Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Microsoft

Five Ways Microsoft Could Change After Gates 304

Might Squirrel noted a perfectly mediocre story to chat about on a boring post-holiday weekend Monday. This one is a look at 5 ways Microsoft could change after Gates. From accepting Open Source to serious interoperability work, there are definitely 5 things on that list there. Nothing about my solid gold rocket car.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Five Ways Microsoft Could Change After Gates

Comments Filter:
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:29AM (#24082835)
    Most of the best ways that MS could change would be way too risky for all but the most gutsy (and possibly most reckless) leadership to embrace.

    They could design a whole new OS from the ground up, abandoning much of the legacy code in Windows that makes it a bit flaky and adopting the "Ã la carte" modular design. They could even make it more secure. But that would risk alienating a huge chunk of traditional Windows users (who still want their old stuff to work, will be confused by a modular design, and who *hate* security popups asking for a password every time they install something). It would be a major risk to the dominance of one of their two big cash cows and could open the door for Apple to swoop in for some market share.

    They could fully embrace open source. But that means risking the dominance of Office--their other cash cow. And they're not going to do that.

    Basically, I don't expect them to change much at all in the post-Gates era. They may embark on some new initiatives and head in some new directions. And I do expect they will be a LOT more internet-oriented in the future. But they're not going to change their fundamental business model, or abandon their core apps to some radical new ideology.

    • by setagllib ( 753300 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:33AM (#24082905)

      They're boned as far as operating systems go. They can't break backwards compatibility, but that same backwards compatibility is killing them as they try to improve the system.

      Think about it - if you're making a clean break from Windows, would you choose a mature, well established alternative like Linux or MacOSX, or would you choose a completely new, unproven and completely incompatible and unstandardised operating system from Microsoft? Even if the new Microsoft OS is cleaner, being incompatible with EVERY operating system out there would absolutely kill it.

      So they can't keep going with the Windows they have, and they can't start over without losing the only asset Windows has, its backwards compatibility. The superior technology of Linux and MacOSX will keep them alive long after Windows' architecture crumbles, and Vista is the first huge sign that's happening.

      The drop dead obvious confirmation of this is that Windows 7 was meant to be modularised and cleaned up, and all of that has been cancelled already.

      • by mitgib ( 1156957 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:53AM (#24083121) Homepage Journal

        Think about it - if you're making a clean break from Windows, would you choose a mature, well established alternative like Linux or MacOSX, or would you choose a completely new, unproven and completely incompatible and unstandardised operating system from Microsoft? Even if the new Microsoft OS is cleaner, being incompatible with EVERY operating system out there would absolutely kill it.

        I don't see why they would need to keep backwards compatibility with their base OS, there are enough choices for running those old programs in some sort of container, be it a VM, or WINE-like process, or a legacy machine that users can RDP to, which might even be a VM itself.

        • by setagllib ( 753300 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:03AM (#24083243)

          All of which still tie you to Windows. What are you going to do, run Microsoft Ubersystem as a pure RDP client to Windows XP, which will be unsupported by then? Let's face it - as soon as you're not compatible with Windows, you may as well run Linux anyway, and Microsoft knows that very well.

          WINE is the most mature Windows compatibility layer there is, and the best Microsoft could do is contribute to it, which you know very well they won't. At that point they may as well make their own Linux distribution or pull an Apple and rebase on BSD. They're totally screwed. The Windows upgrade model is not sustainable and Windows 7 will prove it even more clearly than Vista did.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Well, let's think about how Apple just recently switched from IBM PPC to Intel processors. The old legacy PPC software still runs on newer Intel Macs thanks to Rosetta, and to most users there is no difference.
            Agreed, an entirely new operating system would be a little bit of a bigger challenge, but if they can have an invisible Rosetta-like translation, they would allow users to slowly transition from legacy applications to the newer ones.
            Microsoft would first have to make sure that all legacy apps run tr
          • by tobiasly ( 524456 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:44AM (#24084481) Homepage

            WINE is the most mature Windows compatibility layer there is, and the best Microsoft could do is contribute to it, which you know very well they won't.

            Um, no, Windows is the most mature Windows compatibility layer there is, and unlike everyone else, Microsoft has the source code to it. They could very quickly create a compatibility layer in any new OS they come up with, much like Apple did when moving from OS 9 to OS X.

            What are you going to do, run Microsoft Ubersystem as a pure RDP client to Windows XP, which will be unsupported by then?

            Don't think RDP, think hypervisor. And Microsoft will support whatever it comes up with. All those old apps will continue to work, but just like OS 9 apps they will gradually be phased out and deprecated for their shiny new native counterparts, which Microsoft will gladly sell to everyone at their upgrade prices.

            Which do you think your typical corporate PHB will favor, running their old apps in WINE on Linux, or running them in a Microsoft supported emulation layer in the newest Microsoft OS?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I don't understand what the major aversion to implementing some sort of transparent virtual machine to run legacy applications is. The idea has been floated hundreds of times by many smart people, yet Microsoft don't seem to want to do it; even though implementing one or more virtual machines to run legacy applications would free them from backwards compatibility in their core system.

          Is there some long-term business reason for not doing this that I'm not seeing? It'd benefit everyone, including Microsoft,

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by neokushan ( 932374 )

            Hasn't Microsoft been working on that kind of technology for a while, though? I mean, they bought the Virtual PC software and gave it away for free while they created Hyper-V (Which was originally meant to be part of the OS anyway), what's to stop them taking that a few steps further and embedding a sort of cut-down Hyper-V that runs legacy applications in a completely cut-off system. You'd avoid a lot of security headaches that way. Of course, there'll still be a few problems, but at least you get the bene

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by dpilot ( 134227 )

            They spent some amount of time and effort on making sure that Windows would not be virtualized under OS/2, and perhaps some effort was spent to make sure it wouldn't under WINE, as well. At this point they may have sunk themselves by making Windows un-virtualizable, at least with reasonable performance levels. In other words, in blocking OS/2 and WINE, they may have blocked that course of action for themselves.

          • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )

            Wow. Did you actually read setagllib's posts? He pretty much already answered all your questions before you asked them.

            But let me summarize for you: there's an aversion to it because it's already been done. You can already get the Linux flavor of your choice and install Wine on it. MS hates competing on a level playing field, and so much more when they're at a disadvantage, which they certainly would be if they went that route.

            • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:07AM (#24083981)

              You can already get the Linux flavor of your choice and install Wine on it.

              Which is kind of like saying you can buy a Shelby Cobra kit and drop any engine you want in it. Sure you *can*, but when the competition is factory-built Ford that works out the door, who's going to do it outside of hardcore hobbyists who always had choices anyway?

              Yes, there are desktop Linux distros that ship with it ready to go (more or less), but the fact that they *still* haven't supplanted Windows in any meaningful way means that it must not be as good a solution as advocates have made it out to be.

              • by gtall ( 79522 )

                Bullshit, when manufacturers routinely ship OS-free boxes and people have to buy their OS or download it separately, then we'll see whether Linux supplants Windows. Even then, there would be the headwind of years of forced MS conventions simply because they've not allowed any other.

                Gerry

              • by raddan ( 519638 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @12:18PM (#24086039)

                but the fact that they *still* haven't supplanted Windows in any meaningful way means that it must not be as good a solution as advocates have made it out to be.

                This reminds me of something Eric Raymond talked about in The Art of UNIX Programming

                [T]he most dangerous enemy of a better solution is an existing codebase that is just good enough.

                I think that's what you're seeing here in the Windows world. Because the cost of the operating system is hidden (bundled with PC), most people don't really feel the impact of having to pay for it-- i.e., they don't need to evaluate it against the alternatives. And, as long as it works for them, there are no issues. Raymond's quote specifically refers to the Plan 9 operating system vs UNIX. But the same thing applies to Windows vs Linux.

                I think what you're starting to see, and the reason why this topic is coming up with more and more frequency, is that for a lot of people, Windows is not "good enough" anymore. Obviously, the "good enough" threshold is much higher if you're a technical user, and I think that's why a lot of technical users have made the switch to Linux-- the added cost of switching, mainly in terms of retraining time, is worth the effort. But for most people, who simply need a web browser, an email client, and a text editor, Windows works fine for them-- most of the time.

          • by Greger47 ( 516305 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:40AM (#24083637)

            No it wouldn't benefit Microsoft becasue if they drop old-Windows and introduce this fantastic new new-Windows it doesn't matter how good it is, since they are forcing their customers to upgrade to a completly different OS said customers may just as well evaluate all OSes on the market since any OS can run old-Windows in a VM.

            How many do you think will opt to run old-Windows on top of Linux or OS X instead of betting on Microsofts unproven new-Windows, especially considering their track record on their previous offerings? /greger

      • You'd "choose" whatever OS Dell ship on the box that's in your price range. Well, you might not, but you and I are not statistically significant.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Except that Dell's business model might force them to drop Windows or get out of the consumer market. As hardware prices drop, they have to cut costs to compete with other companies. The one cost that is getting higher (by percentage) is software. When your desktop sells for $200 but your OEM Windows license is $50 per machine, it's an unprofitable situation. Even if Windows kept their OEM prices the same for Win7, it's still a hefty percentage. IBM saw this happening years ago and decided to quit the
          • We see it with the eeePC, Linux is just good enough for the devices and for the average joe. No one wants VISTA. However, Microsoft can continue to sell XP. That would be cheaper for them. You just deliver what people want, okay, maybe another skin or so. No one really needs operating system innovation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Hal_Porter ( 817932 )

        Think about it - if you're making a clean break from Windows, would you choose a mature, well established alternative like Linux or MacOSX, or would you choose a completely new, unproven and completely incompatible and unstandardised operating system from Microsoft? Even if the new Microsoft OS is cleaner, being incompatible with EVERY operating system out there would absolutely kill it.

        Microsoft have already done one kernel rewrite, going from Windows 9x/Me to Windows NT. They have no need to do another - the NT kernel is already more modern than a Unix style kernel. It's preemptible, reentrant and has fine grained locking, all the things you need for good SMP performance. User mode stuff has been tweaked over the years to add features and has probably been rewritten several times incrementally. But they aren't going to do a big bang rewrite of the user mode stuff or break compatibility b

        • by dc29A ( 636871 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:59AM (#24083851)

          Microsoft have already done one kernel rewrite, going from Windows 9x/Me to Windows NT.

          Erm ... no. Microsoft had already finished the NT kernel when they decided to ditch the Win9x/ME "kernel" for the one in NT 4.0 and Win2K (NT came out ages before ME). It wasn't a kernel rewrite at all, just two different kernels running side by side until MS decided to kill the weak one and use the good one.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Hal_Porter ( 817932 )

            Erm ... no. Microsoft had already finished the NT kernel when they decided to ditch the Win9x/ME "kernel" for the one in NT 4.0 and Win2K (NT came out ages before ME). It wasn't a kernel rewrite at all, just two different kernels running side by side until MS decided to kill the weak one and use the good one.

            The plan was to replace Windows 9x/Me from the start. In fact the original plan was that Windows 98 would be the last Windows based on the old kernel mode code and the transition to the NT kernel would be complete by Windows 2000. Windows Me was launched by popular demand. By the time Windows XP was launched the transition finally happened.

            So the plan was always to kill off 16 bit Windows and replace it with an NT based OS. This wasn't quite ready as of Windows 2000 so they had to launch on extra 16 bit OS,

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:14AM (#24083375)

        I guess the approach to this depends on your medium-term strategy. If you are concerned that Linux and OS X market share is likely to increase significantly based on current trends, and you acknowledge that Vista has been a failure in the market but there is still a lot of demand for XP today, then this indicates a need to move in a different direction where you can compete effectively with Linux and OS X a few years down the line but no desperate need to shift dramatically in the near future.

        If you assume that the thing most holding back Linux and OS X today is application (including driver) support, and you acknowledge that this is the major technical reason people are still using Windows, then from the previous assumptions you must expect software companies to focus more on portability and use of cross-platform libraries in future as the target markets using alternative operating systems grow. However, you can use this to your advantage, because it means if your new direction plays nicely, it will continue to be at least as attractive for software developers to support your platform as any of your rivals when they go cross-platform.

        If you look at the major competition in Linux and OS X, both are based on decades-old concepts that are tried and tested, but also aren't particularly well suited to current trends in networked access, mobile devices, and the like. This creates an opportunity for your new direction to provide genuine improvements for the users while learning from the successful ideas that have gone before, and thus to make your new platform the more attractive one.

        And here's the kicker. If you're Microsoft, you are one of the few companies on the planet that has sufficient development resources, financial reserves and attention from software developers to have a credible shot at this. But you need to be honest about the situation, and make a few hard choices about who you're going to put in charge, since your problem is not your generally very smart technical people or your generally very effective marketing people, it's your generally missing the point management people.

        I don't really expect them to do this, because I don't think they have the guts to bet the house on such a big move. But I honestly believe their best strategy in the market today is to sit in a holding pattern on the XP/Vista line for the near future (when neither Linux nor OS X is a serious threat to their dominance), aim to have a serious alternative a few years down the line that can compete on merit in a market where one-OS software is increasingly rare and the threats from alternative platforms like Linux, OS X, and whatever new trends emerge in web-based and mobile computing are growing. Along the way, they could move towards open standards and continue their strategy of basically giving away powerful development tools that support their platform, which would undermine some of the key selling points of the opposition, and continue to support the company via sales and incremental improvements to XP and Office for the immediate future.

      • Before virtualization I would have said yes. These days they could easily switch OS even to a BSD variant and *host* the legacy system. It's much easier for them given that they have the host OS source anyway - c.f. Xen [wikipedia.org]

        (They might even host on themselves on a stripped down core Windows server 2008. Given their preocupation with DRM I'm guessing that's their future direction).

        Andy

      • They're boned as far as operating systems go. They can't break backwards compatibility, but that same backwards compatibility is killing them as they try to improve the system.

        They could always run two OS lines for a while, like they did when it was Win98/ME on the desktop and 2000 on the server. Specifically I can see them making a small, fast, modular OS to replace XP on netbooks, maybe building off of WinCE or XP Embedded, while continuing with Vista on the desktop. If .Net becomes the common API between both platforms, it will drive more development to that and away from the aging Win32 API. Eventually, Microsoft will be able to merge the two line once they can safely drop

        • Sure, except any non-trivial .NET application uses COM and services and native APIs that all tie the code back to Windows. Many even have kernel helpers. So a Windows alternative that aims to support non-trivial Windows applications, even .NET ones, will have to support those same systems.

          That's what permanently prevents Windows from being trimmed down. Making it modular doesn't help because you'll need almost all of the modules to run a regular system anyway, so you have all of the same code plus all the e

      • But if Microsoft breaks backward compatibility they can support it (probably as well as they do now) using virtualization for essentially free, as opposed to Linux or OS X, which can do the same but not for free.

      • They can't break backwards compatibility,

        This is always a legitimate concern with new versions of an OS, but can't emulation solve this problem?

        • I've said it half a dozen times in this post tree already. Emulation would require just as much mass as the original system, and with most non-trivial Windows applications hooking into the kernel, services, DLLs via injection, COM, ActiveX, etc. you'd need all of the same legacy bloat. So you'd still be using a full version of Windows in addition to your light and clean operating system, so the end result is overall more bloated and buggy.

          • More importantly, as users get more and more of their software running on the "native new OS", they'll be confused and annoyed how their legacy stuff (running in an emulator - which they don't care about) is so unable to integrate with their new software.

            They'll virtually be running 2 seperate systems, and will not be able to drags documents and apps from one system to the other

      • They're boned as far as operating systems go. They can't break backwards compatibility, but that same backwards compatibility is killing them as they try to improve the system.

        Microsoft is boned because their developers have really bad habits and style, and have been exposed to really arcane code. It's not bad code exactly in that it works, but developing with it every day kind of just sucks all the talent out of developers.

        That's the real problem for Microsoft -- their developer culture. They could create a new OS from scratch and as long as it runs Win32 programs at least marginally and somewhat seamlessly in addition to new ones then they can just force OEMs to install the n

    • by PhysicsPhil ( 880677 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:52AM (#24083109)

      They could design a whole new OS from the ground up, abandoning much of the legacy code in Windows that makes it a bit flaky and adopting the "Ã la carte" modular design. They could even make it more secure. But that would risk alienating a huge chunk of traditional Windows users (who still want their old stuff to work, will be confused by a modular design, and who *hate* security popups asking for a password every time they install something). It would be a major risk to the dominance of one of their two big cash cows and could open the door for Apple to swoop in for some market share.

      Some years ago I remember reading an article that argued that Microsoft should dump Windows and shift to Linux. Specifically it argued that MS should code the Windows desktop as a window interface running on top of a Linux core. At the time I dismissed it as the ravings of a Linux fan, but I wonder more and more if there isn't some value in the argument.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mhall119 ( 1035984 )

        Specifically it argued that MS should code the Windows desktop as a window interface running on top of a Linux core. At the time I dismissed it as the ravings of a Linux fan, but I wonder more and more if there isn't some value in the argument.

        So you get all the Windows compatibility of Linux, but with the flexibility of a Windows UI? Sounds like a winner to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      traditional Windows users (who still want their old stuff to work,..

      I paid a shit load of money for my software. You bet your ass I want it to work.

      ... and who *hate* security popups asking for a password every time they install something

      I don't mind those. It's when I get a popup saying I don't have the rights to install and then shutting down completely without giving me a login box so I can login as an Admin.

      If I really want change, I'll just go with Linux or Apple. Change is my problem: not Microsof

    • Right, Microsoft is the new IBM.
    • They could even make it more secure. But that would risk alienating a huge chunk of traditional Windows users (who still want their old stuff to work, will be confused by a modular design, and who *hate* security popups asking for a password every time they install something).

      That's exactly what vista did and is doing now. The 10 year old apps that used to spray files into system32 don't work (at least, not without irritations), and that's precisely why users aren't so keen on Vista if at all.
      The way i see it, Vista has been the necessary medicine; years in the coming. Right now, the Windows ecosystem is going through the awkward adolescence period of having to be secure & responsible, and it's hurting. It won't always be so bad...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      I do see a shift.
      I see a shift away from Windows as the center of the Microsoft universe.
      Office is Microsoft's real cash cow.
      Office, .NET and good old Visual Basic provides the lock in that Windows needs to keep it in the Enterprise. DirectX provides the lock in that they need to keep the games on it. With games and the Enterprise locked in WindowsXP could have kept selling for the next twenty years.
      A major break with current Windows code base is more trouble than it is wroth.
      The first problem is Drivers. L

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pha7boy ( 1242512 )

      I don't see how they could make a radical shift anytime soon. Their entire model was "a system out of the box" - i.e similar to Apple, but without including the hardware. That's why they bundled iExplorer (the original i_something_), that's why the included Movie Maker, MSWrite, Paint, etc, etc. They certainly strip down everything and include only the basic OS - I'd love it if they ever did that - but even as an option it would be hard to swallow.

      Their dominance is based, in part, on the fact that they c

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dkf ( 304284 )

      They could fully embrace open source. But that means risking the dominance of Office--their other cash cow. And they're not going to do that.

      Actually, one of the big things that they could do is focus on expanding Office, rolling out a consistent WP, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, etc. platform to everyone. If they did that, I'd be willing to bet that they'd get people buying it for Linux. Maybe their OS would fail if they did that, but it sounds like that's going to be more of a cost center than a net income generator in the future anyway based on the amount of time it took to create Vista.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Throwing everything out and starting from scratch is the favorite gambit of armchair strategists everywhere, but it doesn't gain you any customer loyalty.

      Microsoft's biggest virtue as a company -- speaking from the customer's standpoint -- has always been predictability. It doesn't mean they make the best of anything. Only people who have drunk the kook-aid think that. It doesn't mean that they do what the customers would wish them to do. It means that they consistently did things in a way that the peop

  • by kvezach ( 1199717 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:29AM (#24082843)
    ... is to rename themselves TriOptimum.
  • 5 ways (Score:5, Funny)

    by tom17 ( 659054 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:30AM (#24082851) Homepage

    1. It could get much worse
    2. It could get worse
    3. It could stay the same
    4. It could get better
    5. It could get much better

  • We all know that this is not in line with M$. It's more likely that they'll try to find new ways of fighting it. Unfortunately they will probably succeed quite well too.
  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:33AM (#24082903)

    From Microsoft's attempts at documenting their file formats and interfaces I can say that Microsoft does not work to specifications or standards. They make the code work then make the working code the standard. That is bad practice and leads to, as all can see, bloated, undocumented and overly large interfaces.

    I believe the biggest change for Microsoft, whether or not they embrace openness, is to work to a specification driven development rather than a code driven development system. Spend the timing working on the specification and interfaces, get a workable interface and security model then implement it.

  • by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:35AM (#24082925)

    So Slashdot is now posting 'perfectly mediocre' stories? Come back Roland, all is forgiven.

  • by Lord_Frederick ( 642312 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:36AM (#24082939)

    Without Gates Microsoft runs the risk of becoming a faceless super-corporation focusing on sales rather than developing the tech that could give the company an edge.

    Runs the risk? Isn't this what Microsoft is now?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You missed a word.

      Until days ago MS had a face, Gates' face (borged or not). Without Gates, without that face...

      But it's still not entirely faceless. There's Balmer, altho some may argue they'd be better without /that/ face.

      Anyway, the rest may indeed have already been the case, but like 'em or hate 'em, there's little good argument to be made in the statement that Gates really was synonymous in many ways with MS, and that really, they could have done a lot worse.

    • Business plan failure at line #1: assumption that technical edge is the priority and not sales.

    • by sohp ( 22984 )

      Up until now, it was a super-corporation focusing on sales with Bill Gates as the face. Now it'll become like Computer Associates, SAP, CISCO, Computer Sciences, Solectron, IBM or any number of similar bastions of blandness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:38AM (#24082967)

    And kill linux and OSX at the same time...

  • ok, let's chat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:41AM (#24082997) Homepage Journal

    #1:
    Yes, Gates has been an opponent of Free Software ever since his famous first letter. However, he's not been as vocal regarding Open Source Software, and that's where it's our loss that we forgot about the difference between them. MS has made some early attempts with "shared source", and like other stuff, they'll refine it.

    #2:
    Nonsense. That's got absolutely nothing to do with Gates, and everything with the fact that MS simply can't write another windos. After the entire NT team packed up and left, it's been going downhill, and one of the reasons Vista sucks so much is that they shipped something that nobody in the company understood how it worked. If you thought Vista was a trainwreck, wait for Win7.

    #3:
    What this shows even more is how MS works. Despite their total lack of experience and ability, they enter the game like they own it, and get a bloody nose. But they come back - and get another beating. Just that they keep coming back. You can see that modus operandi in almost every area. Hardware, consoles, much of their non-core software. Usually, it doesn't matter much because they don't learn and keep on sucking, but sometimes along the way they get some wits, or acquire another company, and suddenly they matter (e.g. hardware) or the market is just so small that by sheer power they force their way in (e.g. consoles).

    #4:
    Pfft. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 20 years or so, you know that MS announcement regarding ODF is simply the opening stage of EEE. MS has replaced the "then you win" step of the "first they laugh at you..." thing with "then they embrace you, extend you, extinguish you", and fairly successfully at that. With MS as you enemy you don't win when they give up the fight. That's just their way of saying "ok, the cheap and easy way didn't work, we'll have to take you down the old way".

    #5:
    Yes, maybe. The only point that holds some merit, and even includes both sides of the story. Personally, I think MS will break apart. It'll be a long time, but a disorganized, never-grown-up company like MS simply needs a strong man to hold it together, and for all I know, the ape simply won't do.

    • #3:
      What this shows even more is how MS works. Despite their total lack of experience and ability, they enter the game like they own it, and get a bloody nose. But they come back - and get another beating. Just that they keep coming back. You can see that modus operandi in almost every area. Hardware, consoles, much of their non-core software. Usually, it doesn't matter much because they don't learn and keep on sucking, but sometimes along the way they get some wits, or acquire another company, and suddenly they matter (e.g. hardware) or the market is just so small that by sheer power they force their way in (e.g. consoles).

      Chalking up the XBox 360's success to "forcing in by sheer power" is ignoring the fact that it's an extremely well-thought-out machine at a decent price point and with good software. The interoperability for hobbyist developers via XNA keeps that crowd interested (whereas the Wii and the PS3 try very hard to avoid letting hobbyists play--no, Linux on the PS3 doesn't count) and the Joe Averages have a lot of flashy games. The 360 is a solid home run, and Microsoft deserves the success they're having. The mac

      • Re:ok, let's chat (Score:4, Informative)

        by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#24084355)

        It appears the point completely missed you and apparently impaled an innocent bystander behind you. The XBox 360 has a long history which you're not properly accounting for. Before the 360 was the original XBox which did unexpectedly well especially considering the fierce competition of Sony and Nintendo. However before the XBox was Microsoft's work on the Dreamcast which did not do so well and sank Sega's hardware business. Before the Dreamcast was Microsoft's PC gaming division which only had a handful of real hits to its credit. Microsoft did what smaller companies could not do, fail repeatedly until they managed to get something working right. They were able to buy out game studios like Bungie and Rare in order to get some heavy hitting first party titles developed for their console. The XBox 360 is a good console because Microsoft has spent more than a decade struggling with a gaming business. XBox Live has a similar story, they bought out "The Village" which got rebranded Internet Gaming Zone which eventually became the MSN Gaming Zone and served as the conceptual basis for XBox Live. Again because of their size and money they could throw resources at a lackluster product and eventually make it stick. Other companies don't have that same luxury, look at Sega. Two successive market failures and it was lights out for their hardware division.

  • change (Score:4, Funny)

    by mark72005 ( 1233572 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:44AM (#24083033)
    "are you sure you want to change Microsoft?" (confirm) (cancel)

    "are you really sure you want to change Microsoft? Like sure, sure?"
    (confirm) (cancel)

    "performing this action can be dangerous, are you sure?"
    (confirm) (cancel)

    "ok really this time...
  • Ballmer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sveard ( 1076275 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:45AM (#24083037) Homepage

    Maybe Microsoft will change for the better after Ballmer leaves. But not while he's in charge. At least, that's what I think.

    • I have a serious question -- this isn't supposed to be flae-inciting Microsoft or Ballmer bashing:

      I keep thinking that, in the last 5 years, Ballmer has done nothing to extend the profits or grow Microsoft. The company seems trapped like an animal in the headlights of a car. The XBox is a cash-eater; the Zune, too. Office may have become elegant in the 2007 edition, but only if you have a huge computer to run it on. Vista's developmental delays (pun intended) were very costly. None of these have improv

  • There's a fair amount of information on MS protocols and standards on MSDN - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc216514.aspx [microsoft.com]

    and their source-code is available for review at least @ http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/default.mspx [microsoft.com] ... which 10 years ago would've been unthinkable; but yeah, although it's a far cry from the GPL, is still hugely better than it was.

    • The problem with "partly" embracing open source is that it really benefits MS. It allows them to boast how they are opening their standards but keeps a lock-in. Shared Source has 5 different licensing schemes. Only one of these is considered open source; however, under this license you do not have a right to view source code. Microsoft Public License only works with compiled code. All licenses which allow you to see or modify the code (Microsoft Reference Source License, Microsoft Limited Public Licens
  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:48AM (#24083069) Homepage

    I hope that nothing changes. That way, people will continue to pour over to Ubuntu. More people using Ubuntu will mean more apps written for Linux. Everybody (for values of everybody outside Redmond) wins.

  • by mario_grgic ( 515333 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:53AM (#24083113)

    and as we know from history of extinct species, those who could not adapt and change died out and made way for the ones that could.

    And the reason Microsoft can't change is because they are catering now to huge bureaucratic corporations (think insurance companies, banks, etc, some of whom are still running Windows NT 4.0), and these are not exactly at the forefront of technological adoption let alone innovation. I.e. they cater to a market that doesn't like change.

    If Microsoft decided to do an "apple" and ditch Win32 for solid proven UNIX kernel and build their own APIs around that, these businesses would be creaming bloody murder and literary make Microsoft support their old crud.

    Now this could be done through VM these days (but then again most of businesses don't have powerful machines for their users), or perhaps MS could split consumer and business OS further, since consumers are more likely to follow latest trends.

    But all this seems to iffy and risky decision for Microsoft to make. So I don't expect any change from them.

  • Cat got my tongue. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by manwal ( 648106 )

    Without Gates Microsoft runs the risk of becoming a faceless super-corporation focusing on sales rather than developing the tech that could give the company an edge.

    Huh?

  • I see two problems. First, Gates remains even in retirement the driving force behind Microsoft. With his marginalization, the usual parasitism of bureaucracy, empire building, backstabbing, office supply theft, etc is going to grow. Second, the company has yet to come up with alternate revenue streams to replace Office, Windows, and the MS upgrade cycle that made so much money for them in the past couple of decades.

    Given that, here's my take what will happen:

    • Microsoft's current core business (Office and W
  • There have been a number of open source projects over the years that have been kept under the control of a single source (by dual licensing, for example), and others that have ignored, ridden down, and flagrantly broken standards. There's been at least two high profile projects that have deliberately used embrace-end-extend to knock competing software (including other open source projects) out of the ring. Open source is not the same as open standards... hell, the software that really started the whole open systems movement in the '70s didn't have a good open source implementation until the '90s.

    Both open source and open standards are important, vitally important, but they are not the same thing and mixing up the two just muddies the water and hurts both movements.

  • Without Gates Microsoft runs the risk of becoming a faceless super-corporation focusing on sales rather than developing the tech that could give the company an edge.

    But, Doctor Evil, that already happened.

    Microsoft has not made any fundamental improvements to Windows since Windows 2000, and I'd have to look back even further than that to find any major improvements to Office.

  • Change won't come until Steve Ballmer is gone. Seriously, the behavior of Microsoft can traced directly to him. Get that dinosaur out of the way and change can truly begin.
  • Microsoft is a big company, and there's no way they would have promoted a bunch of free-software (or even interoperability) zealots to a senior management role.

    Gates would have employed people who were broadly-speaking like minded to senior roles. Once the company became big enough that he didn't really need to be involved in every senior person the company employed, the job would have been delegated - to others who Gates employed in the first place.

    The only way we'll see major changes is if there's en

  • #1 Acceptance of OS? Not likely, at least not willingly. Shared source is fine by them because they still own it, and it give the perception of MS being more "open" to all those like the EU who want to see improvement. But this does little in the big scheme of things. It's just a new cosmetic facade for the same 800 pound gorilla.

    #2 New approach to releases? Oh yes, but then going to a subscription based software infrastructure only compounds the current problems of being tethered to the M$ name brand. Mi

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:57AM (#24083833)
    There are another issue that I think is being overlooked is the 64-bit issue. This also adds to be backwards compatibility issues. Here's the way I understand it: The LP64 model (used by Linux and Unix) redefines long (32-bit) to 64-bit. The model MS chose is the LLP64 model which introduces a new integer type called long long which is 64bit. The effect of this is that a 32bit MS program will work in a 64bit Windows, but a 64bit MS program will not work in 32bit Windows. So companies who want to take advantage of 64bit Windows will have to develop 2 different versions of the same software. This hinders some companies from moving forward to 64 bit. In the LP64 model, a company would have to compile 32bit and 64bit versions but their code can be the same.
  • Most of you seem to be saying no, but I think you've forgotten about Singularity [microsoft.com]. Sure, it's a research OS, but rumor has long had it that it's more stable than Windows. All the Windows apps could be run via virtualization -- since they have the original code, they should be able to make it work better than even the Wine project, right? (Cue the MS incompetence jokes....) The only real problem is legacy hardware but a lot of that could be abandoned; some Mac-users were pissed off when old apps and hardware

  • Maybe they will finally pay up on all the email tracking they promised a long time ago.
    I bet Gates is the reason behind the failure to pay up.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.

Working...