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Gates Tries to Explain .Net 613

AdamBa writes "Speaking to financial analysts and reporters, Bill Gates admitted that .NET hadn't caught on as quickly as he had hoped. The headline ('Gates admits .NET a "misstep"') is a bit misleading; he doesn't think all of .NET was a misstep, just the My Services part (aka Hailstorm). He also said that labelling the current generation of enterprise products as .NET might have been 'premature.' Summary: Microsoft got too excited about locking in users via Hailstorm and botched the overall .NET message." There's also a Reuters report and a NYTimes story on the same subject, which includes the interesting line: "Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending." It isn't clear if Microsoft is talking about something happening beyond their control, or if they're boasting about ending it.
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Gates Tries to Explain .Net

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  • by SpanishInquisition ( 127269 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:00AM (#3951201) Homepage Journal
    When he does they become standards.
  • by FortKnox ( 169099 )
    He could be speaking of the end of open source in the business sense. Look at all the open source companies on the market. The market, itself, is getting hammered. Open source/linux companies are getting hit EXTRA hard (VA was hit >17% just yesterday).

    Also, .NET is a nice technology, and has wonderful features (which it should, seeing that it looked on other technologies that broke out, like Java, and improved upon it). And, they are even trying to crack open that "you can only run it on IIS", by attaching it to apache. I'm surprised, myself, how it isn't catching on quickly, but I'm sure the market is mostly to blame.
    • .NET (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Twister002 ( 537605 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:12AM (#3951302) Homepage
      I think when developers talk about .NET, we're talking about the .NET framework. Which does have many wonderful features and improvements to the languages (C#, VB.NET is a big improvement over VB 6.0), the ease of making web services. It's much easier to manipulate XML than in previous versions. In the developer community (at least the ones that make money by programming on the Windows platform) it is slowly gaining popularity and many web sites have converted over to ASP.NET.

      When the general public thinks about .NET, I think they are referring to the nebulous cloud of "web services" that Microsoft has alluded to, "Hailstorm", ".NET My Services", etc... Those still seem to be up in the air and not many people see the need for them.

      I don't think I'd pay Microsoft for a subscription to Word.NET when I can just keep using MS Word 2000 or OpenOffice 1.0, or AbiWord. I don't want to store my credit card info in my Passport (or liberty alliance or any other online identity service) account. Heck, I want the people in the checkout lane to ASK to see my ID when I hand them a credit card, I certainly don't want to hand over all the info that a thief needs to charge things to my credit card.

      • What web sites have converted? Could you give a few examples?
      • Then why I am seeing everyone is converting to Java in the last 2 years? No one is using .NET or planning to use it around. My firm tested it, tried to call some legacy activex controls and unmanaged C++ code, they of course rejected it after a biiiiiiig performance hit.
        I know lots of developers who shifted to Java from MS platforms though. :)
        .NET is new. Not tested, not trustable. Java existed 7 years ago. Why should I risk it? Why should I develop in .NET, just another VM based technology, but this time lock myself to Windows? I know that there will be other implementations of .NET, such as Mono on Linux, but those will not be cross platform compatible at all. Even they say it. One reason is that .NET's most important parts are not given to ECMA, such as WinForms and ADO.NET. Do not forget that. MS is still holding the patterns.
        etc. etc.
        .NET my BUTT. I will never use it.
        • Thank God someone finally has something good to say about Java. I've been developing java based solutions for the past 3 years and I honestly don't see any reason for this .Net crap. Seems like more and more people are moving their server side code over to Java and not looking back. But all you here is Java is dead. Maybe no one is using java on the client but Java seems to be surging forward on the server. Chris
          • I would have to disagree that Java is dead on the client. I think it suffered a major stroke with AWT and then again with the first versions of Swing.

            However with the release of 1.4, there have been vast improvements made on the client side (read GUI) that makes it much more viable as an option. The company I am currently with is designing an entire GUI with Swing and so far things have been very positive.

            On the server side, however, Java is king. There are very few "single" technologies that can do as much as smoothly as Java does. Yes you can do everything that Java does with other technologies, but using a single technology, Java owns this arena currently.

            .NET is new. People are suspicious of it. A large number of developers out there view it as a clone and say "why do we want it". .NET does give you less in the interoperability department (basically windows only) than J2EE does plus it still has to prove itself.

            Give .net a couple more years. It will either get a foothold or die. Personally, I hope it dies.

        • by slickwillie ( 34689 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:40AM (#3951531)
          Just say ".NYET!".
        • . . . PHP is also an excellent alternative to ASP.

          I read somewhere that PHP is the fastest growing scripting language on the web, and has already surpassed the popularity of the more mature ASP.

          Exellent development tools available for Java make it a good choice for some bigger web projects, but the downside is that the cost of setting up a server. Not too many people offer virtual hosting for java. You pretty much need your own server with root access to set things up.

          For smaller projects you can get a domain name, virtual host with PHP, and mySQL for about $20 US per month.

          Of course you can design and test both technologies on your free OS, with your free web server, with your free database.

          So why is anybody switching to .NET?
    • He could be speaking of the end of open source in the business sense.

      Where in the article did it mention him indicating the end of Open Source? The warning statement was about the end of "Open Computing," and I believe he was referring to Digital Rights Management and other cryptographic technologies being built into the hardware and operating system. Personally, I find this concept MORE frightening than ending Open Source, but he's doing nothing more here than repeating what all of the big corporate conglomerates (RIAA, etc) have been trying to convince us of. Sad really. As much as I don't like Mr. Gates, I would have hoped that the geek in him wouldn't have caved so quickly.

  • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:04AM (#3951228)
    Wouldn't that truly be one of the travisties of humanity? Ending the Information Revolution by returning to where we were before it... Let us just hope and act in such a way that this does not come to pass.
    • The information age seems to have run amok.


      My parents are on vacation in france. They have web based email accounts. One of the hotels they stayed at happened to have internet access. So they sent me (and my grandparents) and email stating that they were having a good time. They did this a few times, until they went on to the next hotel that had no internet access.

      My grandmother, who just learned how to use email, has decided that something HORRIBLE has happened to them because they havent sent an email report in 3 days. She is now convinced they are dead, or something stupid.

      If I dont have my cell phone with me one day (or god forbid I TURN IT OFF when I go to a movie), I am assumed to be dead by my family because they cant contact me.

      I would seriously consider dropping my cell phone plan - except it DOES have its uses. I think it would do the world a bit of good to drop the "Information Revolution" back a few notches. Dropping all the way back to pre-information age technology wouldnt be good. But I think people are taking some of this stuff too far.
      • I actually have no cell phone, and am actively opposed to having one. There's no need for everyone in the world be able to bother me whenever they want to.

        There's a difference between free sharing of information and unwanted information being shoved at you or your information that you DON'T share being taken.
        • When the kids' last sitter graduated and went off to college, we got a beeper. They were too old to break in a new sitter, old enough to stay home alone when we have enough neighbors around that we are friends with, but a little lacking in the self-confidence to be home alone. The beeper supplied the necessary confidence. It turned out to be quite useful, sometimes for simple conveyance of binary information, as in beep me once for this, beep a second time if you really want me to call.

          The beeper died, and for about the same price (up-front and monthly, both) we got a pay-by-the minute cellphone. Nobody knows the number but the kids, and occasionally it's just plain handy.

          But it is so constrained as to not be an annoyance. Choose the technology you accept, and think about the uses you make of it.
    • by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@snk[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:31AM (#3951468) Journal
      Gates indicated that the company's software Promised Land will be a new version of its Windows operating system code-named Longhorn, which is still at least two years off.

      Don't we hear this story every few years, but with a different product's name? Before that it was Windows XP, and before that it was "Chicago/Windows 4.0/Win95" and before that it was DOS 6 and before that it was ...

      According to MSFT, the 'Promised Land of Computing' has always been waiting for us in their home just over the next ridge.

    • All your data are belong to us.

      Aside from a cutesy cultural reference, .NET and DRM offer the ultimate customer lock-in.

      It really annoys me how one can see a black lining to ANYTHING Microsoft does. It annoys me even more that historically, this attitude seems to be justified.
  • Free exchange of digital information (like Open Source Software) which defined personal computing (GNU did quite a bit of defining with gcc, emacs, &c) is ending?

    Sounds like FUD aimed at open source software -- particularly because he uses the term "open computing" :)

    On another note, my personal experience of .NET is that it seems to revolve around Visual Basic style API, buzzwords, and commercialism. I was thinking this morning that it seems like companies no longer have any interest in providing developer tools to people who develop for the sake of developing, but rather tools for rather poor coders working for large profiteering companies. It's a shame because it would have been so nice if it wasn't such garbage.
    • It's a shame because it would have been so nice if it wasn't such garbage.
      Yeah, and it's a shame because it would have been so nice if my desktop were a nice new IBM rackmount server.

      What you've just said is "It's all a bunch of hype, but it would have been nice if it weren't". Well, duh.

      But then again, apparently it's not all hype, else what would Ximian have to interact with? No... poorly implemented good ideas, that's .NET

  • Hmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by TibbonZero ( 571809 ) <> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:04AM (#3951235) Homepage Journal
    Guess they haven't had as good of a '.NET' gain on this as they expected...

  • by Zone5 ( 179243 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:04AM (#3951237)
    "The era of open computing is ending"

    You bet your ass it's ending because they're ending it. If the universal pushing of Passport, .Net, and Palladium haven't convinced you yet, you need to do a little reading.

    I am genuinely afraid of what personal computing will look like in ten years if Microsoft has their way, and I have never been too concerned in the past, so I am hardly an alarmist Microsoft conspiracy nut either.
    • by Melantha_Bacchae ( 232402 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:07PM (#3951743)
      Zone5 wrote:

      > I am genuinely afraid of what personal computing
      > will look like in ten years if Microsoft has
      > their way, and I have never been too concerned
      > in the past, so I am hardly an alarmist
      > Microsoft conspiracy nut either.

      You can see what it will look like now. Check out a Microsoft research project from the late 1990's called "Millennium": ni um/mgoals.html
      (Especially "What would such a system be like?")
      (Look under "Previous Projects".)

      Everything that Microsoft has revealed so far moves toward Millennium: .Net, Palladium, etc. They will ride DRM OS and the Hollings bill into becoming a legislated monopoly, if they can. If they can't, forced upgrades and closing the system while they still have 90+% of the desktop market might do it.

      There are two things in the way of Microsoft's thousand year rule:

      A heroic penguin keeping them from a server monopoly.

      A jaguar in an Apple tree looking at their vaporware (Longhorn) like it found its lunch.

      And a third:

      An angry god who isn't into being embraced or extended (gee, Toho gets ideas for these movies from the strangest places):

      Godzilla 2000, the Dreaded God! The battle for Earth's future has begun!
      The future Millenium threatens.
      Godzilla cannot be assimilated, by Millenium who would embrace, extend!
      (From my lyrics to Godzilla's theme from "Godzilla 2000 Millenium")

    • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:34PM (#3951949)
      Face it:

      People want open computing, otherwise we would all run Macs now.

      In the last 2 weeks I've installed Linux for 2 friends and yesterday I was called by another one who is no longer able to rip DVD-movies with Windows XP after he did an online-update. (Yes, he wants to try Linux, too after this "experience".)

      Pirated music, movies and software is what keeps the whole computer-thing going at home. Or do you really think that granny is going to shell out 400$ for MS Office to write 2 letter/month?

      If you take that away, you immediately lock out the vast majority of home users which will accept great pain and suffering to escape (and switching over to Linux is not as hard as it used to be. But even if it was, that would not matter because a DRM-computer would be useless for most home users.)

      Palladium and universal DRM are just not going to happen in a free market.

      Of course semi-democracies like the US might force it by law, but just like Alcohol-prohibition, it won't last very long and nobody would care about it anyway. (Actually alcohol-prohibition reduced alcohol consumption only in the first 2 years while the market adapted. Then because of harder drinks (= easier to smuggle) and more aggressive distribution (no more youth protection) the alcohol consumption per head was much higher at the end of prohibition than at the start.)

      Millions of users currently don't care about copyright, why should they care wether DRM is mandatory or not?

    • You're assuming people will actually buy this DRM hardware, which they won't. Do you actually think any of the Asian mobo manufacturers will actually consider U.S. legislation, ordering manufacturers something to the tune of
      "All Your Hardware Designs are Belong To Bill's DRM Strategy and .NET"

      The whole idea of software copyrights went over really will in China (cough).

      "The era of open computing is ending"
      And who has the power to end it? MS + RIAA + US Govt? ROFL.

      Try again Billy Boy!
      All MS is doing is pushing people to OS alternatives. If all the linux minds could just get together and follow a unified Desktop strategy, the alternative would be crystal clear.

  • by pgpckt ( 312866 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:05AM (#3951243) Homepage Journal

    According to the CNN article, Gates has gone with a report card scheme to give his company a "C" rating (for non-americans, grades can be A,B,C,D, or F (no E), and C is "average").

    I guess it is nice to see a top Microsoft exec give a realistic review of the company. I wonder if the corperate scandles of late have anything to do with this unusual honesty? Perhaps Gates feared if he gave too rosey a picture, stock holders would be skeptical.

    I think if we were really honest with ourselves, we would rate Linux at around the same score (perhaps C+). It is good to see our main competitor admit that we are on a level playing field :)
    • Giving the company an 'A' would give a distinct impression of no room for improvement. The honesty of not giving 100% also helps with the credibility of the proceeding sentences.
    • C is supposed to be average, but if you look at most schools in the US you will see that the average grade tends to be a bit higher. If you look at a 4 point scale, a C is a 2.0, and I'm pretty sure there are more people above a 2.0 than below it. A steady 2.0 is barely enough to keep you in most universities!
    • I think if we were really honest with ourselves, we would rate Linux at around the same score (perhaps C+). It is good to see our main competitor admit that we are on a level playing field :)

      You're comparing an operating system to a company?
    • by pauls2272 ( 580109 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:49AM (#3951602)
      Hmm, I thought he gave them a C#...
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at.> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:05AM (#3951246) Journal
    when you said, 'These two systems have to connect. Bring in 200 consultants at $200 an hour,' are over."

    One dollar an hour per consultant? I guess I know how much a MCSE certificate is worth nowadays. Hell, cheaper than temps, though.

  • heh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:06AM (#3951251)
    "Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending."


    I'm warezing .NET right now.


  • Marketing to blame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glh ( 14273 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:07AM (#3951256) Homepage Journal
    I think the main problem with .NET is the marketing. .NET means somethind different to just about everyone.. To me as a developer it means the new development tools (ASP.NET, VB.NET, C#, Web Services). I definitely don't think that was a misstep- it is 100x better than its predecessor (COM). However, I think branding hailstorm and all the new version of the enterprise servers as .NET was a mistake. MS was trying to put everything under the .NET umbrella, but since some of those products/concepts have failed (ie hailstorm) it is now going to paint all things .NET in a negative light especially to people who aren't totally familiar with it. I hope they learn the lesson. I can remember visiting the web site several times that talks about what .NET is, and seeing it change about every month :)

    • I was gonna say the exact same thing ... I don't give a crap about new servers, passport, hailstorm, some crap about web services (I mean INTERNET web services, business to consumer. I think that is hype, hype, hype... all the USEFUL web service stuff I've seen is between different units of the same business in different locations).

      That said .NET/ASP+ rocks... I just wish we could stop buying into the Oracle hype/money machine where I work and actually use it. This is completely offtopic, but would someone tell me what, exactly is the point of going with a completely propietary Java/JSP solution by tying yourselves to Oracles tools so completely? Why not use JBOSS/Linux or even JBOSS on the Sun machines they already have? Your taxpayer dollars are paying good money to port from one completely propietary platform (2k/ASP) to another (ORACLE/SUN). The only difference? The latter costs more.
      • " Your taxpayer dollars are paying good money to port from one completely propietary platform (2k/ASP) to another (ORACLE/SUN). The only difference? The latter costs more."

        In my experience, the answer to this is _performance_ and _reliability_ wich you don't get winth 2k/asp.
      • by pmz ( 462998 )
        Your taxpayer dollars are paying good money to port from one completely propietary platform (2k/ASP) to another (ORACLE/SUN). The only difference? The latter costs more.

        This is a bit trollish. Oracle on Sun offers tremendous flexibility, it can be extemely reliable, and it is much simpler to administer well. Conversely, I've seen Oracle on Windows NT, and it was an embarassing travesty.

        I really wish people who see only up-front costs would take off their blinders and have just a little insight into the future. UNIX, believe it or not, is still cheaper in the long-term than Windows, and going with non-Microsoft applications may actually reduce risk. Perhaps this is a good thing for the taxpayers?

        Microsoft has been very successful at making people put all their eggs in one basket and at providing an operating system that requires what seems to be a one-to-one ratio between administrators and computers. Is this really what you want?
    • by zero_offset ( 200586 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:36AM (#3951509) Homepage
      I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see other people have figured this out. Microsoft marketing might be good at pushing individual products or tightly-coupled suites like Office, but when it comes to selling technologies, they suck badly. When I was beta testing and saw the "services" hype machine gearing up, I wanted to pull my hair out. It's as if a Ferrari salesman chooses to focus on the stereo exclusively. Yes, it's present and useful and some people will be very excited about it, but it ignores a vast array of other more important things, more compelling reasons to invest some effort into this.

      During the beta I thought this might be just a smoke screen to keep the DOJ from looking at it too closely. After all, proper exploitation of the CLR should allow them to eventually run Windows on other hardware, or maybe even as a full replacement GUI/pseudo-OS layer on other OSes. However, this stupid murky message has persisted, so now I think it's just marketing incompetence.

      Recall that MS marketing almost tanked the previous generation of MS technology with that stupid DNA bullshit. I remember YEARS went by before even many developers understood what DNA actually was -- a set of useful discrete but interoperable products which were related but were not "one big thing".

      .NET itself is an excellent move for Microsoft, and since virtually everybody uses Microsoft products, it could eventually be a great thing for Windows users too (although if properly used/implemented, they probably won't know it's being used, which is fine).

      I just hope BillG gets his heads out of the clouds long enough to pinpoint the problem, execute the market droids responsible for the mess, and make a cleaner, more digestible push to the people who really need to understand it -- the development community.

      Oh yes, and one other point -- the size of the framework may prove to be a sticking point. It's pretty big, so unless you're selling CD-based traditional software, it'll be a hard sell for quite some time. But even the typical /. anti-MS flame-belching troll should at least recognize that MS is smart enough to have accomodated that in their planning.

      • by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:44AM (#3951566) Homepage
        Unfortunatly, this is how the IT industry works (or has worked). I guess all marketing departments do this to an extent, but IT is really the worst.

        A. Promise the moon, to be delivered within two years
        B. Spend 6 months talking about the Moon, but never really getting into details beyond buzzwords.
        B2. If new and interesting technology comes along within those 6 months claim the Moon will contain it as well
        C. Come out with alpha software (Moon v.1 Preview) that has little functionality built in but looks nice
        D. Slip schedule ('We're adding new and exciting features')
        E..Y Wait
        Z. Deliver something that could quite possibly be useful and innovative, but deliveres about 1/10th of the orig. promise.
    • by tshak ( 173364 )
      I'm in the same boat as you. .NET is stupid. Hailstorm that is. Windows .NET server makes a little bit of sense, but the concept of naming it .NET is kind of stupid as well. .NET as a technology is great. It's not perfect, but for a 1.0 (and an MS 1.0 at that!) it's incredible.

      What's interesting is that it's not just PHB's that don't understand this issue, many developers don't either - especially those in the Java camp. They see headlines like this and say, "MS's java copy failed LOL!".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Wouldn't it be great if there were something exactly like the Internet, except that we owned it?"

    -- Paraphrased from Clay Shirkey
  • by Wind_Walker ( 83965 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:08AM (#3951264) Homepage Journal
    CNN [] also has a story about Gates' .NET evaulation, and it says he gives is a 'C'.

    I wonder how he grades the Xbox, with its horrific launch in Japan (still haven't sold through their initial 250,000 shipment), terrible software sales rate (less than 2 per console sold), and overall terrible showing at E3. He'd probably give it a 'C+', or maybe a 'C#'.

    • Did anyone ever expect it to do well right off the bat in Japan? I certainly didn't. With the PS2, it has incredibly strong & deep-rooted competition there, it'll take a long time to catch on.

      MS has said from the beginning that their plan for the X-box is very long-term... I doubt they were expecting initial results other than what they have now.
    • Re:CNN has a story (Score:3, Informative)

      by javilon ( 99157 )
      I guess he would give it an 'A' after the Xbox breaks US sales records [].

      They are very persistent and have lots of money. Do not understimate them.
      • The real story for the XBox will be can it be the only console in gaming history to be sucessful and survive as a respected gaming platform in only 1 of the major 3 gaming markets.

        -- US --

        XBox has managed to take to number 2 slot in this market, although closely followed by the GameCube.

        -- Europe --

        Recent figures show XBox has only managed to sell 500,000 units throughout the entire EU.

        GameCube has managed 800,000 in a much shorter time period.

        -- Japan --

        In the most recent weekly sales period, XBox sold 2,400 units, PS2 90,000, GC 27,000.

        With the Japanese developers quickly jumping ship on the XBox, its future is bleak at best.
  • by Stoutlimb ( 143245 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:09AM (#3951276)
    And Bill Gates knows it! He probably just had a business meeting with his emplo^H^H^H^H^Hcongressmen, and gave them a big fat bonus and new marching orders. When people this important make statements like this, either they're completely deluded about what's really going on in the world, or they're the ones who are trying very hard to bring such predictions about.
  • by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:09AM (#3951280) Homepage
    ... because this quote is dopey no matter who said it:
    Jim Allchin, one of the company's top vice presidents, acknowledged the shift in focus in the industry from personal computers to plumbing, and bemoaned the difficulty of getting Microsoft's traditional consumers to care about its new vision.
    Well gee, Jim, you have it a bit backwards don't you. Shouldn't the company care about its customers' vision? I mean, if Porsche designed a kick ass lawmower -- I mean a innovative leap in lawnmower technology -- would you expect Porsche's traditional to care about Porsche's new vision?
    • The point of being in business (for a lot of companies) is to sell things. If you can't convince the consumer that your product is the end-all-be-all product to end their computer woes and clear up psoriasis, then you are doomed to fail.

      Modern business doesn't wait for the customer to come to them - it goes to the customer and pushes it's products. This action is the product of competition. You absolutely have to outdo your competition in order to survive and grow.

      Modern business can't play nice because nice guys finish second, if not last.
      • I'm not disagreeing with that, but when you are changing markets (or branching out into new ones) its a bit arrogant to think that the folks that bought other stuff from you are going to jump joy. As I has said in the parent post, just because Porsche makes a kick ass lawnmower doesn't mean that Porsche owners are going to want it.

        Or a better analogy: if a fine furniture manufacturer decided to get into the piping and plumbing business then they better not rest their fortunes on selling piping and plumbing to all of their furniture clients. You may get a few, but if you go into the piping and plumbing business then you're better off selling to plumbers than going around to everyone who bought an chest-of-drawers trying to get them excited about U bends.
    • nail on the head (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mblase ( 200735 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:32PM (#3951928)
      Shouldn't the company care about its customers' vision?

      Some columnist recently pointed out that Apple achieved in one stroke everything MS is trying to achieve with .NET, by announcing iCal [] and iSync [] last week at MacWorld. Those two programs allow users of Mac OS X Jaguar to connect their PDAs, cell phones and desktop PIM software to a single database and publish them on the Internet, connect with the calendars of others, and resolve conflicts between the two.

      In other words, while Microsoft spent two years talking about Web services and technologies, Apple quietly went about actually building them into a program its users will want to use. MS has been announcing and releasing software for other people to build these Web applications, but Apple decided to lead by example instead.

      No doubt the next release of Windows will include similar features, and of course they'll be more widely used than Apple's. But just think what might be happening right now if Microsoft had spent as much time creating Web applications for Windows XP as they did promoting them.

      If a person could synchronize their PocketPC to their MSN account and Outlook at the same time, then reconcile with all their coworkers' calendars and documents, without having to do anything more than press a button, Microsoft wouldn't need subscriptions to sell the next version of Office or Windows. Instead they settled for getting halfway there so that they could sell more copies of Exchange Server and keep PocketPCs as expensive as humanly possible.
  • I think that part of the problem here is that .NET is this amorphous thing that MS has been pushing, without ever actually explaining. Sure we know what passport is, but that's one concrete part of...


    What is .NET?

    Why should we care about it?
  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:12AM (#3951300) Homepage
    MS believed that the way to avoid the problem of .COM's going under was to name their product .NET. I mean who's ever heard of a .net going under? Or the .net bubble burst? Clearly by naming their product .net, they would avoid all the problems the .com's had.
    • "I mean who's ever heard of a .net going under?"

      Worldcom. :-)
    • You know, that honestly makes me wonder if a couple of years ago some MS exec had the great idea to name the next generation of COM (the component object model) "dot-COM" to capitalize on the buzzword.

      Then, when the bubble burst and it all collapsed, I can imagine a hurried meeting in Gates's or Ballmer's office, and someone shouting out, "I know! Let's just change the name to dot NET!"

      And the rest, as they say, is history.

  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:12AM (#3951301) Journal
    "Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending."

    That will happen when they pry the webserver out of my dead hands.

    Seriously, what is going to happen? MSN will supply all the content for the world? I doubt it. forever, and I suggest you do the same.
    • What will happen is this: All IE browsers will only load pages from "trusted" servers. You can only have a "trusted" server with Microsoft's blessing, specifically if it runs IIS. You can keep your webserver, because 95% of the computer market won't be able to see your pages anyway, or at the very least will get a warning that contains the word "illegal" at least once.

      It's all about making your security holes work for you.
  • Even if .NET is a step forward, many business probably face the same problems our company and customers are facing. With all the belt tightening going around, implementing a new platform and retraining a bunch of employees is just out of the question.
  • free exchange? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:14AM (#3951317)
    Well, I think we should see the writing on the wall for this one. No large monopolistic corporation can make good enough money on a free (as in Paul Revere) internet, so they are trying to divvy it up with proprietary systems and protocols to impose artificial monopolies.

    Big companies may be able to undercut the competition at first, but the total cost of ownership will hurt you in the end.
  • At least he admits that things didn't go well. I get sick of hearing about people saying how great their company is doing (or George Bush saying how great the economy is), when everyone knows it isn't true. I am happy that they can openly admit something didn't work out as well as they planned instead of faking results or whatever it is that everyone else seems to be doing these days.
    • Amen to that!

      I am tired of every time any MS related news comes out the posts turn into a Bill Gates Lynch Mob. I do not like everything microsoft does. I am an avid linux user. I support open software (through use, as well as through funds). This being said, Microsoft and bill gates are not the Anti-Christ.. It is possible to support linux and not hate MS. I agree with Penya in saying that in a time when company after company is going under and facing prosecution for hiding this type information, Bill had the huevos to stand up and admit a mistake. I hope more companies see this example and take this approach.

  • open source computing is ending, I wouldn't have known it otherwise. Now I can finally get on with replacing my free, open source applications with commercial offerings. Thank you Bill!
  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:17AM (#3951342) Homepage
    • Gates also acknowledged that confusion still reigns about .NET's very definition.
    Good -- they understand one problem. People can perhaps point to the CLR and assoicated libraries, but .NET has been touted as much more than that, especially to non-techies.
    • On Wednesday, he hammered home a new definition: "software to connect information, people, systems and services."
    Unfortunately, this definition doesn't help at all. Pretty much all internet-based software does this.
    • software to connect information, people, systems and services
      That's not a definition, that's a mission statement. And like all mission statements I've ever seen, it's generalized (in the specific rhetorical sense) to the point of meaninglessness, and therefore, uselessness.

      Microsoft, I mock in your general direction. With all that money, you can't find higher-calibre copywriting talent than that?! (Actually, having seen some of their press releases and other "marketing collateral," I now know that software isn't all Microsoft does badly.)
    • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:01PM (#3951705) Homepage Journal
      How about "software to connect your income to our bottom line."
    • "software to connect information, people, systems and services."

      Unfortunately, this definition doesn't help at all. Pretty much all internet-based software does this.

      Pretty much all software does this. He could have said "Software that fetches, decodes, and executes." and been just as helpful.

  • Wherever "open computing" survives will become the dominant cultural force of the next century.

    The United States is in a position to maintain cultural hegemony over the whole world - if we don't kill the free exchange of culture in order to make a quick buck.

    If we do, I predict, within a couple of generations, that other parts of the world will have outpaced us. Killing open computing will destroy our best way-out of the recent doldrums in popular movies and music.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:20AM (#3951373) Homepage Journal
    I am only worried about the goverment making Palladium the LAW. We need to tell the our goverment that.
    1. You can not take away our freedoms.
    2. we do not gives a rats ass about the Record companies.
    3. We do give a rats ass about us.
    The software compaines do not want DRM. Get talking to your reps.
  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:20AM (#3951376) Homepage
    Does anyone know whether Gates was wearing ruby slippers when he made the above statement?

  • Oh thank god... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by da3dAlus ( 20553 ) <dustin,grau&gmail,com> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:27AM (#3951422) Homepage Journal
    I thought I was the only one who didn't get the whole .NET thing. Since that hype machine started up last year, I heard so many things from other programmers (who love MS products) talking about VB.NET and other .NET applications. I repeatedly asked them, what's the difference between the old environment and the new one, or simply what good is it all. Never have I recieved a clear answer of what it is, how it works, or what good it is. I'm not saying anything bad (or even good) about the whole .NET thing, I'm just saying that I've never heard a compelling argument from anyone who seems to fully understand it all. I think that right there proves that the idea didn't catch on.
  • Open computing will be just fine. The genie will not go back in the bottle. Worried about Palladium? Now seriously, how long do you think it will be before there's a code work around for that? If I'm building a box am I going to include a Palladium component. My ass....

    "Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending."

    This is Microsoft wishful thinking. M$ is full of shit and always has been.

    The system, the superior one, will always reign supreme. (except for maybe beta).
    • "If I'm building a box, am I going ot include a Palladium component"

      Well, that sounds good until a couple years from now where your video card is getting really doggy, and the CPU's that are available are 4 times faster than what you've got, and no one is using CD-r's anymore, and the 27GB blue disc DVD's are looking nice and cheap.

      If Palladium passes and they enforced making the sale of non-Palladium hardware illegal... then all the companies will start making Palladium compliant hard ware. Sure, you can find hardware form the pre-Palladium days, but every year, those will seem so slow, it won't be worth it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Worth every penny. Darwin is sweet and it's by far the best user interface available. Dont get me wrong, I like Windows and Linux. They just dont compare in ease of use.

    Now if Apple could only figure out that they need to lower the prices to decent levels. Just like DELL you can make as much profit on volume as gouging your customer-base.
  • by Vicegrip ( 82853 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:37AM (#3951515) Journal
    There are two main potential .NET targets:
    1. Companies who have not yet started to deploy solutions using J2EE or Java and are trying to decide which to use: Java or .NET
    2. Companies who have a need for some software that is only as a .NET application.

    I won't address issues involving getting companies to deploy the .NET environment to their PCs... Microsoft is most likely going to have to force people-- which may not be popular.

    a1. If you already have a substantial investment in software written in anything but a .NET language, chances are you aren't very motivated to switch paradigms.
    a1. Regardless of how you view .NET the fact is java has been here for quite a while and has a good following. I have yet to meet a serious java developer who has any interest in .NET
    a1. Regardless of all the claims Microsoft makes about C#/.NET maturity, nobody in their right mind is going to bet the company on a new MS platform just because the pay-for-plundits say it's sexy. .NET has to earn the industry's trust-- not an easy hill to climb these days.
    a2. There is little imperative to adopt something for which there are no major none-Microsoft commercial offerings.
    a2. Either way, I suspect difficult part of the sell for .NET is in convincing CEOs that they aren't further limiting their licensing choices and options in order to adopt something they just don't need-- at least not yet. The wait-and-see approach is a tried and true paradigm with respect to version 1.0 software from Microsoft.

    Personally, I find it hard to get excited about something from a company whose major call to fame these days is the latest way it is reaming its customers.
    • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:42PM (#3951999) Homepage
      Sorry if I sound like MS drone, but I have to contest your "+5 insightful" assertions.

      a1. If you already have a substantial investment in software written in anything but a .NET language, chances are you aren't very motivated to switch paradigms.
      This could be said with J2EE as well. We had a ton of Cold Fusion, PHP, and ASP/COM that we wanted to consolidate into one platform so we could reuse code accross applications. J2EE and .NET are the best candidates for this scenario.

      I have yet to meet a serious java developer who has any interest in .NET

      Again, this can be said for any set of competing languages. I could also say, "I have yet to meet a serious VB developer who does not have a huge interest in .NET".

      Regardless of all the claims Microsoft makes about C#/.NET maturity, nobody in their right mind is going to bet the company on a new MS platform...

      This is pure speculation. Sure, it sounds nice to say on /., but we're supposed to be scientists not religious zealots. Do the research (I'm not going to spoon feed it to you) and you'll find that you're wrong very quickly. One quick example, Verizon's entire customer service system (one of the biggest in the world) has been running .NET since it was in Beta. Ask anyone with solid .NET experience and they'll tell you that Beta 2 of .NET was more mature then Java was when it was released. It is much more mature then you think.

      There is little imperative to adopt something for which there are no major none-Microsoft commercial offerings.

      Unless you have no problems running on a Microsoft platoform, which many do not. Again, look at all of the ".asp" sites out there. The vast majority are NOT running on Chillisoft, and are probably looking to migrate to .NET within the next year or so (source: Gartner... grain of salt applied).

      The wait-and-see approach is a tried and true paradigm with respect to version 1.0 software from Microsoft.

      For larger and less technically ambitious companies I'd have to agree. However, for smaller companies who need to get away from ASP/COM, Cold Fusion, or even PHP, .NET is a viable solution, as is J2EE. I believe that they are both great competitors. Really, "Web Applications" are moving away from little scripting engines towards compiled, OO, strongly-typed languages. The only serious offerings are J2EE and .NET. I think the competition is great, and will only make our lives as developers better as both technologies get better.
      • You're welcome to your speculations as well-- we'll see in a couple years or so.

        I *have* researched .NET for my company's needs and I've taken the time to go to Microsoft presentations as well.

        In essence, the major conclusion I drew is that much of our existing code and designs were not useable in .NET-- ADO.NET, for example, can only be used by managed code applications.

        It is apparent to me that .NET is largely just a new version of COM with all the old guts hidden under a new application management layer and runtime. It has advantages that only present themselves if you totally embrace the new paradigm-- a major pain if you use anything other than Windows in your enterprise.

        More details: Existing code written as a COM object interacts through essentially yet another marshalling layer to talk to managed code. Plain win32 native code does this too, even though the visual studio IDE hides much of this. The only native code I've seen that works well when ported to managed environments are Microsoft code samples.

        You mention VB programmers; this is appropriate. This is because they are the only ones who have an advantage to switching right now as VB in it's current state is a waste land of OCX controls of exponential flavors and versions that seem to only ever be good at leaking memory.

        So your company is going to toss away all its PHP, Cold Fusion, ASP/COM code... interesting setup they must have .... and find that magic bullet to fix its problems. To be honest, judging by that little list, I'd say your company has a need for consistency more than anything else. .NET will evolve and change-- do you want to bet your job on Microsoft not forgetting its early adopters?
  • by ehiris ( 214677 )
    Who Cares? []
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:43AM (#3951555)
    "There's also a Reuters report and a NYTimes story on the same subject, which includes the interesting line: "Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending." It isn't clear if Microsoft is talking about something happening beyond their control, or if they're boasting about ending it."

    It seems clear enough to me. Microsoft and the entertainment industry are in bed together. Both have something to gain from DRM.

    The entertainment industry can stop music and movie pirating, take away our fair use rights and set the stage for a future market. That market being the sale of digital video and music which will be streamed directly to hardware. It is important to the entertainment industry that we are not allowed to record the digital data because once recorded we, as individuals, could illegally swap the files with others. Obviously, that would greatly reduce the incentive to pay again and again for the privilege of having the entertainment industry stream it to us. So say good-by to your fair use rights.

    Microsoft has a lot to gain here also, on an entirely different front. They are fighting for their Corporate lives against a foe unlike any they have had to deal with before. Linux can not be made to go bankrupt, it cannot be sued into oblivion and it is steadily gaining popularity. How can Microsoft deal with this specter of doom? They must use any weapon available to them.

    1. FUD. Yep, good ol' fear, uncertainty and doubt has always helped Microsoft in the past. It hasn't worked very well against Linux because their FUD has been too transparent. People just weren't buying it. They need a more complex strategy.

    2. The Law. Make open source illegal. Hmmm... I'm sure they thought about that one... but how?

    How about using FUD, a grain of truth to paint open source users as pirates, thieves and other assorted forms of lower life. Then join together with the entertainment industry to buy a senator like say.... SENATOR HOLLINGS FROM SC. And have him draft legislation that will ram DRM down our throats.

    One all hardware is DRM enabled, only the entertainment industries bed partner will be allowed to receive digital data that will be streamed by this industry. Microsoft will do it's part to ensure that as few applications as possible will be allowed to run on Linux and have access to this new market. Definitely not open source. Thus they prevent competition. Typical strategy for Microsoft. Being afraid of competition they don't go head to head unless they can ensure themselves an advantage.
    • Microsoft and the entertainment industry are in bed together

      And they're making the ugliest kid I've ever seen
  • by akiy ( 56302 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:43AM (#3951556) Homepage
    A net, by defition, is full of holes...
  • What is .NET?????? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zspdude ( 531908 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:48AM (#3951595) Homepage
    On Wednesday, he hammered home a new definition: "software to connect information, people, systems and services."

    Before .NET was released, no-one knew what it was. After its release, we still didn't know. Maybe I'm just stupid...But what kind of software connects information? This definition is all-encompassing, vague, and one of the more impressive examples of burble that I've seen. I guess MS just doesn't want us to *ever* know what they're doing.

  • by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eromsnidm'> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @11:48AM (#3951596) Homepage Journal

    My understanding of .Net is this: MSFT wants to be a data utility as much as your power company is a power utility. Said again, MSFT wants your data to flow from you to any other service that you can connect to the data pipe, be it your cellphone, your fridge, your car. MSFT intends to provide the mechanisms for making this flow possible, mostly be enabling data forms that are useful anywhere, and by abstracting the application that interprets the data.

    I believe that the vision is that computing devices would mostly allow you to dip into that data stream, and lose almost all of the autonomy that they now possess--while historically useful, it means that I can't have my fridge interoperate with the grocery store and compare my cupboards with what's on special today, and then alert me with a pop-up ad while I'm watching TV. All of these devices would be manufactured independantly, but MSFT would provide the means and the infrastructure to connect their data streams.

    If said data was regulated by an open protocol, you could probably achieve much the same kind of thing; however, MSFT is a demonstrated monopoly, and as such can dictate a data-transfer protocol and make it a defacto standard. MSFT then gains the ability to charge on the basis of each transaction, or rent your data transmission method to you or to the device manufacturers.

    Will it work? I dunno. I suppose anyone can install solar panels and resume their autonomy from the infrastructure. However, there's lots of good reasons to still be connected to the grid, even though it costs you more in the long run. Took a long time for this infrastructure to be implemented, though, and I'm not sure MSFT has the patience.

    This is really all just speculation and conjecture--I would love to hear what others think of these assumptions. Am I right?
  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:09PM (#3951757) Homepage
    If you believe what Steve Jobs said during the MWNYC keynote, 'Dot Mac' [] is the same thing as 'Dot Net'. Of course, we are smarter than that but Jobs was taking advantage of the problem Bill Gates has. Nobody that owns the corporate checkbook knows what the heck 'Dot Net' means. The only thing the 'General Public' knows about .Net is that they will have to pay more for wine instantly when some idiot at the winery destroys the best vintage. And to be completely honest, as much as I know about .Net, I am still not sure what the heck I would do with the technology.

    I think in hindsight, .Net will be taught not in Computer Science courses but in Business Marketing courses as a failure of Public Relations.

  • by Mr. Firewall ( 578517 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:10PM (#3951764) Homepage

    One of the people at the White House Office of Cybersecurity told me an interesting story once.

    About 2 years ago he was at a briefing of high mucky-mucks where Gates was pitching all of the Good Things (TM) that .NET was going to be.

    My friend was in one of the front rows, not twenty feet from Gates. He knew that if he raised his hand, Gates couldn't ignore him. So he waited for a few reporters to ask their usual lame questions and then made his move: "Bill, how in the hell are you going to secure all of this?"

    He says that Gates's eyes glassed over and his knuckles, where he'd been gripping the edges of the podium, turned white. He spent the next several minutes rambling about QOS -- yes, QOS was going to secure .NET!

    There is more to this story that I wish I could tell. Suffice it to say that the White House cybersecurity people (including Howard Schmidt, who was recently vilified here) are not as stupid as slashdotters think they are. These men will never reveal in public their true opinion of Micro$oft, but they have spoken to me in private about it. They're not as far away from our opinions as you think.

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:14PM (#3951794)
    Reporter 1: What is .NET?

    Gates: No one can tell you what .NET is. You have to see it for yourself.

    Reporter 2: But I have sources telling me that .NET is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

  • by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:42PM (#3951994) Homepage
    At a local consumers conference, Microsoft's Bill Gates, apparently growing frustrated over the questions surrounding .NET ("What is it?" "What does it do?" "Why do I need it?") finally said, "Look! You know Java? Same $%#@ thing!" and then stormed out.

    You know, to be honest, I think they kept it vague on purpose, so that they could sell a whole bunch of products and tout each one as an essential component of .NET. They were looking to brand first and foremost, and it's worked to a certain extent. I know some guys who landed some venture capital who say that they think .NET is great even though they can't quite explain what it is.

    To be honest, I think if we weren't in the middle of the a Linux revolution right now, nobody would be asking the questions that needed to get asked about .NET and that Microsoft can't answer because they weren't expecting to have to answer them. Consider all those commercials touting One Degree of Separation. Yes, we all know that we could recreate the same systems in any OS/platform, only with .NET you can do it in VB.NET. Perhaps that's a bonus, but only the VB programmers are going to recognize that, and I wonder how many IT departments (the people who'd give the green light on the switch) would be dominated by VB programmers? Or there's the bonus of being able to write ASP+ pages in several different languages. How many different IT departments are dominated by the web programmers? Furthermore, even if the different programmers made a fuss over .NET, I wonder how many IT departments would have said "That's nice, but with a little effort and good design we can incorporate the benefits using our current tech."
  • []
    ".NET Signals an Industry Shift"
    also referenced as the article about "Moore's Triple Crisis".

    The author of the article (David Bau, who made the popular "Dave's Google Quicksearch Bar") writes about a three-way Moore's law crisis: crisis in systems, apps and development.

    Systems: "the exponentially rising power of PC technology has started to overshoot the needs of the ordinary customer. This means people are starting to shop for cheaper computers instead of more powerful ones."

    Development: "Moore's law crisis affects development costs just as dramatically as it affects hardware costs. As computing power gets cheaper and software becomes more ephemeral, it makes sense to save software development hours by wasting CPU cycles." The Garbage collectors and Intermediate Languages of .NET and Java are according with that. Scripting languages too.

    Applications: "Microsoft is facing the problem of saturation. The widely recognied issue here is that almost everybody who wants to do something with their computer software can already do it. Why would you buy a new version of Microsoft Word or Excel?" "Microsoft is facing competitors like America Online that are using a new model for software applications."
    That's why Microsoft introduced his .NET services.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @01:08PM (#3952183) Homepage
    The next big thing was supposed to be Applications Service Providers. Rent your key business apps. A hosting provider with a support staff would resell applications. Remember? Where are those guys now?

    There are successes in that business, but Microsoft isn't one of them. PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, EDS, and Automatic Data Processing are the successful players. They're big, vertically integrated companies that build and service what they sell. They're not value-added resellers, and they don't usually work through value-added resellers.

    Microsoft's model, that you download something, pay for it forever, and don't bother them much, isn't how it's done. The big service providers provide real service; they are in the business of outsourcing corporate support functions, not pushing software.

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @01:08PM (#3952184)
    "Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending." It isn't clear if Microsoft is talking about something happening beyond their control, or if they're boasting about ending it.

    Nothing new. Bill Redux: I remember hearing of an episode from back when GEM and Windows were still battling it out - at a conference panel where Bill and Gary Kildall were members, and Gary was going on about OSs, and how there'd be plenty of ways to run your computer. Bill grabbed a microphone and interrupted, with a clarification to the effect that "No, there will be one way to operate your computers. One. (uncomforatble silence) You may continue."
  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @02:31PM (#3952710) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps the developers could dub one of the shared libraries .BUTTERFLY. Then, at least, the users of .NET would have something to chase.

    (There go my karma points...)

  • How to kill .NET (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @02:37PM (#3952753) Homepage
    The one thing that the JVM doesn't do as well as .NET is supporting languages other than Java. This has been its Achilles' heel. Although you can sort of coerce other languages to run on the JVM, the match isn't very nice. The CIL and CLR provide a much more friendly interface to languages other than C# and, thanks to our friends at the Mono project, .NET will soon have the platform interoperability that once only Java could boast of. If Sun wants to remain relevant in the portable VM space, they need to embrace languages other than Java.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler