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376 comments

more importantly: (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258409)

does it blend?

They blend. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258463)

Fraud of all kinds mix easy. Watch as M$'s stock and reporting frauds implode and the true value of imaginary property becomes apparent.

Re:They blend. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26259459)

Which frauds would these be, then?

Damn, I just realised who I replied to. Never mind.

Re:more importantly: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258523)

I love you Larry, will you be the mother of my children?

Re:more importantly: (2)

jag7720 (685739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258533)

Or does it really matter?

Microsoft is becoming more and more irrelevant in the computer world... and yes, even though they have 90% market share they are becoming irrelevant.

Forcing people to buy your product doesn't make you the best.

Ballmer doesn't fit and will leave MS... but MS will try to keep their MS tax by making their products available only online and a pay as you go.

Re:more importantly: (1, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258829)

Hmm... you think they are becoming irrelevent, but that doesn't seem to be the case. FWIW, MS Research is one of the largest research companies in the world. We heard the same thing by the way years ago; MS is late to the internet party (with IE, IIS, etc) and it will spell their doom. It didn't happen; they don't turn on a dime, but they do turn. They'll figure out how to make money on netbooks, and they'll figure out a compelling reason for people to WANT to purchase their software.

Nobody buys MS that doesn't want to.

Re:more importantly: (5, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258895)

"Nobody buys MS that doesn't want to"? Say that to about every user that's had a problem with something with MS.

Meanwhile, just because they're the biggest company doesn't mean they're relevant. It just means they WERE relevant. Past tense.

Re:more importantly: (1, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258979)

Oh please. There's a difference between someone having a "problem" with something MS and that person abandoning MS. My Honda has had it's problems too, but they were insignficant or properly handled by the vendor. If it got to the point were someone didn't want MS anymore, they go find something else. Simple as that.

And I never said they were relevent because they were big; they're relevent because they actually DO give customers what they want. I know, you can't possibly fathom it's true. But people aren't flocking to Linux; they know it's out there, but MS fits their needs better. I know apple has gained some marketshare. Personally, I don't think that will continue as people continue to realize that Apple has it's own problems as well... just like I learned the hard way that Linux isn't perfect either.

Re:more importantly: (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259097)

If it got to the point were someone didn't want MS anymore, they go find something else. Simple as that.

Many companies have invested millions of dollars in Microsoft software as a core part of their computing infrastructure. That's not something that can be replaced quickly, easily, or cheaply.

Re:more importantly: (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259055)

Nobody buys MS that doesn't want to.

There have been many times when people complained to me about their Windows problems. I've often mentioned they should look at the alternatives. Almost always I get the same response: "What alternatives? Isn't every computer Windows?"

Most people still think Apple computers are completely foreign and are unaware of any other options. So to most people the options are a Windows computer or no computer.

Re:more importantly: (2, Insightful)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259091)

Nobody buys MS that doesn't want to.
That's a ridiculous statement. I have bought and wiped clean close to a hundred MS pre-installations because getting either another os or applying for a refund was more expensive.

Re:more importantly: (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259147)

Haha. You are truly Captain Wishful Thinking. You people that think if you come on a board with a bunch of like minded "thinkers" and say something, that makes it true. "Microsoft is irrelevant!" "See how I've made my hatred known by saying something nonsensical and dismissive of an entity I hate!?". You just did the equivelent of a 13 year old girl's "wha-EVA!"

If you hate MS that much, a better tact would be to not underestimate the enemy in your little nerd battle. They're not irrelevant, to say they are is laughable and shows how provincial and limited your experience in the computing industry is.

Re:more importantly: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258605)

Larry do you have a CITATION for that you bastard? I think maybe one is NEEDED. Bracket [ bracket ].

Magic 8 Ball had this... (5, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258413)

The Magic 8 Ball has been on top of this for years... Outlook not good.

Re:Magic 8 Ball had this... (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258471)

Crap, I fumbled over the quote in a hurry for a frist proast. The line is actually Outlook not so good. You get the point, though.

Re:Magic 8 Ball had this... (1, Funny)

edalytical (671270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258579)

Reply hazy, try again. Just kidding without a doubt we get your point. I mean all signs point to yes, most likely the average /.er can get the point. Yes - definitely, it is certain and it is decidedly so. You may rely on it. At least, as I see it, yes.

Re:Magic 8 Ball had this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258483)

Yeah, getting high leads to speculative predictions. What else is new?

Re:Magic 8 Ball had this... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258741)

off topic:
Back when I was in Gulf War I, I had a magic 8 ball with my gear that I used to confirm or refute the crapflood generated by the rumor mill. At first I did it just as a joke, but it was uncanny in its accuracy, and much faster than waiting for word through chain of command. A few guys in my squad would borrow it for reassurance about situations back home.
I still have that 8 ball, but over the years the fluid level dropped about 1/8 inch, rendering it useless. I wonder, is there an easy way to refill it, and having refilled it would that destroy its karma?

Yes I realize it was all subjective validation and selective memory, but it was a comfort in trying times.

Oh! I know! I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258447)

It turns into a giant Transformers style robot, but is eventually stopped by the Google/Firefox Transformer style robots. As you may have noticed, Firefox has already designed their robot.

Does Ballmer really fill Gate's shoes? (5, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258493)

Why no, not really.

Why do you ask?

Re: Does Ballmer really fill Gate's shoes? (2, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258529)

Why no, not really.

Why do you ask?

His hands fit rather well on the legs of that chair though... *ducks*

Re: Does Ballmer really fill Gate's shoes? (3, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258629)

His hands fit rather well on the legs of that chair though... *ducks*

I wonder where you'll end up when you duck while Ballmer is bending over a chair. I don't like the outlook to be clear. But word is he excels when it comes to chairs.

Re: Does Ballmer really fill Gate's shoes? (3, Funny)

Ixitar (153040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259143)

I have heard a rumor that Microsoft is going to replace Windows with a new operating system code named Chair. I have not heard much in the ways of details, except that the new os has legs.

Re: Does Ballmer really fill Gate's shoes? (3, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258553)

I, for one, am really glad there wasn't a "Death by snu-snu" option.

*Looks at Ballmer and Gates*

I will near complain about not having options again.

*shudders*

Crystal ball (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258499)

My cock and non-crystal balls predict the future of Micro$haft. Specifically, they predict that the cock will get hard and fuck beta testers I mean customers up the ass with no lubrication, meanwhile the non-crystal balls will be slapping against the customer's perineum due to this fucking motion. The customers won't like this, especially the no-lube part, but feel too committed to Micro$haft to switch and besides, all of these problems will be fixed Real Soon Now because the next version of Windoze is going to take care of EVERYTHING, they swear! While they're getting fucked up the ass, the Micro$haft customers will go on message boards and forums like this one and defend Micro$haft against any and all criticism, for free, since you know that'd be horrible if people on the Internet said bad things about them.

I can say with confidence (4, Funny)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258519)

2009 will be the year of the Windows desktop.

Re:I can say with confidence (-1, Offtopic)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258673)

Nice! Modded redundant, like the 6th comment in the thread with nothing even remotely close to it. Stay classy, anonymous moderator.

Re:I can say with confidence (0, Offtopic)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258789)

Interesting. By commenting on this, it seems you transferred the Redundant moderation onto this new comment. I wonder if the same will happen with this comment..

Given the state of things (3, Funny)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258535)

I'd say that the shark has been jumped already.

Re:Given the state of things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26259307)

I like the option of being taken out behind the shed and put down.

also, ever since I got a system pwned by a nasty virus from ebaumsworld.com, I am very leary of add cookie heavy sites like infoworld.com

My Crystal Ball Predicts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258537)

...that the coming decade will be filled with as many crystal balls predicting the doom of Microsoft as there were in the previous decade and that super-intelligent crystal balls powered by Microsoft's new embedded OS for planatirs will enslave the human race before Linux wins the desktop.

Re:My Crystal Ball Predicts... (4, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258747)

You mean I've only got 12 months to live? 2010 is the real year of the linux desktop as predicted by the Mayan calendar!

What they should do: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258561)

Shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.

Bollocks (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258567)

What a bundle of bollocks. I've read better in /. comments.

My vote? None of these. They're all in the "dumb and dumber" category.

Re:Bollocks (2, Insightful)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258653)

Did you click through to the descriptions of each? Two of them actually make some sort of sense. (The rest don't.) I can see MS going into a slow decline, or surviving without adapting much. Of course, that assumes that Windows 7 doesn't suck anywhere near as much Vista when it comes out - if it does suck, Microsoft might as well find themselves a black hole to go jump in, because Linux is becoming a viable alternative even for Joe Six-pack.

On another note, every time I see the phrase "cloud computing" I mentally replace it with "The network is the computer". I'm pretty sure that they'll both be equally forgotten in ten years. Like thin clients before them. They've all got their place, but it's not as the primary computing method for everyone.

Re:Bollocks (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259229)

Did you click through to the descriptions of each?

Does anybody?

I intended to print the article to read on the train, but I wasn't going to do it six separate times, no wai!

Re:Bollocks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258677)

Exactly. More wishful tinking by Microsoft bashers. What a silly waste of time.

no crystal balls required for this ailment (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258585)

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=MSFT

looks like fuddles isn't planning to leave broke.

Re:no crystal balls required for this ailment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26259019)

You don't think that Gates needs to start selling shares to fund his latest philanthropic endeavors?

6. The "same procedure as every year" scenario. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258621)

MS will continue to force OEM installations on the market, non-it companies will still be afraid of FOSS and MS lobbyists will still do their part on locking down IT departments in public sectors. (In even some of the most "socialist" countries Windows is still used on 99% of desktop PCs in public (school, administration) services, where no special software is needed.

Cloud computing, Web 3.0, "web-bases OSes (!)" and whatnot buzzwords won't change that.

What we could hope for is that the Recession will create focus on cost linked to software licenses, and more focus on saving old hardware. (With software needing updating.)

The greatest thing that could happen is that MS invented some 100% waterproof way of securing Windows against piracy (of Windows itself). Ofcourse, *if* that would happen, they'd just drop the prices substansually in 3rd world contries to regain the lost marked share. (Just look at the netbook rebate. They had to loose half the market shares before slashing prices)

What "cloud?" (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258661)

Remember "grid computing"? Remember "application service providers"? Remember how that was supposed to change everything? Right.

The current appeal of "cloud computing" is that some companies are willing to give it away to get market share. That won't last. Google is cutting back on their freebies. The day is probably coming when "Google Apps" won't be free. Gmail is already a paid service for businesses. Google runs those services mostly to cost Microsoft money.

As a business, "cloud computing" looks a lot like shared web hosting. The price competition is fierce and the service levels aren't very good.

A few niche applications have been outsourced well, like "Salesforce.com". In fact, that's the leading commercial outsourced application. But Salesforce doesn't compete with Microsoft.

None of this looks like a real threat to Microsoft.

Re:What "cloud?" (2, Insightful)

MpVpRb (1423381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258969)

I can imagine a niche for cloud computing, maybe even a big one. But...my crystal balls say that it will not completely dominate computing. No way, no how.

I want more control of my computer and data, not less. I want to decide if and when to change versions of software.

Imagine waking up one morning, at the peak of panic on a late project, only to find that all your cloud apps have been "improved" with a new interface that takes a week to learn.

Cloud computing is driven by software publishers, eager to gain a revenue stream and eliminate piracy. Unfortunately, the technical press drinks the Koolaid and pronounces it inevitable. Remember bubble memory? Remember pen based computing?

Re:What "cloud?" (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259111)

remember that MS said all versions of software running on their cloud will be the latest version only. They will not support previous versions, so your nightmare world is likely to be true.

That said, they'll probably change their mind when it comes down to it.

Microsoft is like a very beautiful rose (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258671)

You let it grow on the vine, until the rose bush is taking over the green house and killing any other plants. Then when you think you have the most beautiful flower every, cut it off, put it in a vase and let it slowly wilt until it becomes a faded memory that even Mr Science can't revive.

Vista is a view of the once venerable XP, in the same way that a wilting rose is a view of a once beautiful budding flower.

My prediction? Microsoft is a Rose will hit #1 on the billboard charts in 2009.

This is all FUD (5, Insightful)

root777 (1354883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258685)

None of these scenarios represent the future for Microsoft. A much well thought out future was done by the now defunct Business 2.0 on Google http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2006/01/01/8368125/index.htm [cnn.com]

1. Desktop Operating Systems: Granted, Microsoft's cash cow of Desktop operating systems better evolve. I don't agree with the statement on Office 12 which is much better than previous versions. The same can't be said of Windows Vista or Windows 7. They better start working on IE 9 which should be open source and standards compatible for starters. The future of desktop OS is the browser and technologies like gears, silverlight and AIR.

2. Server OS: Microsoft will probably retain the 50-50 ratio on the server side and Server 2008 is excellent with AD. However, it may have to think long and hard about Hyper-V because virtualization is going to be the future on the server OS side.

2. Gaming: With the XBOX division, they will be making their $$ of Xbox live and not by selling the console. Xbox live is very stable and provides an excellent online gaming experience. Sony's victory of Blue Ray won't be longer because for movies and all, its going to turn to a streaming model. So MS better start putting TB drives in there or make them generic for the users to swap them out.

3. Application Dev: Eclipse is a good alterative but MS Visual Studio is one of the best IDE's out there. It is not going to die anytime soon.

4. R&D: Microsoft's labs may not match Google currently but they are coming out with some cool stuff. Photosynth comes to mind. With their "surface" technology evolving it will be interesting.http://livelabs.com/projects/ [livelabs.com]

Re:This is all FUD (3, Insightful)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258981)

Do we trust Business 2.0's predictions when they kinda missed seeing their own demise in the future?

Re:This is all FUD (1)

root777 (1354883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259131)

LOL. True. But Business 2.0 made much more realistic projections and my intent was to set a benchmark there.

Re:This is all FUD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258995)

Eclipse is not good, Kdevelop sucks, Anjuta sucks, <insert open-source IDE here%gt> sucks. No one has ever created anything could could even begin to rival Visual Studio.

I say this as someone to runs Linux 100% of the time as my workstation and only run Windows/VS in a VM when I have to for work. I would love a good open-source IDE. For now I stick with vim.

Microsoft put an absolute metric assload of development effort into tweaking VS for developers. It's fast, looks nice and works pretty well. Eclipse is a slow, memory hogging, buggy, piece of shit that looks like it came out of someone's ass.

Re:This is all FUD (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259183)

Eclipse is good, not great though. Just as an example of the shittiness of Eclipse in some areas - no good built-in text editor for XML? Come on now... Netbeans is better. You are correct, VS2008 is the balls, though. I'd put it 2 years ahead of Netbeans, and 3 ahead of Eclipse.

Re:This is all FUD (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259267)

Eclipse don't really have any editors build in. Not even a java editor, but why does it matter? The entire point with eclipse is that it's a platform where plugins provide the features that users need. So why does it matter if xml is provided by a bundled plugin, or a 3 party plugin?

Oh and I do think eclipse with cdt provide a better environment for c++ development then Visual studio. It seems that Microsoft have used all their time on c# and somehow forgotten their c++ compiler and env.

Re:This is all FUD (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259335)

It's not smart to rely on third party plugins. The eclipse out of the box experience for editing XML sucks. The eclipse out of the box experience for designing web apps sucks (compared to netbeans and VS). There _isn't_ a good free XML text editor for eclipse other than a half-assed dead, ancient one you can find if you scour the Internet enough.

Eclipse needs work, and it needs usability enhancements. Netbeans is better for most things that I've done with it - this isn't to say it's better in everything, I obviously can't speak for things I don't do (like SWT/Swing type GUI apps).

Re:This is all FUD (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259005)

2. Gaming: With the XBOX division, they will be making their $$ of Xbox live and not by selling the console. Xbox live is very stable and provides an excellent online gaming experience. Sony's victory of Blue Ray won't be longer because for movies and all, its going to turn to a streaming model. So MS better start putting TB drives in there or make them generic for the users to swap them out.

Well, MS is now finally making profit with Xbox. However, the project has cost the company $6 billion in losses over its lifetime. At the current rate of profits, it will take decades just to break even. Their online gaming is far better than Sony's. Both however lag behind Nintendo even though the Xbox 360 had a year head start on the Wii and the Wii was profitable from the beginning.

Re:This is all FUD (1)

root777 (1354883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259157)

Agree on the Wii part. When people make the comparison that the Wii should not be compared with the 360 or PS3 because it is not a next generation gaming console .. ok agreed, but at the end of the day, they are all fighting for the same $300 consumer dollars. So, it does affect Microsoft's bottom line

Re:This is all FUD (1, Informative)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259043)

2. Server OS: Microsoft will probably retain the 50-50 ratio on the server side...

Microsoft never ever had a 50-50 split on servers. Check Netcrafts top hosts and see what they are running and count how many are Windows. Then keep counting down past the top ten. They have 25% on average! And given the current economic situation, the last trend was to dump Microsoft and switch server to BSD and Linux where possible. You will see this trend continue again now that CEO's and CTO's now know that Linux is a stable and reliable alternative on the server side.

The economic crisis is open sources friend and Microsofts enemy. People who are spending money will be spending on QUALITY (ie Mac for desktop) or not spending at all (ie open source for server); they will see their profits fall tremendously unless they can get a bloated Vista onto a netbook and have it play Warcraft decently.

Re:This is all FUD (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259199)

And given the current economic situation, the last trend was to dump Microsoft and switch server to BSD and Linux where possible. You will see this trend continue again now that CEO's and CTO's now know that Linux is a stable and reliable alternative on the server side. The economic crisis is open sources friend and Microsofts enemy.

Also given the fact that more people now can work with Linux. Ten years ago, Linux was far from commercial. Today, every major computer company (IBM, Sun, HP, etc) supports Linux. Getting admins is far easier.

Re:This is all FUD (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259205)

"Server side" doesn't mean what you think it means. It's not just web servers. Do a survey of how many fortune 500 companies use Linux for their enterprise apps. You'll be surprised. And not in a "wow, that many - that's great?!" way.

Re:This is all FUD (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259179)

The future of desktop OS is the browser and technologies like gears, silverlight and AIR.

God I hope not. Gears might be fine, but I really hope that people don't fall into letting Internet apps be held hostage by Microsoft and Adobe.

Microsoft will probably retain the 50-50 ratio on the server side and Server 2008 is excellent with AD.

I don't know how well Microsoft will retain the server-end. To me, a lot of it comes down to Exchange. If you want to use Exchange, you have to have an Exchange server and you pretty well have to run a Windows domain at that point, so you may as well let Windows dominate your network. On the other hand, if OSX and Linux come out with decent competitors to Exchange, then Microsoft is going to have to watch its back.

I think most people underestimate the importance of Exchange for Microsoft, but it's a big factor in keeping people using Windows on the server and Office on the desktop, which is in turn a big factor in keeping people using Windows on the desktop.

With the XBOX division, they will be making their $$ of Xbox live and not by selling the console.

I'd say there's a good chance XBox will survive, but you can never tell with the console market. Every new console effectively breaks compatibility anyway, so there's not a huge barrier for people to jump ship when the new generation comes along. The big advantage MS has right now (from what I understand) is that developing for the XBox and Windows PC at the same time is pretty easy, since they use a lot of similar tools. If Microsoft starts to lose its hold on the desktop gaming PC market, then they could lose that advantage.

Microsoft's labs may not match Google currently but they are coming out with some cool stuff.

I'm not sure Microsoft's R&D is the problem. Supposedly their research labs comes up with pretty cool stuff, but MS's management doesn't seem to want to turn that cool stuff into products unless they can figure out how they can use them to leverage Windows, Office, or the web presence (MSN & Live).

I think what's going to have to happen is that Microsoft will have a turn-over in management-- if not in actual management personnel, then in management philosophy. They'll have to start coming up with actual new products, or else actually improve their products in ways that are helpful to users/administrators (as opposed to ways that are useful to Microsoft and the RIAA/MPAA). Somewhere along the line, someone will figure out that it's the only way to stop the hemorrhaging.

Microsoft will NOT tank (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258687)

It's still got 10 to 15 years of lingering life in it before it falls.

Re:Microsoft will NOT tank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26258955)

Microsoft will still be around in 30 years.

Technology doesn't change that fast. It's little improvements here and there.

Re:Microsoft will NOT tank (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259049)

Exactly.

see how long SCO stuck around far after they were no longer relevant.

Re:Microsoft will NOT tank (2, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259221)

You idiots have been predicting MS's demise for a decade. It ain't gonna happen, but you can keep pretending MS is irrelevant all you want if it makes you feel better.

Re:Microsoft will NOT tank (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259469)

You mean MS will end with a pointless lawsuit without merit to keep their stock afloat while Balmer tries to line his pockets as long as he can before the whole thing crashes and burns and nobody cares about it?

When you are that large, you need to be everywhere (5, Insightful)

lalena (1221394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258719)

I tried reading the article, but the crystal ball spent half the time trying to guess what the next great thing would be (cloud computing...) and then how Microsoft would fit into it.

The article accuses Microsoft of going in too many different directions at once, but when there are so many possible outcomes, how can they not. Microsoft can't affort to miss out on the next big thing, whatever it may be, so they play in every market.

Microsoft was already late to the internet (Netscape), virtualization (VMWare), Business Apps (SAP), internet search (lots of companies), and then improved search + ads (Google), Virtual Meetings (WebEx), next gen programming (Java/Eclipse), media players (IPod), video game systems (PlayStation/Nintendo), phones (IPhone)... and they can't afford to miss the next big thing. Sure, in some of these industries they were in the market, but maybe their product was inferior and it didn't take off (Zune, early revs of Windows Mobile).

So they must maintain a market presence in business apps, touch computing, mobile computing, cloud computing, game systems, video streaming, health care... just in case that is the next big thing.

What most Microsoft bashing tends to miss is that being in the market isn't enough.

Sometimes first to market is enough (Playstation 2 vs Xbox). Othertimes it is tie-ins with 3rd parties (IPod with the ITunes library). Sometimes it is price driven (Linux) and sometimes the quality of the product matters most (IPhone). I never see anyone do a full review Microsoft except as a list of bullet points for the markets that they play in.

Only the "slow decline" option seems plausible... (4, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258721)

But "slow" is *really* slow. Like... Give them 20 more years, and they may have "declined" to the size that IBM is now.

Most of these scenarios take the "cloud" for granted. Since the death of mainframes, businesses have been reluctant to adopt hosted apps, even when they are hosted in the company's own datacenters. The number of highly successful cloud app deployments for business will be countable on one hand. A single major outage will derail the cloud computing train for another 10 years or so and history will repeat itself for the 5th (6th?) time... Any scenario that predicts Microsoft's downfall based on the failure to adapt to cloud computing is flawed. #1 & #5. Same with the scenarios that predict Microsoft success based on the cloud. #3 & #4...

In the sort term, I see Microsoft having a huge hit on their hands with Windows 7. CIOs everywhere will pat themselves on the back for saving so much money by skipping a generation, and the software itself will be improved thanks to the massive open beta that was Vista. The new version of Office (running locally) will also be a hit. Internet Explorer will continue to lose marketshare, but Silverlight adoption will increase. That covers the next 4 years. Anybody who claims to have a credible idea of what's going to happen after that is simply guessing.

Re:Only the "slow decline" option seems plausible. (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258985)

Not to mention how Microsoft is branching out to new platforms like the iPhone. Microsoft's Seadragon app came out first on the iPhone according to this news article [builderau.com.au]. It makes me wonder if they will eventually be releasing their huge money making office type apps for the little bugger and this is just testing the waters...or maybe at least release some apps to give official exchange compatibility to the iPhone. I am sure that would sell like hotcakes.

Re:Only the "slow decline" option seems plausible. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258987)

It'll be really slow almost no matter what happens. Even if Windows and Office bombed tomorrow(by "bombed" we'll assume ourselves to mean "no sane individual would ever start a new deployment, legacy deployments are looking to migrate when they can") they would have years of legacy volume licence revenue to work with. Further, they would most likely spin out and sell a system(either VM based or like WINE; but with the benefit of the actual win32 stuff) for running win32 applications on whatever platform(s) became dominant.

That is not even mentioning the stuff they make that people actually like. Visual Studio + .net runtimes for various platforms would probably be a tidy little business all on its own. Their gaming division is also pretty decent(when it isn't throwing money at hardware).

MS is at considerable risk of losing its status as de facto standard, and of suffering significant erosion of its margins, and I hope both things happen; but the notion that it will actually die is implausible at best. Companies with far weaker products have held on for ages on legacy deployments alone.

Re:Only the "slow decline" option seems plausible. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259037)

Umm, you do realize that when you compare the size of IBM and Microsoft, the question is "how do you define size?": Number of employees: IBM is overwhelmingly larger Market Cap: Microsoft is about 1 2/3 the size of IBM Total Revenue: IBM is between 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 times larger than Microsoft There are several other measures that one can use that favor Microsoft or IBM. My conclusion is that Microsoft and IBM are currently more or less the same size.

Re:Only the "slow decline" option seems plausible. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259273)

That's why "decline" was in quotes. The definition of decline would either have to be based on influence, or rate of growth.

Slow decline it is (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258723)

And has been for quite some time. Yes, they still make money. But do they make anything good or desirable? No. And they have had numerous chancers by now, they blew them all. Quite frankly, the only thing the Windows is still needed for (in most cases) is gaming. Everything else you can to better and cheaoper MS free.

Re:Slow decline it is (4, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258925)

You are 100% correct, if you completely ignore corporate America using Windows.

Lets take a large corporation as an example and look at the costs you ignored:

Dozens of in house Windows apps, which would either need to be re-written or at least fully tested again in an emulation environment.
Training for the end users for a new OS.
Training for the end users for a new Office suite.
Training for the end users for any critical applications.
A new desktop management software roll-out for IT.
Any server changes for IT.
Training for IT in the new OS/Suite/Apps/Management software/servers.
Time to convert from the old systems to the new ones.
and a few dozen problems that will spring up during the transition.

Now, after the millions spent on the above, you can wait a few years for the ROI in your new MS free environment.

Re:Slow decline it is (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259251)

Like iTunes? Buying a Mac is so much cheaper, I suppose, since it's so easy to buy whatever hardware you want and put OS X on it. "Can I use my iPod?" or "Can I use iTunes?" is a common question with regard to Linux. Amarok is cool, but iPod and iTunes DRM stuff is still an issue. Unless you want to personally spend your time getting rid of the iTunes DRM on a ton of music and transferring it..

There's also Windows Server stuff? Yes, I know there are other server OS's out there, but Windows Server 2003/2008 has its perks as well.

And they do make some other things that ARE desirable. Lots of people use hotmail still. It appears to be getting better from what it used to be, too. I know people that like the xbox. MS Office is way better, still, than openoffice 3 is, even to the extent that I have never gotten OpenOffice Impress to display very well (and I personally use it, by the way, and not MS Office, due to expense).

For a lot of geeks, MS products may not be desirable; but a lot of other people actually like MS products.

Microsoft's survival is finally questioned (1)

StackedCrooked (1204878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258777)

I find it remarkable that today the survival of Microsoft is seriously questioned. I think that this was not yet the case last year. Things really are changing...

Jerry Seinfeld Commercials (2, Funny)

ProzacPatient (915544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258857)

"Does Ballmer really fill Gate's shoes?"

I don't know.. lets ask Jerry Seinfeld, he seems to be an expert on shoes!

this is entertainment, not prediction (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258875)

So some guys thought up a few possibilities about what could (do they really mean "what they'd like to .." ) happen to MS and posted them on the 'net

Next, they ask people to vote on each one - as if voting will make it happen.

Well, so what? we know that the whole of web 2.0 is based on popularity contests, and massaging the egos of the ravening masses, in the hope that on their way to have their say, they'll accidentally click on an advertisment and earn someone a few tenths of a bean in revenue.

So long as people treat this as what it is: a video game, we'll be alright. The problem occurs when enough idio^H^H^Hndividuals who had their vote, start asking why the "winning" scenario (or celebrity, or event, or personality or whatever) didn't come to pass.

As it is, we know what'll happen to M$, they'll do an IBM. Mystery solved.

Most laughs - door number five (3, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258959)

I have to admit, the "Gates was Right" scenario gave me the most giggles. I mean, honestly, an integrated OS into Office that can run on any platform? Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I'll believe they can pull this off only after they can provide a stable OS that runs right out of the box without multiple service packs stretched out over several years. That, and Microsoft's reliance on having to come up with new versions of their OS to impose their vision on the consumer rather than listen to what they need (and right what what we need is a streamlined, light, fast and unbloated OS)

I'd have to opt for the Borvell scenario (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26258997)

Although not for all the reasons they listed under that scenario. I was there when the pronouncements of the paperless office doomed every word processor to the scrap heap of history, only to see the amount of paper actually expand. But now offices really are using less paper and I believe the need for heavy duty word processing, particularly one for every workstation, will...no, is diminishing. That chops at one of Microsoft's major profit centers and, even if you disagree about the future of paper, it's still a declining industry segment any way you shred it. The need is diminishing, the alternatives are getting better and more abundant.

The internet appliance trend will continue to eat away at OS market share. On less expensive hardware the cost of Windows becomes a larger percentage of the cost of a new machine. Unless the user has a need that justifies the cost, if users have a choice they will, at least some of the time, choose the alternative. The desktop market isn't growing as fast as the appliance market and more functional and more powerful appliance devices, like Netbooks (oh, no, we're gonna get sued!) are going to continue undermining the sales of higher end laptops and at least a few desktop sales. Mobile devices, smart phones all take their razor nick of blood out of the beast.

I don't see MS disappearing for a long time but I do see them diminishing over time. And I also believe there will be an "Enron" moment when it becomes apparent that earnings have been sliding for a long time.

Missed one mac os x for all systems comes out and (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259165)

Missed one mac os x for all systems comes out and ms is forced to crack down and make windows stand up to it leading to a new os that is just as big as windows 95 was.

chop chop (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259189)

why did they miss number 6? The latest court case (Vista ready)(or yet another anti-competitive one to be seen here soon) finally finds MS overstepped the mark and is totally untrustworthy and needs to be broken up into 5 or so Mini-Microsofts.

It nearly happened last time, stranger things have happened.

Good/Bad for Microsoft (3, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259235)

Microsoft has some good and bad things going for them.

Good stuff includes a large bank account, established market share, some measure of trust in some organizations (yes, heavily qualified but true), some interesting technology on the horizon.

The things going against them are formidable though:
1) They are the market leader; or rather, they hold the lion's share of the market. The market leader traditionally bears the brunt of costs to develop new technology. This is not just coding costs, but intangibles like pushing standards that have significant up-front costs and barriers to acceptance. With the heterogenous mobile computing environment, their previous strategy of closed "standards" no longer work.

2) Their traditional cash cows (OS, Office) are becoming commodities. Everyone and their little sister seems to be putting out OSes with enough functionality to be "good enough". Microsoft now has to fight for the niche markets. This is more expensive than appealing to the masses. In contrast, startups can target the niche easily. For MS, it could be death by a thousand cuts as they bleed money going after tiny markets. (Sound eerily like the Republican Party???)

3) Barrier to entry for new markets is getting very expensive. Google has built an infrastructure on search and Internet connectivity. To enter this market is difficult. In fact, many people think that Google is purposely developing throw-away technology knowing that Microsoft is going to jump/react and try to match it.

4) Vista sucks. Their next revision may be a lot better, but Vista missed a critical salvo. Windows is not going to die anytime soon, but the problems with Vista has tarnished an already battered image.

5) Competition is much fiercer.

I Have An Idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26259329)

Let's write a year-end article that's nothing but an excuse to throw together as many buzzwords as possible! CLOUD COMPUTING WOOOOOO!

Seriously though, this author just wanted to rant for a while about how great and swell and important he thinks this spectacular "cloud computing" business is going to be. Honestly, if I didn't know any better I'd say he works for a "cloud computing company" and is just trying to whore the catchphrase out (then again, maybe he does, it would be a good explanation for this article).

Really though, I wish people would stop pissing themselves over a dressed-up fancy term for thin client architectures--I mean, it's not as if that sort of system has been around for decades or anything...

Predictions schmedictions (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259413)

Making predictions about the future of computing (or about anything else for that matter) is useless. Most likely things will develop in a totally unforeseen way that is not described in the five models. That is why I didn't read the fine article.

PIM environment wins (2, Interesting)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259423)

Microsoft, Apple, and Google battle it out for the new PIM (personal information management) environment which replaces the desktop environment. Microsoft relies on lock in and cloud applications. Apple relies on multimedia integration and mulimedia services. Google relies on the FOSS/OSS community to port applications to their cloud. As the years go by all three give up on lock in. The PIM environments of each company become so commingled, outside of each company branding it with their own look and feel, nobody is able to tell them apart. Consumers buy devices instead of software. The days of "I run windows, osx, linux" end.

The scenarios were from June ... (4, Interesting)

jdp (95845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259429)

The five scenarios were written right around the time Gates retired; TFA is a short six-month update ... One of the things that none of the scenarios discuss is the economic meltdown expected in 2009. Microsoft, with its multiple revenue streams and strong international business, may be better equipped to handle this than a lot of its competitors (e.g. Google is still almost completely dependent on advertising). It's also a great opportunity to refocus the business and turn costs. On the other hand responses like the rumored across-the-board 10% cut would further slow Microsoft's product delivery, and wouldn't do anything to improve the quality of the offerings. We shall see ...
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