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Microsoft

Microsoft Isn't Slowing Down 329

Posted by timothy
from the how-are-your-brakes,-sir? dept.
An Anonymous Coward writes: "According to this Business Week article Microsoft is stronger than ever. Considering this is typical of the kind of Microsoft Rump-Swabbery that Management often use to 'enlighte'" themselves, it's little wonder that so many are of the opinion that if you can't give Microsoft money for it, it must be no good." Of course, did anyone expect Microsoft to just roll over?
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Microsoft Isn't Slowing Down

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  • I think that's seriously debatable. Is that _gross_ or _net_? I bet you this 'one billion a month' is gross profit- and that they've been spending considerably more than they're taking in, for a long time now.

    It's all very well to buy into the myth of invincibility, but they have other problems than just competition. Office sales are stagnating, OS sales are a very hard sell in a 'good enough' world (how many people do you know who are on W98?), and their costs are unimaginable (.NET, XBox). You can talk all day long about how they have an attitude more like Stalin or something than a product vendor, but attitude is not everything.

  • Really. If they were a country, how would that seem? "USA, kill them! USA, kill them!" or "Iraq, kill them! Iraq, kill them!" It would cause comment ;)

    But because Microsoft is only more powerful and influential than most countries, and fights by causing economic disaster and poverty to its enemies rather than literally shooting them, people are slower to take 'em literally there.

    But you should still take them literally there. If you are not with them, they want to kill you. Particularly if you try to earn a living doing stuff that they consider their property. The Gateser wishes that there be only one word processor! And web browser, and internet server, and game console, and official government internet site (which government? All governments!)

    You'd think people would figure this out quicker. Is power that much harder to see when it's not wearing a soldier uniform?

  • "If this is what the public finds harmful to its interests, let the public destroy me."

    Sounds good to me. Let's do it.

    And if you are admittedly harmful to the public interests, what business do you have bitching about being destroyed, anyway? The public has a collective will, too. If you won't appease it and subjugate your own raw unmoderated desires to what will work in community with others, you deserve to be destroyed, and quit whining. :)

  • Don't get ahead of yourself. You're making a lot of assumptions- among others, you're assuming that this happens in a complete legislative vacuum, and you're assuming that no governments anywhere will decide this is a threat to their interests- and that's just dumb! Communications are important, and control of communications is vital.

    That is why you are wrong (not that you should sit back and be complacent, of course). However, if you are right, then you're still wrong, because in the event that no government will restrain the new power balance in the world, in the event that it all becomes puppet governments tied together by a 'world citizen electronic ID' sort of system by Microsoft (which doesn't even _care_ about governing, it just wants your money), you still have the option of guerrilla warfare, and so does everyone else.

    "Microsoft, kill them!" like hell! I'd like to see how well they like that point of view if, all over the world, Microsoft employees are literally being killed, shot, mugged, bombed, mowed down by people with real weapons who aren't afraid to die themselves. It is my fond hope that it will not take something like that to get Microsoft people to see the societal harm caused by their 'Microsoft, kill them!' attitude. That has got to stop. That will stop. It is just a question of whether it can be stopped without taking them at their rhetoric and literally starting to kill them. That's a hell of a step, there's got to be some way to get the message through without that. Bill Gates getting pie in the face should have illustrated the personal vulnerability, but obviously nobody took the hint. They are NOT BULLETPROOF and they need to STOP with the 'Microsoft, kill them!', immediately if not sooner.

  • That is assuming that all the Linux scripting tools will default to 'let lusers auto-run all types of scripting things whether they understand them or not. In fact, ship the stuff with it all turned on!'.

    And that's a hell of a big assumption, considering that this is a really stupid thing to do, and that you can just as legitimately claim you 'have' all that scripting even if it defaults to off and does not autorun on incoming email scripts.

  • I know I rambled, but this is a pet peeve of mine. In any case, I'd rather show business how much that office suite they love so much is hurting them than try to reproduce the same lump of steaming crap for GNU/Linux.

    I can't agree with you enough. IBM recognised years ago the consistent formatting problem that you describe. They invented SGML purely to address the problem! Saving the formatting with the document isn't an obvious mistake, but once you know about things like SGML it's hard to believe that people keep repeating the mistake.

    As a side note, I was reading an article on some tech site by a long-time journalist. He had just found that his 5-10 year old documents are no longer accessible! The Word format has changed so drastically that the latest release of Word can't even open the old document formats. He was extremely peeved. This is a strong argument, in my opinion, against closed document formats. XML and SGML are the only reasonable answer.

  • Time for Microsoft to publish another web page about the XBox to boost moral. Everyone hates Microsoft when an article about big business arises but an X Box ad never fails to rally support.
  • You sure you can live without an X Box? Given the X Box hysteria, we should all be sucking Bill Gate's dick and asking for seconds.
  • MIT has been using various UNIX flavors for ages. There are some departments which use MS software, but by and large the impression is that the lack of office applications is not a problem is that other people are discouraged from using office applications. People don't send you Word documents and such because they can't write them, so you don't need to read them.
  • Actually SQL Server does work better with Win2k/IIS. At least if you are trying to do serious software development, the database connectivity to Oracle is problematic.

    It's also not Microsoft's fault. Rather it seems to be Larry Ellison who is to blame. He's almost purposefully crippling Oracle's ability to work with Microsoft in a sad idea that people will switch from Microsoft over to his Java application crap.

    I know a number of companies who use Oracle now who are contemplating moving pieces over to SQL Server to get better stability and performance.
  • "exercises oppressive control over the programming powers of its employees"

    Does it?

    I believe you'll have a really hard time backing that statement up. At least from talking to the Microsoft employees I know, it's still the best tech company in the world to work at.

    And not because of stock options. This is a company that realized long ago that giving programmers offices instead of cubicles makes them more productive, etc.

    As far as your other comments. The bottom dropped out of the Consulting market last year.
  • What I felt was inefficient was all the manageability and configuration.

    I have looked at the recent RedHat and Debian distributions. Debian has remained virtually unchanged and is still a bear to work with. RedHat has some nice pretty GUI stuff, but still has a plethora of problems. But then those problems are due to the architecture of Unix and not likely to change without a radical shift.
  • The ILoveYou virus could be replicated on a Unix system exactly like on Windows without any increased security.

    It would require the following assumptions to be true:

    #1. A well known way to send email from the system. This is mostly true already.

    #2. A well known address book system. i.e. Groupware of some sort, possibly using LDAP services. This exists, but not in a standard well known way.

    #3. An email system which is designed with user convenience in mind and allows the opening and execution of attachments.

    That's it. Everything else can be automated with scripts or binaries in user-mode.

    From then on, our new Iloveyou only needs to modify files available to the user. Why modify system files when I have full access to the login scripts in your user directory.

    But for the record. I have never spread any email virus from any computer of mine. I use Windows NT/2k, I use Office, I use Outlook.

    The reason? I've never been stupid enough to open any such attachments.

    There is a difference between Unix and Windows, but it is primarily the types of users. Since Unix is hard to use, it tends to only have users who are either not able to figure out how to save and execute an attachment, or not stupid enough to do so.

    It has nothing to do with the security models. At least not in this case.
  • by sheldon (2322) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:50AM (#192921)
    All good points!

    I did not relate this to Go, but I made a similar comment last year after the PocketPC was released.

    If you look at what Microsoft did, they looked at the existing climate of Palm domination and then asked, "Great, but where do people want to be in the future?"

    They then designed towards that future. More powerful, more capable devices. Color, sounds, fast, powerful, lot's of storage, etc...

    The first versions of WinCE were not successful, primarily because they hadn't clearly defined this vision, and the hardware was not capable of it. After several years of refinement and evolution, the hardware began to catch up.

    And now you have the iPaq and it's ilk capturing 20% marketshare.

    Meanwhile Palm is changing case colors and releasing Supermodel versions of the same device that first came to market back in 1996. Any bets if they will merge with AOL within 2 years time?
  • Sorry... I honestly had never heard that. I live in the South with probably the lowest asian population, so I guess it just never came up.

    --

  • by Amphigory (2375) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:59AM (#192923) Homepage
    I am learning to play the game of Go [kiseido.com] (kind of an oriental version of Chess, only much cooler.) One thing I have learned along the way is that its very easy to make strategy against where your opponent is -- and lose. You need to be planning for where your opponent is going, anticipating his moves and taking the places on the board he wants before he can get them. Otherwise, you will inevitably get slaughtered.

    It seems to me that the open source community has not learned this lesson -- possibly because we are so unstructured. Like it or not, open source has not generally produced fundamentally new technologies at the rate Microsoft has. The one exception would lie in the Internet server market (and it is not coincidental that that is the main market where OSS is successful). We tend to spend all our time catching up in other areas.

    For example, Microsoft has had a component based desktop for years, and we are just now starting to get workable ones. Microsoft has had easy GUI design for trivial apps (VB) since the early 90's -- and we are just starting to get it (QT Designer, Kylix). Microsoft still has us totally slaughtered in the groupware arena because we can't seem to really understand that groupware and email are not quite the same thing.

    When Microsoft *does* miss a beat -- as with the Internet -- they follow up quickly. Once again, this is like Go. If your opponent gets you in an awkward strategic situation, you can often play through it tactically. Essentially, you end up playing just to stay in the game until your opponent makes a mistake. Then you strike out ahead and hopefully recover your strategic error. This is Microsoft's well known practice of always being the second-best product on the market until the competition screws up.

    Anyway, one wonders if Bill Gates plays Go. It's relatively popular on the west coast thanks to the large oriental population. It's truly an awesome game -- the Japanese maintain that it teaches character and strategic thinking for real life. And, I think they're right. It penalizes both cowardice and foolhardiness equally, encourages you to think ahead, and has rules simple enough to teach my three-year-old with permutations complex enough to take a lifetime to understand.

    &lt/Ramble&gt

    --

  • And so should anyone be, to read that set of articles from BusinessWeek. They paint a picture of a Microsoft without limits to its control over the industry, and without limits as to its profit making power, feeding into greater control, feeding into greater profits..

    Of course, the article doesn't even whisper the word 'Linux' or 'OpenSource' or, heck, even 'Java' anywhere. The picture they paint of Microsoft run rampant across the industry would be a completely, perfectly accurate one were it NOT for Linux and the Open Source world in general. Throw in the fact that XP will have the yummy corporate 'rights management' stuff built in, and you've got our biggest nightmare, right?

    If the article had talked about how Linux has blunted the Windows 2000 server initiative, or about how Apache still runs most web servers, or about how there are dozens of manufacturers selling Java platforms, this would have seemed a good bit less scary. Fortunately. In my view, this article paints a clear picture, that we have three choices. One, the government slaps Microsoft down in some fashion, to impede its monopoly creation and maintenance ability. Two, Microsoft gets ever more powerful and buys pretty much whatever it wants to. Or, three, that everyone else involved in the industry works together on common standards for fear of their lives. That means Linux, that means Java, that means Mozilla, that means Ogg Vorbis, that means XML, that means an open AIM, that means standardized commodity streaming MPEG2 and MPEG4. And all of that might not be enough to forestall Microsoft if they become or remain the only ones with the ability to monetize the net effectively.

    When it comes to service provisioning, the openness of the underlying software doesn't matter so much. Like Tim O'Reilly says, it's the openness of the web services that will matter greatly in the next phase of the net. If Microsoft makes their XML/SOAP protocol based services open enough that a Novell or an AOL or an IBM or an Amazon or a Walmart or a Palm can compete to provide Passport-type services integrated with XP, then perhaps Microsoft won't be such a threat to competition. Anyone feel hopeful?


    - jon
  • Sure, they want their services to be available on as many platforms as possible. My question was whether it would be possible for others to provide services with identical XML/SOAP interfaces and let consumers choose to use another provider for Hailstorm-type services, rather than to use Microsoft's, so when a user installs XP, he gets asked whether he wants to use Passport-type services from Microsoft, from AOL, or from Amazon.

    Which I rather doubt Microsoft is going to encourage / allow, for all their talk about open services and interoperable standards. I could well be wrong about this, which is why I asked whether anyone did feel hopeful. If Microsoft did have the courage to allow competitors an even footing for the new services, I'd be much, much more sanguine about Microsoft. It's just that they never have allowed an even footing for anything like that.


    - jon
  • Not necessarily, the passport-type account information could be stored on the client in the same way the Microsoft passport authentication information would be. DNS isn't made useless because there exist multiple registrars. For something of the scope that Microsoft is proposing for Hailstorm, I'd like to see competition to provide those services.

    I have some friends who were working at a company that did a Wallet implementation for this sort of thing. It's *not* like Microsoft is the only company that can do something like this.


    - jon
  • by gdav (2540) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:16AM (#192927)
    A few years back, I was one of the people involved in drawing up a plan for our university [brookes.ac.uk]'s choice of desktop OS and office software suite. For the office suite we looked at offerings from Microsoft (the incumbent), Corel and Lotus, and for the desktop OS... well, that quickly came down to an all-Microsoft choice. I should point out that our student labs run over 400 apps used in teaching, mostly win16 but a few win32 (and one or two DOS!)

    We consulted our users about the office site and they quickly voted for Microsoft on the grounds that it would be a sheer bloody pain to shift. Corel was on the ropes and Lotus cost almost as much as Microsoft. So we signed Campus Agreement, and it made life a lot simpler, and Mr Gates a lot richer.

    I was the local Linux zealot and I did try long and hard to convince myself that:

    * We could offer a Linux desktop, with linux-native office apps and browser, and run all 400-odd teaching apps under Wine.

    * We could offer a Linux desktop, with linux-native office apps and browser, and run all 400-odd teaching apps under VMware.

    * We could offer a Linux desktop, with linux-native office apps and browser, and run all 400-odd teaching apps on a Citrix app server via the linux ICA client.

    And the I thought - why?

    Once the decision was made, we all thought - "Don't worry, we don't need to renegotiate for a few years, and the DOJ will have broken Microsoft up by then - or at very least imposed regulations to make Mr Gates tame, polite and meek in all his dealings". This did not turn out to be true, did it?

    So I suppose it's time to look at putting together a strategy to make Windows 2000/Office 2000 our final Microsoft platform - there's no way we're touching Windows Xtra Pain, that's for sure. Since we last looked at the problem, Staroffice/Openoffice has become pretty viable, many of our teaching apps have been replaced by web-based teaching aids, many new apps have appeared that have linux ports.

    Are any other universities thinking along these lines?

    george

  • by unitron (5733)
    You can buy a Chilton or a Haynes for your automobile a lot cheaper than aftermarket books on MS software, and they're a *lot* more informative and helpful in fixing problems.
  • Why are they angry?
  • by Xunker (6905) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:00AM (#192934) Homepage Journal
    I know it's essentially suicide to mention anything PRO-Microsoft, but I'm going to take the leap.

    As much as some of the 'harrier' open-source and free-software supprorters deride large Close-Souce Companies. the truth of the matter is that having companies like them around *does* foster quality development.

    Just think: suppose MS died, and there was no one controlling the desktop market? I'm willing to bet you a herring that feature development on ye' olde' favourite Free OS would slow. There would be no need to improve it at the current rate because you're not racing anyone.

    We in the Open Source and Free Software communities would like to think that we're immune from such normal things like sloth, but believe it or not, we are human, and are at risk of getting sloppy if there is no one prodding us on.
    .
  • Not surprising for something that has never moved.
    I've seen a fellow consultant moved by them - to tears, in fact - when they obseleted the development tool that he had just finished a $Oz100K contract with, and the next version was not compatible so he had to rewrite from scratch.
  • For 100 simultaneous users, all of whom have no clue how to use the software, you figure you need about 5 trained sysadmins. Let's say you only run the lab 5 days a week for 10 hours, and pay your sysadmins $10/hour. In three years: 5*5*52*3*10*10=$390,000. Lets say using Windows software saves you only one of those sysadmins. 1*5*52*3*10*10=$78,000. I think we have a winner.


    You failed to explain why Windows WOULD save a sysadmin vs. Linux. It's my experience that Windows would require just as many low-level computer lab operators, because they're there to be warm bodies, make sure nobody walks off with the computers, and answer the questions of the clueless, who know neither Linux nor Windows.

    It's been my experience, though, that a Unix network infrastructure is considerably more robust than a M$ one, and requires fewer mid-to-high-level staff to keep things running.

    Question: how much does it cost just to keep the macro viruses in check on a Windows network?

    Lastly, with machines being used by clueless users, using Linux has the major advantage that you are more able to lock the low-level users out of the sensitive areas of their machines using permissions, preventing them from screwing up the system by "trying to fix it" or installing AOL. This saves you a lot of time reinstalling the operating system on machines. You can also remotely sysadmin the machines, which saves lots more time.

    Jon Acheson


  • Like Ali, Microsoft had absorbed some bruising body blows in its own Rumble in the Jungle, Ballmer told the crowd. "We were getting shots from everywhere. Maybe we even had a little fear in our eyes." Then his voice suddenly rose to a shout: "You know what I say? I say we're off the ropes!" The Microsofties roared.


    This statement in a nutshell embodies everything I despise about Microsoft; that they treat everything like a fight.

    It reminds me of the old comparison, you stick a PC floppy in a Mac, and it tells you it's a PC floppy and shows you the files.

    You stick a Mac floppy in a Windows box, and it asks if you want to format it.

    If they could just learn to 'play nice' with the other guy, or at least not break things (I fear bringing active directory up on our network here) it wouldn't be so easy to dislike their products.

  • You're completely right. We should give up now.

    On the other hand... most Linux enthusists aren't playing the capitalist game. We aren't in it for the cash. And jokes aside, we're not looking to take over the world. We just want to work on computers that don't suck. With development tools that don't lock you in. With programs that do our bidding, not the other way around.

    As long as I can run Linux and OpenBSD, and can continue to buy hardware for them, I'll be fine. Maybe I'll still maintain a Windoze box for playing games, but that's it. I'm not going to give MS much of my money. And if more people adopt that attitude, MS will wither away and be forgotten.

    At any rate, I'm certainly not hoping that one of those other mega-corporations is going to save the day. They are all the same, it's just that MS is the most powerful at this moment.

    I agree with you to the extent that if you're trying to play MS's game on their own turf, you're likely to lose. They'd like you to believe that their game is the only one in existance. They'd like you to believe that proprietary software is the only way to achieve quality. But they are wrong.

    The only answer is not to play their game. They know they can't play our game (cooperation) because they'd lose status and become marginalized.

  • (I think I can get flamebait and troll all in one post)
    Quote:
    "There's no block to people putting features on Windows," he snaps.

    Isn't that part of the problem?
    1. Putting a feature into Windows means its now a target for embrasure (is that a word?), extension, or imitation. You have just decided to compete with MS. Somehow I doubt their "shared source" will help. Ask Stac how much success they had in putting features into a Microsoft product.
    2. This statement is, to me, implicitly saying that innovation is dependant on Windows in the first place. Wasn't it Jackson who said (paraphrased) MS makes a barrier to innovation with this kind of thinking? They hammer the doors shut if you aren't talking Win32?
  • When I see all this, I find it quite frightening...

    I heard that MS planned for XP an online activation of the program (or phone activation ?)...

    UCITA provides big software companies with the right to remote-disable pograms and thus, with the right to insert these remote-disable facilities...

    Year X : MS Windows 95, MS Windows 98, MS windows NT, MS Windows Me and MS Windows 2000 are not available anymore... By some licencing tricks as well as unneeded compatibility glitches, peoples are forced to switch to XP

    Year X+2 : About everyone uses XP. US Law dept decide to start a new anti-trust against MS... MS Answer : "Drop that lawsuit or we'll disable all XP in USA"... US Government can't do anything anymore, fearing that the whole US inductry would fall apart and USA returning to technological Middle Age

    Year X+3 : MS controls the world.

    This scenario is a little pessimistic... But with more and more being done using computers... and MS Windows... Many monopolies aren't as critical as Computer... A Monopoly in Film, Music or such couldn't destroy the economy of a whole land and make all stop working...

    When I see the future, I'm quite frightened...

    But, there is another point... Laws were done to protect the people... Now, they become protections of the revenues of the big companies, thanks to lobbying and pots-de-vins.

    People stealing other were shown by everyone... Now, people "steal" music (Napster and such) but these are usually not shown as doing something wrong (except by RIAA and such).

    When something don't seem fair to people, they don't respect it. And in these times, we see more and more people copying music, films (Region Playback Control enhance this), Software (overpricing and bad quality enhance this one)... They REALLY DON'T THINK THEY DO SOMETHING WRONG... So, it shouldn't be wrong in the laws... When everyone breaks some law, that law becomes unenforceable...

    We risk to reach a big crisis in the next years... And it may be sooner that we could think...

    By the way, Bill Parish (http://www.billparish.com) had an article telling how MSFT is showing increasing wins but in reality has increasing losses. He tells that by using a pyramidal system in which stock options take a great part, they can do that trick... It's also scary as pyramidal systems will ALWAYS collapse (due to their exponential scheme)...

    Ancient greeks knew steam engine (Zenon), knew how to make the big doors of a temple open when someone approach,... then we drooped in Middle Age... Will history repeats itself ?
  • I didn't write they should act differently :)
    Microsoft Excel doesn't still have the Lotus 1-2-3 menu compatibility mode because it's fun to have it.

    The point is, sometimes Microsoft _is_ making the de-facto standards for interfaces, as ugly as they may be. It's not criminal to follow them, it depends on what developers think to be most important: providing better functionality (gnus [gnus.org] is the prime example) or better helping users cross over (evolution). I'm just saying that sometimes, somewhere, Microsoft is leading the pack, and it doesn't matter why it is so.

  • by kinkie (15482) on Monday May 28, 2001 @01:53PM (#192947) Homepage
    Tell this to the Gnome's Evolution designers: its interface is a blatant rip-off of Microsoft Outlook.

    Not that there's anything bad in that, except the fact that Outlook's interface is as bad as an interface can be. No, make it worse.
  • by Pope (17780)
    Oni is a Bungie/GODgames product, NOT Microsoft.
  • by KFury (19522) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:25AM (#192951) Homepage
    Nah. Before that happens they'll devote billions to R&D to find new markets.

    Face it folks, Microsoft may be our best bet for interstellar travel, if only so they can find other civilizations that need Windows machines!

    Kevin Fox
    --
  • Microsoft has a lot of capital. That alone will keep them alive. However, if you look at what they have been producing I see only evolutionary improvements in products they've had for years. The innovation mostly consists of adding features and integrating their various products. While that improves usability somewhat, it is not true innovation. Rather it is inertia. People buy ms products today because they bought them yesterday. Some of them will probably buy them again tomorrow, but some won't.

    Of course the underlying question when such an article is posted on slashdot is whether they will continue be able to compete with open source software and the answer is yes of course. MS has plenty of money and can afford to experiment with their strategy as much as they like. Right now they are trying to see how much money they can squeeze out of their customers and it turns out to be quite a lot (and why shouldn't they, I have no sympathy for idiots so lets rip them off). On the other hand they are losing a few customers which is bad in the long term. Probably they will become a bit more moderate if they start losing too much customers. However considering their installed base, they will have a revenue stream for years to come, no matter what they do, no matter how crazy they act.

    However, open source has a similar advantage. It's free now, it's free tomorrow. It will always be the cheaper option. The quality of some open source products is also quite good and if MS continues to make life hard for home users (with activation bullshit and all), it becomes increasingly attractive to let mandrake reorganize my disk a bit, removing all dependencies on legacy software such as outlook and notepad.
  • It's not just the Internet that Microsoft might control.

    Take a look at this piece in The Register [theregister.co.uk]. Basically, Microsoft have implemented a site for the UK government called Government Gateway [gateway.gov.uk], which will enable you to use your computer to electronically perform a lot of tasks which previously needed lots of paper work (like Tax Self Assessment). However, if you go to the Gateway you find that they have very restrictive checks on the browser you are using -- and they won't let you use some of the areas which use a digital certificate unless you are using Internet Explorer 5+.

    You can still use it if you fake the UserAgent string, but this sort of behaviour from a website is at best crude, and at worst deliberately targeting non-Microsoft OSes.

  • by mav[LAG] (31387) on Monday May 28, 2001 @12:15PM (#192959)
    then why are we seeing these panicky reactions from Microsoft? You know - Gates and Ballmer flip-flopping, Allchin, Mundie. If they were really confident about the future there would be little need to fly kites all the time about OSS or the GPL.

    I suspect Microsoft is actually deeply worried about the next five years. The top execs know only too well just what IBM looked like to the business press in 1989 - and how quickly they fell from a position of seeming invincibility. The margins in the packaged software business are falling rapidly. Unix server revenues are nearly triple Windows server revenues - and Linux is cleaning their clocks at the low end. To move away from the software license model means going the services route - a la .NET which is untested and a big gamble to say the least.

    Unlike the heyday of fawning which accompanied Microsoft in the mid-90s, businesses are becoming very hard-nosed about security, privacy and robustness - especially as more businesses integrate Internet functionality into their business models. Most are deeply disturbed at the idea of a middleware layer of services controlled solely by Microsoft and won't be very keen to move there.

  • Uhh, what about the dachas, the power, the women?

    By any reasonable definition the high end aparachniks were pretty rich. When the system switched over to "capitalism", the system of organized robbery merely continued without the pretext of common social progress.

  • True. There was an report on one of the busines programs on TV the other day about the latest version of WordPerfect which acknowledged that features or quality are now immaterial to it's success, since Microsoft is now so entrenched. People buy Windows, Word etc because they are the standard - not because they are the best. Of course these things never last - the same was true of IBM at one stage.
  • Who cares how many they sold--we are looking at it from a business prospective, right? What matters is net profit. If IBM sold twice as many boxes as Apple, but IBM's profit margin was one quarter of Apple's due to competition from clones, Apple comes out ahead.
  • by tbo (35008) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:49AM (#192964) Journal
    While you may be of the opinion that Windows sucks more than ever, or that linux/OS X/BSD/BeOS/AmigaOS is more threatening than ever, that's largely irrelevant. Microsoft is a business, and their strength is reflected by business forcasts, price-to-earning ratios, and other financial indicators.

    While Eazel is going out of business, Mandrake is asking resorting to donations, and countless other tech companies are hurting, Microsoft is doing just fine. They're not instituting mass layoffs. I know people who work there, and things are the same-old, same-old.

    Linux may be a better OS, but it's not a better business plan, unfortunately.
  • They're the biggest and most profitable software company out there.

    Dosn't the kind of stock market "game" Microsoft are involved in require showing constant expansion. Here being the biggest can be a disadvantage.
  • by overshoot (39700) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:58AM (#192971)
    Their Chairman views everything as a very high-stakes competion. It is how he is wired. As a result the entire company is built off of the, "If they are not for us, they are against us" philosophy.

    Incomplete.
    • If they're not for us, they're against us. Kill them now.
    • If the suckers are for us, they can wait. Kill them later.
  • by west (39918) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:56AM (#192972)
    Microsoft has indicated that it is intent on continued growth of 20% a year.

    Has anyone calculated just how many years it will be before Microsoft corporate strategy requires that they own everything? :-).
  • "You need to lose your politics, and figure out what is best for the user, before you lose your job. "

    What's best for the users (and the university) is not necessarily which software is the easeist to use, nor which software has more features. You have to take into account the long term affects of choosing your software. If you go with MS software you are subjugating your university to the will of just one corporation. You will then jump when MS tells you to jump and beg when they tell you to beg. MS has in the past and will in the future keep rearranging the licenses to fit its profit needs at the expense of yours.

    There is also a matter of acedemic freedom. Signing onerous contracts and subjugating the students to bizaare and draconian contracts is not good for the students nor is it good for the university. This is especially bad if your students are being allowed to look at the windows source code as they will have to sign contracts which will not enable them to gain employment with some of the biggest corporations in the world.

    Most students like most users use 5 to 10 percent of any productivity suite. Maybe star office "SUCKS ARSE" as you say but it's certainly capable of producing term papers or lab reports. What's best for the students is to analyze their needs accurately and find the cheapest and most free product that can fulfill those needs. Not to force them to pay for expensive bloated software with features they will never use.
  • Huh? I have been trying to connect to SQL server from my linux/apache/php box and just can't seem to find any thing to make this possible. MS also does not make a JDBC driver so I can try and use Java.

    If I was using any other database I would have been able to connect just fine.

    Anybody who bets their business on SQLserver deserves every headache they get.
  • "That's right, it's democracy"

    When I was going to school my professor explaine dthe difference between a democracy and a republic this way.

    A lynching is a perfect example of a democracy. You have 10 people for lynching and one against.

  • Thanks for the tip. For me it's not just java it's trying to connect to SQL server from linux using ANYTHING!. Does this software depend on windows libraries or can it run on Linux?

    MS is the biggest lying copany on the planet. Whenever i see their "plays nice with others" ad I just want to spit on all their lying faces.
  • At 20% a year;

    in 10 years they would have grown 519.17%
    in 20 years they would have grown 3 733.76%
    in 50 years they would have grown 909 943.82%
    in 100 years they would have grown
    8 281 797 352.20%

    <Insert witty comment about MS owning all of our grandchildern>
  • Answer. Their Chairman views everything as a very high-stakes competion. It is how he is wired. As a result the entire company is built off of the, "If they are not for us, they are against us" philosophy.

    Get a clue folks. The richest person in the world by a wide margin dislikes "Open Software". He is unrestrained by any single national government and will do whatever it takes to make sure "Open Software" goes exactly no-where.

    No amount of whining on /. is going to change that. You want "Open" to win? Get off your asses and write some totally killer Applications and relase them under a license that will keep MS from theaving the entire thing. All it took were four applications from MS to own the desktop. There are enough brains here to write four *new* applications that will pull the desktop back.

    -- Multics

  • Of course, in the mean time an estimated 350 million people were killed or starved to death.

    Ever ponder what would have happened if IBM had not been a monopoly for 20 years early in the computer industry? Where would we be now? I'll bet a lot further down the road.

    Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Most /.ers are not wise enough to learn any history.

    -- Multics

  • by Multics (45254) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:12AM (#192981) Journal
    My expectation is that they think:

    With W in office, their legal troubles will fade away. It certainly didn't hurt that the first-level judge was at least unwise about his comments. If applications had been peeled off of Windows the world would be a different place. The probability of that happening is about 0.0001 now.

    They are talking up Linux to make sure everyone thinks that they are all worried about an O/S with no significant applications that anyone cares about. They are worried like my grandfather (who is 92) is worried that 10 nymphomanics are going to attack him every Sunday.

    They will finish their take-over of the web, but getting Steve "kingdom builder" Case to throw away Netscape. Already places like Weather Channel [weather.com] are difficult to use in Netscape and that trend will accelerate violently this year. (And yes, macromedia flash is part of WC's problems)

    So what if XP is a failure. They'll change the license for Win2k to a time-based one and poof the monopoly is complete. These guys are classic Monopolists and as soon as they can lock everyone one into their party (they are very very close now), innovation will nearly stop. No monopolist will invest in his marketplace when he has absolute control and a reliable income stream. That is what XP is about. The terminal technology while MS goes off and attempts to dominate all the other software marketplaces. Ever consider what it would take in terms of cash for them to buy Palm and Handspring and just close them?...

    The only thing that will stop this mess is Bill quitting and he can't just about as any human can't taking in O2. I wonder if he is at all happy... I'll bet not.

    So kids, we're in deep trouble. "Open" people have failed to provide things people want enough to switch away from Windows on the desktop. If "Open" doesn't own the desktop, it is likely that "Open" doesn't own anything.

    --Multics

  • by superid (46543) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:29AM (#192982) Homepage
    Ever heard of the Navy/Marine Corps Internet [eds.com]? Pretty soon every sailor and government employee "from the desktop to the warfighter" will be using MS exclusively (at least officially). Desktops are mandated to be Windows 2000 and end users cannot install any software or maintain their machine. This includes laptops and even classified networks and communications. It's a $6B contract to EDS and I think it will either be a dramatic failure or a dramatic flop. I'm not sure there can be a middle ground.

    SuperID
    Free Database Hosting [freesql.org]

  • This king of leads to the MS 3 rule; no MS product works at all well until version 3. MS can just throw more and more money at a problem until it goes away.
    Very few other companies in the world could have afforded or would have wanted to keep MSN going. MS is different though. Once they attack a space, they just keep fighting (and spending). They will not allow defeat.
    Take a look at embedded software. Another version of WinCE, 3.0 (aka PocketPC) is trying to push forward and staring to do better. At the same time, NT Embedded has finally spawned Windows XP Embedded (Win2k Embedded never made it out of the gate).
    MSNBC keeps pushing forward. The mighty CNN (backed by AOLTime) is now struggling to fight off this (and Fox). Spend enough and keep trying and people watched.
    Enterprise software? They have Win2k running on 32 processor intel based systems with 64 gigs of RAM. Exchange is all of the place. SQLServer use is growing.
    As a business they do some many things to make sure they win. Every piece is tied to all the others. They tell you that "If you run windows and office at home, you should use a PocketPC! It runs all the same stuff!" They say that "If you run Win2k, than Exchange, SQLServer, and IIS run the best!" They want everything to tie to them. Your windows login becomes your "Passport". Now they own part of your identity. Pretty soon you will have to pay to use your own passport. Just a penny a login...
    The fact is that they are just too damn good at this capitalist game. In order to protect the people and not stiffle innovation, the playing field has to be made a bit more fair. The government no longer seems up to the task. Our only hope is that MS's enemies gang up on them. Can even AOLTimeWarner, Sony, Sun, Oracle, and IBM combined beat them? I don't know. I sure hope so because I would have rather have a bunch of powerful companies in specific sectors than one all powerful company in all sectors of the economy.
  • Yeah, and he said the same thing about Windows ME and Windows 98. If Windows ME or 98 was the most important thing since Windows 95, then shouldn't Windows XP be the most important thing since Windows ME?
    >>>>>>>>>
    Lets go through a basic tutorial in algebra. If the importance level of Windows 95 was 10, the importance level of Windows 98 was 4, ME 6 and XP 9. Since there was nothing between '95 and '98, '98 was indeed the most important thing since '95, since 4 > 0. Now, '98 is between '95 and ME, but 6 > 4, so ME is the most important thing since '95. Lastly both '98 and ME are between '95 and XP, and 9 > 6 > 4, so XP is the most important thing since '95. Not really that hard when somebody explicates it all nice for you, is it?
  • by be-fan (61476) on Monday May 28, 2001 @01:08PM (#192986)
    (this was not intended as a troll, btw).
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Its really sad that you have to state that. On /., anything that doesn't extoll all the virtues of OSS programs and condemn MS for being capitalist pigs is taken as trolling. God forbid we should judge anything an technical merit.
  • ... my grandfather (who is 92) is worried that 10 nymphomanics are going to attack him every Sunday

    Damn, it's good to know that I'm not the only one out there worried that a angry hoard of nymphomaniacs are going to attack me..

  • Microsoft may be our best bet for interstellar travel

    Sorry, but I don't want to travel to another star if I'm just going to crash when I get there!!!

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by selectspec (74651) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:52AM (#192995)
    What you said is interesting but I strongly disagree about your analysis of Java with regards to web apps. Java GUI perhaps is clunky. However, Java rules the networking middle tier as perhaps the most scalable, well structured and speedy platform. Simple servlets (no EJB) are very fast, very easy to learn, and very powerful. All C# will bring to this equation is native interfaces to the OS platform. Java lacks this (file permissions, etc) because Java tries to be too pure in its platform independence. .NET's biggest challenge, is that vetran C++ network coders who played with MTS and COM+ had bad experiences. The shit didn't work and didn't scale. While Microsoft may get it right with .NET, that taste is lingering, and those guys have moved on to Java Servlets.
  • Commits institutional investors to purchasing the initial public offerings of almost anything capitalized by Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

    This just in [thetimes.co.uk]:

    TUESDAY MAY 29 2001

    US banks face huge claims over dot-coms

    FROM CHRIS AYRES IN NEW YORK

    WALL STREET banks are facing an avalanche of expensive litigation, with as many as 100 class-action lawsuits, demanding tens of billions of dollars in damages. The banks are being accused by investors of allegedly rigging the flotations of Internet companies during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. An investigation by The Times has found that 21 separate lawsuits have already been filed against ten different banks in Manhattan federal courts.

    The lawsuits allege that the flotations of Internet and technology companies including Marketwatch.com, MP3.com, DoubleClick and Ariba were rigged.

    Securities litigation experts in New York estimate that at least another 60 similar lawsuits are currently being prepared.
    ...

  • by Baldrson (78598) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:08AM (#192997) Homepage Journal
    Of course, did anyone expect Microsoft to just roll over?

    When the east coast establishment simultaneously:

    • In conjunction with Netscape, activates the antitrust powers of the US Government against Microsoft.
    • Agglomerates the AOL/Time-Warner/CNN/Netscape behemoth with the approval of said powers of the US Government.
    • Commits institutional investors to purchasing the initial public offerings of almost anything capitalized by Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
    I think it is safe to say that no one with big chunks of capital and/or US Government power thought Microsoft was going to "just roll over".
  • Where I work, I'm constantly trying to promote Linux in places where it would be beneficial.
    We're a relatively small company, with roughly 250 computer workstations/notebooks and about 20 servers, spread across 7 locations. Right now, everything is running Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 (except maybe 2 or 3 notebooks with Win '98).

    I seem to be the lone voice in favor of Linux, though. The rest of the system administrators and support people I work with do nothing more than poke fun at me for trying to stir up trouble with the whole Linux thing.

    Their biggest argument against Linux is that it will muddy up the environment. They're afraid of having "oddball boxes, running something completely different than the rest of the systems run". (Translation: We're too unsure of our own abilities to administer a Linux box, and don't want to be forced to learn something new.)

    Our company is surprisingly willing to let the techs make the tech decisions. Management isn't forcing us to use MS products at all. They just want to see results, and being rather computer illiterate to begin with, don't care how the results are achieved. The techs themselves are keeping Linux out of our company!
  • I don't see it working, really. If it does, that speaks really poorly of the PC support and server support folks working in the Navy.

    Here in St. Louis, I used to have friends working at the Army facility (now moved to Huntsville, AL) - and they went through a similar fight. The decree came down that the entire complex would be switched over to Windows. This was despite a whole group of people happily running their applications under Unix and X, and another dept. having great results with a Novell server.

    Well, it never quite worked out as planned. Each non-Windows dept. made a huge fuss and refused to migrate to Windows. Since all of the OS's in question were interoperable on the LAN, it wasn't really possible for one person to tell what the other person was running as their file or print server, anyway. Engineering could say "Sure, we complied with the request and now run Windows here." and could keep on serving their files from another platform, on a PC hidden in the corner with the monitor turned off.

    Granted, the average sailor who doesn't have access to install software might be forced to run 2000 - but the people maintaining the computers need to be the ones fighting this.
  • by AirLace (86148) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:46AM (#193002)
    Not surprising for something that has never moved.
  • I'm sure if they're going to loose that much money, we could start sending donations that way a la Mandrake.

    (For the sarcasm challenged, this was a pitiful attempt at humor)

  • Why is right, why the heck would you even think of such crazyness?

    * Wine runs apps 75% of the time, and thats being forgiving. What happens when someone wants to run an app with unsupported API's. Say 'Too Bad'?


    Why run WINE at all ?

    * Just because you have VMWARE doesnt mean you get to run Windows for free, you still need licences. So whats the point? And having to boot that VMware session will go over lovely with users. "You mean I have to boot 2 computers to run Excel!?!!?"

    Why run VMWare at all ?

    * CITRIX? Do you really want to enter the era of the mainframe again? Citrix has its advantages however. Being cheap is not one of those advantages.

    Kill the terminal servers for Windows - Microsoft bought them out anyway.

    * Staroffice SUCKS ARSE -- Theres no talking anyone out of that. Staroffice better than Microsoft Office? LAUGHABLE! It would be better to use a web-based office like Thinkfree.com.

    Either StarOffice, WordPerfect, Abiword, Lyx, or ApplixWord would serve as a word replacement. For spreadsheets, there are even more options. For slide presentation, even more.

    The bare fact is that all the functionality that 99.99% of all office users exists in easy to find places in linux, works more consistently, and is free.

    You need to lose your politics, and figure out what is best for the user, before you lose your job.

    It is not at all clear that you are suggesting anything more than select the software the office wants without respect to the cost, or projected future cost.

    For 100 users, Office will run you $100/user if it is OEM installed, and about $300 for upgrades 2-3 years from now. that comes out around $10000/yr for office software.

    Whereas there are plenty of offices where linux already functions as the desktop OS (like the studio that made Shrek).
  • This is a myth - that Microsoft machines require less sys admins than Linux boxen.

    First, of all, the software is designed to look and feel just like Microsoft Office. The users should require no further training than they required for MS Office (which is to say none). Secondly, ALL MS network infrastructural strategies are more difficult and require more admins than UNIX infrastructure. Let's face it - UNIX has been doing infrastructure for decades already, and Microsoft STILL is not a presence in the high end server market.

    Generally, when comparisons are done, there are 2-3 times more admins for MS boxes than for Unix boxes. Of course, the MS admins are more clueless, in general, and cheaper, so admin time may be a wash.

  • The part that pisses me off is that it only gets reported because microsoft is, in fact, making money hand over fist. And Open Source is not. Bear in mind, it's not losing money, bad ideas lose money, Open source just doesnt have the phenomenal returns that selling an OS for 500 bucks and office software for 400 bucks does. Linux IS making money, but just because people who sit on stock commitees dont get to line their pockets with our efforts, as they do with buying into M$, they would rather bash Open Source as much as they can.


    There is a key distinction to be made regarding open source software here.

    It is true that there are no phenomenal returns to be made selling free software akin to the kind of profits made by a monopoly on an increasingly essential service (I use my computer more than my telephone and television combined - that has some interesting implications.)

    However, there are certainly profits to be made by those smart enough to figure out they can use open source to the benefit of their business. Those businesses have an advantage over their inertia-bound competitors that, in the larger scheme of things, will see them succeed more often, all the marketing drivel from Redmond notwithstanding.

    As an aside, does anyone remember the Ted Rall cartoon from a few years back about "tieing" that resulted in

    "Works best with MS House!

    I really think the key event for open source success will be the release of a very low cost appliance. Consumers want convenience at a low cost; no hassles. Such an appliance can be built (Hint: It's not the Xbox.)

  • by steveha (103154) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:31PM (#193015) Homepage
    Like it or not, open source has not generally produced fundamentally new technologies at the rate Microsoft has. The one exception would lie in the Internet server market (and it is not coincidental that that is the main market where OSS is successful). We tend to spend all our time catching up in other areas.

    This is true, but you are overlooking something. The free software community has been spending its time catching up, because it has had so much catching up to do. Linus introduced his early kernels at a time when MS had spent nearly a decade on Windows, and IIRC the free BSD variants came even later than that. KDE wasn't started until 1996, when MS had already had its Windows desktop working for over a dozen years. (For some value of "working", anyway.) GNOME started even later than KDE.

    The reason free software is so strong in web serving is that the free operating systems were ready to run web servers by the time web servers were invented; free OSs didn't have to play catch-up at all in that area.

    Thanks to RMS and GNU, there was a ready-made suite of great command-line stuff, just waiting for a kernel; but the GUI desktop is another matter. KDE and GNOME both started from close to zero. They had only X11 to build upon. Remember that it took Microsoft about 7 years to get Windows into decent shape; KDE and GNOME did it in much less time. Both have added features and apps at a rapid pace; at this point you can get a newbie up and running on either environment as fast as on Windows. (That newbie has a much better chance of setting up Windows on his own than the free stuff, but setup systems are another area we are playing catchup.)

    I think the next couple of years will be very interesting. GNOME and KDE, finally at feature-parity with Windows and with the worst bugs fixed, will have a chance to grow in new directions. The GUI apps available will swell. Don't count the free stuff out of the fight just yet.

    In the near future, watch for these things to happen:

    Schools and small companies start adopting free software for their business, to save a few dollars per seat

    Large companies like Boeing start to use free software as a threat to get Microsoft to lower the per-seat fees: "We could move to Linux and GNOME; you better make us a deal or we'll do it"

    PCs start to be available with GNOME and applications pre-installed

    When you start to see Boeing setting up GNOME on 30,000 seats at a time, or when you see Gateway and Dell start offering GNOME preinstalled, you will know that the software landscape has shifted. That will be a while, but I think the day is coming.

    steveha

  • But in space, no one can hear them scream...

    hehe...

    I'm finally going to convert my standard general purpose machine (Desktop PC) to Linux or BSD...
    (From win2k)

    I'm not interested in XP.
  • It's illegal for me to sell the licence to you...

    Have you never read Microsoft's license agreement?
    -gasp-

    Besides, I still need it for some work, and will use it on my 98 Box.

    :)

    I too know what computing is about, but unfortunately that died with the Amiga.
    What computing is about is that feeling of security, and not that sinking feeling that I have had so often when I lose data on Microsoft products. I long for the days, when years ago, I had Linux on my machine...

    M.
  • Then by all means propose a new one! While Outlook's interface is pretty damn bad, it still seems to be one of the cleanest (have you ever used Novell Groupwise?). Evolution isn't even yet beta quality software, and the developers are very much open to suggestions on how to improve the user interface. Complain if you must, but complaints with suggestions on how to fix are much more helpful.
  • .NET which is untested and a big gamble to say the least.

    .Net might be a big gamble, but companies will invest the time and resources into because it's backed by a company that they can turn to if something goes wrong. Contrast this with open source alternatives, if something goes wrong with an open source product, they have no company they can call and get support or sue if it causes major damages. Sure they can look at the source and fix it, blah blah blah, that's how we might look at it, but that's not how a company exec will look at it.

    I'm willing to bet that even though it's a gamble, many companies will invest it it, just because of the backing by Microsoft. However, if it was only back by a smaller XYZ Company, most companies would not invest in it, but Microsofts prominance will ease any worries that companies might have.
  • by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Monday May 28, 2001 @12:17PM (#193023)
    Microsoft's XP line will do as well or perhaps better than they are expecting, despite what the /. community thinks. The average consumer will see, via good ole Microsoft marketing, that they will be able to use their computer more efficiently and effectively and that it will do lots of things for them if they get this new 'Windows XP' thing.

    As for monthy subscriptions, I'm guessing most won't care too much because it'll be taken directly from their credit card that they have to pay every month anyways and if it will provide them with a richer experience on their computer they will probably overlook it. I hate to say it, but if Microsoft delivers on it's promises with this new system and provides something that is significantly different than it's previous line of windows products that people will buy it and Microsoft will make more money and extend their monopoly.

    So far thay seem to have done everything right with the tight integration they are promissing which should enhance the users experience. It's too bad the Justice Department is letting this happen if they could only see how much this will help and hurt consumers at the same time, not to mention what it will do to competition.

    Yes this will help consumers in ways I've already mentioned and that Microsoft has mentioned, but it will also hurt several of them if they are denied the freedom to use what they want to, however I'm willing to bet that 80-90% of the Windows users out there don't care what they're using and will just use whatever someone puts in front of them.

    Competition of course will be hurt quite a bit, but this should not be surprising either coming from Microsoft. Microsoft plays hardball, and they have the resources to play harder than anyone.

    I'm not pro-Microsoft by any means, but I can recognize that they do have a good business and excellent marketing which has brought them to where they are today and will continue to carry them in the future. As for Linux and other open alternatives, I'm not sure. I personally use Linux as my primary operating system, but I can also see that Linux has no real business model or good marketing and unless that is changed, giants like Microsoft will trample them out of existance.

    Having a better product isn't enough.
  • > Anyone feel hopeful?

    Very nice speech (I mean it). But my answer is no.

    Microsoft have virtually completed a total monopoly in the browser market. (The last hope was that AOL would switch to Mozilla, but instead they've crawled into bed with Microsoft.) Once Exporer has the monopoly, there are literally dozens of well-documented ways for MS to leverage this into a server monopoly. If you own all the clients, it isn't too hard to make sure that any hosting company that wants to be able to use the "professional new IE features" (whatever they may be) will need to dump Linux/Apache and buy Windows/IIS. Throw in a little DMCA so that Apache can't replicate the new features.

    Yes, I am scared. How the heck do we combat this? I can't see how we can win this one. :-(
    --

  • From a legal perspective, you're exactly right. However, when you're dealing with Big Numbers (tm), then the EULA is irrelevant in the opposite direction. In other words, no matter WHAT legal protection you have, I'm going to bludgeon you, your company, and your children if your product breaks and takes our data with it!

    From that point of view, the execs have a point. It still often leads to crappy software being used because of the 'support.'

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:52AM (#193028) Journal
    I have a client that was just bought out by a company making business based on what a bunch of clueless execs decide in a little office, somewhere far away. I look at this situation, and understand perfectly well why MS is going to continue to steamroller over everyone they can. Here are some policies.

    1) Thou shalt use no free software, because it's unsupported and will therefore break.
    Now their main app is serving data up through samba, but because Mother Corp. says so, they're going to have to find something else. The stupid part is, they're outsourcing support anyways, and the company (mine) doing support _will_ support samba! There's just no vendor to blame when it breaks.
    2) Thou shalt use (backup product A), despite the fact that (backup product B) is better, cheaper, has been successfully implemented across the company for several years, and is the only supported software for their large tape library.

    With decisions like this, it's no wonder that companies (i.e. MS but not exclusively them) can get away with increasing their market share with a crappy product over and over again.

    Here's an idea: Let the techs make the tech decisions for tech reasons, then watch bad companies rot and productivity increase immensely!

  • The open source community has not yet found a way to accumulate, focus and exploit comparable resources. Perhaps it never will, because the community seems to have a gut fear of concentrated resources.

    Many of these groups may also simply not play nice with each other. Many were formed when one product's developers got into an argument over something that caused them to fork. then we have the various licenses that these are released under. Getting the GPL, BSD, LGPL and others to come together would be next to impossible. No one would want to look like the loser.

  • by 13013dobbs (113910) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:53AM (#193031) Homepage
    I wonder if MS' continued growth is due to their being able to have a unified front against other companies? MS acts as one while Linux has numerous groups all with the same core beliefs (basicly) but, with their own idea of how things should be done. When MS puts out a piece of software, there is only one version at a time. Often in the Linux world you will have a free* version, a open* version, a gnu* version, etc... MS is once again able to use its unified front against these other (and often times better) products to give the impression that it's product is more popular and thus (in their eyes) better.
  • by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:01AM (#193032)
    Did anyone really expect Microsoft to start slowing down? They're the biggest and most profitable software company out there. The quality of what they sell is really irrelevant from a business standpoint. What matters is that they know how to sell it, keep selling it, and make large quantities of money from selling it. They do that well. Very well.

    How many people here DIDN'T know that Microsoft was going strong?

    Honestly, I don't think this article was posted to inform us of anything, or to be interesting. I think the sole reason that this was posted was to see the flames fly at Microsoft. If that's the case, you really need to grow up.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • You are right, but for the wrong reasons.

    > Like it or not, open source has not generally
    > produced fundamentally new technologies at the
    > rate Microsoft has.

    Microsoft does not create new technologies. They bundle and homogenize existing technologies, making them cheaper and easier to install and use.

    > Microsoft has had a component based desktop for
    > years, and we are just now starting to get
    > workable ones.

    Once again, X and Unix had it first. But it was so expensive and difficult to get X/Unix programmers once a project was released, that Motif (or other existing component models) did not get widely used because it was expensive and complex. They were available before VB, by the way.

    > (QT Designer, Kylix)

    These GUI builders have just built on products like Xdesigner -- which was started in 1982...before VB existed.

    > ...groupware...

    Sorry, Novell and IBM had groupware products out before MS knew what network cards were.

    Sorry about the historical corrections, but people constantly assume that MS has beaten everyone by having "newer" or "innovative" technologies, when the truth is Microsoft has stomped the hell out of the competition by homogenizing and bundling, and in some cases, breaking the competitors' product.

    As far as I know, the basic design and capability of every Microsoft feature/product was created elsewhere...Microsoft just made it cheaper and easier to use.

    Why buy a $20,000 Unix desktop, $50,000 worth of software when you can call Compaq or Dell and get a phat Win2K box for $2K, with at least some of what you mentioned.

    For things like GUI building, you can get VC++ pro for under a grand, while Xdesigner is (probably still) several thousand dollars, at least.

    Let's face it, Linux is beating on MS as far as servers...apache and Linux are free, Win2K and IIS are pricey.

    The people operating servers are usually at least somewhat smart. It's a struggle to set up either MS or Linux to work right. So why not use the free version?

    The destop is another story. "The Masses" have already struggled and bluescreened their way to a home PC they can use. Now they are being asked to learn Linux in order to save $75? That's a much tougher road to travel, perhaps impossible.

    The gist of what you say is correct, in that Microsoft is where they are today not due to anything particularly earth shaking on their part, but because the competition was inept.

    Nearly everyone outside of MS was used to selling extremely high cost/high markup products to the high tech .gov -- why should they even look at the home / business PC market? They let MS take it, assuming it would take twenty years for MS to enter the pro computing environment...by which time they would have retired anyway.

    It's all about a "revolution from below" -- Microsoft is doing it to high end computing, and open source is trying to do it to Microsoft.

    ---
    S.D.


    Treatment, not tyranny. End the drug war and free our American POWs.
  • The problem with your argument is that Communism never made anybody rich. The forces that caused the collapse of the USSR were economic more than political; they were just bankrupted by their "business model" of oppressive centralized control. People seem to have much more patience with repression than with starvation, and I'm not seeing too many economic problems over at MS.

    I think that's partially right: the problem with communism was more that it didn't make the right people rich. By allowing only politicians to get rich (i.e. have the perks of society,) you disenfranchise many of your most talented citizens. Microsoft has always been a very talent-based organization, and this has allowed them to prosper (they hired smart geeks when geeks were very unfashionable, and really believed in talent over schooling/family, etc.) Organizations seem to die rapidly when people

    • see that the organization's goals and their's are not aligned
    • when they have a choice of going elsewhere.
    As long as Microsoft continues to shower riches on the employees that do well, I don't think they'll have a problem.

    MS will probably collapse in time, as do most huge organizations, but it probably won't be because they're evil. It will probably be more like a shift in the economic climate, such as the one that did in the great rail companies.

    I think two other scenarios are more likely:

    Bill Gates leaves. The power vacuum is filled by politicians and sycophants. Employees see that talent and hard work are less important than politics.

    Microsoft uses lawsuits and the courts to such an extent that employees feel their technical work is less important than the business/legal side.

    Both these situations might cause the firm to collapse, and if it does, the collapse might to surprisingly rapid.

  • "Chairman William H. Gates III says [Windows XP] is Microsoft's most important product since Windows 95."
    Yeah, and he said the same thing about Windows ME and Windows 98. If Windows ME or 98 was the most important thing since Windows 95, then shouldn't Windows XP be the most important thing since Windows ME? Whats going on with Billy boy? My guess is that he is no longer alive, and in fact, all public relations with Bill Gates actually takes place with a chat bot written in Visual Basic Script written by some college intern. I heard rumors about a Project 2501 at Microsoft.
  • Agree. Windows 2000 makes unix look like child play. Once you can script the OS (vbs) you can automate anything in the console of GUI - it is very powerful if you know how to use.

    You also just pointed out Win2K's greatest weakness as well. The problem with you being able to script the OS is so can anyone else simply by embeding a VB Macro Virus into an email or a Word document. I point to the Melissa and "I Love You" VB Macro Virus's which were nearly unstoppable last year, as examples of what is to come. I do not consider the ability to "Script the OS" to be an advantage, I consider it an extreme and uneccessary security risk.


    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • Does linux's bash scripts, frex, are an extreme and unneccessary security risk?

    The answer is no, bash scripts are not a security risk. It is all about security model, the Unix security model does not lend itself to this type of exploit, while the non existant security model of Win95/98/ME and the barely exceptable security model of WinNT/2K does lend itself to this type of problem.

    I do agree the problem is with users, they should not be opening attachments from unknown sources, but the fact of the matter is, they do and Microsoft should know this and take steps to prevent these scripts from doing stupid things.

    You may have noticed that VIM exploit you pointed to only runs code at the users security level, not as root. You should also note, there is a fix for it. While with Windows, this has been a well known problem for a couple of years now, MS has even tried to fix it a couple of times, but still, up until even a couple of weeks ago, I am still recieving VB virus's in my email.

    In my opinion there are three reasons why virus's are a bigger problem in Windows then any other platform.

    1. More Windows boxes then any other.

    2. Windows virus's are easier to write.

    3. All the programers who could write Linux virus's are too busy writing Windows virus's


    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • by NumberSyx (130129) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:55AM (#193049) Journal

    Ever hear of someone choosing to switch to windows ?

    I did once for a couple of weeks. I got tired of having to fight with Linux to do the simplest things and I wanted USB, DvD and all sorts of things I thought Linux couldn't deliver. I had forgotten why I switched to Linux in the first place. I am not going to go into detail about how horrible Windows was (anyone who says its easy to install Windows, has never done it), but I can tell you I am back to Linux, I have USB, DvD and all that other stuff, I have vowed never to return to Windows.


    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • For 100 users, Office will run you $100/user if it is OEM installed, and about $300 for upgrades 2-3 years from now. that comes out around $10000/yr for office software.

    For 100 simultaneous users, all of whom have no clue how to use the software, you figure you need about 5 trained sysadmins. Let's say you only run the lab 5 days a week for 10 hours, and pay your sysadmins $10/hour. In three years: 5*5*52*3*10*10=$390,000. Lets say using Windows software saves you only one of those sysadmins. 1*5*52*3*10*10=$78,000. I think we have a winner.

  • by big.ears (136789) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:45AM (#193061) Homepage
    Microsoft's biggest competitor isn't Linux, Mac, OS/2, Sun, Oracle, Beos, etc.--its themselves, because they have to give people a reason to buy new versions of their old products. They do this in several different ways--one is by adding features (e.g., they added Explorer to their OS, and XP has built-in .zip and mp3/wma support. These additions weren't necessarily motivated by the need to kill off netscape/winzip/winamp,--they were motivated by the need to get users to upgrade.) Another way is to make their older products subtly incompatible with their newer products (Like all the different versions of Word that didn't work well with eachother, or the criminal differences between Word format and their Works format. For a long time, it was impossible to read one with the other. A third way is to make it difficult, impossible, or illegal to move old software to a new computer.

    Their .net strategy is a way to avoid all these games. Instead of having to produce a better word processor to convince people to upgrade from Office 97, they develop a steady revenue stream by offering their product as a service, and charging monthly. Its brilliant, and they probably have the power to do it. Fortunately, as long as their are free alternatives out there (mozilla, abiword, openoffice, etc.), they will not be able to capitalize entirely on their position, EVEN IF THOSE ALTERNATIVES ARE NOT USED BY THE MAJORITY OF COMPUTER USERS. AOL funds Netscape development but uses Explorer because right now, Explorer is a little better, and if they don't have an "Ace in the hole", Microsoft will no longer need to give away Explorer. Microsoft's strategy can be successful at quashing competing companies, but the open source alternatives don't play by the same business rules, and are thus very important for keeping Microsoft in check.

  • by KingBozo (137671) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:14AM (#193063)
    The problem is I can say good things about linux and don't have to back them up, or I can say bad things about MS and not have to back them up.

    What does that have to say about the Slashdot crowd.

    Not anonymized for your flame throwing skills.
  • by YKnot (181580) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:38AM (#193090)

    It's just one more lesson from history where being open is better than being closed.

    Better for whom? We're not buying our PCs from IBM, are we? There may not be as many Macs as there are PCs, but Apple sold (almost) every single one of them. The lesson is not to be open but to know your business. When that business requires openness, be open. When it requires secrecy, choose carefully who gets to take a look. Microsoft is keeping that balance. Others aren't because they thought code first, business later.

  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:31AM (#193106) Homepage
    Can even AOLTimeWarner, Sony, Sun, Oracle, and IBM combined beat them?

    This was always at the crux of the trial I thought - MS could always point to their 'competitors', but if AOLTW, Sony, Sun, Oracle and IBM "got together" to develop an 'anti-MS' strategy (pricing/marketing/etc) wouldn't that be pointed at as a giant conspiracy or collusion? It would probably be MORE illegal than MS' monopoly abuse, if that's possible. Not that it would be WRONG necessarily, but I'd guess illegal nonetheless.
  • The business press (local, national and international) has traditionally been very nice to companies that are currently on top, but the kind of 100% criticism-free reporting [qwest.net] that Microsoft gets is just astounding.

    No business reporter ever got fired for kissing Microsoft's butt, I guess. This article [brillscontent.com] from Brill's Content describes what happens to reporters who don't toe the M$ line.

  • by iomud (241310) on Monday May 28, 2001 @08:53AM (#193134) Homepage Journal
    If everything works as planned, Microsoft's software could be at nearly every point a consumer or corporation touches the Web. Since the Internet is now the backbone of most computing, that puts Microsoft at the center of all things digital.

    Does anyone else find that deeply disturbing? I certainly do.

  • Look, M$ produces suck-ass products and we all know it. But they figured out how to market hard and own the markets they choose. However, the Business Week article - besides being an overt blow-job for M$ advertising dollars - is almost science-fiction in its analysis.

    M$ will continue to make lots of money, no doubt. But there are a few issues that need to be understood:

    • M$ will NEVER make significant money from Internet-based subscription services. People don't like to pay for stuff they think they can get for free off the Web. Lots of companies have tried this route and failed - and M$ doesn't seem to have more clues about the Internet-as-a-business-model than anyone else.
    • M$ will NEVER make any serious inroads into the big corporate datacenters - contrary to what their PR and the press will tell you. I work in Big Corporate Land and can tell you that any M$ technology that's snuck onto the raised floor is going buh-bye in favour of Unix.
    • .Net is a junky vision and is just a rehash of ActiveX, DNA, and whatever other names they've used in the past. It's more marketing concept than it is a set of solutions. The folks who adopt .Net in any meaningful way are the same folks who develop with ActiveX, OLE, MTS, etc. today. I don't see any new markets opening up with .Net
    • Finally, M$ on everything we touch? Don't make me laugh! They have screwed up more often than they haven't - settop box software, PDAs, phones. Need I go on?

    In the end, M$ makes loadsadough and will continue to do so. But they're not poised to dominate the world, me buckos. They're big, they're bloated, and not every pie in which they currently have a finger will taste very good to consumers. 'nuff said.

  • by ryants (310088) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:17AM (#193176)
    There would be no need to improve it at the current rate because you're not racing anyone

    We aren't racing anyone except ourselves right now, as it is, anyways.

    GNOME and KDE race against each other, but neither really pays attention to what comes out of Redmond... nor should they.

    If MS vanished, this race would continue, and we'd all continue to benefit from the meme battle.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by ryants (310088) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:11AM (#193177)
    Mandrake is asking resorting to donations

    *sigh*

    It was the users who asked Mandrake to set up the donation system; it was not Mandrake's idea.

    Sheesh. How many times must this be repeated before it sinks in?

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by ryants (310088) on Monday May 28, 2001 @10:04AM (#193178)
    but the growth of the PC has been in direct relationship with the growth of Windows, and related M$ products

    I think you have that backwards.

    MS grew because the PC grew, not vice versa.

    The so-called IBM PC is as prevelant as it is because of the reverse engineering of the original BIOSes and the relative openness of the PC versus the Mac (for example). Anybody could build a PC, but nobody except Apple could build a Mac.

    It's just one more lesson from history where being open is better than being closed.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:28AM (#193187)
    Microsoft has indicated that it is intent on continued growth of 20% a year.

    Has anyone calculated just how many years it will be before Microsoft corporate strategy requires that they own everything? :-).

    If calculated literally, not very long. My calculus 101 professor once worked through a similar example: if the current human population growth of 3% per year continues unchecked, ignoring relativistic factors, how long will it be until the expanding sphere of human bodies reaches the speed of light?

    IIRC, the time was surprisingly short (on the order of a few hundred thousand years or something).

    The Microsoft example would probably take only a few decades.

  • by s20451 (410424) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:13AM (#193190) Journal

    Microsoft will eventually fall victim to the same forces that destroyed the Soviet Union as well as the old-world monarchies in Europe.

    The problem with your argument is that Communism never made anybody rich. The forces that caused the collapse of the USSR were economic more than political; they were just bankrupted by their "business model" of oppressive centralized control. People seem to have much more patience with repression than with starvation, and I'm not seeing too many economic problems over at MS.

    MS will probably collapse in time, as do most huge organizations, but it probably won't be because they're evil. It will probably be more like a shift in the economic climate, such as the one that did in the great rail companies.

  • by DarkWinter (445854) on Monday May 28, 2001 @09:21AM (#193206) Homepage
    Microsoft is a business, and never was a truer word spoken.

    And not only are they a near monopoly, but they have become one as a result of the buying patterns of the masses, and the fact that most competitive products were indeed quite poor during the early stages of Windows (as far as ease of use)

    I'm sure it's been said before, but the growth of the PC has been in direct relationship with the growth of Windows, and related M$ products. It made the PC accessable, and as a result the PC became more available. The growth of M$ has been the growth of the PC

    We all know it's not a better product, but it's growth and that of the PC are so interwoven that it will take time to seperate them. Or money. Lots of money. And no single company can raise the capitol to dethrone the king, so we're back to the first choice, time.

    To defeat (or effectively compete) with M$, will take a business plan based on slow, steady business growth, focussing on strengths over M$'s weaknesses. The sudden growth of the Linux dist markets got them a little too eager, and they over-reached.

    A new plan is needed, and sadly, one of these dists needs to be run like a ruthless company, something we nerds don't take well too. Either that or we have to settle for a smaller piece of the market.

    Any how, I live for the day I can shout, "The king is dead, long live the king!"

  • I think I'm a fairly standard, run-of-the-mill computer nerd, pro ope-source blah blah woof woof. But be that as it may, I have never seriously used Linux. I have used Windows 95 and Windows 2000 on my home systems, but I have never installed and kept a Linux distro. Why?

    Well, I wanted to, because I wanted to support an operating system that I believe deserves to be supported. I also didn't want to support Microsoft, even if it was only an implied support by using their product, since heaven forbid I pay for anything made by them. However, each time I investigated options that would give me the same sort of applications etc in Linux that I use in Windows, I came up a little short. It wasn't that there were no applications out there; it was that these applications weren't of the same standard as Microsoft ones. No, I am not trying to troll. I am no fan of Microsoft, believe me.

    I am not saying that the applications I tried were less stable than the M$ equivalents. But basically, because I am a writer, I need three things: a good word processor that won't die, a good browser, and a good music program. Okay, when I'm screwing around with other stuff then I want some more, but that's what I basically require of my system. Linux gave me a system that was friendly enough, and the music program was...oki. But there are no word processors out there that can compete with Microsoft Word. Sure, Word has crashed on me a couple of times. Yes, I've even lost a couple of pages of novel a few times. But StarOffice et al do not have the same feature set that Word has, and the features they do have are not packaged as neatly. I might have been tempted to use StarOffice for word processing if only it could use a blue background and white text, because I really like the way that it combines everything into one package, whereas M$ Office is a whole bunch of separate applications.

    But the simple fact of the matter is that, when it comes to an operating system that is very stable and a word processor that is very functional and wonderful to use, Microsoft is sadly still on top with Windows and Word 2000. Word XP is even better, despite the fact that the interface looks like a webpage. For anything else...I would have to go third party, and could probably find something equally good in Linux. But the problem is that, especially for luzers, the things I have mentioned here are the things that are used the most. So until some really neet applications are released that can threaten the Office suite, Microsoft will always be either a manopoly or a huge market leader.

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