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Is Microsoft Silent Before a Deadly Storm? 492

M$FTjack writes "Discussions about Microsoft are all over the place, esp. with its recent delays to Vista. Some consider Microsoft to be doomed, while others say Microsoft is silent before a deadly storm. According to the article on CoolTechZone, the author believes that Microsoft will unleash an abundance of next-generation applications that will take everyone by surprise. From the article: 'So why am I citing all these examples? Simply because I think Microsoft is itself poised for a big leap. Despite all the rumors about Google and how it will topple Microsoft, I don't see that happening in the near future ... people (and I don't mean technology enthusiasts) will continue to purchase Microsoft products simply because of the sheer familiarity and comfort levels (BSoD et al) that they have with Microsoft software.'"
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Is Microsoft Silent Before a Deadly Storm?

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  • the author believes that Microsoft will unleash an abundance of next-generation applications that will take everyone by surprise.

    No - thats the way Apple works (taking people by surprise with cool new stuff)

    Microsoft announces products years in advance in an attempt to stop people buying the competitors products. When MS's software finally arrives, it tends to be..... dissapointing.

    people (and I don't mean technology enthusiasts) will continue to purchase Microsoft products simply because of the sheer familiarity and comfort levels (BSoD et al) that they have with Microsoft software.'

    No, this should read:

    people (and I don't mean technology enthusiasts) will continue to purchase Microsoft products simply because of vendor lock in - they will continue to need to run specialised applications that only exist on the windows platform.

    Quotes from the article:
    Let's start with Vista. Fine, so it got delayed by a few months.
    Gosh, that's the worst mispelling of six years I've ever seen!
    Microsoft Office 2007. I don't know the last time I felt so good about a piece of software. It's just superb. While it doesn't have too many earth shattering features,
    Thats just the problem - no new features compelling people to upgrade from office 2000 (or 97 for that matter)
    Windows Live. The world is going ga-ga over Google Earth but it can never match the clarity that Microsoft's has.
    The only feature on Live Local I like is the birds eye view - and it doesn't work where I live! (large US cities only). A pity - as virtual earth problaby has better data then google earth, its just that google earth presents it nicer!
    Microsoft is working overtime to get its search right. Its indexed search feature in Vista negates the need to install Google Desktop.
    Riiiight...just like IE7 will mean no need to install firefox!

    Analysis like this presents Google as the only competitor to MS - but the fact is their market is being chipped away from all sides, by a multitude of competitors.
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:00PM (#15149878)
    Besides Interface and Technical Stuff I really don't see the advantage of Windows Vista. Unlike the move from windows 3.1 to 95 when there was the issue of better Internet Connectivity, which everyone wanted, and "Real" Multitasking. The move from 95,98,Me,2000,XP to Vista will not have much of a difference. Sure in the long run they will be better off because of security patches and supported software for the newer version. But if they are happy with what they have now there isn't anything I can see that they really want or need in Longhorn that they don't have now. There is no big push to technologies like the Internet. It is just an improved same old same old. The reason for the Huge Migration from 3.1 to 95 was the promise of better Networking support making it easier to connect to ISP (For anyone who used winsock would realize), and "real" multitasking which allowed people to run long tasks in the background while doing something else.
    But what is in Vista, Better Graphics, Some slight speed improvement on already fast computers, some things a little easier to use, better security for a little while. I rate all of them with a big "Meh" in my book and it will make it hard to convince people they they need to upgrade soon.
  • No, that's not it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ryan Amos (16972) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:06PM (#15149958)
    Microsoft's big market is the corporate desktop market. Corporate users don't like surprises. They like it when you announce software a year in advance and give them specs well ahead of time.

    MS also knows that most of their big corporate users probably won't be migrating to Vista for at least 2 years. It's expensive and it takes years to get a budget like that pushed through the beancounters of a big company.

    This is a good opportunity for Apple to gain some marketshare on the home user side of things. Most of us shrug off Boot Camp as "Yeah, dual boot, I was doing that with LiLo in 1995" but for the non-techie users, Boot Camp is *HUGE*.

    It means they are no longer tethered to Windows. They will buy a Mac expecting to use Windows 90% of the time, but they will start using Mac OS more and more and come to like it. Once Apple introduces in-house virtualization, they will realize they really don't need to boot to Windows at all.

    Once this starts to happen, the big achilles heel for Apple (which is largely a myth anyway) -- software support -- starts to go away. No, Apple's not going to have 95% market share overnight (the corporate side is a lot slower to move and there really is no replacement for the Outlook/Exchange combo on the mac side yet,) but I don't see 25-30% as an unreasonable number. People are *looking* for an alternative to Windows, and Apple is in the right place at the right time.
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:22PM (#15150128)
    Office 2007 is absolultely killer software. It is really the first time since Office 95, where it is a must-upgrade.

    Must-upgrade the computer, RAM, monitor, video card.

    I really would like to know what are the killer features that are so irresistible to you and the article writer. There really isn't much you can't do, in terms of least effort to get words on paper and make it look presentable, that you you couldn't do with Winword 2, or WordPerfect 6, 10 or so years ago. If a feature is important, you learn where it is and/or create a shortcut for it. (I was doing that in WordStar almost 20 years ago.) I know one answer will be "collaborative tools". I've yet to meet anyone who uses these in real life. It requires a unifirm level of competence in a whole group, and you just don't get that. Usually it will be the boss who just sends back files via fax with remarks scribbled on them. But most users are still pushing out one or two page memos, same as their great-grandparents did on Underwood typewriters over a century ago.

  • by Ucklak (755284) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:27PM (#15150176)
    Cancelled my subscription last year because of it.
    Last good piece of software was MapPoint2004. Now Google Earth does what I need from it.

    Total raping of customers is what they're doing with this crappy Software Assurance.
  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:30PM (#15150213)
    MS doesn't work that way. Never has and as long as it's run by the current guys, it never will. You've got nothing but braggadocios at the top, laced with (as Susan Ivanova said) testesterone poisoning. These are not people who have ever understood subtlity and have taken every chance they can to tell everyone else how great their next product is. If they're silent, it's because they've got diddly. Even with their "secret" projects they start blabbing early.
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:32PM (#15150235)
    "Riiiight...just like IE7 will mean no need to install firefox!"

    No, just the way IE4 meant you don't need to install Netscape4 (we all know what happened with Netscape after that).

    Also IE7 *will* be a reason for a lot of business organisation that went to firefox to "relax" and go back to IE, because of the new limited rights mode that blocks exploits from happening even after vulnerabilities are discovered.

    Also Firefox' team doesn't seem to get it that memory footprint and CPU use matters. I'm growing increasingly frustrated with those issues not addressed (I'm a regular Firefox user, IE6 sits idle doing nothing but testing my sites for IE6 compatibility), and I might move to Opera 9 when it's out.
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:34PM (#15150249) Homepage Journal
    Another irrelevant case. You're comparing apples to oranges.

    No kidding I'm comparing apples to oranges, which would be the case for any comparison of this sort. The pertinent point is that they were large, money rich companies that seemed to be in the seat of power, and now they're either gone, or severely crippled. Pointing out that Microsoft makes lots of profit today doesn't prove much -- they have lots of revenue, but they have enormous expenses as well, not to mention that they're seeing increasing pressure on the revenue side.

    It's biggest competitor is Apple.

    It's irrelevant who the biggest competitor is. Microsoft has a million little competitors all taking a bite out of it, and it's at the most tenuous position that they've been in for decades. Not to mention that Microsoft's real biggest competitor is itself, with many users (and corporations) feeling absolutely no pressing need to give more money to Microsoft. Microsoft has had to fall to withdrawing support to force upgrades, which leads to resentment and the opening of opportunities for competitors.
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:45PM (#15150359) Homepage Journal
    Just because you (and others) may not like MS does not mean they dont have tons of ingenious/creative people working for them.

    You do realize, don't you, that it's possible for someone to like Microsoft, or to be neutral about them, and still to predict that they have tough times ahead? Building a caricature of everyone disagreeing being a pro-Linux anti-MS nut is both incorrect and offensive. I'm a Microsoft Empower member, my business does consulting largely for Microsoft SQL Server, and I continue to pursue Microsoft certifications, yet there isn't a chance in hell that I'd hold Microsoft stock right now, nor would I recommend that someone accept an employment agreement that relies upon options as the primary draw. Demand cold hard cash or look for work with a competitor.
  • by Haeleth (414428) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#15150389) Journal
    What does it give me that Office 2003 doesn't?

    An interface that doesn't suck so badly? Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't look at the menus in Office 2003 and despair? I can't imagine how the average computer user copes; presumably they learn, very laboriously, where in the maze of submenus and dialogs they can find the five features they need most often, and then pray they'll never need to do anything different in future.

    I've watched intelligent, computer-literate people struggle with Word 2003, and it's not pretty. Even basic actions like getting the spellchecker to use the right language cause massive headaches for people who haven't sat down and literally memorised the menu system. (Sure, it's obvious once you know where to look, but it's nothing like intuitive.)

    By all accounts, the new interface will mean things end up in much more logical places, and can be found with far fewer clicks. If it lives up to the hype, it will actually make Word (and all the other word processors, once they clone the new interface) a much pleasanter tool to use.
  • by mliu (85608) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:11PM (#15150621) Homepage
    Microsoft is working overtime to get its search right. Its indexed search feature in Vista negates the need to install Google Desktop.

    Riiiight...just like IE7 will mean no need to install firefox!

    Maybe not for enthusiasts or techies, but for the average computer user, IE7 exactly means no need to install firefox.

    It takes a big improvement to make it worth someone's time to switch to a new piece of software and learn how to use it. By cutting into the difference in quality, it's simply not worth the average user's time to investigate alternative browsers. Heck, look at the present situation, where IE6 pretty much completely sucks, and still most people won't switch. Now imagine if IE7 copies all the good features from Firefox.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin&amiran,us> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:15PM (#15150676) Homepage Journal
    Woah there, cowboy,

    You got it right. While most people at this site are Linux fanboy's and despise anything and everything that Microsoft ever does, they continually miss the point:
    Lots of Linux fanbois. And yes, predicting the end of Microsoft is retarded.
    Microsoft is the biggest and most successful software production house in the history of the world.
    Depends on how you define biggest and most successful. Biggest, in terms of market cap? Most successful, in terms of profit? Then yes, Microsoft sometimes holds this honor (and sometimes IBM holds it).

    Biggest, in terms of large base of code? Successful, in terms of lines of code to bug ratio? Or even Biggest, in terms of level of investment?

    Than no, NASA is way ahead. Especially in the errors to lines of code written ratio.

    Microsoft is a huge company. Microsoft has been tremendously successful at selling their products. Microsoft is in no danger of extinction. But that does not automatically qualify them as the "bestest" software house.
    The open source community projects envy through hate.
    Maybe. I've seen a lot of open source projects which are NOT fueled through hate. Determining motivation, however, is left as an exercise to the reader.
    The brightest minds in the world work for Microsoft.
    Bullshit. Microsoft software works for a lot of people. Generally, however, there is nothing terribly innovative coming from MSFT. Even the much vaunted MS research labs have NOTHING on IBM's labs, or SUN, or Intel. MSFT's science is nothing special; you want to find smart people? Go to NASA, or IBM's 60 year research institutions. MSFT's developments pale in comparison.

    Not to mention that the MSFT pay scale is not terribly impressive anymore. Bright minds are generally attracted to big pay checks, and MSFT's minimal raise+overvalued stock option compensation scheme hasn't worked well for years (flat stock price).

    Microsoft produces a lot of software. Very little of it blows away the competition on a technical level.

    They produce software 24 hours a day, everyday, of every year. I don't understand why people don't get it. Microsoft's software runs the world because they are the best at what they do.
    Microsoft's development practices have been disasterous lately. Poor security, total inability to keep to deadlines, yearly development reorganizations. Mini-msft isn't the only MSFT employee out there disappointed with whats going on in the company. Change is needed, and not yet-another-project-restructuring where the top managers move from project to project.

    Or did you think they planned the last minute rewrite of significant portions of Vista?
    I mean this "best" in every sense of the word, from technical innovation to business partnerships. If you're too blind to see it, you're in denial.

    I vehementally disagree with your opinion that MSFT is the "best" in terms of business partnerships. I can't think of any company off the top of my head that enjoyed working with MSFT, but I can think of several "partners" that MSFT hurt, badly, including IBM, Novell, Stacker, Caldera, and Adobe. I'm sure there are many, many more.

    Dealing with MSFT is like dealing with Walmart. You have the opportunity to make a lot of money, but you have to remain ready for a knife in the back.

    I suggest looking up the term, "Embrace and Extend". I also humbly suggest that MSFT join the ECMA standards body currently evaluating OpenDocument for the sole purpose of derailing its approval.
  • Microsoft by default (Score:3, Interesting)

    by saddino (183491) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:38PM (#15150905)
    Despite all the rumors about Google and how it will topple Microsoft, I don't see that happening in the near future ... people (and I don't mean technology enthusiasts) will continue to purchase Microsoft products simply because of the sheer familiarity and comfort levels (BSoD et al) that they have with Microsoft software.'

    No, people (and I don't mean technology enthusiasts) will continue to purchase Microsoft products simply because it's Microsoft products that come in the bundle that's included with their PC. Doesn't matter whether it's an in-store purchase, or a checkbox they clicked on the web, 99% of the time, the decision is: do I order a PC with Windows and Office, or just Windows?
  • by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:01PM (#15151146) Homepage
    The thing is that they are going to start to go downhill if they don't really start shifting their butt soon.

    Just because they are huge now, where are they going to be in 5 years? Where's the innovation in Office that's going to keep it from getting its marketshare chipped away by Where's the innovation in Windows that's going to stop Linux or Mac doing likewise? What are Microsoft doing to address the fact that the browser is becoming the new API, not Windows. Or that IE7 still isn't as good as Firefox.

    Their demise isn't going to happen overnight, but if they don't embrace where the future money is (web apps), they are going to lose everything.

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