45 posts • joined Monday 15th February 2010 22:35 GMT
Uncertain futures ......
A very interesting article, with a lot of interesting insights. It is obviously true that MS have made some very serious mistakes, but then so did Apple, not so long ago. Apple recovered spectacularly. Why? Probably by being clear about the sort of products their customers wanted, and by making products that were, by new technology standards, solid and (mostly) reliable. They were expensive, but they worked in ways that users understood and were comfortable with, and they built a loyal customer base on that.
Can MS make the same turnaround? After all they have lived with the "good OS bad OS" cycle for decades now, and still made buckets of money. Business as usual, as usual? No. Because, unlike Apple, they have yet to recognise that a turnaround is necessary. And even if they do, their internal culture appears to be so seriously flawed that they will be unable to take the necessary action.
Apple can sell into a customer base which is comfortable with what it has got, and can be confident that it will still be comfortable with the next iteration in the product cycle. MS used can no longer rely on this. When the customer is not confident, he (and she) is not going to buy. The new CEO is going to have to deal with, simultaneously, a bad OS cycle and a loss in customer confidence. That may be too much to ask.
Time will tell ......
Likewise. I went Linux about six years ago, and although I obviously benefit from the added protection it gives me, that is only one of the reasons I had for making the switch. I'm almost tempted to hope that Linux remains a minority interest on the desktop, just so that it is not worthwhile for the bad guys to attack it - even though that would be harder to do in the first place.
More to the point, the cybercrime issue is now so serious that only governments, co-operating on a large scale internationally, can begin to combat it. But, as has been observed elsewhere in other comments here, they seem to be much more interested in watching the sheep than catching the wolves.
Re: Not sure what type of Enterprise Level you are referring to
To be fair...... MOST desktop PCs within businesses (CURRENTLY) use Windows.
We all know Linux runs the back office, but it is increasingly appearing on the desktop as well.
Re: Maybe they're hiding from us.
This of course would be the clearest possible indication that they are intelligent.........
I thought RT had been declared dead and buried. Why an RT 8.1 update? Am I missing a trick here?
Re: Bewildering is right
I'm just so glad that my business objectives no longer include supporting MS's business objectives.........
Re: Still not enough
Let's wait and see.....
Personally, as a heavy end CAD and graphics user - hence large screen and desktop PC - I find that a touch-focussed interface is fundamentally unusable. I appreciate that it is now perfectly possible to boot directly into desktop, add a second large monitor and install a mouse etc.. But all of these things involve bending the system to meet my requirements in a way that MS seem to regard as alien to their objectives. I'll stick to a system which meets my work requirements without my having to kick and punch it into compliance. (Have MS forgotten what business computers are used for?) I will not be getting Win 8.1.
8.1 looks like a brilliant system for consuming internet content on a phone or tablet, but so are iPads, Chromebooks and Android phones etc. - and they are already well established in the marketplace. Add to this Microsoft's blatant hubris, and focus on monetisation at any cost, and it is easy to see why they have lost their old position as the de facto OS and software supplier of choice. Ignoring your customers and hacking them of is far and away the best way to lose them for good, particularly if you do it at a time when a range of viable and economical alternatives are increasingly available.
MS will not disappear overnight, but their days of dominance are over. I'm happy to be proved wrong, but as I said above, let's wait and see. Give it 6 to 9 months, to sort out units shipped, units sold, and units actually in use. But I'm not holding my breath....
Re: Almost is the key word.
I'm a lot closer than that! I already have all the zeros - all I need is a lousy 1 to put in front of them. Buddy can you spare a dime?
Re: But slowly – over time - and maybe not...........
Do what I have done to support old Win software.
1 Move to Linux for all your day to day productivity and comms
2 Install VirtualBox or other Vware
3 Using the original discs, clean install Win XP in VBox
4 Fire up XP (or Win 7 if you prefer) and DISABLE ALL INTERNET CONNECTIVITY
5 Install your Win-only software and use it as before
6 Never, but never let the Win system to talk directly to the internet - move files/data through the host
Your Win software will work fast and flawlessly - probably until the end of time, or at least until it is directly ported to Linux or the Linux equivalent becomes available. The simple secret is NEVER to let Win call home and become corrupted by "security" updates.
Re: Newly installed apps - hidden and hazardous
Things which are hidden can't be seen....... You can be hurt by these.......
MS is beginning to look a bit like the Titanic - the damage is too serious, everyone realises that it is going to sink, and shuffling the deckchairs is doing nothing to address the problem. Fortunately, this time there are plenty of other ships out there to pick up passengers from the wreck and they are doing so very quickly. But MS does not own any of them.
Re: Makes me sooooo glad.... Alternative VG software
I did the same as you several years ago. I also run Mint these days.
My vector graphics software of choice is Corel Draw (Suite). This (Version x6) runs only in a Win environment, so I run it in VirtualBox with Mint as host and an old copy of Win 7 as guest. Corel is now the only win compliant software I use, and this setup works a treat. (everything else I use is native Linux anyway) You could also run Adobe Illustrator or ACD Canvas in this setup, or try Xara Xtreme which runs under Linux anyway. Inkscape - also runs under Linux - is worth a look, if you only have fairly lightweight graphics requirements.
Unless I am mistaken, MS have ditched Expression Design, as it never seriously competed with any of the packages named above. No matter what you go for, or what environment you run it under, you will have to get a newer VG package, and you will face a significant learning curve.
Corel Draw X6 because (a) I know it well and (b) it is still by far the cheapest and best value package for the capabilities it gives you, particularly if you start by buying the older version X5.
Initial pain - then relief.
"It's well worth the initial pain..."
Rather like getting rid of an agonising tooth abcess. Once you have made the switch the sense of relief is indescribable, and you wonder why you put up with the MS pain for so long in the first place.
So does your accountant.
Even though I have gone completely over to Linux for everything else, I still keep an old XP box just so that I can play Myst and Riven (my personal favourite) from time to time. And of course the rest of the series. I think they are mostly all available on GOG now, for anyone wanting to try them on modern kit.
Re: Meh and Meh
So "you'll be back". Let's hold judgement on that one....... until Splodger has tried Mint at least as thoroughly as I tried Win 8.
I went to the "dark side" - ie Linux - four / five years ago, and although I keep an open mind on OSs and have looked at MS and Apple offerings, so far I have seen nothing to make me want to switch back to MS on a workstation. This is most emphatically true of Win 8 and 8.1.
All I want is a system that allows me to get on with productive work (what us people get paid for), not something stuffed with unnecessary crud. Mint works for us too.
Re: re: the desktop would “go away” over time
In fact, the desktop will not go away. It is the arena in which all productive work is done, as opposed to the consumption of someone else's output, which can mostly be done with only a browser.
It may well be true that Microsoft needs the desktop, but the desktop does not need Microsoft. OSX and Linux offer perfectly viable alternatives - including support for lots of legacy apps. I am not in the slightest troubled by the prospect of MS's demise on the desktop.
First and foremost, it's the price that matters
This has been on the cards for the last five years or more. Microsoft products, both OSs and applications, are way over priced for what they offer. For example, MS Office may offer advantages over Libre Office for some users, but for a huge number of SMEs the cost is just too high. And now MS want you to pay on a subscription basis as well!
Google Apps and services may not be free, but they are one hell of a lot cheaper than MS's alternatives. Libre Office is of course free, and just how do you compete with free? There is almost certainly a huge market for a really cheap, basic version of MS Office, with only the roughly 10% of functionallity that the vast majority of users require. But I doubt if the money grabbing culture in MS would allow them to consider this strategy for one moment.
Time to sell your MS stock, I suspect.
Way back in the days when I worked for big business (remember ICI?), I learned that there were essentially only two types of business re-organisation. they were :-
1 Think, Plan, Communicate, Do (business goes on to prosper)
2 Panic, Juggle, Hope, Pray (the other thing)
Work out for yourselves what sort this is.
"Rapid release" mantra = rapid money grabbing mantra
Rapid release has to mean frequent "upgrades" or, more significantly, much more rapid obsolescence. Not just for the OS, but probably also for any hardware associated with it. Add to this subscription licensing, or seen another way, enforced "upgrades", and Microsoft's strategy for emptying your wallet as frequently and thoroughly as possible is clear. The fact of the product becoming increasingly indifferent as well merely adds insult to injury. MS may think (it has to - there can be no other explanation) that it's customers are stupid enough to buy into this, but this ex MS customer is not.
Thank goodness there are excellent alternative OSs and productivity software available, some of which will not cost you a penny. Which is where I have been for the last 4 years
Re: I had a strange experience..(2)
I'm pretty much on the same page. I have also been asking myself to what extent Microsoft are still even remotely relevant. We abandoned Windows as an OS three / four years ago (for Linux), and after a short period of adapting to a new OS, I would now be laughed out of court if I ever proposed going back to MS.
It has to be said that we always look at the latest MS offering as a matter of course but, that said, Vista and Win 8 have only served to confirm that we made the right decision when we switched. I can see no point in ranting against MS - it's a waste of breath when I have a business to run and product (from a DESKTOP) to deliver.
I'll probably look at Win 9, or Win 11.7 Poledancer or whatever when it finally comes out, but more out of morbid curiosity than as a competitive OS.
Re: In short.. (again)
Likewise. There was a time when I would carefully evaluate new MS releases with a view to deciding whether or not I should switch back to a Windows OS (from Linux). I can no longer see any point in doing this, as I have no intention of ever going back into the MS camp. Mint 14 and free open source software does everything we require, quietly, quickly, reliably and with a lot less hassle than trying to secure and update a Win system.
I realise that there are lots of people out there who absolutely must have the latest MS offering, which they will pay through the nose for but which they will never own, and bound by a EULA they have almost certainly never read.
It's just that I am not one of them.
Still nothing for the working desktop....
Apparently (Getting tired of repeating etc.., above), Win 8 is fine because I can get to the productivity interface I need by following just 5 simple instructions. This is "acceptable"?
OsX, Win 7 and Linux Mint (my default OS on which I am writing this) all open at the interface I require without any need for special instructions. Namely a functional desktop. Which is where I WORK.
MS clearly cannot grasp this, which is why no-one likes Win 8.n and their brand value is falling like a stone.
Desktops will never disappear
While I have no doubt that any number of small devices such as phones and tablets will be used to CONSUME internet content, they will not be used to produce it. Productive work will continue to be done on desktop workstations with large, non-touch monitors using a mouse or tablet.
Take CAD as an example. Would you rather fly in an aeroplane designed on a large screen where the designer can see the big picture and has precise control over what components go where, or one designed on a tablet with components shuffled by someone's fingers and thumbs?
Microsoft may have abandoned the workstation, but it remains the basic tool on which PRODUCTIVE WORK is done. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
I did work with Win 8, quite intensively, albeit the pre-release version in Virtualbox, and assessed the OS and it's usability with our key software and hardware - eg 26" non-touch monitors running CAD type applications, and very large format printers no longer supported by MS.
Which is precisely why we are NOT using it now.
Way back when I sold stuff, it was drummed into me that the customer is always right. If you don't give the customer what he wants, he won't buy and will go elsewhere. Simples.
P.S. We have been running everything on Linux since the Vista fiasco, but I always make a point of checking out the competition just in case they start to catch up. They have not. Full stop.
Just how many times can a manufacturer screw it's customers over and still expect them to remain customers? MS probably hopes the answer is 42; I suggest the true number is (95 + ME + Vista + Win 8.....?) less than 5 or 6.
The big issue for MS is not that it has to patch up Win 8, which of course it will do, but that it has lost the confidence of its customers. Users who have had the temerity to try alternatives (Osx, Linux) quickly discover that Win is not the only viable OS out there, but also that it is by no means necessarily the best. These users are not going to come rushing back to Windows just because it has a start button.
MS Windows is no longer the de facto automatic choice for the desktop. They will have to earn future revenues on fitness for purpose and merit, rather than by trying to force unnecessary and expensive "upgrade" cycles on hapless consumers and businesses. Seeing how MS has responded to real competition in the past (lawsuits etc.), and their well known willingness to respond positively to criticism, I suspect their future is rather bleak.
Re: Xara Xtreme
At a basic level, Xara is a viable alternative to Corel / Illustrator. It is a very powerful package and I have had a serious look at it. Unfortunately there comes a time when you need certain features / capabilities where Xara is a bit weak. A lot of what I do is more related to CAD than illustration, and Corel's layering, dimensioning and measurement capabilities are first class. I have been a Corel user since V2 (with windows runtime built in - DOS days!) "The best software in the world is the software you know best."
Also, with Virtualbox, it is essentially the same as starting any other native application. It appears on your Linux desktop almost as fast as a native app, provided of course that you stop Win from logging on to the internet and calling home for more junk.
Re: The fall out of Win 8
I have tried using Win 8 too, and I have been a solid MS user from the days of DOS. While I have had issues, more or less, with previous Win releases, this is the first Windows version ever that actively gets in the way of what you are trying to do.
Vista forced me to look seriously at Linux, and I have been using both XP and Linux for the last two or three years. Looking back at my recent usage shows me that I now defaulted to Linux for about 90% of "boot ups". I use only one bit of software - Corel Draw - which has to run in a Win environment. There are open source alternatives to almost all the MS software I used to use - eg Open Office, Evolution for mail and calendar - and of course they are free.
Win 8 has now settled the question for me. My primary OS is now Mint 14. Wine, which comes bundled with Mint, will run a lot of basic Windows software perfectly well, and for Corel I have installed Virtualbox (free) and an old copy of XP (internet connection disabled of course) and the whole setup works beautifully.
The agonising MS updating process is the final nail in the Win coffin. Linux updates cover both the OS itself and can also update installed software at the same time. All of this seamlessly and quietly in the background, without endless nag screens and repeated reboots.
Why on earth would anyone want to stick with Windows now?
OK, so he is upgrading and selling off surplus kit. Dont we all?
The interesting thing will be to see how long it takes to sell. And what it goes for. If the post is still there in a couple of weeks - or not - then we will have at least one indisputable fact about Win 8. That'll be a breakthrough.
I'm not a large company - as a one-man band I'm anything but. I was also "Vista'd" down the Linux road, perhaps with some reluctance and trepidation at first, as I have to support all my IT myself. I am now in a position where I would no more go back to Microsoft than jump out of an aeroplane without a parachute. Stuff just works, the OS is rock solid - and it is free. Nuf said.
An additional bonus is that the majority of my key clients have now migrated to Linux as well.....
I suspect that Goldman Sachs really have have seen the future.
Re: You're not alone!
I rather agree with you. I dislike Metro (or whatever it is now) for what it is and how it works, not for who makes it. We also use Linux as our primary OS, but I had to have a look at Win 8 just in case.
As for Photoshop, take some time to get your head around GIMP. It may not have the Adobe cachet, but it does the job phenomenally well. You can also run it in a Win environment if you want to, but it is a lot quicker in Ubuntu.
My "problem" software is Corel Draw, but it is only a problem in as much as I have to run a virtual Win XP session in order to use it. You could do just the same with Photoshop, but note that some Photoshop versions work perfectly well under Wine if you would rather do it that way. Check it out.
The OS is becoming increasingly irrelevant - it's the software that does the work.
Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade
Quite right. It - the UI - IS being slammed by the tech community, because they have had the opportunity to try it, and are making it abundantly clear that they do not like it.
The silent majority will doubtless make their views heard when they have tried it. Except that they will not have the opportunity to try before they buy. They will meet it out of the blue for the first time when they buy a new PC and switch it on (thereby accepting the EULA). After which it will be too late. In any other business area a marketing strategy like this would be seen as a con trick, and would warrant reporting to Trading Standards.
Re: MUCH worse than WindowsME.
I can only agree. In a nutshell, I am being offered a "new" MS Windows which can, with some effort, be made to work like the familiar windows interface we have been used to for decades. However, it does not allow me to make the "old" UI the default, so that whenever I switch on I have to navigate away from Metro (or whatever it is finally going to be called) before I can start doing any productive WORK. Never mind all the other pros and cons listed in other posts here, this alone is enough to make Win 8 a total non-starter, at least in my work environment (CAD type design and graphics).
As an enterprise user making long term decisions on future software and hardware needs, my recommendation is that we stick with Linux. If we do need Win to run any legacy or similar software, we'll virtualise an old copy of XP or Win 7. But I don't see us ever going back to MS for anything
Re: trying it now
I've done the same. Works "fine" on VirtualBox / Ubuntu, assuming that what I see is how it is supposed to work in the first place. Yes, it is horrid, and from where I stand I find it to be unusable as an enterprise desktop. Quite apart from the as-yet-uncalculated cost of switching to touchscreen, when we have excellent high end monitors in service already.
Won't be recommending, won't be buying.
Build your own. We do (admittedly we are very small, but we do need high spec. machines). It is simple, it can save you money and/or give you a better spec. for the same budget.
And the best savings (and performance) are achieved by loading a Linux OS when you are done.
Why are MS so desperate to drive enterprise desktops down the Linux road? I can't think why they should wish to do this, but the fact remains that we have made the decision, and have done so.
My biggest issue now is trying to figure out why we did not do this much sooner.
Metro - No thanks
I am currently trying the consumer pre-release version, and at least so far it gets a resounding no thanks.
Metro is a pain, and gets in the way of my doing productive work. I do a lot of high end graphics / CAD type work, for which a 24 inch (non-touch) monitor and a mouse is essential, and it takes significantly longer to get to that interface and start work in Win 8 than in my present setup. (if you want to fly in an aeroplane designed on an 8 inch screen by someone using their fingers and thumbs to position parts, please just put up a post saying so......)
Is it just my imagination, or is MS trying to move us to a future in which a computer is primarily a device you use to consume content from the internet, as opposed to a tool for doing productive work?
There is absolutely nothing here to persuade me to switch back from Linux to MS. I guess I had to look, but now i know.
Interesting. I also have a job to do - several, in fact, - and I also use Linux to do them. Not because I have to, but because I choose to. I choose Linux because it is better, cheaper, stable, and far more reliable (than Windows). I realise of course that these do not play as valid reasons in the Microsoft camp, but they don't half look good on my balance sheet.
Absolutely! Homebuild i5 with 8 Gb RAM running Linux Ubuntu. It hosts 2 VMs (Virtualbox) running legal instances of Win xp. One for Win only Corel draw and Turbocad, and the other for old Win games. Fast to boot and fast running. A third one on the way to have a good look at Linux Mint. What more could you want?
Foresight / Hindsight
Three years ago, I had the foresight to switch all our desktops to Ubuntu / Open Office. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that I made the right decision. It's really all about TCO - though the speed, stability and everything else that has come with it are a nice bonus.
All fingers and thumbs
Wonderful news for CAD users! Want to fly in an aeroplane that someone designed with their thumbs? Still sure about that?
To repeat what several other posters have already said, possibly a great UI for browsing the web, but absolutely useless for serious work. I have actually tried to "work" with an A0 drawing on a tablet, no mouse present, and work it does not.
And another one....
Having used OO for some years, I made the switch to LibreOffice just two weeks ago, feeing I would see better commitment to product develpment and stability. Looks like I did the right thing. And it is a pretty good suite as well, with some distinct improvements on OO. Happy bunny!
Precisely. Me too.
In my experience, the majority of desktops are used mostly to run email and office applications, and Evolution plus Open Office does that perfectly well, in addition to talking to a huge range of similar apps on other OSs - including MS Office. I do use still use VirtualBox + XP to run Corel X3, but as soon as Codeweavers get it running in Crossover, I will go totally MS-free.
The only things I really miss are the pleasure of downloading all the antivirus / anti malware updates, 'cos I no longer have time to go and have a coffee while it is all happening. And paying for them. And getting MS Genuine Disadvantage nags. And wondering when the system was going to crash again. etc. etc..
There is a viable alternative...
And the alternative is Linux. As a late 60s-something Ubuntu user, for about three years now, (I choked on Vista too) I am not a "die hard command line geek". I don't need to be, and neither should any user with decent IT support (I don't have any at all). Many forward looking, not to say financially strapped, organisations and Government departments have already "gone Linux", because TCO is lower and security is better. That said, you could well be right about "clueless", though.....
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