Microsoft is "committed to openness," snickers its general counsel

Microsoft is trying to rally the troops around its flag of freedom. The snickers in the background can hardly be contained.

Wow. Microsoft is nothing if not brazen. When you think of Microsoft you normally don't think of these words, at least not together, yet these words came from Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith, in response to Google's complaint that a Microsoft and Yahoo! tie up would be bad for the Internet:

Microsoft is committed to openness, innovation, and the protection of privacy on the Internet.

Microsoft? Committed to openness? Microsoft has been committed to destroying openness over the years, and Brad Smith has played an integral role in that strategy, defying the US Justice Department and the world's consumer. I think highly of Brad, but I find this guile to be galling in the extreme.

Google is exactly right in calling out Microsoft's cheek:

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

It could, and it absolutely would given the chance. Microsoft is currently using Sharepoint to lock in and lock up enterprise IT. It's the same playbook that Microsoft has always used.

This is not to paint Google as the savior of the Internet, but rather to remind us that the only reason Microsoft is complaining now is because Google, not Microsoft, has 75% of the market for Internet search. If that were Microsoft's market share, we'd hear nothing from Mr. Smith about openness. We'd hear nothing at all. Just the sound of the dollar bills being printed in the billions.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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