Microsoft call falls on deaf developer ears

A room full of Borland tool users is hardly the place to go looking for support for Microsoft.

A room full of Borland tool users is hardly the place to go looking for support for Microsoft.

And indeed, attendees at a Delphi user group meeting in Auckland last week were almost unanimous that private litigation against the convicted monopolist should continue. They were reacting to Microsoft’s claim that litigation such as that initiated by Sun this month does nothing but “stifle innovation” and hurt developers.

Neven MacEwan, a director of MWK Computing Systems, predicts Microsoft “will implode under the weight of its misdeeds”, and he advocates the separation of the company’s application and operating system businesses. But that remedy has already been dismissed by the US courts, which are edging towards a less draconian settlement of the antitrust case brought by the Department of Justice and nine of an original 18 state governments.

None of the 30 or so developers present felt litigation had hurt them, MacEwan saying it has had the effect of improving Microsoft’s behaviour.

Peter Harrison, a Java developer at Auckland company Nothing But Net, says innovation is not the issue.

“The problem is not the quality of Microsoft’s tools. It’s the way you’re locked into using its products. For example, if I use ASP [active server pages], I’m then forced to use IIS [Internet Information Server] and Microsoft platforms.”

As a Java servlet writer, he says he is free to use a variety of databases and deploy on a range of platforms.

Paul Hectors, a developer at power backup systems supplier Battery Tech, advocates the continuation of litigation because “it would be good if there was some justice”.

According to Borland New Zealand head Annie Larsen, who was hosting the meeting, most of those in the room would use Microsoft tools in addition to Delphi.

A handful declared themselves “friends of Microsoft”, and many gave Microsoft credit for creating the industry in which they work.

  • If Borland developer views of Microsoft are predictable, so are those of developers who’ve thrown themselves into working with Microsoft’s .Net platform. 3tier.com’s Tim Muhundan has, and is mostly dismissive of Sun’s suit against Microsoft in which Sun claims Microsoft has harmed its Java business.

    “Sun can hardly blame just Microsoft for weakening the Java platform. The reasons that made Java compelling in the 90s have been eroded by the emergence of XML standards, and now web services.

    Muhundan says he’s decided to develop web services on the .Net platform because it can be done “in a fraction of the time” it takes to develop the same functionality in Java.

    But he does concede some merit in Sun’s allegations about harm to Java from Microsoft’s Java virtual machine distribution strategy.

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