Microsoft watcher Mary Branscombe has an excellent ZDNet post on Why do we (love to) hate Microsoft, and asks: What would Microsoft need to do and say to you for you to be happy to call yourself a fan? In part she's reacting to head of Microsoft PR Frank Shaw's Microsoft by the Numbers in which he highlights the success of …
Why we aren't fans...
Why aren't we fans? Microsoft is stupid.
To suggest that their users are not capable or responsible enough to be Administrators of their own PCs is ridiculous.
in that respect, at least, they are right.
I know lots of users and very few have the knowledge that would enable them to administrate their machines correctly. MS just spent a lot of time and money convincing people they can.
You have a company that sells such a varied range of products and services across every continent (not all great and some terrible), and your reason is that you are not admin by default?
That is just fanboi hate coming out.
It's hard to tell. If you're being serious, may I remind you that none of the UNIX-derived OSes out there are any different? Microsoft's mistake was in giving users admin powers by default for so long.
People are generally thick
Were you trolling or do you geniuenly believe that?
Actually, that is the party line of Ubuntu, the magick distro which has taken Linux right up there to 1% of OSes. It is Ubuntu desktop users who are Windows stoopid and cannot be trusted to admister their own PCs.
But, Microsoft is obviously stoopid since they make all those billions.
That is really stoopid! No one should make money selling anything. Everything should be FREE! Like those Apple products.
Microsoft Windows "sells" OEM hardware for manufacturers, which is really stoopid. Hardware should be FREE.
What does Ubuntu sell?
Change and Hope and...
Isn't Change and Hope enough?
El Reg takes Microsoft advert loot - and then advertises Ubuntu for FREE!
I guess Microsoft really is stoopid.
Pull the ads, MS, and starve the bastards!
They will never say anything nice about you. Ever.
Troll Troll Troll...
When you sell things, they should be honest things, the buyer must be aware of what they are buying and what they're rights are. Normally we don't have to consider the goods of sales act in relation to buying a Banana, but for reasons of a deficiency in business ethics and basic morality Microsoft seems to think it's quite acceptable to abuse the general public with OEM deals, price fixing, standards fraud, bribery and legal attacks which means no one has a clue what they're really buying or what they actually own. Unless your a lawyer I guess.
With all that, what they can't seem to do is actually produce honest products that are valuable to the advancement of society or at least the advancement of aesthetics. They're products don't do anything, don't go anywhere, they're all one shot and very boring deliberate evolutionary dead-ends for some computer historian in 100 years.
Microsoft: Make it all open source, make your money honestly, tear up the OEM deals and place your business in the free market instead of hiding away from capitalism. Be transparent and stop doing amoral things.
Sarah Palin, is that you?
I think we should be told.
I think you were trying to troll, or maybe even make a point, but it's really hard to tell- you're rather incoherent.
That's it, Mickeyshaft - keep telling yourself that Linux is less than 1% of the desktop. It'll keep you feeling nice and safe so you don't have to worry about fixing your crap. :-)
Oh - by the way - don't mention the servers. I did once, but I think I got away with it.
Why we arn't fans
My beef against Microsoft has a total monopoly on computer operating systems. Monopolies promote inefficiency (Vista) and waste (corporations and individuals having to completely upgrade their systems evertry 2 to 4 years). People are forced to upgrade their computers at a cost of 400 to 600 dollars every 2 to 4 years. I live in a town that has a high poverty rate. I often buy p4's at e-cycling centers and fix them and put Ubuntu on them for people who can't afford computers for their children. The only fault with these p4 (and p3) computers is that they have been artificially made technologically obsolete by Microsoft. IF there were competing computer os's and office software, Microsoft would be hesitant to pull support for the older machines because Microsoft's loss would be someone else's gain.
To see the truth, imagine a monopoly like MS+Intel running the HDTV industry. You would have to replace your HDTV every 2 to 4 years because the digital standard would change forcing you to get a new tv! Or having a automobile that has to be replaced because parts would be unavailable after 2 to 4 years. This mentality is ok for those with money, but it is the shaft for the rest of us
What would Microsoft need to do and say to you for you to be happy to call yourself a fan?
But before they do remotely shutdown and disable all windows systems worldwide, that should make for less spam, less hack attacks and a quieter life.
OAT, what have Microsoft actually invented?
what has Apple actually invented(see open source section of apple's website if you need a hint)? It's not like they stole their core from BSD... oh wait... and Android is making money off Linux. what have most companies actually invented? Saying Microsoft steals all their ideas is a bit of a stretch and all tech companies are guilty of it.
did I state that microsoft 'stole' anything?, I merely asked the question,
what have Microsoft actually invented?
If you know what they invented, please tell.
Stealing Ideas? Noithing wrong with that!
Nothing wrong with stealing an idea as ideas are not owned or patentable (yet), and you can come up with the idea on your own. The implementation of the idea is the thing you can't steal. i.e. A horseless carriage is an idea, a Model A Ford is an implementation of that idea, so too is a Bugatti Veron, these two are worlds apart (don't you just LOVE automobile analogies (NOT!)).
The GUI is an idea, Xerox created a version of it, Apple took the idea and improved on it, Amiga went one step further with colour and pre-emptive multi-tasking and multiple desktops, Microsoft copied the idea and created their own implementation of it in Windows 3.0. Nothing wrong with that, it was a great step forward.
The real problem with Microsoft is that they can't be trusted to do the right thing by their customers, or put another way they can be trusted to behave unethically to keep customers in their pocket. And trust is something you do not want to EVER loose because once lost, trust it is almost impossible to regain.
Microsoft lost my trust when they broke my Windows 2000 installation not once, but twice in a row. The time required and losses suffered to reinstall everything, restore backups, and get going again made me consider Linux (which at the time was nowhere near as polished as it is now). For my own business operations I have never looked back. Microsoft products (yes even Windows 7) have been relegated to existing in virtual machines on a Linux-box where they can be studied and used to keep our hands in on what the majority of the world is shepherded into using. Microsoft needs to behave in a trustworthy manner, build great products that people love to use (as opposed to have no choice but to use), and care for and respect their customers. Unfortunately the leopard can not change its spots.
Open Source calls it "Reusing Ideas" and "Freedom"
That's really what open source is about - it's letting people use the stuff you've developed, and being free to use the stuff other people have developed. Even if they're only doing the half of "software freedom" that's using other people's ideas, it's still a start.
My reason for not liking Microsoft software is the 25-30 years of experience I've had using their products, and while they do actually produce some fine things these days, they've gotten sufficiently big and bloated that it's still not friendly and doesn't either stay out of my way or let me adjust things easily myself. It didn't help them that I'd been using computers for some years before Microsoft - DOS was much less flexible and friendly than Unix, but a PC wasn't significantly less powerful than a PDP-11/45, and it wasn't even more friendly than RSTS-11. Sure, it was a nicer (but less powerful) than TSO, CMS, or the punch-card OSs for IBM mainframes, and I'd rather develop communication software for DOS than SNA or its predecessors. And Windows 98 had almost caught up with Macintosh 1984 in usability. And today's MS help systems are probably slightly more friendly than the ones we used on VMS.
Some of the problems were PC-related rather than purely Microsoft related; mysterious hardware crashes, inaccessible structures on disk drives, etc. It took over 20 years before my Windows machine at work had better screen resolution than the Sun-3/50 I'd used in the late 80s, although that was partly because I was using laptops. (And yeah, now I've got 32-bit color instead of 8-bit, but most of what I do is text anyway.)
Microsoft lacks pride or any taste.
At least Apple has some taste and knows what to steal and how to dress it up.
First they stole the GUI. Then they stole Unix. They have great taste.
With Apple you have some hope of having a good product. Microsoft is just about the bottom line.
This is the same thing that separates American auto makers from the Germans and Japanese.
"This is the same thing that separates American auto makers from the Germans and Japanese."
True in all respects except for Toyota. (and former Euro brands taken over by Am. auto makers - Saab, Volvo, Mercedes etc) . Oligopoly (Am. car market pre-1980s) and monopoly (MS) leave all advantages of competition and automatic market regulation behind and their supposed advantage (private efficiency v. public inefficiency) is a myth. If anything, private monopoly is not only just as, or more, inefficient, it's more predatory on consumers and competitors. MS shouldn't have been "taken over" by regulators, it should have been broken up long ago.
Um, not exactly
Taste is a very subjective thing, quality much less so, I think.
A Lexus or a BMW driver may well sneer at a Cadillac driver say, as someone lacking taste. Taste be damned! I prefer Honda or Toyota cars because even with the recent Toyota recalls and despite quantum leaps in quality from Detroit, the Japanese nameplates still provide a better quality product, as measured objectively by e.g. Consumer Reports, J.D. Edwards, etc. Sure I appreciate the stylistic differences, but never enough to sacrifice function for form, and rarely enought to pay more. Ironically, in the motorcycle community it goes the other way; Harley riders often knock my Hondas as not being as "cool" as their far more expensive rides, but they never want to compare repair records. :-).
So cost is a factor as well; my Linux server is powered by a Briggs & Stratton generator when the power goes out because the Honda was thrice as dear but only twice as good.
This relates to Operating Systems as well; many (if not most) would agree that Apple wins on style, but what do you want your O/S to do: provide a stable environment in which to run applications, and ease of administration, or draw pretty icons? If you want the most reliability for the least cost, I think a Linux solution is difficult to beat in most cases; if you want to hang with the cool kids, then you're stuck paying more for Apple. If you don't care about reliability or style, then it's Windows.
These comments annoy me...
"There is also the question of pricing, especially for business users. When I reviewed a Toshiba Netbook recently I figured that installing Windows Pro (to join a domain) and Office would cost more than the hardware. I suppose you cannot blame a company for charging what the market will bear; but when the commodity software costs more than the commodity hardware, you have to wonder whether monopolistic pricing is still prese"
What the bloddy hell were you doing trying to run a netbook as a proper business machine in the first place? I bet you complained to IT when your IPhone wouldn't connect to the blackberry mail server as well didn't you? Fashion items are not business tools...Netbooks should be left with your kids not brough to the office so that you can moan that it can't do what somthing costing just £150 more does out of the box.
Actually, my Aspire One netbook (running Linux, it has to be said) has helped out at the office on several occasions precisely because it is small and easy to carry and, on more than one occasion, because it was running Linux and not Windows. Recently I've been using it as a Linux development platform, although I have to admit to cheating by running an X server on my Windows desktop machine and using SSH to the netbook.
Microsoft killed the true netbook anyway - the Eee and the AA1 and their early competition. All of a sudden the screen size went back up to the point where it's a small laptop, not a netbook, and it's hard to get a low-end cheap, small machine now (although I just bought a spare AA1 on eBay). That's one of the reasons to dislike Microsoft, although it's not completely their fault.
Netbooks & Business
My Aspire One also runs Linux and serves as a very capable business machine, much more capable than my Dell Lattitude C-810, and it is much easier to carry around. Running a Word Processor, a Spreadsheet, or showing a slide-show presentation doesn't exactly push the limits of the two 1.6 GHz Atom processors.
I wonder if those who claim net-books can't be used for serious work have ever actually used one, and if they did how was that net-book configured?
Netbooks and business
My MSI wind is just a very small laptop with windows XP on it. It is significantly more powerful than 70%+ of the machines we have running XP here in the office.
I don't really see why there should be any issue using it as a business machine, unless you are a graphics designer or 3d artist obviously. I even use mine to play old 3d games that vista/7 don't like due to the newer directx implementations. It's exactly the same spec as my 6-7 year old gaming laptop, except half the size and with a pants intel graphics card!
Netbooks and business
There are all kinds of business uses for netbooks apart from traditional desktop tasks, but all of them involve being able to get on a network. If they come with Windows 7 Starter crippleware out of the box you have little option but to replace the operating system.
Coming from the Amiga made me hate them..
I NEVER liked windows, coming from an Amiga background (I had the 500 + 1200).
When My Amiga died in 1996 I got a Windows PC that cost 4 times the amount had 16 times the RAM and was about 50 times time faster in CPU speed (in Mhz) but was about 1000 X slower in doing anything, it was so unstable, everything cost lots more but did not have the capabilities of software on the Amiga (untill about 1/2 decade later) and our entire OS actually crashed (all the time) - with the Amiga crashes (guru mediations) nearly always occurred only ever in games.
So for me I view Microsoft as a company that make computing progress go backwards.
As well as being technical inept MS use their monopoly to prevent progress and innovation.
Microsoft use FUD and threats about made up patents relating to Linux and open-source software to use a Mafia style technique of bullying money out of companies - with 'patent deals' - Tomtom and Amazon are recent victims.
All the details are off record (if the details were ever publicised Microsoft could no longer use FUD as a weapon...) (I prey someone leaks the info to wikileaks)
The result of Microsoft tactics have both helped to prevent innovation in the industry (Apple are being just as bad recently) and end up costing governments around the world huge bills with windows licenses that could be avoided and spent to improve society - alternatives exist but MS have always done their most to ensure that competition cannot exist
For anyone who is slightly interested in the detail here is a very good link
(Doesn't have much info on the last 1/2 decade - they haven't changed - in some way got far worse
Anyone who knows about the company SCO see
They are a hideous company who will use any immoral means to bugger their competitors - Microsoft customers are like people locked in the Matrix, they just need to wake up.
The money Gates has given back (via the gates foundation) probably doesn't equal the money he has skanked from various governments in the 1st place.
Maybe he's giving the wealth back due to guilt ?
What would it take? Gates to stand up and apologise for all the lies his company fabricated, for the partners they sabotaged, for the strong-arm tactics and bribery, for the gifted geeks who ended up destitute or who suicided when Bill and co scammed them out of their livelihood.
Not bitter though.
What Would It Take?
Produce good products for sale at reasonable prices, cut the corporate rhetorical bluster and general bullshit, be honest in you business practices, appear honest in your business practices and make Windows Product Activation far less intrusive and condeming.
...and enforce quality control on products,
not ship buggy product, and burn Steve Balmer at the stake. (just in case you thought I was being serious). All of these are equally likely.
First and foremost, for me, microsoft need to clean up their act on patent enforcement.
What would Microsoft need to do and say to you for you to be happy to call yourself a fan?
1. Hand over their entire patent pool to the FSF
2. Open-source everything
3. Make their software free and charge for support
4. Provide a compelling support offering that is worth paying for
"3. Make their software free and charge for support"
No! No no no no no no no!
Whenever something is free and only support is charged then it means that in order for the company to make money the documentation must be rubbish, the application buggy, or simply not user friendly enough for the average user to be able to use it.
This is why pretty much all open source software (that isn't supported by large donations from companies like IBM) is difficult to use and will never become mainstream.
I have *never* had to phone up Microsoft (or anyone else) to fix something in Windows and I want it to stay that way.
Here's a thought, how about you drop your "wah wah wah I want everything free-tardness" and actually pay people for their work?
@AC 4th July 10:18 - Please elaborate
"I have *never* had to phone up Microsoft (or anyone else) to fix something in Windows and I want it to stay that way"
I'm interested to know in what context you use Microsoft's products, and which products you use. Is this in a corproate environment, and if so is it a large environment, or are you referring to being a home user?
For my sins, I've had to call Microsoft's support teams on a number of occasions... all through my line of work (security for a very large financial organisation, if you must know). This has been for various products, e.g. Windows, SQL Server, BizTalk, etc...
As you can imagine for an organisation of this size, this isn't run-of-the-mill stuff, but then again, it's been for things that the documentation should have covered, or more often that it should have covered correctly.
The process has never been straight forward - as our Account Manager will confirm by the feedback we leave when cases are closed - and the general level of support is dire. It's not made any easier by having to go through off shore support centres who read questions from a script before the case is eventually assigned to the relevant SMEs (taking anywhere between 48 hours and a week!).
I'm genuinely interested to know under what circumstances you've been able to get by without having to call Microsoft. Maybe you've not been using their products as intensively as we have, or maybe you've got better staff (who don't spend all day reading El Reg instead of working!)... although considering the number of my colleagues who have defected to go and work for Microsoft, I guess our staff aren't that bad really.
The on-site support engineers, however, are usually first class... but they should be considering how much we pay to have them.
My post was mainly aimed at home users (the original post was talking about making all their software free, not just business software). I would have thought the words 'average user' in my post would have given that away :).
We haven't had to call Microsoft at work either as far as I know, however we are a small company and tend to only use small business server, exchange, sql server 2005/2008 and a few other bits and bobs. We only really to use the 'fairly standard' features of each and haven't had any issues we could fix ourselves with either the documentation or google (although you could argue that if we have to resort to google the documentation isn't good enough).
The point is that in many of the free pieces of software I've used even fairly standard usage (like, just getting the sodding thing installed) require you to mess about when it should just work.
"the bad old days of arrogance and dubious business practices"
They have not ended.
There are probably worse examples, but we still have microsoft giving us inadequate choice. For example, we can "install updates and shut down" or we can "restart" but we cannot choose to "install updates and restart" even though that is precisely what many users will *need* to do, especially in the case of a machine which is remote and therefore cannot easily be restarted once it shuts down.
All these anti-fanboy comments aside, I agree that Windows Phone 7 can be hit or miss but I also worry that they are leaving their values and going to a more totalitarian Applesque approach with Windows Phone 7(store with rules, and so on). I think that will hurt them or severely change them in the long run. If they don't promote freedom on their OS as they have done in the past then what point is it using their locked down products? Also, what is the point of having a company treating us like children if we are fully capable of running the OS? Apple treats its users like children which leads to ignorant people not knowing what they've got(they just know it is good because the company told me so) and getting advanced options out of the OS is more painful than Windows on a bad day.
In the end Microsoft is blatantly better then Apple when it comes to this and that's not something that can be argued but do to their previous transgressions and the culture of hating Microsoft because Apple or the bandwagon told me so, It'll be a hard road.
the admin "issue"
I'm assuming the "treating us like children" thing is a reference to the "not admin by default" thing. Hopefully everyone will see it here, since it applies to multiple posts for this article.
If you were worthy of having admin access to your machine, you'd be able to figure out how to get it. The fact that you complain about not having default admin demonstrates that you are too computer illiterate to figure it out, and thus neither deserve it or should have it.
Now, go Google it, give yourself admin, then whine about "spam" "malware" and "viruses" when you fail at using a computer.
You are not sysadmin, we are.
"Apple treats its users like children which leads to ignorant people not knowing what they've got(they just know it is good because the company told me so) and getting advanced options out of the OS is more painful than Windows on a bad day."
While this is true, in 7 everything "advanced" is owned by "System" and you, as the "owner" of the machine, do not have system-level privileges, that's reserved for trojans and viruses and your "friends" in Redmont who have it by default when your computer is online and thus are the real owners of that machine.
Essentially the same mentality as with Apple: "You are not sysadmin, we are."
In Unix, the root can do _anything_ he wants. Even break every pre-installed "feature" (ie. DRM) the OS has. Which is exactly the reason it's forbidden in OS X/Windows, even for the "owner"
The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.
"...but when the commodity software costs more than the commodity hardware, you have to wonder whether monopolistic pricing is still present...."
...but when book costs more then paper it is printed on, oh wait a moment, that's it I am done with monopolistic bookshop.
Book Meme, I'll start
If MS software was a book...
You wouldnt expect to have to buy a license to loan it to a friend
This analogy doesn't work. The computer is not the book, the CD-ROM or DVD is the book, the Software written on the CD ROM or DVD is the equivalent to the story written on the pages of the book. The computer is the printing-press, and perhaps also eye-glasses; allowing you to create and use (read) the book.
OK, so I'm in a minority.
Personally: if they opened up FAT* and stopped threatening Linux then I might think about not hating them.
As it stands I will not pay someone to hold a[n imaginary or otherwise] gun to manufacturers heads if they chose to use Linux or, indeed, any other open-source software.
What would MS have to say?
Well they could start by saying we're splitting into three separate companies: one for the OS, one for the Apps, and one for everything else (mice, webcams, whatever).
Once there is clear blue water between the companies it becomes harder to make deals like "Mr Big PC builder, you'll be our bestest ever friend (and get our bestest ever Windows volume licence prices) if you pre-install the time-limited Office 2015 for us)". It would also mean that OSco and Appco would have the same relationship as any other application developer had with OSco.
In fact wasn't this suggested as a potential remedy in one of the earlier anti-trust cases, back in His Holiness Saint Bill's day?
What would they need to do?
This is the best solution, methinks:
1. Announce a vastly lighter 'personal' version of Windows that boots in 10 seconds and runs built-in browser and email, and some sort of app store. And looks cool. Duh.
2. Bring their upgrade prices for mainstream Windows into reality - say, $25 - so that we all actually buy Win7, and Win8 and stay on board.
You mean Linux?
If being a fan of Third Grade was important, I would still be there. What's the audience here ?
Besides the obvious?
I suppose she means besides the obvious things like giving up the market share gained by anti-competitive practices, taking away consumer choice in what is otherwise an open market economy, stiffing innovation, refusing to fix existing windows flaws before piling on more code trying to sell the next windows version (if you can't debug something because it is bloated beyond reason, sans lack of profits to make it possible that is a sign the development process has gone terribly wrong).
MS is free to make any OS they see fit, so long as we can go out and buy a *PC* that has full hardware and software support running another OS, meaning to right their wrongs we either need a time machine or they need go out of business and fund the development that would have happened had they played by the rules others did, rules set up by society for good reason.
First of all, it's not hate, it's pity.
Not pity for Microsft, mind, but for those who have bought into it and are incapable of thinking outside the box.
Secondly, MS needs to stop treating their clients as criminals.
Thirdly, the SIZE of the OS needs to drop, by a couple orders of magnitude (20 gigs? WTF??)
Fourthly, they need to stop dicking about with the user interface.
Fifthly, the hardware lock-in ("Microsoft Tax") needs to go away.
Sixthly, the outright lies need to be both acknowledged and stopped, and the entire marketing department done away with (this alone would probably cure a few of the above).
Do I really need to go on?
"Windows 7 is good"
Are you kidding me? It takes *longer* now to perform filesystem operations like copying and deletion on Windows 7 than it did 10 years ago with Windows 2000, using the same filesystem. And that's with Moore's Law. The first thing people install on Windows is anti-virus software that cripples performance. Linux runs faster on a *virtual machine* than Windows does on the bare metal. The only current Microsoft product that I believe is any good is the .NET framework and its associated languages.
And remember why the .NET framework exists at all?
Because Microsoft took Java and mutilated it so badly that Sun had to take an injunction out against them preventing them from calling it Java.
It's not that difficult.
Windows is what you get when you don't choose. There is no emotional attachment to it. It sits on their computer and enables them to do stuff. At best, it's invisible. At worst, it's a pain in the neck.
Office is no better. How many people actually want to use Office? I mean really want to use it. To upgrade it every few years, for no real advantage..
Linux, Windows, anything else.. All deliberate choices. People get involved with their choices. They become to some extent, part of their identity.