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Former Windows Chief on Microsoft Vs. Open-Source

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the versus dept.

Microsoft 387

prostoalex writes "Brad Silverberg, former chief of Microsoft Windows division, who left the company in 1999, is being interviewed by the Milestone Group, on Microsoft specifically, and the software venture capital world in general (Silverberg is currently working as managing partner for Ignition Partners). He provides an interesting viewpoint on Microsoft's understanding of open source: 'I don't think they have figured that out yet, I think that is clear. They are struggling with not so much open source, per se, but rather they are no longer the low price solution. In the past Microsoft was the low cost solution and Microsoft was then competing and attacking expensive proprietary systems from below. Now for the first time the tables are turned and it's Microsoft that's being attacked from below by a lower price solution. Microsoft needs to figure out how it can demonstrate better TCO to justify its higher prices. Another aspect to that, which is an area I think Microsoft is also struggling with, which is when you are as successful and dominant as they are, how do you continue to foster that ecosystem? What really propelled Microsoft Windows success was an ecosystem that they created that allowed other people to benefit from your success. Actually your success was really a side effect or byproduct of their own success.'"

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387 comments

Cue up the (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741447)

Microsoft sucks monkeyballs one-liners

Re:Cue up the (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741472)

Cue the prancing sweaty stinking monkey boy and the "Developers, Developers, Developers" rant. I can just imagine the nausiating BO stink on the executive floor in Redmond.

Re:Cue up the (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741560)

Cue the prancing sweaty stinking monkey boy and the "Developers, Developers, Developers" rant. I can just imagine the nausiating BO stink on the executive floor at MS HQ.

Ecosystems are bullshit (0, Flamebait)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741461)

They are Harvard B School way of saying "Most of this shit is out of our control and we frankly don't have a clue on how to address it. So let's call it all organic economics"

Re:Ecosystems are bullshit (2, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741518)

_ALL_ Economics is based on "frankly don't have a clue on how to address it", except for the little bit that actually understands that the economy is a dynamic system with a _huge_ number of bodies and variables, and thus you must consider it using probablistic and statistical methods.

First step is to realise that "The Economy" is something that _WE_ created.... there is no intrinsic economy created by some supreme being.. and we shouldn't get carried away considering it as something holy that needs to be studied.

Re:Ecosystems are bullshit (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741644)

_ALL_ Economics is based on "frankly don't have a clue on how to address it", except for the little bit that actually understands that the economy is a dynamic system with a _huge_ number of bodies and variables, and thus you must consider it using probablistic and statistical methods.
Or you can model it [creativenz.govt.nz] using pipes and water [creativenz.govt.nz] , as done by Bill Phillips [inc.com] at the London School of Economics in 1949.

Re:Ecosystems are bullshit (4, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741739)

You still need input variables to your model, and as the model is a simplification in itself, you need to be extremely careful how you interpret the output.

I'm not saying that models have no value, but if the model tells you exactly what the gold price is going to be in 30 days time (for example), you need to know what the uncertainty is... which means we are back to probabilities and statistics.

A good way to use models is to perturb the inputs slightly and see how your outputs diverge. This is classic chaos theory. If a small change in input doesn't change the output, your model is stable.

Its relation to reality is another thing entirely. I've seen beautiful models that produce beautiful, stable, consistent but utterly meaningless results.

Bzzt (4, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741488)

I don't think they have figured that out yet, I think that is clear. They are struggling with not so much open source, per se, but rather they are no longer the low price solution.

Was Microsoft *ever* the low price solution? I'm sure I'm not the only one who laughed at the whole "they haven't figure that out yet" part. They haven't figured *anything* out yet. That's why we got rid of the feudal system -- because government, on all levels (including corporate management) should be for the people, by the people. My point is that Microsoft, being ruled by King Gates, is behind the times while they are trying to be ahead of the times. They are a working paradox. Open Source is to Closed Source, as Hive Societies are to Kingdoms; one clearly is better than the other and I think we can all agree which one it is.

Re:Bzzt (1, Insightful)

bwy (726112) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741547)

They haven't figured *anything* out yet.

Well, there was the little thing called MS DOS that became the basis of operating sytems for many operating systems to come, including one or two that are still in use today.

Re:Bzzt (4, Informative)

sbennett (448295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741706)

Yup, and they didn't even write that. They bought it (insanely cheaply, IIRC) and marketed it. There's one thing they have figured out and are extremely good at, and that's marketing.

Re:Bzzt (0, Troll)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741551)

I don't think you realize how long Microsoft has been around. See, I've been using computers since the 1980s (that's right, I said *80s*) and I am completely self-taught.

Once upon a time, IBM thought they could charge people $800 per seat for so-called "mainframe applications licenses" or MALs. This would enable you to sit at a dumb terminal, without so much as a copy of Firefox, to download poor-quality graphics all day long. Then, in 1980, Microsoft introduced their popular MS-DOS system, based on technology they licensed for a pittance. For only about $100 per seat, you could run rich multimedia applications (limited by the XT at first, but quickly unlimited) and eventually tap into the graphical interfaces afforded to users of Microsoft Windows.

Of course, Apple came along in 1984. They charged obscene prices -- anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 -- for a computer that did essentially the same things that Microsoft could do with Windows. It is only through Microsoft's generosity that personal computing truly became affordable.

Now, of course, Microsoft has been rendered obsolete by Linux. Just because they're meaningless now, doesn't mean that Microsoft has never been influential in reducing the price of computing.

Sincerely,
Seth Finklestein
Computer Historian

Re:Bzzt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741714)

Troll.

Re:Bzzt (1, Offtopic)

strictnein (318940) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741732)

good job mods, this guy is a perpetual troll

Nothing he posted is close to being correct or real. Look at this for instance:

dumb terminal, without so much as a copy of Firefox, to download poor-quality graphics all day long.

Yes, as we all know how all these dumb terminals supported graphics...

For only about $100 per seat, you could run rich multimedia applications (limited by the XT at first, but quickly unlimited)

Limited by the XT? Again, more garbage.

It is only through Microsoft's generosity that personal computing truly became affordable.

DID YOU READ THAT BEFORE MODERATING? Perhaps not.

Microsoft has been rendered obsolete by Linux.

Ah... so this is why he got moderated interesting

Re:Bzzt (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741746)

> Of course, Apple came along in 1984. They charged
> obscene prices -- anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000
> -- for a computer that did essentially the same
> things that Microsoft could do with Windows. ...long, long, LONG before there was any comparable version of Windows.

Also, ~$4000 used to be a rather mundane price for a serious "business class" PC. For the longest time, PCs and Macintoshes were BOTH rediculously overpriced compared to the other 68k competitors. PC's only just recently matched the price point of those 1985 era machines.

Re:Bzzt (1)

jekewa (751500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741826)

I remember my $600-ish Commodore 64 costing less than $200 when "PCs" were still four-digit investments.

Re:Bzzt (1, Interesting)

Zo0ok (209803) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741590)

I beleive I work for a company where MS is choosen because they are the low-price player.

Re:Bzzt (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741615)

That's fantastic, how did you manage to get MS to pay you use their software? Since Linux and/or BSD is free, the only way to be "the low-price player" is to pay you to use it.

Re:Bzzt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741788)

Since Linux and/or BSD is free...

As always, "...if your time has no value."

Re:Bzzt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741797)

Bzzt. Quite likely Linux/BSD wasn't a viable solution for the company's needs. Windows was most likely up against Solaris and other commercial Unix offerings, against which it is a low-cost solution.

Linux and BSD aren't the fantastic fits-every-role solutions their advocates would have everyone believe. It falls particularly short as a Desktop OS, particularly when software is required for which there is no capable or fully-functional open source competitor (MS Project, .NET framework, MS Office (OpenOffice is still quite lacking in a lot of regards), just to name a few). Not to mention the retraining requirements of moving to open source. Most people already know how to use a Windows system. Its often far cheaper to buy new windows licenses than to retrain them.

Yawn (5, Insightful)

rd_syringe (793064) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741593)

This article is basically what people here on Slashdot have already said ad nauseum. Microsoft is struggling to compete with something free, and Microsoft is struggling to compete with itself. I already knew that from countless discussions on the subject beforehand.

Re:Bzzt (1)

Tofurkey (738883) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741595)

Low price solution: shelling out $$$$ for 25 3.5" diskettes of MS Office 4.3.

Clearly Mr. Silverberg still suffers from Redmond PTSD.

Re:Bzzt (5, Insightful)

djp928 (516044) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741599)

Yeah, back in the day when proprietary UNIX OSes running on proprietary hardware ruled the data center, Windows really *was* the low-cost solution--it ran on commodity hardware, and its licencing was often less onerous and expensive than their competitors.

Now that they're no longer really competeing with proprietary UNIX in the data center (they've pretty much taken all they're going to get in that market) along comes a new OS that also runs on commodity hardware, but has the added benefit of being (mostly) free as well.

Once upon a time, they really could argue that they were cheaper than the "big boys". Now, in the portion of the data center market they control, that's not true anymore.

-- Dave

Re:Bzzt (5, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741614)

Microsoft still is the low price solution. A linux liscense runs $699 from SCO, whereas XP Pro retails for 200.

Re:Bzzt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741781)

I believe the current price is $1499, $699 was just the special introductory offer.

Re:Bzzt (4, Interesting)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741617)


Was Microsoft *ever* the low price solution?

Yes, they were.

Back in the 1980's when they were first coming out.

The new standard IBM PC with MS-DOS was a low price solution compared to the alternative of mainframe applications.

Now, however, as hardward costs have continued to plummet, the market really wants the established technology to fade into an open standard with insignificant cost.

The IT decision makers are asking themselves the hard questions like:

If Ethernet and TCP/IP are open standards that have no cost and are essential to my business' operation, why then is it that Windows, a standard, and essential to my business' operation, has a cost associated with it?
Rewrapping Windows with added new features to justify charging for it can only go so far. It's actually come a long way for MS, but arguably their "innovation in the OS" theme has been pushing the bounds of the credible for a while.

Re:Bzzt (4, Funny)

k98sven (324383) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741843)

The new standard IBM PC with MS-DOS was a low price solution compared to the alternative of mainframe applications.

Yes, and a Big Mac is a low price solution compared to the alternative of a 5-course dinner banquet.

The PC didn't compete with the mainframe. It still doesn't, really.

I think you were thinking about minis, e.g. PDP:s, VAXen, and the like.
They competed for the same space as the PC, as an office computer. Those were killed off by the PC:s, obviously to the extent that some have even forgotten them completely!

As for "Low cost alternative", I do agree. The PC was a low cost alternative to a mini, and Microsoft Windows made the PC a low-cost alternative to the Mac.

Re:Bzzt (2, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741632)

"Was Microsoft *ever* the low price solution?" Oh yes. You have to cast your mind back to when they were the guerilla under-dog with an 'open OS' on an open PC platform up against big iron mainframes with proprietary architectures and closed, obstruse OSs. Plucky MS users fought against monolithic controlling IT policies to introduce machines that *they* could control.

I hadn't thought until I read the article just how good the parallels were, and how Microsoft's role has been recast since those days.

Re:Bzzt (1)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741696)

When I got into computers in 1994 you had (as I remember) three choices for the PC platform: OS/2, PC-DOS (if you could find it, it wasn't sold anywhere near where I lived) and MS-DOS. Technically you had Linux -but bearing in mind that at that point in time Linux was still raw and unstable, and also had a fiercely steep learning curve for someone who simply wanted to play Doom and call up a bbs or two.

So, basically, this leaves OS/2 and MS-DOS. between the two, the system requirements alone for OS/2 put it out of the "low cost" arena - forget about the sticker price (which I remember being around $200 -but I could be wrong).

So, yes, given that you could run MS-DOS on a 386sx (or even less!) with an ega display, microsoft was -indeed- the low cost solution for the early 90s.

Re:Bzzt (5, Informative)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741736)

Was Microsoft *ever* the low price solution?

Yes, once upon a time, they were.

Back in the mid-80s, I worked for a little value added retailer which sold medical billing systems. They sold Xenix/Altos and Pick/General Automation systems with several users on several terminals, and competed with IBM, which sold mini computers which cost far more than the tens of thousands our systems cost.

When IBM PC compatibles became a major force in the market, we were able to undercut our old systems dramatically. We weren't selling MS systems, but every PC system we sold had MS-DOS on it. We were able to undercut ourselves, and cut our own throats.

Microsoft gets a bit of the credit for this, because they provided the standard and open[1] (but proprietary) base that companies like Peachtree, Kaypro and Compaq could build on. Suddenly, there was no need to support a group of engineers and programmers in your home town who could integrate hardware and write software to get the job done. Peachtree and the clones did it from the Bay Area, cheaper and better, as long as better meant cheaper.

MS was always cheaper than what it replaced, jsut as the platform it ran on was cheaper than the minis. MS was making it big on volume. Today, they've got more volume than ever before, but the new competition is able to cut prices all the way to zero, forever, and that's just the opening salvo in the price war. MS aren't stupid. They may figure it out eventually, but they may stumble badly on the way.

[1] The PC BIOS sourcecode was listed in the manual. Command.com was simple enough that you could figure it out using debug.exe.

Re:Bzzt (2, Insightful)

cmacb (547347) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741794)

I think they were the low-price-spread back when people still used a variety of word processors. There were a number of word processing alternatives to WordPerfect for a while and I don't think it was crystal clear that Word was the best of them. But as people gradually started getting computers that were capable of running the early versions of Windows, Microsoft used those secret API calls as well as low price as a way of making it a no-brainer to go with Office. Unfortunately some of those aging DP managers who made that no-brainer decision, as it turns out, actually don't have brains and are still finishing up their careers bragging about how they were able to install Prodigy on their home computers without help, you know, back in the good old days.

A new generation of management I hope will make a more objective decision about their computing needs. It seems like it takes forever for the old farts to die off though.

Oh, wait a minute, I'm an old fart too!

Re:Bzzt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741808)

Open Source is to Closed Source, as Hive Societies are to Kingdoms; one clearly is better than the other and I think we can all agree which one it is.


How ironic, the inflexible mindset of the OSS crowd. I'm tempted to let your arrogance stand and fall on its' own; but I can't resist citeting out a quote from the linux advocacy site Linux Myths [linuxmyths.org] .


Q: Linux? Isn't linux just for computer snobs who sit on irc chat rooms all day and pat each other on the back?

A: Yes, there is no small amount of 'newbie' hostility and arrogance in the linux world. However, to counter that, there are a good number of people involved in Open Source who are friendly, helpful and aware that the most important consideration to any computing choice is using what gets the job done, and not blindly clinging to ideologies

Re:Bzzt (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741836)

Was Microsoft *ever* the low price solution? I'm sure I'm not the only one who laughed at the whole "they haven't figure that out yet" part.

Remember, we are not talking about home computing or hobbyist type things here, we are talking business computing. For example, the big HP and DEC machines that the noobs here think of as "mainframes" (now, the Cyber 70 was a "mainframe", but the DECs and Control Data refrigerators where just "minis"). Remember, there was a time, long long ago, about the time Microsoft was formed, that desktops where toys, and getting a minimal machine to do minimal tasks required a lot of $$ investment. At that time, Microsoft was the low boy on the block.

Re:Bzzt (5, Insightful)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741915)

I think you're behind the times, kid. Microsoft hasn't been ruled by "King Gates" in some time...he's moved on to more of an advisory roll and delegated most of the company's decisions to Balmer. Furthermore, there are a number of markets in which Microsoft still has the low price solution...for example, if you want a reliable load balanced database, SQL Server kicks the price pants off of Oracle and DB2. Sybase is languishing and open source doesn't have anything remotely near the feature set of these four (no, we can't all use MySQL).

You're also apparently unaware of some of the options Microsoft was faced with on their way to becoming the "huge, oppressive, evil monopoly" that made my second favorite operating system. Back in the day, you could drop $300+ on a copy of Word Perfect, or get Word for something like $100. Like Open Source today, Word was the inferior solution from a feature set and usability standpoint, but it was cheaper and offered enough functionality that most people didn't care. Later, Office sprung up as a way to further lower costs by offering the most common pieces of software for one low price. This left Lotus and WordPerfect scrambling to put together a package that was similar and/or better for a similarly low price. In the end, Microsoft's suite was better integrated, interoperated better (e.g. AmiPro/WordPro could open MS documents well but not visa versa, leaving MS as the defacto standard) and above all cheaper than its competitors.

Of course, this was well before they were officially a monopoly, back when Lotus and Word Perfect still had a chance to make a decent product, a chance neither of them was capable of. Microsoft won this war because they had better businessmen. The problem is, they didn't change their policies once they won...and you can't play the "exclusive contract" game once you've out-stripped your competeition.

Finally, your government systems analogy is kind of foolish. Hive Societies may be "better" idealistically, but historically have never really worked beyond a certain population level. On the other hand, kingdoms have been quite stable and succesful, especially in parts of the world where individual wealth and education are too concentrated to promote an egalitarian society. In fact, on the micro level almost all systems break down into localized oligarchies, with a single set of localized idea-men and a series of lackeys doing what these men say. A single charismatic ruler will always have better luck at efficiently organizing people and delivering services than a committee in a constant power struggle -- this happens so reliably, I think it is safe to assume that it is a genetic predisposition in the human animal to choose a definite vision when available.

Extrapolating from this, since user education in the computer field will always a bigger issue than price, and most Open Source packages are by definition indefinite, open ended entities, I think we can safely assume Open Source isn't going to revolutionize the proletariat's desktop any time soon.

Let TCO wars begin.. (5, Interesting)

silverbolt (578120) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741493)

Microsoft is likely to agressively start publishing TCO comparisons in various media outlets. Like all statistics, TCO numbers can be fudged too, but most customers will still believe whatever numbers are pushed to them. Open Source folks need to go out there also and start publishing their cost ownership numbers, with real life examples.

Re:Let TCO wars begin.. (5, Interesting)

golge011 (720796) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741662)

Todays TCO comparisons are useful only to cloud comsumers mind. There should be a better and preferably an objective way of comparing OS costs. Maybe when OpenSource solutions become much more mainstream, a way to compare will be found. But till that time the company who has more resources will win.

(Or are there such methods, or standards?)

--
Not a native English speaker.

Re:Let TCO wars begin.. (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741733)

Microsoft is likely to agressively start publishing TCO comparisons in various media outlets.

I'd say they've already started, or am I hallucinating when I see a Microsoft ad on Slashdot claiming Windows XP has a lower TCO than Linux? Never mind the differences in hardware; all MS hopes is that PHBs will see "Windows" "lower TCO" and "Linux", and immediately pick up the phone to reach an MS salesdroid.

Re:Let TCO wars begin.. (3, Insightful)

mm0mm (687212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741829)

I believe that the TCO studies may have valid points IF they are unbiased, but the data MS releases is partial and everything else that doesn't make Windows look good will be disregarded. they are the one who conduct the study, so they can choose only the desirable results to be released to public.

another problem is that MS funded TCO studies do not accurately anticipate downtime caused by malware or virus outbreaks. windows may be the winner in some studies, but statistics on paper can't guarantee a lower TCO in real life. If MS wants to be more credible, they should conduct a research on average downtime and estimate of financial damages caused by malware/virus last 6 months. My guess is that the world biggest marketing company won't do.

Re:Let TCO wars begin.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741877)

Yeah here are the TCO "real life examples" from the unemployed 19 year old slashbot crowd:

+ Linux is always $free.
+ Linux Support Contracts are never required
+ Commercial Linux products are never needed, because there's always a free, no-support replacement.
+ Administration costs aren't important.
+ Beowolf clusters solve every imaginable problem.
+ Corporate installations are as simple as the HTTP server running in their basement.
+ Business care about their open source ideology.

Of course, once you graduate from college and remove these constraints, Linux doesn't always come out looking so hot, and maaaybeee the Redmond Empire is not going to collapse tomorrow afternoon.

Kinda interesting (4, Interesting)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741503)

It is kinda interesting to note - when thinking about the battle between Microsoft and the Open Source movement - the decentralized nature of Microsoft's main "enemy." The article states that Microsoft used to be the inexpensive alternative to the more expensive proprietary solutions available on the market. However, with the tables turned, they are now facing a multitude of cheaper alternatives rather than one. Thus, I think Microsoft is not so much as facing cheaper alternate solutions in the same markets, but rather facing the different ideologies that are underlying in each of the respective markets of which the Open Source movement has spread into. To me, this is never a battle driven by competition leading to lower prices. Rather, it has always been the ideologies involved.

Re:Kinda interesting (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741769)

I respect your opinion on the matter, and for many people it does make a great deal of sense, but I see it differently.

I use OSS/Free Software when it's the best tool for the job. Right now I'm using Opera on Windows XP, but my servers run Linux.

OSS being cheaper($$$) than propriatary software is just one aspect of it being better in certain situations. As much as is possible, I leave my religion and politics out of my professional life.

For RMS and the like Free Software could be called a religion, the belief that Free Software is always better can be argued for convincingly. But ideology isn't a good way to convert new users.

People don't like being preached at. Standing on a soapbox browbeating people will get you fewer converts.

To me, this is never a battle driven by competition leading to lower prices. Rather, it has always been the ideologies involved.

I think that people like you, and people like me can and should work together on this. Lower prices is what prompted me to get my feet wet, so to speak, and that lead me to learn more about the OSS/Free Software philosophy. Use the lower price advantage to get people interested. Once they begin to listen to what you have to say, you can share the ideology without seeming like you're preaching or browbeating them.

LK

TCO is bogus (0, Flamebait)

Datagod (613152) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741510)

I am tired of reading about "total cost of ownership". It is a made-up concept that is used as part of the FUD campaign.

Re:TCO is bogus (4, Interesting)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741528)

How would you challenge TCO being a real thing? Evidence please. Most companies still have a bottom-line to account for; heck, even families do. TCO revolves around money. That's not made up, I'm afraid.

Re:TCO is bogus (1)

missing000 (602285) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741741)

Maybe the concept is not "made up", but the way it's used is really misleading. i.e. how do you decide when to stop measuring TCO? Is the cost of a technology switch 10 years from now part of the picture? How about a potential patent fight?

Then we move into the world of cost estimation. What is your employee's time really worth? Do they spend more time managing the interface of this app verses that app? The reality is that it is impossible to accurately guess what your TCO will be until you have tried the product in a large deployment in your environment.

So while not made up, the term is indeed less than useful. Mostly, it appears to be used to justify using antiquated and mainstream solutions.

Re:TCO is bogus (5, Insightful)

bwy (726112) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741584)

I am tired of reading about "total cost of ownership". It is a made-up concept

Any concept of the inner workings of a Fortune 500 company? i.e. what it means to have thousands upon thousands of non technical users who are now required to use a PC for their job 8 hours a day? Any idea on earth what it costs to support these people? (hint- these operatives may make as low as minimum wage, but the people supporting them certainly don't!)

Re:TCO is bogus (4, Insightful)

riptide_dot (759229) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741671)

TCO, Total Cost of Ownership, isn't bogus - it's just a different/newer way of looking at how much an asset "really" costs someone. It might be used in some FUD that some software (or any other) companies put out to try and get people to buy their product, but it doesn't have to apply just to software and/or computers.

You could apply a TCO formula to just about everything. For example, the "TCO" of my car includes:
- How much I paid for it,
- How much insurance costs me,
- What the gas mileage is (how much gas costs me),
- How many people can it hold (how "efficient" is it?),
- How many other uses does it have that would cost me money to get otherwise (like towing), and
- other factors that I'm sure I'm forgetting right now.

One definition of TCO found on the web is (and there are a few):

"The life cycle cost view of an asset, which includes acquisition, setup, support, ongoing maintenance, service and all operating expenses. It focuses attention on the sum of all costs of owning an asset, as opposed to the initial or vendor cost, and is useful in outsourcing decisions."

(From The Bridgefield Group [bridgefieldgroup.com] )

Plus ça change ... (3, Insightful)

Y2 (733949) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741511)

There are damn few large businesses that can handle a large change, let alone a fundamental change. Those that survive change (GE, e.g.) are generally so massive that they can lose some divisions' whole business model and carry on.

Re:Plus ça change ... (1)

bwy (726112) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741612)

Although, Apple sure turned themselves around. Some will disagree but just look at everything that has happened OS X and beyond....

Re:Plus ça change ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741707)

Wow, Apple sells computers, too?
Thanks for the tip, I thought they were just making those overpriced players.

hopefully... (1)

chachob (746500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741521)

this is someone microsoft WILL listen to, given his former position, and change their strategy to better accomodate for the changing market nowadays.

he said that the tables have turned since microsoft was attacking the more expensive proprietary solutions corporations...maybe its a cycle and eventually we will see linux on top with something new attacking it from below...?

Re:hopefully... (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741869)

From where would such an attack from below come? If the commercial distros become cancerous, it is possible to bypass them. From the other companies we will have beaten in your hypothetical situation? Supposedly, we in OSS are self-motivated; that would kill that theory. From the BSD crowd? For fear of being modded Troll, I'm not even going there.

Realistically, that leaves only internal instability as knocking us down from the top, once we get there.

Two points: (5, Interesting)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741541)

In the past Microsoft was the low cost solution and Microsoft was then competing and attacking expensive proprietary systems from below. Now for the first time the tables are turned and it's Microsoft that's being attacked from below by a lower price solution.


That is certainly true, but there's also a pscyhological dynamic as well. In the past (up until 1995) to some degree Microsoft was seen in two ways - the underdog (compared to the still-seen-as-evil IBM) and the platform of geeky freeware tinkerers. You used to have entire cottage industries that catered to the nerd contingent (eg JPSoft) of people who would sit at home
and -on thier dos computers- see what they could contruct on their own and how they could push the performance of their 386sx computers.

So, not only does Microsoft suffer from signifigantly higher TCO, but they also have lost any sort of "outsider" aka geek cred that they may have had pre-1995.

I believe that this, along with the ill-will from Microsoft's more famous stumblings (eg, crushing netscape) have gone a long way to erode any kind of good will that computer users may have once had for them.

What really propelled Microsoft Windows success was an ecosystem that they created that allowed other people to benefit from your success. Actually your success was really a side effect or byproduct of their own success. If they saw a way that they could develop your platform, make money for themselves and build big businesses.


Actually, the reverse is true. By and large over the last 11 years -starting with the assimilation of disk compression and one or two symantec technologies- Microsoft has built their success on the successful deployment of third party technologies. The pattern has typically been that a signifigant technology will get a small foothold on the windows platform, and then when it starts to look promising, MS will either buy it out (in the case of many of its' office products) or clone it and make the original redundant (as was the case with netscape).

So, yes, they 'allowed' other players to grow on their platform, but I think it was more a matter of fattening them up for the kill!

Re:Two points: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741894)


Bold Marauder is a known troll. Read his comment history. He should be modded down into oblivion.

More "Studies" Due Soon (2, Funny)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741542)


"Microsoft needs to figure out how it can demonstrate better TCO to justify its higher prices."

By funding more objective [adti.net] "studies" [theregister.co.uk] , no doubt?

No, it's not competing on price (3, Insightful)

Nakito (702386) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741558)

Silverberg says, "In the past Microsoft was the low cost solution and Microsoft was then competing and attacking expensive proprietary systems from below."

In the realm of personal computers, I do not think this observation is accurate at all. Microsoft's approach was not to compete on price in the normal sense of the word. Rather, Microsoft's approach was to bundle applications with the operating system. Since these applications and utilities were thus already "paid for" (or included for "free" in people's minds), people had less incentive to buy competing applications, even though the competing applications were often better.

I think the distinction is important. If a particular application becomes popoular, Microsoft just rolls a copy of it into the OS, thereby gutting the market for that application. How many people buy Eudora anymore? Or Netscape? Or Trumpet Winsock? This is not the same thing as competing on price.

Re:No, it's not competing on price (5, Insightful)

prostoalex (308614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741616)

You're thinking of late-day Microsoft. The early-day Microsoft was often a pretty reasonable solution in terms of price.

WordStar and WordPerfect charged plenty for the word processors, plus if you wanted spell-check, that thing alone would cost you extra $300 or so. Then Microsoft came around with Word, which wasn't all great, but sufficiently functional and way cheaper.

The same with Windows NT - Novell is jumping the Linux bandwagon now only because it got its ass kicked by early Windows NT sales, which made Novell look way over-priced. True, early Novell was technologically superior to early Windows NT, but as the market expanded, NT got better and Novell became the bottom-feeder.

Re:No, it's not competing on price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741701)

Mod up -- exactly correct.

Re:No, it's not competing on price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741864)

The same with Windows NT - Novell is jumping the Linux bandwagon now only because it got its ass kicked by early Windows NT sales

That would be the $12,995 for an 'unlimited' version of Nt 3.1? Or would that be the $250 for 'unlimited' NT 3.5?

Re:No, it's not competing on price (4, Insightful)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741711)

Well, then, what happened to this strategy? Office doens't come bundled with Windows, in fact I don't know if it ever did.

When you buy a well packaged linux distribution, on the other hand, it comes with a software package for (as far as possible) every application already covered. Since installing SuSE 9.1 I can't recall having to download a single package, excepting mplayer for DVD playback support, and there are very good reasons why that's not included in the package.

In fact, this is an arguement that is increasingly being used by Linux advocates (like myself) who argue that the total cost of installation is considerably lower than a Windows setup with all the applications required.

Linux bundling openoffice mozilla etc no wonder (1)

urbieta (212354) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741754)

I recall not long ago /. posted a story on how spoiled we are because linux distros include EVERYTHING we need to start working, no more installing office since it's already there, no more downloading tweaking apps and a plethora of adittional goodies to make something work as we like, vi is all you need eiaehiaehiaheiaheiae

Lets see M$ bundle Office, ms chat, outlook, visio and more into windows for 50 bucks! heheh

Better yet, tell a windows moron to fix windows with notepad.exe heauheuaheuaehuaehuahe

Hmm... (4, Insightful)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741569)

I think it case could be made that very few people actually benefited from Microsoft's success that weren't inside of Microsoft. Yeah sure, a few developers here and there who made some apps, but most of them were then bought up by Microsoft (see: Visio). I think Microsoft is struggling, because for the first time they're having to actually sell their software on its merits. The customer has real choices. They can use Open Office that costs them nothing, or they can spend alot of money on Microsoft Office. Microsoft has to convince those people who use 1% of their products functionality that the product is worth the cost. As free or low cost alternatives come of age, that argument gets harder.

huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741583)

Why do people act as if Microsoft's ship is sinking? Is MS not GAINING in the server market? I could swear it was. Is MS not DOMINATING the desktop market? I could swear it was. Have I suddenly awoken in the fabled "Year of Linux"?

The only market MS seems to be slipping in is the web browser market. Even there, with 2(+?) years of doing nothing to improve their browser, they dominate the market.

Re:huh? (1)

sbennett (448295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741771)

Have I suddenly awoken in the fabled "Year of Linux"?

Yes, you have. Welcome to the Year Of Linux, number 3.

Re:huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741805)

Why do people act as if Microsoft's ship is sinking?

Because Microsoft is afraid. Microsoft has campaigns where Microsoft is telling that is it better than Linux. Microsoft is saying bad things about Linux. Now, ask your self. Why is Microsoft doing this if they are standing on solid ground?

Re:huh? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741879)

Is MS not GAINING in the server market?

No, just more servers sold! Look we already replaced 2 entire racks this year, not 1 server came with a preinstalled OS.

Uh-Huh (1)

Brainix (748988) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741909)

I don't know much about business, but as I understand it, there are certain market segments which can be viewed as "barometer markets," or as signs of things to come.

Microsoft may be in the dominant position today, but in these "barometer markets," open source software is making tremendous gains.

I believe the developer market is one such "barometer market."

Its whatever the kids use (5, Interesting)

nkntr (583297) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741586)

Microsoft, the (one time) king of software, believes it's own BS. The fact of the matter is, whatever the kids (high school and college) use is where the industry is going. Forget TCO and stuff like this. Back in the days of Windows 3.1, you could easily make the installation disks, and give them to your school mates and buddies, and so all the local kids had a copy. Sure, Apple was in the schools, but kids couldn't afford Apple (Macintosh) OS, so people stayed with Microsoft. Well, hello XP and such, where each and every user has to register.. kids can't get their hands on it and pass it around and such anymore. Enter Linux... :) In my opinion, Linux is going to win because kids can get it cheap, College students can get it cheap, and it is the kids that drives the next wave of OS's, not the price or TCO.

Re:Its whatever the kids use (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741613)

If the kids are smart enough to know about linux.. theyre most certainly in the know enough to pass around a pirated copy of windows.

Re:Its whatever the kids use (4, Interesting)

nkntr (583297) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741681)

I don't know. The reason I wrote my comment was due to observation. I was outside the computer science department at a local junior college and overheard a discussion.. one kid was asking another kid where he could get an os for the computer he had just pieced together. The knowledeable kid suggested Linux...free and cool and it's against the evil empire Microsoft. Well, as far as I know, they went away and loaded Linux. If it happens once, how many times does it happen? I just remember back when I was in college and having this exact same discussion about Mac and Windows, and I proved my point by making a set of disks and handing them the guy arguing with me and said "do that with a mac". Of course, he could not.

Re:Its whatever the kids use (4, Insightful)

Redrover5545 (795810) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741748)

Yeah, but most kids these days are interested in computers for one reason: games. And as long as all games will be released on the windows platform (including cracked versons of Windows XP), kids will keep on using windows.

Re:Its whatever the kids use (4, Insightful)

sbennett (448295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741811)

Even here, the situation is improving, from a Linux point of view. Look at UT2004 and Doom 3. Two of the big releases this year, and one has Linux binaries (and even an install script) on the same CDs as the windows version, and the other is promising Linux binaries to download. Linux gaming is going mainstream. Slowly, but it's happening.

Re:Its whatever the kids use (1)

riptide_dot (759229) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741942)

"Back in the days of Windows 3.1, you could easily make the installation disks, and give them to your school mates and buddies, and so all the local kids had a copy."

That much is true. The fact that Linux is easier to distribute will certainly help it become more prevalant amongst kids and student types that can't afford to purchase new OSes every year or two.

"In my opinion, Linux is going to win because kids can get it cheap, College students can get it cheap, and it is the kids that drives the next wave of OS's, not the price or TCO.

I have to disagree with you there. In this newer economy, management at large companies has to prove ROI and demonstrate what the TCO is for just about every new product/process that they have presented to them. Since Microsoft's market share comes from both home and business users, and in my experience, people (outside slashdot of course) tend to purchase operating systems they are the most familiar with, that usually means that the home users purchase the same OS that they use at work.

Most companies use testimonials from other companies and results of studies done within their industry to determine which path is the best one to take. Therefore, with the possible exception of places like MIT, most companies will not care what colleges and/or college students are running as their preferred OS - what will matter is what OS the other companies within their industry are running, why, and how that OS is working out for them. Since business is all about making money and downtime means profit loss, two primary factors will almost always factor into their decision:

- Stability
- Price

Their OS decision, therefore, will have little or nothing to do with how well a given product does with college students or kids. It will have more to do with how well the product works for them and how much it's going to cost them (overall, not just initially).

Why vrs Why Not? (3, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741588)

Why? - Because MS filled a need, a need for businesses to become more productive.

Why Not? - Because they are no longer meeting all IT needs, in fact they are basically the problem. Security is more important today.

It's wrong to say that you succeed with Microsoft (5, Interesting)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741596)

Microsoft has expanded into many markets that they didn't need to. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is even pragmatic, but it is not conducive toward encouraging others to prosper with you. The truth is that Microsoft has merely allowed others to live. It's easier to let Adobe exist than to build a competitor to Photoshop, but Microsoft has the resources to do it.

Look at how with Longhorn they're systematically attacking Macromedia by going after Flash and Shockwave. They're already trying to demolish Dreamweaver and if they take out Flash, Shockwave and Dreamweaver then Macromedia will be at best a shadow of its former self.

The problem with Microsoft's attitude of "only the paranoid survive" is that it causes companies to see competitors where they don't really exist. Netscape didn't compete with Microsoft and a business agreement with Netscape probably would have worked better. Same thing with Java. Microsoft should have worked hard to be "the best Java platform provider, period." If Microsoft did that then no one would want to run Java on any OS other than Windows because anything else would be second rate.

The only thing Microsoft needs now is an answer to IBM Global Services. Unfortunately they're too busy attacking the trees to realize that the forest is moving in to kill them. Linux is just a few trees in the greater non-Microsoft forest that IBM GS is the vanguard of. The stronger they get, the weaker Microsoft's position gets, and IBM is playing hardball with Microsoft here.

Re:It's wrong to say that you succeed with Microso (4, Insightful)

Mr_Huber (160160) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741850)

I believe you are incorrect. Both Netscape and Java were deadly competitors to Microsoft and, by their philosophy, nothing was to be spared in crushing these companies.

Netscape presented the vision of making the operating system irrelevant. Let's look at two of the most popular software products of the last few years: Google and Amazon. Yes, these are software products and each is completely platform agnostic. When I use Google or Amazon on Linux running Firefox, I get the exact same user experience as I get on Windows using IE. If this trend had continued, with the browser and its associated control of the user interface firmly in the hands of Netscape, Microsoft's monopoly position as the operating system of choice would have been lost.

Java was a danger due to a similar argument. Windows is popular because the most popular applications run on it. If Java delivered on its promise of platform independence, a whole new class of killer applications could have arose that were independant of the operating system. Microsoft would then no longer be the operating system of choice. Worse, it would not be the choice for the developers making new killer apps.

Killing Netscape and Java were not paranoid manoevers, they were carefully considered and rational defenses of one of Microsoft's two core strengths, the Operating System. Combined with the other strength: Office, Microsoft presents a huge barrier to entry for anyone attempting to wrest monopoly control over desktop computers from Microsoft.

The problem for Microsoft is they took out the companies, not the ideas. By the time they noticed, the idea of a universal browser was too well entrenched to go away. They have not yet succeeded in converting the Internet to a Microsoft only product (despite the best efforts of ActiveX and IIS).

Building a better Java is not an answer. At some point, the competitors would catch up to a standard such as a language, then how could Microsoft compete? Add features? To Sun's language?

And what happens when someone reimplements 80% of Office in Java? And suppose this new version runs just as nicely on Windows as, say, Mac? What's to keep people on Windows then?

No, these companies had to die. Nothing else would defend Microsoft's monopoly. That they attacked these companies is unfortunate, but part of our system of business. That they did so by exploiting their monopoly position is illegal and should have got them more severly punished.

Re:It's wrong to say that you succeed with Microso (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741908)

Microsoft should have worked hard to be "the best Java platform provider, period."

Microsoft's Java support was pretty damn good. It just wan't what Sun wanted.

If not now, then when? (2, Funny)

DeadVulcan (182139) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741602)

There is a lot of emotion and a lot of psychology in the market and I think we are starting to see some of that again. We are encouraged that the market is growing warmer, but it is not time to throw caution to the wind.

Oh, that's good to hear. I just need my advisor to tell me when it is time to throw caution to the wind.

Wheeeee!!

Developers! etc... :-p (4, Interesting)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741639)

From the article:

"What really propelled Microsoft Windows success was an ecosystem that they created that allowed other people to benefit from your success."

I think that MSFT has in fact figured this out, and that's why they devote so much technology and marketing talent into Windows as a development platform.

Say what you will about Windows as an operating system, but the application development toolchain is really, really slick.

Commodity Value (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741663)



'...What really propelled Microsoft Windows success was an ecosystem that they created that allowed other people to benefit from your success. Actually your success was really a side effect or byproduct of their own success.'


Let's not forget that Windows was also running on commodity hardware. In the early years, it wasn't "Windows" - it was Mac or PC. People were buying a platform with all the advantages of commodity hardware; price, selection, customization, etc. The PC platform had considerable draw from the market. It was able to provide value to customers that previous proprietary computing products lacked. And in the end, the commodity platform "won".

That's not to say Microsoft didn't do a good job with supporting developers. They did better than Apple in many ways. But in those days, that simply ensured that "Killer App Version 2.0" was available for the "PC" as well as other platforms.

The real success for Windows was in it's being the catalyst for commoditization of the hardware market. And then riding the ensuing wave.

Now we're facing a possible next wave in IT; commoditization of the OS. Microsoft would clearly have issues with this. And they would rather fight it than try and ride this one too (or at least not start paddling for it until the very last minute). It's interesting to see that one notable who was plowed under by the earlier wave is now trying to set up to ride this one; IBM.

Re:Commodity Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741841)

In the early years, it wasn't "Windows" - it was Mac or PC. People were buying a platform with all the advantages of commodity hardware; price, selection, customization, etc.

Funny how 'the early years' keeps getting redefined. I just realized: commodity hardware -- you're talking about the 1990s, or late 80s at best. Those are the early years?! Wow. I'm fucking old.

Re:Commodity Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741891)

In the early years, it wasn't "Windows" - it was Mac or PC.

Apple ][+ and PC.

Har (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741664)

What really propelled Microsoft Windows success was an ecosystem that they created that allowed other people to benefit from your success.
Bah humbug. What propelled Microsoft Windows sucess was preloads, pure and simple. Without the preload deals that they made, Microsoft would be just another name in the history books.

As long as Windows continues to be preloaded on a majority of machines, Windows will continue to sell (duh) and some of their apps will continue to sell.

On another note...

Now that Microsoft has expanded into so many different areas there is reluctance from some developers to continue to invest in a Microsoft platform because they wonder how do they build a business? How does it become their business and not Microsoft's business?
Ha! I remember a sentence in 'Undocumented DOS' so many years ago: "Your product may be a DLL in the next version of Windows." So the developers are finally wising up, eh? About fucking time.

Re:Har (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741740)

What propelled Microsoft Windows sucess was preloads, pure and simple. Without the preload deals that they made, Microsoft would be just another name in the history books.

So why don't you start your own Linux company and preload your stuff? You should be rich by about Wednesday, judging your expertise in the field.

Re:Har (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741804)

What propelled Microsoft Windows sucess was preloads, pure and simple.


Do you really thing preloads mean a thing in the Enterprise world? In the world of CALs, and TSCALs? No, of course it doesn't. Every company with more than ten machines has to have a stringent licensing policy, and that means a little more than just buying OEM PCs.

The Lord of the OS (4, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741675)

Presenting The Lord of the OS featuring:

Bill Gates as The Dark Lord (aka Sauron)
Microsoft Corp as Mordor
Balmer, et al as The Nine
Linus Torvalds as Elrond
RMS as Gandalf
Tux as Frodo
Microsoft Windows (TM) as The One Ring
and Darl McBride as Gollum

Sorry, just thought of the parallelism while I was R'ing TFA.

Re:The Lord of the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741824)

>RMS as Gandalf

Oh. Shit. Now you've done it.

Re:The Lord of the OS (1)

blamblamblam (610567) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741854)

How about we just leave Liv Tyler as Arwen? She violates the analogy slightly, but then again anything else might be considered a step down.

kind of like Microsoft vs. IBM (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741683)

And not because IBM built mainframes...

In the IBM fight, Microsoft controlled the architecture and that is where all the leverage is. They controlled the architecture and IBM was powerless to stop them.

In my opinion, this as a struggle of Open Source vs. Microsoft architecture/ideology more than a TCO struggle. Microsoft does not clearly control the architecture, they do not have the leverage, and they are stuggling with it.

Sounds great on paper... (3, Insightful)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741699)

While all this talk about who's got the lower TCO, who has more problems with security, and who has the better technologies, one can easily forget one fact. The "OS Wars" come down to one thing: How well does Linux/Windows/Apple/Other attract the average user? I personally know a guy who purchased a computer based on the fact that the store demo machine had the "Silver" skin selected...he claimed that he disliked the other computer's version of Windows XP (the other box he was looking at had "Luna" selected.) To the average person, the two most important things are: 1) Does the machine work? and 2) How does it look?
Linux far surpasses Windows in regard to the first question, yet that is overshadowed by Microsoft's UI. True, they make a ton of compromises in security, reliability, and ease of development, but at least they attract users that way. I actually dislike Microsoft, but I am willing to admit that they have found a very effective way onto the drives of millions...

While the OSS choices may be better in most ways, a flashy interface is by far the best at attracting a new user...

Paradigm change (2, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741713)

How many times has this been written? MSFT is the master of the binary CDROM release code. But its not a binary CDROM release world anymore. Its a world of ASCII-based protocols accessing the most important services over the network against constantly evolving codebases, which are more often than not free and open.

If MSFT really wanted to latch on to the future they would buy Yahoo, Google or Ebay. The era of anyone really caring that much about a document editor (enough tp pay gobs of cash for it) are over.

Price (0, Troll)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741726)

Lower the price, problem solved

I would pay for office and its aps (execpt Outlook, that thing just blows) and not pirate it. I'm just a student, I can't afford 400 bucks + more for the other office aps.

Re:Price (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741783)

So just go to your school's bookstore and get the student editions of Office, Windows XP, Visual Studio, etc.

Home users can generally make do with Works to type up their letters home and keep track of their recipies.

The full Office suite is so pricey because it targets professional users. I remember when Word, Access, Excel, etc were seperate applications. But all the corporate demand was for the Office bundle.

you FAIL it.I. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741729)

had Become like are 7he important

Tips for sucess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9741751)

I'm no business expert on any level, but I could give Microsoft a few pointers here and now that would turn things around for them. They would mostly consist of "listening to customers". Instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of people, and spending a lot on bloated features, and crappy piracy workarounds, they might be better off dabbling in open source -- in a way that benefits ALL their users. Their "Shared source" initiative is worth bugger all to me, and probably not much more to their corperate users. Maybe if they setup and funded a system to allow users to contribute something into Windows (maybe open a few bits of source, maybe setup a serious user-comment/idea/request system... whatever), they would not only benefit from the open-source model, but also gain HUGE karma from everyone.

Perhaps if they open-sourced IE or MSN messenger and setup a community SourceForge-style project, overseen by MS staff. That would get people involved, and probably advance their software (which makes basically zero profit -- the little apps like IE, that is).

The story of Microsoft (4, Interesting)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741759)

Microsoft:

1980: "Every house should have its own MS OS home-computer"
1990: "Every house should have its own MS OS home-computer, and every company should have our server system"
2000: "Every house should have its own MS OS home-computer, every company should have our server system, and every large-scale company should replace their existing UNIX systems with our stuff"

Linux:

2000: "Every company have our server system, and every large-scale company are replacing their existing UNIX systems with our stuff. Now how about this thought: Shouldnt every house have its own Linux home-computer?"

Linux is allready there at all levels, except for the average home-computer.

Hmm...supply and demand (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741772)

Have falling sales due to open source? How about changing your 95% profit margin to a 50% profit margin?

FUD MS success is marketing. (3, Informative)

lcsjk (143581) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741842)

The reason for MS's success is that they had a useable system that would work for most people. Then, they starting upgrading and forcing use of upgrades by requiring companies to preload and sell only the newer versions (which were not backwards compatible but could easily have been).

This "forced" revenue stream continued until just recently when some companies started preloading Linux. MS no longer controls the forced upgrade market. If they stop supporting their older systems now, the 'big' users will start investigating other lower cost operating systems. MS is threatened by Linux because people do not like to be controlled and basically extorted.

Reason for MS success (1)

texas neuron (710330) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741896)

The smart thing they did was see that the GUI would take off. They then got Steve to sign off on them using it. They they made it hard to impossible for competitors to match them by not giving them all of the hooks needed in Windows. They used additional monopolistic tactics as well (as found in Federal court). Given the overall cost to the company, it is clear that crimem in this case, does pay. The only product which they managed to sell which was superior for its time was Microsoft Office which benefited from both the head start on the GUI and from inside operating system information.

Yet again, MS can destroy the Linux market... (2, Interesting)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 9 years ago | (#9741941)

...by doing what Apple did: Build your wimpy OS on top of something strong, like BSD, Linux, or some other flavor of *NIX.

I keep saying this and I am surprised that MS is not going that route somehow. I thought for sure that this Longhorn project would be some sort of MS implementation of *NIX. (Not Xenix).

We all know MS can do it if they wanted. We also know they like to copy Apple (Look at WIN 95)....it makes so much sense, from MS' perspective, I cannot fathom why MS doesn't build it's next version of Windows on top of BSD, Linux, or some other *NIX variant.
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