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back to article Microsoft vows to bark like a dog for you in 2008

Microsoft has promised "big dog" products and R&D spend next year, to defend its partner turf and go head-to-head against competitors new and old. Woof! Opening the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference chief operating officer Kevin Turner announced Feb. 27, 2008, would herald the biggest single day of launches in …

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Surely Not?

Surely their biggest one day will not be in sales.. but when Vista can copy a 1 mbyte file in under 20 minutes...

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Anonymous Coward

Free as in Freedom, twits...

"Turner claimed Microsoft is overcoming "the perception of free when we know it's not free" to take market share."

M$ just does not get it. Look at the prices... $59 per user per month. They are trying to sell space and time. The world does not want to become M$'s slave.

M$ is selling licences in China for $3. They have always insisted they were a good buy. The numbers do not match. They found illegal copies were too much competition in China. They will find Linux/Solaris/FreeBSD/FLOSS too much competition everywhere if spending all that time and money produced such a poor result as Vista. The empire is crumbling.

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Silver badge

$7bn in research ?

That DRM thingy cost them $7 billion to develop ? Shafting a planet-wide market full of users usually eager to upgrade cost them $7 billion dollars ? Creating a monster three times as bloated as XP, taking an hour to delete a single file, cost them $7 billion dollars ?

Oh, and does that amount include the cost of replacing the furniture that Ballmer throws around when he sees the sales figures ? Because if it doesn't, you might want to add another billion. Just for safety.

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Anonymous Coward

And how much on innovation?

Lets hope that some of that "$7Bn" is spent on innovating and not polishing turds or on developing features we don't need.

The guy's talking complete guff when he talks about the "biggest day". They're launching incremental upgrades to stable platforms for heck's sake. The server platform's been stable for years; same with SQL Server and .NET for that matter.

Just because they want to dick around with a working product set doesn't necessarily mean that we--the customers--are interested in upgrading for Microsoft's sake.

Innovation is the key to success. Incremental "improvement" isn't innovation.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft shouldn't bark like a dog...

...they should roll over and play dead.

When software becomes a "Service" and not a product, more and more people will look towards alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

Forced upgrades.

"Just because they want to dick around with a working product set doesn't necessarily mean that we--the customers--are interested in upgrading for Microsoft's sake."

The company I work for has been developing software using Microsoft's MSDE database for several years. Now, all of a sudden, we have to re factor ALL of our products because MSDE is incompatible with Vista.

And the replacement (SQL Server Express 2005), quite frankly, sucks, big time. Its definitely slower then MSDE and requires the .NET 2.0 runtime, causing more installation steps.

Unsurprisingly we are looking at alternative (non MS) database engines so we don't get caught like this again.

Nice one MS. Now aim at the other foot and see of you can blow that one off as well.

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Dam

Vista made MS a reliable partner? As if

"The investment, building on Windows Vista and Office 2007 this year, made Microsoft a reliable partner, Turner said. "Those were huge, huge big dog releases... multi billion dollar products. That's only part of the story." In Fiscal 2008: "I see money, I can see monetization. I can smell it, I can hear it, I can see it. This is the year we are going to monetize innovation we have talked about.""

Wow, wait a second here.

-Vista made MS a reliable partner? You bet it has, a reliable partner who can't even ship an OS that does such basic functions as copying/removing files efficiently.

-Office 2K7 made MS a reliable partner? Surely, although 95% of people won't use the "new features", but still will have to upgrade thanks to MS' everlasting pursuit of compatibility between their different product versions.

Big dog releases these? Dog poo, more like.

I'm *overjoyed* I removed Vista in favour of XP a couple weeks ago, it feels like *breathing again*

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Anonymous Coward

They need to lay off it...

Seriously, this FUD just reads like a load of rotting food scraps. Mostly full of marketing non-sense, and as usual with Microsoft, little substance.

Given all the money they spent on R&D for Vista which is Microsoft's worst OS since ME, and then claiming it made them a reliable partner, I expect their future projects to be equally as flawed.

Some of the best new products have had budgets way lower than that. Also amusing that their data centre acquisitions has resulted in no real world impact on the market share held by Google.

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Anonymous Coward

R&D spend shouldn't be underestimated

The truth of it to me is that all those billions of dollars buy some very clever people, people like Leslie Lamport who designed LaTeX, work for Microsoft. Microsoft's R&D effort, although doesn't guarantee success, does mean you stay a credible player. It's counter to economic history to say that a huge R&D spend will mean that MS still can't succeed because their ideology is wrong. The whole sorry history of British manufacturing and design is one of low or no spending on R&D with a near meltdown in our manufacturing industry as a result. Nearly ever hi-tech or research depend industry has almost vanished entirely from the British landscape from cars to machine tools to computers because we wouldn't invest in research and development.

There is, of course, no guarantee that Microsoft will remain successful. No matter how much is spent on R&D if the products don't fit the demands of customers they'll ultimately fail. But as far as I can see it Microsoft isn't going to fail because their ideology of monetizing software is counter to OSS. In a capitalist market ideology isn't the currency it used to be. Is OSS ideology that compelling it will make it succeed or is most software judged on its own merits rather than the philosophy that designed it?

At the risk of outraging the zealots and evangelists the idea that "Free as in Freedom" is complete nonsense because of the society we're in; there is nothing free about a business-run or capitalist society. If you think Microsoft is the problem you're not even scratching at the root causes. Microsoft is compelled to make money like every other capitalist business, they're just a symptom of the bigger problem. Identifying Microsoft as the root of all evil is bourgeois crap - people like Wal-Mart and McDonalds cause much more harm to societies than Microsoft ever could. Squabbling over software ideology/evangelism is as embarrassing as the Loony Left was 20 years ago where various leftwing factions would argue over who was the most leftist yet none of them could propose a single solution to the problems of real people. It's an absolutely pitiful and irrelevant mindset. This kind of thinking resulted in the defeat of the left every time.

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Anonymous Coward

$7Bn.....

On R&D and we get Vista.

I guess its a case of quanity not quality.

I would ask for my money back persoanly. Its not about how much you spend on R&D but what you do with it, when they learn that one maybe they will make it to the top of my evil empire list.

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Anonymous Coward

Bigger isn't necessarily better

Just because you have a big budget doesn't have any correlation with better products.

Just look at ANY government project. Big bucks, big sucks.

Smaller can be much better. Much more elegant.

With the leviathan that is Vista, God help them as they sure aren't helping themselves. (What a great thought: Vista = ME! And we all know that ME is also known as "Yuppie Flu" which makes one tired, slow, and incapable of working effectively)

If Microsoft's point is "because we've spent a lot of money upgrading our products, they must be better", they're definitely talking more rubbish than normal.

Message to Microsoft: STOP LISTENING TO YOUR PET MARKETING GIMPS AND START LISTENING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS -- WHILE YOU STILL HAVE THEM.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: R&D spend shouldn't be underestimated

Sure having sufficient financial resources to invest in R&D is an important factor for a business, what is equally important is the simple economic equation that - investments<returns.

Vista is proof that throwing a lot of money on R&D at something and have access to a wealth of resources, and lacking the right focus or direction to use those tools/resources still lands you with a highly ineffective investment. It would be like hiring Rembrandt and Picasso to design something in MS Paint. Plenty of talent, but plenty of waste too.

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It's not about Vista folks

it's probably more to do with:-

- their online product suite (not sure if this is pie in the sky)

- Virtualisation software (nipping at VMware's and Xen's heels, but they're locked in the 'software box' unless they tackle hardware direct)

- app virtualisation (softgrid offers something completely new, which has real potential as I see it to make systems more reliable and to allow greater ranges of apps in dev and prod)

- MOM development and partner integration (this is where they're nipping at BMC's and Quest's heels)

- Sharepoint (this has real potential too, for large enterprises, dunno how it'd cost for SMEs)

- presumable some 2008 dev beyond the RC

- anything I've forgotten

Maybe the change is on service packs for Vista to make it work! :)

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Anonymous Coward

Virtualisation & Services

Ofcourse their focus is into developing products towards through these products which are either virutalized or accessed on-line, either way they are being forced to move into an area Microsoft has long been aware of but has been reluctant in getting into.

This leaves them in an interesting position where product development for virtualisation and on-line comes across as a me-too and trailing the pack who've brought these technologies to market and have them operating and in use by the general public already.

Companies like Sun Microsystem long ago provided abstracted products which removed much of the platform dependance. And this is where Microsoft's reluctance has come in.. shifting towards on-line mediums makes their own operating system more redundant and puts them more in direct fire with competition in the market which is often only a mouse click away when it comes to the on-line world.

Through token aspects they've tied in on-line environments and provided web-based packages/services for their existing products, but more as a support for a more primary application than the main application. As a result, they have no real experience in this field.

Companies like Google are already offering on-line applications, a company with a name as big as Microsoft's virtually, and a company which people generally hold an affection for. Google also is offering these on-line applications for free, something that would clash with Microsoft's business model.

Businesses and individuals could pay for the full suite Microsoft may offer on-line, but when they can legally (and without concerns as to legal impacts) use a free alternative which is compatible with their existing documents it becomes a real threat.

VMware has long provided virtualisation in the Unix world, and MacOS X has now made it accessible for minimal to no cost to the average user too on their Intel machines. So what could Microsoft really offer here that isn't already being done, and at a competitive rate?

Apple has also helped to popularise (along with file downloading services) more of the on-line services on demand, and has provided much of the technology bundled with the software which via excessive hype has given Apple solid market shares in those sectors. The iPhone and new TV device are further investments towards this direction, and are already popular (despite much controversy) even though they are only in their infance.

Where Microsoft has trailed they often struggle to catch up, even in the gaming field where XBox 360s now currently outsell the PS3, Sony's smaller brother the PSP often outsells 360s, despite being a technologically inferior device. And recent sales figures in Japan showed the PS3 outselling the XBox360, inspite of the higher cost of the PS3.

Similar examples can be seen with the Zune (vs iPod), and other products of theirs which have trailed already popular products on the market. Sure there is the counter example, IE, a late comer and has long dominated the market, but IE also came about during a very different period in the IT world.

So it becomes questionable given the above what Microsoft throwing a lot of money at these R&D projects will achieve. This monolithic organisation has shown itself to be a slow reactor to change in the past, and these changes which are already in place are transforming from the technological world Microsoft has dominated so far in the realm of the traditional desktop computer environment.

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Feeding Frenzy

To be innovative the feeding frenzy should take place in R&D; not in your customer base (not that a feeding frenzy in your customer base is a bad thing). The disadvantage Microsoft and, likely Google and Apple, face when going up against OS it that OS is a viable ecosystem where good stuff can be found and exploited by endless numbers of people.

A case in point is Firefox which is the point of penetration for OS software in the general marketplace. Using Firefox, almost exclusive of other browsers, I can say it has flaws that doesn't make it a flat out better browser than IE but the extensibility of Firefox is enviably rich. I don't see how a heavily structure, hierarchical, profit driven and constrained, company can ever compete with the innovation stemming from OS. A basic browser or any other standard, user app can be marketed but OS has a deep, active ecosystem that invites innovation by congregation and turns out a serviceable product.

I've used MS products from the Dos 3.3 platform up to XP. I liked NT stuff and I've heard well informed people say that Win2k remains a sweet spot in OS implementation. Overall I've no complaints, (excluding DRM) but MS failed to oust Unix from the academic world and Linux and the FOSS movement came from the Universities. Linux now has a sound foothold and the myriad, fluid pools of talent floating Linux will continue to improve base products while providing ancillary innovation at a pace and flexibility that MS, Google and Apple can't match.

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Great

How about removing the numerous fatal bugs out of Visual Studio 2005 before we move on to VS2008? Every release since VS6 gets worse. I'm not even asking for it to work well (like detecting changes to header files when rebuilding), I'd just like it to crash not nearly as often.

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