to windows. VSCode is MS's effort to win-back developer mind share; if you get developers, the users will follow.

They've also got bash for windows trying to win linux users back into MS as their primary desktop. It runs like crap, though. And now they're finally putting SSH into windows 10. They're using the open community, and it's all just an effort to reclaim lost market share.

Open source has been dominating development for some time now. The "new" MS finally realized reality and the need to return to their EEE roots to reclaim developer mind share. The "new" MS is not new, and we must be wary of it to avoid giving too much back to them. Obviously, with open source, the code can be forked and community won't suffer a total loss, but I'm more concerned with the subtler influences such as pushing minecraft to work best only on MS platforms (or mobile, which even MS has to recognize is where a lot of users are). And I'm wary of things like VSCode recapturing developers and then starting to have more features in their windows versions. Extending products in this way causes people to think: well, stuff just works better on windows. Please remember to consider why that might be before accepting it as true.

The "new MS" is not new.
Share this