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back to article A decade to forget - how Microsoft lost its mojo

It was a confident - some might say complacent - Microsoft that entered the decade. Microsoft was the PC. Such was its grip on the desktop and laptop ecosystem that it could force OEMs to ship its browser by threatening to cut off access to its operating system. In quick succession between 2000 and 2001, Microsoft shipped …

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Linux

Re: leverage

That's one reason why I buy components. No WIndows tax.

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FAIL

Circling the plughole

the end is neigh...but oddly its a spontaenious self combusation..

MS destroys PC gaming by introducing a console and preventing PC game release. without games the homeuser buys a mac.

MS destroys remaining customers faith by selling Shite at £150 disk then offering a nice shiny new fix at £150 a disk.

Way to go! and I thought they'd need a push. I don't even need to bother.

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Linux

All it would

take to bring m$ crashing down to earth would be for games producers to not use any directx stuff and stick with opengl or other standard

Thus you would not have a reason to buy a PC with windows on for the kids since the games would play the same..

Would it hold onto its business share?

Well for one thing, all the senior IT managers would be looking at their non-m$ home pc and thinking "Exactly why do we pay m$ an extra $100 per machine when we could get an alternative"

But just maybe, it will shake up m$ enough so that we get a decent non-bloated OS that does'nt have 15000 security holes in it and runs faster that windows 95

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Grenade

Lost Mojo???

I am sure a lot of companies would kill to be in a "bad position" like MS is today.

Still easily dominant OS and plenty of software sales.

People might be whining about WM, but WM/CE is very successful in the industrial world. Plenty of embedded devices, scanners and machines use it every day.

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FAIL

Azure? Not a cloud in sight...

"Azure" is the colour often associated with a cloudless sky. Strange that MS should decide to use it to describe their "cloud-computing" offering.

Or is it another round from the MS-Footgun (TM)?

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Troll

MS &

I don't believe Microsoft are a spent force but they have ceased to innovate, not that they did much of it in the first place and will just fade into the background furniture like IBM has done. i.e. They will continue to make money and their shares will be happily traded but no-one interested in the next big thing, innovation or interesting products will give a toss and rightly so.

(Trolls are oid hat too)

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Bronze badge

I think

That MS has still fuel to run for a while.

It would take many more big screw-ups to finish MS and even so they'll still retain a large portion of the market.

MS's death will be no quick death at all, but mostly a steady decline.

I subscribe to the idea of the directx thing being a huge retainer of mass market.

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Megaphone

Exaggerations for the sake of headlines.

As usual. Vista may have deserved the hate initially but XP was despised on release too. After some patches and proper driver support from OEMs Vista turned into a very usable OS. Also at the end of this decade MS made sure Linux made little head road into the netbook market by lowering XP's license cost for those platforms. Much as I would have loved to see Linux expand its user base, MS barely broke its stride as it brushed Linux out of the way. Now Windows 7 is actually useable on netbooks, Chrome better offer something amazing or people will still choose a full featured OS over a cutdown smartphone-esque one.

XBox did a remarkable job considering the console market previously has only sustained two big consoles at a time. Xbox has managed at least for a time to outdo Sony although Sony look like they are making a comeback in that field. We will have to see how Project Natal affects the situation.

And in the coming years we have to watch how Windows 7 performs (already installed on more machines than OSX), cloud computing, Office 2010.

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Desktop/Notebook OS and Office

Microsoft's dominance is entirely based on two product areas: Windows as desktop and notebook OS and Office. All they have to do to keep their monopoly is to avoid screwing those up (so they failed with Vista). Corporates stick with Windows desktops because of Office and they stick with Office because everyone else sticks with Office. Moving a company away from Office usually implies the conversion of various documents, databases and spreadsheets - and it is this that never works properly. Such things were much simpler when Word and Excel beat Wordperfect and Lotus123.

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Anonymous Coward

Office

do you mean MS Office Product Or Office the workplace?

I do not use MS office at home I'm perfectly happy with a free offering.

as for the workplace, well thats the sticking point that MS have but only until the seniors retire and us users move up the food chain. (as is always the case!)

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Coffee/keyboard

@JohnG: The Ribbon?

>Microsoft's dominance is entirely based on two product areas: Windows as desktop and notebook OS and Office. All they have to do to keep their monopoly is to avoid screwing those up<

True ... but have they already screwed up Office? Have we seen the full impact of the ribbon on their bottom line yet?

The ribbon should have warranted a mention in the main article. For Joe and Jane Luser that may be the single greatest change in "My Computer" this decade - Vista included. Argably even Windows 3.n to Windows 95 wasn't that drastic.

Escape - because that's what most people want to do when confronted with M$ Office post-2003. Are there reliable figures on uptake / adoption?

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What they need to do is pretty simple

They need a roadmap and they need consistent policies and opinions on various subjects.

All to often there are people at Microsoft who build bridges with the open source community and competitors only for Ballmer to come along and start sounding off about GPL being a cancer and Linux stealing all their code.

The top brass at Microsoft are too opinionated, they would find they would make it into more markets if they thought before sounding off about the competition.

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Just a little foot-note re: ajax

MS were the ones that actually created AJAX... well the underlying process of XMLHttpRequest. It was first in IE 5.5 (I think, but I CBA to check), then certainly IE6. It was years before anyone actually made use of it. So at least as far as AJAX (that we all know, and presumably "love", today) you can thank MS for that little known and underused ActiveX control.

Not that I want to defend MS at all, but they did manage to do something useful with that and I think many (if not most) people seem to forget that little known fact.

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Gates Horns

Hardware

I'd like the competition authorities to see that we have real alternatives of the OS supplied with the hardware. When Dell says "Dell recommends windows 7" and it really means "Dell enforces windows 7" something is wrong.

I do wish Apple would come down off the fence and sell OSX legitimately for generic installation.

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Gates Halo

Not late to the game...

But Microsoft was actually ahead of its time. It had pioneered (through Windows CE) the Auto PC (Ford's Sync being a spiritual successor to this), the first "PC Companion" through the handheld PC, which would later, thanks to Palm, be rivaled by and reformed into the Palm-size PC/Pocket PC that we still continue to see integrated into the "Windows Phone" today. New name, same product. This is just a small sample of many products Microsoft introduced too early when the market wasn't ready. The problem was that most of this innovation occurred during the mid-to-late 90's when even tech and business consumers didn't see the benefit of mobile computing, while mobile networks weren't ready to support cheap, high-bandwidth data with good coverage. (Arguably they still can't, *cough*AT&T*cough* in the US). Regardless of the reason, the truth is that after consumers rejected Microsoft's attempts to enter the mobile market early-on, Microsoft lost interest in continued R&D and assumed the PC would continue to drive the tech industry through the decade and beyond since that was the only area seeing strong growth at the time. That false assumption lost them nearly a decade of market dominance in other now-prospering industries and markets. Microsoft could have yielded iPhone-like control over handsets today, had they not become complacent with the smartphone being a high-end, high-priced PDA with phone capabilities, only for those who didn't want/need a Blackberry (which was a niche product in its infancy at the time).

Where Microsoft was late to the game was in realizing something that has driven Apple philosophy since the 80's: given enough time to penetrate the market, consumers will adopt new technologies. Microsoft has forever lived in in the 90's, where more than half the population (of the US, anyway) didn't have a mobile phone, possibly owned one computer (a desktop at home, or they didn't own one and used their computer at work), had dial-up Internet since content was small and cable/DSL was expensive, only available in cities, and not considered necessary; and most didn't have any other electronic mobile devices, except possibly a portable CD player. Today, that couldn't be farther from the truth, as mobile penetration reaches 80% of the US population, and almost everyone under the age of 35 has an audio player (usually an iPod/iPhone) and at least 2 computers (at least one being a laptop), the consumer (market) could arguably rival businesses in technology use and consumption. Of course, I'm not talking about industrial apps and whatnot, but people today spend thousands of dollars more on technology per year than a decade ago (regardless of what you consider to be the start of a decade... ;) )

With all that said, my point is that Microsoft should have stuck with a strategy to enter these new markets if they wanted to be more successful today. Giving up is what led to their current state of failure in these areas. As long as they would have recognized growing consumer adoption of technology over the past 10 years, and responded accordingly they would have been able to maintain and grow their presence in this market. People never forget the past and while corporate culture has changed since 1999 (mostly since the Secure Computing Initiative, and moreso after the Vista debacle) it may take another 10 years for the market and for consumers to see Microsoft in a different light than the money-hungry monopolistic empire that the DOJ portrayed in 1999. Microsoft's only hope now is to win back consumers through honest, hard work. They need a line of good products in their online services (Live) division, mobile division (Windows Mobile), and entertainment division (Xbox). While they spent the past 20 years sacrificing the growth of all three of those divisions in the names of Windows and Office, it's time to realize that strategy is only viable for so long until you sap them dry. And now that the mobile division has been successfully sapped dry with the aid of Apple, and the online division because of Google; they're starting to realize the same fate is in line for the Xbox because of the PS3 has finally come into its own with a $299 model that can compete with the Xbox on price and game selection (while widespread RRoD and E74 errors provide more motivation to avoid the Xbox). I have a friend who just got an RRoD. He's out of warranty and Microsoft wants $99 to fix it. Instead, he's actually considering scrapping the Xbox 360, his still-active Live subscription, and his whole game collection to move to the PS3. That's how bad it is for Microsoft's entertainment division. Microsoft, this is your chance. Start pouring some R&D money into the Xbox, Windows Mobile, and online services (Bing is a good start) and the next decade might not be that bad for you. Otherwise, you might just have to throw in the towel come 2019. And that's a sad fate for a company that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting the personal computer on every desk and in every home.

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Mr.

Mark has just posted a well-written almost thesis, and 4 of you mod him down.

oh how un-seasonal-spirited of you all!

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Syd
FAIL

Xbox challenging Sony

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees.

You mean, in the sense of Homer Simpson challenging Jean Luc Piccard over a comb; while Nintendo roll around in swimming pools filled with hundred dollar bills.

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fair enough i guess....

many of us who bought wiis have helped nintendo. never again. what a waste of cash it was. basically a gamebube with a shitty wand controller. it was a novelty and when wii2 comes out (that might look as good as a ps2) and we are on ps4 and xbox720, it will just get laughed at.

remember that sony and ms already are working on novelty controllers. once they get them working nintendo will die a slow death again. nintendo dont bring anything new to the table any more.

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"When Longhorn finally shipped as Windows Vista"

I think you mean "when longhorn was finally scrapped and Server2003 was sprinkled with gloss and bloat and shipped as Windows Vista", don't you?

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Coat

May I annoy the Moderatrix?

"As Microsoft moves out of the Noughties and into the next decade"

... that would be on the end of next year then?

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Flame

Fencepost error

Aww bless. You're suffering from a fencepost error there: 0-9 = first 10, 10 - 19 = second 10. Its really simple once your learn your basic maths.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe 1990 was in the 80's... but I suspect that you're the only one who's going to argue for that one. ;)

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Stop

Hold on a sec...

Errrr... No. Fair enough, call the "next decade" 2011-2020. I seem to recall somebody mentioning you'll just miss out on a bunch of parties. (Actually, that was for the new millennium)

Wait - I got distracted.

Fair enough, call the "next decade" 2011-2020, but if you're talking, say, "the Noughties", you'll be talking 2000-2009. The decade *following* on from that'll be 2010-2019, the one after that'll be 2020-2029 or "The Twenties" (Being the years with "twenty" in them)

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Headmaster

OBOE

ahh but you forget there is no "Year 0 Anno Domini" therefore you HAVE to start at 1, This makes decades run from 1-10, then 11-20 moving into the more modern periods we get things like 2001-2010.

Go back and have another look at those basic maths, decades are 10 years, there is no 0 AD. You seem to propose that we have one dacade of 9 years for some reason I can't fathom.

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Coat

Any one period of ten years is a decade

But the so-called "noughties" are from 2001 to 2010.

Incidentally no change of millennium happened in 2000, either.

And I DID miss a lot of parties (well, "miss", as in "I missed the windows7 launch parties, oh noes woe is me").

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Go

Often Wrong

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. <= I count ten.

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Headmaster

Birth Age 1

OBOE which that logic we are born at the age of 1, those first weeks and months before you were 1 never happened.

While 1BC proceeds 1 AD that is an anomaly that thankfully was never carried through to todays decades or we would would now be still at 1808 because for example 1989 would proceed 1991 at each decade would infact be Ennead or Nonet, now I'm getting confused

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CP/M

"If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine - and if it no longer lobs grenades on intellectual property and patents that poison the atmosphere - then it could harness open-sourcers on Windows and Azure."

Unlikely. So many open source users are using either Linux or OSX, 1) They're either volunteer, or working for a Linux vendor in many cases. So they won't be "harnessed" unless they want to be. 2) They're not running Windows. 3) To develop for Windows & Azure, for the most part you have to be running Windows. I think cross-compilers are a foreign concept to Microsoft. I for one will never purchase a copy of Windows, or get hardware that has it bundled. (I suppose people could do .NET stuff with Mono if they want on non-Windows systems.)

@jake, good for you! I refuse to work on Microsoft systems now either! In fact most of the people I know that used to fix people's problems either quit, or jacked rates WAY up (like $150 an hour). I think this is a genuine threat to Microsoft, people tolerated Windows faults assuming they could pay some kid like $20 to fix it.. the talented ones either fled Windows, or jacked the rates up! Microsoft products break for no good reason, are virus prone, unstable, and relatively inscrutable compared to the other OSes available. The lack of package management is painful; the poor driver support and tendancy to tie the OS to a machine is painful as well (You know, if you ditch Windows, if your computer dies you can just move the hard drive to a new machine? Yes you can.) These same people complain how "hard" computers are, "why do they break all the time?" etc., and just don't believe me when I say my computer doesn't break because I'm not using Windows.

@AC "Like it or hate it, you still need to use MS."

Like hell I do. And I think Hugh_Pym and DanielB sum it up nicely.... Just knowing the state Windows is in EVEN OUT OF THE BOX, I can't take any pride on my work on it. EVERYTHING felt like a kludge, between the registry and windows/system or windows/system32, I never REALLY knew what was going on, and too often the system behavior was unpredictable. I felt like a (fill in shitty car here) mechanic, it never ran quite well and I knew it was just going to break down soon enough. Admining a UNIX box in contrast is a pleasure, the behavior is predictable, and I know when I am done it is just going to run and run. And as DanielB says, there's plenty of jobs... 1) Microsofters tend to have a distorted view of the market.. Microsoft is large but it's not like there's nothing else. 2) I think there's less job competition in the UNIX market.

Personally I view Microsoft as similar to Digital Research.. they thought they were infallible, based om market share they appeared infallible, throughout the early 1980s. CP/M is dead, and I think Windows is on the way out too. Microsoft will take a LONG LONG time to fall, due to huge cash reserves, and just like every system ever made, there'll be SOME Windows systems left for a long time.

This is another reason I've left Windows behind though -- it's so complex, there's layer upon layer upon layer with sometimes arcane interactions... but to me it'd be like learning the inner workings of CP/M... I just don't think it'll be knowledge I will have a use for.

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Gates Horns

If you want OSX

Don't wait for Apple to sell it as a generic install, because that isn't going to happen.

Apple are perfectly happy without putting themselves in the nightmare position of trying to provide support to all the different hardware combinations currently at large in MS land.

That old saying about being nice to people on the way up because you'll meet them on the way down is going to bite Microsoft on the arse.

Hard.

And there will be laughing, snickering and a pointing of fingers.

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new world of online openness

> Microsoft paid the price for its confidence. When the internet changed the world, it became clear that the software Microsoft had refined on the desktop and server was not suited to the new world of the online openness ..

You are incorrect MS operating systems were fully designed for the Internet, at least as far back as Windows 95. They they fail miserably is down to the defects in the product. Namely embedding the browser and email client so deeply into the core OS. ActiveX being the chief culprit. Here are posts from 1994/5, where the chief software architect discusses 'Internet Strategy' ..

http://edge-op.org/iowa/www.iowaconsumercase.org/122106/PLEX0_4524.pdf

http://edge-op.org/iowa/www.iowaconsumercase.org/122106/PLEX0_2281.pdf

from 1997, Preserving the desktop Paradise

http://edge-op.org/iowa/www.iowaconsumercase.org/122106/PLEX0_2700.pdf

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WTF?

RE: idiocies about internet and that PoS Win95...

An Anonymous Clueless Coward wrote it: "You are incorrect MS operating systems were fully designed for the Internet, at least as far back as Windows 95. They they fail miserably is down to the defects in the product."

What a LOAD OF HORSECRAP - Internet Explorer WASN'T EVEN IN WINDOWS 95, it was only released later, as part of Plus! extra crapware.

Microsoft was completely CLUELESS about the internet back in 1995: not only they didn't have a browser but THEY DID NOT EVEN HAVE EMAIL products, let alone Exchange (took a good year to release their first, literally useless version: it was slow, full of stupid bugs and lacked even basic features of regular unix/linux mail clients.)

An Anonymous HIlariously Clueless Coward wrote it: "Namely embedding the browser and email client so deeply into the core OS.""

OHH YEAH! So deeply that it didn't even show up in it...!

Put down the M$ crackpipe, kid and check out the facts - you're posting complete BS...

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Your post is partly wrong.

Windows 95 was not built for the internet not until version 4 of Internet Explorer.

Install Windows 95 and try to work with the os.

Many things are not intergrated.

But now install IE4 with the desktop intergration and windows 95 will pretty much feel like

Windows 98

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Anonymous Coward

Apple

Will never sell their OS by itself. The reason for its legendary (although not entirely accurate) record for stability is because it is only sold with limited specification, fully tested hardware. This is not the case with Windows.

Oh and Apple make a stack load of cash selling machines at 25% more than the Wintel version

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Grenade

It all started with a pint!

..at the local.

This year I have been ASKED to install Ubuntu to rid users of their dimdoze hell. That's not advertising, that's real people (247 to date) who have heard by word of mouth. And it really needs to be said that over the last 5 weeks many of the local students have been happy to get shot of windows7!

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Jobs Halo

Of course...

the 800 lb gorilla here that neither the article nor the commentators have the balls to acknowledge is Apple and its resurgent Mac platform, with OS X the absolute, undisputed, best PC operating system available. More people are lining up to buy Macs than ever, Apple remains one of the few _profitable_ PC manufacturers, and IT (at least outside of the US) is beginning to embrace OS X with increasing earnestness.

MS may try to copy more and more of OS X (Win 7 certainly shows they're trying very hard indeed) but there's really no hope for them ever to come close.

Bye-bye, MS, keep Balmer around for ever!

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Pint

You know...

I'm no fanboi when it comes to Microsoft but they have provided compatibility haven't they? It's nice and speedy dev. using a processor emulator with WinXP and I've got ZERO chance of any other OS option! Flames? please, no...

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Stop

One word: BALLMER

I'm seeing a lot of good projects picking up speed at Microsoft lately so I must assume he's being slowly sidelined - GOOD if true. If not then they should act quickly - the sooner they get rid of this bald f*ck the better for M$ and us, customers.

Yes, it's Ballmer = the principles he represents. Not the clueless, ugly-as-hell, nowadays almost digitally illiterate, bald, uber-arrogant fat pr!ck, throwing chairs when cannot deal with his failures (like so many similarly fucked-up Americans - though still better than the ones who 'grab the shottie' and go on for a good killing spree.)

No, it's NOT HIM - it's HIS TYPE, his principles.

He represents the mother of ALL CLUELESS, ARROGANT BEANCOUNTER f*cktards.

I firmly believe that it is Ballmer's menacing influence and his type of people at Microsoft that caused this enormous loss of market importance - they are slowly bringing down this already FUBAR company (FUBAR with its regions of utterly clueless, incompetent PMs and self-centered developers etc etc.)

I think he perfectly embodies everything that's wrong with MS - it's his crooked morals, the corrupt business model he represented, the disgusting way of doing, achieving goals at all cost he represented.

Microsoft's only chance to transform itself if the board gets rid of this useless bald f*ck and his ilks ASAP (while shedding the legions of clueless-useless PMs, assistants) and everyone over 40 (OK, maybe 45) who was not only hired but even simply OK'd by this menace.

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Gates Halo

Mwahahahaha!

"If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine ... "

So they just have to learn not to laugh maniacally while twirling their handlebar moustaches and everyone will forget the past decades? Sadly I think that's true.

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What? No Apple effect?

In an article devoted to the missteps of M$, I am surprised to see no mention of one of their fiercest threats - the growing popularity of Apple products on the desktop, laptop, game console, mp3 player and smart phone. OS X is clawing its way back to relevance, with perhaps as much as 10 per cent of the domestic market, and still growing by multiples of 10 per cent year on year. The iPod and iPhone have practically made WinMobile irrelevant. And even the lowly iPod touch is exploding as a game machine, much to the chagrin of both MS and Sony.Apple may not be a MS killer (yet), but they have given the Vole a great big black eye. My how times change.

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the amount of anti-ms fanboyism on this comment board is a bit of a turnoff

the amount of anti-ms posts that got modded up is rather tragic

the success of the linux and open source movement is great for the IT industry, and there's a lot of truth in stories around how MS have rather publically dropped a few balls. software and hardware platforms are a lot more heterogenous, and now corporate and enterprise customers are getting some good stuff out of open source software

but a lot of posters are expressing views and opinions that aren't really reflective of the industry at present, and ms's position in it. you can try to ignore the giant squid in the kitchen, but pretending it isn't there isn't exactly going to increase the credibility of your, uh, 'movement'

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Not good for compatibility

"You are incorrect MS operating systems were fully designed for the Internet, at least as far back as Windows 95"

You are being a bit revisionist. Windows 95 did not ship with a web browser, E-Mail client, and by default TCP/IP was NOT installed -- it was an option that had to be turned on when running the install CD. They only "bundled" Internet Explorer when they decided Netscape should be put out of business. (Netscape was planning to make a whole desktop environment within the browser... shades of Google...)

"I'm no fanboi when it comes to Microsoft but they have provided compatibility haven't they?"

Absolutely not.

1) Vista and 7 have aimed more towards a "clean break" in software compatibility. I mean, it's not bad, but there's still all these apps that won't run. And if your solutions to run them in a VM anyway, it really doesn't matter if that VM is running on Windows or not.

2) Windows XP has very poor hardware support out of the box -- VERY poor. I'm amazed they did not include additional drivers with SP1, SP2, and SP3 CDs (at least for ethernet and wifi stuff, so the user could get online to retrieve the OTHER drivers they need). If you think it has good support you have not installed it in the last 6 or 8 years. Besides out-of-the-box experience, there's also newer chipsets now that simply do not have XP support.

Vista and 7 have support for more modern hardware but have dropped support entirely for older hardware.

Ubuntu in contrast (in general other Linux distros have similarly good support...), I've installed on a large variety of systems ranging from a P2 to a Core2, it's pretty usual to just expect everything to work out of the box. (A P2's a bit sluggish but a P3 will run Ubuntu 8.04 fine, and 9.10 seems to actually be a bit faster than 8.04) Since most drivers are open source, once a piece of hardware is supported it STAYS supported. I've gotten a free scanner (admittedly quite a while ago) because Win98 supported it but XP didn't (worked out of thebox),, a TV capture card I bought HEAVILY discounted because the company had only 2000 but not XP drivers (yeah apparenltly they actually didn't work in XP.. worked out of the box), my friend got a printer for $10 recently because no-one could get the windows drivers to work (sticker on it said 3 different IT people tried to set it up). HP's web site no longer has windows drivers for it, I think maybe they never worked... he followed online instructions to put a file from hp's web site into /lib/firmware. Works 100% now. Not out of the box but amusing nonetheless.

Anyway...

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Linux

Overstating the Mac threat.

Apple have 5% marketshare worldwide and that grows at a fraction of a percentage each year. They dominate the MP3 player market and online music sales but for all that clout in those areas and the opportunities Vista provided their share of the PC market moved 2% in 10 years. They are content to sit back and reap huge profits from the people who see a PC as a fashion accessory and who are willing to pay well over the odds for something that looks cool.

I wholeheartedly take issue with Ubuntu working out of the box. In my experience it must be connected first via ethernet to download some non-open source drivers for wifi or graphics. Then you have to hope that your router supports IPv6 or it can crash. An operating system that can crash your router is not something I would recommend to casual users. After you have your wifi drivers, be prepared for low bit rate connections for no apparent reason. My realtek adapter connected at speeds as low as 1Mb to a 54g router and slowed even websurfing to a crawl. Command line fixes for this problem were the only solution I could find. I installed privoxy so I could filter out adds in browsers other than Firefox. I had to configure the system to use an HTTP proxy on the local machine. Not only did this break the update service, I had to delete the proxy settings to get the thing to work again. It wasn't simply a case of ticking the direct connection box instead of the use proxy box, the damn update program remembered the proxy settings anyway.

I also have problems with the fact that I'm using two wireless adapters and the g one is stopping the n one from connecting at full speed. Still researching this one, but it says a lot about how useable Linux is that I can't find a simple solution to something I could deal with easily in Windows.

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Erm...

"I can't find a simple solution to something I could deal with easily in Windows."

So I assume you tried to install Windows on your laptop (from a real MS CD-ROM, not your tweaked OEM one) and it worked out of the box. Yeah right.

I was going to respond to the rest of the post but my answer sounded like a madman's rant so I scrapped it. Suffice to say that my grand-aunt sounds more tech-litterate.

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Stop

For all Apple-loving ignoramuses...

...as much as I hate M$ I can only laugh at your hilarious-clueless wet dreams about Apple posing a real threat to M$...

...READ MY LIPS: NEVER UNLESS THEY REWRITE OS X ENTIRELY and change their business model (<-won't happen before Jobs dies.)

1. In case you forgot corporations buy multiple times more lics than individuals - and OS X is clearly NOT EVEN AN OPTION if it would come to replacr any modern (2008) AD-based networks especially with 100+ machines. It does not even have a true server version whatsoever, let alone advanced management tools.

2. Apple offers 1/10000th of the software library and most of them are still coming from Mothership Apple. Hint: producer/designer/WAITERs are NOT A SERIOUS MARKET FORCE. Yes, we like you, you are cute in your hideous-ugly-metrosexual clothes or bald head with giant eyegl;asses with thick black frames but trust me, you are NOT a market force. You can buy your little Macbook Pro and build your home studio and hopefully one day you can quit being a busboy and start being an actor/producer/designer/whatever but your so-called "switch" STILL won't make a dent in M$ revenue because it's not based on you, you're barely counted, sorry.

3. Hardware prices and offerings ARE PATHETIC. Even the most rabid Apple-fans, fake "analysts" - people like this slimeball Mossberg - who often sit on the board while posing as tech-journos in big papers and sites, even they agree that Apple has to rethink their pricing strategy. Apople has no product to sell whatsoever in the most sought-after price bracket, the $500-1000 range. Nothing for home users (no, Mac Mini is not an offer for anyone wanting a computer, it's only for idiots, an abomination) and especially nothing for enterprise accounts.

4. They almost killed their entire reseller chain and even the remaining ones are fighting for their life everyday, thanks to Apple's disgusting cartel tactics - you cannot lower your prices or you won't get any more, period.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously?

Reading these posts, if you didn't know, you would think that MS was a step away from complete and utter destruction. Linux is only a threat in very, very limited markets. Apple also is a niche-based market. Apple will never pose a threat to the PC because, well, it sucks. Supporting it sucks. I actually like to be able to walk into a store and buy my software any time of the day or night. If (very big if here) Chrome ever poses a serious threat, it won't be any time soon. Maybe by 2020.

.NET was a success, Vista was a bomb, 7 will be a success, XBox was a success (depending on your metrics but you have to see that they did make headway), the last version of Office was a success. I would challenge anyone to find a company that made more impact on us in the last decade than MS.

To actually beat MS, you have to take market share from them because unlike many of their competitors, Microsoft actually gets paid for the software they write. They happily take my money and I happily give it to them. The only place they actually lost significant market share was with IE/Firefox and Firefox was clearly a better product. I don't see that in any other market they currently dominate except for maybe (another big maybe) Visual Studio and Eclipse and I am not so sure they do dominate IDEs for Windows.

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