The Microsoft Corporation is held in poor regard by some in the FLOSS community. The reasons for this are numerous, but generally come down to the fact that proprietary software corporations are driven by profit rather than pursuit of quality in software, as Linux and FLOSS projects are.
People outside of the community, and some from within it, sometimes perceive this sentiment as prejudice. However it is possible to argue against this on the basis that Linux users usually have experience of working in a Microsoft environment as well as in a Free Software environment and prefer the latter.
It should also be noted that Microsoft's monopoly causes more problems for Linux users than Microsoft directly causes. For example, Linux users may experience problems with third-party support for Linux. This distinction may often be omitted, perhaps unjustly, although of course Microsoft seeks to maintain and extend its monopoly at every opportunity.
Microsoft has a history of strategically destroying or damaging innovative companies and innovative software or standards. Some examples:
- Bundling Internet Explorer and Media Player with Windows, acts regarding which Microsoft has faced legal challenge vs. USA and vs. EU respectively.
- Releasing a proprietary version of Java in an attempt to damage Java's unprecedented interoperability (settled with Sun out-of-court).
Get The Facts — campaigning against Linux with a mixture of sponsored "studies" (starting with the conclusion, please select any evidence), comparisons which are not like-for-like and exaggerations.
Trusted Computing — a platform for locking down computers, ostensibly for security reasons, but which would restrict users' control over their own machines. Article written by my old Security lecturer
Using advertising that incorrectly showed Windows to be faster than a Linux platform. The Inquirer.
Poor quality software
Microsoft sells a wide range of software. Many of its products have been bought with the purchase of the original developer. However once in Microsoft's clutches we typically see little maintenance or innovation, and a lot of cruft and bloat, mixed with some gobsmacking design decisions. Some examples:
Internet Explorer, demonstrably the least standards-compliant web browser in widespread use. Some Acid2 rendering screenshots
Office — inaccessible file formats, lack of forward compatibility, poor interface design and overall bloat.
AntiSpyware (Beta) was changed to ignore Claria (and some other) ad/spyware.@ The Register
- Generally poor security record including a large number of critical vulnerabilities in the core OS or inextricable components.
C# — Take all the cleverness of Java. Then throw it away and cobble together a shoddy clone instead.
In Microsoft's favour
A few things most Linux advocates do not take issue about:
- Microsoft hardware is perfectly passable and its popularity ensures that it has good Linux support.
- Microsoft Xbox is a fine games console. The games market is not heavily contested by free software for some reason.
- Microsoft software is in some cases much easier to use than the Linux equivalent.