"Innovation," a term that -- at least when used in the computer and software industries -- generally means "creative theft of ideas by big companies."
"Yes, Microsoft may well be a prime target for frivolous patent infringement suits, but Microsoft historically has also shown itself to be a consistent and willful patent infringer."
Robert X. Cringely
"The fundamental difference between Unix and the Macintosh operating system is that Unix was designed to please programmers, whereas the Mac was designed to please users. (Windows, on the other hand, was designed to please accountants, but that's another story.)"
from 'The UNIXHATERS Handbook'
Microsoft maintains its monopoly control of three major areas of the personal computer market: Operating Systems, Application Software, and Developer Tools.
MS Operating Systems
MS-DOS - DOS was purchased, not developed, for a mere $50,000. And what they bought was really a copy of Gary Kildals work.
"the code for which Microsoft bought from Seattle Computing Products (SCP). QDOS, which stands for "Quick & Dirty Operating System, was derived (pirated, it has been said) from CP/M, which in turn had been written by Gary Kildall and was distributed by Digital Research."
Windows might have been copied wholesale from the Macintosh, on Bills order, but there was a 'skunkworks' project floating around Redmond, and it became the nucleus of the Windows OS due to impatience to get something out he door. The lawsuits would have been interesting !
Object Linking Environment (OLE)-Microsoft settled a suit with Wang Labs over patent infringement code portions of OLE which is also the heart of Microsoft’s ActiveX
MS Application Software
Word and Excel - Written for the original Macintosh under contract to Apple. (bad move, Steve)
"There is some indication that Windows was adapted to Word and Excel as much as Word and Excel were adapted to Windows."
"Several of the files that come with Word '97 (and perhaps with later versions as well) still contain the text "Copyright WordPerfect Corporation 1994. All rights reserved." I rest my case."
PowerPoint - purchased from Forethought, Inc. Presentations have never been the same since, to their detriment ,quotes - links
Frontpage -Purchased from Vermeer tech in1996. Sometimes an offer from Microsoft can't be refused. Vermeer had hoped to remain independent by going public with a stock offering. "Once Microsoft got interested, it wasn't an option for us to go it alone, we were just too small.'' Randy Forgaard - chief technology officer for Vermeer
Internet Explorer - Based on code licensed from Spyglass, Inc. in 1995. Then in true Microsoft form, they gave Internet Explorer away for free. Sorry, no royalties for Spyglass :(
Visio - Microsoft released the flow charting software after buying Visio Corp
Flight Simulator-Purchased from the Bruce Artwick Organisation
FoxPro - When Microsoft had problems developing its own database software in the early 90s, it readily dropped $175 million in 1986 to acquire top-rated Fox Software, the FoxPro database, and its team of developers. FoxPro was then allowed to wither on the vine, while MS pushed its 'own' Access db software, a package too complex for simple use, and not robust enough for large scale use.
SQL Server - That came out of code purchased from Sybase in 1988
Visual Basic - Ruby, VB's code base was purchased from (Alan) Cooper Software in 1991
Composer - purchased from Altamira
Visual SourceSafe - Purchased from OneTree Software
Visual C - Microsoft purchased the Lattice C code compiler
OLAP Tools - acquired from Panorama Software Systems
Merchant Server - this electronic-commerce software was eShop
MS Developer Software
Microsoft started in business writing Basic compilers, it was a programming language tool provider. One would think that would be its core competency.
Visual Basic - Purchased from the GUI guru, Alan Cooper, and a very good IDE. But why is the new VB.NET not backwardly compatible with older VB code ?!?
Java - embraced, extended, and discarded. C# is a Java language, broken enough to insure incompatibility and MS dominance.
The Intellimouse - Goldtouch is now suing for patent violations. Seems Goldtouch had a meeting with M$ and tried to sell them their ergonomic mouse technology. M$ didn't buy, but 6 months later released a mouse which looked remarkably similar...
Note: Quotes are by Frank van Wensveen, from his 'Why I hate Microsoft' web site. (frame based site so I can't give specific links, click Rants -> Microsoft)
Bundling - Suites: Office, Visual Studio, Back Office, Windows Server
Quality of work - The many bugs speaks for itself.
License control - Bills specialty, and still the key to M$ strategy and profitability.
Developing of proprietary file types to compete with open standards.
Forced upgrades to maintain file reading ability.
OEM license agreements that limit the computer manufacturers ability to supply a product tailored to their customers.