"Microsoft is Dead"

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
http://www.paulgraham.com/microsoft.html



Quote:

April 2007



A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead. I was talking to a young startup founder about how Google was different from Yahoo. I said that Yahoo had been warped from the start by their fear of Microsoft. That was why they'd positioned themselves as a "media company" instead of a technology company. Then I looked at his face and realized he didn't understand. It was as if I'd told him how much girls liked Barry Manilow in the mid 80s. Barry who?



Microsoft? He didn't say anything, but I could tell he didn't quite believe anyone would be frightened of them.



Microsoft cast a shadow over the software world for almost 20 years starting in the late 80s. I can remember when it was IBM before them. I mostly ignored this shadow. I never used Microsoft software, so it only affected me indirectly?for example, in the spam I got from botnets. And because I wasn't paying attention, I didn't notice when the shadow disappeared.



But it's gone now. I can sense that. No one is even afraid of Microsoft anymore. They still make a lot of money?so does IBM, for that matter. But they're not dangerous.



When did Microsoft die, and of what? I know they seemed dangerous as late as 2001, because I wrote an essay then about how they were less dangerous than they seemed. I'd guess they were dead by 2005. I know when we started Y Combinator we didn't worry about Microsoft as competition for the startups we funded. In fact, we've never even invited them to the demo days we organize for startups to present to investors. We invite Yahoo and Google and some other Internet companies, but we've never bothered to invite Microsoft. Nor has anyone there ever even sent us an email. They're in a different world.



What killed them? Four things, I think, all of them occurring simultaneously in the mid 2000s.



The most obvious is Google. There can only be one big man in town, and they're clearly it. Google is the most dangerous company now by far, in both the good and bad senses of the word. Microsoft can at best limp along afterward.



When did Google take the lead? There will be a tendency to push it back to their IPO in August 2004, but they weren't setting the terms of the debate then. I'd say they took the lead in 2005. Gmail was one of the things that put them over the edge. Gmail showed they could do more than search.



Gmail also showed how much you could do with web-based software, if you took advantage of what later came to be called "Ajax." And that was the second cause of Microsoft's death: everyone can see the desktop is over. It now seems inevitable that applications will live on the web?not just email, but everything, right up to Photoshop. Even Microsoft sees that now.



Ironically, Microsoft unintentionally helped create Ajax. The x in Ajax is from the XMLHttpRequest object, which lets the browser communicate with the server in the background while displaying a page. (Originally the only way to communicate with the server was to ask for a new page.) XMLHttpRequest was created by Microsoft in the late 90s because they needed it for Outlook. What they didn't realize was that it would be useful to a lot of other people too?in fact, to anyone who wanted to make web apps work like desktop ones.



The other critical component of Ajax is Javascript, the programming language that runs in the browser. Microsoft saw the danger of Javascript and tried to keep it broken for as long as they could. [1] But eventually the open source world won, by producing Javascript libraries that grew over the brokenness of Explorer the way a tree grows over barbed wire.



The third cause of Microsoft's death was broadband Internet. Anyone who cares can have fast Internet access now. And the bigger the pipe to the server, the less you need the desktop.



The last nail in the coffin came, of all places, from Apple. Thanks to OS X, Apple has come back from the dead in a way that is extremely rare in technology. [2] Their victory is so complete that I'm now surprised when I come across a computer running Windows. Nearly all the people we fund at Y Combinator use Apple laptops. It was the same in the audience at startup school. All the computer people use Macs or Linux now. Windows is for grandmas, like Macs used to be in the 90s. So not only does the desktop no longer matter, no one who cares about computers uses Microsoft's anyway.



And of course Apple has Microsoft on the run in music too, with TV and phones on the way.



I'm glad Microsoft is dead. They were like Nero or Commodus?evil in the way only inherited power can make you. Because remember, the Microsoft monopoly didn't begin with Microsoft. They got it from IBM. The software business was overhung by a monopoly from about the mid-1950s to about 2005. For practically its whole existence, that is. One of the reasons "Web 2.0" has such an air of euphoria about it is the feeling, conscious or not, that this era of monopoly may finally be over.



Of course, as a hacker I can't help thinking about how something broken could be fixed. Is there some way Microsoft could come back? In principle, yes. To see how, envision two things: (a) the amount of cash Microsoft now has on hand, and (b) Larry and Sergey making the rounds of all the search engines ten years ago trying to sell the idea for Google for a million dollars, and being turned down by everyone.



The surprising fact is, brilliant hackers?dangerously brilliant hackers?can be had very cheaply, by the standards of a company as rich as Microsoft. They can't hire smart people anymore, but they could buy as many as they wanted for only an order of magnitude more. So if they wanted to be a contender again, this is how they could do it:



Buy all the good "Web 2.0" startups. They could get substantially all of them for less than they'd have to pay for Facebook.



Put them all in a building in Silicon Valley, surrounded by lead shielding to protect them from any contact with Redmond.

I feel safe suggesting this, because they'd never do it. Microsoft's biggest weakness is that they still don't realize how much they suck. They still think they can write software in house. Maybe they can, by the standards of the desktop world. But that world ended a few years ago.



I already know what the reaction to this essay will be. Half the readers will say that Microsoft is still an enormously profitable company, and that I should be more careful about drawing conclusions based on what a few people think in our insular little "Web 2.0" bubble. The other half, the younger half, will complain that this is old news.



Interesting points. Judging from the way the Linux crowd is responding to Microsoft's "patent" claims I'd say this is pretty much on the mark.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 83
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,830member
    Since Redmond is dead, can I have my spreadsheet now?
  • Reply 2 of 83
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,081member
    Wasn't there already a thread about this exact article?



    I don't entirely agree with that article, in fact I wholly disagree with essentially everything written except what the article says: Microsoft is Dead and doesn't realize just how much they Suck.



    Web 2.0 is another bubble as far as I care, and the future is not in Browser based applications but applications that act as a browser to the Web... and by that I mean like iTunes. You have a software application that acts as a Jukebox, but when you rip a CD it pulls the information from Gracenote, the iTunes Store is built into the client software, and even the Download Manager, Podcast Library, the Mini Store, and those little Arrows next to the fields of a song (Name, Artist, Album) that look up the [Song, Artist, or Album] in the iTunes Store.



    Ironically Apple already has a service that acts as a back end for several of their applications, .Mac and iLife, they just haven't done anything with it. A better example would be iLike Beta, a Plugin for iTunes that syncs Data about your Library to a Social Network built entirely around music. Basically Desktop Applications (or plugins that take advantage of the data a given application has access to) with a web based back end.



    Even though I use Gmail, it's online front end is not replacing Mail anytime soon.



    Sebastian
  • Reply 3 of 83
    lfe2211lfe2211 Posts: 507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slewis View Post


    Wasn't there already a thread about this exact article?



    Yes.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slewis View Post


    I don't entirely agree with that article, in fact I wholly disagree with essentially everything written except what the article says: Microsoft is Dead and doesn't realize just how much they Suck.



    Unfortunately, MS has so many multi-year license agreements locked in, they will continue to rake in billions even if the Wintel sheep don't want or like Vista. Longer term (10 years?), Vista could be the "Tipping Point" that eventually brings down the MS Empire. In the same vain, Gates and MS have always been one step behind in understanding the power and potential of the internet. They still think they can buy their way to a "catchup" by acquiring Yahoo or some other combination of web companies.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slewis View Post


    Web 2.0 is another bubble as far as I care, and the future is not in Browser based applications but applications that act as a browser to the Web... and by that I mean like iTunes. You have a software application that acts as a Jukebox, but when you rip a CD it pulls the information from Gracenote, the iTunes Store is built into the client software, and even the Download Manager, Podcast Library, the Mini Store, and those little Arrows next to the fields of a song (Name, Artist, Album) that look up the [Song, Artist, or Album] in the iTunes Store.



    Ironically Apple already has a service that acts as a back end for several of their applications, .Mac and siLife, they just haven't done anything with it. A better example would be iLike Beta, a Plugin for iTunes that syncs Data about your Library to a Social Network built entirely around music. Basically Desktop Applications (or plugins that take advantage of the data a given application has access to) with a web based back end.



    A very insightful observation, Sebastion. I think most folks (even at Apple?) don't recognize the understated brilliance of iTunes. The iTunes model for fetching specific metadata from the web universe should be followed by many other client apps (as you suggest and I have in the past). It would be a big step forward in my field (biotechnology/medicine) and lots of others like finance, investment, history, literature.....Gracenote-like information repository sites do exist for most other fields. Under the current paradigm, starting from my browser, I have to perform an archeologic drill down dig to get the info I need. Very tedious , not very efficient and prone to error. The iTunes model is far superior.
  • Reply 4 of 83
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slewis View Post


    Wasn't there already a thread about this exact article?



    I don't entirely agree with that article, in fact I wholly disagree with essentially everything written except what the article says: Microsoft is Dead and doesn't realize just how much they Suck.



    Web 2.0 is another bubble as far as I care, and the future is not in Browser based applications but applications that act as a browser to the Web... and by that I mean like iTunes. You have a software application that acts as a Jukebox, but when you rip a CD it pulls the information from Gracenote, the iTunes Store is built into the client software, and even the Download Manager, Podcast Library, the Mini Store, and those little Arrows next to the fields of a song (Name, Artist, Album) that look up the [Song, Artist, or Album] in the iTunes Store.



    Ironically Apple already has a service that acts as a back end for several of their applications, .Mac and iLife, they just haven't done anything with it. A better example would be iLike Beta, a Plugin for iTunes that syncs Data about your Library to a Social Network built entirely around music. Basically Desktop Applications (or plugins that take advantage of the data a given application has access to) with a web based back end.



    Even though I use Gmail, it's online front end is not replacing Mail anytime soon.



    Sebastian



    Interesting. Yeah. Microsoft sucks bad. And they are pretty oblivious to how much they suck ass. But I still need Office for Mac, and WinXP2Pro for the latest PC Games <-- though this is a whole 'nother thread, I honestly do not want to threadhjack here.



    Old skoolers will know this whole "The Intarweb is the OS" as the supposed "thin client" and "network computing" hype pre-"Web2.0".



    So I feel at the moment:



    1. Microsoft is not dead but no longer "dangerous". I like this idea

    2. Apple is alive and vibrant

    3. A desktop [proper host OS eg. OS X] sucks without the Intarweb BUT ALSO

    4. Even if I had pure-Web2.0 delicious amazing Web OS and GoogleEverything on a crappy WindowsPC, that sucks too.





    <rant><stronglanguagewarning>For chrissakes I'm waiting for the TV and Movie and MusicVideo and Music companies to WAKE THE FUCK UP AND SMELL THE YOUTUBE AND THE TORRENTS. Millions of people AROUND THE WORLD are dying to legally purchase quality, easily accessible media, and MUSIC SINGLES (hard to get in Asia [non-pirated])... not to mention videos and big-name movies. Like for their iPod and stuff.</rant></stronglanguagewarning>
  • Reply 5 of 83
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slewis View Post


    Web 2.0 is another bubble as far as I care, and the future is not in Browser based applications but applications that act as a browser to the Web... and by that I mean like iTunes.



    I've seen Web2.0 somewhere before, haven't I? Oh, yeah...







    I agree that iTunes-like applications are the future. Just imagine if your document app could pull down lists of reference sites that are relevant to what you're writing, or you could search stock photos from within PS.
  • Reply 6 of 83
    lfe2211lfe2211 Posts: 507member
    iPoster,



    Where is the link to your diagram?



    Thanks.
  • Reply 7 of 83
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    microsoft 2007=IBM 1980
  • Reply 8 of 83
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Mmm...it just shows that even tech folks get limited in the tiny cicles they swim in.



    There are still lots of technical folks using windows...there are a vertible horde of .NET developers...for good reason: 90% market share, free dev tools, free dev tools that work better than almost anything else on the market.



    MS managed to unload some 40M copies of Vista by hook or by crook. Don't forget that XP also sucked coming out of the gate. In fact name any MS OS that DIDN'T suck at launch? By SP1 or SP2 most annoyances are worked out.



    MS has its own stable of advanced and interesting technology. From Smart Clients (which does iTunes like stuff) to Silverlight which will challenge Java and Flash to their own multi-touch, multi-pointer, pen based computing initiatives.



    Don't count MS out and more than folks should have counted out Intel a couple years ago. Its not IBM because they are a software shop AND it is paranoid as heck because the founder was paranoid as heck.



    The reason MS is no longer dangerous in 2007 vs 2001 is obvious. Bill Gates stepping back in 2006.



    Vinea
  • Reply 9 of 83
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post


    iPoster,



    Where is the link to your diagram?



    Thanks.



    Just grabbed it off of Google, hopefully it's not copyrighted! (looks about shiftily)



    http://photos.sys-con.com/story/res/...ndkle-fig1.jpg
  • Reply 10 of 83
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    They just posted nearly 5 billion in profits last quarter alone. 5 billion dollars!!!!



    Probably 90% of all business rely exclusively on Microsoft software products (servers, desktops, and productivity software).



    Probably, the most stupid thing I have read in a long while.



    Dave
  • Reply 11 of 83
    lfe2211lfe2211 Posts: 507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post


    They just posted nearly 5 billion in profits last quarter alone. 5 billion dollars!!!!



    Probably 90% of all business rely exclusively on Microsoft software products (servers, desktops, and productivity software).



    Probably, the most stupid thing I have read in a long while.



    Dave



    You're very correct Dave. MS has so many annual and long term licensing revenue streams that it will take a catastrophic event(s) for them to "die". Add to that mandatory Vista pre-installed in consumer PCs, the status quo billions will be rolling in for many quarters to come. Vista is the curiosity to me re MS. If ( a small chance) Vista bombs, the landscape will change but only over a long time frame.



    However, increase in their stock price is another matter. MS needs something to fuel its growth. It could be be a huge Vista enterprise success and/or a drastic change in their internet ad revenue generating mechanisms which have so far been dismal. When you have as much cash as they do, they can still "buy" their growth by making the right acquisitions. They desparately wanted DoubleClick but Google outbid them. They covet Yahoo but the latter, for now, still thinks they can make it on their own and compete with Google.
  • Reply 12 of 83
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Quote:

    What killed them? Four things, I think, all of them occurring simultaneously in the mid 2000s.



    The most obvious is Google. There can only be one big man in town, and they're clearly it. Google is the most dangerous company now by far, in both the good and bad senses of the word. Microsoft can at best limp along afterward.



    Could someone explain to me the reasoning behind this assertion that Google is a threat to MS? Tech media "experts" love to promote this idea. They also love to assert the death of the desktop. This is ludicrous if you ask me.



    Yes I know, the belief is that the future will be web based apps, but is this really the future, and most importantly, is this a good thing? Let's imagine a world where all digital production is dependent on the internet, this is no longer a cell based system where it is independently operated, but a system dependent on the system. What happens when the system goes down? Everything stops! You want to have a group, nation, society be paralyzed in seconds?



    Sure, there are areas where web based apps will be useful, but they will never replace desktop apps. At least, let's hope not.
  • Reply 13 of 83
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPeon View Post


    ....Yes I know, the belief is that the future will be web based apps, but is this really the future, and most importantly, is this a good thing? Let's imagine a world where all digital production is dependent on the internet, this is no longer a cell based system where it is independently operated, but a system dependent on the system. What happens when the system goes down? Everything stops! You want to have a group, nation, society be paralyzed in seconds?...Sure, there are areas where web based apps will be useful, but they will never replace desktop apps. At least, let's hope not.



    Your concern is justified, I feel. However the Intarweb is designed from scratch to be highly redundant and fault-tolerant. As we all know it was originally conveived as a computer network that can survive severe nuclear holocaust(s).
  • Reply 14 of 83
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Mmm...it just shows that even tech folks get limited in the tiny cicles they swim in.



    There are still lots of technical folks using windows...there are a vertible horde of .NET developers...for good reason: 90% market share, free dev tools, free dev tools that work better than almost anything else on the market.



    MS managed to unload some 40M copies of Vista by hook or by crook. Don't forget that XP also sucked coming out of the gate. In fact name any MS OS that DIDN'T suck at launch? By SP1 or SP2 most annoyances are worked out.



    MS has its own stable of advanced and interesting technology. From Smart Clients (which does iTunes like stuff) to Silverlight which will challenge Java and Flash to their own multi-touch, multi-pointer, pen based computing initiatives.



    Don't count MS out and more than folks should have counted out Intel a couple years ago. Its not IBM because they are a software shop AND it is paranoid as heck because the founder was paranoid as heck.



    The reason MS is no longer dangerous in 2007 vs 2001 is obvious. Bill Gates stepping back in 2006.



    Vinea



    I count Microsoft out because they remind me of the Apple of the '90s, an over bloated company with no real direction other than Monopoly Maintenance (Apple didn't even have this). Vista proved that, they continued to drop features and announce different features, integrate different products (Windows Live) and otherwise lose all focus, at an alarming rate.



    By the time that it was launched, it was more about it's features and the underlying Operating System saw practically no improvements. If they shove everything off to a Service Pack then what good is it right now? Why would it exist right now?



    Then there's the fact that Microsoft has 90% of the market to begin with. I have exactly 2 problems with this: Microsoft created licensing deals with OEMs that effectively killed DR-DOS and made it to where no other OS could see the light of day on one of their "partners" products by creating deals where they undercut the price of MS-DOS so much that it wouldn't make any kind of business or financial sense to continue using DR-DOS or other competitors effectively eliminating them from the market. The price of MS-DOS I think was $7 per unit with that deal (December 1st 2006 Transcript of Comes vs Microsoft in Iowa) but they had to pay for competing Operating Systems if they chose to use them plus a royalty to Microsoft for every computer with an Intel chip shipped. OS/2, NeXTSTEP, DR-DOS, and any other OS of the era were dead on arrival with that kind of deal.



    My second problem with their market share is that because people are buying computers and the Operating System is just another part of that computer, people usually think they are just buying a computer. The importance of the OS they use never comes up unless it turns to a conversation about getting a Mac, at which case, Microsoft and friends manufactured enough FUD in the past that it prevents many people who hate researching for themselves from even considering it, and they have essentially no knowledge or very little knowledge outside of that on computer operating systems.



    FUD, exclusive deals, and an overall ignorance of the computer OS world by non techie people. These are the real components of the Microsoft empire, and because it's already too late to do anything about it, most enterprises and businesses will standardize on Windows and many of them require employees to use Winboxes at the office, and some of them, at home. Apple created an answer to this problem though: Boot Camp.



    Now that brings us to .NET, of course it makes business sense to go where the people are, that doesn't make it any better. Microsoft's IDE is popular by default: They have a monopoly and people want to develop where the majority of the market is. Microsoft has never really had to compete with anything in their entire history as The Empire, anyone and anything would just get the hell out of Microsoft's way when they decided to enter a market.



    So why do I count them out? Their tactics don't work very well anymore. They were sued a few times concerning Anti Trust laws, there are countless tools on the internet for finding information, and information generally spreads faster. That means Microsoft actually has to compete just to get their foot in the door. Thanks to their monopoly they still have a tiny bit of leverage, hence the very slow rise of Windows Live/MSN since Vista came out but IE7 users are really just going back to Google and that rise won't last long to be worth anything.



    What's left for The Empire? The Zune is a total flop no matter how much Microsoft won't admit it, they won't even have 1 Million sold by the end of June unless they stuff the channels with "shipped" inventory and report it as sold, like they did with the 360 at the end of last year. Speaking of which, the Nintendo Wii is set to outsell it by fall this year if the speed of sales continues at it's current pace, which cuts Microsoft off from the idea of "dominating" the game console industry, no one uses or cares about Windows Mobile and I have no doubt in my mind that Nokia, Apple, and RIM don't mind shattering that one to pieces at all, Symbian after all is already the most popular OS in the mobile front. Linux is kicking Windows around in the embedded market and aggressively attacking their Server dominance, and OpenOffice is attacking Office, though I admit I don't like OpenOffice and don't see much of a future for that either, it is the basis for ODF though, and I'd take an ODF file over a Microsoft's Office Open XML any day.



    Microsoft is yesterdays news. More importantly, they have no product direction and the world will move on with or without them.



    Sebastian
  • Reply 15 of 83
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    I agree with the motion that Microsoft isn't at all dead. They still have a fair bit of life in them, even if they've stopped being dangerous. They may have stopped growing, and they may have become inept, but they are far from dead.
  • Reply 16 of 83
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post


    They just posted nearly 5 billion in profits last quarter alone. 5 billion dollars!!!!



    Probably 90% of all business rely exclusively on Microsoft software products (servers, desktops, and productivity software).



    Probably, the most stupid thing I have read in a long while.



    Dave



    This article and thread are not talking about how much money Microsoft is making every year. Microsoft is at a dead end as far as continued growth is concerned and every single market they are actually dominant in is being aggressively attacked.



    Sebastian
  • Reply 17 of 83
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Nice post Sebastian



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    I agree with the motion that Microsoft isn't at all dead. They still have a fair bit of life in them, even if they've stopped being dangerous. They may have stopped growing, and they may have become inept, but they are far from dead.



    Agreed. Microsoft is still live game. I don't think they quite have the power to put people out of business anymore. It used to be that Microsoft would enter your market and you aquiesced nicely. If not they huffed and puffed and blew your house down.



    Their failure was the internet. The internet opens us up to a plethora of tools and applications which do not hail from Redmond. The rise of Linux means that interoperable standards are becoming more important than interoperability with Windows. That's refreshing.



    Apple is going to ride this wave like a surfer. They have nothing to lose by supporting most open standards. The danger for Apple are open standards that conflict with Quicktime (like MXF) and other Apple goldmines.



    My thinking about Apple's direction is this.



    1. Continue to push OS X into new areas. The iPhone and Apple TV are a start.



    2. Continue to embrace Open Source. Almost every Microsoft tool has a FOSS equivalent..find the best and strengthen them.



    3. Deliver more software. iWork needs a big brother. I'd like to see Apple deliver a biz level Office Suite by 10.6. I'm not cncerned about cross platform capability but rather the support of an extensible format like XML or ODL. I'd like to see an Apple photo editing/creating application as well. There are numerous uses for such a program. Application UI design, video editing etc.





    Microsoft isn't dead but it certainly isn't throwing the weight that it used to and likely we've seen the last of such a powerful Microsoft. Their cash cows are Windows and Office and to date the Windows juggernaut is under attack more than the Office IMO. I've yet to see anything beyond MS Office clones as alternatives.
  • Reply 18 of 83
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Your concern is justified, I feel. However the Intarweb is designed from scratch to be highly redundant and fault-tolerant. As we all know it was originally conveived as a computer network that can survive severe nuclear holocaust(s).



    Nonetheless, I don't see productivity apps being replaced by web apps anytime soon, if ever, so as to have Google be a threat to MS in this realm.



    I do believe MS is dying, but this not for Google or anyone else. MS is dying because MS can't innovate anything. Having a monopoly was their only defense and they are losing ground.
  • Reply 19 of 83
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slewis View Post


    I count Microsoft out because they remind me of the Apple of the '90s, an over bloated company with no real direction other than Monopoly Maintenance (Apple didn't even have this). Vista proved that, they continued to drop features and announce different features, integrate different products (Windows Live) and otherwise lose all focus, at an alarming rate.



    Lack of direction may or may not be solved by the board. Bill G isn't dead and as unlikely as it seems he could step back in a la Dell.



    The Windows Live folks are sharp and they have been able to do a few things ahead of Google. 3D Virtual Earth in a browser is one of the prettier examples.



    And if MS is Apple of the 90s then what will it be doing in 2017?



    It could flounder and dissapear. Or it could flourish.



    Quote:

    By the time that it was launched, it was more about it's features and the underlying Operating System saw practically no improvements. If they shove everything off to a Service Pack then what good is it right now? Why would it exist right now?



    It's good right now as a huge beta test...and it works more or less okay for some folks.



    Quote:

    Then there's the fact that Microsoft has 90% of the market to begin with. I have exactly 2 problems with this: Microsoft created licensing deals with OEMs that effectively killed DR-DOS and made it to where no other OS could see the light of day on one of their "partners" products by creating deals where they undercut the price of MS-DOS so much that it wouldn't make any kind of business or financial sense to continue using DR-DOS or other competitors effectively eliminating them from the market. The price of MS-DOS I think was $7 per unit with that deal (December 1st 2006 Transcript of Comes vs Microsoft in Iowa) but they had to pay for competing Operating Systems if they chose to use them plus a royalty to Microsoft for every computer with an Intel chip shipped. OS/2, NeXTSTEP, DR-DOS, and any other OS of the era were dead on arrival with that kind of deal.



    DR-DOS aka "I was stupid to piss off IBM so they went with Microsoft" OS ultimately died the same way as Word Perfect...aquisition by Novell...which is IMHO a deathknell for any tech company and its products.



    Had Digital Research not been indescribably stupid they, and not MS, would have had leadership position. But DR was indescribably stupid not once but TWICE. First by not licensing to IBM in the first place. Second for asking $240 for CP/M-86 when MS was willing to go $60 for MS-DOS.



    NeXTSTEP was wonderful. And wonderfully slow. I was a NeXTStep dev for a while and it had no real future except at Apple.



    OS/2...mmm...OS/2 1.0 was a joke...as much as Windows 1.0 was (which was about done when OS2 was announced). By the time OS/2 2.0 came about Windows 3.0 was out and had dominance. That IBM had elected to diverge from the Windows API meant that Windows had a large amount of software that had to be ported to work in OS/2. How dumb was that?



    Atari GEM, Amiga OS, MacOS. None ran on the intel platform so their rise and fall were coupled to hardware sales and the success or failures of their companies. None too stellar companies really.



    Quote:

    My second problem with their market share is that because people are buying computers and the Operating System is just another part of that computer, people usually think they are just buying a computer. The importance of the OS they use never comes up unless it turns to a conversation about getting a Mac, at which case, Microsoft and friends manufactured enough FUD in the past that it prevents many people who hate researching for themselves from even considering it, and they have essentially no knowledge or very little knowledge outside of that on computer operating systems.



    A computer isn't that useful without an OS. People IMHO usually buy SYSTEMS and not COMPUTERS. And why do they need to know anything about operating systems any more than they need to know anything about engines?



    Quote:

    FUD, exclusive deals, and an overall ignorance of the computer OS world by non techie people. These are the real components of the Microsoft empire, and because it's already too late to do anything about it, most enterprises and businesses will standardize on Windows and many of them require employees to use Winboxes at the office, and some of them, at home. Apple created an answer to this problem though: Boot Camp.



    Bollocks. If there had been a superior value then folks would have gone to that instead. The combination of cheaper clones and cheap OS was unequalled. All other rivals had their own opportunity that were sqandered for one reason or another.



    Quote:

    Now that brings us to .NET, of course it makes business sense to go where the people are, that doesn't make it any better. Microsoft's IDE is popular by default: They have a monopoly and people want to develop where the majority of the market is. Microsoft has never really had to compete with anything in their entire history as The Empire, anyone and anything would just get the hell out of Microsoft's way when they decided to enter a market.



    Bollocks again. .NET is a vast improvement on win32/MFC programming. Visual Studio 200x is excellent and I've used everything from Rational, JBuilder, Kylix, emacs, Eclipse, Netbeans, IBM Workbench and a host of others I've forgotten (never really used earlier versions of Visual Studio).



    MS has many faults but as far as dev tools go they do a good job and always has.



    Quote:

    So why do I count them out? Their tactics don't work very well anymore. They were sued a few times concerning Anti Trust laws, there are countless tools on the internet for finding information, and information generally spreads faster. That means Microsoft actually has to compete just to get their foot in the door. Thanks to their monopoly they still have a tiny bit of leverage, hence the very slow rise of Windows Live/MSN since Vista came out but IE7 users are really just going back to Google and that rise won't last long to be worth anything.



    MS has always felt it had to compete hard...hence the predatory behavior. And their leverage is by no means tiny...just unfocused at the moment.



    But they have a lot of great technology and smart folks.



    Quote:

    What's left for The Empire? The Zune is a total flop ... 360 at the end of last year. Speaking of which, the Nintendo Wii is set to outsell it ... which cuts Microsoft off from the idea of "dominating" the game console industry, no one uses or cares about Windows Mobile ... Linux is kicking Windows around in the embedded market and aggressively attacking their Server dominance, and OpenOffice is attacking Office, ...



    Zune is the XBox. Kinda meh this generation. The 360 is doing better than the XBox and Sony is stunbling. The Wii has no legs. Fun for 2007 but Nintendo effectively conceeded the hard-core gamer market to Sony and MS.



    Windows Mobile/Windows CE is a major factor in the US market but small worldwide. It has its own plusses and minuses. But lots of folks in the US use Windows Mobile. Given that Windows Mobile doubled sales so I don't think its doing badly...and it took most of its share increase from Palm.



    I haven't played with OpenOffice since I do everything in Keynote and MS Word.



    Linux has its own pros and cons in both the embedded and server space. MS' server share came at the expense of unix. That linux is recapturing some of that is nice but really, MS should never have HAD a large presence in the server space to begin with.



    Sun, HP, SGI are to blame there.



    Quote:

    Microsoft is yesterdays news. More importantly, they have no product direction and the world will move on with or without them.



    Corporations go in cycles. Apple is on the upswing these last several years. Intel the last couple. Dell on the decline, HP on the rise (who'da thunk that?). Microsoft will stagger about a few years but it has a long way to go before it is irrelevant or toothless. They do have some innovative tech...just doesn't get publicized as much as MS failures.



    Vinea
  • Reply 20 of 83
    lfe2211lfe2211 Posts: 507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPeon View Post


    Could someone explain to me the reasoning behind this assertion that Google is a threat to MS? Tech media "experts" love to promote this idea. They also love to assert the death of the desktop. This is ludicrous if you ask me.



    Tech media "experts" love hyperbole and non-sequitors.



    Follow the money.



    Internet search advertising is a $15 billion business, of which Google has a two thirds share right now. However, TV advertising in the U.S. is a $54 billion market. Ad revenue is slowly moving out of traditional vehicles like TV, radio and print media to the web. Why? Because that's the world we live in today. Do you look at the web first thing in the morning or TV/radio/newspaper? Think of how important the web has become in our every day lives. Even the non-geeks like those who populate ebay and use AOL know how important the web is in their life.



    Google is building an Ad revenue generating machine that will dwarf what it has today. The purchase of YouTube was brilliant despite the pseudo bad press it gets re Viacom's absurd law suit. That's a total red herring. Many big media and upscale product companies already understand this. The video snippets on YouTube are great advertising conduits for their TV programs , Movies, cars, apparel etc. . DoubleClick is the new Google tool to totally dominate web advertising . With over 1500 clients, DoubleClick is the preferred partner of leading companies worldwide for a full range of digital advertising solutions including display advertising and advertising optimization. Google is also making forays into TV , radio and mobile advertising via deals with Comcast, Echo Star and Clear Channel. Dick Parsons, the top guy at Time Warner/AOL will probably do a deal with Google later this year. Ditto for the likes of Disney, Pixar and others. I think Apple and Google will do an iPhone mobile ad based deal in the not too distant future.



    The desktop is not dead. It just that it isn't the cash cow it used to be. MS still owns the desktop and will make its billions per quarter but it isn't as important as it once was. Web advertising is the new mega-cash cow. And, MS is not in the same ballpark with Google despite all their best efforts to compete. Their ad revenue generation is pathetic. They want Yahoo badly to try and buy their way into the the game but they may never happen. Even if it does, Google is so far ahead, it might not matter. And Yahoo may not be the prize MS thinks it is.



    Google Apps are not a threat to MS's desktop software now. That program is a long term reach that may or may not pay off down the road. Google doesn't really care that much. Right now its just a tiny adjunct to the Ad revenue program. If it can capture office App market share from MS, good. If not, no big deal.



    MS is fighting many battles on many fronts to maintain their once invincible position. Like the Roman Empire in its final decline, it didn't happen overnight. It took years, internal decay (bad decisions) and many enemies that fnally wore it down.
Sign In or Register to comment.