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493 comments

How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635567)

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'll be lynched for saying that Bill "I am Satan" Gates should be on par with RMS, ESR and Linus, but think about this for a second.

Bill founded what is now the largest software company in the world, and wether or not you agree with him, he has made a important contribution to the computing industry: Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1? Do you think that if computers still consisted on thin-client-server models based on huge VAX mainframes, that Joe and Jane Smith would be able to dial-in to AOL and connect to thousands of people around the world? Would the Internet have blossomed into the vast information network it is today without the aid of easy-to-use software from Microsoft? How about Grandma who wants to set up a webcam so she can chat with her grandchildren? She doesn't want to have to sit and hack kernels for hours. She wants Plug-and-Play, baby.

Look, disagree all you like, but thanks to things like Windows, Office, and MSN, modern computing has been made easy and affordable to everyone, thanks to pioneers like Bill Gates.

Re:How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28635757)

Sure, back before the mid '90s Microsoft was an ok company. Sure, most of their software was unstable, but it kinda got the job done. But you are forgetting the browser wars, you forgot the end product of them which was IE6, the browser that made the web effectively unchanged for many years. The browser that opened the world up to every sort of malware out there. Or what about the pain of Windows 9X that bluescreened for no reason? MS in its early days did a lot to help out the computer industry in some ways, however, they also hurt a lot of computer industries. Today, they are very little helpful and a whole lot more harmful.

Re:How soon we forget (1, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 5 years ago | (#28636099)

The browser that opened the world up to every sort of malware out there.

This is a key point, because this affects not just windows users. I had my IT person up in my office a few weeks ago installing landesk monitoring software and virus software on my macintosh because of this. I know, I know, there's all sorts of arguments that macs can get viruses, but really, until I hear about a botnet of macs, I'm going to be skeptical that virus software is necessary on a mac. The IT person justified it by saying that PC viruses can get transmitted over USB keys and files stored on my mac, which is I suppose is true (but I have yet to see it).

Re:How soon we forget (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636385)

Symantec found a mac botnet that started from downloaded circumvented software. It was frontpage here in the last year. Google it.

http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3816381/Symantec+Warns+Mac+Botnet+Could+Strike+Again.htm

Re:How soon we forget (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | about 5 years ago | (#28636467)

Theoretically possible for the Mac to be a carrier, but if the windows boxes all have protection, then there's no need for the Mac to have that crapware installed.

If our information security department ever decides I need to install crap like that on my Linux machine, I'll fight it all the way up to the senior VP.

Re:How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about 5 years ago | (#28635795)

All this things you mention are a simple evolutionary step of all the technologies, Personal Computers offered. Don't think that if Bill died at his birth we wouldn't have computers as we have them today. Different of course, but many technologies Microsoft have used were created by someone else. No great invention have come out from Redmond in long time.

Re:How soon we forget (2, Informative)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 5 years ago | (#28635907)

and before that the great inventions coming out of redmond were purchased.

Re:How soon we forget (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28636419)

What great invention has come out of Redmond, anyway? As far as I can see, their big invention was to hoover up whatever someone invented, brand it and market it.

Re:How soon we forget (4, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | about 5 years ago | (#28635813)

Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

I didn't. My first computer was a 8-bit machine.

Do you think that if computers still consisted on thin-client-server models based on huge VAX mainframes, that Joe and Jane Smith would be able to dial-in to AOL and connect to thousands of people around the world?(...)

There was Amigas, Macs and other easy-to-use personal computers before Windows even existed.

Re:How soon we forget (0, Troll)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | about 5 years ago | (#28635969)

I didn't. My first computer was a 8-bit machine.

Yeah, no shit? Gee, so was mine. But the parent was suggesting that a majority of people, which excludes the likes of you and me, had their first computer experience using a PC. Just another self-centered prick, always wanting to stick his dick in the equation.

Re:How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

crontabminusell (995652) | about 5 years ago | (#28636063)

I had a TI-99/4A, then moved to a Commodore 128, then an Amiga 500. It wasn't until I was probably 12 years old before I got my hands on my first IBM-compatible PC (a 4.77MHz machine with a turbo button that cranked it up to 10MHz), and it was a huge step back. HUGE step back. I went from (with the Amiga) a nice GUI interface, great sound and (for the time) great graphics, and moved to a machine that beeped and booped and gave me a text prompt in up to 4 colors. Come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure why I did that...

Re:How soon we forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636219)

You are aware that Commodore Basic and many other "built in" versions of basic in the 8-bit era were re-branded and occasionally expanded/modified versions of MS Basic licensed from Microsoft right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_BASIC

Re:How soon we forget (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 5 years ago | (#28635929)

Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

I bet I am only one of a crowd here how did not have our first experience with either. I started on a Vic-20. The first windows system I used was on a Mac. Bill Gates and Microsoft have, if anything, ensured the monetization of all things computer. Not that it wouldn't have happened anyway sans Gates.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28636041)

My first was an Atari 800XL. First graphical system an Atari 1040ST.

My first PC came long, long after that (with an Amiga 500 in between for good measure) a (for the time) insanely fast and expensive 486DX2 with lightning fast 66MHz. Good times.

I really hate to join this... (5, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#28636493)

I really hate to join this, but my first computer was a kit. 1976. No display, except for LED's. My first programming class had timeshare on computer across town. I programmed on a teletype with acoustic couplers, and saved my program to paper tape.

From there it was wiring my own serial S100 card from a magazine article. Yes, I used BASIC once it became available. Moved to a TRS80 model I and had a friend take me to task for wasting the money on 16k because I should be able to do everything in 4k. Moved to an Apple II, Sharp MZ80K with Pascal, Kaypro II, and eventually my first "IBM Compatible".

Microsoft was a common thread through most of that. Love 'em or hate 'em, they shaped the time.

As for their competitors, what most forget is that in the heat of battle, what allowed MS to win was usually serious mistakes by their competitors.

Word was inferior to WordPerfect, and possibly WordStar, but both companies shot themselves in the head, and allowed Word to take the lead.

Lotus 123 was THE spreadsheet for business, Lotus screwed themselves and Excel took the lead.

Netscape was the end-all-be-all for browsers, but they decided to shift focus and took on stuff that wasn't their core. Where are they now?

Yes, MS acquires a lot, sometimes by ruthlessly. But, most of the time, their competitors simply screw up and give the advantage to MS.

Re:How soon we forget (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#28636123)

Pretty much anyone in the UK my age had their first computing experience with a BBC Model B or similar. Anyone a few years younger is likely to have first come across the 32-bit Acorn RiscOS machines like the A3000, which were popular in schools. When I was growing up, I was the only person I knew with an IBM-compatible at home, and that was only because my father ran a software company and I got it when they were upgrading. Everyone else had Ataris or Amigas. Perhaps the grandparent meant 'anyone under 18'.

Re:How soon we forget (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636387)

You do know your Vic-20 used Commodore Basic which was based on 6502 Microsoft Basic right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_BASIC

Re:How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 5 years ago | (#28635933)

"Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user."

Yet another "M$ is an innovator" myth. Before MS-DOS,there was the Commodore VIC-20, C-64, and Amiga. Before MS-DOS there was the Apple I, II, IIc,IIe, and III. Also there was the Kaypro luggables, etc. Microsoft has yet to innovate anything, ever. I challenge anyone to cite an innovation from M$, but be 100% prepared to discover that someone was doing it first and you just didn'tknow about it. Every single "Microsoft Innovation" involved M$ acquiring innovative companies and technologies who got there first, simply stealing the idea outright, or perpetuating non-truths (you'd be surprised howmany people think Gates/M$ invented the Internet. M$ probably didn't start the rumour, but they sure in the hell aren't going out of their way to stop it.)

"Would the Internet have blossomed into the vast information network it is today without the aid of easy-to-use software from Microsoft?"

It not only has, it did. (It is a retromyth that Windows is/was easy to use) If a car crashed constantly you wouldn't say it is easy to use would you?

Re:How soon we forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636125)

You should ask your mother to buy you a new keyboard.

Re:How soon we forget (2, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 5 years ago | (#28636433)

Having to press the "Start" button in order to shutdown your PC was surely M$'s only great innovation :)

Re:How soon we forget (2, Insightful)

rezalas (1227518) | about 5 years ago | (#28636501)

Windows crashing constantly is yet another myth. As well, Microsoft shouldn't be forced to state they didn't invent the internet as it happens to be fairly obvious. In fact I've never met anyone who thought they did (insert Al Gore reference). You can demonize Microsoft if you want to but the reason people think Microsoft did it first and did it best is because everyone else who faded into the history books of vague references and foot notes did so because they failed. They failed to market themselves, or they failed to meet volume, or they simply failed to find financial backing. In the end, Microsoft makes things easy for people to use and makes tools that people like because they do all of those things VERY well. If someone comes up with a great idea that Microsoft finds amazing, they buy it and run with it. There isn't anything wrong with that, hell every company on earth does this (including Apple, IBM, etc). Demonizing a company for having business savvy owners is pointless. As well, saying it isn't easy to use is not only an opinion, but also hard to back up these days. I haven't yet found anything I wanted to use that wasn't plug and play, and not a single person I've made computers for has ever had an issue "installing" their own new hardware and getting it to work with windows. *Installing is in quotes because the idea of calling a USB device "installed" drives me nuts. Linux however, not so accepting of the USB goodness...

Re:How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 5 years ago | (#28635991)

I can see where you're coming from - that the 'standard' of Windows was required in order to move the business world of desktop computing forward to the point where it is today. Fair enough on that, I won't argue.

I will argue that Microsoft has been a force for good in the world past the point where Windows seemed to have a monopoly. The browser wars, bad. Office, bad (yes, there was Wordperfect and Lotus 123 well before Word and Excel came along and was 'aggressively' marketed and enforced on us by using Windows as leverage to gain customers), and all the others - I'd be here all day typing if I had to list every dodgy practice Microsoft has done.

In short then, MS was good for us in the beginning, once it started to get big I think it should have come to the attention of the authorities (oh it did!) and be broken up into NanoSofts (well, they had the chance) which would have continued the benefits of ubiquitous desktop computing without most of the predatory and abusive business practices the big MS engaged in.

(as for Grandma, if she just wants her webcam to 'just work', she will be disappointed when she installs Vista and finds that drivers are no longer available for that model - unless she wants to spend $$$ on a brand new one. Or install modern Linux which does just work with more hardware than Windows nowadays!)

PS. I started computing with an Acorn Atom, moved to an Amstrad than an Amiga while I used the mainframe and Sun Unix workstations at university. PCs running Windows in those days were considered toys. It was NT4 that made the big difference, before that, Windows was a joke.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | about 5 years ago | (#28636563)

MS did not push Wordperfect and Lotus away, quite opposite it hoped they write those killer apps for windows, however they were very slow off the mark and Ms off course pushed Excel as a show piece of windows then as it was fairly successful on the mac back then. Nothing bad done by MS, just Lotus fecking up

Re:How soon we forget (5, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 5 years ago | (#28636093)

Bill founded what is now the largest software company in the world, and wether [sic] or not you agree with him, he has made a important contribution to the computing industry: Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

No, companies like Apple and Commodore did that since they actually manufactured cheap computers. VisiCalc (the first killer-app, and not from MS) ran on the Apple ][. MS-DOS was more-or-less a repacked CP/M that Bill was lucky enough to license to IBM. Windows stagnated for many years with the infamous Blue Screens of Death while *nix showed that you could have operating systems without crashes. Then it was Apple with the introduction of Mac OS X that forced MS to finally get off their asses and release Vista -- and we all know how that turned out.

MS retarded the entire computer industry by about a decade. Apple doesn't get a free pass here either since Mac OS 1-9 was crash-prone too. But MS, being the 800 lb gorilla, could have done so much more with their resources to propel the industry forward.

Re:How soon we forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636197)

Can someone mod the parent +5 informative, please?

Re:How soon we forget (1)

rezalas (1227518) | about 5 years ago | (#28636607)

Actually what he said is correct, because he never said anything about manufacturing hardware, he said they are the largest software company on earth. Also, manufacturing cheap computers didn't bring computing to the home user, it brought it to the basement programmers who helped develop the software that microsoft bought. Then, Microsoft took that purchased software and stuck it in PCs, bringing it to the home users. Just like he said.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#28636137)

Bill Gates didn't pioneer anything -- he was a business man, that's all. He managed to take ideas that were being used very effectively by his competition and market them better. As a side-note, when is Ballmer gonna take Gates's place on the Borg pic?

Re:How soon we forget (1)

markringen (1501853) | about 5 years ago | (#28636189)

home computing is overrated! ask steve balmer :D he will tell u the same.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

think_nix (1467471) | about 5 years ago | (#28636421)

cloud computing is overrated just tell Steve Ballmer

/* fixed that for you */

Re:How soon we forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636199)

It wasn't until my 4rth computer that I had one that could run MS-DOS. The first was a micro based on the Motorola 6800 with two 4k RAM boards..... There was no Microsoft back then.

Re:How soon we forget (5, Insightful)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | about 5 years ago | (#28636201)

Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

I have to disagree there. Apple brought desktop computing to the home user. IBM brought it to the business user and took Microsoft along for the ride.

Apple lost the home with the Mac which was a totally closed system where the Apple II was an open system. IBM on the other hand brought an OPEN system to businesses along with the IBM name, people introduced to the computer at work then bought the same for home use. Microsoft just rode into the home on the back of IBM when IBM replaced Apple in the home.

My first access to a microcomputer was to a Heathkit H11 that I helped build.

Re:How soon we forget (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#28636267)

Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

No, it did not. If IBM had opted for a different OS than DOS you would have never heard of Microsoft.

How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

I had a TS-1000, then a TRS-80. The IBM-PC was office-use only, as the damned things cost about five grand (and money was worth more then). There were many home computers before IBM's expensive dinasaur; the Commodore PET was out before 1980, the TS-1000 and many others were out before IBM decided to get into the PC business.

If Bill gates had never been born we would still have PCs, and it's possible they might even follow standards.

How about Grandma who wants to set up a webcam so she can chat with her grandchildren? She doesn't want to have to sit and hack kernels for hours. She wants Plug-and-Play, baby.

Your ignorance is astounding.

Re:How soon we forget (2, Interesting)

TheJodster (212554) | about 5 years ago | (#28636307)

I see the point you are trying to make, but the home computer market existed long before Microsoft. My first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000. There was the Atari 1200XL that was pretty popular too. The schools had TRS-80s. My first "real computer" with a tape drive and everything was a Commodore 64. I miss that machine. [SIGH]... what was I saying? Oh yeah. I never heard of Microsoft or Windows until I was in college and one of my classmates asked me if I had seen that new "Windows" thing that was out. I saw it in one of the labs and wondered what the hell you would ever need that mouse and all that junk for when you had a perfectly good keyboard and command prompt. All the first IBM home computer did, in my opinion, was kill the TRS and the Amiga.

What I am trying to say is that Microsoft did the same thing to the home computer market that they did to the browser market when Netscape was king. They saw a burgeoning market and destroyed it by reshaping it into a tool that would make them masters of the universe. You can have a computer in any flavor you want as long as it runs windows.

For all you Apple fans, I know the IIe was humming along beautifully in the same era before MS destroyed the wonderfully varied marketplace, but I couldn't afford one and never got into them.

I'm not convinced that Bill's dominance in business is a phenomenon to be treasured in the annals of computer history. I'm not usually an MS hater, but I think they have done as much harm as they have good.

Oh yeah... I almost forgot... "Get off my lawn!"

Re:How soon we forget (1)

RCC42 (1457439) | about 5 years ago | (#28636321)

Mod parent up, seriously this is about the best thing said about microsoft on slashdot since... well I was actually going to mention a specific instance of microsoft doing something good and useful in order to get mod points but after about 10 minutes nothing came to mind.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

VoidCrow (836595) | about 5 years ago | (#28636353)

CP/M 80; BBC Basic; VM/CMS and UTS on an IBM 3081, then VAX/VMS and Ultrix. And get off my lawn!

Re:How soon we forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636379)

"Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?"

My first computer was an Apple ][e, which was very popular.

"Do you think that if computers still consisted on thin-client-server models based on huge VAX mainframes"

A. With few exceptions, the VAXen were superminis, not mainframes.

B. AFAIK, Digital did not extend their workstations line into the home market due poor management ("There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." â" Ken Olson, president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977)

C. If AlphaStations with OpenVMS were cheap enough, I would probably buy one for home today.

"that Joe and Jane Smith would be able to dial-in to AOL and connect to thousands of people around the world?"

Back in the days I had an Apple ][e, I met people who connected with their Apple ][es to BBSes and with their MACs to the Internet via the university.

"Would the Internet have blossomed into the vast information network it is today without the aid of easy-to-use software from Microsoft?"

Netscape came before Internet Explorer, and there were plenty of UseNet & Email clients other than Outlook.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

qwertyatwork (668720) | about 5 years ago | (#28636407)

Microsoft did not bring us the desktop computer. The internet and cheap pc's did. If microsoft hadn't been around it would have been someone else.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

BBird (664014) | about 5 years ago | (#28636481)

wrong credits
PC - IBM and Apple
Internet browser - Netscape
"Grandma who wants to set up a webcam so she can chat with her grandchildren? She doesn't want to have to sit and hack kernels for hours. She wants Plug-and-Play" - have you used a linux system lately? better plug and play than ws

Re:How soon we forget (1)

arose (644256) | about 5 years ago | (#28636519)

Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

No, it was Compaq and the clone makers following them. The fact that IBM chose Microsoft to make the OS for their PCs doesn't mean Microsoft really did much besides being at the right place at the right time.

Re:How soon we forget (1)

Torodung (31985) | about 5 years ago | (#28636569)

Tell that to Gary Killdall [wikipedia.org] .

My first computer experience was a Commodore PET. The only thing I can say in Gates' favor is that he inherited his empire from IBM.

--
Toro

No Mention of Bing or Natal? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#28635573)

I found this assessment to be adequate when looking at Microsoft as a marketing company that makes the operating system. But what about Bing and Natal? These have been two very important developments to different worlds following the departure of Gates. I read an article from ITPro UK [itpro.co.uk] that I think did a better job describing change (or lack thereof) and there's certainly others [internetnews.com] with their own 1-year-on take.

Personally, it's the small things that Microsoft has done differently that I see as real change. The recent ECMA standardization and community promise surrounding CLI and C# for one. While not perfect, it's an important step. Supporting more community standards (albeit questionable) in IE8 has also been a tremendous step in my mind. I'm not embracing IE8 yet out of sheer caution but these are certainly progressive moves however small. Has Ballmer toned down his wild intensity now that he heads Microsoft and is the unquestionable leader? I don't think so in the operating system world but maybe in smaller subsections of software development. The pricing and marketing strategies they've used for their OS have been just as questionable and (in the case of the OLPC) as ridiculous as ever.

I hate to say it as I thought it was the end of the world when Ballmer took over Microsoft and that everything was going to grind to a halt around them but things don't look so bad. Honestly, I'm more concerned with other companies buying up everyone and everything around them in their quest to own a full stack of software or dominate one cash cow field--Google included. Two or three years ago, had I rubbed--to have everything in the world that was made by them blink out of existence. Now, I'd probably have better things to spend that wish on. I hate to sound like an apologist because I still despise a lot of their marketing tactics and things they do. But I'm glad they're starting to show some improvement and at least a little bit of innovation. I think things had really stagnated under Gates and though Ballmer looked like the big bad wolf, he's obviously taking more risks now that he's in charge.

Re:No Mention of Bing or Natal? (1)

Colourspace (563895) | about 5 years ago | (#28635633)

once more you are spot on. kudos.

Re:No Mention of Bing or Natal? (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about 5 years ago | (#28635771)

- Bing is just a rename of MSN Search or Live Search or whatever it was called before. Microsoft products have gone through name changes just for the sake of it under BG too.
- Natal can be seen as an extension or spinoff of the Surface project. It's similar technology. Microsoft has their fingers in all types of technology and will develop some type of interface for developers to it. If you've ever been subscribed to MSDN (back when they used to send you a package of all possible CD's) you should know that it's not unusual for Microsoft to start something way out there that eventually never gets finished.
- Microsoft is forced to open their standards both from the market as well as court orders. They have to satisfy the demands of courts all over the world. If they could, they wouldn't open up the way they are. There are still clauses in a lot of their promises related to patents (they keep the possibility open to sue over use of their related patents and commercial use of their technologies and most of their promises are not compatible with GPL) and a lot of caveats in the technologies that they open (eg. they opened C# but didn't open the majority of libraries that make their .NET Framework, they opened DOCX but didn't open the implementations you need to implement DOCX)
- Microsoft has been stagnant for so long that they're actually on the verge of dying (they've been stagnant ever since XP came on the market). Their operating system is losing market fast, Internet Explorer is losing market even faster, their steps into the Internet have been nothing but disaster and even Office is losing out against their own older products. They're probably going to stay around but not as a large monopolist - they will remain as a software development company and that was inevitable whether it was Ballmer or Gates at the wheel. They're so big, diverse and filled with management level-types that nobody can really take control of the company in the way eg. Apple's CEO is in control.

Re:No Mention of Bing or Natal? (3, Funny)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 5 years ago | (#28635981)

Bing is just a rename of MSN Search or Live Search or whatever it was called before. Microsoft products have gone through name changes just for the sake of it under BG too.

No they haven't! Now, stop distracting me; I'm trying to finish this month's budget in Multiplan!

Re:No Mention of Bing or Natal? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28635835)

Bing is really just another MSN/Live search engine with a few extra features. If their past is anything to go by, MS just can't make search engines and so Bing will go the way that MSN and Live search are today. Natal is really just MS's way of jumping on the "lets attempt to emulate the Wii" bandwagon.

Re:No Mention of Bing or Natal? (1)

k8to (9046) | about 5 years ago | (#28636287)

The community promise regarding C# is classic microsoft. It's a PR move with no substance. Only the language features themselves are covered, which were already in the ECMA spec, so it offers theoretical coverage to people reimplementing C# without implementing *any* of the .net framework.

People who actually write programs in C# aren't being protected at all.

"Hi, I'm a Microsoft fan boy". (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635589)

"Read my article to find out why Microsoft is no longer evil and is really filled with rainbows and puppies!"

Re:"Hi, I'm a Microsoft fan boy". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635671)

Rainbows are evil. They crawl up your leg and bite the inside of your ass!

Re:"Hi, I'm a Microsoft fan boy". (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#28635909)

They gave the puppies to me...

The biggest change... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635639)

Less Jews.

Azure has been around for a while (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 years ago | (#28635673)

It may have been announced October 2008, but it was available in alpha back in June 2008 and earlier. I used it in July while on vacation.

Set it up on my desktop and laptop. I would take pictures, put the SD card into my laptop and copy them to the shared folder on my laptop and they would automatically copy to my desktop which was 2000 miles away. This way i always had room on my SD card for my digital cameral and there was always a second copy in case my laptop crashed.

and the web TS is very nice. i would RDP into my PC from where ever I was to do whatever i wanted. like set up bit torrent to download stuff that was meant only for me. only problem was that it was very slow, but being an alpha version i didn't complain.

Not much... (5, Funny)

Ringthane (415537) | about 5 years ago | (#28635675)

Judging by the pricing of Windows 7 Ultimate, it's business as usual at Microsoft.

No not really (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28635679)

No, I don't think MS has changed, but the world has. The iPhone has changed the smartphone market to where even with the best hardware Windows Mobile just isn't wanted much anymore. The 360 is still falling behind the Wii despite MS's attempts to beat it with the "New Xbox Experience" and with the development of the Natal controller. MS though has finally realized that unless Windows 7 is a hit, Linux/OS X/Now ChromeOS is going to kill them in the OS market. Office has stagnated and has had a popular revolt going on because of the "ribbon" UI that a lot of people hate, and I don't see a new version remedying that in the future. MS as a whole has remained the same, however the world is changing and they don't seem to realize that.

Re:No not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635861)

"MS though has finally realized that unless Windows 7 is a hit, Linux/OS X/Now ChromeOS is going to kill them in the OS market"

Yay, is it the year of Linux again/already!?

"The 360 is still falling behind the Wii "
Yes, the WII is so much more powerful than the XBOX. That's why all the newest, latest, greatest games only come out for the Wii.

"Office has stagnated and has had a popular revolt going on because of the "ribbon" UI that a lot of people hate,"

Office has stagnated and people hate it because of the new UI? Doesn't that kind of contradict itself?

"I don't see a new version remedying that in the future"

Never heard of any complaints about the "ribbon UI" before, but I'm sure if MS was changing it you'd be the first they'd notify.

Of course your handle is darkness404. Your head is up your ass so you can't see any light.

Re:No not really (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28636035)

Yay, is it the year of Linux again/already!?

In case you didn't notice, the failure of Vista lead almost every major computer manufacturer to put Linux in some form on one or more of their products. This would have been unheard of back in the days of XP.

Its safe to say that if 7 turns out to be another Vista sized failure, more companies will put more machines out running Linux.

Yes, the WII is so much more powerful than the XBOX. That's why all the newest, latest, greatest games only come out for the Wii.

Games are a matter of opinion, but there are more Wii consoles sold than 360 consoles. Plus Wii consoles make Nintendo a sizable $50 profit for each one sold. Any company would want their product to be in such high demand that it constantly was sold out of stock for not one but two Christmas seasons.

Never heard of any complaints about the "ribbon UI" before, but I'm sure if MS was changing it you'd be the first they'd notify.

You obviously don't work in an office where they use Office 2007. Where everyone has to get retrained and such.

Office has stagnated and people hate it because of the new UI? Doesn't that kind of contradict itself?

Firefox has not stagnated in the least, yet the UI is about the same as in previous versions of Firefox.

Re:No not really (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about 5 years ago | (#28636139)

I'd argue that the substantially lower hardware costs were at least as much to "blame" for adding Linux to lineups. If the OS costs x, and the hardware costs 10x, then people don't notice the OS cost. When the hardware gets down to 2x, the OS becomes a much larger part of the cost, and "free" looks more attractive.

Re:No not really (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636259)

You have your head so far up the GNU poop chute that you literally live in a separate reality from the rest of us.

Some manufacturers did try to sell Linux. Because of Vista? No, lying asshole. Because when one swallows a little bit of the GNU hype, others decide to test the waters too. In all cases except a few classes of netbooks, Linux flopped hard. It doesn't sell, but costs little to offer. That fact hurts you really bad, so I want to say again, "Linux failed!"

Yes, some people did bitch about the ribbon. Who talks about the ribbon the most? The people who hate it. These people also love to bitch. What trolls like you don't recognize, is that an even larger group of people have no problem with the ribbon, like it better, or simply turned it off and went on working.

Re:No not really (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28636409)

or simply turned it off and went on working.

You had a simi-convincing troll until that. Anyone who has used Office 2007 knows that you can't turn off the ribbon and go back to working (you can minimize it, but you still have to go through the ribbon to do anything, you can't go back to the older style).

Re:No not really (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#28636585)

You obviously don't work in an office where they use Office 2007. Where everyone has to get retrained and such.

That's my number one gripe about Microsoft; they think they have to move all the menu items around and change everything so you'll think the $$$ you spent on the upgrade is worth it.

Ten or fifteen years ago they used Quattro in our office, and decided to change to Excel. Being completely unfamiliar with Excel, I took a three day class in it. A few weeks later as I was finally getting comfortable with it, they upgraded to the newer Excel and my employer had wasted the money he spent on that class, as everything I'd learned was obsolete. Fortunately, the new Excel was more like the old Quattro than the old Excel so I didn't need retraining.

"Options" in IE over the years has been under File, Edit, View, and now is in tools. Why in the hell can't they keep menu items in the same place from one release to the next?

Re:No not really (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | about 5 years ago | (#28636187)

Never heard of any complaints about the "ribbon UI" before, but I'm sure if MS was changing it you'd be the first they'd notify.

You must have been deaf, blind and living in a cave for the last few years then. Everywhere on the web, from /. to Lifehacker to chat rooms to DeviantArt, I have heard complaints about the new UI. But I think the most telling thing, though, is to ask a few simple questions of people who seem to like it. Ask them what else is new and/or improved about Office 2007. I've yet to get an answer.

Re:No not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635883)

You forgot to mention Zune...

Re:No not really (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28635961)

What would you like to change? Windows XP was essentially what most of their users wanted. A nice looking interface (ok, with a teletubby standard background, but that's the least worry), good stability, good support for pretty much any hardware they had. Nothing they could be missing or hoping for in the next gen OS. And that's why Vista failed, basically. It's not the "must have" all the other MS OSs before were. Win95 was a must have, if anything ever was. It was the next best thing. Win98 was Win95 on crack, it was so much more stable, with far better support for internet and all the other new "must have" things.

(we'll politely ignore ME here now. Instead, we present some fluffy kitties to distract you)

Then, 2k. Stability of NT meets usability and compatibility of 98. IMO still one of their diamonds, and maybe the biggest leap they took in their stride. It was THE "must have" system, even "more must have" than 95 maybe was.

XP already had a harder time getting a "must have" badge. What does XP have that 2k doesn't? Out of the box WiFi support. Ok. You could install a driver for that. It's not really much more stable than 2k. It's also not really any more user friendly than 2k. There isn't really anything that I could put my finger on that the average user would want out of XP compared to 2k. But at least it was a bit more pleasing to the eye than the rather sterile 2k (a look that I loved, but I'm weird).

Vista was the first system that caused more of a "why the fuck should I?" rather than a "must have". While XP was eventually more than just "nice to have", Vista still doesn't convince. There's no compelling reason to switch (other than artificially introduced incompatibilities like the refusal to offer DirectX 10 on a system before Vista, which in turn led developers to cling to DX9 so they don't lose the XP user market). The system sells with new machines, ok, but mainly because of a lack of alternatives (since XP is no longer offered, and if, at higher price). If XP was offered at the same or lower price of Vista, the sales would look even more grim than they do.

And people using XP do not storm the stores and buy the upgrade, something that hasn't happened before. All the other upgrades were a hot seller, Vista upgrades sit like lead on the shelves.

So where should they develop to? Windows is "as good as it gets". What should they include in the system to have another "must have" seller? I can't see anything the average user could want.

Re:No not really (1)

gintoki (1439845) | about 5 years ago | (#28636039)

I highly doubt that the success of linux/OS X/ ChromeOS is gonna kill microsoft. Don't get me wrong I'm not a big fan of microsoft. The problem with vista is that it sucked when it launched mainly due to microsoft setting the minimum requirements to run vista inaccurately. People bitched and moaned when it launched. People still complain about vista (and there still is a lot to complain about) but 99% of these people who complain don't even know that there are more than 2 "computers" macs or pc. Simply put, these people don't actually know what is wrong with vista its just that they hear all the experts say it sucks and assume those experts must be right. The experts are right but they aren't even talking about issues that affects the average user for the most part. And how is it logical to blame vista for your own stupidity when you install shit from warez sites. I hate vista but its kinda ironic to hate it when it gets the job done for me when linux struggles for the most basic of tasks (sounds issues much?....ati card driver issues with comiz while watching videos...and the list goes on). Linux doesn't do the one thing I want the computer to be able to do perfectly (media playback without a hitch), for everything else it has got all my needs covered way better than windows ever can and not having to deal a bunch of programs just to make sure the computer keeps running as it should is a blessing. But until the day I can play back videos painlessly on linux I'm gonna stick to vista or windows 7.

Re:No not really (2, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about 5 years ago | (#28636085)

No offense (really), but this sounds like projecting a whole lot of your own biases on to the population at large. The iPhone found a base in the consumer market, where smartphones hadn't been strong to begin with. To my knowledge, it's stayed there. iPhone won, but Windows Mobile didn't exactly lose either (except in *potential* profit, which no one but the RIAA considers legitimate).

The 360 is doing substantially better than the PS3 (which is the closest direct competition), while trying to lure in a few Wii enthusiasts. Until Natal launches, we have no idea how it will do. I'm a semi-hardcore gamer who owns both a Wii and a 360, and while I like the Wii's controls (when well executed) and low power draw, the games available fall into roughly three categories:

  1. First party releases
  2. Okami (okay, and maybe 3 others)
  3. Crap

The 360 has far more variety of games available, a much better online multiplayer experience, etc. The attach rate is also higher [washingtonpost.com] : Fewer 360 consoles are sold, but the players buy more games (and given the thin margins on consoles, attach rate is much more important in measuring success).

Vista, while admittedly a resource hog, is not nearly the dog of an OS people make it out to be. It's not the best thing since sliced bread, but it's not the worst thing since Hitler either. They rewrote the core of the OS, and that caused a lot of problems (poorly tested drivers causing blue screens and the like), but with the drivers now stable, and the new focus on speed, Windows 7 may be received far more readily; again, don't (dis)count chickens before they hatch. They actually listened to consumer customer complaints and acted on them, which is fairly new to them.

As for the ribbon UI, it's not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. It's new, and people need to relearn their habits, and it even provides a window where people might switch from Office to Office 2003-esque clones, but that doesn't seem to be happening at present. People complained about the endlessly cascading menus, and MS came up with a way to reduce the problem. There's a short learning curve, that's all.

In summary: The world != you, so don't assume that your disagreements mean that MS is ignoring changes in "the world."

Re:No not really (1)

linumax (910946) | about 5 years ago | (#28636105)

The 360 is still falling behind the Wii despite MS's attempts to beat it with the "New Xbox Experience" and with the development of the Natal controller.

Yes, Natal, an as of yet unreleased product has had a huge role in Wii beating 360 in sales in the past few years. By the way Natal is a controller free experience, not some sort of controller.

360 is arguably doing well, at least it has beaten Sony and Wii seems to be on a land of it's own. Once Project Natal comes to a release we'll see how the Wii vs. 360 goes.

Office has stagnated and has had a popular revolt going on because of the "ribbon" UI that a lot of people hate, and I don't see a new version remedying that in the future.

Right, all signs are indicative of the "fact" that Microsoft Office is finished.

So many legitimate complaints can be made about MS, yet this shit gets modded up?

Re:No not really (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 years ago | (#28636107)

i don't have a WinMo phone but I think the big problem with them is the same as with Android phones. MS sells the the OS to HTC and a few other brand X makers who customize it and resell it. Each phone seems a bit different and most people don't know it's a WinMo phone. Some phones are good, others are cheapo phones and there is a separate "Enterprise" version. if you get a cheapo phone you might think the OS is bad. Same with Android, there is very little control of what the consumer sees.

RiM has followed a strategy of trying to fill every niche with it's Blackberry phones. They all look and feel almost exactly the same from the cheapo Curves to the new Tour.

Apple is doing something similar with the iPhone but they decided to attack the low end by selling last year's model as well as the new one.

as a test i went to EA's mobile games site. out of 50 games every single one runs on the iphone. For the rest you have to know your exact phone model and it will tell you if the game runs on your phone. beyond ridiculous and reminds me of the system requirements for PC games. For iPhone games they tell you which generation of iphone or itouch you need and which OS version. that's it.

Latest rumor is that MS is making their own phone because the Apple/BB/Palm model of designing phones seems to be winning

RROD is the 360's problem, not the Wii (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 5 years ago | (#28636109)

I believe the thing to criticize about the 360 would be the still unresolved RROD problem, rather than its inability to appeal to all the people the Wii apparently does... Nintendo's gamble of using inferior processing muscle,but an innovative control scheme couldn't really have been predicted to be so successful beforehand, and many people think of the Wii as a totally separate kind of product from the PS3 or 360.

Re:No not really (2, Insightful)

oahazmatt (868057) | about 5 years ago | (#28636427)

The iPhone has changed the smartphone market to where even with the best hardware Windows Mobile just isn't wanted much anymore.

I'm as much of a brand-loving consumer whore as the next person, but I just don't believe that. While the iPhone is extremely popular (despite the development of phones from HTC that had similar functions) it offered the casual customer base a smart phone alternative to the Blackberry and the like. To say Windows Mobile phones aren't wanted (or needed) is a great assumption. There is still a lot of enterprise level software that will only work with Windows Mobile components, and Blackberries are still quite popular in the business world.

The 360 is still falling behind the Wii despite MS's attempts to beat it with the "New Xbox Experience" and with the development of the Natal controller.

I seem to recall an interview from a Microsoft employee that admitted the Wii and 360 were too different to be competing against each other. As for falling behind, I don't see it as such. Every Christmas season my local stores are out of Wiis and 360s, but the PS3s are plentiful. The NXE is a vast improvement from the old Blade system, now that I've had quite a bit of time to get used to it. As far as the controller, motion controllers have been around for quite some time with Mattel's Power Glove and Broderbund's U-Force.

MS though has finally realized that unless Windows 7 is a hit, Linux/OS X/Now ChromeOS is going to kill them in the OS market.

No, they haven't, because that simply isn't true. Microsoft's OS is too deeply-rooted in the business world for that to happen due to one or two versions of their OS not taking off to the general public's liking. I've heard from many first-hand who were disappointed when their new PC shipped with Vista and later discovered that they did not despise it as much as they believed they would once they customized it to their liking. Mac OS X is not going to kill Microsoft in the near future unless Apple works out what they believe to be an amicable licensing agreement for their software, as gaining that market share with their own PCs plus their OS is likely to end in an anti-trust hearing. As for Linux/Chrome, there are too many options within that category itself for any of them to become truly successful. You might explain Linux to a novice as if it's just another operating system, but once you get into the different distributions you'll scare casual users away.

Office has stagnated and has had a popular revolt going on because of the "ribbon" UI that a lot of people hate, and I don't see a new version remedying that in the future.

Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it won't happen. Consequently, just because you see it happening doesn't mean it is. When I had my corporate training for Office 2007 I was quite confused by the ribbons. After playing around with it a bit I believed I could get the hang of them if I had a solid week to try it out on some serious work. It's different, it's not as compact, and is confusing as Hell at first, but that can be remedied if the next edition of Office has a "switch to classic menus" option.

MS as a whole has remained the same, however the world is changing and they don't seem to realize that.

You can say it's the same company that created Bob, Me, Vista, the first X-Box controller, proprietery document formats and the Blue Screen of Death, sure. You can also say it's the company that made it possible for PCs to become a part of our everyday lives, streamline tedious work-related processes, and communicate with people on the other side of the globe.

Microsoft has changed, before and after Bill. Whether good ideas or not, Microsoft has tried new products or solutions that meet with various degrees of success. They may not always be the first to the party (some may argue that they never have been) but if they hadn't changed to keep up with the world it would be far more evident than a few users online griping about Windows Vista.

There is 1 way they've NOT changed (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28635683)

They still can't make a Windows product that doesn't suck....

Re:There is 1 way they've NOT changed (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 5 years ago | (#28636097)

They could if they were making a widows vacuum.

Less innovation, more chairs (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | about 5 years ago | (#28635687)

From the perspective of a GNU/Linux person, there seems to be less innovation, and more chairs. Less innovation in that we've not had much that was new since Gates left. Yes there is Vista and xbox and zune stuff, but what is new about these things? Nothing. I think Balmer throws chairs.

Re:Less innovation, more chairs (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 5 years ago | (#28635823)

With the general opinion of Windows 7, I doubt it.

Re:Less innovation, more chairs (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 5 years ago | (#28636121)

Windows 7 is pretty much Vista with a few more unnecessary UI changes (open control panel and feel the corporate helpdesk's pain), and a load of slow, crufty code taken out to make it a bit more efficient, and less resource hungry. There's very little you can consider 'innovatingly new'.

Cloud computing (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28635695)

Knowing Microsoft, they see it as the new term for Vaporware, without the negative meaning.

Re:Cloud computing (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 5 years ago | (#28636083)

Knowing Microsoft, they see it as the new term for Vaporware, without the negative meaning.

Yup, Microsoft clearly has no interest in launching a cloud computing service.

Oh, wait... [microsoft.com]

Win7 Beta (1)

geeper (883542) | about 5 years ago | (#28635727)

The way Microsoft has distributed the beta of Windows 7 to a restricted audience, he explained, has meant that those included felt "special" while others felt they were missing out.
Ummm...the Windows 7 beta was available to everyone. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.

Re:Win7 Beta (1)

revlayle (964221) | about 5 years ago | (#28636055)

If we are actually talking about the "BETA" - that WAS limited release. The Release Candidate is available to everyone. So, for a while, the Win7 Beta was absolutely more limited in distribution than the RC (even though you could create a copy of the disk image and give them your activation code, as those were shared - just the availability from MS was limited).

Re:Win7 Beta (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 years ago | (#28636195)

Actually, the Beta was released to the general public a week after it hit MSDN, in precisely the same way the Release Candidate was. All you had to do to get either the Beta or the RC was sign up to a public page, and you could get access to the ISO download and an activation key.

Windows 7 Beta Released To Public After Delay [slashdot.org]

More mature? (5, Insightful)

Cryophallion (1129715) | about 5 years ago | (#28635779)

Well, let's see, the OpenXML was definitely in the pipeline before Bill left, and the take no prisoners tactics that he loves is what got it pushed through the standards committee.

Next is ODF translators... which don't work, and in fact delete formulas [robweir.com] . Not to mention there Smear Campaign [robweir.com] . So we are saying maturity is going back to their ruthless kill-them-subversively methods that got them in trouble in the EU?

Oh, wait, maturity is killing declining products... which Bill did often

Sorry, I don't see a real change listed in at least that section

Microsoft is still Microsoft. (1)

markringen (1501853) | about 5 years ago | (#28635865)

Microsoft is still Microsoft. and they are still have the address: One Microsoft Way. and Windows 7? don't get me started! it drains my laptops battery faster than vista could, i am seriously doubting it will be any better when final.

Furniture positions? (5, Funny)

Skiron (735617) | about 5 years ago | (#28635869)

I guess a few chairs have been moved around a bit...

Stuff like this under Bill's watch? (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 5 years ago | (#28635899)

Fuggedaboutit! [msdn.com] Never in a million years would Gates have had made peace with such a potentially damaging open source group.

"More mature attitude. . . (2)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 5 years ago | (#28635917)

with products such as Open XML." That was enough to convince me this article was full of shit. It also reminded me how those asshole haven't changed a bit.

The real changes haven't been in the past year. (5, Interesting)

koreaman (835838) | about 5 years ago | (#28635927)

Has anyone else realized that since about the beginning of this decade, Microsoft has slowly begun a transition to competing on quality, rather than simply leveraging their monopoly and sitting on their laurels? Take a look at some improvements in Microsoft products over the past few years:
  * Windows XP. There is simply no comparing XP to previous "home" versions of Windows in terms of quality. Yes, I know it's largely Windows 2000 with a new skin, but the important thing here is that they discontinued their crufty, broken, DOS-based line that didn't even have true multitasking and replaced it with something stable and mature (in comparison).
  * Visual Studio: As for the IDE itself, I never used versions prior to 2003, but I loved 2003 and have seen it getting nicer and nicer since. As for programming languages, their current implementation of C++ is actually quite close to standards-compliant, on the level of G++. They've got a ways to go with C, but it's less of a priority for them. The biggest change is in their flagship RAD offerings. C# and VB.NET are now mature object-oriented languages in the tradition of Java. No comparison with VB6.
  * Internet Explorer: 6 was simply a joke, the laughingstock of the web. No tabs, an extremely buggy rendering engine, not extensible, unpredictable for web developers, and largely at odds with every published standard ever. IE7 was a big step in the right direction, and IE8 has entered the playing field as a serious competitor.
  * Search: MSN search was useless abandonware; now they are really trying with Bing.
  * User interface: Vista brought in a modern, powerful shell complete with modern, powerful command-line utilities. No comparison to the shell (with bundled terminal emulator) that has been outdated since it was released as part of DOS 1.0. Windows 7 has made several improvements on the GUI side.

Yes they're still behind, but they've covered a huge amount of ground. Yes I'd much prefer coding in Emacs using GNU Screen and XMonad for window management than in Visual Studio on Windows 7. Yes I'd much rather use Firefox, Opera, or Chrome than IE8, when given the choice. Yes, Apple has hands down the best GUI of all. But in, say, 2000, who'd have thought Microsoft would have come so far? I'm excited to see where their products will go and whether someday they will be as good as what comes from Apple, Google, and open-source hackers. I don't know whether they will, but it'll certainly be interesting.

Re:The real changes haven't been in the past year. (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 5 years ago | (#28636229)

considering Microsoft was already starting at the bottom circa Windows 9X and ME, there was really no other way to go but up...

How Microsoft Has Changed Without Bill Gates (1)

polle404 (727386) | about 5 years ago | (#28635947)

flamebait
It's still there, hence the only valid comment can possibly be "not enough!"
/ flamebait ...sorry, couldn't help it.

Gates built MS empire, Ballmer can't grow it (5, Informative)

javacowboy (222023) | about 5 years ago | (#28635995)

Under Gates, Microsoft grew to the empire that it is today. Gates strategic moves were critical to the success of the company:

1) The DOS deal with IBM.
2) The MS Office deal with Apple, and using that contract to gain GUI engineering knowledge from Apple.
3) Porting MS Office to DOS and using it to sell WIndows (ex: buy Excel and get Windows for free)
4) Outsmarting IBM in the OS/2 deal while continuing development of Windows/Promising Windows 95 vapourware to fend off OS/2 Warp, which was superior.
5) Pricing Windows MS Office ridiculously cheaply, pushing out Word Perfect, Lotus 123, etc that were trying to come up with Windows 95 versions.
6) Windows NT to push out Novell in the enterprise.
7) MS Exchange which is still the back-end collaboration framework of choice
8) The sneaky deal with Sun over licensing Java
9) InternetExplorer + ISS + ASP to gain a foothold on the internet despite starting late

Ballmer hasn't had nearly the same impact. So far MSN hasn't really gone anywhere, the high-end console wars are a draw with the Wii way on top at the low-end, Windows server hasn't unseated Linux, .NET has its niche but isn't unseating Java, Google is still dominating search, and Windows Mobile is losing ground.

MS has changed quite a bit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636011)

They seem a bit more focused on actually developing new stuff than on simple evolutionary improvements to their current products, and the changes they make in their current stuff tends to be a bigger leap than before. They seem to have integrated their products together better and are making a more cohesive sales pitch in the face of Apples onslaught... And, to be honest, Win 7 looks like a pretty decent way to blunt Apples explosive growth...

MS without Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636023)

Nobody likes a poor thief.

MSFT has no original ideas (2, Interesting)

cheap.computer (1036494) | about 5 years ago | (#28636053)

In an interview Steve Jobs said of msft, that msft is a company with no original ideas. I think it is the same even today, but there is one difference. We had Bill Gate who always looks calm and composed, although in reality he is supposed to be really annoying person, and we have SteveO who runs up and down a stage screaming, and had to have throat surgery after screaming "developers developers developers", he is really on some kind of crack. I think in few years msft will turn into a litigation house, like sco they will go down as a technology company that puts out more law suites than any new technology. msft under gates was a marketing company with a very strong arm & huge muscles. Under steveO it will soon turn into a law firm with huge muscles & small a d***.

Re:MSFT has no original ideas (2, Interesting)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 5 years ago | (#28636205)

In an interview Steve Jobs said of msft, that msft is a company with no original ideas.

This [youtube.com] is the interview to which you refer.

Re:MSFT has no original ideas (2, Insightful)

Slothrup (73029) | about 5 years ago | (#28636455)

I wouldn't be surprised if Steve Jobs actually believes that Apple invented GUIs, MP3 players and smart phones. In general, no big company has truly original ideas -- or if they do, it's in a research arm like PARC or MSR and the ideas are never properly monetized.

Microsoft Corporate Headquarters (2, Funny)

actionbastard (1206160) | about 5 years ago | (#28636183)

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

I doubt Gates mattered after 2000 (2, Insightful)

gtall (79522) | about 5 years ago | (#28636207)

I got the general impression that MS got so big and unwieldy that it is difficult to assign direction to Gates or Ballmer. They seem to have spent most of the time since 2000 reacting, not leading. Gates didn't so much leave as he simply faded into insignificance. If he'd stayed, it wouldn't have changed the company which seems to lurch into markets solely because growth in their mature markets has stopped. They aren't leading advances in their mature markets either. They have nothing seemingly to offer to new markets, namely because the old strategy of letting others develop them before marching in and stealing customers won't work in the current environment. The new markets are fast moving, by the time MS decides to jump, the market isn't where they thought it was. If Gates had been on the ball from 2000 onward, he still didn't have the organization that could move quickly, decisively, and accurately with a product that could capture the market.

Apple would be in a similar position had they not the current management which is looking to define new markets or show how a staid market can be rejuvenated with a sharp line of products. The U.S. based auto industry lapsed into similar unconsciousness.

There is one difference.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | about 5 years ago | (#28636215)

More chairs have been tossed since Gates left.

Windows 7 (3, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 5 years ago | (#28636227)

Like it or not, Windows 7 is just Vista with a new Taskbar, a major video display bugfix [msdn.com] , a few new control panel applets (at least one of which (ClearType Tuner) used to be a Windows XP PowerToy [microsoft.com] ), some new fonts and the first upgrade to the Font Control Panel Applet in 15 years, and some other misc bugfixes.

Seriously, you're still using the same Vista you all decided to hate on before; you've just fallen victim to the marketing hype.

Without Bill Gates? Wrong. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 5 years ago | (#28636285)

It's been a year since Bill Gates left Microsoft in his official capacity

Wrong. Bill Gates is still with Microsoft in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Its been more than a year since he stopped working full-time at Microsoft, which isn't the same thing.

Gates left the party several years ago... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28636339)

by the time Balmer took the helm things had already started changing at MS. MS lost its pioneering spirit and started to look more and more like the other big IT firms -- including paying a dividend on its stock. All this has been going on for awhile now and has nothing to do with Gates' end date. MS lost the mantle of a disruptive (I mean that in a positive sense) force in the industry via its ability to innovate because, I think, like all of us it got older in all the ways that companies get old. [Note to MS: changing the interface on the latest version of Office is NOT innovation.] I'm MS-neutral and have been in the biz longer than MS has been around and can see the whole lifespan of the company. It seems to have joined the old ladies knitting club now...

It's easier to walk inside the campus buildings... (1)

spafbi (324017) | about 5 years ago | (#28636551)

...as his ego is no longer blocking the halls.
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