back to article Lessons learned from Microsoft's ghosts of antitrust past: Step up, Facebook

Microsoft's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith has issued a spectral antitrust warning from history for Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Smith also blamed the software company's antitrust battles for Microsoft's having missed the search, mobile and app-store trains. To miss one technology wave may be regarded as …

"leading to Microsoft missing the web search train"

Microsoft missed the Web search train because their product is utter s***t

Bing has NEVER been in the same league as Google.

Arguably even venerable engines like Excite and Alta Vista gave better results than Bing.

15
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing has NEVER been in the same league as Google.

Well the current direction of travel is that Google is getting as good as Bing ...

12
8

Re: Bing has NEVER been in the same league as Google.

For a laugh I searched both Google and Bing for the words "direction of travel"

Looks like Bing still using URL names heavily.....

If anyone actually used it, Bing would be an SEOs dream.

4
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing has NEVER been in the same league as Google.

You used Bing? That's going to double the numbers for today.

14
4
Silver badge

Bing started years later

Had Microsoft figured out how to monetize search back in 1995 when Altavista was king, they could have owned the space and Google would have never received any VC funding. Back then no VC would fund someone trying to compete in a space where Microsoft was already entrenched. Blaming it on the antitrust case is kind of laughable, since in 1995 they weren't facing that yet - instead Bill Gates had just learned the internet existed and wrote a memo to everyone at Microsoft because he was so excited about his discovery!

5
1
Silver badge

Re: "leading to Microsoft missing the web search train"

The legal problems are excuse for their own blundering stupidity. Slurp won the OS wars in the 90s and decided to rest on their laurels as many stupid monopolists. They thought they were indispensable and would be forever. But what Slurp forgot is the presence of a monopoly in a market makes others try to work around by a combination of new products and legal threats. The new products are the bigger threat as they are the best hope to break the monopoly long term. For Chocolate Factory and Fruit to break the monopoly they had to find products that users would flock to. It was more do or die for them from day one while Slurp would be slow to see the threat as failure of iOS or Android would not hurt them.

0
1
Silver badge

Re: Bing has NEVER been in the same league as Google.

Occasionally, maybe every three or four months, I do a quick and not very scientific comparison of Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and Google. Just for fun, using an identical search argument for each, picked based on something current, and in a fresh "incognito" window. Invariably, Google results are best, closely followed in most cases by DuckDuckGo, with the others noticeably inferior.

Microsoft might have missed Google's founding in 1998, when they were involved in antitrust issues, largely related to their focus on the browser. They settled the antitrust case before the end of 2001, leaving nearly eight years of emptiness before we saw the somewhat inadequate results of their engagement with "search." I think Mr. Smith is engaging in magical thinking.

1
1

You suggest Microsoft is not the Microsoft of

20 years ago.

That remains to be shown, still, I think.

14
1
Silver badge

The MS of 20 years ago was a good deal less cuddly than the caring, sharing cloudy behemoth of today

But it didn't slurp.

13
3
Silver badge

Re: The MS of 20 years ago was a good deal less cuddly than the caring,...

I think you missed the sarcasm in that statement. But I upvoted you anyway for stating the truth.

3
0

Microsoft can no longer afford being like the microsoft of 20 years ago

Back then they couldn't afford it either but they didn't know, they believed they could but they obviously could not. 20 years ago at microsoft everyone saw themselves as Masters of the Universe and Beyond...

But they have grown humbler and much, much wiser, now at microsoft they seem to know how things work, they have learned their true place in the grand scheme of things. Watching microsoft grow to become the humbler and wiser corporation they are today has been quite pleasent. The change has been quite painful as it goes strongly against microsoft's DNA but they know they have no better option and they are really smart so they embraced it.

Anyone who believes they can behave the way microsoft behaved 20 years ago are in for a rough awakening, I don't believe there's anyone like that anymore.

2
9
Silver badge

Re: Microsoft can no longer afford being like the microsoft of 20 years ago

"Watching microsoft grow to become the humbler and wiser corporation they are today has been quite pleasent."

You forgot the joke icon.

12
0
Silver badge

Re: Microsoft can no longer afford being like the microsoft of 20 years ago

"Humble"??? I don't think that word means what you think it does. Take a hard look at Win10 and their treatment of customers/users both in the way they deployed it and the way it's being "updated" among other things.

9
0
Anonymous Coward

At Microsoft, this is what self-delusion looks like:

COMPARE A: To B:

---------------------------

A:

"Microsoft Chairman Thompson expressed distaste for companies whose ad-financed businesses share or sell user data, while declining to comment on Facebook Inc. specifically. “Many of them make money off ads and they have used that as kind of a leverage point,” he said of user data. “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.”

----------------------------

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/if-microsoft-finds-another-linkedin-deal-chairman-is-all-in

----------------------------

B:

....."When we talk about why we're upgrading the Windows 10 install base, why is that upgrade free? MS CFO asked during a meeting with Wall Street analysts. These are all new monetization opportunities once a PC is sold. Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'".....

....."CEO Nadella has referred to the customer revenue potential as 'lifetime value' in the past -- and did so again last week during the same meeting with Wall Street -- hinting at Microsoft's strategy to make more on the back end of the PC acquisition process. The more customers, the more money those customers will bring in as they view 'Ads'".....

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2917799/microsoft-windows/microsoft-fleshes-out-windows-as-a-service-revenue-strategy.html

1
0
Silver badge

It was?

"The Microsoft of 20 years ago was certainly a good deal less cuddly than the caring, sharing cloudy behemoth of today"

I don't see any evidence that this is true. Microsoft now talks more sweet-talk than it used to, but when you look at what they actually do, I see little evidence that they have changed their stripes.

8
0

They are basically the same, only subtler

20 years ago they would just go and do it all on your face, no questions asked. These days they behave much different they are more cunning, now they do all they can to obscure their true intentions.

7
1

HHGTG Entry

Microsoft.

Still mostly Evil.

13
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: HHGTG Entry

What does it say about the Facebook Cybernetics Corporation?

2
0
LDS
Silver badge

Still mostly Evil.

And in very good company today, evilness is the new business model.

3
1
Silver badge

They can't blame any of this on the antitrust

Their failure in search was not to have recognized it was important back when they were launching Windows 95, years before the antitrust case. The first time I visited altavista.com in 1995 (before the official launch since a friend worked there) it was obvious this is how people would find stuff on the internet in the future. The Yahoo "index" and "site of the day" model was already way past its prime as fast the internet was growing.

Their failure in mobile was Ballmer laughing at the iPhone instead of realizing it was a paradigm shift like Andy Rubin of Android/Google did, and thus taking so long to come out with a viable product that both Apple and Android were already entrenched and the only way Windows Phone could have possibly succeeded would have been to leverage their monopoly. Had they acted immediately like Rubin did, there probably would be three mobile operating systems today.

Their failure in app stores is the same as their failure in mobile. People haven't shown a desire for an app store model with PCs, and trying to foist it on them was going to be hard - Windows 8's shitty interface only made it harder. The antitrust stuff had no bearing on this either, unless they would have wanted to ban on unmanaged code on Windows 8 and make it MS signed apps only with a 30% cut.

4
1
Silver badge

Re: They can't blame any of this on the antitrust

I think your analysis here is strong, but I wanted to expand on this a bit:

"Their failure in search was not to have recognized it was important back when they were launching Windows 95, years before the antitrust case. "

The failure is even deeper than that. When Win 95 was first released, it didn't even install a TCP/IP stack or browser by default. Microsoft wasn't thinking that the internet itself was going to be important, let alone search.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: They can't blame any of this on the antitrust

To expand further...

Chrome's dominance has nothing to do with Microsoft's antitrust battles and everything to do with Microsoft and Mozilla losing the plot.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: They can't blame any of this on the antitrust

"When Win 95 was first released, it didn't even install a TCP/IP stack or browser by default."

To expand a little further, they had that walled garden thing called "The Microsoft Network" which competed with AOL and used NetBEUI over PPP rather than TCP/IP when you connected to it. If you search enough, you'll find references to a protocol called "Blackbird" which was basically GDI over PPP, which was how they were going to present content to the portal.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: They can't blame any of this on the antitrust

Chrome's dominance mostly has to do with Google's pocketbook. When it first came out there tons of software that automatically installed Chrome unless you unchecked it, and then it would ask to become your default browser (which was one of the few victories for the FTC in their antitrust case against Microsoft) and it was off to the races. They relied on people being lazy and accepting the defaults.

1
1
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: They can't blame any of this on the antitrust

Chrome's dominance has nothing to do with Microsoft's antitrust battles and everything to do with Microsoft and Mozilla losing the plot Google splashing great big "Install Chrome and browse faster!" link all over their search pages.

Given that at the time nobody was any where near Google's quality of results, of course everyone was going to see it.

1
0
Silver badge

IE was a steaming pile of turd from the first to the last versions, people has already started to move away from IE to Firefox and Opera which were much better browsers than IE, but then the cash of Google enabled them to deliver their own privacy slurping browser and take the market share away from all 3.

I still use Firefox as my main browser, although I do have Chrome installed as well as both browsers can sync passwords and history across multiple devices and OS. I never bothered to test out Edge as i primarily use Linux Mint as my main OS and no version of Edge is available for Linux.

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018