There’s a saying in the industry where Microsoft are known to “eat their own children”.
This means that they work closely with 3rd party vendors (their “children”), let the vendors build up a new technology, and once that’s done they will either buy them out or take on the technology themselves and directly compete against it.
This happened with the battle between Internet Explorer (IE) and Netscape. Now IE has roughly an 85% market share, and Netscape is nowhere to be seen.
There are a few current battles going on:
- Microsoft vs. Citrix
- thin client communications (MS Terminal Server vs. Citrix Presentation Server)
- application streaming (MS SoftGrid vs. Citrix Presentation Server)
- SSL VPN (MS Intelligent Application Gateway vs. Citrix Access Gateway)
- Microsoft vs. VMware, for the server virtualization market (MS Virtual Server vs. VMware ESX)
- Microsoft vs. Mozilla, to try to keep dominance over the web browser market (MS Internet Explorer vs. Mozilla Firefox)
- Microsoft vs. Apple
All is fair in love and war…..and market dominance.
Even though I acknowledge that all is fair, it’s a shame to see licensing bully tactics being used rather than seeing one product out perform the other due to being superior. Here’s a good article describing the ongoing battle between VMware and Microsoft with regards to licensing bully tactics.
As long as there is strong competition, the consumer will always win.
The danger is that once the battle is won, then there’s no more need to continue development. Just look at what happened with Internet Explorer (IE); once Microsoft had market dominance there was no further development of IE for years.
Internet Explorer development was only resurrected once Mozilla Firefox started getting a loyal following and started to take market share away from IE.
So it will be interesting to see how these battles turn out.
I personally hope the no one company wins/dominates. Competition is a good thing.