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Is Microsoft Silent Before a Deadly Storm? 492

Posted by Zonk
from the big-companies-jump-far dept.
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 local.live.com 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 alexhs (877055) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:59AM (#15149867) Homepage Journal
      > 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!


      It's not a mispelling, it's a twist. Vista only got delayed by a few months. Longhorn on the other hand... :)
      • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[NO@SPAM]gmail.com> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:28PM (#15150185)
        >> 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!

        >It's not a mispelling, it's a twist. Vista only got delayed by a few months. Longhorn on the other hand... :)

        It's not mispelling, it's "misspelling"

        Back on topic, I have been amazed at big a deal everyone is making about the Vista delays. How often are software projects late? Um, always?
        Indeed, system vendors will be irate, but the idea of Microsoft being "doomed" as the Slashdot article states is patently absurd. Microsoft is such a massive empire; their fall would take decades and a long and consistant string of terrible screw-ups. A few products being late, even years late, might scratch their bottom-line, but it will hardly lead to their demise.
        • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:30PM (#15150212) Journal
          I have been amazed at big a deal everyone is making about the Vista delays. How often are software projects late?

          It's a matter of scale, really. Longhorn is the biggest failed project in software development history, at least in the private sector. The previous record holder would be IBM Office Vision.

          -jcr
        • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:24PM (#15151325)
          How often are software projects late? Um, always?

          Only when they are managed by incompetents, the kind of losers who think that working longer hours is something other than a euphemism for low productivity.

          No software project I have managed has been late by more than 10% of the total schedule. It just isn't that hard to deliver quality software, on time, every time. I've done it with research-oriented projects, whole applications, and feature upgrades, in Java and C++, working alone and managing largish (~10 developer) teams. I have been involved in very late, very large projects that I accurately predicted would be very late using basic quantitative estimation practices. Large projects are even easier to estimate than small projects because they average over so much diversity. Any two large projects are more similar than any two small projects.

          There are two major factors that cause software projects to be late: technological optimism on the part of developers, and faith-based management and estimation practices. I hardly need to write about technological optimism here--we've all at one time or another gotten so enamoured of a new technology that we thought it would solve all our problems in half the time and not contain any gotchas.

          Faith-based management practices are based on what people want to be true rather than what is true. They are the epistemology of a bible-believing Christian applied to logistics. We've all seen managers who want badly to believe that the schedule will be met, and so they lie to themselves and everyone one around them, and punish anyone who disagrees with their faith.

          Quantitative estimation and management practices are not hard to learn or apply, but they continually come up with the "wrong" answers--ones that the bible-believers don't want to hear. When this happens the bible-believers characteristically make exceptionalist claims: "This is the chosen project! It is not not like all those other projects you based your estimates on! This project is special! It is outside the laws of time, space and logistics!"

          Needless to say, like all bible-believers, they are impervious to facts, and so their projects crash merrily through deadline after deadline without any response except ill-conceived attempts to force their minnions and themselves to work ever-longer hours.

          The solution to all of this is the Law of Common Humanity: We are just like Them. If industry data from the past century across a dozen different fields shows that working more than 35 or 40 hours a week results in significantly lower productivity, then that is probably true of us as well. If the quantitative estimation practices described in Rapid Development gave reasonable values for others, they probably will for us. If the causes of failure identified in Stephen Flowers excellent book Software Failure: Management Failure caused other projects to fail, they will probably cause ours to fail if we let them.

          It is clear that Microsoft has never learned this lesson. They have been famous for late projects since Word1.0 two decades ago, and yet like bible-believers everywhere, they keep to the faith of their forefathers despite the wreckage it produces. On this basis, the odds of Microsoft being poised to unleash a river of innovation is simply not plausible.
    • No - thats the way Apple works (taking people by surprise with cool new stuff)

      What if MS is actually learning something from Apple's success and trying that strategy out?

      • by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:14PM (#15150056)
        "What if MS is actually learning something from Apple's success and trying that strategy out?"

        That probably wouldn't work because of their sales strategy. They sell companies expensive 3-year subscriptions with the promise that they'll get Microsoft's latest and greatest when it's ready; to make the sale, naturally, they have to hype the products in the pipeline.

        If I recall correctly, Vista/Longhorn was supposed to be out in 2004, 3 years after XP. Some corporations paid a lot of money for a lot of nothing in 2001 and the following years, based on empty promises and grossly miscalculated shipping dates.
      • 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:05PM (#15149945)
      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.

      Indeed. To quote computerworld from 1995:

      Last month, the U.S. District Court jurist in Washington suggested barring Microsoft from making vaporware announcements because doing so can allegedly freeze the market and discourage buyers from purchasing competing products.

      This has always and continues to be their strategy. As far as I can tell, this time their entire marketing plan is

      "Don't buy a Mac or install Ubuntu or else you might miss out on Vista's similar UI candy".

    • Gosh, that's the worst mispelling of six years I've ever seen!

      AFAIK, Vista wasn't delayed six years. That seem to rather match the time it has been in development.

      But yes, it was likely delayed more than a "few months" at least due to them deciding to throw out the XP kernel and base it on Server 2003's instead.
      • by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:13PM (#15150039) Homepage Journal
        But yes, it was likely delayed more than a "few months" at least due to them deciding to throw out the XP kernel and base it on Server 2003's instead.

        They didn't "decide" to make the kernel transition. Rather, much like Duke Nukem Forever, technology changed so much while they were in development that they saw now loss in changing the "engine". In the process they dumped much of the work they have completed, and started largely anew.

        It was the result of the first iteration being a complete disaster.
      • AFAIK, Vista wasn't delayed six years. That seem to rather match the time it has been in development.

        Yeah it was. They called it Longhorn back in 2000, then renamed it as vista. Calling it new is disingenuous - everyone knows MS is working on the next version of their OS. The actual project name is irrelevant.

    • Thats just the problem - no new features compelling people to upgrade from office 2000 (or 97 for that matter)

      Have you seen Office 2007? They actually tried this time. It has new features, and it's actually way better to use.
    • by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:11PM (#15150013)
      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!

      I don't remember MS promising to deliver Vista in 2001, and I doubt you have proof to the contrary... ;)
    • It would be nice to see Microsoft come up with something but I've become so disenfranchised from them that I really don't care anymore about them. If they were to relase some software for Linux or even Mac that is cool, I might start to pay attention again but this Vista lockin crap has me alienated from them.
      They just don't produce good products and definitely a brand I don't trust anymore.

      Anything from them is simply similar to the PlayStation market. I'm not a PS player and any addon for that platform
    • Actually, 'vista' will have been microsoft's first in-house ground-up build of an operating system since DOS. Dave Cutler and his team built NT/2K/XP for ms, and he would tell MS execs to drop certain feature requests when he though it was interfering the the delivery process for NT - there's nobody at MS to do that now.

      Probably better to remain silent than to speak and remove all doubt....

    • 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 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.
  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) * on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:53AM (#15149792) Homepage Journal
    Given the internal conflicts within Microsoft between application teams and the fact that the community gets leaked memos and rumors from time to time about inner goings on, I would say no, they are not working on anything special. The amount of human resources required to develop these "next gen apps" that they allude to within Microsoft would most likely generate some rumors that would have given us such an indication. Microsoft is under too much of a microscope for something like this to slip by. If it is a new development, then it will be a while before we see such apps. Besides, Microsoft's marketing technique seems to be based on people knowing what are going to be in their applications before they are released. I think this is just wishful thinking.
    • by umedia (964947)
      "Besides, Microsoft's marketing technique seems to be based on people knowing what are going to be in their applications before they are released. I think this is just wishful thinking."

      Almost two years know and I'm still waiting for application and driver support for XP 64-bit.

      The only storm ahead is the one in which fisherman Gates is played by Clooney... of course Gates ends up on an island of billions of dollars as the business world mops up the mess.

      • Application support? Most applications I use all work fine on XP x64. What one's do you have trouble with?

        Antiviral apps are the only problem i'm aware of along with apps that modify shell context menu's (which is not too difficult to fix)
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:56AM (#15149828) Journal

    Key moment in the slashdot article:

    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.

    I think the user community along with the technical community approaches the tipping point with Microsoft, especially with more and more alternatives like web based applications. Microsoft may join that fray, but they've sandbagged themselves, and they may not recover so nimbly this time (though I'll never count Microsoft out).

    Microsoft has spent so much ill-will capital, the collective technology users' almost (almost) want Microsoft to go away. Microsoft is still powerful, but a lot of that power today is inertia as Microsoft tries to think of ways to re-invent itself yet again in time to maintain its control. I hope it doesn't.

    Meanwhile, users (though they don't quite yet know it) are offered virtually every function as a web application, at least for ninety percent, and in many ways the new applications surpass the old resident application paradigm for convenience, service, and ease of use and maintenance.

    • Yes, to respond to the /. article... actually I'm seriously looking at a Mac for my next computer. All I really need M$ for is games anyway, and I don't play those that incredibly often. If I can have XP on dual boot for the games, no need for even a PC!

      Daniel
    • by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:03PM (#15149928) Journal
      Microsoft has spent so much ill-will capital, the collective technology users' almost (almost) want Microsoft to go away.

      I wouldn't agree. The collective users minus the knowledgeable community are just happy that the "media center edition windows" that came equipped with their dell lets them do all this "new" cool stuff. don't count out a dazzling UI, fancy-sounding jargon or some other gimmick to win back the ignorant hordes, because I really doubt that true innovation will come by and kill or beat some of the great products already out there.

      Either that, or look out for a deadly string of buyouts. Honestly, I love using Visio because it feels so different from the rest of the Office suite. Things just work sometimes -- made me finally give up xfig. If I'm not mistaken Visio was a company that made ...Visio...and then got bought out by MS.

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

    And that app is named Duke Nukem Forever. No really. Instead of just displaying number in a spreadsheet the little avatar has a machine gun and shoots "virtual" holes in your spreadsheet to match your data. Its pretty cool. And if you don't take proper care of him, then machine guns the whole screen until only the blue in the back can be seen. Good stuff.

  • by Mr.Dippy (613292) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:57AM (#15149841)
    Sometimes when I eat a lot of burritos and drink a lot of beer I won't say anything for like 20 minutes and then I unleash my deadly storm! So if you see me silent in a taco bell then run!
  • by AviLazar (741826) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:59AM (#15149864) Journal
    Come on, MS doomed? Is the other side of the picket sign "End of the world"? MS is huge, they have a HUGE customer base. They are not going out of business anytime soon. They have TONS and TONS of highly qualified techies who are working to make new products that MANY people will buy.

    • They have TONS and TONS of highly qualified techies

      So with the 'obese American' factor figured in, that amounts to about, what, 20 guys?
    • MS is huge, they have a HUGE customer base.

      There is a difference between relevance and survival. Chevrolet, for example, is a surviving, but irrelevant company who will be around a long time because they are huge and have a huge customer base.
      • There is a difference between relevance and survival. Chevrolet, for example, is a surviving, but irrelevant company who will be around a long time because they are huge and have a huge customer base.

        Irrelevant? Come on dude. MS is hardly irrelevant, and hardly having a hard time surviving. What was it they make like 250 (or 500) million every two weeks? They are surviving and the are relevant and they are a big market player. There is no question MS has been here, is here and will continue to be he
        • 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.
    • MS is doomed if they keep up their current product-based strategy. MS is today what IBM was in 1990 [msversus.org]. They will eventually be forced to change their business strategy to focus more on services than products. Eventually their software will not make them as much money. They'll have to turn to business services just like IBM if they want to still bring in the big cash.

      Here are some references, a little old but still relevant:
    • Microsoft has two economically successful products. Windows and Office. As long as at least one of those continues to sell the way it has been, they'll remain in business. Of course, assuming that's a foregone conclusion is just silly.
  • 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.
    • "The move from 95,98,Me,2000,XP to Vista will not have much of a difference."

      You fail to see why Vista *will* be everywhere: because it will be installed by default on a -very- large number of computer sold in the following years...
      • I took that for granted. But My point is that it will not get the fanfair and everyone upgrading like they did in 95. Sure New Systems will have Vista Installed by default and in 2 - 3 years it will be the primary OS used. But people using say 2000, and XP now will not be clammering to stores and Company IT Staffs planning a huge expensive migration to get Vista. Microsoft main competition is its self, with their old version. Hense most of their comercials stating how much better their product is compar
    • Yes, Vista will be interesting to see how it goes to me, because if they've had trouble getting Windows 98 users to upgrade to XP, that's nothing compared to what we might see here. Btw, I think you leave out the upgrade to XP, which I saw as a major benefit for plenty of users thanks to the vastly improved stability and performance of the NT kernel. But this feels almost like 2000 -> XP to me, just with slightly more features. There's basically the new protected user mode that's most interesting to me a
    • Besides Interface and Technical Stuff I really don't see the advantage of Windows Vista.

      What is in an OS besides interface and technical stuff? Documentation?

      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... and it will make it hard to convince people they they need to upgrade soon.

      Upgrade? No one upgrades Windows; well compared to the install base no one does. Some enterprises that have site licenses wil

    • If you look it that way then no operating system in existance has had much going on for decades. More modern software is about getting what you want to do done quickly and more easily, and thats exactly what Vista claims will allow us to do.

      Personally I could live with Windows 2000 but use XP x64 because, well... I just got sick of some of the minor differences. XP has improvements. In Explorer we have the tile and thumbnail folder views, icon grouping by file type or name etc, the ability to hide tray icon
    • The big changes have been from 3.1 to Win95 with the switch from 16 bit mostly 32 bit.

      Then from Win9x to Win2K with the final removal of DOS. (Yeah, if you were on NT you already had that, I know).

      Since then, there hasn't been anything really compelling from an end-user stand point. Crappy apps are still crappy apps. Good apps are still good apps. Most people still login as "admin" with all the associated problems (and for all the perceived benefits).

      98% (stat pulled out of my butt) of the home users would
    • Another one missing the point. While other companies are focusing and refocusing their efforts on eye candy and "sleeker" interfaces, Microsoft continually hits balls out of the park in the enterprise. Windows Vista is about security enhancements and enterprise management. Any techie worth a damn on the microsoft side of things knows that. Anyone on the outside, including Linux fanboys like yourself completely miss the point. Active Directory, Group Policy, and Systems Management Server are what drive
      • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers @ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:03PM (#15151157) Homepage Journal
        Anyone on the outside, including Linux fanboys like yourself completely miss the point. Active Directory, Group Policy, and Systems Management Server are what drive Microsoft sales.

        Is it just me or is Microsoft actually catching up to where *nix has been for twenty years with Project Athena from MIT.....

        Directory services, Kerberos, automated maintenance pushed out to workstations (via GPO's in Windows).... Now if we could only deal with insane file locking strategies that WIndows uses, add symlinks, etc. we would have a real OS. Alternatively, if they could add the really cool clustering capabilities VMS had, that would be cool too.

        Right now, Windows is sort of a VMS-lite with a nicer GUI but lacking all the enterprise management features that have existed in the enterprise OS world for twenty years.

        The *Only* reason what Microsoft is making inroads here is because UNIX/Linux geeks don't really know what their OS is capable of.
    • So your basic argument then is that the only reason to upgrade to Vista is "Interface and Technical Stuff", "security patches and supported software", "Better Graphics", "speed improvement", "things a little easier to use" and "better security".

      They seem like good enough reasons to upgrade to me...
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:02PM (#15149905) Homepage
    From what it sounds like, here's what this article is really saying: Please please please please keep the MSFT stock up so I can sell it for a profit!
  • They aren't silent, I think just rather unsuccessful at gaining momentum and large public recognition on a series of products part of their new online service initiative [live.com] going under the "Live" name, including Office Live.

    Not to mention .NET 2.0, which is the latest version of their widely spanning development API.

    There's then Vista, and Office 12 under production, and even IE 7.

    Actually, it was quite a while since I last saw MS have this many balls in the air. Whether they're doing well or not at it is anot
  • ...Microsoft will unleash an abundance of next-generation applications that will take everyone by surprise.
    Anyone aware of "next-generation [stuff]" that was born inside a huge corp and not in a startup? May be it just because in huge corps info is far more likely to leak, than in small startup, but anyway I never expect something "too cool" from big corps: they are too deep inside their bureaucracy and other sh** to innovate.
    • > > ...Microsoft will unleash an abundance of next-generation applications that will take everyone by surprise.
      >
      >Anyone aware of "next-generation [stuff]" that was born inside a huge corp and not in a startup? May be it just because in huge corps info is far more likely to leak, than in small startup, but anyway I never expect something "too cool" from big corps: they are too deep inside their bureaucracy and other sh** to innovate.

      This latest gambit is amusing - either scare the competition

  • by LibertineR (591918) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:05PM (#15149953)
    Office 2007 is absolultely killer software. It is really the first time since Office 95, where it is a must-upgrade. Betas are pretty stable, the new interfaces are well thought-out, its good stuff.
    • What does it give me that Office 2003 doesn't? What is the ROI on it? These are the kind of questions that will slow Office 2007 adoption.
      • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:41PM (#15150331) Journal
        What does it give me that Office 2003 doesn't?

        Well, according to the FAQ's that Microsoft provides on Office 2007 [microsoft.com]:

        What's new in the 2007 Microsoft Office system?

        The 2007 release presents newly designed menus and toolbars as well as new features that businesses and individual computer users can use to complete tasks more quickly and easily.

        What's new in Office Word 2007?
        Office Word 2007 includes new tools that help you create more professional-looking documents in less time, build documents more easily from frequently used content, and produce professional-looking letters, proposals, datasheets, and other documents fast. Quick formatting capabilities help you rapidly apply a new look and feel to your documents, and the new Live Preview capabilities give you a quick look at any changes you make.

        Obviously, it's time to pull out the check book and send more of your money to Redmond.

      • 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 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 CrayDrygu (56003) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:49PM (#15150398)
        The killer feature is this: the first major UI overhaul in Office since...well, ever.

        How much of an improvement is it? Testers are discovering "brand new features" that have been there since Office 95, because they can finally _find_ the settings. No more traversing confusing menus and dialogs to change formatting options. Everything's grouped intelligently, instead of doing things like dumping anything from spell check to collaboration to mail merge into a "Tools" menu. Style-based formatting has been made easier. And best of all, no more toolbars that appear and disappear, and no more task pane.

        If you want the details, read the "Why the UI" series in Jensen Harris's blog (he's the program manager for the Office "user experience" team) -- http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/category/117 20.aspx [msdn.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:23PM (#15150140)

      Office 2007 is absolultely killer software.

      and let me guess, you're posting using its spell checker!
  • 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.
    • Oh, come on.

      Your argument boils down to "People will start buying more Macs because now they can run Windows!".

      Right.
      • by Ryan Amos (16972)
        No, your argument parser needs some work :)

        The argument is that people are fed up with Windows and the market is ripe for something that will replace it. Boot Camp makes the transition much easier on people because they don't have to quit Windows cold turkey.

        People no longer trust Microsoft as they did in the past (right or wrong, most users blame Microsoft for viruses and spyware.) While Macs are not immune to them, the default security policies on OS X (have to enter a password to install anything) make i
  • Hotmail! .net!
    MSN!
    MS Live!
    MS Earth!
    Origami!
    Office with ribbons!
    MS Paint!

    Microsoft has for years been releasing cool new products that keep us more productive and, more importantly, provide job strong job security in the tech support field!

    Yeah, so next time your banker or nurse tells you that the printer is broken, and that technology never works, you can just have her forward her thoughts to MS customer service.
  • That is so yesterday. Not just yesterday as in a few days, yesterday as in 1997, 1998.
  • This whole thread (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    should be modded as "redundant". Nothing new here from the last anti-Microsoft thread. No one has any new arguments, no one even has any new digs at MS. It's all rehashed /. rhetoric.
  • When was the last time Redmond spat out anything new, exciting, or technologically earth-shaking? Why should they be doing so now? Where's the incentive? They have 90% of the market and therefore are not required by market forces to make any true improvements or upgrades to their current software, let alone create anything new. The only reason for Vista's existence is to try and improve on their sorry security record. Their competitors are all far behind and despite the popularity of a whole slew of technol
  • by C_Kode (102755)
    No pre-existing apps/OS generally take anything by storm. People don't like *change* The only apps I can think of that took anything by storm are *new* apps that do something revolutionary. (i.e Napster, ICQ, and DOOM for gaming) (Yes, I know of Wolfenstein 3D but it was only a concept footstep to Doom which added the graphics to make the experience truely revolutionary) A new version of Office or a new version of Windows isn't going to make huge waves in the way people do things immediately. Google was
  • ... but the site's already down.

    Assuming the summary is accurate,

    "...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.'"

    Wrong. If MS had anything big up their sleeves--that is to say, anything that worked and was compelling--they'd have it out already. I'm not saying there's nothing cool left to be done wit
  • What is the deal with tech articles and speculation that is always sensationalist and wrong?

    Who are these people?

  • Zonk, is it a slow news day so you felt compelled to post an article from a Microsoft fan boy (M$ftJack) just to start a pointless flame war in which probably nothing will be said that hasn't been said a million times before here?

    For him to mention BSoD in his submission was just tired rhetoric. Yea I'm sure people are still running Windows 98 out there and seeing BSoD but that is what they deserve for running a crappy, ancient OS with no memory protection. Anyone running XP or NT isn't likely to see very
  • >> 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)

    When Apple started with switch campaign some years back, I thought that one of the things that they needed to include in OS X for Windows users who were switching was a Control Panel that invokes a "Windows-mode".

    When enabled, the Mac would do bizarre shit on an unpredictable basis (OS crashing, audio disappearing, etc)
  • SBD (Score:4, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:27PM (#15150174) Homepage
    Silent? Deadly? I don't know, but they sure stink.
  • I always thought that Jobs was smarter than Gates.

    Apple's "Boot Camp" beta that lets you run XP on your MacBook? Wonderful! especially now that we hear you can actually triple boot the MacBook into Linux! Yeee Haw! I want one!

    Who cares if it does not run Vista! I don't. I don't want to have to replace my 5 computers that run XP just fine, thank you, with whatever yet hardware that Vista requires!

    The MacBook running windows is just the kind of disruptive technology that Gates should fear. Users can ad
  • "the author believes that Microsoft will unleash an abundance of next-generation applications that will take everyone by surprise"

    That would make the whole community drop jaws in unison so hard it would move the earth a fair bit. What next-generation application can anyone think of that has had its origin within Microsoft? Everything i can think of has either been bought or Xeroxed. Even one a unique first generation application would make a pretty big splash since it would be the first.

    I imagine anything M
  • You could roll the clock back 40 years and change Microsoft to IBM and have the same article. Face it, IBM was THE technology company of the 1960s and Microsoft is now. However, PC industry that gave rise to Microsoft is now a mature industry, just as the mainframe industry was in 1965.

    That is why Microsoft is so desperately trying to define what the next great computer frontier will be - whether computerized games consoles, entertainment systems, kitchens or whole houses. However, while these are all in
  • 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.

    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.


    Revolutionary, new and completely different products that people will buy because they're familiar and comfortable.

    Now there's a trick.

    B
  • by Morpeth (577066) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:40PM (#15150322)
    ...move along. Seriously, why even bother posting such an article? It's just going to be typical /. slamfest, like every other one that crops up the minute MS is mentioned.

    Which means, all the MS haters/flamers posts will get modded up as insightful or interesting (and will by in large be neither), anyone saying anything contrary will be left untouched or modded down. Nothing new or valuable will be said, all the same flames will be rehashed yet again.

    And I'm sorry, love them or hate them, but to say MS is doomed and going to fold is beyond stupid, with no basis in reality. If you have any sense of the scope of their software suites and the size of their user base, no one in their right mind would say that. You might WANT it to happen, but hope and reality are not the same thing

    • Nothing Indeed. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twitter (104583)
      Seriously, why even bother posting such an article?

      I'd like to ignore such crap myself, but I know I'll be hearing it over and over again. The upgrade train is building up steam again. Because so many people have been burnt before, M$ is having to crank up the volume more than usual. The article is a sorry apology for M$'s glacial six year OS pace and inability to do anything innovative. Just the same, we are going to hear more of the same. M$ might be deadly, but they are never silent because hype a

  • by Petersson (636253) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:01PM (#15150510)
    Maybe Microsoft is reviving Tamagotchi technology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamagotchi [wikipedia.org] and is incorporating it into Vista. In other words, if user will not take care of the system (defragment disk, remove viruses, worms and spyware, apply patches) the system will die.

    No, wait, this is the way Windows already works..

  • 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?
  • How do you tell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Godai (104143) * on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:38PM (#15151460)
    My only question -- after reading the article -- is how one would tell the difference between a Microsoft that is quietly amassing a host of breakthrough technologies and a Microsoft that is quietly (and desperately) wracking its collective head about what to do about its competitor?


    More to the point, how often has Microsoft really come out with something innovative that took the world by storm? It's released rehashes of products it bought from other people, but I can't think of many cutting edge, out-of-nowhere advancements that have come from them. It's not really their core competancy is it? Which isn't to say they can't produce some slick stuff when they want to, but rather they're more often riding the coat tails of smaller trailblazers (who they either crush or swallow in the following years).

  • by seven of five (578993) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:04PM (#15153052) Homepage
    If Origami is any indication, MS is fscked.

    At a recent Korean demonstration showing off Origami hardware, the software hung and choked many times.

    or... how 'bout the TABLET PC??

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