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Microsoft's Lost Decade

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the i-bet-it-was-the-'60s dept.

Microsoft 407

Kurt Eichenwald has written a lengthy article about Microsoft's slow decline over the past 10 years, cataloging their missteps and showing how consistent, poor decision-making from management crippled the tech titan in several important industries. "By the dawn of the millennium, the hallways at Microsoft were no longer home to barefoot programmers in Hawaiian shirts working through nights and weekends toward a common goal of excellence; instead, life behind the thick corporate walls had become staid and brutish. Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as key to career success. In those years Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to cripple competitors, but—because of a series of astonishingly foolish management decisions—the competitors being crippled were often co-workers at Microsoft, instead of other companies. Staffers were rewarded not just for doing well but for making sure that their colleagues failed. As a result, the company was consumed by an endless series of internal knife fights. Potential market-busting businesses—such as e-book and smartphone technology—were killed, derailed, or delayed amid bickering and power plays. That is the portrait of Microsoft depicted in interviews with dozens of current and former executives, as well as in thousands of pages of internal documents and legal records." We discussed a teaser for this piece earlier in the month — the full article has all the unpleasant details.

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407 comments

Terrible article (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800613)

This story is so stupid it's not worth reading.

Re:Terrible article (5, Interesting)

medcalf (68293) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800633)

It did a pretty good job of laying out why MS has failed to keep up with the leading edge of the industry, and why they will need radical cultural change to ever catch up. In particular, the article avoided overblown hystrionics, for example not claiming MS is dead, but pointing out that MS has become like IBM in how it operates.

Re:Terrible article (4, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800725)

It did a pretty good job of laying out why MS has failed to keep up with the leading edge of the industry, and why they will need radical cultural change to ever catch up. In particular, the article avoided overblown hystrionics, for example not claiming MS is dead, but pointing out that MS has become like IBM in how it operates.

I haven't had time to read the whole article yet. However, if the summary is accurate (ha ha), it's certainly not the first time that MS's internal politicking and entrenched interests since the late 90s have been pinpointed as a major obstacle to innovation and their continued success in a changing market.

Some time back I commented on [slashdot.org] (and cherry-picked) a similar article, which wasn't new even then- it dated back to early 2010. Still very informative though.

Re:Terrible article (2)

tedgyz (515156) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801211)

... for example not claiming MS is dead, but pointing out that MS has become like IBM in how it operates.

Heh - I was just telling my brother who works at Microsoft that they are the new IBM. I sort of meant it as a compliment. Big companies can rarely continue innovating and winning in new spaces, so you might as well hunker down in the trenches and set yourself up for the long haul.

Re:Terrible article (2, Insightful)

Grave (8234) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800639)

I stopped reading partway through - it read like a hit piece. Let's go ahead and ignore the success of Windows 7, XBOX 360, Office, SharePoint, Lync, etc just to make an outrageous claim in order to sell magazines. Is the internal culture of Microsoft bad? Maybe..but they're still churning out good software, and with the exception of a one-time write-down from a failed acquisition, they are still one of the most consistently profitable companies in the world. Like all large companies, they have had product failures, but if you're going to ignore the wins, why bother even writing the article?

Re:Terrible article (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800771)

You cant seriously call Xbox a success without using a fair bit of progressive counting. To date XBOX still a bit to go before all the investments are returned. And its still not anywhere near a market leader position. This while it has eaten up much of the PC gaming space, cannibalizing another MS business end.

Windows 7 is by no means a success since total share of Windows has fallen since its introduction, not risen. Only reason its a success is because of the monopoly. Without it, W7 would have failed utterly. Just look at how "well" WP7 is doing for reference of how things work out for MS without their monopoly benefits.

Sharepoint a success? Where? And Lync a success, in what reality? Outside the "Microsoft or nothing" sphere nobody knows about it even. And therein lies the real problem, the "MS or nothing" sphere is shrinking fast.

Microsofts only products they manage to make money off of is Office and Windows thanks to their monopoly. Everything else is complete and utter failure.

Re:Terrible article (1, Insightful)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800929)

So Xbox is not a success? Look at the state of the competition!

Re:Terrible article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800997)

The Xbox lost $4 billion and came in a distant seccond.
The Xbox 360 has lost $3 billion, after a few quarters in the black the division is now in the red again, and the 360 is currently tied for second.

That's not what any rational person would call success.

Re:Terrible article (2)

musicalmicah (1532521) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801201)

Exactly. The X-Box, like practically every other Microsoft product, is an all-or-nothing strategy to corner a market, THEN turn a profit. Only Windows and Office have succeeded at this.

Re:Terrible article (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801301)

While xbox is a household name, profit wise it isn't stellar. It also has had an interesting effect of moving the attention of Windows game developers onto consoles. The problem being this actually seems to weaken MS lockin, migrating userbase from a mindset where microsoft unquestionably dominates the market to one where MS is just one of three big names. While this in the short term has boosted MS offering in the market, it also has made these studios get over their desktop fixation and get accustomed to supporting Sony and to some extent nintendo.

So far, not critical, but it does potentially pave the way for the big game companies to completely torpedo the desktop and xbox gaming market. At the same time as getting developers in the mindset of multi-platform support, it starts pushing it's first-party app store as well as a bizarre model for desktop usage. Between the improved view on multiplatform development and threatening digital distribution channels that particularly valve has become accustomed to it, they are paving the way for a company like Valve to completely undermine MS' desktop and console gaming market.

There are a large number of factors external to MS facilitating this scenario, but MS strategy has done it's part to explicitly fuel thisto some extent.

A very real scenario seems to be:
MS effectively forfeits the desktop market due to lack of interest on their part. It's a boring market where they cannot grow and today's business philosophy seems to dismiss sustainability without exponential growth (growth is always indicated as a percentage, the raw dollar values are de-emphasized). Companies are still using XP by and large, which might have been ok except MS is simultaneously pushing the market to develop software that doesn't work with XP, so XP usage might be characeterized as 'limping along' with increased difficulty over time. Between OSX and Linux (though the 'front and center' Linux DEs have also lost their way), some enterprises are seeing viable MS alternatives. On the homefront, erosion comes more easily, mostly at the hands of IOS, Android, and to a lesser extent OSX and Linux, share-wise (consumer desktop/laptop market is increasingly driven by 'enthusiasts' as the casual user base moves on to tablets and phones).

Casual game development on Android paves the way to support Ouya on the low end (XBLA competitor) and on the high end, Valve makes a go of it with a game console, a stronger, diverse name in gaming and digital distribution of games than MS. I see this as highly disruptive to Sony, Nintendo, and MS, but I don't think Valve would've had such an easy time of it if MS hadn't paved the way with xBox.

Phone/tablet is easy enough to see. MS has no appreciable share. To those saying 'but WP7 users always rave about it', that would be a natural consequence of a small user base. The only people there are naturally going to be fanboys. Just like WebOS had exceedingly high satisfaction among its very small userbase (I liked WebOS, but it really lacked a lot). IOS and Android seem to be carving up the market handily.

Basically, MS is screwed. They are trying to compete with google using Bing to dubious result. They are pushing Azure to comete with EC2 and are diluting their vision because it just isn't working. They are throwing their desktop market (the only market they securely held) under the bus to try to prop up metro which has been a market failure on phones today.

Re:Terrible article (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800943)

true, but sharepoint is a success (got help us all) in corporates that run Office everywhere, suddenly they have this totally crap bit of 'office on the intranet' that can be used to store documents and the like (and, if you're willing to spend the time, add crappy forms for stuff like expense reports and meetings).

So it is a success from a business and Microsoft-lockin PoV, But it is a nightmare in all other respects.

and I understand Lync is becoming a success simply because its an 'internal network' chat client, so the boss can read what you've been saying as it seamlessly integrates with Outlook and sharepoint and all that guff.

There are still a lot of people who use this crap, so it still has to be considered even though it is shrinking, slowly.

Re:Terrible article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801029)

Success how? How many shops actually use enough of sharepoint to have to pay? It is currently "free" for what is an astronomical amount of documents for most small to medium businesses. Is it useful for doing anything at all outside of the OS and Office monopoly that it depends on? No? Epic Fail.

Re:Terrible article (3, Insightful)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800961)

This while it has eaten up much of the PC gaming space, cannibalizing another MS business end.

Aside from the OS a machine runs, MS has precious little at stake when it comes to PC gaming. And I don't know of a single Xbox user who isn't using Windows and every one of them own PCs. MS lost nothing to the gaming crowd with the Xbox.

Re:Terrible article (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801093)

Xbox has been a huge success. 67 million units sold, 19 million kinects, Microsoft Games is highly profitable; enough so to offset the losses from Windows Phone 7 in their entertainment division. All that aside, Xbox is a huge success for one simple reason: They broke the console sales trend. In all previous consoles by year 4 sales begin to decline, sharply. The 360 is the first that accelerated sales (rather dramatically) in year 5.

Re:Terrible article (4, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800779)

Windows and office are just the extensions of successes that date back to the 90s and before.

Sharepoint? Not much to write home about.

XBox is more interesting but still mainly something that leverages Microsoft's platform dominance with MS-DOS and derivatives.

So all in all you've basically got what boils down to MS-DOS and friends. Microsoft can only coast on that so long.

Re:Terrible article (5, Funny)

jgrahn (181062) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800831)

Sharepoint? Not much to write home about.

I wouldn't say that. It *does* have that traditional Microsoft "catastrophically bad and yet my boss bought it" feel. Their OS and even things like Exchange kind of work nowadays.

Re:Terrible article (5, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800917)

Microsoft's server revenue was $4.5b last quarter growing at 14% year over year. Yes sharepoint, SQL Server, Dynamics... are something to write home about.

Re:Terrible article (4, Interesting)

phillymjs (234426) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801069)

What idiot modded this troll? It was right on point.

Windows and Office are cash cows, yes, but other than Ballmer's incompetence they're the biggest part of the problem-- everyone at Microsoft is afraid of doing something that might threaten Windows or Office. That's why Microsoft spent years trying to stuff bloated desktop Windows into tablets and phones-- and why they were made to like complete asses by Apple.

And XBox? Pfft. They bought their way into the video game market, plain and simple. IIRC they haven't yet reached the break-even point because of the billions they pissed away at the start. XBox is the last time you'll ever see them be able to pull that move, too. No more showing up late with a mediocre product and coming out on top only because they can outspend their competitors.

And Sharepoint is just another product designed to increase corporate IT inertia and maintain Windows' dominance on enterprise desktops.

~Philly

Re:Terrible article (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800783)

It's not a hit piece. It's just that Microsoft is not 'leader of the pack' anymore.
Microsoft is the new IBM.
And IBM is still profitable isn't it?

Btw, were are those 'outrageous' claims made in the article? It states that Microsoft is still making a reasonable profit, doesn't it?

Re:Terrible article (2)

M1FCJ (586251) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800839)

The only thing about Windows 7 that can be counted as success is, it is not Vista.

Re:Terrible article (1)

Teresita (982888) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801025)

XP wasn't Vista either. Why didn't they just push out SP4? Oh, right. Money. The answer to any question that begins with "Why" is "Money".

Re:Terrible article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801233)

Vista set the bar particularly low.

Re:Terrible article (2)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800955)

My favourite part is how he states that iPhone brings in more revenue than all of MS's business as if this is not true for any other tech company out there. The fact that Apple are so successful does not mean that MS failed so badly and definitely does not mean that they are worse than everyone else in the industry. While Apple is obviously on top I wouldn't say that MS failed compared to Google or Facebook.

Re:Terrible article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801049)

But they failed to innovate with phones. They had a huge market that is now zero, Kin was a joke, buying Nokia hasn't helped at all.

The Xbox is loosing money

They have never made money on line

AQuatative as making a pile of cash before MS killed it, they really could have rivalled googles ads with that, but didn't have a clue how to popularise it along with BIng.

They're cruising along on Windows and Office and they're cruising in de'nile! Badum Tish!

Re:Terrible article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801091)

My favourite part is how he states that iPhone brings in more revenue than all of MS's business as if this is not true for any other tech company out there. The fact that Apple are so successful does not mean that MS failed so badly and definitely does not mean that they are worse than everyone else in the industry. While Apple is obviously on top I wouldn't say that MS failed compared to Google or Facebook.

The point being made is that, given the position Microsoft was in earlier on, it should be MICROSOFT making all that obscenely wonderful profit and coming out with all the wonderful toys. It blew it, badly.

In many ways, it's what happened to Apple before Jobs came back: Sales and business types take over the reins from visionary founder and slowly turn things into SalespitchPlus and BureacracyLand, along with suppression of any really distruptive creativity or innovation for being dangerous unknowns, as that's all they know how to do.

Re:Terrible article (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801259)

Considering how much money Microsoft has poured in to the XBox, can you really call it a success? They bought market position, to be sure, but that investment has yet to pay for itself.

The problem is Ballmer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800621)

The problem is Ballmer. Always has been.

lost? (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800627)

Seems like XP and 7 did quite well.

New markets (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800701)

Microsoft failed to conquer a number of new markets over that past decade. Social networking, tablets/smart phones, etc. -- Microsoft is just not winning, and their old strategies of monopoly abuse are not going to help them.

Re:New markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800883)

No, Microsoft LONG AGO conquered what they ride on: Operating Systems (as well as Office Suites) at the combined Server + PC Desktop level instead - and no one has managed to unseat them in either.

Re:New markets (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801305)

But as alternative platforms begin to overwhelm the PC, that victory will become increasingly empty. Being the dominant PC OS maker in a world dominated by smart devices largely running iOS or Android clearly indicates a long term problem.

Re:New markets (1, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801011)

Fair point, but then again they came from nowhere and became the number one console manufacturer, and even more incredibly are now cooler than Sony and Nintendo in that area. .NET has been pretty big too, but isn't consumer oriented so doesn't get press. They even managed to make Internet Explorer quite usable and secure!

I'm not a big fan but MS hasn't lost a decade. They got blindsided by phones and tablets, sure, but that battle is far from over.

Re:New markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801243)

LOL kinda like how they almost missed the internet...

Re:lost? (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800793)

XP and 7 exploited the same OEM channels that forced MS-DOS down everyone's throats.

"Continuing to coast" is not quite the standard the author was looking for.

Here's what MS execs said: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800887)

On Apple's OS:
'E-mails flew around Microsoft, expressing dismay about the quality of Tiger. To executives’ disbelief, it contained functional equivalents of Avalon and WinFS. “It was fucking amazing,” wrote Lenn Pryor, part of the Longhorn team. “It is like I just got a free pass to Longhorn land today.”'

"“It was a bloated mishmash of folks,” said Johann Garcia, a former Microsoft product manager who worked on the Bing project. “They had two or three times the number of people they needed. There were just so many layers of people.”"

etc etc.

You may not see it, but MS exces can see it, I can see it, WallStreet can see it. Yet you can't see it. Are you Ballmer?

Re: Check any lockeroom (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801083)

Not the coach, veterans, a philosophy, or a legacy breeds "chemistry" as fast as winning. Sometimes it'll even shut your wide receiver up.

Re:lost? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800909)

XP and 7 were just the same old Windows with different UIs and a bit of an upgrade. Something to base your business on, but nothing to provide anything for the future.

Its like saying IBM did well selling a mainframe, sure once upon a time they did that and made huge fortunes, today, they don't.

MS is stuck in a rut of not wanting to improve, that's the problem. For them.

Re:lost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801007)

It would be more accurate to say PC sales did quite well and since Windows was mandatory it went along for the ride.

No MBAs (5, Insightful)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800655)

MBAs can't run businesses. It's that simple. When Bill ran it, everything was great. When Steve took over, everything went downhill. The same happened in Apple: When Steve was in charge, Apple grew. When Steve was fired, downhill. When Steve was brought back, more growth. The same with HP. Moral: don't let MBAs run your company, it'll tank.

Re:No MBAs (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800745)

I'm not sure the degree alone is the problem.

I think it's more likely to be about "Skin in the game" and familiarity with the landscape.

Too many MBA CEOs brought in thinks that they're selling widgets. They can sell computers just like they can sell soda pop, it's all the same to them.

Jobs was on a(n) (un)holy mission to remake the galaxy. Sculley was selling widgets.

Re:No MBAs (5, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800787)

I'll buy that familiarity with the technology is a factor, but it's also about the thrill of technology as a motivator. Business types don't have it. Everybody knows what their SOLE motivation in life is, only it's self defeating in this particular sector.

I have a picture of the MBA at bed time. After the obligatory five minutes, he and his wife are lighting up smokes. She is stroking his shoulder, murmuring sweetly. "It's all right, sweetie. You're just wound up." His brow is furrowed in thought and he is thinking silently "How can we leverage sex in the business? How can we rake in the bucks and rip off the people?"

Re:No MBAs (5, Interesting)

M1FCJ (586251) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800859)

Ah the rosy spectacles of the past. When Bill ran it, everything was not great. They almost completely missed the Internet revolution because Bill Gates never understood it. Also Bill's reign got them investigated and found guilty of corporate shenanigans. He didn't leave because he wanted to, he left because he was the most hated guy in the industry.

Re:No MBAs (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800881)

I agree. The CEO of a software companies needs to know how software works. The CEO of an airplane company needs to understand how airplane work. It doesn't need to be a guru-lvel of understanding but it needs to be more than superficial. It must be enough to have an enlightened opinion on technical questions.

The boss of Boeing needs to know if it makes sense to invest in electrical planes, to understand the weight constraints of batteries, the trends and how it can impact the airplane industry in 20 years.

The boss of Microsoft must understand how software works, to understand what are the costs and advantage to port to ARM, the necessity of having a specialized version for embedded software vs having a completely different product, deciding if tablet are more like a big smartphone, a small laptop or a totally new platform, etc...

Re:No MBAs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801187)

Agree - but this can be simplified. There's a rule.

Managers are of two types.

There are managers who believe that management itself is a profession that stands outside of any other profession or industry; that is, that a manager only manages people. It doesn't matter what those people do. Nor does it matter what the manager knows about the business he/she manages. A good manager will deliver goodness, regardless.

Then there are managers who believe that they'd best excel at the specifics of the industry they find themselves in. Because one should understand the 'why' of making decisions, outside of the people involved.

The first type are MBAs. The second type are filthy rich.

In support of this collegiate heresy, I offer two questions. How many notably successful, durable companies have been started by MBA-types, who had no intimate, experiential knowledge of the area that company competed in? How many have been started by those who excelled in their particular field?

Re:No MBAs (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801015)

Apple wasn't doing all that great when Jobs left it, and later on many people (including many MBA-haters as well as Jobs himself) realized that some MBA-type skills were missing at Apple's helm. The problem with MBA schools is that they teach you only one aspect of management: management / economic theory, in other words the science part, which is good and necessary. But they do not provide much equally essential experience, and do little to teach actual leadership. And that's why MBAs often do such a poor job of running companies and departments: they were taught only the science, and they think it's enough. But if you think you can run a multi billion dollar firm withou the science part, you're sorely mistaken. That is what Jobs found out the hard way.

Re:No MBAs (1, Insightful)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801173)

MBAs are taught finance. When their company gets into trouble, that's what they turn to. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So, MBAs try to fiance to get out of trouble. Things like cost cutting. In the article, employees were complaining about the difficulty in finding a whiteboards and the lack of office supplies. Microsoft's stack ranking system was to determine which employee to get rid of. Again, cost cutting. But you can't save a business by cost cutting. You can only save it thru sales. Bill is a good salesman. Steve isn't. Steve can't save the company and I think it's too late for Bill to make a comeback.

Re:No MBAs (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801017)

When Bill ran it, everything was great.

Well, predictably, you didn't RTFA. I read it yesterday when I found it in my G+ stream (I see about 80% of stories posted here somewhere else first now, either there, hackaday, or even on failbook) and Bill handed over the reins when things were already going badly. Now they're just going more badly, and baldly, too.

Re:No MBAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801283)

I disagree. MBAs can run a traditional business that doesn't do anything innovative or expect to be a market leader. They have a background in proven techniques for the best average performance.

Now, if you want to be a world class company, carving out new markets and exploiting exciting opportunities then you are correct, an MBA is not going to help you run your business. You want a visionary with world-changing ambitions instead.

Lost decade? (4, Interesting)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800657)

So doubling your revenues and net income is now considered a "lost decade"?

Re:Lost decade? (2)

nanoflower (1077145) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800675)

If you look at the share price then yes. It wasn't until recently that the price per share started to rise and even then it isn't that much.

Re:Lost decade? (1)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800691)

Only because the MSFT shares were ridiculously overpriced a decade ago and only recently the company has actually "grown into" deserving the valuation.

Re:Lost decade? (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800871)

This is an apologist's view point. Save for the aforementioned minor successes, Microsoft has polarized and engendered enormous amounts of FUD into the markets it once championed.

While the article leaves out several glaring mistakes by omission, it is a largely accurate portrayal of an organization that's losing mindshare, market leadership, money, intellectual capital, and the warmth of its users.

The most glaring omission in my mind: poor quality software. Windows 98-Windows XPSP2 were horrible and fraught with bugs that lead to users having their machines trashed by viruses malware, or just machines made unusable by driver and systems software dependencies that took near experts to sort out. User as root allowed any app to have essentially complete control over the machine. Windows security became an oxymoron, and when Apple and Torvalds paid attention to details, they won. Regaining that trust will be painfully difficult for Microsoft at the user level. Note that the user-level is solely where Apple markets to; they're business clueless and don't care.

Market growth after market growth has escaped Microsoft, whose lack of entrepreneurship has stifled their growth, removed employee incentives, and made them amorphous.

Re:Lost decade? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801023)

Windows 98-Windows XPSP2 were horrible

Pardon me, but are you proposing that windows was horrible from 98 through XPSP2? 98 was a major improvement over 95 in every way including stability. ME was crap. 2k was fantastic. XP was fine for me from SP1, dunno what terrible things you were doing to it.

Re:Lost decade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801101)

I thought W2k was damn good too but, really, the ability to create a really good OS had already been demonstrated by several companies by that point. It was its catch-up in the market that made it look like a big deal. Without the pre-load noose I wonder how big Microsoft's "success" would have been. That's where the accolades should rightfully go: Microsoft's Legal Dept. Trouble is most of today's internet cognoscenti were still in their diapers when the groundwork for this "success" was being laid.

Redmond has always counted on the memory hole, and it's always worked for them. In a few decades the repubs will have Gates' face on a $3 stamp.

Re:Lost decade? (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801103)

Yes, there was improvement, and yes, there became in the process of rapid releases and poor quality checks, unbelievably bad security and increased vulnerability.

For you, the sense that XP SP2 introduced demotion of user from root/admin is what made it a bit safer, and architecturally tenable. In the meantime, I had to scrape countless machines of malware, viruses, and just plain insane and stupid problems caused by revision desynchronization.

I wrote BOOKS on the subject.

Re:Lost decade? (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801209)

XP was a piece of shit in the hands of everyone but Windows experts. Prone to malware, gradually degrading performance for no particular reason (requiring re-installs every 3-6 months), and an ugly, intrusive GUI. I really don't understand this new-found reverence of XP. It was a pile of poo, and nowhere near as good as any modern operating system.

You got used to it, I guess. But that didn't make it fine.

Re:Lost decade? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801241)

You got used to it, I guess. But that didn't make it fine.

I was dual-booting (or sometimes dual-boxing) Windows and Linux throughout much of that period, running SunOS and IRIX and others on other machines, and it's not clear to me that Windows was of lower quality as a desktop OS than the alternatives (except for ME) until about Windows Vista, which is when they really screwed the pooch on quality. But you couldn't expect the average user to perform even the simplest maintenance tasks on Linux back then, you'd often get into a state where you'd have to run fsck manually, etc etc.

Don't get me wrong, I have way more hate for Microsoft than do most people, but Windows really became quite credible in Win2k and it stayed that way until VistaSP0 and it became that way again in Vista SP1. A usable, functional system, that is.

There ARE problems with the architecture of XP. Needing a third party utility to defrag the registry is stupid. Never autoclearing precache is retarded. The security was abysmal until SP2 as has been said. But there were problems of I think equal or even greater impact on Linux, affecting the usability of the system for average people. With windows you could "fix" your problems with the install CD. With Linux that was less often the case.

Re:Lost decade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800697)

There's never been much of an idea that MS would actually grow once it hit 90%. How can you, really?

Re:Lost decade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800823)

It's obvious that you have no clue as to why stock prices really go up when they do it in a quick fashion. If you honestly think that a stock price has anything to do with the value of a company you're just fooling yourself. It's all about future growth and a company that is being beaten back with anti-trust suits on multiple continents isn't going to perform there.
 
You could have a company that profits billions without fail every quarter for decades and they're going to look lackluster if using their stock trend as a measuring stick.
 
But, hey, that's something that's big around Slashdot... taking what information suits your theory best and dismissing the rest.

Re:Lost decade? (4, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800807)

During the period that Microsoft's market cap got lopped in half, Apple's multiplied by over ONE HUNDRED TIMES. So yes, I'd say that qualifies for a lost decade. Market cap is the world's picture of how much you are worth as a company.

Re:Lost decade? (2)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801009)

During the period that Microsoft's market cap got lopped in half, Apple's multiplied by over ONE HUNDRED TIMES. So yes, I'd say that qualifies for a lost decade. Market cap is the world's picture of how much you are worth as a company.

Yes and at times that world's picture gets completely separated from reality. See Facebook and Zynga IPOs.

Re:Lost decade? (4, Insightful)

gomiam (587421) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801013)

Market cap is to company's real worth as photoshopped magazine covers are to original models' beauty: a somewhat good reference but not really that reliable. Otherwise, analysts wouldn't ever care about reading the company balance to make their decisions... and they do (HFT aside, of course).

Doubled the net income? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800937)

They made a loss last quarter, in what sense did he double the net income?

Re:Lost decade? (4, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800985)

If, during that time, several companies that didn't effectively didn't exist in your market appear and then exceed your revenue, while your company misses opportunities time and time again... Then yes, it was their decade to lose and they lost it.

Re:Lost decade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801057)

Careful. Revenue doesn't necessarily equate to innovationa and success.

LArge corporations today have improved their bottom line not so much by innovating, but by trimming fat (in many instances WA?Y too much). Outsourcing, curring back on perks (for the minions - not the senior executives), and so on really adds to the overall 'bottom line'. The problem comes when there is little more one can do to trim fat asnd HAVE to rely on innovation itself to succeed. I thnik in the next 5-7 years we'll start seeing this era, and it'll be companies that can truly innovate (instead of trying to find the next Inia/China to offload their human resources) who will succeed.

Re:Lost decade? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801117)

as money loses its value over time, you need to do better than that.

From TFA:

Exhibit A: today the iPhone brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft. ... One Apple product, something that didnâ(TM)t exist five years ago, has higher sales than everything Microsoft has to offer.

So MS still makes money, but its a far cry from what it used to make or what it could be making.

In December 2000, Microsoft had a market capitalization of $510 billion, making it the worldâ(TM)s most valuable company. As of June it is No. 3, with a market cap of $249 billion. In December 2000, Apple had a market cap of $4.8 billion and didnâ(TM)t even make the list. As of this June it is No. 1 in the world, with a market cap of $541 billion.

I know some people point to facebook and say "shareprice means nothing", but those extremes just show the rest of the stock market gets it mostly right, a company's share price reflects what the market thinks the company will be worth a year or so down the line. They don't think Microsoft will be anything other than dull for the foreseeable future.

To highlight what this might mean in more practical terms, imagine if Apple came out with an office suite that was better (or nearly as good even) as Office. Given the quantity of coolness Apple owners think of themselves, they'd have to use it, and that could easily destroy one leg of Microsoft's revenue streams. There are products that are better than Office out there already, look at Scrivener for an example, just slap the Apple branding/marketing on it and bam... Microsoft would fall over. Its not hard to imagine at all.

This is why people are more worried than happy with the situation with Microsoft. I think tech players come and go all the time, its just that Microsoft's time is nearly up.

Finally a good summary (2, Funny)

instagib (879544) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800667)

You know right away the article is BS.

Because during the last 10 years many MS products have finally become as usable as they should have been 10 years ago.

Re:Finally a good summary (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800705)

Give any company a decade and billions of dollars and I am sure they will make something usable. This is, and will always be, Ballmer's legacy at MS. He accomplished nothing more than the steady decline of the MS brand. Once the Board gets rid of him and puts some fresh, outside blood in charge they will begin to climb out of the cellar.

Re:Finally a good summary (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800861)

Hah, indeed. Microsoft has lots of problems now, but it had a lot of problems before too! It's kind of funny that in 2012 the "old Microsoft" has become some kind of utopia looked back on as if it were driven by technologists in pursuit of technical excellence. In the 1990s, Slashdotters would surely not have thought that. Microsoft in, say, 1997 was not working towards "a common goal of excellence", but some very corporate-strategy driven ideas about where the PC market should go. Arguably that's true of much of what they did in the 1980s, as well.

Re:Finally a good summary (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801043)

It was no utopia. It sickens me to see major journalists - in Vanity Fair, even! - spout this nonsense. In 1997, Microsoft was an (illegal) monopoly, and could do whatever it wanted. In 2012, they actually have competitors the same size as them, and surprise, they're losing.

Re:Finally a good summary (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800911)

I beliee the point isn't that they ONLY made bad decisions, that would be rediculously simplistic on any front. I believe the point is on the whole the bad decisions have been outweighing the good ones. They aren't growing and increasing in popularity, they are slightly holding onto the markets they had, markets that are in fact shrinking, meanwhile they are pouring massive amounts of money into markets in which they are barely scratching into. IE tablets, phones, search and to a lesser extent video games (I say to a lesser extent because the X-Box seems to be the one new market that they aren't virtually unnoticed in)

Re:Finally a good summary (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800951)

Because during the last 10 years many MS products have finally become as usable as they should have been 10 years ago.

We are very sorry about this and will fix it with the upcoming Windows 8.

Regards,
Microsoft

Re:Finally a good summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800963)

So your criteria for success is that they are now where they should have been 10 years ago? I agree that many of their products have become much less unusable, but is that something to cheer about?

It's not just Microsoft... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800717)

This article is a microcosm for what's happening in the entire United States.

Re:It's not just Microsoft... (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800811)

Yes. Quite. It's funny how the Lemmings are getting their panties in a bunch over this when this nonsense could easily describe any large corporation in America.

Re:It's not just Microsoft... (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800817)

Overlooking Apple and a handful of other exceptions for the moment, yes, absolutely.

What the hell is "Microsoft's lost decade"? (3, Interesting)

cdrnet (1582149) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800719)

Among others a reply from Frank Shaw (MSFT):

http://www.neowin.net/news/what-the-hell-is-microsofts-lost-decade [neowin.net]

Re:What the hell is "Microsoft's lost decade"? (5, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800837)

What in that reply goes the SLIGHTEST WAY toward disproving or effectively countering ANY of the article's points? Mindless denial is of course to be expected inside the floundering giant.

Re:What the hell is "Microsoft's lost decade"? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801039)

Frank Shaw had me until he mentioned the Xbox; Microsoft's entertainment division has lost them billions. You can tell he's mad, bro, because he wrote "Widows Azure"... little red squiggle not working in internet exploder?

Billions of customers, but they're not coming, they're going. They're going to Android, they're going to iOS, they're even going to OSX for some reason.

Re:What the hell is "Microsoft's lost decade"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801321)

> They're going to Android, they're going to iOS

Please, show me the people who are giving up Windows on the desktop for Android on the desktop?

That's like claiming McDonald's is failing because people are getting gas from a different gas station and getting a fountain drink there.

PE of 15, yet 194 billion buy back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801203)

Frank Shaws comments that they've returned 194 billion in dividends and stock buybacks to shareholders. This is not true, if the buy backs haven't increased the share-price, then none of that is returned. What they've done is waste all that buy-back money for no effect!

Also he posted it on Facebook, not Microsoft Live which is very telling.

Microsoft have always been about ... (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800739)

Microsoft have always been about coming late to a party someone else started and then trying to steal the limelight. That's not always a bad thing (eg. cheap and nasty workstations and servers that were just good enough made a lot of things possible) and it has worked for them on many occasions, however recently they don't seem to have been able to dominate a niche that they've come into late.
Note that Apple have been doing that as well, mp3 players, smartphones and tablets were mature before they got involved but they managed to get up to speed quickly enough to dominate those markets
To sum up, I don't see the last decade as anything different with Microsoft in that area, and I recall articles about toxic office politics at Microsoft (and moreso Apple) well over a decade ago anyway.

Poor Nokia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800763)

Well the article points out that the iPhone sells more than all of Microsoft sales combined. But I feel sorry from Nokia. From number 1 to number none, all because they hired a failed Microsoft executive as their CEO.

Re:Poor Nokia (4, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800845)

They got what they deserved from that asinine move.

Group think in action ... (3, Insightful)

giorgist (1208992) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800801)

Group think has set in such that slowly politics has created an environment where the top management do not hear dissenting voices, so somehow they can do no wrong.

It is natures great recycler.

Ah Good... (1)

humanrev (2606607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800813)

I was waiting for my daily "Microsoft-is-failing" article. That's always a sign of a quality tech site.

Monopoly (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#40800903)

>"Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as key to career success. In those years Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to cripple competitors"

Welcome to life at a huge, fat monopoly. At least it seems like they hit an ace with UEFI, further stifling competition and removing consumer freedom and choice.

Looks like Apple is falling into the same trap in their niche markets where they were also a near monopoly (tablets/phones).... instead of opening up, offering product choices, lowering prices, they are spending all their effort trying to sue everyone into submission.

'Terrible article'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40800947)

It's only terrible to Microsoft astroturfer shills and those who have plenty of MSFT shares.
The article is as comprehensive and as factual as it can be.
Steve Ballmer is nothing but a boisterous used car salesman and bean counter. I'm quite surprised he's still in charge at Microsoft.
The demise of Microsoft will come. Windows 8 will hasten that demise.
Microsoft has hired brilliant people, but buried them with red tape and bullshit politicking.
Even now, Microsoft is split into two major factions: the pro-Sinofsky camp and the anti-Sinofsky camp.
A house divided unto itself cannot stand.

Rome, Britain, America... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801045)

IBM, Microsoft, Apple. The HNIC loses something sitting at the top looking down that the up & climbers still have. Why yes, the en does stand for nerd.

3..2..1.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801051)

Queue the Micro$oft fanboys

Departmental Politics (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801167)

This is the same phenomenon that destroys all large corporations slowly from the inside.

There may be one product, but different departments responsible for different parts of that product are given competing and incompatible goals by upper management, the theory being that this will create the cheapest, highest quality solution - when the exact opposite is true.

And do not forget... (4, Interesting)

nerdyalien (1182659) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801205)

I RTFA the whole article... but IMO, it has forgot one or two things....

M$ vs DOJ: If you have read daily technology news back in 90s, you might remember how narrowly M$ escaped from a major anti-trust case. Since then, M$ had to play nice with DOJ to avoid getting the worm can re-opened. So it is somewhat obvious M$ didn't work aggressively in taking over other markets in last decade. All the new players, they do not have to answer DOJ for any anti-trust violations. So... new players are very lucky when it comes to approaching new markets.. be it search, consumer media, social networking etc.

At the very heart of the DOJ case...M$ was accused of "locking-in" customers for their products. And now, fast forward to 2012... Apple is literally locking in consumers behind their gardened walls with a plethora of their own hardware and software, Google & FB literally collecting private details from its consumers. Playing the devil's advocate here, I wonder how come they are not scrutinised intensely ?

M$ massive hiring spree: Though I can't exactly remember the figures and fact, I believe M$'s staff count has gone up by few folds since the turn of the century. Though I am not sure what's the reason behind this; but I am pretty sure this is the real reason why wheels started getting off. More staff means more HR to handle them. My best guess for this 'staff head count inflation' is, having lot of cash in bank.

But my overall conclusion is... markets are wide open only for a brief period of time. One can concur that market only during that brief moment. Late comers will always have to play "do or die" battle before totally convert the market to their camp, or die an early shameful death. M$'s biggest issue it seems, not discovering wide open markets to concur like the rest.

Having said all that, during last decade, M$ consumer products have become more stable and secure than in 90s. That's something worth noting.

Also, I would like to see Steven Sinofsky to head the Redmond camp after Ballmer... looking at his track record, I believe he can stop this plunging boat from drowning.

p.s
I have to agree that 'management style' in M$ is somewhat deleterious. My software house has this ghastly 6-month review cycle despite being a SMB. In the most recent review, I was accused of not having any initiatives during work by the reviewing HR boss. My sad situation is, my technical boss disagrees with my initiatives. To avoid annoying him too much, and get the team working on one direction; I have learnt to suspend my ideas and just to be a "yes-boss" guy. But would the HR boss understand my situation fully? Personally, I put lot of hours in writing well-polished reliable code. In return, both my bosses are nit-picking on me. IMO, these reviews are good for "failing" employees.. but the rest, why bother.. just throw them free candy or coffee.

It's Hard To Argue with Free (4, Insightful)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | about a year and a half ago | (#40801237)

In times past Microsoft would find a nice add-in product for their software and then bundle a cloned version of it for free. Remember Stac Electronics? The disk compression Microsoft put in the next version of MSDOS was not better than Stac's, but it was free. Stac only won some money in a lawsuit, but was essentially destroyed. I think to this day developers are still mindful of this predilection. Now this same thing is happening to the cash cows of Microsoft: Windows and Office. Linux and LibreOffice are the nemesis of Microsoft's flagship products. Another product for the server world is Exchange. Exchange virtually forces the use of Outlook. No other Windows or Linux client can properly work with it. This is a strategy MS uses to delay the inevitable. Don't you think /. is read by MS employees? They can read the signs of the times. They just can't show their strategy to carry them through this. This lost decade is the decade of dealing with free alternatives. Microsoft is reaping what they have sown. You can't perpetuate the monopoly on Windows and Office alone anymore. I'll say it again:

It's hard to argue with free.

Monkeyboy needs Thorazine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801261)

The secret of Microsoft's success.

Microsoft has special people who search everywhere on the internet for anything that might be a technological advance in mostly software technology because software is easy to steal, buy or copy.

In the 1980's Bill Gates had seen cp/m from Gary Kildall and told IBM that Microsoft could provide an operating system. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer simply bought a cheap cp/m rip-off named Q-dos for $50,000 illegally stolen by Tim Paterson who simply copied it from disassembled cp/m machine code. Gary Kildall found out and tried to sue IBM and Microsoft. Unfortunately for Gary, Bill Gates father was a powerfull lawyer employed by the Rockefeller family, so the judge made a statement. For every PC wheter an original IBM or a IBM clone, customers had to pay Microsoft even when the customer only wanted Gary's cp/m based dr-dos. These practises are still used by Microsoft today. If you want a laptop or PC you are forced to buy it with a Microsoft product named Windows. They pretend you have a choice to not pay for Windows. Usually if you do not want Windows, they have to take out the harddrive with its Windows recovery partition and to replace it with a clean harddrive. So buying a PC or laptop without Windows will simply cost you more. Most stores however simply refuse you to sell the PC or laptop if you don't want Windows.

Did Microsoft invented Windows themselves? Is Windows stolen technology?

And Bill Gates had seen Xerox Star so he bought such a Xerox Star machine (made in 1978), it would take Microsoft 13 years to duplicate its operating system capabilities, and they named it Windows 3.1.

Meanwhile Gary Kildall got a tragic accident, unexplainable head injury wich caused his death shortly after writing a book that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer steal technology from whomever they can. Gary's son is still scared of Microsoft so the book remains sealed.

And Microsoft kept on stealing technology. Visicalc became Microsofy Excell. Borland became Microsoft Developer Studio, Wordstar became Microsoft word. Netscape became Internet Explorer. 3dFx became Microsoft directX, Lernaut&Hauspie became Microsoft speech synthesis and recognition. Even the Windows 95 taskbar and startmenu where stolen from a graphical user interface made by another company in 1987 than named Icon Bar.

Almost nobody knows the original inventors of the by Microsoft stolen technology and about the highly unexplainable death rates under original software inventors. Who knows Stacker? The company from who Microsoft stole their compression technology for filesystems? Even fat32 the filesystem for wich other companies have to pay Microsoft for, was stolen. Microsoft hires special companies to scare programmers and inventors with braindead, cardiac arrest, lifelong unemployement, lifelong prosecution, tragic car accidents (Avalon programmer found dead, Netscape programmers found blood on their PC's, programmers wrapped and choked to death naked in their own bedsheets, Gary Kildall's dead, Remy Belvaux's dead, and many more....) These programmers had all one thing in common, they made something Microsoft wanted, and for some reason Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer simply for no reason wanted them dead. All Microsoft does is hire professional companies to search and kill programmers for their code, work or something else Microsoft wants or sees as a threat. This is Microsoft's business model.

In 2001 e.g. a second grade university student made the graphical command line interface. You just had to see it to know it was innovative. You typed in commands just like dos but it had the same capabilities like a webbrowser and came with its own compiler for it. Imagine a dos prompt with images, buttons, windows, 3d reality, video support, the internet as if it where a directory on your local harddrive. And steve.ballmer@ceo.microsoft.com and bill.gates@chairman.microsoft.com send the young programmer a contract that he would never talk about it, that it now was Microsoft property, Microsoft would not have to pay any costs. But the programmer refused and mailed them he would make it open source. And Steve Ballmer mailed the student it would be tragic to suffer a tragic and horrifying death.

You can search google for 'Steve Ballmer kill....' and you will find that Steve Ballmer even threatens highly placed people with death and evenso boasted that he killed people before.

You don't have to guess, the programmer who made the graphical commandline interface got infected with a tragic bacteria from his PC's keyboard, got blind and later went into coma and drained in his own blood when his lungs collapsed vomiting blood in the process. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have special ruthless people specialised in these kind of crimes. The programmers girlfriend experienced a tragic unexplainable head trauma causing prolonged coma, she will never talk again.

These things happen because people believe Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are kind and loving persons. Students who invent innovative products really believe Microsoft is an honest business.

Meanwhile Bill Gates paid over $40 million dollar to elect George Bush. The first thing Bush did was dropping all antitrust charges from many companies all over America against Microsoft providing Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer with diplomatic immunity. Bill also finances Bush his reelection. As a member of the Gates family Bill and Microsoft have all the support from the highest than CIA official Robert Gates, the Rockerfellers and Rothschilds. Microsofts bribes law officials, police officers, hires companies like Blackwater all to kill off anyone who they can steal from.

But why does Microsoft not provide the customer with a graphical command line interface? The answer is simple, no matter how good something might be, it does not force people to buy more copies of Microsoft Windows. The graphical commandline interface will one day show up as an invention by Microsoft Research just like oil companies kill off inventors who make engines a tiny bit more efficient.

Compare Microsoft's power with an oil company. One big oil company named Microsoft stealing and killing people who have little bits of oil and then forcing customers to buy Microsoft oil, and a small tiny oil company named Apple, and a company giving their oil away for free named Linux.

Microsoft will ever have to keep on killing young smart but naive programmers all over the world especially before they might contribute to Linux. Microsoft deliberately keeps stolen technology off the market, reducing advancement in operating systems.

Innovative young smart and naive programmers are simply murdered before they can contribute to Linux. These pour souls believe in the lie that Microsoft pays for an invention.

Like steve.ballmer@ceo.microsoft.com once said to such a tragic soul 'Nothing provides me more pleasure than to know you will die an extremely painful death!'

Read more search on google for 'Why I hate Microsoft'
'Xerox Star'
'Programmer found dead'
'Gary Kildall the man who could have been Bill Gates'
'Steve Ballmer kill...'
'Microsoft's touch of death'

When Bush was reelected people thought the voting computers where messed with. You can search for how many Diebold computerprogrammers where found dead suddenly. This is the business model of Microsoft, even bribing the president. See Bush and Gates together celebrating their crimes, google for 'bill gates and bush' on google image search.

The only solution for young programmers is to not innovate. To not make software wich never has been made before. And if they still want to do it, they have to work for free by making it open source and work with many other open source people. Sure Steve Ballmer calls Linux programmers cancers who attach themselves to Microsofts intellectual property, but these programmers have no other choice.

Microsoft is not an example of capitalism. In capitalism several manufacturers or producers offer their products, the market determines a fair price. Compare this to Microsoft's exorbitantly high profit margins over 80%, they simply force their customers to buy it, they kill off any competition. Communism means everything belongs to the state, in this case everything belongs to Microsoft (they even own the president), so Microsoft is far more likely like communism in its worst form, a nightmare for any unknowing naive programmer facing an evil never seen in the software industry before.

We finally got stable and usable Windows Versions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40801299)

if that's a lost decade I'm alright with that.

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