The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, September 18, 2017
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Open Source Konquers Microsoft

Microsoft says they cannot compete with open source projects, cancels Internet Explorer.

Microsoft cancelled their Internet Explorer web browser Friday, claiming in a press release that “open source is a better answer for our customers.”

Apple’s new operating system, Mac OS X, has been available as source code to the public since it was released in 2000. Microsoft Product Manager Jessica Sommer told CNET that “with the release of Apple’s source to the public, Microsoft has been unable to compete with the plethora of higher quality products available to Macintosh users.”

According to Sommer, “Open source developers are in a position to create browsers with more features and that offer a smoother experience because open source developers have access to the same functionality in the operating system that Microsoft and Apple do. Microsoft needs exclusive access to the operating system in order to compete.”

Since it won the “browser wars” in the early years of the Internet, Microsoft has had a virtual monopoly on browser development. Innovation in Internet Explorer ground to a halt once it lost traditional competition. Sommer noted that “even iCab” has been maturing more quickly than Microsoft’s aging Internet Explorer.

Sommer claimed that “unfettered access to the OS by other developers hinders Microsoft’s monopoly,” however, hidden APIs on Windows don’t appear to be helping them. While the software giant emphasized the cancellation on the Macintosh platform, the press release also said that Microsoft was cancelling the standalone version of Internet Explorer for Windows.

“When we meet open source on the field of battle, we lose,” said Sommer. “We’re no longer going to even try. It’s a waste of our resources.”

According to Microsoft, they’ll be continuing development on Office on both platforms “until the open source projects mature.” Sommer added that “we haven’t actually released a new version of Office for Mac since Mac OS X came out, but then we haven’t released a truly new version of Office for Windows in that time either.” Noting that at least one open source office application has become available since that release, Sommer said simply that “we find it hard to compete in an open market, so we will look elsewhere for sales.”

Experts predicted a smaller and smaller niche for Microsoft products as open source projects encroach on the turf of the embattled monopoly. As Fortune 500 CIO Oscar Orwell said, “if Microsoft is going to bow out every time they’re faced with open source competition, why should I buy Microsoft instead of going with open source?”

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