Company Update: Microsoft in 2003
- By Will Kilburn
After a tumultuous close to 2002, you might have thought Microsoft was due for a less-eventful new year: Just days before Christmas, the company was dealt a legal setback in its long-running battle with Sun; and a month before that, a judge ruled largely in favor of Microsoft in its long-running antitrust case.
But so far, 2003 has been anything but dull for the folks from Redmond, with new server rollouts, challenges from two old and often bitter rivals, and a prominent role in the fight over the future of Linux.
After spending several years in the background, Apple and IBM made headlines in January when they reopened old battle fronts with Microsoft. In Apple, Microsoft rivalry returns with a bang (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7159), ADT reports on Apple's efforts to gain market share in two Microsoft-dominated arenas. Later that same month came rumblings on another front, detailed in IBM targets Microsoft with latest portal (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7192). Both stories were a sign that 2003 was not going to be a quiet year for Microsoft.
The long winter provided Microsoft with some good news in the form of a legal victory in its dispute with Sun, a story told briefly in Microsoft gains stay in Java battle (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7274) and in greater detail in Briefing Book: Sun vs. Microsoft (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7498). Nor was it without its moments of humor, several of which were provided by Microsoft's Don Box at the XML Web Services One Conference in early March. In Have we had enough XML specs yet already? (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7389), Box talks about the ever-growing tangle of specifications and admits to his own role in the problem.
In March, the software giant flexed its considerable muscle once again when it left the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Services Choreography group, covered in Microsoft resigns from W3C group (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7615). The story was put into historical context in Sun comes to the table, as Microsoft leaves a dance (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7499), and describes a move that was seen by many as a partial response to archrival Sun's growing prominence in the standard-setting process for Web services.
April saw Microsoft roll out a re-named product, covered in Microsoft unveils Windows Server 2003 (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7603) and in more detail in Briefing Book: Microsoft moves on server side (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7600). But the launch was downplayed by Sun's Simon Phipps in Sun evangelist yawns about new Windows server (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7604).
Microsoft was relatively and notably silent as the SCO lawsuit over Unix and Linux made headlines in the winter, but that stance changed suddenly in mid-May, detailed in SCO signs pact with Microsoft, warns users on Linux use (www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7694). Observers say Microsoft must find a way to deal with the growth of Linux and other open-source software to maintain its position in the computer industry.