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Microsoft's Future

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the where-shall-you-go-today dept.

Microsoft 486

cyberkine writes: "The Economist has an interesting article on Microsoft's technology strategies that ends with a very astute comparison with IBM's downfall and resurrection in the wake of its own antitrust battles. 'Microsoft's biggest underlying fear is that it will become like IBM - --a company that still has a strong business but no longer sets computing standards.'"

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This is a very early post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458721)

So take a penis bird, shove it down your pants, let it eat hot grits, while you stare at natalie portman naked and petrified ...

- anomymous coward

I did it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458790)

Karma 50 (mostly the sum of moderation done to users comments)

So did I! (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458807)

Karma -110 (mostly the sum of moderation done to users comments)

Re:This is a very early post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458815)

Eat my fucking cockpie you ravenous schlong muncher!

Microsoft not setting any more standards? (0, Offtopic)

dsinner (526910) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458723)

"oh darn"

Re:Microsoft not setting any more standards? (5, Funny)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458750)

Hey, they still set the standards for server exploits...

fp? Hrmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458724)

Hrmmm

hrmmm

Re:fp? Hrmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458736)

not even close ....

- AnoMymous Coward.

ps: I laugh at your incompetance.

Crashing.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458731)

Windows XP is the first consumer version of the 15-year-old program in which crashing does not seem to come as a standard feature.

Obviously the author of this article hasn't used XP.

Re:Crashing.... (2, Funny)

sprayNwipe (95435) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458738)

Obviously, neither have you. While it's nice to bash MS for crashing, I've actually had decent uptime from it - 3 weeks and counting so far, amazing for a MS product.

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458753)

How low your standards have become. 3 weeks is not a decent uptime.

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458755)

he said "and counting."

i've yet to crash winXP ....

on the other hand, i've got a win2k box that's been up for about 9 weeks at the moment, even though it's typically used about 15 hours a day as a "desktop" box ... decent . Definitely what i'd consider "stable" ... the only time it gets shut off is when *I* make a mistake ...

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458763)

the only time it gets shut off is when *I* make a mistake ...

Like when you install a software patch and have to reboot for the changes to "take effect"?

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458864)

The most difficult thing about XP are shedding the survival habits that I have learnt in previous versions of Windows. Normally, when I'm finished doing something, I'll restart out of habit to reclaim speed. I haven't learnt not to yet :(

Re:Crashing.... (1)

Dashslot (23909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458768)

I have a Sparc at home with an uptime of 180 days, and counting. My workstation here at work was up for 120 days until a power outage, the same reason for the last reboot. The longest a box I admin was up was 670 days, until that had to be powered off because of work in the datacentre. So yes, if you are impressed by 9 weeks then your standards have been set too low.

Pfffft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458890)

My home box, which is currently booting 5 os's has uptime measured in _hours_. If a box isn't 100% dedicated to some "real time" task, uptime isn't worth dick. Get over it.

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458754)

I've actually had decent uptime from it - 3 weeks and counting so far, amazing for a MS product.

3 weeks... bwahahahahahahahahah

Re:Crashing.... (3, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458769)

There are boxes in my shop with uptimes of years.
Mainframe admins strive for DECADES of uptime.

Re:Crashing.... (1)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458820)

MS-DOS does not count....

Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458824)

My Windows 98 box has been up for 4 hours.

Re:Crashing.... (1)

flumps (240328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458852)

..Cardboard boxes don't count either.

Re:Crashing.... (2, Funny)

ymgve (457563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458927)

Our network switch says it has been up for 49566 days.

You can say a lot of bad things about old hardware, but then, back in 1865, they knew how to make strong and reliable equipment.

Re:Crashing.... (1)

Windwalker99 (249830) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458834)

I don't know that it's so amazing... we've got Oracle on an NT4 box at work that has run without a crash (and only two shutdowns for datacenter ops) for just under 4 years. Its longest stretch without a shutdown on it was over 2 years. Our best time on a Linux box is measured in weeks...and it's -always- been a crash, not a shutdown.

As much bitching as I see here on slashdot, Oracle on NT is exceedingly stable (as long as you're not doing anything else on the machine).

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458874)

That is a lie, it hasn't been 4 years since they announced finding a bug that caused a crash every 49 days in all windows products.

A weekly reboot that is schedualled is still down time.
You have a linux server that crashes? Is it running the latest version of the kernel version? And will you please post the oops to this list?

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458912)

That is a lie, that 49 day crash was only for Win95 and Win98

Re:Crashing.... (1)

FenixDTX (411872) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458791)

Sorry man, you can't use the crashing argument anymore.

I've been using XP for several weeks, not to mention the XP betas I've been using for months and crashes have NOT even been an issue.

Also my Win2k box which serves as a dedicated router and firewall has been up for months at time...the only time it shuts down itself down is when the power goes out for longer than 5 minutes.

Re:Crashing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458812)

Sorry man, you can't use the crashing argument anymore.

Yeah I pretty much have to agree with this guy. The only problems I've had with using XP is when I installed hardware drivers for some of my hardware that doens't have XP drivers yet...

I also like the fact that I can finally install software, change network settings, etc... all without rebooting... something I've been use to doing in *nix for years.

All things considered I think XP's a pretty decent OS for general Desktop use. Games, web surfing, e-mail, media, instant messaging, etc...

I still think Linux is unbeatable as a server.

i like it ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458741)

it was better than cats

Re:i like it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458799)

But was it better than Katz?

Microsoft's Fear? (2, Funny)

Newt-dog (528340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458743)

I thought that Micro$oft's fear was not being able to take over the internet in the next 5 years? I guess he'll have to arm wrestle AOL's Steve Case for the title. My 2 cents.

Interesting comment in related news... (5, Interesting)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458749)

If one chooses to click the link at the top of the story that says "Get article background [economist.com] ", you'll find an interesting bit at the bottom:

Meanwhile Microsoft is speeding ahead with .NET, an ambitious project to create an alternative platform for online applications (a sort of Windows for the Internet). But the company's strategies for both .NET and Windows XP, Microsoft's newly released operating system, show heavy-handed tactics. Microsoft is also gearing up for battle against foes as diverse as open-source software and America Online. (Emphasis added)


OSS ranked along side AOL in the battle against Microsoft. Interesting, if not frightening.

systemlogic poll (1)

hitchhacker (122525) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458784)

This reminds me of a poll I saw at www.systemlogic.net:

> Which OS company will create the most used operating system by 2020?
>
> Linux
> Microsoft
> Other

Microsoft was in the lead at the time too. :(

metric

Re:systemlogic poll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458914)

There is only one "OS company" on that list.

like it or not... (2, Interesting)

jlemmerer (242376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458756)

... no company has ever managed to set standards forever... while microsoft sets standards in userfriendlyness (maybe they do), they still lack standards in securtiy.

Re:like it or not... (3, Offtopic)

jedrek (79264) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458898)

while microsoft sets standards in userfriendlyness

Let me just confirm that the sound that you are hearing is, in fact, thousands of Macintosh users laughing.

jedrek

Re:like it or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458919)

"while microsoft sets standards in userfriendlyness"

How many times have I told you to lay off the crack.

Apple sets the standards that you all know and love. Microsoft jusy copies them.

ms like ibm? (1, Funny)

mueslix (529984) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458757)

hi folx... just thinking of ms going the same way as ibm did! we would have microsoft supporting linux, developing software for linux and so on... funny thought ;( greets, mueslix

Does MS's business model... (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458762)

include a factor for raw, Orwellian fear that their need for continuous expansion triggers in the more conscious corners of the market? Will the resulting negative feedback from the marketplace prove far more devastating than any beating with the Sherman Anti-Trust stick?

MS has market diffusion through the OEM deals. So XP and .Net will virally market themselves.

But Linux never looked so good. Thanks for the left-handed Linux campaingn, Billy G.

Boo hoo hoo (2, Flamebait)

COAngler (134933) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458766)

Maybe an astute comparison. Maybe not.



There's a difference between the two, though. IBM knew when to give up trying to be the center of the universe. I don't think Gates and company are capable of suppressing their egos to the degree necessary.



Society is full of people who want to have their legacy, and want to be "men of destiny." These are people who want to be the kinds of cultural icons that live on forever. IBM thankfully didn't have too many of them at the helm. That meant that they didn't have individual egos looking for their places in the sun at the expense of the rest of the company and the world at large. In plain English, that meant that when the world changed and IBM ceased to be the alpha male, they made that transition.



Microsoft isn't in quite the same positon. They don't control any major hardware that the rest of the world needs. While they have a number of products of varying quality, they don't control anything completely indispensable. The reason for their control is their position.



Problem: The value of a position changes with time. Microsoft can learn when they've picked the wrong fight, maybe. That kind of perception means they can back away and stay alive.



Not with Gates, etc. at the helm. Even the most ardent MS/Gates-supporter would have to agree: whatever virtues Gates has, humility is not one of them. Gates really wants his legacy and his place in the history books, and Microsoft is a means to that end. Just like Bill Clinton spending his last year desperately seeking a legacy, just like RMS who wants the entire English language prefaced with GNU/, Gates wants to be a man of destiny.



That means that he sees Microsoft as being a vehicle, and not much more. I doubt that he even cares about the profits. And that means that he'll take the company into some really bad fights to support his own self-image. Even if the company's survival depended on his walking away.

(Yes, I bash MS and Gates a lot. That being said, if they released an open-source Word for KDE, I'd buy it. Possibly even at retail.)

Re:Boo hoo hoo (2, Insightful)

malfunct (120790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458866)

Gates already has his legacy, maybe you are right and he doesn't think so, but think, he was at the top of an era. Gates can probably rightly claim that he brought computers to the masses in a form that they could afford and use. If it weren't for his idea to sell software cheaply to everyone, we might only see computers in businesses and schools where many of the early creators and users thought they belonged.

Re:Boo hoo hoo (1)

COAngler (134933) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458934)

Gates already has his legacy, maybe you are right and he doesn't think so, but think, he was at the top of an era.



Which still begs the questions: Does he think so, and is that enough for him?



I doubt he has enough. Part of being an egomaniac is the need to always be right. A change of course at Microsoft like the one that IBM made would amount to saying, "We're wrong about how we should have done this." That's an admission that I don't think Gates is capable of making.



I mean, yes, he was a part of making computing accessable to the masses. I'm not sure how much of that was his genius and how much was Apple's stupidity, but he's earned some place in history for that. But some people just need more, more, more...



That's one of the most common tragic flaws in literature: Some people don't know when to walk away, and that destroys them and the people around them. I think that's where Gates is headed, and I think that's where he'll likely take Microsoft if they let him.

Did Microsoft set any standards? (2, Informative)

njdj (458173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458770)

Has Microsoft ever actually set any computing standards? IBM did: the punched card, half-inch magnetic tape, and the entire PC architecture, among others. It was a self-confident company that wasn't afraid of competitors building products that implemented standards it had set. (I'm not suggesting it competed fairly, ethically or even legally, BTW.)

But Microsoft? It's contributed to standards initiated by others. It's tried to detract from standards initiated by others (Java). It's currently trying to make C# and .net into standards. But I can't think of any accepted standard of which you can say, "Microsoft created that standard and gave it to the community".

Re:Did Microsoft set any standards? (1)

jonnosan (300963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458778)

How bout COM?

Re:Did Microsoft set any standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458793)

ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/developr/rfc/

Microsoft and Standards (2)

Carnage4Life (106069) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458929)

But Microsoft? It's contributed to standards initiated by others. It's tried to detract from standards initiated by others (Java).

Java is not a standard unless your criteria for being a standard is simply that it is used by a lot of people. If that's the case then Microsoft has created lots of standards from COM to the Word file format to UDDI to their XML schema proposal that was rejected by the W3C but was embraced by most of industry.

If you're talking about standards in the strict sense of the Word then I can think of SOAP [w3.org] and C# and the CLI [microsoft.com] (in progress) but then again I haven't paid much attention to what Microsoft does until quite recently.

Who is this guy? (5, Insightful)

King Of Chat (469438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458771)

That is why Microsoft has always sold its operating system cheaply and has done everything to make life easy for programmers.

Obviously not someone who is familiar with the joys of COM - especially pre-ATL. Also, not someone who ever spent weeks trying to get that new shiny feature of NT4, DCOM, working only to find out that it never worked at all (RPC layer broken) until SP3. Not someone who has ever tried to produce a system which runs perfectly on all Win32s. If he means "made life easy for VB programmers", then maybe - but I wouldn't dignify them with the name "programmer".

I could rant for hours about specific instances, but I wont.

Re:Who is this guy? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458884)

Not someone who has ever tried to produce a system which runs perfectly on all Win32s.

If by "All Win32s" you mean Windows 95 through XP then no, that is particularly painful, and sometimes impossible.

If you mean just 95-ME then it's certainly much more doable (though I won't claim easy).

More often than not, it's just easier to develope seperate versions of a program for the 9x platforms and the NT/2K platforms.

While I agree it shouldn't have to be this way, it is just how things are.

Re:Who is this guy? (1)

King Of Chat (469438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458931)

I'm talking about a shrink-wrapped app (dumb user install) with roughly 1m lines of code using threads and DCOM onto 9x and NT/2K. Single code base with some platform detection code. Never ever, ever, ever again. Fuck DCOM - you'd be better off using sockets. The documentation is all lies.

Calculation server code is now going onto Linux. Better.

Microsoft != IBM (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458777)

Microsoft's biggest underlying fear is that it will become like IBM-a company that still has a strong business but no longer sets computing standards.

Microsoft is not exactly like IBM. IBM's market was in business whereas Microsoft's market combines both business and consumer. IBM sold hardware as well as software. Microsoft sells only software (unless you count those stupid mice and keyboards). IBM sold huge mainframes for huge price that requires months of sales work to get the dotted line signed. Microsoft products can be grabbed in retail stores. That doesn't necessarily mean Microsoft won't run out of steam with its flattening markets, but the mechanisms and potentials will certainly be different than they were with IBM. IBM didn't have a lot of options it could so easily move into. Microsoft has some more, and is more diverse than IBM ever was in a market that can buy things on a whim. So don't count on what happened to IBM necessarily happening to Microsoft. Maybe it will, or maybe it won't.

Re:Microsoft != IBM (3, Insightful)

kinkie (15482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458830)

IMO mouses and keyboards are the BEST products Microsoft EVER did.
I'm writing this on a Microsoft keyboard and I'm clickety-clicking on a Microsoft mouse (both hooked to my main Linux box of course).
They have a great thing: they don't crash.

Re:Microsoft != IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458869)

Actually, my vote for best M$ product woud have to go to MASM which, ironicaly enough, they now give away for free :)

Re:Microsoft != IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458902)

so M$'s best products were the ones they never made themselves?

Re:Microsoft != IBM (2)

iomud (241310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458839)

Microsoft sells only software (unless you count those stupid mice and keyboards).

They also sell that xbox thing maybe you've heard of it, and what ever became of ultimate TV, their set-top box? I wouldnt put selling more hardware past microsoft. As they see their operating system become less and less a strong point and more options emerge I think they'll need to seek new revenue one way or another .NET, XBOX and possibly other things with capital letters.

Re:Microsoft != IBM (1)

Yorrike (322502) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458881)

Last I checked they didn't sell the Xbox. In fact there's a good 4 weeks until the Xbox gets released onto an unsuspecting public.

Just nit picking :)

Ummm... (1)

thesolo (131008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458780)

From the article:
The more users it has, the more developers will write applications for it, which in turn attracts more users, and so on. That is why Microsoft has always sold its operating system cheaply and has done everything to make life easy for programmers.

Since when has Windows been considered cheap?? What is the source on this?? Windows hasn't dropped in price since 3.1 came out, and its only been getting more expensive since then. Just look at the retail tag for WinXP!
Also, since when are buggy DLLs and undocumented DCOM features considering "making life easy" for programmers? If anything, the Windows API is buggy, confusing, and mind-numbing.

This article is a wee bit too positive, in my opinion.

Eventually it won't matter, (2)

TheMMaster (527904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458786)

Although microsoft is "giving" away software and "adopting open standards" they are also as tried to point out before, harvesting user information. I believe that that is the key to their (upcoming) success. As soon as Microsoft has a base in user-authenication (their passport system) that's when it doesn't matter anymore that they use XML, SOAP, .NET whatever.
It might be possible for other OSses to use most of the .NET functionality but I'll bet your life that there's not going to be a way to get around passport, and in that way microsoft has secured it's position again. And this time in the worst possible way, it holds your personal information hostage in your personal passport.
Isn't it true, that when installing windows XP you are promted to create a passport? I wonder why nobody sued for that, my guess is that (once again) microsoft is pulling a stunt that nobody will see coming until it's too late... frozen

Re:Eventually it won't matter, (1)

insta (267245) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458811)

It asks you if you want to register a Passport/.NET account. I've just been ignoring it.

Re:Eventually it won't matter, (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458818)

"Isn't it true, that when installing windows XP you are promted to create a passport?"

I'm running Windows XP, and although it asked me if I *wanted* to create a passport, I wasn't force to, and declined to do so. I haven't been prompted since.
And I don't know why people are making such a big deal about .Net integration with Windows XP. I've seen not one trace of .Net so far, and my OS experience hasn't suffered because of the lack of it.

Everything is just fine, and the OS has full functionality without .Net or Passport.

Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (2, Troll)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458792)

I am not quite sure when Microsoft ever "innovated". As far as I remember, every consecutive release of Windows is ALWAYS 30-35% faster than the previous release, and 70-75% faster than the one before that. Windows ALWAYS has better multitasking than the previous version. Did you know your computing experience is also more "fun" every time you upgrade. Same goes for Office. When's the last time they introduced a truly useful new feature? Aside from introducing a useless feature then killing it (him) before the general public to raise hype.

My point is, I just don't get Microsoft. They don't DO ANYTHING. They are a multi-billion dollar corporation that adds bells an whistles to a leaky boat, then resells it for $300 a pop. If you want to talk about the progress Microsoft has been making, I would not call it "innovation". All Microsoft innovation has ever been is gradually making something work better than previous releases when it should have worked right before it hit store shelves. The improvements to their flag ship products are somewhat analagous to improvements on yearly versions of Encarta!

Are they headed the way of the dinosaur? I think I'd get a resounding 'yes' from the Slashdot community, but is this thinking right? After five years of "innovation", people still get suckered into their marketing hoopla and nonsense, thinking that every new version of Windows is a revolution in the making. No, I don't think MS is doomed to the fate we all hope it will fall into. So long as they keep using pictures of people filled with joy because they use Windows, they'll convince the general population.

*ugh* Sorry, just needed to rant a bit here. MS are just ridiculous, and it's pitiful how millions of people worldwide can follow them like sheep. I can't stand it anymore

Re:Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (2)

TheMMaster (527904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458848)

For now? no microsft will NOT go the way of the dinosaur and as long as things keep on going the way they are going now, they won't for a long time.
One of the mayor problems is that, a LOT of people still think that computers and windows is one and the same thing, they think that reading your email consists of using outlook/outlook express, that writing a letter is done in Word etc. They don't know there are alternatives, this is (luckily) beginning to change, because even main stream computer magazines are beginning to show some interest in alternatives.
Still, on the internet terms like "Computer virusses" or "Macro virusses" and the like are still pretty deceptive they should (ofcourse) be called "Windows virusses" and "Microsoft Office virusses" as long as those differences are not clear to the main public... the problem persists
so, for now, no... I think Microsoft will stay exactly where it is...

Re:Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458857)

Yeah, Microsoft's ridiculous all right, must suck for them to have gotten their software on 90% of the world's computers and to be one of the most successful companies in history. Would you mind putting this in perspective and telling us what you've done with your life and what your qualifications are? Got a job?

Re:Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (3, Insightful)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458889)

Would you mind putting this in perspective and telling us what you've done with your life and what your qualifications are? Got a job?

I can't resist feeding this troll. I am still in school, attending college as a computer science major. I write open source software, but probably nothing that matters to you. I believe in freedom of choice, regardless of the forum. Microsoft doesn't like freedom, they want everyone to be locked into their way of doing things. They are the opposite of democracy, and even if the US isn't perfect, it's still better than what Microsoft offers. Clarify on the comparison? With Microsoft's power over the Internet, information, and how people use computers, they have a tight grip on how they can control our society. This grip is getting stronger. Passport will require users in large groups to authenticate through them. .NET will remove ownership and possession of data and software from the users. These technologies will become the defacto standard simply because Microsoft has 90% of the world's computers under their control. What if someone else or another group of people have a viable idea or set of ideas that might actually be better than the MS way? They don't stand a chance. What you call success I call tyrrany. Hitler was very successful too. Is your name on the facist ballot (of course, that's your choice) by chance? Put things into perspective yet?

I know it's hard, but try to consider the big picture in the long run for a change. Not just that your icons get cool shadows or your menus fade in when you click them. Consider that Microsoft are an entity that really does present the possibility of a "Big Brother" (not to be confused with the misunderstood Orwellian sense) insofar as they can and will control (as well as grant control to other monied interests... RIAA, MPAA, etc.) the information that is the lifeblood of our information driven society.

I guess the only thing I can really say about people who don't understand the danger of absolute power in the hands of a few is this: Get out of my country, you swine. Blood has been shed to acquire the freedom we all take for granted today, and anyone who thinks we should just ignore the right to choices and let whatever great ruling entity exists tell us what to do doesn't deserve what we've got in America.

(There goes my karma for speaking my mind.)

Re:Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458924)

Cool, I was afraid I was at the wrong web site, then I saw your comparison of Microsoft to the Nazis, and I knew I was back at good ol' Slashdot.

Re:Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458932)

I really recommend that you save your post. Once you've been out in the real world for a few years you'll understand how silly and naive that whole good/evil/black/white thing you've got going on right now is. Trust me, you'll have a good laugh at it.


Oh well, I guess it's a refreshing switch from the usual Slashdotter in heavy denial trying every so hard to convince us that Microsoft is irrelevant.

Re:Where Can MS Go? Nowhere? Not So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458875)

That is funny. Windows is faster each release you say. Well maybe you have upgraded your computer for each new release, something that each new version of Windows needs. XP is the best example.

*rolls eyes* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458895)

I don't say that, dimwit, Microsoft say that. By your words, that means that, say, Windows 95 is 36% faster than Windows 95. Well, because one machine was newer than the other. :P

Microsoft's biggest fear (2, Interesting)

spectatorion (209877) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458794)

"Microsoft's biggest underlying fear is that it will become like IBM - ?a company that still has a strong business but no longer sets computing standards."
Microsoft's biggest fear is that it will not make money. I don't think they really care about setting standards all that much. A lot of their productcs are just playing catch up in order to cash in on the Windows enterprise (I point to SQL Server as an example...pretty much catching up to Oracle and the like--this is MS just trying to make a buck). Granted, they are very afraid that they will lose the stronghold on the OS market because it is an enormous cash-cow. Windows operating systems bring in tons of money, as does Office on those operating systems. Sales of development tools, server configurations, games, and everything else that depends on the success of Windows are huge; I think it is safe to say that this accounts for nearly all of their revenue. So yes, inasmuch as losing the standard-setting position in the OS/desktop market will significantly lessen their profit potential, Microsoft is afraid of "becom[ing] like IBM," but let's be real here...money is the main concern.

Now that they've won the desktop "war" (5, Insightful)

Mandelbrute (308591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458795)

Microsoft actually spend money on research these days (instead of the assimilation technique that gave them almost everthing more advanced than "MSworks"), and have enormous resources, so they are likely to be a big name for a while if they take a long term view.


Some of IBM's basic research (eg. superconductivity and nanotechnology) may produce enormous returns, and have already made the world a better place , but won't be pulling in the money for that immediately. Their earlier research helped make them the big company that they've been for decades. Xerox gave us the PC and workstation desktop environment as research, and not a product in development.


If MS dedicates some effort towards published research (remember, product development is only called "research" if it makes the tax man happy, and real reseach can be done outside a university) that will add to the global knowledge base and may mean that the "next big thing" is owned by them. After all, flouride was added to toothpaste after a company that had a waste disposal problem with it funded a lot of research to find out what it could be used for, and some of it paid off spectacularly. You never know what can be done until you try.

Sense when as MS set computing standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458803)

Nearly everything Microsoft has done was glorified what Apple has allready set into place. All starting with the GUI. sure, Apple can't take credit for ever little thing, but where do you think you got your 'point and click' interface from? Or standardized CD ROMs? Who got USB popular, or FireWire the DV standard? Microsoft has alot of weight to through around, but inovation comes elsewhere.
However, in this case, Microsoft seems to be the inovator, for recently Apple faught with them (and others) to keep open standards with the web. Inovateve or not, i dont like where this 'myServices' could be leading. Knowing Microsofts past, this could turn the 'net to a nasty place. Or turn other companies into martyr's in the web, like Apple has been for platfroms.

Re:Sense when as MS set computing standards? (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458872)

Your fancy 'point and click' interface actually came from Xerox [webmasterbase.com] .

Re:Sense when as MS set computing standards? (2, Insightful)

jjeff (80578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458883)

but where do you think you got your 'point and click' interface from?


From Xerox of course, apple got the GUI from them.
True Apple has turned it in to a piece of art (wheras M$ has turned it into a piece of S$@*).


Unfortunately M$ has set standards.. file extensions. because their programmers seem to think filename extensions are an effective way of determining file types. (yeah renaming a .exe to .txt works! :-P).

Must be nice... (2, Flamebait)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458804)

(Customer walks into bank)

LOAN OFFICER: "So, Mr. Customer, what's your business plan?"

CUSTOMER: "Well, see, I'm going to compete with a multi-billion dollar Japanese company by building a product that will lose $2 billion over the next three years, then break even, hopefully."

LOAN OFFICER: "Sounds great! We'll finance whatever you need."


(Customer walks into bank in the real world)

LOAN OFFICER: "So, Mr. Customer, what's your business plan?"

CUSTOMER: "Well, see, we need a small loan to help expand our business. We saved our nickels and dimes, ate soup and drove 15-year old cars for three years and built this product and generated some sales, but now we want to make the product better with more features and perhaps get some part-time employees."

LOAN OFFICER: "Sounds great! Naturally, you'll need cash exceeding the value of the loan as collateral deposited here at our bank in our lowest-interest account, platinum-lined credit that rings softly in a light breeze, 12 references, a 50-page annotated business plan, three years of financials audited by a big-six accounting firm, an autobiography, two full-time sources of secondary income, oh, and real estate, LOTS of real estate... financial projections for five years showing sustainable 20% weekly growth with full supporting documentation, a large portfolio of blue-chip equity holdings and nice fat juicy municipal bonds, three co-signers and a silver partridge in a golden pear tree, and please fill out this 40 page application. Your loan will be reviewed by the committee at the next meeting in... four months."

CUSTOMER: "But we'll be out of business by then!"

LOAN OFFICER: "Have a nice day!"

You forgot a couple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458843)

SLASHDOLT: Indrema's gonna RuLeZ!


ESR: Microsoft's stock is going to go into a death spiral in the first quarter of 2001. Oh yeah, and VA Linux RuLeZ, I think I'll join the board and get $41 million worth of stock options!

Re:Must be nice... (1)

geschild (43455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458856)

These examples are a nice laugh but also _the_ example of abuse of monopoly power. To use the profit of one part of a bussiness to get into a new market while losing gross amounts of money is just as much 'using monopoly power' as is tying a product . Microsoft is using revenues to force its way into new markets and unless shareholders go revolting nothing will be done about it. Lets face it unless the downturn of the economy will stop them for financial reasons this is just another mark on their guitar.

And some people wonder why other people actually despise Microsoft...

Karma? What's that again?

Not quite right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458882)

See, 'case while the latter example is only a little exagerated, the former is pure fiction. In this case the "bank customer" already _has_ the 2 bil, in cash & exandable as hell. The fact that they got it from an unrelated monopoly & are using those proceeds to attempt to buy into snother one is despicable, but not for the rason you offered.

"Microsoft is kind." (2)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458805)


Writers must meet deadlines. The often are not given the time to learn everything they need to know. So, they string together some nice-sounding phrases. Sometimes, for a few sentences in a row, they sound like they understand the subject. Then they say something that shows they don't really:

That is why Microsoft has always sold its operating system cheaply and has done everything to make life easy for programmers.

"Make life easy" as in artificial limits on resources in Windows 95, 98, and ME. Later this,

Microsoft will continue to be a kinder giant, predicts Rick Sherlund of Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, if only because "the whole world is watching".

He called Microsoft kind. Oh yeah. They probably both have Microsoft stock they would like to sell at less of a loss.

Then this:

It does not help Microsoft's credibility that its new-found faith in openness does not seem to apply to Windows itself.

Whoops, not kind. More "kindness":

Microsoft's concept of openness is reminiscent of a funnel: easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Visual Studio .NET allows programmers to write software in many different programming languages. But the code the tool generates runs only on .NET.

Sometimes writers just use their imagination:

To convince the world that it will henceforth compete on the quality of its products alone, Microsoft must do something more radical. One possibility would be to accept the kind of antitrust settlement that would clearly signal a shift.


What should be the Response to Violence? [hevanet.com]

Re:"Microsoft is kind." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458885)

yeah, but the author meant, Microsoft is "kind", like this bud I am smoking is "the kind bud", so, really, if Microsoft is the kind, then breaking them up is a good idea if they are too moist, so they dont mold. (Keep them being the kind)

Re:"Microsoft is kind." (2, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458917)

After September 11th, while every other media source was running the usual watered down stories presenting simplistic views of the situation (everything from the geopolitics of the situation to any possible bioterror threat), the Economist has been consistently running articles examining the situation in depth [economist.com] [economist.com] and not trying to present its readers with some beautified and doctored picture of what's really going on to give people a warm fuzzy fealing inside or capitalise on the shock-value *cough*CNN*cough*.

And you know what? It's nice having a publication which doesn't treat you like an idiot or a child. Or one which isn't 90% adverts. Or only tells you what you want to hear.

You can bash Microsoft, but you don't bash The Economist. :)

The Economist happens to be one of the most trusted publications around; they have a well-deserved repuation for being right. You can pretty much guarentee that any article by them is well researched and as accurate as they come.

To be brutally frank, the kind of articles you find in the Economist [economist.com] [economist.com] are far beyond what you typically read on /. in terms of complexity, subtlety and breadth of vision, without the usual journalistic bias and bullsh*t you find in a lot of other places - particularly online.

What I find most ironic about the Economist is they usually do a lot better job at picking the important (tech) stuff [economist.com] [economist.com] than most of the tech publications; best of all - they've usually picked it out months before it's mostly ignored by the likes of Wired.


If more people read the Economist, the world would be a better place. :o)

Microsoft setting standards (5, Interesting)

javaman235 (461502) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458806)

I was actually at a dinner party the other night here in Seattle and was able to chat with a high level IT manager for Microsoft...It was pretty interesting to talk to him about where Microsoft is headed from the business perspective: He said basically that Windows XP should be on every computer in the world, no exceptions. When I asked him about the implications of NSA backdoors for other countries governments, he didn't even give an inch. (but said that other OS's can take a small part of the percentage, so long as it remains "very small").

Anyway, the wierd thing I learned from this guy was that the upper management at Microsoft actually plans to be collecting revenue from basically every computer user in the world through liscenses and .NET services in the pretty near future...They live in a reality where they believe everybody has a buttload of money to spend on "web services" and software liscenses, and as soon as they open the floodgates its just gonna come pouring in!

anyway, I'm not religious, I use Microsoft stuff all the time. More power to them. But its just not gonna happen...Microsoft has had its glory days, and now I am starting to see the seeds of the computer world "moving on". People simply don't have the cash or interest now that the Internet boom is gone to pretend that they are gonna get rich by installing XP server for their company. Those days are gone, now people want the basic functionality they need at the lowest possible prices.

I pledge alligience (5, Funny)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458810)

to the United Subsidieries of the United Coportation of Microsoft. And to the rules of the EULA, for which I agree to never pirate or copy any intellectual property, I Company, under Corporation, for which privacy fails, and laws abound, for lawyers.

-Daily morning speech for employees

Re:I pledge alligience (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458832)

holy shit that wasn't funny at all

Re:I pledge alligience (2)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458837)

Sorry I didn't meet your funny meter.

To each his own, I guess.

Re:I pledge alligience (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458913)

Oh fuck off. Do you give a fuck about the oil companies, the car companies, or agriculture companies having a monopoly and/or overcharging and what have you? I'm willing to bet you barely given it a thought. First of all, most people CHOSE to use MS products. It's hard to CHOOSE not to eat. How exactly are consumers hurt by what they do? You say they are collecting personal info about their customers with XP? Nope, you can register XP as anonymous. Are large corporations being hurt by MS? Perhaps somewhat, but do you care if they fuck over a consumer? I'm getting really fucking sick and tired of motherfuckers like you, you piece of shit! No one on here give a flying fuck about monopolies execpt when they come to their luxury items. People probably like you will bitch about the MPAA and their DVD restrictions. Well, don't buy DVD players and movies. Bitch about the RIAA and their trying to stop file sharing? Who the fuck cares? If you bought the god damned CD, you could make your own MP3's and OGG's. I'm also willing to bet that at LEAST 75% of file sharing on P2P networks is done illegaly. Downloading a whole song for listening is NOT fair use at all. I think you, and people like you are nothing but greedy theives who don't care who the fuck they steal from, but they just want it. All MS is trying to do is excert the freedom of capitalism, since that is what you probably love so much. If you want controls and regulation on your econonmy and businesses, you're in the wrong country. The only really people being hurt by MS's integration of s/w are other large corporations like Adobe. So you know what, go suck some other idiot slashdot'ers cock you fuck!

Since when did MS ever set any standards? (3, Insightful)

dido (9125) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458827)

Everything Microsoft ever did since the very beginning was steal ideas from other people and companies and market them as their own. Ask Tim Paterson, Gary Kildall, Apple, Stac Electronics, or Spyglass. They very nearly got away with this with Java, but Sun was watchful, and now, what they're doing with C# and .NET is basically a reinvention of what Java already is. It makes me wonder if the bigwigs inside Microsoft ever had an original thought in their own heads.

Difference here is, IBM actually did set computing standards in its time. They actually did innovate a lot of things in a big way. And they had the humility to accept that while they could remain powerful and influential, they could not remain the force that drove the computing revolution.

Re:Since when did MS ever set any standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458921)

You're an idiot. Who gives a flying fuck if MS doesn't "create new standards". If you can make as much money as they do with using other peoples "standards" then go right ahead. By the fucking way you fuck, did you happen to go to w3c.org and look at who's on all the committies. It's almost always at least ONE person from MS. So go blow your holier than thou shit our your ass!

Reminder to self: must let PHB read this (2, Interesting)

geschild (43455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458842)

This is actually true journalism. Reporting the facts as they see them without taking a position per se. As such it paints a grim but realistic picture of the future of computing.

It shows two roads ahead instead of just the one BG sees through his (obviously worn out) glasses.

One road is that where Microsoft gets new leadership because BG steps down in time. Down that road lies an IBM-like future for Microsoft with plenty of opportunities and a more 'normal' growth pattern for the company.

The other road is the one where BG isn't willing or capable of stepping down and Microsoft will go on with it's current practices. The writer doesn't really predict what might happen but has a swing at it by saying (between the lines) that revenue-growth may not be able to keep up it's march forward.

The bottom line is that if your PHB isn't _real_ dimwitted _and_ has an idea of economics (I know it might be too much to ask but still) he may get this. The fact that it reads "The Economist" on top should at least help a bit.

Karma? What's that again?

advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458844)

I see many questionable advertising practices [dhs.org] in Microsoft's future. I wish that picture was a joke.

--
chahast AT pangaea FOO dhs FOO org
s/FOO/dot

Re:advertising? (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458865)

Meh, at least that goes away. It could have been much worse.
They could have tried to etch their logo into the moon with a giant laser cannon. ;p~

...emotions... (1)

TV-SET (84200) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458845)

"I hope you die" (C) Bloodhound Gang.

Microsoft has caused more pain then all of my relatives all together.

Becoming another IBM is not the worst case (3, Interesting)

kingdon (220100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458847)

I was amused by the notion that for Microsoft to follow in the footsteps of IBM, as a company that no longer sets standards, would somehow be the bad scenario. Well, things could have been worse for IBM. They had a near-death experience in about 1993. Sure, they had inertia, it could have taken them decades to finally fade away (a la Control Data, Unisaurus, DEC, and many others), but that they revitalized themselves rather than fade away is thanks to having reinvented the company (including their first-ever layoffs, just to pick one example). The best reference I could quickly find was an article [businessweek.com] from Business Week, which seems to capture the essential points.

The significance for Microsoft? Well it is pretty early to start pondering a post-Microsoft era and I'm not sure I see any signs of collapse in the various cracks which appear around the sides of the empire. But if a collapse does come, it could be more catastrophic than you'd think.

Cool (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458853)

Sounds like the perfect article for a bunch of zealots who worship a outdated clone of a 30-year old OS to criticize another company's creativity and vent their jealousies. *Checks previous posts* Yep, I was right again!

Linux and Windows my 2 cents on the war (2, Insightful)

lgraney (309188) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458887)

Being a recent convert to Linux I have to see that for front end desktops windows has the edge for now.

The problem is that Linux has reached the 90% syndrome, that is Linux has 90% of the features required for it to be a front end desktop. As we all know it takes 90% of the development time for these final 10% of features. KDE and GNOME are almost ready, Star Office 6.0 will be a competitor for Microsoft office in a few months. Microsoft have always taken existing technology and made it easy to use (legal and moral issues aside). Would you teach your mother Linux or Windows.

Linux is a tool that now can be used in specific requirements in a back office role and for obtaining a cheap UNIX environment where required. It is not ready for the desktop yet (for technical people yes, for ordinary computer phobic users no). The problem is with the Open Source and most Linux companies cannot make money from their products (just look at what can be achieved with Star Office when a large company does get behind Linux).

With Windows 2000 and XP we have finally got rid of that huge mess the 9X product line gave us, and I am considering upgrading (but only to the PRO version and not until XP SP1).

Issues such as Microsoft FUD and support issues for Linux have now been resolved. Based simply on the products Windows has the edge in a few areas for now. Give it another year and I feel Linux will be able to compete (when things like Star Office, Mozilla, and many other projects finally hit a 1.0 release).

I use Linux and Solaris at work and I want to see Linux succeed.

When I was a lad... (1)

saqmaster (522261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458888)

What exactly do IBM do these days anyway? It's like when you're a kid and your father say's "When I was a lad... etc etc.."

Setting standards... I think not.. (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458892)


MS is worried that it won't be setting computing standards ? But it _never_ _ever_ has. Its forte has been ignoring standards and setting out on its own. Its problem now with the concept of the pervasive web and pervasive computing is that its #1 reason for this succeeding, its OS is not longer going to be ubiquidous.

IBM failed because they didn't see the PC revolution, MS have seen the pervasive web, and are trying to get onto it, but their problem is that by its very nature its a non-MS world. Where IBM missed the bandwagon the issue here is that MS want to get onto the one that it has previously tried to blow off the rails. Will Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens, IBM, HP, Sun allow MS to join their tea party.

Hopefully not. But there is no accounting for CEO stupidity. MS have to undergo a culture change, their adoption of XML and SOAP looked good, until they haven't implemented the SOAP stuff to the SOAP standard yet (and they are on the bloody standards body!). That underlying aim of embrace, extend, extinguish was fine while they controlled the OS, but with internet aware consumer devices the bar of quality, reliability and interoperability has been raised.

To quote my wife "So people accept that Microsoft write crap code, and even blame themselves for problems, thats the reason I gave up using the PC"

Its true my wife uses the PC very rarely for a bit of browsing and email... but there is no way she would put up with a mobile phone that hangs.

Interesting use of statistics here.. (3, Informative)

ymgve (457563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458904)

At first glance, the graph titled 'Redmond Blues' looks like it's showing a decline in Microsoft's earnings. However, the real numbers are quite the opposite - the graph shows how many percent increase the earnings have had since last year, and it is of cours natural for the curve to fall (since an $2.5 billion increase from $25b is only 10%, while an $2.5 billion increase from $6 is almost 60%).

But somehow they have warped the statistics (intentionally?) to make the curves more grim.
To their defense, it is stated clearly in the text of the article, but the subtle difference between text and graphics might be hard to spot.(Especially since it's easier to think up a conclusion from a curve than a paragraph of text)

what future ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2458915)

microsoft has no future, this explains why they want to know where you go today.

IBM does not develop cutting edge technology?...! (0)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458916)

And a 32bit candy colored OS is? Microsoft wishes it could be IBM... But will probably choke on it's own delusion

The Economist has got it wrong before. (1)

Anton Anatopopov (529711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458925)

But this time I think their analysis is correct. Big Blue got the point where its arrogance became its downfall. I can see the same thing happening to Microsoft.

A telling moment for me happened when I was watching 'south park' the movie. When a cartoon Bill Gates got shot and everyone in the theater laughed, I knew Microsoft's days were numbered.

You cannot screw the customer over time and again and get away with it.

Underlying fear?? (1)

James Foster (226728) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458926)

I wouldn't have thought Microsoft would have underlying anything. Whilst they keep their source code very much closed-source, their business practices, fears and strategies are so damn obvious that anyone knows their next move and why.
They pretty much repeat a pattern. Set their own standards that stray from other standards so that competition falls behind and they dominate the market. Then when competition starts to catch up on their standards, they create new standards to ensure their market domination. Lots of users upgrade to their latest product because their previous one is bug-ridden. The users then start using some of the new features in that product and hence competition starts losing ground. For example, Microsoft's latest evil is .NET, although there is a chance they might have failed this time! I know plenty of Windows 2000 users who are happy with that and have clearly said they're not going to upgrade, this will be beneficial in resisting .NET.

I just thought it was kinda obvious what Microsoft's tactics are. They stay in business by setting standards and obviously they'd be very scared of losing that advantage.
A great article though, as it goes into much greater detail.

The huge difference between the two (5, Insightful)

schmim (412965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2458936)

By the time you get to this post, you know all about IBM's near death experience of the early 90s.
Its true, IBM set standards.. and a lot of them. But did you know that IBM still puts out more patents than any other corporation in the world (per year)?
They're still a company that innovates.
What they realized was that instead of innovating and then trying to force that upon users .. It was far lest costly for them to just toss out a few options and let users go along with them.
The moved from the manufacturing industry to a service industry .. which is why, in the recent slump, they've managed to stay relatively strong despite losses.
The thing is .. IBM's a company that services everything... not just AIX running on RS/6000s or Aptivas or Thinkpads. IBM is huge on supporting and partnering with its competition as well. Global Services has a larger NT support team than microsofts! They support sun too.
Anyway.. what's the point of all of this?
IBM changed its philosophy to diversify.
I don't see microsoft going down that road. Even though they're strategy is failing (or is at leasted doomed to) .. they seem very pigheaded about continuing on the same route.
If they stay on the track they're on, they'll spiral down just like IBM almost did.
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