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AOL vs. Microsoft in Desktop War? 170

loki29 was one of several people to submit this story at Betanews based on a supposedly leaked memo. Even if the memo is fake, the strategies outlined seem quite real and accurate - AOL/Time-Warner most assuredly is worried about Microsoft usurping their role in the "online experience" by presenting Windows XP users with lots of defaults set to "Use .NET".
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AOL vs. Microsoft in Desktop War?

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  • They do, but it's for Internet Appliances like Gateway sold and Intel's one (both of them running Linux)
  • Indeed. I run win98 because I like it. It works, it runs my apps, and after a bit of configuration and weeding out of shitty apps it now rarely crashes (I typically reboot only once a week to free memory that buggy programs have leaked). I'll probably upgrade to Win2k soon, because afaik it retains everything I like about Windows, while adding stability.

    I used AOL for a while as well. I had used other online services (Prodigy, CompuServe, local ISPs), but it seemed the best designed. My parents could check their email and whatnot instantly, without downloading/installing email apps, configuring pop3 servers, smtp servers, etc. It just worked. Same with most aspects of the service really - there's configuration available (though not as much as some people might like), but it's not mandatory - everything just works by default.

    So I don't use AOL anymore, simply because I have a cablemodem so just use them as my ISP, but I don't understand most of the outright hostility to it. AOL are quite accomplished in the field of user interfaces - they were a large non-internet BBS in the early 90s with a great interface, made the adaptation to ISP-hood, and adapted in the face of a proliferation of cheaper internet-only ISPs. You might not like their business tactics, but they really do have a point when they say "So easy to use, no wonder it's #1" - it is much easier than the alternatives for most people, and that is the reason they're so popular.
  • No, you'd get tons of CD's with AOL for Linux on them. Probably just an RPM at that. They make interesting coasters though but I wish they were more absorbent. Now, if they shipped CDRW discs to the Linux people that'd be useful.
  • "I think most see Java as a server technology at this point. VB always sucked at this. "

    Out of curiousity, on what basis do you say this? I have a feeling you've no knowledge of COM, much less VB so how can you intelligently make such a comment?

    As far as your little tirade about interoperability, that's what .Net is all about.

    Just because you haven't taken the time to learn and understand something, doesn't mean it sucks.

  • Honestly, so far you are one of the few people I've seen posting to /. who actually get it.

    I'm by no means an expert on .Net. I've read what I can and attended some of our local .Net user group meetings.

    It's really quite cool, and like you say is more than just C#. It's a whole new development paradigm.

    As far as tightening up .Net. From the people I've talked to(mostly Developmentor instructors), the .Net framework is pretty tight as it is right now. It's being tweaked with enhanced capabilities prior to release, but there are whole production web sites running off the Betas today.

    No, what will be the problem is training developers on how to properly use it. Most Microsoft developers still don't even understand MTS completely and that's been out for 4 years.

    From the .Net user group meetings you can see a lot of people actually somewhat terrified that what they know now will just go away.

    It's that training, learning... attitude that will be .Net's greatest problem.
  • And we have hundreds of COM components written in VB working fine.

    Not to say we have not had some problems, like you, but in each and every case we've tied it back to a problem in the code.

    Instead of rewriting it, why don't you just spend the time understanding the code and fixing the problem? Wouldn't that be cheaper?
  • Ahh, pretty good analysis.

    However, I'm not in agreement that not being able to hold state with global variables is a negative feature of the language. That sounds like a really bad idea considering most app servers are load balanced, and I highly doubt Java can read the memory across machine boundaries.

    I'd also be curious to see some performance comparisons. You make some implicit claims that Java is faster than VB, yet I've never seen this backed up with benchmarks. The one benchmark I did see comparing the different environments showed VB as twice as fast as Java, with C++ being three times as fast. But it wasn't necessarily fair as it also compared different hardware, i.e. VB on a Compaq, Java on a Sun.

    Roger Sessions was recently in town here, and had a presentation on .Net versus J2EE. It's available here: rame.htm

    It's interesting reading. I believe his conclusion was that using Java was primarily a religious argument. If you are dead set on using Java, continue to do so. If on the other hand your concerned with performance and cost to deliver, then .Net is for you. ;)

  • Ahh, if you want to persist some data then in the Microsoft world you could use the Shared Property Manager.

    There are other options for this as well, it all depends.

    It seems to me that trying to persist this data in the server objects adds considerable overhead in terms of object management and I can't imagine it'd be a performance gainer. Although I can see where it might be faster than having to go back to the database every time, as database I/O is an expensive operation.

    You're right on the last part. It is difficult to do meaningful comparisons because the way I would write an app using VB is completely different than how you would use Java. This issue of stateful server components is such an example.
  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @07:48AM (#242943)
    C# is a language which is part of the .Net framework.

    .Net is a development framework which includes CLR and all it's various languages, SOAP, etc.

    Hailstorm is Microsofts strategy of subscription based content.

    The original poster has a better understand than you do. :(
  • By continuing to innovate, Microsoft is effectively phasing out the need for third party applications.

    Innovate? I think it should say integrate!
  • More or less, but if Hailstorm (which is a huge threat to personal control of information, IMHO) is part of .Net, then my (admittedly poor) logic training suggest that that makes .Net a huge threat to personal control of information. I'm also not entirely sure that your characterization of Hailstorm as "one tiny piece" of .NET is correct. Hailstorm is how MS is going to make their money off of .NET- which means that, as much as they want to downplay it right now, it will become the most important part of .NET in the long term.
  • Well, it would collect all your personal information (addresses, credit cards, etc.) in one place so that you could then use that one location to buy or rent things all over the net. So, instead of the current situation, where you have to enter personal information repeatedly at different sites, making it more difficult to track you, one site will know everything about you and your personal preferences. If that one site is hacked (and MS does get hacked) then everything about you is known to the hackers. The current decentralized model of data storage can be a PITA, but at least it obscures and (to a certain extent) protects your personal data.
  • The thing is that MS intends for those tools to give developers easy ways to connect to and use MS services. So, say, if you build your site with .Net libraries/servers, you could make it such that all people who have registered with MS have the equivalent of Amazon's one click shopping at any site that uses .Net. (I'm just pulling this example out of my ass, but you get the point.)
    .Net has been, from day one, about far more than C#- it has been about integrating the entire Web with the desktop (which is a noble goal) and specifically with the MS desktop (not so noble.) So don't limit yourself to thinking "this will help people build web sites, so what does AOL have to worry about." Think ".Net will help people build apps that use the internet but bypass the web (and AOL) completely, and use MS servers and services instead of their own." And that is the kind of thing that AOL is worried about.
  • No. If all major websites start using Hailstorm to "make the buying experience easier", MS gets a cut of every purchase. Sales of servers and such is miniscule compared to what that could be, especially when (as the other poster has noted) MS can tie the desktop into Hailstorm.
  • I mean, in a war, somebody dies right? In an all out war, both sides are destroyed. This could be fun to watch...
  • Quote: we look at coke and pepsi ragging on eachother and pulling stunts and it seems normal
    FYI, The ragging you are refering to was at one point called "The Cola War". Whole books were written on the subjects. Make a Google search and you will be surprised at retoric used at the time mid 80's if I remember.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @05:56AM (#242951) Journal
    I don't understand this.

    .NET is still a vague concept to me, but one of the main guys behind it said that C# was analagous to Java the language, while .NET was analagous to Java the platform. I took that to mean the JVM and things like the EJB and Servelet standards.

    My impression is that .NET is about tools to build and deploy sites. I don't think it's going to be a series of portals and content sites like MSN. I think that MS will use .NET to build new generations of MSN, but that other people can use .NET to build competing services if they want.

    Again, I have only a fuzzy picture of .NET, so this could be off base, but I think that MS is trying to rebuild Java with a couple of key differences.

    First of all, they're trying to duplicate their VB control model across languages and in a distributed fashion. I believe that .NET controls will be much easier to work with than EJB objects.

    Second of all, I think they're going to really go to town with visual RAD tools. They want to make developing Web applications to be much easier.

    Third of all, they want to put less of an emphasis on supporting multiple platforms (although I think they will -- at least things like XBox and WinCE, and probably OS X as well), and more of an emphasis on supporting multiple language syntaxes.

    I wish an MS guy would post here or email me to clear this up, but I doubt it will happen.

    I think the problem they have is that it's going to take years to tighten up .NET. There will inevitably be lots of loose ends after the early releases. And Java is here and reasonably solid now.

    But MS is betting that they can manage a platform better than Sun. Java people complain bitterly about Swing vs. MFC, and about seemingly small things like printing support. So there's room for improvement. And presumably .NET will be tweaked for Wintel boxes, and will run much faster than JVM stuff.

    I'm intrigued by the scope of .NET. They certainly did a lot of pimping of the word "innovation" during the anti-trust trial, but this seems to be genuinely innovative stuff to me. I'm not saying it will work well or that it will win, but it is a big vision, and it is a gutsy thing to try to roll it out. And I give them credit for it. And yes, I know that it's all about trying to keep their leverage. But it's still interesting technology.
  • > What truely bothers me is that, with so much at stake, to what lengths will AOL/M$
    > go to win? And, where will the battle be fought?

    One thing that stuck out of this memo was the projection that 5-10 new computers will be sold in the Christmas 2001 season. Which is a figure I just can't understand: last figures I heard from Gertner & similar ilk was that 5 million total desktop computers would be sold in 2001; & unless a new ``killer application" came out for the Windows platform (i.e., something that makes Joe End User want to buy a new & improved computer running either Win 2K or Win ME), I doubt we'll see much more than 5 million in 2002 either.

    Computers are, at last, plenty fast for Joe End User: why should he or she fix something that ain't broken? Even if Microsoft releases Windows XP in time for Xmas 2001, its sales will mostly be at the cost of existing Win 98, ME, NT & 2K sales.

    Add to this the fact that there are about 22 milliion AOL users out there, & several million Earthlink users. If MS releases a product that keeps them from easily connecting to their established accounts & circles fo friends, how much of an incentive will they have to upgrade?

    If AOL starts a FUD campaign about XP, it will kill XP sales, & force Microsoft to support the other four flavors of Windows for another year or two, which eat all of the R & D that went into this failed product. And when you consider both Win ME & 2K were received with underwhelming interest, MS will have spent serious money on R & D for several years in a row without any increased profits to show for it.

    Hmm. Could AOL be turning the consumer Internet into a Vietnam for Microsoft?

    There are a number of smart people at Microsoft -- well, smart marketers, & at least as many as at AOL -- so expect Microsoft to unleash their own PR counteroffensive. Which will be as effective as AOL's. And it will get bloody & costly for two companies whose business models are built on perpetual growth. It could turn into a bloodbath on either side, much like the ignomious battles of World War I where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost just to gain a few hundred yards.

    (Yes, I can be a little apocalyptic sometimes. But the idea of Microsoft & AOL beating each other to death while more enlightened businesses step in & steal their markets appeals to me.)

  • There is an old proverb (Swahili, I think) that says "when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers". We, the users of the internet are the grass, and we're going to get trampled by both sides as they grapple for total domination of the net. Brace yourself, it's going to get ugly.

    (Ob. off-topic Isreal rant)
    Terrorism n. The use of force or threats, etc. esp. as a political policy. (Webster's New World Dictionary)

    It sounds like it would be hard to be pro-Iseralerrorism, since their domestic policy toward the Palstinians is terrorism. Piss us off and we'll bulldoze some civillian's house? WTF tactical genius came up with that strategy? All Isreal is doing is ensuing that it will have another generation of Palestinian terrorists to justify the existence of their police state.

    Turner has finally pulled his head out and realized that our mindless support of Isreal is unjustified. Now colorizing "Casablanca" - that was unforgivable! :)
  • ugh, that was supposed to be "pro-Isreal and anti-terrorism", but slashdot ate my "&"
  • AOL, M$... two massive corporate succubuses with a long track record of running roughshod over consumer choice, user privacy and open standards, ignoring security issues, whose software and marketing strategies assumes the person behind the keyboard has the IQ of tree slime.

    Does anyone really, honestly give half a rat's ass who wins this one? The consumer is fucked either way, so what does it matter?

    They can both go rape dead syphyllitic goats for all I care. Me, I'm sticking with Debian and my mom-and-pop ISP.

  • I think i'm going to revert to AOL... I don't really see much point to not do it. Yes, i've a cable modem, (, but at the rate things have been going with high speed access (DSL companies going belly up left and right, media one just raised thier rates a bit this month) and the fact that there isn't a nationwide strong nationwide ISP aside from AOL makes me think that AOL is probably the safest place to create a permanent email addres... Yes, i've a domain registered, but that's just extra cost in the end.

    I haven't yet converted, but i'm not seeing much reason not to... you can run all TCP/IP applications through AOL, just not any servers, etc...

    I don't know. It's a consideration i've been toying with. And i think i'd much rather AOL/Time Warner be our "ruler" than Microsoft. At least that then provest that the ruler can be toppled, which means if AOL/TW screws around too much, they too can go by the wayside.
  • Every piece of correspondence at the company i work for is conducted via email on the intranet. Employee reviews, communications with vendors and managers, etc... And we're a "small company" (an 80 employee subsidiary of a multibillion dollar company, though left to our own mostly). Email is just more efficient for communicating with fellow employees on important stuff, and a bit more accountable than talking by the coffee pots. I wouldn't see why a larger company wouldn't want to use interoffice email to communicate things like corporate strategy. A paper memo can be leaked just as easily as an emailed memo, afterall...
  • But as much flak as MS has caught for Windows, I don't think I could ever use an AOL OS. I would never want to, either.

    I read the memo with one of two things on my mind...a)AOL could try this and fail *one good thing*, b)it could be fake so we won't have to worry about it *another good thing*, or c)It's the truth, and they succeed *then we'd all be screwed*

    It's one thing to be using some AOL software (Winamp, Netscape, ICQ, or even AIM), but I will not allow AOL to control my desktop or my operating system. (And no, AOL doesn't already, because any such options that the software tries to put on I disable immediately)

    This is one occasion that I'm wishing MS to win.

    -Julius X
  • I wonder, how long until AOL and Sony get together, and develop the Playstation 2 America Online edition? You can play all your games, get on AOL, maybe it'll even come with a docking station for your Palm pilot. This could be a REAL war -- a company/group that can really stand toe-to-toe with MS in terms of name recognition and brand loyalty.

    MS has made a situation where "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" sounds like a viable solution to pretty much every other company on Earth.

    How long until Roadrunner installation is free, with a free Playstation 2 (AOL edition), with just the $60/month AOL fee to pay? make it $100/month, and get 20 "free" game/DVD rentals a month from Blockbuster...

  • But this is why it's so likely it is false. Wow a memo that perfectly states the outsider's view of the situation. Spectacular!

    Why is it that when a supposed internal mail from Microsoft gets leaked, everybody simply assumes it's authentic, yet if internal memos from other companies get leaked, they're assumed to be fake? Bit of a double standard, doncha think?

  • Perhaps the memo is faked and perhaps it isn't. But you have to admit this is a reasonable stance for AOL to take.

    If the memo is true to the attitude of AOL/TW, faked or not, it seems like a good opportunity for somebody like Red Hat to step in and talk to AOL about moving things along for a "Linux XP" or something on that order where an AOL-focused Linux distribution is created.

    There are tons of users who use their computers only to access America Online. They don't know what the other pretty icons on their computer are for. If you launch something else, like even a spreadsheet program, they will insist that you "hacked" something on their computer. I'm deadly serious, this is no joke.

    Those users could be the key to bringing in people to the Linux desktop. Make it easy for those users and they will flock...and this will seriously burn into Microsoft's share of the home desktop market.

    It's something to think about.
  • I think propaganda is the more correct term.
  • read with-
    #telnet 80
    connected to
    Escape character is '^]'.
    GET /
  • With the recent price wars for consumer PCs, most of the OEMs have taken a bath in red ink thanks to Dell. Well well well what's the best thing that can happen, an all out OS war between two large titans with DEEP pockets.

    In the next three years look for AOL to release its own OS based upon Linux or BeOS. While there wouldn't be any applications avaliable for it, for those individuals like my Grandmother who use AOL and thats all, its all they would need. Now consider you have two giants trying to get their product on the desktop. The AOL camp knows that its average user cannot reformat and reinstall an operating system so they leaves one place they can turn, the OEMs. Now you have a battle of who wants to pay the most to be on the desktop which would be something a kin to a slotting fee for supermarkets.

    Ahh, now lightbulbs start coming on at Dell, Gateway, etc. If there willing to pay us to get in the box, what can we do with this power. In the AOL case, Dell says OK will make it an option, but we want some real estate to sell. AOL knowing that if they don't get into OEMs says sure why not. Now the OEM starts pimping out real estate on the desktop and everywhere else in the OS. Bill and the boys say "why the heck are you doing that", Michael Dell responds "Because Steve Case just dropped a few hundred million to do it". Bill and the boys go back to Redmond and match AOL. Suddenly, the OEM is getting paid for its marketshare and PC prices begin dropping again because its how many operating systems can you install, not how many boxes you can build.

    If AOL creates its own OS that runs only its programs
    1. There will be a lot of systems bought with just AOL, I will sign my Grandmother up for one
    2. The battle will be on to get the "newest" consumer gadgets ported to it read "digital cameras, Palms, anything that is making its way into the mainstream, and is cool"
    3. All holy hell is gonna break loose and make that Mac vs. MS, OS/Warp vs. MS, look like pansy ass loser stuff
    One man's vision of what's to come.

    I would use Linux, but Office, Panorama Factory, Acrobat (want a little more functionality in my PDF creation), my Nikon 880, my Palm, Outlook, Nero Burning ROM, a stable browser and Lynx doesn't count, Quicken, Photoshop 6.0 (the GIMP is pretty cool though) and Goldmine do not come with, run, or will be ported to Linux. Until that time I am a very happy Windows 2000 user and don't need to change.

  • Just some god damn competition in the industry! It's funny, we look at coke and pepsi ragging on eachother and pulling stunts and it seems normal, but when the computer industry actually starts to compete we think it's war! It just shows how little competition there has actually been for the past 6 years.
  • Your excited about converting from one monopoly to another..


    The world is full of suckers!

  • "8) Get "Designed for Microsoft Windows" logo program exemption for AOL.
    Microsoft pays the OEM significant rebates to have their software bundles
    compliant with Microsoft specifications. The AOL client will likely not
    meet Microsoft's standards, resulting in OEM PC's being out of compliance
    with the logo program and jeopardizing the rebates.

    Why would Microsoft come up with the Logo Program if they are just going to hand out exemptions?
  • If one of the distros (i'm thinking Mandrake) can convince AOL that they should be partners then i think it would be a win win situation for Linux in general.

    Think about it, Mandrake loses nothing because AOL can't demand all versions of Linux come with AOL or possibly even that all version of Mandrake come with AOL fully integrated.

    Mandrake has become the easiest to use Linux in my opinion and is prime for the AOL market. It offers much of the usability of a Windows box with the added bonus of stabillity.

    I'm just hoping someone at AOL reads this post. :D
    or even better a good moderator.
  • AOL wants, allegedly, OEM's and users not to upgrade to Windows XP. Microsoft's new interface is too .NET-centric, they claim, even though most of the .NET features originally promised have been cut from XP. AOL wants its programs to be positioned as defaults, and to "take control of the desktop."

    There's a very simple reason why AOL's programs will not receive certification by Microsoft. It's because they are crap. Pure, unadulterated crap unfit for any Windows operating system.

    AOL has had the same dreadful MDI interface for its dial-up service since it premiered on Windows. Why? Because the AOL software was originally developed for the Mac, where a running application has the entire screen to itself with other applications pushed to the background but still visible. Of course, AOL for Windows doesn't use this "visible" concept, instead hiding everything else behind a solid grey background. You have to run AOL maximized to be able to get anything done with it, and AOL knows this. It means that you'll need to expend extra effort to do anything outside the AOL program, and so you won't do it.

    POP3 and PPP are standards older than dirt in the Internet world. Yet AOL still doesn't support them, instead using its own mail client and the abhorrent "AOL Adapter" in networking. Why? Because otherwise you could use other dialers, other mail programs, and other ways to get around their control.

    The worst part about AOL is that they set a precedent: people are, in fact, stupid enough to willingly pay $22.00 for mediocre-quality on-line services. AT&T Worldnet, among other providers, has been able to raise their unlimited-usage rates without a fight.

    Microsoft may "embrace and extend" standards, but that's much better than AOL's process of ignoring them. AOL can make its own damn OS if it wants to exert its own control. (And yes, I already know that they're starting to.)
  • why would an OS integrate email, IM, chat, calendar, address book, web browsing and media players?

    Because they (MS) are trying to eliminate their competition by leveraging their desktop monopoly. Did you think it was for the consumers? Hahahahaha.

    Suddenly an OS is bad just because it integrates everything needed for the web in a user friendly environment?

    Repeat after me: One size does not fit all. Why should an OS integrate an email client? What if I don't like that email client (or I'm worried about security issues)?

    Ask yourself this: why do companies sell only underwear? Shouldn't they integrate everything (shirt, pants, etc.) necessary to go out in public with? You can bet your ass that they would if some company had a monopoly on underwear... and you as a consumer would be much worse off....

  • Yeah, lord knows no other OS integrates an email app. Like BeOS...oh wait. It does. Well, it does too. Well, no Linux distribution would dare...wait, they all do. Well, the commercial UNIXes wouldn't....hold on, they all do too. Well, what do you know. Every major OS that ships these days comes with some form of email client.

    You don't know what integrated means, do you? Ships with != integrated.

  • The net's great advantage in terms of consumer marketing is it's ability to connect obscure items for sale with the rare buyers who want them in an efficent manner. Other than that, why use the internet?

    Because it's cheaper and easier for the bank... if more people use the internet, they can pay fewer tellers for fewer hours, keep their branches open less hours, and probably even close some branches. Which is why it's likely to come about the way I described... not a "you have to use the internet" mandate, but charges for services which don't use the internet.

    So you still have a choice: use the internet (on Windows, of course), or don't and pay through the nose...

  • they just want to find the easiest cheapest way to do what they want to do on the Internet

    Then AOL should fill those CDs they are always sending to everybody with pr0n instead of software. Cut out the middle man!
  • Yes because MS has such an impeccable record of acting ethically while AOL has screwed everyone it has ever partnered with.
    After all who are going to trust people who commit perjury and evidence tamplering or people who just run a business without having been found guilty of crimes.
  • Oh come on now. Are you really suggesting that all those people tried out every office product on the market and settled on ms-office? No like most morons they use it because it got pre-installed on their computer or they are forced to use it at work and were forced to learn it. People are stupid and obedient they will eat whatever pile of shit you deposit in front of them.

    BTW IT managers are some of the biggest morons on the face of the planet. A monkey can pick better products then a typical IT manager. you typical IT manager chooses products by whoever has the biggest and the shiniest ad in PC magazine.
  • That's funny AOL had never impacted my life by forcing me to do something I did not want to but MS sure has. Maybe their voodoo mind control techniques only work on you.

    I have never even installed AOL but I sure have been forced to install all kinds of software by MS and oddly enough a good percentage of them broke my currently running machine.
  • So why worry about all the other users. I just worry about myself. I don't use MS products heavily, so this won't affect me.

    Don't be so sure.

    The Web - and the 'Net - exist as they are today because they started life as open systems. Microsoft (MSN) and AQL both started off with closed systems for distributed content. They would both prefer closed systems. But the unexpected growth of the Net has persuaded them - probably temporarily - that they have to pay lip-service to open systems.

    Currently, Microsoft controls the majority browser out there, and AOL control the other browser that most users have heard of. Netscape has a long history of inventing 'enhancements' to published standards which make documents written for their software work more poorly (or not at all) with other people's. Microsoft are also past masters of that art.

    One of the quite possible outcomes of this is that the Web breaks up into a Microsoft-only space and an AOL only space, with no one browser able to access all the information, and, in the worst scenario, with open source browsers unable to access any of it. If methods of accessing the next generation Web servers from Microsoft and AOL are subject to software patents, this could become a reality, at least for users in the US.

    Don't get me wrong - I think the best case outcomes from this battle could be very good for the open source movement, with many users seeking refuge in platforms on which they can't

    be messed around by corporate interests... but this is a very unstable situation, and the difference between the best-case outcome and the worst is quite dramatic

    Posted with Konqueror 2.1.1

  • While WinHEC is a "hardware" conference, they were lots of companies there that were not traditional hardware engineering companies. Not only did AOL not show up in large way themselves (they had a few people there as observers) they also were not mentioned at all. I was surprised to notice that while MS railed against companies like Sun when talking about Servers and WindRiver when talking about Embedded stuff, they failed to mention AOL when talking about Net services. I suspect MS is really a bit worried about AOLTimeWarner. They don't even have any kind of marketing ready to show how hailstorm riding on .NET will be a better choice than AOL. MSN seems to not have the ability to get even close to AOL. MS is now buying customers and services just to get what AOL signs up through simple word of mouth and cd distribution. MS has a two big fights on its hands: AOLTimeWarner in the net serverices space and Sony and Nintendo in the computer game console space. Wait, make that three because you can't forget the gonverment and many class actions in the legal space. Have fun MS!

    A true sense of the confidence of AOL was shown some time ago when Case appeared on Charlie Rose. Rose got to asking Case about MS's offer to buy AOL or get crushed by Microsoft. Case tried to avoid the issue but Rose pushed. I paraphrase:
    Rose: "Come on, you have to feel good about that decision [not to agree to an MS purchase].
    Case (finally smiling): "Well...yes. We felt then and that it definitly was the right way to go. Today, I think it is fair to say that we were right."

    I wouldn't want to be on Case's sh*t list...makes you almost feel bad for MS.
  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @08:53AM (#242980)

    Red Hat: Millions of AOL users can't be wrong.
    I'm a C++ guru ... What's STL?

  • If this were true, Active Directory would be 100% LDAP compliant and any other vendor's software that needed to read/write/modify an Active Directory would be able to do so as long as they were using standard LDAP. Is this likely to be the case?
  • I think most see Java as a server technology at this point. VB always sucked at this.

    Visual RAD tools generally apply to fat-client user interface development. HTML and browser-based user interfaces have eaten into the "easy apps" you are referring to. The hard apps were never made easy by visual tools. Read "No Silver Bullets."

    The whole issue of "multiple languages" is an attack on Java on the server side since Java has a big jump on them in providing an alternative to C and C++ for building server-side enterprise objects.

    As far as .NET running fast on Wintel remember that the situation on servers is not the same as it is on the desktop. That's what MS is attempting to accomplish. Here, their strategy does not seem to be to build interoperable components that get selected by IT management for their superior performance but rather to construct systems so that if you use any one piece of (presumably high-quality) MS software, they hook you on the rest of their other less than high quality components. This flies in the face of traditional server (Unix) strategies which revolve around the notion of interoperating tools running on a standard public infrastructure. Unix people are tool builders. MS people are empire builders.

    As far as .NET being gutsy - to me its that they are reacting to the changing nature of this business. The battle is moving to the server side where their old strategy used to control the desktop has a much less probability of success. Also, the industry has seen how MS works and is not likely to be cooperative this time. Look at the "Prisoner's Dilemma" WRT biological and Social evolution for a good overview as to what will probably happen here. Tit for Tat.
  • My internet service is provided by AOL/Time Warner. No, I don't use AOL. I use RoadRunner.

    The fact is that they're by far the best internet service around. They've even changed some things to make their service work better on Linux.

    Even if it weren't for that, for broadband it's a choice between them and Verizon DSL []. Yuck.

  • Why I htink there are good sides (or could be, we don't kow whether the doc is genuine):

    MS has a stronghold on the desktop. Yes, Linux made an inroad worth appreciation, but MS still has 90+ % of the desktops. In USA it might be less, due to the popularity of Apple, but in EMEA it's way higher percentage for MS.

    So, here we have AOL, the only player who has the power and the motivation (!) to take on MS for control of the desktop market. Will AOL take over this market (always keeping in mind that the doc might be fake etc.)? Well, I think not, but AOL could upset this stronghold. I believe this would present a chance for alternative OS. And mind you, WindowsXP with .NET is more than just a desktop OS, it could hurt Linux and the other alternative OS' in more than one way.

    This is just how I see it, I mightbe wrong but I sort of wish AOL was really pissed at MS, and did something about it.

  • message to AOL members and the public that XP is "not ready" for broad adoption (i.e., has bugs, ...

    Yeah, tell people Windows has bugs. That's always stopped them from buying it in the past.


  • AOL bought Nullsoft a while ago. Nullsoft is the "company" that makes WinAMP.

  • This is a pretty good post -- at least it doesn't deserve OFFTOPIC. I found it relatively informative.
    I found the comment it was replying to was, uh, sub-optimal, though.


  • Even if it's a fake, MS and AOL have been increasingly unfriendly in recent days.

    Let 'em fight and finish off the winner, that's what I say...

  • These proposed strategies take advantage of known user habits (and although the memo is likely a fraud, I bet most of the items have some basis in truth).

    Most computer users use EXACTLY what the computer installation places in front of them. Most users NEVER remove items from the default desktop, generally thinking that they may be useful someday and they will not be able to find them. So, if you own the default desktop and the default app settings, you own the computer business of the user.

    Microsoft's .NET strategy is set to take advantage of this as well. Each six months or year you will need to update your .NET subscription for Microsoft's .NET services, like Microsoft Word and the operating system itself. They will take advantage of this at every step to push Microsoft and Microsoft only items, like MSN, like Microsoft Media player, etc...

    The sad thing is, as the computer age matures, AOL's business model only looks stronger. Everyone believes that they will always be paying for ISP service, the same way they pay for phone service, electrical service... This revenue model stands in contrast to Microsoft, most of whose software could be replaced out of the box with Free Software without loss in functionality (excepting compatibility). Microsoft is trying to save their future, and AOL will own the world. As if they didn't already.

    Unless Microsoft can break into the ISP market with substantial share, they will be reduced to a second tier player over the next decade.
  • They have a semi-monopoly over 'apple-ish' computers, but they have by no means a monopoly over computers/software/hardware in general, which is the issue at hand.
  • I'm not too sure about AOL, as I'm not a US citizen. But I just upgraded my RedHat 6.1 installation to a 7.1 installation. I just worked with new versions Gnome (sawfish) and KDE. I was stunned, this-is-cool-breathless, and I'm usually very low on complements. What I mean to say is that AOL might worry about this .NET strategy.

    The company I work for studies (among other techniques) the .NET technique. The things I hear, Microsoft is again playing on shiny/flashy tools (I heard they even washed cars at a seminar - clean-slate-policy). The .NET strategy is to persuade developers for using it in the first year (ie now) and after that, anything will be compatible with anything else.

    Storing your data at a site is another .NET strategy, but this has some practical problems:

    1. Non US citizens do not have easy access to broadband - you'll need this - ever seen the size of a Word document
    2. The average user is not as stupid as he looks like, he knows his documents are somewhere else, if security fails, then we might see the same effect which happened to creditcard payments over the net. People walk away.
    3. Other operating systems and windows managers like Gnome, KDE, Beos and Apple become userfriendly enough for them to become serious competitors

    I think Microsoft is taking on the rest of the world. I heard a lot of promises, but one chooses to upgrade from an Chinese prison to a new location in Alcatrez. People (average users) are getting sick of paying all the time. I think we have another desktop ware on our way.

  • .NET is still a vague concept to me, but one of the main guys behind it said that C# was analagous to Java the language, while .NET was analagous to Java the platform. I took that to mean the JVM and things like the EJB and Servelet standards.

    Developer View:
    .NET is the next generation of Microsoft's component technologies (COM, COM+, DCOM) which incorporates lessons learned from Java. COM is a technology that allows you to interact with components written in different languages transparently and is descended from OLE (Object Linking and Embedding which is the technology that was developed to allow being able to drag an Excel spreadsheet into a Word document) and . The languages that support COM are the Visual Studio languages as well as Object Pascal (Delphi). COM has its own binary format and while works almost transparently from Javascript, VB, and VBScript is a bitch to work with from C++. DCOM is the same as COM but it adds being able to do RPC (remote method invokation for the Java heads) from components irrespective of what language they are written in, kinda like CORBA without the ORBs.

    .NET simplifies this by having a Common Language Runtime which is analogous to the Java JVM. COMable languages simply compile to the CLR format instead of to assembly code or a weird binary format. So this should lead to the best of both worlds by giving you all the functionality you have come to expect from the Java platform with the added benefit of using languages other than Java (C++, C#, VB, Javascript, VBScript, Perl and a few others) and transparently interact with objects written in these languages. Because all .NET languages have access to the CLR they can utilize it to extend themselves, e.g. Visual C++ has "managed extensions" that allows for garbage collection via the CLR.

    The major goal is then to use this technology to build XML based web services.

    Marketting View:
    Microsoft .NET is Microsoft's XML Web services platform. This is the next generation of Internet computing, using XML to communicate among loosely coupled XML Web services that are collaborating to perform a particular task. Microsoft's .NET strategy delivers a software platform to build new .NET experiences, a programming model and tools to build and integrate XML Web services, and a set of programmable Web interfaces. []

  • > So why worry about all the other users. I just
    > worry about myself.

    Because, unfortunatly, other users choices affect me. I'm constantly sent MSExcel and MSWord documents that I end up viewing half-assed in Gnumeric and AbiWord. If I can't retrieve all the information I need out of the files with these tools, I'll have to pay $100s for MSWord and MSExcel, or be fired from my job.

    Without open data formats, each of the 6 billion people on this planet choices affect me.

    > A war between MS and AOL can only be benefical
    > to the end-user in the long run.

    Not true at all. A "war" could make them more protective of their technologies with such a major competitor after them. Look what AOL did with AIM, with the buffer overflow stuff.

    And if there is an all out war for the PC sector, this is definatly bad. It means there will be a single winner, with total control of everything.
  • So what if one company has complete control. They have NO CONTROL unless people use the product. If people use the product, its because they like it or desire the product.

    Uhhh, no. Most definatly not. People use the product because they have no choice. That's how corrupt monopolies operate. And what's worse is Microsoft is leveraging their present monopolies to gain new ones in other areas.

    The only long term fix is open APIs, open data formats, and so forth. Anything else and we're just all peons living under the communism of Microsoft or AOL. They have power absolute.

  • Is it just me or do the /. editors hate linking to The Register?

  • Well, I use WinAMP, for one thing. And used to use ICQ and AIM when i had time to chat (and intend to continue once i get more free time).

    However, this is about a larger issue.

    M$ wants to controls the means to deliver content, but short of M$-NBC, doesn't get into content itself.
    AOL, on the other hand, wants to control content. And given their general trend, <nomex underwear>I'd rather side with M$ in this fight </nomex underwear>

    There are a couple of reasons.
    For once, AOL actively promotes stupidity (I used their clients at various times - free 1 month IS backup - so I know :)
    AOL undermines the rest of Intenet structures - there's zillion examples, of which i'll only list Usenet AOL-ization and AIM incompatibility wars - but this all centers on "AOL ***is*** the Internet, dummy" mentality.
    Plus, they now own CNN, which I boycott for their anti-Israel pro-terrorist bias, never mind them being uber-leftist politically. Between Gates and Turner, I hate Turner a lot more.


  • Man, your karmapimp must be rolling in cash... ;)

  • I think we need a new name for these guys...just saying AOL or even AOL/TW is not evil enough. It's hard to even comprehend how much these guys have control over now. Hell, if they want they can spread the word through radio, television, internet news, magazines, and every other medium that XP is no good. While that in itself is the truth, the fact that they have the power to do so is frightening.
  • It may surprise you. Do you realize how many Slashdotters use windows? I'd bet it's more than half. Hell, there are probably as many using AOL as there are using Mozilla.
  • by stixman ( 119688 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @07:28AM (#243000) Homepage
    If AOL were to do a Linux distro most likely it wouldn't be recognizable as such. The user interface would be as easy as a set-top internet box, with lots of pretty colors. While undoubtedly hackable, it would almost certainly be geared to the complete newbie. I think this would be a good thing, in that while none of us would take it seriously, it would increase the market share of linux, and hence decrease MS market share. Tschüß,

  • Considering that MS really only wants to control your computer dollars, and AOL wants to control all of your entertainment dollars, I think you have less to lose if MS takes over the i-net than AOL.

    Couple that with the fact that MS can actually write resonable applications and AOL doesn't have that experience that gives another mark to MS.

    In the end it seems that the i-net will be ruled by one empire or the other and I'd rather side with a company that cares about high end users as well as the people at home who have trouble finding the power switch and will not dumb down the i-net for us.

  • Repeat after me: One size does not fit all. Why should an OS integrate an email client? What if I don't like that email client (or I'm worried about security issues)?
    Yeah, lord knows no other OS integrates an email app. Like BeOS...oh wait. It does. Well, it does too. Well, no Linux distribution would dare...wait, they all do. Well, the commercial UNIXes wouldn't....hold on, they all do too. Well, what do you know. Every major OS that ships these days comes with some form of email client.
  • I know of senior developers that boot up their computer, start emacs and don't know that there's anything else on their computer.
    Hell, I know some developers which boot up emacs.
  • This includes products which have absolutely nothing to do with "Web Services" and the like such as Exchange 2000
    HoLY SHIT. You've obviously never touched Exchange 2000.
  • You don't know what integrated means, do you? Ships with != integrated.
    Ok, explain to me the difference. Use as examples: MacOS, Solaris CDE, and Linux KDE. Use web browsing and email as your apps to explain to me the differences.
  • Hows about, for example, the IFS, which exposes itself, amoung other things, as a web interface? 5.5's OWA was a series of ASP pages. 2000's is a direct interface to the information store. Of course, that really bites when you want to deploy OWA on a different box... ;-)
  • Actually there is a ring of truth to what bubbha is saying. I can provide a little technical background.

    The Visual Basic language and runtime are historically single-threaded and event-driven. The Java language has been multithreaded from the start, yielding two distinct advantages for server programming:

    • it greatly simplifies concurrent processing
    • multithreading can leverage SMP

    The reason VB is not completely crippled by its lack of threads is a feature of COM known as a single-threaded apartment, or STA. This allows COM to marshal in-process requests to/from VB and other languages, even if the latter is multithreaded. Requests to an STA are queued on the Windows event queue, and are considerably slower than direct method invocations.

    To achieve concurrency with VB components, one usually must instantiate a pool of components, dispatching each request to an available component. Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) conveniently provides this capability. This is not without its drawbacks, for example separate VB components created this way cannot see each other's memory (or they would violate the single-threade constraint) so some other means is necessary to share state.

    It is my understanding that a future release of VB will be multithreaded. That's not surprising except that it has been a long time coming. Part of the difficulty may have to do with COM itself, which implements automatic resource management with reference counting. The main advantage of reference counting is simplicity. Among the drawbacks are performance problems, especially with multithreading (the increment/decrement operations must be atomic, which cannot be done cheaply on x86.) Compare with a tracing collector which is found in many JVM's and is very well suited to multithreading.

    I haven't yet studied Microsoft's CLR. It'll be interesting to see what they add to COM to get around its problems.

  • Did it ever occur to either Microsoft and AOL that I am perfectly happy with my present LAN connection, and one should be able to customize his computer without having to uninstall all the junk that comes with it? I won a laptop recently, and VOIDED my warranty by removing the 2 GIGS of OS extras and installing a consumer OS on it. I hope to a high degree that the AOL/MSN strife only occurs at the OEM level. If I ever need to upgrade an office full of W2K computers and then get notices from MIS that people are playing with MSN or AIM because they were installed by default, Linux is just a click away.
  • Bill Gates: What happen?
    Microsoft: Somebody set up us the WinXP.
    Microsoft: We get signal.
    Bill Gates: What!
    Microsoft: Product activation turn on.
    Bill Gates: It's You!!
    AOL/TW: How are you gentlemen!!
    AOL/TW: All your OEM are belong to us.
    Bill Gates: What you say!!
    AOL/TW: You have no chance to launch make your time.
    AOL/TW: Ha Ha Ha Ha....
    Bill Gates: Take off every ".NET"
    Bill Gates: You know what you doing.
    Bill Gates: Move ".NET"
    Bill Gates: For great profit.

    Sorry, it was just too good an opportunity to pass up...

  • Very good explaination from a programmer's view (or the point of view of Microsoft Developer Marketing).

    Note however that Microsoft is majorly confusing the marketing message. For example, while the developer's .NET hasn't shipped yet, MS is telling the systems people that they can deploy the ".NET Server Family" today. This includes products which have absolutely nothing to do with "Web Services" and the like such as Exchange 2000 (which was originally planned to be Exchange 98) and the new version of Proxy Server.

    On another front, Microsoft has started to call their MSN/Internet initiatves ".NET" too. Hotmail became a .NET product while it was still running BSD. This is where the hailstorm/passport strategy comes in, and what AOL obviously dislikes. Some of this might fall back on "web services", but lots of it is the same old MSN portal integration strategy.

    The term has also been applied to their software rental model.

    So, you can understand the confusion of the average slashdot reader. The term ".NET" is turning into a generic brandname for "Made By Microsoft". I'm trying to do myself a favor by calling the CLR "the CLR", and calling Web Services "SOAP components", and avoid the marketing morass as best as I can.
  • "Think Different" is a direct copyright infringement. However, that's exactly the kind of term that a marketing person would use.

    Of course, Apple came up with "Think Different" because they were trying to sell an incompatible product to the subset of the market that might like that. AOL can't afford to do that.

    I kinda like the idea that "assimilation" to describe Microsoft tactics has worked its way out of the Usenet/Slashdot advocacy lingo and into marketdroid speak. Probably too good to be true.
  • by MrBogus ( 173033 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @09:09AM (#243034)
    The XP screenshots I've seen all have little links such as "Buy Music" embedded directly into the Explorer.

    Ignore the confusing marketing message of NET/Hailstorm/Passport. Recall back to Windows 95 -- where Microsoft built the MSN interface directly into the OS GUI. From here, it looks like XP is just another attempt at doing that, just updated for the times.

    Microsoft can't grow with its current Windows/Office monopolies. That meanst they've been trying to do two things for some years now:

    1) Crack the server market
    2) Establish themselves as the consumer services (e-commerce) channel.

    The answer to your questions is that if MS is successful, both server products and Hailstorm will be very profitable. They are both equally important to MS's long term future. They don't have a much of a connection, though, except for the magical marketing term of ".NET".
  • The memo is obviously fake. I mean come on: "assimilation"? Only Slashdot hippies use phrases like that.

    And "Think Different" is probably a direct copyright infringement of Apple's ad campaign. The memo kinda looks like those fake "Survivor 2 memos" that went around before the show started ("Rodger is going to fall off a horse during a challenge").

  • I think you are wrong.

    My parents are complete computer novices. No idea how, or why anything works. They don't care. BUT they do know that alternatives exisit. They read the newspapers, and Time, and even Time Digital. They know that a thing called linux exists, the thier is an internet other than AOL. They just don't care.

    MS is powerful not because of ignorance, but because their software is Good Enough. I didnt say it was good, just good enouh. For the 90% of the public, its just plain fine. Its not too easy, not too hard, not too expensive, not too cheap, etc. Basically, MS survives and thrives because its the middle of the road in most things.

    And when and if my parents ever get bothered by MS, or the software, they can switch. It just won't be easy (Linux) or familiar (MacOS). And that's fine.

    But to say they don't have a choice, is simply not true. The alternatives exisit. MS isn't a monopoly, doesn't hold monopoly power over any segment/industry, and probably never again will. They don't control OS's, they don't control browsers, they don't control anything. You can live a completely MS free existence and be happy and free (if you want). I think what really really bothers most linux/gnu people that people know better software exisits, and just don't care. Go ahead, tel my 82 year old grandmother that a better, more free, more open e-mail client exisits. Know what she'll tell you? She'll ask "why should I switch when outlook express does everything I want?". It doesn't matter how much more open or free or non-restrictive Pine, or Mozilla Mail is.

    AOL can go ahead and look down the linux road, but they are going to have to offer something substantive to cause people to change from what they already use. Its going to have to be big. People want desktops (not silly web-enabled breadboxes which invariably pop-up and die) that do Internet and see's ALL sites (namely IE), they want it with broadband fast access, and they want it cheap. People want chat, and handy you've got mail alerts.

    None (or virtually none) of the AOL public cares about linux, or open source, or anything. So AOL is going to, in my opinion, have a seriously nasty time switching people to RedHat, Slackware, or Debian. Its just the way things are.

    So anyways, back on topic, and to answer your point - no, the technically "best" product almost never wins. Its not about being technically best. Its all about doing something useful, and the way people want it. So even if linux is the all-time most advanced, flexible OS in history, its completely useless if all people want is simplicity and a web-browser. And likewise, if AOL is repulsive to 10% of the hardcore computer users, who cares. The 90% who use it love it, and thats the way it is. AOL might not be the "best" ISP in the world, but it fills the needs of the masses better than anything else. And thats all that matters.

  • First off, I am a laissez-faire, extreme rightist believer. That being said, lets talk about a few things.

    I believe strongly that MS is not now a monopoly, in any market. I do believe that for a period they were a monopoly in a few key areas, but that they were displaced by key competitors.

    But in your example, you claim that a competitor has to be fully interoperable with current standards, basically, whatever MS sets forth (not standards in an RFC way, but rather, standard in what people really use).

    Are you suggesting that for MS not to be a monopoly a company has to create a 100% compatible product and therefore since MS hasnt release specs they are therefore a monopoly? I find that absurd, if thats what you meant to say (correct me, please, if I am wrong). But if that were true then if I made a product that was 100% incompatible with Office (my own file formats, my own encoding, fonts, everything) and gave it away (ala OpenOffice, AbiWord, etc) it wouldn't affect MS's supposed monopoly status? What if 99% of people switched to DansFreeOffice. Because its incompatible does that suddenely create a new market (ie MS Office compatible products & non-compatible products). That I just don't follow. If you could follow up on that, I'd apprecaite it.

    But anyways, back to what I know is true and clear. The TinyLimp company doesn't exisit per se, but it does exisit in terms of the Linux "movement". Every single product MS makes is imitated, replaced, better, or dispatched with by OSS types. You can run a completely open, completely free system that has 100% of the functionality of MS products. But I guess that doesn't count by your book (and the Sherman book?) unless its 100%-compatible with MS-non-standards.

    So besides all of that nastiness, I am going to explain to you why MS and AOL are not in anyway a monopoly in any percieved or real market.

    Alternatives - real viable honest-to-goodness ones exisit for every single MS and AOL product and service. There is no reason to use a single MS product except for laziness OR percieved value/perceived benefits. Go check out the fsf [] if you don't believe me. ITs not tomorrow, its not next year, its today. A 100% MS free computing environment is here, today, now. Same with AOL.

    Anyways, about your point, about market prices, you are incorrect. MS can not raise any prices, at all, without losing market share. Everytime MS raises prices, they face a loss in market share. Check out the lower-cost alternatives- ranging from commerical unices, to the of course free Linux, to the products from FreeBSD to NetBSD. And look at the numbers from NetCraft for confirmation. MS is not gaining marketshare as fast as Linux in the server market. Proof positive that their grip on the OS market isn't monopolistic in nature. Its infantile, if anything. As for desktop OS's, every day, more people use alternatives. Imagine if MS raised prices on Windows ME from ~$120 (about $60 for OEM's) to ~$360 (about ~$200 for OEMS). Try to predict the outcome? Do you think more people would switch to Linux? I do.

    Let me know what you think, I am interested in all aspects of the monopoly debate.
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Sunday May 06, 2001 @08:16AM (#243046)
    Okay, you are confusing things.

    HailStorm is the MS-centralized DB of stuff. Everything you say in your post is true about HailStorm.

    .NET though is much broader than HailStorm. HailStorm is like one tiny piece of .NET. I just read a whole shitload about .NET, and .NET is a set of servers, a set of tols, and a whole concept from MS (good or bad, lets not go there).

    HailStorm on the other hand is specifically exactly what you think .NET is.

    Do I have it right?
    Just curious, thanks for the information.
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Sunday May 06, 2001 @06:08AM (#243047)
    I agree. That's why end-users should exercise their power and choose not to us MS products or AOL products in any way.

    Its called choice. But you know what, most MS users actually like MS products. Thats right, they think they are pretty good. Its true. Same with AOL.

    We at slashdot moan about AOLTW and "M$" (thats really clever, btw) but the fact is, that the annonance of the problems with both companies isnt great enough to cause most people to switch.

    So why worry about all the other users. I just worry about myself. I don't use MS products heavily, so this won't affect me. Do you somehow think you are the guardian for the other lowly "end users"? Are you somehow better than them? Are you a more sophisticated user, ready to battle the earth finding injustice and delivering peace and happiness to the end users?

    Seriously, I watch out for myself, and choose not to use MS and AOLTW products. Thats my choice. I imagine you have made the same choice. But why force that on other people? Why would you and I worry about the conscious active choices that others make? Because they are different than yours or mine? It doesnt bother me to see others choose MS and choose AOL. Its a free country,and a free and open Internet. I am glad for them, if they find products they like at prices they are willing to pay.

    I guess I am overreacting, but I can't stand the whole miasma of slashdot elitism. It just reeks of a type of paternalism that should have ended years ago. MS and AOL users arent lower forms of life, they aren't "lusers" or retarded in intellect, they just want to find the easiest cheapest way to do what they want to do on the Internet. Thats its. And if thats with MS and AOL products, then bring on the war. A war between MS and AOL can only be benefical to the end-user in the long run.
  • I mean, a faked memo, is it really 'news for nerds'

    Well, the question is if unverified memo is news, or should we presume unverified memos as fake until proven otherwise? Of course, presuming all unverified memos as true is lunacy as well.

    I find that a lot of this is highly dependant on a person's choice of enemies, etc. Too often, if the unverified blurb is about someone that a person loves to hate, then it must be true. Of Course. and vice versa.

    It takes exceptional qualities to step outside the box in this regard, and suspend judgement on someone you hate; and to get all the facts, despite the FUD. The memo itself seems to be semi reasonable from the viewpoint of AOL, and I would not hold anything against them if it was true. MS should expect some people to be working against them.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • Maybe I'm naive, but I'd call that a minimum standard of intellectual honesty and fairness, not "exceptional."

    Looking at the typical behavior around here, especially from the college crowd, odds are that this would qualify you for the top 5 percent of the population. Never mind those who are less "well educated".

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @05:28AM (#243051) Journal
    This was reported [] in The Register on Saturday morning. The article there is good, and has all of the juicy bits of the story.

    Which is nice if Beta News gets Slashed. (all your hits are belong to us!)

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • Microsoft's (MS) new .Net strategy, coupled with the impending release of XP, presents a significant risk to the AOL franchise. By integrating and embedding traditional AOL functionality (e.g., email, IM, chat, wallet, calendar, address book, web browsing, content aggregation, media players, etc)

    why would an OS integrate email, IM, chat, calendar, address book, web browsing and media players? Poor AOL, I sure hope they loose that battle. Suddenly an OS is bad just because it integrates everything needed for the web in a user friendly environment? AOL will fail, their only option is to join forces with MS. But then again, AOL/TW/MS, they would be unstoppable.
  • by SlashGeek ( 192010 ) <> on Sunday May 06, 2001 @05:54AM (#243055)
    I realize that this "memo" is most likely fake. However, it really made me think; although the memo may be fake, the mentality behind it may not be so far from the truth. What truely bothers me is that, with so much at stake, to what lengths will AOL/M$ go to win? And, where will the battle be fought? My guess is that most of it will be fought on the desktop of every AOL/XP user in the world. For those who have ever had the unfortionate privledge of installing AOL, you are all but forced to install Realplayer, Flash players, and all kinds of other crap that you may not want. And if you're not careful about reading all of the "Ok" boxes and check boxes, you will end up with AOL as the default for just about everything except picking your nose. What I'm getting at is will AOL/M$ be batteling it out on users machines for control, and how much control over their own machines will users loose in the process? This doesn't seem very fair to the end user, who's desktop will ultimately become the battleground for corperate power.

  • by mrmag00 ( 200868 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @01:39PM (#243057) Journal
    1) Crack the server market

    Seems to me the IIS server market has been cracked quite successfully... *sigh*
  • Since Time/Warner owns AOL, would the Home Gardening Channel be the only one who could broadcast this without misrepresenting either side?

    Seriously though - I know of seniors who boot up their computer, connect to the internet via AOL and don't even know that there's anything else on their computer.

    AOL provides them with chatrooms, discussion groups, web-surfing, email, and they can even send pictures. When I showed a neighbour of mine how to use their CD burning software, they practically freaked! I was running something that she'd never seen before - she even claimed to a friend of hers that I was "hacking" something on her computer.

    If there is fear and loathing in the AOL/M$ land, it's going to be interesting...

    Personally, I use neither - although those AOL CDs make lovely, and attractive shiny objects for my inlaws to play with.

  • Well, the question is if unverified memo is news, or should we presume unverified memos as fake until proven otherwise? Of course, presuming all unverified memos as true is lunacy as well.

    I'd say that if you feel compelled to throw in phrases like "supposedly leaked" and "Even if the memo is fake," you might want to reconsider running the story at all. That goes double if you're Michael Sims and the story is bogus enough to jolt even your unusually low journalistic standards.

    I mean, it's one thing if the tip comes from someone like Eric Raymond who, bonehead though he may be, has a track record of receiving real information. But what the hell is Betanews?

    It takes exceptional qualities to step outside the box in this regard, and suspend judgement on someone you hate; and to get all the facts, despite the FUD.

    Maybe I'm naive, but I'd call that a minimum standard of intellectual honesty and fairness, not "exceptional."

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @06:22AM (#243065) Homepage Journal
    This is nothing new. Regardless of weather the memo is fake or legitimate, the article underscores the evolution of Microsoft's known corporate software policies.

    Windows 3.1 was provided as an add-on PC productivity tool. Windows 95 was introduced as the primary PC productivity enviroment. Windowd 98 and ME were the frst steps in OS based network integration of the consumer PC.

    Windows 3.1 cane with a few weak core apps and depended on 3rd parties for additional apps and services. With the advent on windows95, Bill realized that desktop realestate was a comodity to be sold and bartered with. Windows 98 and ME allowed for network integration which drematically increased the salable realestate using activeDesktop.

    Windoes XP gives Microsoft the opportunity to sell internet based 'realestate' which is of course infinately more expansive. If, however a service is available locally, users are far less likely to make use of a remotely hosted or ASP based service (or the .NET services). While it was at one point in Microsoft's interest to sell off desktop realestate, they have now discovered that if they prevent the sale of that realestate, they can sell other realestate much larger, although slightly further away (ASP based services).

    Again, this is nothing new. Microsoft realized that it is more profitable to sell extensive resources to users, than it is to sell pieces of a limited resource to vendors.


  • An AC wrote:

    > Buy apple...port MacOSX to intel (probably
    > in the lab anyhow)

    No need to. Apple has already ported Darwin, the open source base of OS X, to x86 and has released it for free. If Apple has any clue, they've already got Quartz and Aqua rigged to move over to x86 with a simple recompile. That's one of the beauties of Unix: portability. It lets them move rapidly in any direction they need to. The G4 chip is nice, but a little too rare for Apple's comfort. Since AOL already runs on Macs, they would only need to produce a carbonized version (it is already in beta now), and recompile it for whatever platform OS X wanders on to.

    Mothra: 1961-2001 -- Her heart can reach!
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @06:46AM (#243071) Homepage Journal
    This assumes that AOL could completely stall XP, rather than reduce its marketshare and allow an opportunity for alternatives to blossom.

    I think probably the best thing AOL could do, if they waged an all-out campaign against XP at a time when Microsoft are pushing XP exclusively (remember, the current marketing plan has XP replacing both the NT and DOS series') is open an opportunity for PC manufacturers to ship PCs with operating systems other than Windows, and to do so in response to genuine customer demand. "You mean I can't use my AOL account with XP? Well, give me a PC with Linux", that kind of thing.

    This requires AOL gets its house in order though and get their Linux, etc, clients working.

    Right now AOL is probably the only company with the wieght to effect Microsoft's ability to make XP a complete success. Personally, partially because XP is probably the slimiest product MS have ever released, but mostly because when I go into a computer shop, I want to see a choice of platforms and choice of different computers to be standard, not frowned upon, I hope they succeed.

    (None of this should be construed as meaning I either believe or disbelieve the memo this article is about)

  • AOL also has a couple of aces in the whole that Netscape lacked.: AOL has a significant inertia thanks to their subscriber base. It's a pain in the ass for most people to change their email addresses/aim screennames. I've seen this myself: my family just got AOL back home. Why? Partly it was because our local ISP service started to suck, multiple users was a nice free feature, and it would allow them to use AIM. AOL is proprietary enough (AIM, non-migratable screennames, etc.) to make it difficult for its users to move to other services.
    This is the key difference. The only thing about Netscape that was proprietary was their add-ons to HTML. But few sites used them and for the most part Netscape's proprietary stuff was just plain stupid (apart from the quickly cloned stuff like tables and frames). Did anybody say,"I'd use Internet Explorer [or Opera, or iCab, etc.] if only it would support <BLINK&gt"?

    Secondly, AOL TW has a bit more cash than Netscape and certainly has more clout. When it comes to lobbyists and spreading the dough around, AOL TW is worlds ahead of Microsoft. Do not lose sight of this: applications sell systems. A large number of buyers care about one thig: "Can I use AOL on this?" It's sad, but true. All AOL has to do to boost Mac sales is come out with an AOL client for OS X that has a super-killer feature that their Windows client implements poorly or not at all.

    I often wonder what would have happened had Lotus and WordPerfect embraced the Macintosh early on. I think that was their ultimate mistake. AOL will not make that mistake.

  • " open an opportunity for PC manufacturers to ship PCs with operating systems other than Windows, and to do so in response to genuine customer demand. "You mean I can't use my AOL account with XP? Well, give me a PC with Linux", that kind of thing."

    Um, XP doesn't have AOL so give me Linux instead? From a segment of the population that think AOL has been 'erased' when they accidentally delete the desktop icon?? I think you overestimate the intelligence of our average friendly AOL users... and why just not get Win2k instead, if XP won't be able to use AOL?

    Remember, both Microsoft's and AOL's strategies are to keep the end user as uneducated as possible... this makes it 'easier' for the user (less choices to customize and all...) and keeps them unaware of alternatives. Seeing a desktop in the store running Gnome with Enlightenment with all 'features' turned on would appeal to them (ohhh... shiney objects...), especially when sitting next to a winME/2k box with the comparatively bland Microsoft desktop.
  • by hyrdra ( 260687 ) on Sunday May 06, 2001 @05:36AM (#243078) Homepage Journal
    "6) Stall XP Adoption: Until AOL can develop an appropriate XP solution, message to AOL members and the public that XP is "not ready" for broad adoption (i.e., has bugs, will not run AOL, will not run your existing software, will violate your online privacy, etc...)"

    I especially like this one. Lying to consumers to get your product forwarded. I could just see a big Steve Case "Member Community Outreach" regarding the severe online privacy violations with XP, just after AOL parades you with ten sign-on ads and collects data on your web browsing (AOL "proxy") while moderating everything to hell.

    Everyone seems to think Microsoft is the worst corporate technology firm with devilish, underhanded practices, but this is just outrageous.
  • "Make a better product".

    I always find this so amazing about standard business practices these days - these execs will come up with every possible technique in the book to gain an advantage - except "make a better product". I can just picture all these middle aged execs in a huge boardroom worriedly trying to come up with ways in which they can gain market share, coming up with hundreds of suggestions (massive marketing campaigs, grassroots campaigns, FUD/spin campaigns, exclusivity deals, "strategic" partners, "make AOL the default" type technique etc) - yet not once during days of meetings will it cross the minds of even one of those execs to even consider building a better product. The closest they have there is "think different", which involves some development at least, but still places more emphasis on OEM partnerships. The saddest part of the whole thing is that they probably have to do this sort of thing just because most users are too clueless to choose the better product - number one reason people "choose" IE over NN has always been "it came installed with the computer".

  • Current Minimum OEM XP Integration Goals


    2) Place compatible AOL XP bundle client installer on the machine

    I wonder if they have considered the option to flood the entire free world with AOL cd's. The Coaster Producers Association wouldn't like it.

    8) Get "Designed for Microsoft Windows" logo program exemption for AOL. Microsoft pays the OEM significant rebates to have their software bundles compliant with Microsoft specifications. The AOL client will likely not meet Microsoft?s standards, resulting in OEM PC?s being out of compliance with the logo program and jeopardizing the rebates.

    So corp. A not only supports really scary policy of corp. B but wants to take advantage of it. This is the kind of stuff that makes it impossible to compete. Because of the kinds of margins the harware companies are dealing with and the kind of competition they face, they really have to go along with this stuff, or they are toast.

    How about free and open markets instead?

  • MS is powerful not because of ignorance, but because their software is Good Enough.

    But their software isn't "good enough". Among friends who aren't computer experts, many paid thousands of dollars for the Windows PCs and they end up gathering dust in a corner somewhere because they don't work (or, worse, computer expert friends get called in to fix the Microsoft messes).

    People buy Windows because marketing and market share tell them it's the thing to buy. Even though it, too, has problems, MacOS X probably would be a better choice, but people don't buy it because it costs extra and the benefit is not clearly obvious before the purchase.

    In fact, I think none of the desktop OSes is really "good enough" for non-expert use yet. But nobody is really interested in trying to create such a system because there is no money in it: either it doesn't catch on, or it gets cloned by Microsoft. And the open source software community hasn't been able to produce anything other than look-alikes of Windows and MacOS for their desktops either, copying most of the misfeatures of those systems.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl