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back to article Why we love to hate Microsoft

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 …

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Slight correction

Meant to say "Linux, OSX, Anything else.

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Happy

Their products these days are.....

...... better than that clunky *nix based shit.

Light the blue touchpaper and stand well back.

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Netbooks?

I've seen no evidence that the reason Windows is now dominant on netbooks is due to anything but MS abusing its monopoly position by leaning on manufacturers. If there was no pressure, then logically the manufacturers that have had some experience with Linux would be able to offer a choice of OS throughout their ranges. And any manufacturer could at least offer bare-metal machines.

I don't trust MS because their interests aren't mine. And they lie about it.

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Megaphone

Operating System Quality

If the alternative operating systems were actually of equal or greater quality than Windows, Microsoft leaning on the hardware players would be irrelevant. Fact of the matter is, despite the "benefits" of Linux and whatever else, Windows is still a better value and therefore desired by customers. For this reason, the hardware manufacturers refuse to give it up.

And Microsoft telling Dell or Toshiba that they have to sell only Windows netbooks isn't anticompetitive, thats how contracting works. It is just like restaurant... they contract either Pepsi or Coke, but never both. If you don't like the taste, go to a different restaurant that serves the one you like.

Besides that, Microsoft has very little power at all in hardware anymore. Case in point? HP owns WebOS now, Android tablets, and Sony launching Chrome machines. The only ones Microsoft can pressure are the 3rd rate hardware companies struggling to survive, like Dell.

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FAIL

MS-paid shill, obviously.

"If the alternative operating systems were actually of equal or greater quality than Windows, Microsoft leaning on the hardware players would be irrelevant."

This is absolute bullshit.

Manufacturer either sells MS or nothing, now. Because MS says so.

There arent' so many hardware manufacturers in the world and every one of them is heavily dependent on selling hardware for windows.

Now, tell us excactly how can any competitor sell even a single machine unless they make everything from scratch (like Apple does)?

And at what point the quality of competitor changes anything?

MS-paid shill, obviously.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: MS-paid shill, obviously.

I should play shill bingo or something.

HOUSE!

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Yes, we love to hate Microsoft

Just as we hate to love Apple.

However is it really necessary to plug "itwriting.com" so often?

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Get in front of the wave

The answer to the question is simple. MS needs to be an innovator not a copycat with a spotty success rate on major offerings... Windows Me, monopoly, Zune, Vista.

If they wanna be high end and have fans, they just need to live up to it.

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We will know when we succedded when...

Hell freezes over...

I doubt that will happen anytime soon, but a good indicator will be when Microsoft starts developing applications for Linux.

A good start would be for Microsoft to get rid of IE (in whatever rendition they have) and possibly go into the banking industry (Like the Greater Offshore Bank and Trust, where they keep all their money). Give me $500 and I might open an account!

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long fight

No, they haven't changed. They've just managed to hide their unethical, illegal, downright criminal behaviour a little better. But when a company bribes its way to an ISO standard, still kills off "partners" at will, and generally acts like the bully in the playground.

I can't imagine ever saying I'd be a fan of Microsoft. I've been fighting their evil for almost 30 years now, and they have NEVER changed their ways - only their press releases.

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Gates Horns

What would Microsoft need to do...

"What would Microsoft need to do and say to you for you to be happy to call yourself a fan?"

For every blue screen of death or weird Windows error, Microsoft buys me a pint!

"An exception has occurred at 000111 bla bla bla etc. What can I get you? :o)"

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Linux

I don't care if MS windoze goes bad

Actually errors and blue screens don't bother me at all. I run Windows products as virtual machines using Linux as the host. If Windows gets too uppidy or viride, I just copy over the VM from my back up folder.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft

Why we love to hate Microsoft?

Keyword: lock-in.

...as exemplified in their own rant called "Evangelism is War", or their battle cry "Embrace, extend, extinguish".

Why would I buy or use anything from a company which has designed the product SPECIFICALLY to ensure that I can never get away from buying upgrades?

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it's over

We don't want to call ourselves fan. We just want Microsoft to go away..

we ve seen enough....

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Gates Horns

title

try being a full time linux user. there are many reason to hate microsoft, silverlight is just the surface.

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Big Brother

Easy...

1) Stop reinventing the wheel (and claiming it was all your own work)

2) Embrace open standards -- you don't need to do open source, just adhere to standards (and stop screwing around with them)

3) Build an OS that's made from components that have well defined interfaces.....leave some room for third party innovation

The problem with MSFT at the moment is that its oddball and doesn't play well with others. Its weird that, for example, Linux knows what a NTFS is but Microsoft refuses to have anything to do with anything that's not their own product (and preferably something they own).

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Alert

Oohh Oohh, Can I add....

Do:

- Give Microsoft Windows Vista customers a free upgrade from Vista to the so-called Windows 7

- Once and for all, stop getting marketing twisted up with software systems design

Say: "We're sorry"

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Gates Horns

Simple

They think security is the fat guy in uniform in the lobby.

As I always tell friends, "anything but Micro$oft".

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Still using the M$ moniker

Sad... 1995 called, they want the M$ moniker back...

Usual anti MS'tards I see, all with expert opinions, all probably would be lost without an MS product - apps, OS required for games etc. All thinking they mr big by joining the anti-MS brigade...

Nobody is forcing you to use a single MS product if you don't like it or them. If your job does then get another job, no? Oh boo hoo...

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FAIL

Tax money goes straight to Redmont, why?

"Nobody is forcing you to use a single MS product if you don't like it or them. If your job does then get another job, no? Oh boo hoo..."

You are missing the point here and you are also dead wrong: The governement _forces_ me to use Windows. There's no way around it.

Also a large slice of my tax money goes straight to Redmont even when the government is an entity large enough to have an OS and applications made for it, instead to giving that money yearly to MS.

Not only you are wrong, you aren't very bright either.

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Losers

I've not got a problem with Microsoft, it tends to be Linux an Apple geeks

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Anonymous Coward

Apple Geek = OxyMoron

Now it is true that there are lots of geek-types developing apps for the iPhone,iPod-touch, and iPad, but for the most part, the real geeks for the Mac tend to actually WORK at apple. I do know a geek who uses an Apple, he is first and foremost a Free BSD geek; when it comes to the Apple Mac my observations are that he is more a user than a geek, and thats OK. The Mac is designed to be used, it is the nerf-toy of the computer world, fun and safe to play with.

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Agreed on OEM

Many of laptops out of the box for SMBs are so bloated by trial ware and rubbish that takes ages to get off.

Imaging is the answer yes but wouldn't it be nice if there was an agreement not to stick so much on.

Most laptops I look at as personal favours are full of spyware and get viruses because the bloatware expires and everyone assumes its fine so don't both buying. How about agreeing to adverts on start up instead of just blanket installs?

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Gates Horns

Yeah, Microsoft has some good products...

You're right - Visual Studio is very good. Office, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc., is also well developed, for the most part. I even like Windows XP and 7. There are a lot of great products out there... but I think MS has a reputation for embracing "open standards" only when it is behind in the race, and throwing them to the wind the second it gets ahead - the better to stomp the competition, my dear. No one likes a sore loser, and no one likes a bad winner, either - and Microsoft is both.

Then again, half the reason I really dislike Microsoft is tied pretty firmly to the releases of Vista and Windows ME. [shudder] I still have nightmares...

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Unhappy

Visual Studio Good? Definitely not.

@ArmanX: you don't say which Visual Studio, but you couldn't possibly mean VS6, the IE6 of development environments. I must have committed some awful sins in a previous life to have had to spend so many years using VS6.

So I was really happy when I started a project using Visual Studio 2008. Short-lived happiness, alas. VS2008 turned out to be about as good as a Java IDE from 1998.

It's clunky and slow in use. Its miserable selection of refactorings tend to leave invalid references all over the place. (Most APIs modify XML references when renaming a type - VS2008 even leaves invalid names in its own wretched .aspx files.) The API help usually tells you everything except what you need to know.

Maybe the latest Visual Studio is better, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's only about as good as a Java IDE from 2001.

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Which Java IDE are you talking about?

Quite frankly, give me VS Intellisense over Eclipse any day. That alone is enough to keep me doing C#. C++ is a different beast, and the IDE is still pretty piss poor compared to the C# flavour, but I don't think it's fair to compare a C++ IDE with a Java IDE. With your talk of refactoring, do you mean iDEA or whatever it's called? Tried it a few years ago, ran a refactor on some code, it crashed and deleted my entire project. As it was a home project it wasn't source controlled (and I didn't expect the IDE to arbitrarily delete my stuff), so I lost it all.

If you look at things in .NET land such as the data access, WinForms, number of languages it supports, Intellisense, solution structure and not to mention a fantastic debugger, it's miles ahead of the Java IDEs that are out there right now. If you're really that fussed about refactoring (and talking in terms of C#) you can make it a lot better by getting a copy of ReSharper.

I don't actually know anyone who doesn't think that VS6 and before is utter dogshit, but then again, the choice wasn't exactly great when it was around..

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Also (forgot to say)

the API help is meant as a quick reference, nothing more (and usually it's enough if you've spent some time reading a good book before starting, presumably you did this to get your language knowledge up to the same level as you have in Java, you should probably find yourself relying less on API help than in Java if you get to know the language, because it's generally more structured than Java, I find anyway, and once again I'm assuming .NET), if you really want a detailed description either buy and install MSDN or go to Google, type in the class or method name followed by "MSDN". MSDN is a far better reference site than the documentation on Java, but that's more a style thing and I guess you have to get used to its structure a little first.

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@Shakje

I'm not wild about Eclipse, either. I've used IntelliJ IDEA for about eight years and I've never had any crashing problem when refactoring or otherwise.

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The most valuable component in a computer ...

... is the user's data.

Microsoft chose to make each new version of Word sufficiently incompatible with the last that people would be inconvenienced into buying the extra bloat. I parted company with Microsoft over a decade ago partly because I could get better software for free, but mostly so I could keep my data forever. If Microsoft had any interest in getting my custom they would have to:

1) Use open standards so data can be exchanged without everyone having to buy Microsoft software. No Silverlight. No patent half promises that will get re-worded when they have my data hostage. The free in free software guaranties freedom from lock in.

2) Distribute under the GPL. That way, I can fix problems that annoy me, and non-programmers can hire programmers to fix problems that annoy them. Without the source code, and a license to play with it, you cannot be certain there are no backdoors. Also, GPL software can be linked to the vast supply of existing GPL software so people do not have to re-invent the wheel.

3) Compete on quality. At present I am required to pay the Microsoft tax, and spend time and effort to get it back. Most people do not bother, so Microsoft still get paid no matter how bad their software.

A month ago I would have said Microsoft were still years away from being an acceptable software supplier. Now there is the first sign progress. There are rumours of a Microsoft App store. Imagine if it became a reality:

Hardware distributors earn their profit from software sales. Selling a Microsoft box means selling MS Office, antivirus, and getting a handful of cash for pre-installing crapware. They hate to sell Linux boxes because a Linux box can do plenty with free (as in beer) software, and crapware has not been ported to Linux.

Microsoft need an App store to compete with the convenience of Apple and Linux distros. When they have an App store, they remove distributors' motivation to pre-install Windows. When that happens, Microsoft will have to compete for real.

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Really?

Just a few thoughts on this post:

"2) Distribute under the GPL."

Really??!?!

"Microsoft need an App store to compete with the convenience of Apple and Linux distros."

These two competitors to Microsoft who don't have desktop app stores?

"When they have an App store, they remove distributors' motivation to pre-install Windows. When that happens, Microsoft will have to compete for real."

Have you seen mobile carriers desperation to get the iPhone due to its huge app store? Thats assisted by a big developer base supporting the iPhone SDK, on the Desktop Microsoft are developer kings, whatever people say they just are with the vast majority of software compatible with the PC, therefore an app store for Windows would provide a massive revenue stream for developers and Microsoft (if they follow the 30% cut Apple take) as well as provide additional functionality/value addition to hardware vendors who'll then seek to follow the platform with the largest app store. Which at the moment is Microsoft....

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Er no,

The largest App Store is Debian, your talking out of your hat if you think linux hasn't had an app store for a decade and a half.

The main problem with deb is the inability to earn money from development, but that could change, attitudes towards paying for FOSS are shifting and the freetards are being reformed. At least such a system would be miles better than anything based on Microsoft's bad karma.

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Linux

Personally

I despised Microsoft's sociopathic behaviour enough to repeatedly beat my head against Linux... then I tried Apple but now I've got in touch with what a c**t Mr Jobs is I want nothing to do with them. I guess it's back to banging my head against Linux then. At least I won't feel dirty.

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Well, this is what I would ask of them.

Oh, that's a very good question. Well, I say they'd have to offer something comparable with what I've already got.

This is what I want and what, at present, I have:

A choice of several free, open-source operating systems, which are designed to be delved into, understood, hacked upon, and generally used;

A native SSH server (Cygwin is a hideous third-party bolt-on and does not count);

Command-line shells which are powerful enough and straightforward enough to be applicable to any aspect of system administration;

Filesystems like ZFS;

X11 forwarding over SSH;

An API that isn't nauseating;

An environment which encourages respect for abstraction in software and which makes doing it right easy;

An environment that makes it simple to write things that interface with hardware;

An environment which I can bend in any way I wish to suit my needs.

Well, obviously I'm going to be a difficult customer because I'm already satisfied with what I have (and it and several alternatives are free.) Meanwhile, these people want to sell me something. They're up against a satisfied customer and a price that's difficult to beat. Surely they must offer something extra!

Well, here's what they've got that I don't have already:

Software licenses and the accompanying madness of "intellectual property";

Software that treats me pre-emptively as a criminal;

Software that is designed to be opaque so that it does not scare users, rather than to be understood;

An operating system which you are not supposed to fix, but which you are supposed to reboot now and then in the hope that the problem will simply go away;

An environment which, for the sake of not scaring users, instead railroads them into doing things in some manner that a focus group somewhere decided is easiest for them and which, in general, is designed with the thought in mind that I do not know what is best for myself;

Sufficient concern for security problems that I should not even view any website whose name ends with with ".ru", ".hk", or ".cn";

An operating system with such a dearth of basic functionality that things like SSH servers are usually provided by third-party software.

Alas, that simply won't do. I guess I'm just a difficult customer. I guess I would at least be pretty amused if Microsoft offered MinWin to the public and let people build an OS on top of that. It might end up like a poor man's OpenVMS, which would be kind of neat.

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however much I love visual studio

I just cannot forget all that IE 6 put me through

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Long memory

When you talked about "dubious business practices" I thought you were going to mention DR-DOS and all the shenanigans surrounding Windows 3.1 That's how far back some of our memories go. But here are a few things they could do that would help me believe they've changed:

- port their stuff to other people platforms, and make it comparable to the Windows version;

- deploy other people's technology, where appropriate, rather than reinventing a Microsoft version;

- collegiately support existing and emerging standards (say by upgrading their OpengL stack to 2.1 and add VP8 to the default IE9 distro)

- embrace standards without then attempting to extend and extinguish them;

- decrease cost and increase quality.

Of course none of that will make me a fan. To do that, all they have to do is produce a must-have consumer gadget and have Anna Chapman advertise it - but I think she is going to be unavailable for a while.

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Gates Horns

Bundling

Not to be anywhere near as restrictive about bundling their OS (seemingly) anywhere and everywhere. Especially on laptops and netbooks. I'd like to be able to walk into a local PC World (for example) and buy a shiny new laptop without having to pay the Windows tax.

Although, to be fair, I did once buy a shiny new netbook from them, and there was no Windows tax. But that was before the netbook market was stitched up by M$…

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Happy

For my sins

I am a fan of Windows 7.

I do not use MS Office.

I am happy to say this.

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Silver badge

MSFT is apparently on the rocks already

Splitting AT&T sure as hell didn't work, it's slowly coming back together again, as all the split RBOCs merge back.

Anyway, I think they've jumped the shark and are headed downhill. The Vista debacle exposed a lot of people around me to Linux and Apple, who've left Microsoft for good. I know a good amount of people that got pissed off when Office switched to a ribbon interface, and started using Open Office.

With the Kin getting killed so quick and the total lack of enthusiasm over Windows 8, I think they're really hurting. All the tech people around me that jump at new products and are first-adopters just say "meh" about Windows 7, even the people that usually love Microsoft stuff.

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Gates Horns

What would Microsoft need to do...

Break up the company the way the DOJ should have done. Then we'll talk.

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Linux

Ms has done too much

To just forget about it.

Killing innumerable companies in the past, vaporware, shoddy bugs, insecure designs, over engineering solutions so competition can not compete, hiding critical info, insecure default OS installs for no good reason, all the FUD about Linux and patents, there's even suspicion of financial backing of SCO during the case court about the unix rights.

MS always play dirty. If they do not appear to be doing it so now is just strategy.

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"MS always play dirty"

"MS always play dirty. If they do not appear to be doing it so now is just strategy."

If they appear to do that right now, is because they have hidden it better than usually, it will emerge later.

You can bet on that, any amount, and win. I'd say about in 5 years from now.

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FAIL

Not only does the Nokia item say more bad about Microsoft than good...

He can't even quote his sources correctly:

He said "96 Percentage of US netbooks running Windows in 2009." The source says "96% of netbooks sold in the U.S. in February [2009]."

He said" the largest cloud deployment in the US." The source says "one of the largest cloud deployments."

The "100% Percent chance that Salesforce.com CEO will mention Microsoft" is inexplicable. I found the first entry (http://cloudblog.salesforce.com/2010/03/cloud2.html) by the CEO in the company blog, and there is no mention of Microsoft.

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What Microsoft needs to do and say

1. Roll themselves up

2. Announce that they are rolling themselves up.

3. Spin off the very few successful products into their own company and *not* a division like apps, os, etc. Each product needs to stand or fall in the market place on its own merits and not suck on the tit of a central organisation to artificially keep it afloat financially in the market place.

4. Apologise for the huge debt on society. Not just individual home users, but the companies and governments that have squandered so much valuable world resources in financial capital and human capital keeping this shit running. Techies that complain that its good because its a guaranteed job constantly fixing Microsoft induced problems in the world are just as bad as government workers who milk the system and provide nothing to society in any productive return or capability.

Imagine if all that human energy and mental capacity and financial backing over the past 30+ years was put to good use such as developing alternative fuels, medicines, and other technologies that give benefit and not a tit sucking job for life cleaning up messes from products designed with a lack of care.

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Anonymous Coward

Simply as a user...

Since Windows XP, Microsoft's biggest strength has been that Windows has been good enough that I haven't been bothered enough to use something else. The only really challenger has been Apple, but their "walled garden" has kept me away. It's the catering to stupid people I hate about Windows, and it seems Apple is even worse for that. I'm sure Linux is great, but I simply can't be arsed. I'm not the huge techy that I was in my youth, and don't want to spend some extra time learning a new OS when the one I have now is good enough. Perhaps not a popular opinion in these parts, and I'm not saying Microsoft is great, but it's how I feel. I can't speak beyond Windows, as I've never really used any other Microsoft software...

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Not popular opinion, but true

Well said, AC. Although I disagree with your comments personally - I still like tinkering with my OS and am happy to use Linux (and OS X) instead of Windows - I can see where you're coming from.

My missus can't be arsed to learn how to do things differently, and neither can my son. They both appreciate that Windows has its flaws and is very far from ideal, but as you say, it's just about good enough to prevent either of them from making the jump to another OS.

I find that quite frustrating, because I know that both Linux and OS X are better operating systems and that the investment to learn how to use them and the equivalent applications is really minimal. However, I've learnt the hard way not to try and convince the wife that I'm right and she's wrong... even if it is true.

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FAIL

How would I like them again?

Dumpe that arrogant, monoric tosser Steve Ballmer, To bend one of his quotes, "Steve Ballmer is a cancer of Microsoft!".

Steve Ballmer seems to live in the 1980's business world. Brash, arrogant and stuff you if you don't like, if you do then stuff you a little less than if you didn't!

I went to Linux for a while, still use it at work, but I went to Apple. It was a expensive but the amount of grief I now get at home is so little with Apple. I fix machines all day, last thing I need is to go home and do it again. Spent too much time fixing stuff for the kids and the Missus with Windows, after a little edutcation and a change of platform I can enjoy switching off my IT guy personality and enjoy using computers again like I used to when I was kid with my Amstrad and Atari ST, doing fun stuff again.

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Gates Horns

Seems like no one's mentioned Trusted Computing yet?

Lots of good stuff here but it seems like no one's mentioned Trusted Computing yet?

That's Trusted Computing as in the entertainment industry and Microsoft trust each other not to spoil the other's profit margins (e.g. DRM, Vista's HD content protection stuff, etc).

Trusted Computing might alternatively be taken to mean that users (Joe Public, IT depts, etc) could trust new versions to behave better not worse, to be more secure not less, to be faster not slower, and so on.

On a separate note I'm puzzled by the comments about how good Studio is. Where I work we're still on Studio 2005 because for ongoing long term support reasons we neither want nor can (easily) follow Bill's forced upgrade cycles. For a specific C project recently I've been using Linux and Eclipse. The combination of Eclipse and a decent scripting environment is so much more productive for this than Studio ever could be. And we can carry on using whatever Linux and whatever GPL products we want for as long as we want, no vendor can tell us "no more support, no more licences, you must upgrade everything now, please give me your bank details".

"Hardware distributors earn their profit from software sales. Selling a Microsoft box means selling MS Office, antivirus, and getting a handful of cash for pre-installing crapware."

Indeed: See also: Putting "HP recommends Vista Business" (or whatever) on the advert means MS effectively pay half the cost of the advert, so you get twice as many adverts for the same money if you're willing to sell your company's soul to the Redmond devil.

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@AC 17:59

"Lots of good stuff here but it seems like no one's mentioned Trusted Computing yet?"

See: "treating customers as criminals", above.

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Get rid of the idiot.

They would need to get rid of that idiot Ballmer for one thing.

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Anonymous Coward

They could apologise and behave themselves

Having been on the receiving end of Microsoft's dubious business practices on at least three different occasions they'd have to do quite a lot to make me do less that loathe them.

The "embrace, extend, extinguish" mantra causes more trouble that you can possibly imagine. It stifles innovation, destroys companies and generally makes life poorer for everyone.

If Microsoft just cooperated with everyone rather than trying to shove them aside like a playground bully then perhaps they will they will be acceptable in a civilised society,

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