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Seattle Weekly article on future demise of Microsoft 134

Rich Kulawiec writes " Microsoft's Last Day. Spotted by Kathy Gill, who passed it along to the web-consultants' mailing list. "
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Seattle Weekly article on future demise of Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    While I would have to say there are MANY things about the article that are laughable, and I imagine Microsoft will always be around in one form or another, the author makes an interesting point, and a rather simple one.

    Microsoft is over-extending themselves, too many product lines, and most of them sub-par. Its not about overextension in financial terms, but in product lines. The industry is becoming more than just about the desktop PC now. Just how many turfs does MS think they can fight on? It only takes one company with the proper funding and drive to provide a superior product IN THAT PARTICULAR FIELD to out-do MS in that field. And more and more companies are starting to do exactly this.

    For that fact alone, I find that article to be extremely eye-opening. I'd appreciate comments from anyone who agrees or disagrees with me....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    On the off chance you were really serious and not just being too subtle with your sarcasm, your points in reverse order:

    There wouldn't be an MSDOS/Windows market if it weren't for Apple. One, the threat of Apple II and VisiCalc is what prompted IBM into the business, giving MSDOS its start. Two, the Lisa/Mac GUI (which was indeed an advance over what Xerox had at PARC) got Windows started.
    BG invented nothing. He swiped BASIC to sell on the first 8080 machines to get started.

    Ease of use of todays computer languages - you mean like C (Bell Labs, early 1970s) or like any
    number of 'pile up the blocks' visual languages that date back to the early 80s on midrange systems?

    Cheap OS? Like CP/M, CP/M-86, OS-9, etc, etc?

    Early 80s? Apple II etc series, Lisa, Northstar,
    LSI-11 based machines, Commodore, TRS-80 and
    later the TRS Xenix machine (OK, Xenix was a
    Microsoft product, but based on AT&T source code)
    et bloody cetera. Not to mention minicomputers
    that were still affordable by less than "large
    corporations". You're thinking perhaps of the
    early 70s -- but that would be when Gates was
    still a student.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    .. the guy doesn't seem to really understand much about the computer industry from the inside, as seen by techies.

    "Microsoft brand name, which had once been synonymous with 'best of breed'" - when? I can't remember a time when people who HAD technical knowledge actually thought of MS products as being good.

    "UNIX, that now exists only in a version called BSDi"
    "almost immediately after the ... airing of those taped excerpts, competing products ... began making inroads against MS. First Linux, then BSDi". This is nonsense. Linux has since years before been steadily (and exponentially) making inroads in the server market --- because it is *good*, and technical people recognize that --- not as an after-effect of any change in the way people view Bill Gates. Techies have *always* been able to recognize good products and bad products, that's what they do, not look at "company image".

    Apart from such points though, the article isn't bad. He makes some good points, and has some interesting insights. History has shown just how difficult the computer industry is to predict, so taking a stab at predicting 21 years down the line is quite "brave". Probably the most valid point in his article is the subtle shift of MS's stance from being on the offensive to defensive.

    - David Joffe (djoffe@geocities.com)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was a scientist at the dawn of personal computer history. I actually had to use this stuff to do useful work. Data reduction like you can't believe. I lived and breathed SAS.

    The IBM PC was wonderful, but IBM was hidebound like Apple. Bill snatched away DOS and turned it into something usable. My favorite compiler was TurboPascal, and it ran on MSDOS, but the programs I ported were written in the well thoughtout (for its time) BASIC.

    I've never even seen Encarta, my sense of history comes from being there. While MS isn't going to do something as clever as TCL/Tk anymore because it has turned into another IBM/Apple, neither is P.Kahn. Keep in mind your treasured Corel Wordperfect is another product whose glory days are in the past. It may regain popularity, but isn't it deserving of the same contempt you heap on MS for bungling missed opportunities?

    These companies time has passed, but that doesn't mean these companies always deserved the scorn being heaped upon them.

    Besides, have you looked at sales figures lately?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are a great deal of differences between the early MacOS and the current MacOS. The differences aren't as apparent because the MacOS has _evolved_. Sometimes too slowly for my taste, but it keeps getting better. There is no reason, other than being a UI idiot, that you should have to redesign your previous GUI from the ground up with each new version. MS products, in general, have a horrible UI that piles more crap on (can you say Win98?) until they have to start over.

    By evolving your GUI you long time users will still be able to use your product right away. All the advances will just add to the experience. You don't have to relearn how to do the basics.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Lisa never worked, it crashed even at computer fairs. The Northstar never got much past the photo op stage. Atari, you mean the 2600? No way. Apple I/II/III? You do remember the III?

    The TRS-80 ran something not-so-affectionately called Trash-DOS. The Commodore 64 was something I actually used, but they never did get the CPM card to the retailers.

    You missed the Amiga, still a great computer. There was one slip up with it, though. You couldn't lay hands on the video cable in 1987. It was listed at $300, but by the time it was available, Commodore had antagonized its use base.

    No, His Bilgeness not only had a product, but got it into the stores. His mommy should get some credit for that, though, she being on the IBM board and all. I'm sure she knew about distribution.
  • AOL dies in 2003! Just 5^H4 more years!
  • What? BSDi? Whatever...

    I think free software will be the name of the game for a lot of people from now on...
  • Oh well, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

  • I think the article's 'predictions' may be off base, but I think it's right about Microsoft's decline. Microsoft has put itself in a position that makes their long-term future precarious. They put on this big marketing show to sell the management on their products. Then they cajole the management into a contract that makes it difficult and expensive to switch from MS's product line. MS's don't perform quite as advertised, but despite the fact that they're buggy, bloated, and less-than-rock-stable, the management continues to do business with Microsoft, because they are practically locked in. Since the customers are locked in, Microsoft gets a steady revenue stream and continues its dominance. However, since MS's products are mediocre, the customers end up saying to themselves, "If we could only get out of buying MS stuff." The customers end up doing business with MS because they feel they have to, not because they really want to.

    The trouble is that this situation is ultimately bad for Microsoft, because it means that for Microsoft to continue to make money, it has to keep itself in a position where it can dominate the customer and keep the customer locked in. If Microsoft shows weakness, if it shows signs that its dominance is slipping and that its customers don't have to do business with it to continue to work, then it's sunk. It may bleed slowly rather than hemorrage, but it's sunk.

    Microsoft puts itself in a Win-Lose relationship with its customers. That's not healthy business.
  • Posted by modefan:

    Looking at the power that MS wields, it would take something much more powerful other than the DOJ to make MS fall.

    MS will slowly slide, a slow one, but a very noticeable.

    When we start hearing of layoffs, then we'll all know.. =)
  • Posted by modefan:

    Getting rid of the contractors/temp/permatemps is easy, heck, we won't even read about that in the papers.

    When MS starts getting rid of "their" workforce, then we know the sh*t is hitting the fans.

  • Sorry, but you're wrong. Microsoft products aren't easy to use. The reason most people think so is that every computer they've ever used has had that software on it. People who have been using U*ix for 2/5/10+ years, as many of these people have used MSDOS, then windows3, then windows4 have, feel it's far easier to use than anything else. Ditto for mac users, etc. It's all what they're used to.

    As for windows4 -> windows5 (NT/2000/whatever) being a big leap, that is true in some cases, but not for the reason you think. Large corporations with hundreds or thousands of systems to "upgrade" have a difficult time with any large-scale change in software. But as for the user side of things, the differences are fairly small between windows 3.0 and any "OS" microsoft is likely to sell in the next five years.

    The similarities:
    1. Low reliability. Microsoft-based systems need frequent reboots, reinstalls, and other manual maintenance.
    2. High per-seat cost. Microsoft hasn't sold system software for less than $70-300 per seat, and they won't start now. Even commercial Unices are usually cheaper than this.
    3. High support cost. Microsoft products are difficult even for seasoned IT professionals to understand. Hence costly tech support contracts are a must even for small (as low as 1 seat) installations.
    4. Awful UI. Although DOS presented a difficult-to-use UI, it was at least fast. Since then, ms UIs have gotten slower, more confusing, and less consistent.
    5. Minimal security. Although NT[45] is better than windows4, the security level is nothing like what even a basic U*ix offers, and "trusted" versions of high-end OS's like Solaris and HPUX offer more than NT ever will.

    So, for home buyers/users, and for users in any environment, the changes will be small, as they always have been. Simply adding a few features, some new drivers, another layer of residue to UI, and a large supply of new bugs doesn't constitute a major leap.

    Finally, as for willing leapers: anyone willing to leap simply because they are told to is going to leap in the direction his most conservative advisors instruct him to. These people are lost and should not be allowed to own or use computers at all. The right target for Linux upgrades is the set of people who feel compelled to leap because the products they use don't meet their needs. These people can be tempted by Linux over both NT (Linux is just all-around better) and commercial U*ix (Linux is cheaper, and sometime better in ways that might (not) matter to the buyer). And let's not forget that many of these people either need something other than Linux, or don't need computers at all.
  • I agree...

    I'm not going ballistic, I just wonder how in the world they thought BSDI... Considering they're not a major player, and they're not doing anything new...

    FreeBSD, Linux, and even Slowaris are still developing quite well... BSDI just seems to me like Free/Open/NetBSD but commercial and lagging behind its free brethren.
  • I agree, but for other reasons.

    The author seems to have not noticed that AT&T is currently in quite a bit of a positive turnaround...

    Right after they spun off Lucent and NCR, AT&T started going downhill, but they're already back on track. They seem to be very forward-looking compared to the other LD companies. While most of them bitch about VOIP (Voice-over-IP) technologies, AT&T has been pretty receptive to it, and has pretty much embraced it. While it makes no sense in their current business model, I think that they see their model going obsolete, and want to be in on the ground floor when the other companies are just getting a clue that they might have a problem.
  • The GS was a good machine that could address several (8?) megabytes of memory. It was an advanced design, stable, capable of running legacy software, and much more stable than the Lisa. It had a GUI long before the PC.

    Technically, it had it all *over* the PC. But the PC was the shining star of business by the time the GS came out.

    But as far as functionality goes, the Apple ][ was as capable as the PC for the first several years of the PC's existence. Functionality wasn't the issue-- name recognition was. Sure, Apple did nothing to make the Apple easier to use; it put all its resources into Mac development. But the PC was not easy to use then, either. The catchphrase of the day was, "No-one ever got fired for buying IBM."

    The PC was designed around a more-capable chip, but the design hobbled the chip. The original PC couldn't even use 640k of memory-- there wasn't enough room on the motherboard.

    Anyway, you are right-- the PC had more potential. But Apple had the Mac coming out soon (after the Lisa failed-- or was killed by Jobs, who's pet project was the Mac. Actually, it was someone else's pet project, but Jobs usurped it, and used the failure of the Lisa to run Wozniak out).

    Anyway, that's all old history. There are many ways to interpret it-- all of them correct. The PC had more potential, technically, but the Apple had better software and a better foundation. In fact, where Apples were snuck in the back door, business people could bring IBMs through the front door.

  • Microsoft will be in business much later than 2020, but they'll lose market dominance much sooner. By this time next year Microsoft's share of the server market will be in rapid decline. Their share of the desktop market will fall slowly, but noticably.

    The most important thing that is already happening is that MS will find it difficult to leverage OS dominance in new markets (palmtops, content, real-estate, whatever). The DOJ might have a hand in this, but the real killer will be that potential partners will realize that there are viable (and profitable) alternatives.

    MS in 2020 will still be huge, but they'll be huge the same way MacDonalds is huge. Everybody will know them and most will use their products on occasion, but they won't control the market.

    ... Ami.
  • "Why do you hate MS? In the early 80s, when DOS 1.0 was a tour de force, a computer could only be purchased by a large corporation. The software was an even bigger purchase."

    You must get your history lessons from Microsoft Encarta. The Apple II preceded the IBM PC by about four years, and wasn't the only competition for the PC in its early days. C and C++ were developed by AT&T, again without the aid of the PC. The rest of your article is equivalently nonsense.
  • "These extreme linux advocates produce far more FUD than Microsoft does."

    MS FUD gets spread far more than Linux FUD, which rarely makes it out of Slashdot. Whose FUD gets to the PHBs?
  • >I remember that worthless piece of scrap known as the Apple II.

    But you apparently have forgotten the Apple III, available before the PC. 80 columns built in, 128k memory, substantially more sophisticated Business Basic. The original poster claimed that Gates invented the PC, despite (a) Apple, Commodore, etc. having personal computers before the IBM PC, and (b) IBM invented the IBM PC, not Microsoft -- note the name? Microsoft developed (from a purchased base) just one of the original choices of OS for it. (Anyone else remember the UCSD P-system? A better language than PC Basic.) OSes were available for less than a C note before the PC.

    The PC had 20 bit addressing, rather than 16 bit plus bank switching, and IBM's name behind it. So the PC won that battle.

    "BillG pummelled computers into something so easy to use" -- Macs were easy to use 10 years before PC users could stop making custom boot disks to get enough conventional memory available, 7 years before mice were a worthwhile peripheral for PCs. If Apple hadn't been in love with 100% profit margins, they would be the ones the DOJ would have in court these days.

    Bill Gates is not an innovator. He is *brilliant* at seeing opportunities and positioning his company to take advantage of those opportunities. He has also managed to keep Microsoft flexible, and always working towards a common goal. (Much of IBM didn't want the PC encroaching on their minicomputer business, and likewise the PC jr was a deliberately crippled product.)

    "Try balancing your checkbook with that." -- Why wouldn't I have used Visicalc?
  • "I'm a linux user like all of you, but how can you think that Linux even competes with Win95?"

    Linux is still gathering momentum, and thus developers. If you count the current number of developers, even if only a small fraction of Linux users will help in development, the group dwarfs the 24,000 Microsoft employees. Linux developers are likewise focused on making stuff work, not making it marketable. And all this for an OS that was started around the release of Windows 3.1.\

    So just give it a little time.

  • by pb ( 1020 )
    The chances of there being exactly *one* UNIX in the far future are about as likely as MacOS replacing Windows with all future computers looking like iMacs on steroids.

    (and a commercial UNIX? Get real... Like anyone will want to buy a source license again after Microsoft fades out.)
  • I remember my dad installing Microsoft Word 4.0 on our XT and us fighting over which was better, Word or Wordstar. After giving Word a go I realised he was right - it was much better. And it was better than any other word processor at that time (for PC) that I saw. Of course, this was obviously a very, very long time ago but still it's good to remember that Microsoft software was once GOOD. It became bad because the company's monopolistic desire.
  • There's a distinction between innovation & invention, similar to the distinction between R&D and pure research.

    Invention is creating a new idea & prototype.

    Innovation is being the first at successfully taking the invention and creating a marketable product.

    Apple innovated what Xerox invented because Xerox's upper executives had no idea how important PARC's technologies were. They were too busy being the "photocopy people".

    Microsoft copied what Apple did. They didn't innovate because they obviously were not the first "successful" person to bring GUI's to market.. Though Microsoft would debate that point, pointing to the "level" of success it has achieved.
  • sine when did linux? *everything* in linux is ripped off, there's not ONE SINGLE original idea - if there is, let me know.
  • it's a corporation like any other. if you have a better product, let the market decide - but you choose to go whining to the government to loot and steal from honest citizens.

  • Actually, given the current overpopulation of BSD-variants, I would bet that one of those isn't going to be the last one standing.

    I am a Linux user, but since Unix is Unix is Unix (as a general rule, my prior SunOS/X experience helped a great deal in getting to know Linux), I don't really care which one wins.

    Nevertheless, from a philisophical as well as practical standpoint, I would prefer a GPL'd version of Unix (or some other superior OS). The simple reasons for this are that I distrust the uber-capitalist Tech industry (O-we-o, IPO) to not screw things up from a technical standpoint for their own short-term profit, the GPL license -- when combined with someone who knows what they are doing -- prevents the variant-o-the-week thing so prevalent in BSD-based projects from getting started (Free/Net/WhateverBSD, XF86/AccelX/MetroX/whatever -- you get the idea), and I like the idea that someone can't come in and steal everything, copyright and close it, and then resell it without any contribution.

    Jim Cape
    http://www.jcinteractive.com [jcinteractive.com]
  • But Billy didn't invent the personal computer market as we know it. Apple did with its original systems. Then it reinvented it with the Mac (FUN FACT: Though it didn't last very long, very early on in the history of the Mac it was the dominant operating system; DOS would not overtake it until later). Even before Apple, personal computers existed, though they were so different from what we know today that I doubt they could really be called personal computers.

    Gates stole the market (almost literally, actually); he didn't invent it.
  • Dollar is absolutely the worst possible name for money.

    Um, quick question: why? I've never noticed anything wrong with it.

    Heck, the dollar bills don't even feel like money, just pieces of paper.

    Another question: what is money supposed to feel like? By the way, there is a reason that dollar bills feel the way they do. It's the first line of defense against counterfieters. You'd be surprised at the number of counterfieters who were caught by cashiers who noticed the money "didn't feel right." Enough, apparently, to convince the government to keep the bills, and you know that must have taken a rather impressive feat.
  • I was just given a Classic from the early 80s, the interface looks _exactly_ the same as it does on the G3.

    You'd better hide whatever it is that you're smoking before you mom gets home...
  • The Adobe Illustrator/Pagemaker combo that so many print shops use on the G3 require a gigabyte of RAM...

    I don't know what alternate universe you were using these G3's in, but to me it sounds like you've never even touched a Mac. I learned my trade (graphic design) on a Mac IIsi that maxed out at 17 megs of RAM. Both Pagemaker and Illustrator ran fine on it. It's true that the memory requirements are much higher on the current versions of those programs, but neither is above 30 megs.

    Here's an idea: before you post, have a slight clue as to what it is you're talking about. Your silly hyperbole just makes you look like an ignorant dork.
  • by Ken ( 3185 )
    Do you understand how large a typical professional print shop project is, in terms of sheer data storage?


    I currently work as a designer for a publishing company and a large amount of the work I do is magazine ads. Before that I worked in a high-voulume prepress in San Francisco's media district.
    The most amount of ram we had in any one Mac was approx. 300 megs in our color correction/scanning workstation. This was mainly because PhotoShop is a notorious memory hog. It's also because Macs have problems with virtual memory. It slows them down horrendously. If you're dealing large, hi-res scans, or rasterizing postscript files to a hi-res, having alot of ram is a must. But that's only if you're dealing with large bitmapped graphic files. The average designer wouldn't even be dealing with these large files. They'd usually just use a low res FPO to place in their Quark, Pagemaker, or Illustrator files. The prepress would then replace the FPO just as the the postscript is rasterized at a unix RIP and sent to the imagesetter. It's not necessary to have vast amount of RAM in this case.

    The main thing a good amount of ram does on a Mac is that it let's you open more applications at once. Unless you're dealing with extremely complex eps files, Illustrator does fine on the default RAM allotment. Because Pagemaker and Quark are vector graphic programs, and use lo-res proxies for their placed bitmaps, they don't need a huge amount of memory.

    A typical magazine ad is at least over 2-3 gigabytes.

    If it takes that much memory for one of your magazine ads, then you're just overbuilding your files my friend. And anyone that works in prepress would tell you the same.
  • SCO? I thought the Unix trademark was owned by The Open Group.
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • All Unices may not currently come packaged with GNU tools, but it has certainly been my experience that the tools somehow manage to appear on all of them shortly after installation. :)
  • "Credit where credit is due" is a fine concept, but I think people tend to go a bit far with this whole Microsoft brought us the PC thing.

    Bill Gates does deserve some credit though. He was smart enough, or lucky enough, to recognize the beginning of a trend, and was able to capitalize on it. Congratulations to him. But let's not mix up cause and effect please.
  • by drw ( 4614 )
    IBM was broken up by the government and forced them to re-organize. And now they are back in a strong financial position. True, they do not own the computer industry like they did in their early days, but they are setting directions for the industry with their R&D in things like hard drives and copper chips, etc. (real innovating, not MS 'innovation')

    I have heard the argument that IBM's anti-trust deal was one of the best things that happened. I don't know if this is true, but it keeps sticking in my mind as I see MS and where it is at now.

    Just something to think about...
  • "Shaw's Principle: Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it."
    Sounds like a pretty big market to me.
  • Yeah, that is curious. He offers BSDi as the only UNIX left standing without any hint as to why that might happen. Maybe it was just to get all our knickers in a twist...


  • Free/Net/OpenBSD is to BSDI what Linux is to SCO: death.

    Not so. BSDI is basically a commercialized version of FreeBSD; any improvements made to FreeBSD will be improvements to BSDI also. Contrast this with Linux, where the GPL prevents companies like SCO from making proprietary versions.

  • We have three NT servers on our network - our web server generally reboots once or twice a week, our file server once a month, and our MS Proxy about once every two months. My own NT workstation is rebooted once every week or two.

    We have one Linux box on the network - uptime 147 days and counting (since the last time I powered it down to change the network card). At my previous workplace (an ISP), the main web server ran Digital Unix. During the two years I worked there, we never had to reboot it except for hardware changes.

    Not FUD, just my own experiences. I wouldn't call myself an "extreme" Linux advocate, but I see what works, and what doesn't. If it weren't for the fact that the company has invested heavily in MS technologies (Exchange Server, Proxy Server, Internet Information Server / Active Server Pages, FoxPro, SQL Server), I would have had everything switched to Linux long ago.

  • These companies took longer than 20 years, but they had large physical installed bases.

    If someone mailed out Linux CD'slike AOL mailed out coasters. If OEM offered Linux/BSD at a lower cost than Win98/NT. MS's cash cow would be dead in the middle of the road.

    Microsoft is one car or airplane acident from being led by Steve Balmer. Think about it.

    Thirty mumble percent of outstanding MS stock was given to employees as incentives. That's the highest percentage of any large company. If the employees decide that $148/share is the right time to cash out, the downward pressure on MS stock would be immense. That could start a complete collapse of it market value. One of MS's big plusses now is it huge market capitolization. If that starts to erode, they would become extremely suseptable to FUD. Just like Apple was when it's stock was at salvage value and Jogs took over.

    If, for some insane reason Gates would be forced out of control, no other leader could manage anything more than an orderly dismemberment of MS.

  • They keep a lot of employees because the stock price keeps on going up. They keep investors happy for the same reason; M$ stock is a legal pyramid scheme. Once it stops climbing for a quarter or two, a few investors will bail, the stock price will stumble around for a short while until everyone else realizes it ain't gonna recover, and then it's gonna dive like you've never seen. And then employees will abandon in droves, and M$ will have no attraction left for anybody.

  • It 2020 we'll probably all have quoptical (quantum/optical) processors behind our ears with a natural language audio user interface. These devices will all be connected by a transparent wireless network type which has not even be thought of yet and the operating software will be writen by Linus' children while on a beer run to finland for their father.

    Umm... yeah, someone tell me to go to bed.

  • Free/Net/OpenBSD is to BSDI what Linux is to SCO: death.
    Replacement prediction: All Unices will employ GNU tools by 2005 to tap into the vast Linux user base.
  • and the "voluntary simplicity" movement in software, first identified by name in late 1999, had consumers
    turning away by the millions from the bloated Office suite and adopting various simplified freeware solutions instead.
    Hmm... I like the term. Good slogan.
  • All of us (up here in Seattle) read the
    article and instantly thought Fred Moody.
  • Many years ago (very early 80's), my father worked at Xerox and had a Star workstation on his desk. It had a GUI, some kind of WYSIWIG word processor, intra-office networking, and various other cute little doodads, apparently. It couldn't have been too bad, if my father could be persuaded to use it . . .

    They also invented a pile of other stuff - the mouse, for instance. Unfortunately, according to a couple of books I've read on the topic, Xerox management at the time was particularly clueless and let everybody else get rich exploiting technologies they invented.

  • Redhat 5 is known to be unstable...
    Redhat 5.1 is far more stable after what I've heard. I use Slackware myself, and our online web/name/other-server (a 486) will soon have it's 256 day anniversary.

    During it's uptime we've upgraded the webserver, added many accounts, set up mailinglists and Hypernews, added new domain, set up nameserver, installed qmail instead of sendmail, etc. etc. :)

  • Heh. Ever notice that the only Microsoft fans in these flamewars are Anonymous Cowards?

    Say, Rob, suppose you could pull out the hostname logs for them? I want to see just how many come from microsoft.com...
  • Look! FUD against microsoft! how amusing. A taste of their own medicine.
  • It's easy to contrast microsoft with other great "innovative" startup companies of the time. Let's take Apple as an example.

    Microsoft never had innovation in it's products. What MS had was little tricks, doodads, and whizbangs (does it sound like a Roald Dahl book yet?). When steve and steve got together, they said to each other: hey, lets get together and make this really cool product. When microsoft started up, it went something more like: hey lets get together and make some money.

    In it's 15 years in microcomputers, what has microsoft created that is new, something "innovative", to use an already overused term. The spreadsheet, the wordprocessor, multitasking, speech recognition, the intenet, or ANY of the new and old fields that made computing what it is today, did Microsoft ever contribute one iota to that? NO!

    Microsoft will die, it will be slow, but it will happen. The average joe might be happy with running "CD player" and changeing his backgrounds to his favourite rock group every now and then, but as competing technologies and paradigms (such as OSS, and specifically, the zealous, nearly paranoid GNU community) the average consumer will become aware of better products at better values. When they realize that Microsoft doesnt offer anything new, but simply the old with a new slogan, the interest will slowly start dying.

    On a side note, I think Apple will actually become a player in the computer industry again, now that Jobs is at the helm. Jobs might have a lot of ego problems, but he has something that businesspeople dont have, that spark of ingenuity. Whatever you want to say about the iMac, you have to admit that it looks cool, it will fit perfectly along with the nice new VW beetle (that is an AWESOME car).

    anyway, those are my 1.25 cents (2 canadian cents)

  • On a side note, I think Apple will actually become a player in the computer industry again, now that Jobs is at the helm. Jobs might have a lot of ego problems, but he has something that businesspeople dont have, that spark of ingenuity. Whatever you want to say about the iMac, you have to admit that it looks cool, it will fit perfectly along with the nice new VW beetle (that is an AWESOME car).

    Heheh. I'd probably settle for one of them Commodore Coupes, personally.

    Actually, it's kinda nice that Apple are back in action, (lets face it, before the G3 and iMac, well, they looked a bit green around the gills.)
    since they don't want to take over everything.

    Graham the Happy Scum

  • I'm not sure how big they were (and some are still around in altered form) but ...

    DEC, Prime, Data General, Wang, Computer Vision, NCR, Cray, Amdahl, Thinking Machines, RCA, CDC, Hayes, Ashton-Tate, Software Publishing Corp, ...

    What were the companies that produced VisiCalc? CP/M?

    Non-computer related companies include the entire US television industry and much of the consumer electronics industry. American Motors. The British aerospace industry. Digital watches pretty much wiped out the Swiss mechanical watch industry.

    Bad business decisions, complacency, market chages and reluctance to change with it, delusions of grandeur, loss of focus, dabbling in businesses outside your core competencies, and inertia all can lead to business failure. And it can happen quite fast.

    So, where does Microsoft want to go today?

  • I used NT Workstation for over a year (I no longer have that job) switching from OS/2. I shutdown everynight and booted up every morning.

    Over that time my system crashed on average once a week. The other NT users in the office experienced similar problems.

    Unfortunately, it was a corporate directive to migrate from OS/2 to NT.

    We also used AS/400s. Not very sexy. But very stable.

  • Hmm... it seems that only about a year and a half ago, we were seeing Apple death stories. Now, it seems that the press is calling them one of the greatest comeback stories of the decade. Is Microsoft doomed? Probabily not (DAMN). I think that it is still way to early to be writing anyting like this. However, when the time comes, all I would have to say is: "Where's your Steve Jobs, Bill?"

  • Such obvious trolling......
  • Given the larger and still growing numbers of hackers, crackers and wannabes, I don't think computing in 2020 will resemble anything like we have today. I may be wrong, but hey, I may be dead too!

    My 2 sense
  • by RichN ( 12819 )
    ...and another operating system, called UNIX, that now exists only in a version called BSDi

    The Linux zealots are going to go ballistic over this "prediction"...

  • Oh man,
    M$ dying would be SUCH a nice present on my (then) 46th birthday...
    Of course them dying next year on my 26th woud be even better.
  • When's the last time you heard of a company as big as Microsoft going from full steam ahead to nothing in 20 years? I realize this is the tech industry and things can change quickly, but this just doesn't seem realistic.


  • Did MS invent the wheel-mouse? Or was that Logitech, or somebody else?
  • While I would agree that Apple dropped the ball for a while, the fact that the Mac interface has remained consistent is a testament to its remarkable design. Kind of like the Constitution. It has even remained consistent across an entire platform change when they went from 68k to PPC.

    As for technology, how about Quicktime, Firewire, the 3.5" floppy, open doc etc. etc.
  • Off course there would be a computermarket without M$ ! It could have been a different one without them, but it would have been there. A free-market economy creates new markets wherever they see fit. Once the technology is available, the computermarket is also. Profit rules the world, also without M$ !
  • If go this URL, you can read how according to Microsoft, Windows will meet its demise by the year 2004, perhaps replaced by Linux.

    http://news.bbc. co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_253000/253592.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    Malta Network Resources [maltanetwo...ources.com] search engine/portal/ directory
  • In the early 80s which you mention, a computer
    could be purchased for under $300! The software
    was supplied for free or available at low cost.
    Remember the days of the ZX81, the Spectrum by Sinclair? Then Commodore of course with the Pet
    and 64. That was the original market before
    Gates came and "purchased" DOS from Seattle Computers.

    No, everything was better before Gates, in my opinion. There was also Digital Research's CPM operating system at the time.

    Oh well, it does not make sense to keep thinking
    of the past, we should look at the future to see
    what we can do to get rid of Bloatware.

  • From full steam ahead to nothing may be unrealistic... But look at what happened to IBM in about 20 years:

    They went from totally dominating the entire computer industry, to be smaller than a startup run by a college dropout...

    And with Netscape in 3-4 years: Going from being the fastest growing software company ever, to becoming a struggling software/services/portal company worth a fraction of what it was worth after their IPO.

  • The biggest fault of this article is it's continued insistence that Micro$oft was once innovative! The conclusion is also wrong, M$ will continue to be around in some way, shape, or form for a long, long time, for the same reasons that IBM is still around. The main reason being that they can afford to lose $1 billion/year for 20 years and still remain in business! However, M$ may become irrelevant in many markets, like the server market, in much the same way that Banyan is irrelevant in the corporate network market, despite the fact that it is still being supported and used. (Banyan was still being used at Intel and Tektronix the last time I checked.) Linux is already a better Windows server than NT is, and Micro$oft's shift to per-seat pricing provides even more incentive to switch. The price/performance numbers for using NT as your server simply cannot compete!
  • by ash ( 98519 )
    I don't know if Microsoft will fall , but I know it will never be the same again.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde