Microsoft Has Right to Build Products the Way It Chooses

Microsoft's rivals should improve their business plans and not resort to mere ankle biting, writes eWEEK guest columnist Loren Bordeaux.

In response to eWEEKs Jan. 5 editorial, "Microsoft Must Move On," I must say, "My, youre a fickle bunch of people!"

Since when is it a crime for one company to make products, components and software work together for maximum performance? Sony, Harman Kardon, JVC and other manufacturers have done this sort of thing consistently for some time. Just look at the improved automation and performance one can get by buying all or mostly one brand of electronics.

Saying that Microsoft should not build its own products—Windows Server 2003, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Exchange 2003 and Office 2003—for maximum performance and interoperability is just plain stupid.

Its like telling automakers they cannot build both an automobiles engine and its transmission, that those parts must come from different manufacturers. Or that they cannot make their own seats because another manufacturer is already making them and it would hurt competition. Hogwash! And just because a car comes with a radio doesnt mean I cant install another one. I wish RealNetworks would just stop the belly-aching and compete. Build me a better mousetrap, and I will buy it—as long as the price is within reason.

Granted, Microsoft has been a bully at times—a really big bully, in fact—but to say Microsoft cant improve the performance and interoperability of its own products is just plain wrong. If Microsoft cant do it, then no other company should be able to, either, Lindows included.

If RealNetworks really does want to grow its business, its leaders should think outside the box. Maybe they should just pay Microsoft for the ability to include RealPlayer in Windows. I would venture a guess that if the price were right, Microsoft would at least listen.

There are always those looking for greener pastures. Its no different in software. Linux, Windows, Mac OS and others have their pluses and minuses. But for me the pasture has to have more than just an appearance of darker green; it has to have lots of water, too. Microsofts software is not perfect, but its technical support and general support tools are some of the best in the industry. With Microsoft, the pasture is green, and the water supply is strong.

Microsofts competitors should improve their business plans and not resort to mere ankle biting. I tend not to listen to companies that can put down only what I have done or the products I have chosen. If a company is going to persuade me to jump ship from one product to another, it must learn my needs and meet them.

Loren D. Bordeaux is director of IT for the North Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, in Vancouver, Wash. Bordeauxs e-mail address is Free Spectrum is a forum for the IT community. Send submissions to