Microsoft stands at more than one crossroads. It can travel the path of confrontation and continue a dogged battle with the DoJ or it can soften the blows a little and ensure that the final tussle does it less damage.
But, as Bill Gates' mum found out, and our exclusive interview with him next week shows, he is rarely in any mood to duck a fight. Quite the opposite.
And attempting to force us all to ditch the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is probably the worst example of that attitude to surface in recent months.
Open sourcing has been at the heart of intelligent computing for the past two decades. Microsoft's tactics in attempting to force users down the cul de sac of proprietary Directory Synchronisation would be a large step backwards. It is also a very clumsy attempt to cut Novell's lead in this area off in one move.
What is worse is that no one believes that it will do what Microsoft claim it will do - link all directories to Active Directory and make sure that changes are replicated. Sorry Bill, too many people have looked at it and say it's just like every other early Seattle release - non-functioning.
Buggy. Not well thought out.
But the worst aspect of yet another sorry saga is the fact that the Internet Engineering Task Force claims that Microsoft has not submitted the technology to the industry body for scrutiny. There can be only one reason for this - to position itself as the Internet monopoly. Hasn't it learned its lesson?
This particular move will cause outrage within both the user and techie communities and comes at a very bad time for Microsoft. Once again, just as it needs as many friends as it can get, the Seattle Behemoth produces a very unpleasant smell and sits on its users with the force of an angry bear.
What saves us this time is the fact that Novell's NDS technology is solid and works. So why attempt to duplicate it?
Having made this amazing faux paux will the Microsoft grizzly bear sit up and take notice or produce the same again? If we had any doubts we would spell them out. Unfortunately for Microsoft, and us, we don't even have to think about doing that. Sad really.
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