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back to article Dear Dell and Microsoft: You're not Apple

Dell has always been a first-class choice for budget-minded CIOs. The company grew to prominence by shaving everything – including R&D costs – from the bill of materials for its utilitarian, corporate machines. Today, despite four years of attempts to invigorate its brand with consumers, Dell remains a consumer-computing laggard …

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Huh..?

"And why is a company that has in the past built a truly great browsing experience allowed its internet expertise to languish?"

I was already sceptical about this article but this just made me stop and give up. I think it was referring to Microsoft.

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Title schmitle

Agreed this is crazy talk.

The only sense in which MS ever won over other browsers was in number of installs.

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Yes they were never that great, but

That's a little like saying "the only sense in which they were successful as a company was in having the biggest market share" - doesn't really damn them does it.

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dell made it by shaving costs!

I agree, forgetting dell made it by being subsidised by intel was bad enough, but going on to say MS gave us a great browsing experiance really showed the writer as a complete idiot.

Next up Sony leads the world in secure systems

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Erm Netscape

I think you need to go back and use some of the old alternatives to IE.

Netscape was a bloated clunky pile of junk. Only Opera provided a truly compelling alternative, but it was £30 or so to buy at that point and didn't work with all sites.

IE was fast and stable in comparison, it just had a lot of quirks when sticking to standards.

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Giles is right!

while from a developer perspective writing web apps for ie 6 meant non-standard markup, from a consumer perspective that doesn't mean anything.

If using ie was as horrible an experience as these comments state the internet wouldn't have got this popular.....

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Agreed

Even with a desktop monopoly you don't get to 90+% market share unless you have the best all round product at the time. In reality apart from that EU browse choice screen MS still has the monopolistic advantage but user have proven themselves capable of seeking out the alternatives like FF and Chrome etc. This is worth doing because they are better.

It was only a while after IE6 had become established that mozilla and others got their act together by concentrating on standards, speed and of course being free/OSS which helps.

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erm...

I LIKED Netscape Navigator 4...

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Linux

Don't try to BS those of us that were actually there.

> I think you need to go back and use some of the old alternatives to IE.

I did at the time.

I had absolutely no desire to flee to the allegedly "superior" IE.

Opera was fast and stable by comparison. IE was not.

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Re

Opera wasn't free, so it isn't comparable really.

If you're old enough to remember, you know that for the better part of 10 years IE was the best free browser available on the internet.

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Megaphone

Agree

I always favoured Netscape over IE. IE pissed me off every time, right up until today when I'm forced to use IE8 on my corporate desktop. It still force closes itself and stops responding with no explanation.

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Miss it on Mac, cuz of banks....

"for the better part of 10 years IE was the best free browser available on the internet."

....even on a Mac

Though, Communicator 4.5-7 is a soft spot for me, as I used to use it constantly for the browsing and Composer back then!!! Ahh, to be 14 again.

Even though it's not well known, iCab on OS 8.5-6/9.x performed very well. And, if you think nobody knows about it NOW...... XD

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"No, enterprise software is not sexy"

No they are not. Think Lotus Notes.

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ACK!!!

That is all...

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Internet Explorer? On Linux?

Just not in their DNA.

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Gates Halo

Microsoft and Dell Need To Open Communications With Hobbiests

If they want to do better in the SOHO, home and hobby marketplace, Microsoft and Dell need to open communications with computer hobbiests and amateur enthusiasts.

They both need to stop depending on (often obnoxious) semi-blind amateurs helping blind amateurs in forums for consumer support and feedback.

They need to get actual employees talking to at least some regular home computer users, and they need to do this in places culturally different than just California and New York.

Listen to all types of consumers.

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Engage with computer hobbiests??

What - both of them?

This is company trying to sustain billions of dollars of sales. Neither of the "hobbiests" has that kind of dough.

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MS DO support hobbiests

MS actually support hobbiests far better than many other companies (games houses excluded) - look at any of the Visual Studio Express editions. OK, they're just trying to suck developers into their platform so that, in the workplace, they'll choose the paid-for version of Visual Studio - but if you just want to knock up a quick Windows app (a tool for modding data files in a game for instance) Visual C# Express is fantastic.

I don't remember seeing anything like that for Logic Studio (a rather good Mac music program) or Adobe Photoshop.

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Windows success in the home is why it is a success at the office

Windows success in the home is the primary reason it is a success at the office.

You can hire people for any kind of position and they'll very likely be familiar with Windows already from using it at home.

I can't think of bigger reason why we use Windows instead of Linux.

It is the same with Office. So many more potential hires already know Office than know WordPerfect. And people usually have Office on their home computers already, so they can take work home.

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Arse about face...

Not at all. Not even close. Windows success in the SOHO market is completely down to the fact it was what most people used at work. As a result schools and universities started mainly using Windows and Office because that is what the students were likely to encounter in the workplace. Computing, remember, started before 1995! Windows in the home is why it's successful in the office? Fuck me! Kid's today...

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@AnotherNetNarcissist

Agreed. In the office you are a prisoner. You have a set routine and you are using their productivity suite day-in day-out. What do you do at home? You go one of two ways - you get something else because you don't want to pay and/or just want something else, or you get what's familiar to you which can now be had for cheap by piggy-backing your home license on your workplace one. It's not the greatest deal in the World but it's a pretty smart move.

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Anonymous Coward

It's a cycle so you're both right, depending on which bit you're looking at

"Windows success in the SOHO market is completely down to the fact it was what most people used at work". Very true. When you were far more likely to encounter a computer on a daily basis at work than at home, people's working experiences with MS stuff played a large part in influencing what they bought personally when having an (IBM-compatible) PC in the home started to become the norm. If using a PC was a requirement of your job, training would follow and those skills were carried back to the shiny new 286 or similar in the living room.

Since that point, a new generation have grown up with access to a Windows-powered machine and entered the workplace with those basic skills ready to use. Training budgets are now focused far more on specific tasks or applications and it isn't expected that a new hire is going to spend their first month trying to figure out how to use their computer instead of learning their job role. It's now reached the point where the scales have tipped entirely the other way and a lot of companies (who's IT involvement is purely out of necessity rather than their core business) are locked into MS primarily because that is all they can expect any new employees to be able to use.

The way out of the cycle is to re-train them to be as comfortable with an alternative (likely cheaper, more secure and arguably better) OS than Windows, which will ultimately change which OS the new generation of kids will be comfortable using. As that takes a significant investment of time and money in their employees, very few companies do.

I reckon Keith T's opening line should have read "Windows success in the home is the primary reason it is STILL a success at the office".

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Grenade

No. It was DOS vs. MacOS.

> Windows success in the home is the primary reason it is a success at the office.

What? Were you just born yesterday?

DOS was a success in the office before Windows even existed.

The dominance of Windows is an extension of the dominance of MS-DOS in the workplace, not the other way around.

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I'm just wondering....

WHICH US school corporations these people visited in the 90s. Every one I went to anywhere around the entire Midwest had a much larger number of Macs than they did DOS/WIN boxes.

Some still DO!!! XD

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@macloviz

And so do they everywhere else in the world! Take you fanboy glasses off, stop trolling and look at the facts. It's mactards like you who give the rest of us a bad name.

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Happy

Wow, not trolling at all...

In fact, I was merely expressing my experience....

...and I don't wear glasses...

And with the name calling....sounds like someone's annoyed by what I stated to be my own personal experience. Oh, and I never said anything outside of the Midwest, did I? At any point. I'm pretty sure you are showing your colors a bit more than I.

In fact, I am extremely at odds with Apple in the direction SJ has taken them. I long for the days of true innovation and vision that Woz brought to the table. SJ is just more about screwing others with lawsuits and keeping everything under his ultimate control. not to mention the big FUCK YOU they threw to the enterprise users by dumping XServe.

Thanks for playing!

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Anonymous Coward

Completely agree...

certainly with the point that Microsoft don't get consumers. The thing is that no matter how hard they try, they just aren't cool and like it or not, cool matters to consumers. The XBox team should really be the driving force behind consumer products for Microsoft and perhaps given a degree of autonomy. Dell on the other hand should just give up! Snap-on covers are so 1998.

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Pint

I much agree with you and AnotherNetNarcissist

And I quite appreciate articles bye Matt Asay but there are some things to remember.

The Personal Computer was never meant to be a business computer, it was designed to be

a personal home device.

The fact that it was adopted bye business is the most expensive failure to have happened

to business.

Gates is truly a guy who was looking for the mass market. When Windows did well he had a look at the Fortune 500 and realized that there where other mass market devices too, like music players, game consoles and cell phones. That we can do too, he said, and I will become the Chief Architect because I invented the computer.

Even the Xbox is a failure, money wise, as it has probably not made any profit yet, considering its development costs.

It is a bit hard to compare Apple and Microsoft. Apple has always done both the OS and the design. Jobs does have a clue about design, also he was wise enough to adopt a *nix* OS.

Also he was there when inventions happened while Gates was there more or less bye accident

(an accident bye IBM).

Dell a hardware producer like so many others. Do they produce anything in the US any more.

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Happy

GATES sucks.

Yes. Billy made his money by lying and cheating. Then he made SERIOUS buck as a result of that lying and cheating.

The fact the the OS materialized, got better, sold better, .... whatever.... is all fouled with the fact the Billy lied and cheated his way to that position.

Microsoft must die as a company. I don't spend a dime on them or there property. More and more folks are doing the same. Can't wait for the day that MS declares BK!

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Alert

~LOL~ I so agree!

Snap on covers are soooo 1998! LOL!

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Stop

Re: Gates sucks

Oh come on. Find me the head of a massive corporation who got there by being nice and cuddly. Mark Zuckerberg? Fred The Shred? Larry Ellison? Grow up, dude, it's a big bad world out there.

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Anonymous Coward

Help Please

I don't know if I should give the thumbs up or down this. Is it sarcasm or a foam lipped rant.

Any suggestions?

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@Mark Serlin

In fact I would go as far as to say if you aren't a self-centred stubborn prick you don't stand a chance.

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Linux

It's just another Turing Machine. Really...

> The Personal Computer was never meant to be a business computer, it was designed to be

You're kidding right?

The PC was specifically designed as a business machine. It was designed as a business machine to keep the up and coming home computer company at the time from invading IBM's turf.

The PC was designed by IBM to sell to businesses so they wouldn't be tempted by the likes of Apple.

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Happy

@JEDIDIAH

No, I am not kidding. At the time the Micro Computer had arrived. There was Radio Shack and Apple and others. So they had to do something, very reluctantly.

The PC, bye IBM was downgraded internally as there was in fact people within IBM who where afraid that that Home Computer would be a threat against their minicomputers.

Originally they wanted a decent processor too (Motorola) but then downgraded to Intel.

The book "Inside Intel" is a very readable book, with a lot of inside information about all of this.

One very interesting part is where the people from Intel wanted to help the Microsoft programmers to use the processor in a better and more advanced manner.

The Microsoft programmers response to that was - that does not matter, all that matters is features.

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WTF?

do what?

>a company that has in the past built a truly great browsing experience

Which company is that you are talking about coz it certainly ain't Microsoft!

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Flame

Well, being fair

At the time IE6 was released the other browsers were pretty crap so

* At the time

* Compared to other browsers

I suppose you could call it a 'truly great browsing experience' (although I agree that is pushing it a bit)

I think that is what the author meant

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Go

Tried...

... an early Mosaic lately? Old enough to remember it and Gopher?

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Although to be fair

Internet Explorer didn't exist when early Mosaic was kicking about. And yes, I remember it (when it wouldn't display pictures in the browser), and gopher too.

I do agree with you in principle though - Internet Explorer first appeared at version 2, and was rubbish. v3 was actually not bad compared to its peers (namely Netscape 2 and 3), and even though IE5.5 was an abomination for developing to, it was rather nice to use (again, compared to the bloated struggling mess that was Netscape 4).

Just because Microsoft declared the internet finished with IE6, and let everyone else actually do the job of making browsers conform to the standards, their browsers have *generally* been quite nice to use. That said, I can't remember when I last loaded IE on this machine - I'm using Firefox 4, and rather liking it.

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re: Tried...

Scarily, I _am_ old enough to remember Mosaic and Gopher. Aughh.

Seriously, though... now that you mention it, I've often had a curious urge to dig out my old copy of Mosaic -- yeah, it's still buried in a pile of backed-up stuff on an old Zip cartridge someplace -- fire up my old G3 Mac running OS 8.x (still sitting around the studio, believe it or not), and see how many current sites it can load without imploding.

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FAIL

Bullshit

Can't think of a better title. Some of the author's views on Dell seem reasonable. But his views on Microsoft are just plain wrong. Microsoft has had huge successes in the consumer market. The entire Windows 95 product line was focused primarily at the home user. The fact that until very recently PC games were generally only available for Windows is another pointer towards this. This was one of the key reasons Microsoft went out and created the XBox. They could see Sony making a lot of money with the playstation, and figured that they could easily create a gaming console using DirectX and Windows under the hood. Xbox 360 and Kinect have been hugely popular.

Windows still has a massive market share (according to StatOWL for example, Windows has over 85% of residential market share). Both in consumer and business land, Windows is by far and away the most popular OS. By many measures Vista has more market share alone than OSX, and remember Vista was almost completely untouched by businesses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

If Microsoft decided to concentrate on business at the expense of consumer, they would make a lot less money. Microsoft have been successful because of a synergy between the 2 markets. All your corporate software works on Windows so you get it at home, but also all the games and media stuff you want at home also works, so you are happy paying for it at home.

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Paris Hilton

Matchmeking?

Hell Dell

Hello HP

Here we are together

I'll just leave the room so you two can get to know each other better - a lot, lot better yes?

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Pint

Both are right

Windows is successful because it is used in the home

Windows is successful because it is used in the office

In summary windows is successful because normal people (that is not you and I) aren't really aware that there is anything else.

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Gates Horns

Correct

Windows is successful because you can hardly buy a PC without it.

If every car from every manufacturer came with wooden wheels then it would be incorrect to say that wooden wheels are successful because everybody had cars with wooden wheels.

Well, it would actually, but not because wooden wheels are popular or better, but just because people don't have much of a choice in the matter.

It doesn't help that they already have that special wheel changing tool that only works on wooden wheels and sort of know how to use it. A bit. So what if they get a bunch of splinters and the wheel often breaks whenever they have to rotate their tyres? They're used to that happening and probably think they'd have the same problem with alloys anyway so why bother changing?

So yes, say that Windows is successful because of Microsofts strong-arm bully boy behaviour but don't point to the number of people who use Windows and try and tell me that they are all using it by choice.

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Windows is successful because you can hardly buy a PC without it

"Windows is successful because you can hardly buy a PC without it."

I'm really getting sick and tired of this nonsense. Just by repeating it doesn't become true.

There really are plenty of PCs available without Windows, both from plain assemblers and big brand names like HP or Dell. This of course is over the widespread availability of generic components to build your own PC.

If you really believe that you can hardly buy a PC without Windows I would suggest to sometimes lift your butt from that couch and open your eyes.

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@Goat Jam

I think the problem is that we're now past the point where the bundling matters. It served it's purpose to the point that if you ship a machine to the general public (not the Reg readership) that has linux installed they will likely come back asking for windows. Not because it's better, not because they cannot do what they want to, but because it's bloody everywhere. This means that finding someone to demonstrate how to do things is easy, getting add-ons that work is easy (plug in, insert disk). Familiarity is there. Oh, and the apps for those that need them. The fact that for years you've had to run performance crippling AV software on Windows, or reinstall the OS every 18 months (XP), or constantly update the bastard really hasn't dented the desire for the OS. That should give an indication of what any other OS is up against. I have to use it at work and don't in general at home, but respect the stranglehold that it has.

Think Stockholm Syndrome for operating systems. People are using it by choice in a kind of fucked up way.

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Windows is successful because...

Windows is successful in the office because, as the old saying goes, nobody ever got fired for buying Windows.

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Pint

@Mark 65

I agree, to a point.

I also wonder whether at point of purchase, if people were asked "and what OS would you like for that $500 PC sir? Windows @ $249* or Ubuntu for free?"

If people actually knew what percentage of their PC purchase was made up by the windows tax + av subscription I'm sure that a significant number would be willing to give the free option a go. If more people did that then momentum would build and we could maybe break out of the stranglehold that MS currently has on the general public.

The bottom line is that MS should NOT be allowed to force Windows onto every PC and the cost of purchasing it with a PC should be a line item on the invoice. The real problem here is that MS have social engineered the entire population into believing that somehow they get Windows for free when they purchase a PC so Free Linux is in effect competing with free Windows and has no hope in such a battle.

Here, have a free beer

* http://www.microsoftstore.com.au/shop/en-AU/Microsoft/Windows/Windows-7?network=clixGalore

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Excellent

"Think Stockholm Syndrome for operating systems."

That's perfect. Windows (and Office, and IE) is the definitive "devil you know."

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Dell's Roots Are In Consumer!

Dell built itself from the ground up as a consumer company. Remember Dell was the first to offer great value on customized mail-order PCs. Enterprise came later.

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