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IE The Great Microsoft Blunder?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-a-shining-example-of-engineering dept.

643

JordanL writes "Hot on the heels of the beta rollouts of IE 7, comes an editorial from John Dvorak declaring IE the biggest mistake Microsoft has ever made. From the article: 'All the work that has to go into keeping the browser afloat is time that could have been better spent on making Vista work as first advertised [...] If you were to put together a comprehensive profit-and-loss statement for IE, there would be a zero in the profits column and billions in the losses column--billions.'"

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643 comments

Definitely not 0 profit... (4, Insightful)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199369)

Dvorak doesn't mention what is probably the greatest profit center related to IE: MSN.com. It's highly unlikely that MSN.com would be the #3 search engine if it weren't for MSN being the default search engine for IE. It's rumored that Google averages 12 cents of revenue per query on google.com... if MSN makes even half of what Google does per query, we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue. This recurring revenue stream is more than enough to justify an investment in a browser.

Other possible revenue streams for Microsoft IE include toolbar buttons and bookmarks, as well as the licensing of Internet Explorer to AOL and other companies to use as their default browser. Whether IE is profitable or not is still a mystery, but I definitely wouldn't say it has been a zero for Microsoft.

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199427)

Dvorak doesn't understand business. IE is a loss leader. You give out IE in order to get other stuff back. This is the kind of thing we live with all the time in marketing. Our department always "loses" money, but without our department, the business wouldn't have any customers... so are we a money sink? Dvorak, apparently, would say yes.

And not just MSN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199499)

IE was also a tool to control AOL (who had very close ties to Netscape - but was a big enough company for Microsoft to care about that market, yet continued to use IE); and the foundation for their ISP business.

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199555)

IE is a loss leader. You give out IE in order to get other stuff back.

Microsoft bundles IE with Windows to leverage Windows' monopoly to gain marketshare for IE. Once IE has high marketshare, then Microsoft can control indirectly the website developers. Have you ever noticed how many websites are written to accommodate the bugs in IE?

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (5, Funny)

diersing (679767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199619)

"the bugs in IE?"

Features, man, they're FEATURES!!

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199624)

Yes, that's true. But now you need to fill in the "???" part:
  1. Take over the desktop
  2. Use monopoly to influence web development
  3. ???
  4. Profit!!!

I don't know of any Microsoft courses named "Dealing with the shortcomings of our software". I do hear a lot of "I keep Windows for testing sites in IE" though. Is that the sort of thing you mean?

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (3, Funny)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199597)

From the tagging:

troll, dvorak (ie stupid idiot)

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (4, Interesting)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199633)

From the tagging:

troll, dvorak (ie stupid idiot)

Is anybody else noticing how many aricles are being tagged "troll"? Won't make for a very good indexing mechanism is every third article has the same keyword...

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199488)

Further to this, it keeps people away from free products like Firefox. I would guess the browser is the number 1 most used piece of sofware on an avg. Joe's pc. If Joe found out he can download software for free, he's going to wonder why he pays for that electronic typewriter program (Word). So he may try OOo. And we all know that small FOSS consumption leads to worse and worse problems, like linux, and before we know it, Joe doesn't want microsoft any more as he is actively contributing to the codebase on several sourceforge projects.

Monopolies fall, economy is crushed, and we all end up eating eggshells from rubbish dumps. Just because of IE being abandoned.

Perhaps an overstatement, but it's no worse than the Pap dvorak spews :-)

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (4, Insightful)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199491)

MSN could be the default search engine of any browser that Microsoft decided to bundle.

Opera uses Google as a default search engine because of a smart bussiness deal.

MS could easily do the same.

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199526)

I don't know. I mean, if MS did bundle another browser, they could set that bundled browser to MSN.com, and reap all the same profits. It would almost have to be expected that they would. In which case, they're wasting money on IE.

The biggest problem with IE is that it is linked to the OS, which is why security exploits in IE are the biggest headache for microsoft. Hell, I love Apache. I view it as pretty secure. But there is no way in hell I'd pick up an OS where Apache was an inextricable part of the kernel. The very idea is absurd...Apache touches the internet, therefore, it is a security problem. End of story. IE touches the internet, therefore it is a security problem. Firefox, Opera, it doesn't matter. Burglars couldn't get into your house if you had no doors or windows.

I think Dvorak is 100% correct (first time for me)...If they used any other browser, they could lay half their security problems at it's feet. They could point the finger, and shake their heads, and talk about how secure their system is and how, if they built a browser, it would be completely secure and oh-so-functional. Instead they look awful, and their browser is a technological fossil.

Re:Definitely not 0 profit... (1)

f0dder (570496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199535)

He doesn't count the licenses to IIS servers, exchange servers plus whatever tools goes into making a complete browser/server system. I can say giving away cell phones for free is retarded but that would be missing the big picture wouldn't it?

Silicon Spin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199371)

Oh please, even Tech TV decided to can that goofball...nuff said.

Dvorak correct? (0)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199379)

Wow, that's a first. I guess a broken clock can be right twice a day. =)

Oh, I forgot about ... (1)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199405)

Windows ME. Clearly, IMO, the clear winner.

Re:Dvorak correct? (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199410)

Dvorak's a quantum clock, he's never right. Ever.

Oh, yeah? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199521)

What shade of blue is your sky?

A lot of times saying Dvorak is wrong is like saying that someone is wrong for saying the sky is blue becuase they haven't specified what shade, or that it doesn't account for clouds. Dvorak talks about speculatively about things without a speculative tone, and this makes what he is saying "wrong" to a lot of people.

Re:Oh, yeah? (0, Flamebait)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199625)

No, Dvorak talks crap about things he doesn't know jack about.

If you want speculative, head to Cringely's website, there you'll have speculations and "sometime right, sometimes wrong", backed up by sentient reasonings. Dvorak is not speculative, he's just stupid.

Re:Dvorak correct? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199497)

Interestingly he uses the same method. Last time he was right (Apple switching over to Intel) he'd been saying that for years.

What's new? (3, Insightful)

Flimzy (657419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199380)

When has Microsoft ever delevered a product "as promised"?

Re:What's new? (4, Insightful)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199446)

LOL!!

C'mon, didn't you ever use the TRS-80 BASIC interpreter? Didn't everyone? It worked great, and was a MS product, IIRC. I think it was Micro-Soft basic 4.5 from what I remember. :) It worked exactly as promised.

I never used the BASIC compiler for the PC, but I think it was supposed to be pretty cool. Again it worked as promised. Of course, it was cloned from an IBM product, but then what's new?

Oh, wait - you already said that.

Nevermind.

I did. (1)

dietrollemdefender (970664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199585)

C'mon, didn't you ever use the TRS-80 BASIC interpreter? Didn't everyone?

I typed in the "Star Trek" game that worked great on the PDP-11- ?(30 I'm not sure after 30 years?)

From what I can remember, when you typed coord's, it didn't prompt you, it just sent you there ... or, when you hit return, it would keep playing the game - ignoring the prompt command (I don't even remember the prompt command in BASIC - not MS' BASIC, but THE REAL BASIC) - what I'm trying to say is the TRS-80 BASIC interpreter DIDN'T work like the PDP-11.

Re:What's new? (2, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199539)

hOW IS THIS 'FLAMEBAIT'? He's 100% correct. Microsoft's motto is 'over promise, under deliver'. And this has always been true for every release they have ever had. Vista being no exception.

Microsofts biggest blunder? (5, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199385)

As usual, Dvorak is on crack.

I'm not sure what he means by biggest, but microsoft's stupidist blunder was Bob [guidebookgallery.org] and its most expensive blunder was the Cairo project [computerworld.com] (Cairo was later renamed and one of its most important element, OFS, is still nowhere in sight).

Internet exporer was not so much of a blunder as an expensive way to kill off Netscape (they were a much bigger threat then Dvorak makes out.

(the OT part) Still, at least Microsoft Bob was not a completely wasted effort - after all, you still have Rover the retriever [guidebookgallery.org] to help you with searching in XP - and we all know that was worth waiting 10 years for...

Re: Cairo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199442)

Heh. You couldn't find any more biased article than that?

Re:Microsofts biggest blunder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199505)

Hasn't Cairo evolved to become WinFS?

Although, WinFS is still in beta, and will sit atop an NTFS installation, so it's not all it should have been, and after 14 years you might expect something better than that (like a proper NTFS replacement).

Re:Microsofts biggest blunder? (1)

marshall_j (643520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199561)

not as bad as the original poster claims tho. you can install a beta and there is a dev sdk. it does exist in some form.

all other features of cairo have been implemented. just 10 years after win 95 ;)

Re:Microsofts biggest blunder? (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199540)

As usual, Dvorak is on crack. And he is not sharing which is a crime.

IE is just a shell around libraries which do parsing of content and rendering. These are used throughout Windows including Outlook, parts of Office, the Windows Update infrastructure, etc. These have to be accounted for when making a loss/profit assessment. If it was not for IE, Outlook would have never reached its near universal penetration. Where Outlook and IE go, Office, Exchange, Departamental intranet servers on IIS with HTML written by people on crack follow. All of these depend on IE in one form or another. All of these are commercial products and cost a pretty penny.

IE may be a loss, but it is a classic example of a well executed loss leader. If it was not for IE most of the remaining MSFT clutter would have had to be considerably better quality and less expensive to actually sell.

Re:Microsofts biggest blunder? (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199591)

I generally agree with you that a html renderer is a handy thing to have around in an operating environment, however your statement:

If it was not for IE, Outlook would have never reached its near universal penetration.

Just isn't true. Both outlook & IE would never have reached the penetration they have without being included in the default install of 95% of desktop computers sold.

Re:Microsofts biggest blunder? (1)

schnablebg (678930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199573)

Yes, I particularly like having to click through 3 prompts search for *.foo.

wow, Dvorak actually made a little sense this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199388)

this is the first time I have ever agreed with anything Dvorak has written.

Re:wow, Dvorak actually made a little sense this t (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199523)

wow, Dvorak actually made a little sense this time. this is the first time I have ever agreed with anything Dvorak has written.

Considering the funky keyboard they named after him, is this any surprise?

;-)

billions.... (1, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199390)

...what's it made of, gold? but more seriously, this could well be a worth while investment for MS, if you make people used to your software then they keep coming back... see it as a loss leader. Some people will say "I want to stay using windows because it has IE and thats what I like" (I know you'll think no one would say that but they really do). So maybe not such a bad investment.

Re:billions.... (1)

eric0213 (904860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199520)

You must be confused, it was Netscape that was gold.

the new IE7 Beta 2 (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199392)

I just installed it a few minutes ago, and am using it now. Bleh. The interface is still pretty horrible. Is this supposed to be the final layout? UnBELIEVABLY bad! What are their UI people smoking? Or did they hire some Opera UI people?

And the ClearType on by default is ridiculous. :(

At least I didn't do any stupid IE hacks with the sites I've developed for work - so everything works fine, except now with ClearType on by default, all the text looks bold, so many of our text links simply look like regular text. Nice UI move there, MS. *grumpy*

Re:the new IE7 Beta 2 (5, Insightful)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199463)

Text links should be underlined. That's the convention.

Re:the new IE7 Beta 2 (5, Insightful)

jgalun (8930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199502)

If I had mod points I'd mod you up - the Internet Explorer 7 interface is atrociously bad. I am not a Microsoft basher (I don't love them, but I find it hard to work up a good hate for them too), but this design will confuse the hell out of people. What's with eliminating the standard menus that every other Windows program uses? This will just confuse the hell out of users, without any countervailing benefit!

The interface for IE 7 was not thought through at all.

ClearType isn't the problem (2, Interesting)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199582)

ClearType, nor any other antialiasing scheme for that matter, doesn't alter fonts sufficiently enough for them to look bold. Whatever is causing the bold appearance, ClearType isn't it. If turning off ClearType fixes the problem, then the switch must be doing more than simply turning ClearType on or off. Besides, I thought ClearType was an OS-wide, on/off thing.

Re:the new IE7 Beta 2 (1, Troll)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199602)

except now with ClearType on by default, all the text looks bold, so many of our text links simply look like regular text. Nice UI move there, MS.

Maybe if you start making links blue and underlined as they are supposed to be, and not just bold, you won't have that problem. Nice design move there, parent.

Don't Reply (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199393)


DO NOT REPLY TO THIS STORY. Dvorak is not that stupid. He's just tweaking the tech community to see if he can get a response. To date, the tech community has been as predictable as Marty McFly.

If you really want to understand Dvorak, pick apart the post I made [slashdot.org] on his last big story. I think you'll understand him a lot better if you can take a clinical look at his sudden and inexplicable leaps of logic. It's what he does, and he's damn good at it.

I know its hard to resist the Dvorak trolling, but you need to consider one thing: He's not listening to you. He doesn't even care about your opinion. His crazy theories are keeping the money flowing, and that's good enough. Arguing with his drivel is simply wasting your time.

Re:Don't Reply (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199461)

He's not listening to you. He doesn't even care about your opinion.

He does have a feeling you're starting to tune him out though. FTA:
The joke of it is that Microsoft is still working on this dead albatross and is apparently ready to roll out a new version, since most of the smart money has been fleeing to Firefox or Opera. This means new rounds of patches and lost money. Continue reading...
[emphasis added]

Please, for the love of God, continue reading or else I'll have to get a real job instead of being the best troll this side of the GNAA!

Absolutely! (Someone mod parent up) (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199485)

Almost every media outlet has someone whose job it is to write inflammatory rhetoric (at the local level, usually jeers directed at the local local sports teams) in order to sell papers. For example, it's what journalist-cum-troller Andrew Orlwoski [wikipedia.org] does at the register. Dvorak is doing more of the same here.

Re:Absolutely! (Someone mod parent up) (1, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199627)

Sure, lots of outlets hire assholes to make stupid pronouncement sbecause they know those pronouncments will generate buzz. Doesn't mean the assholes don't believe their own bullshit. I've watched Dvorak spout crap for over 25 years, and he's consistently gotten his facts wrong and his logic from never-never land — even when he wasn't trying to be provocative.

The word "troll" has always bugged me. Of course there are pranksters who say stuff like "Mother Teresa was actually a Satanist" just to get a response. But 90% of the time I see the word "troll" used, it's by some mentally lazy person who finds it easier to dismiss other people's opinions as malicious dishonesty.

I have never indulged in trolling. But everytime I say something that people don't want to hear, that's what they assume I'm doing.

Re:Don't Reply (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199487)

I know its hard to resist the Dvorak trolling, but you need to consider one thing: He's not listening to you. He doesn't even care about your opinion. His crazy theories are keeping the money flowing, and that's good enough. Arguing with his drivel is simply wasting your time.

Opinions that differ from yours aren't "Trolling". As for his crazy theories, if they are that crazy just ignore him.

Reply: Yes, he is that stupid. (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199518)

Dvorak has been the classical asshole industry columnist for a long time — and he is that stupid. This isn't even the stupidest thing he's said. I first realized how stupid he was back in 1983, when he made some silly pronouncements about the secret plans of a company I was working for. It was painfully obvious that he hadn't the slightest understanding of the technology we sold. Why he continues to get published is one of the great mysteries of our time.

Re:Reply: Yes, he is that stupid. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199599)

He is that stupid. This isn't even the stupidest thing he's said. I first realized how stupid he was back in 1983, when he made some silly pronouncements about the secret plans of a company I was working for.

The problem is, that's not stupidity. It's revenue generating hogwash. Believe it or not, there is a difference.

If he was just stupid, people would have stopped listening to him and he would be out of work. The problem is that he's incredibly smart at adapting to the current market conditions to keep people raving about how "wrong" he is. All that raving and ranting keeps the sales of his columns up, and drives the price of his public appearances through the roof. Ergo, Dvorak makes more money.

Anything he can print that will get a public reaction will go into his articles. Heck, if Dvorak thought he could get away with it, he'd actually publish the Starbucks Automobiles story. After all, there's nothing quite like getting half the population telling you how wrong you are while the other half ponders over the actual possibility of what you've said. You've still got 100% of the attention on yourself.

If they hadn't (4, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199395)

John Dvorak declaring IE the biggest mistake Microsoft has ever made. From the article: 'All the work that has to go into keeping the browser afloat is time that could have been better spent on making Vista work as first advertised [...] If you were to put together a comprehensive profit-and-loss statement for IE, there would be a zero in the profits column and billions in the losses column--billions.'"

Yes, but we don't know what would have happened had they left netscape to dominate the market. Netscape might have taken over the world by now and enslaved us all!

Thank god for IE.

Re:If they hadn't (1)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199605)

You make a good point, even if you were half joking.

We can hate Microsoft all that we want, but we cannot deny that there are many things that we take for granted that are a direct result of MS and its policies.

Had Apple won its lawsuit agains Microsoft in the case of the GUI, Apple would have become a court endorsed monopoly.

Because of MS we have comodity hardware made of compatible chunks. Without that we might not even have Linux.

A free browser in every PC might have killed Netscape, but it helped the internet spread to the popularity that it has today in such a short time.

IE gave us FireFox! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199617)

Well, think about it this way: do you think we would have FireFox now, if not for IE?

dom

Puts on flame retardinate uniform (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199396)

Is it just me of is posting any article about Dvork and calling him an expert trolling?

Or I should say flamebait? Good god.

Question (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199554)

"Puts on flame retardinate uniform"

Um, just curious. Is this what one uses when the short bus catches on fire?

Dvorak is right, except... (4, Insightful)

alienmole (15522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199398)

Dvorak might have a point here, but for one thing: as long as people see IE as the default web browser, the idea that Windows is the only choice in operating systems is reinforced. Take the browser out of Microsoft's hands, and a lot of questions about how much we really need this Windows thing are raised. Those questions exist anyway, but the dominance of IE makes people less likely to ask them.

Opportunity Losses (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199401)

Many businesses, Microsoft included, have lost their focus of "how can we make / save the most money" and have been willing to throw away billions (or not pick up billions) in an effort to dominate several sectors of the market. It's a bad business strategy. Make 5 billion now instead of 10 billion in 20 years.

A Conundrum (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199404)

Who will the /. faithful back? The uber-troll Dvorak, or the uber-monopolist, Microsoft?

Re:A Conundrum (1)

Procrastin8er (791570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199501)

The true faithful here on ./ will always side with the anti-MS camp.

That's Odd... (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199406)

Dvorak? Making a grandiose statement dissing Microsoft? Say it ain't so!
(Yawns and waits for a real story.)

King of the World (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199412)

The Microsoft attitude to "do it all" and never retreat is how I view their attitude in attempting to be all for all PC users.

That leads to a tunnel vision in a bizarre way that doesn't allow rational business analysis to proceed and get carried out in practice.

It also leads them to litigation (read Bill's father's advice), when settlement would often be the wisest choice

Dvorak - The Inverse Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199413)

Now that Dvorak has made his decision, we all know that IE is probably Microsoft's greatest triumph.

They probably didn't spend *enough* money on it.

Don't encourage him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199414)

Don't click the link! It only ensures more mindless sepculation from someone who likes to post his "computer industry fantasies" online...

Dvorak, same as usual, all wet (4, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199417)

Maybe sd should stop parrotting every dang fool thing Dvorak writes or says?

I suspect the coding effort in IE is about 3% of that invested in XP and Vista. Where does he get the $billions cost from? A web browser is a biggish program, but many lone hackers have written one in under one person/year.

Great Blunder?!?!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199420)

It crushed NETSCAPE!

Blunder - how? It was a brilliant business move! It is THE example of monolpoly power - even if MS doesn't have the exact dictionary def. of "monopoly".

Yeah, yeah, courts of law of have ruled that MS is a monopoly - these same courts that have found that the internet is for stealing music and other copyright infringements....yeah, yeah...in a court of law I can prove that the sky is red... AC, Esq.

Opera? As browser tech? (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199423)

"It should then bless the Mozilla.org folks with a cash endowment and take an investment stake in Opera, to influence the future direction of browser technology from the outside in."

Opera? Please, God, no. As a web developer of umpteen years I would rather continue to develop both ActiveX and Java versions of half the stuff I do than look at Opera as a "primary" development target.

oh please, c'mon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199424)

what is the penetration rate of IE ? 95 % ? do you call this 0 profit ???? so much for the greater view I guess

Not interested in Dvorak (1)

deadlierchair (852262) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199425)

I find it harder and harder to pay attention to what Dvorak has to say. It seems like he has some outlandish thing to report on every week and none of them are really based in more than his own view of things.

Dvorak is more like The Inquirer or something now - comedy and/or sketchy news.

Can we please have a moratorium on Dvorak's BS... (5, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199430)

IE is a huge success:

The Web was threatening to become a client independent client platform.

Netscape looked like it would make a ton of money.

Microsoft had no significant web presence as a portal.

Now?

MSN is a huge portal.

Netscape is dead

And the web is a significant client-independant-client, as long as that client is Internet Explorer, which only runs on Windows...

IE preseved Microsoft's monopoly, killed a huge potential competitor, and has made microsoft a signiciant player in the Portal business.

Hardly a failure.

Uh-huh (1)

MasterPoof (876056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199431)

Likewise, the members of the "John Dorvak is a raving lunatic club" add another notch to total. Beneath his layers of lunacy lies a gain of truth IE needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from ground up. If Microsoft really put some effort into it, instead of having their bullshit stuffed execs. rave about more BS, they really could make a good browser (well, a decent one at least).

Re:Uh-huh (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199474)

It would have already happened but for one thing: Internet Explorer is doing exactly what its customers want. Who are the customers of the IE division? Microsoft execs who want to use IE to drive business in other parts of the company - which is working brilliantly. And of course, as others have pointed out, it blew Netscape out of the water back in the day and is currently useful in keeping Firefox and Opera down. Granted, they could acheive this more elegantly with a non-crap version of IE, but it's doing precisely what it was designed to do right now.

But IE is now their OS (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199432)

Yes, for most people ... of their entire OS ... all they really care about is their Internet Browser ... so they can surf the net, check emails, etc. ... And since IE comes as the default web browser, and most people aren't smart enough to know their are alternatives ... I personally think IE has been a big winner for MSFT ... not a blunder.

Dvorak, what are you thinking? (1)

Scoria (264473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199433)

Dvorak couldn't be more incorrect. The dominance of Internet Explorer has guaranteed that every user must have at least one Windows machine in order to access some critical services, such as online banking and even confidential health communication systems. Without Internet Explorer and its proprietary extensions, Microsoft would be more threatened by other platforms, as there would no longer be such a critical justification for using their operating system.

Internet Explorer, despite having a poor reputation within the IT community, has been tremendously beneficial to Microsoft throughout its lifespan. Perhaps it is offered freely because Microsoft considers it to be one of their greatest strategic assets.

Deep Philosophical Question (1)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199435)

Why is it that if I write something inflammatory, idiotic, and senselessly stupid and provocative that is designed only to infuriate the reader... I am a "troll" and I'm writing "flamebait." But if my name is John C. Dvorak, I am a "visionary" writing a "magazine column"?

Re:Deep Philosophical Question (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199544)

Because he's getting paid and you're wanking around on slashdot. That's why.

Re:Deep Philosophical Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199598)

Because you're not bringing in ad revenue?

Breaking news update (1)

arrrrg (902404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199441)

This just in ... Dvorak just took a massive dump. Reporters from various news outlets are gathering to cover the news, with at least two subsequent /. stories on the event expected.

Seriously, of course MS never expected to make money on a product they give away for free ... it's like the XBox, a "loss leader" to help consolidate their monopoly.

For the 32767th time... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199444)

...Dvorak is an idiot. He does not rate a headline at Slashdot. I mean, Jeez, what's his definition of "blunder"? Something that creates huge lockin for Windows? Every time I cry about lack of standards support in web browsers, somebody says, "IE is the standard". And I hate to admit it, but they're right. There are zillions of Intranet applications that you need IE to use, and that means that there are zillions of companies that can't consider running anything but Windows on the desktop. Not the biggest reason nobody will look at alternatives to Windows, but it's up there.

32767 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199618)

One more of these crap articles and hopefully we can pretend none of them ever happened!

LAND OF TENNIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199445)

BIG TENNIS. With very large BALLS and RACQUETS. LAND OF TENNIS.

It's not the what, it's the how (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199447)

IE isn't the biggest blunder. Actually, it was fairly shrewd (from a MS point of view) since they were originally selling it, then released it for free to compete with (and eventually pretty much sink) Netscape. IE removed a competitor from their market - so a strict profit and loss analysis doesn't really sum it up, IMHO. It's their standard strategy. Look at MS Virtual PC versus VMware for current data if you're interested.

So no, IE is not the biggest mistake MS has ever made. Making it part of the OS is. Especially when you couple it with DirectX, which originally let pretty much anyone out there run any code they like on your box. IE has a series of fantastically poor design decisions behind it. This far outshadows the lost productivity.

Definitions (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199448)

The problem when talking about this is that the definition of IE is slippery. Sometimes the HTML rendering engine is considered separately, or the math is done in such a way that the value of a separate HTML rendering engine for OS use is subtracted from the plus column. A browser has to handle malformed or oddly formed HTML, an OS-only HTML renderer doesn't.

Interesting ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199454)

...but if Microsoft were to discontinue all IE development and start bundling Firefox with their released operating system(s), how long before Firefox becomes an orgy of spyware, security problems, etc.?

No MS's biggest blunder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199456)

...was defrag or windows sockets. Should of left the 3rd parties to fix this. They kept their eyes off the prize, which should have been MS BOB, not making an OS feature complete.

Retarded (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199459)

All the work that has to go into keeping the browser afloat is time that could have been better spent on making Vista work as first advertised.

So spending the extra .03% of total MS man hours lost on IE development would have pushed Vista out the door. Wow, too bad Billy G didn't think of that!

Why not make it the ultimate test of .NET? (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199476)

I don't understand why Microsoft doesn't just rewrite Internet Explorer in .NET. They can leave the existing rendering engine behind as a legacy component and work on a new IE that can take advantage of .NET's security mechanisms. Not only would it be a good excuse for a clean break, but it would also give them a chance to show off what .NET can do for desktop apps.

IE is a Value-adding Component (1)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199478)

As people keep forgetting, IE is a reusable component and because it's so easy to integrate to allow other applications easy browing, HTML editing support, and related technologies it's helped not only Microsoft's applications (using either MSHTML or the WebBrowser control) but countless numbers of developers.

While it probably has been expensive to maintain, I'm sure it adds a lot of value to all the applications that use either mshtml.dll (rendering) or shdocvw.dll (WebBrowser control, which uses MSHTML but adds more navigation functionality).

You need evil to have good? (3, Interesting)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199481)

I think credit should be given to IE and Microsoft for inspiring the next generation of browsers. I mean, if it weren't for Internet Explorer setting the bar in browser features and functionality, we wouldn't have such a great open source push for a great new browser platform such as Firefox or Opera.

Imagine if Microsoft's only competition was Netscape :-(

Biggest mistake? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199483)

M$ has a lot of competition in that category.

IE 7 is the holdup... (1)

SSonnentag (203358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199511)

I would venture a guess that IE 7 is the main reason Windows Vista has been delayed. Once IE 7 has gone through beta I expect to see a sumultaneous release of IE 7 and Vista.

Oh please (1)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199524)

It would seem if I understand what dumbass is declaring this time, that IE is nothing but a blood-sucking product for M$. I'm generally a M$ critic, but this statement seems pretty weird. There are things that IE has historically done better than other browsers. The main problem that M$ has with IE is that 6 was lame and it has taken foever to get to 7. In the meantime there haven't been any real innovations in the beta to differentiate it from Opera, FF or Safari. However, saying that it's doing nothing but costing M$ money is pretty stupid. If nothing else it gives M$ a reliable platform upon which to build ASP and Atlas apps, thus making the entire web-development suite for M$ capable of producing results that are predictable since they control the display engine. What the heck is wrong with that? What happens if one of the others accidentally or intentionally breaks something or another internally? What is M$ to do - say "oh crap, none of our .net .asp etc. apps don't work any longer, fix the problem!"? No. Then they're in the same boat that everyone else is in when dealing with M$, except they are no longer the party in control. As usual, dude needs to stop doing the chronic and get a real job.

mm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199534)

trolling with flaiming bait

Google Maps is a Huge Blunder (1)

Rhett (141440) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199550)

I don't work at google, but I know how to run their business better than they do. They must really feel dumb for wasting their time on something that generates such little profit. Next time, they should just listen to me.

Dvorak = douche (1)

u16084 (832406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199551)

This guy needs to stop smoking rock.. His predicitions and opinions are just really nutty lately. Dvorak thinks hes on cnn playing the role of Larry King.. Anyways, My question - Why is MS holding on to IE so tightly? Is it because of its intergration with windows? Why not just opensource the damn thing and let the public fix it? IE is not a bad browser, its had bad security.

I can't do it. (1)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199562)

I keep starting on a reasoned critique of his arguments, but it just feels so pointless, so empty.

I'm just gonna have to go with:

"That's nice, John."

dvorak ... *shakes head* (1)

Intangion (816356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199576)

as usual he completely misses the point..

IE gives MS control(POWER), they can direct and guide web technologies, they can set the default to their websites, they can control which inovations make it and which dont. they can give preference to their own. Control is very important.

Also it helps them eliminate alot of competition, for one it nearly destroyed netscape. and lets them sink competing standards. so it saves them money by eliminating and manipulating competition

It helps keep them ontop of their hill and everyone else lower

tagged (1)

acid_zebra (552109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199577)

Well, the post tags say it all:
  [+] troll, dvorak, ie, stupid, idiot (tagging beta)

(ps. WHY does it have to say 'tagging beta' after EVERY set of tags?)

Of course, the general rule of thumb with Dvorak is that the opposite of whatever he says is true.

I don't like IE, I don't use IE, but it still gets shipped with 95%+ of all windows boxes on this planet and most users don't switch. Which is exactly why IE7, for bad or for worse, will instantly have a huge userbase once OEMs switch.

a $521 million settlement is pocket change for MS.

eight-five percent (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199581)

A 'blunder' that still holds 85% market share [onestat.com] ? Yeah, right. Not to mention IIS, Frontpage, and all the other business it drove MS's way.

Sure, welding IE to the OS caused them antitrust trouble and neverending security problems. But, IE has to go on the books as a net gain for M$. Consider what the last 11 years would have looked like for them without it.

Billions? Without I.E. loss would be more'n that (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199604)

Billions in loss?

Pre-IE, Microsoft was terrified of the potential (and declared goal) of Netscape turning their web browser into a virtual computer desktop, complete with the ability to generate applications and so on.

Of what need is Microsoft if suddenly all apps are written in this virtual computer browser, and one no longer needs any kind of OS beyond that needed to support the browser, which is to say, just a little HAL layer depending on IBM PC architecture, Mac, etc.

And their goal worked. While technically possible via Java and its clumsy built-in windowing abilities, nobody is out there promoting this heavily since there is no cohesive development environment and system being pushed -- unless you count Visual Java development environment from Microsoft, heavily integrated into IE.

So yes, there was a lot at stake. "Billions and billions" as a loss leader for Microsoft with Bill Gates at the helm, is a calculated risk. See also the money-losing X-Box series. This is why Bill Gates is worth more than many countries' GDP and Dvorak is a fat, bitchy commentator.

John Dvorak Thatcher: Charles! I happen to know this little e-enterprise of yours cost you a billion dollars last year.

Charles Foster Gates: Yes, Mr. Thatcher. This virtual paper lost a billion dollars last year. I expect it to lose a billion dollars this year. I expect it to lose a billion dollars next year. You know what, Mr. Thatcher? At a rate of a billion dollars a year, I'll have to close this place...in sixty years!

Cue horns: Wah wah wah wha waaaaaaaaaaaaah...

Ok, universal Dvorak quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15199606)

...to be used in all further Dvorak "news": "Dvorak dvo dvo dvorak, dvo dvorak rak rak, dvorak. Dvo, rak, dvo-dvo rak. Dvo ? Rak, rak."

What is he on? (4, Insightful)

gentlemen_loser (817960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199609)

From the parent:
All the work that has to go into keeping the browser afloat is time that could have been better spent on making Vista work as first advertised [...] If you were to put together a comprehensive profit-and-loss statement for IE, there would be a zero in the profits column and billions in the losses column--billions.'"

In all honestly, its a headline I would love to read. I absolutely can not stand the crap software or the tactics put out by that company. However, I will not dignifiy Dvorak with the ad revenue of clicking to his article and will instead take apart his weak qoute from the Slashdot story...

Dvorak, quite simily, is an idiot or is on something. I'll go with the former. First off, on any given development project, there is a finite number of developers that you can through at it before productivity begins to go down. As such, it makes sense for a company like Microsoft with BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars laying around to create other teams to do other things. The utter failure of Vista has nothing at all to do with IE and all its associated problems.

Ok, so now that we've dealt with how the two could not possibly be linked lets look at the reason d'etre for IE. IE has probably not DIRECTLY generated any revenue for Microsoft, however indirectly its been a cash cow. Had MS not used illegal predatory practices and bundled IE with Windows and given it away for free, MS would have steadily lost a foothold in the OS market by giving Netscape the browser edge. Even more servers would be UNIX based Apache (or Netscape) web servers and MS and its operating system would have been completely commoditized faster than its already happening. Every major web page that "works best with IE #.##" means another desktop that is not running Linux or OS X or whatever other great alternative we would have found. Its absolutely assinine to question why MS "keeps their browser afloat".

Well, there goes 15 minutes of my life, rebuffing Dvorak, when I could have been doing something more productive like watching dust settle on my finger nails. Stupid me.

He he ... (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199628)

I see Slashdot's tagging system has become sort of a working dictionary in cases. The current tags say:
[+] dvorak, ie, troll, stupid, idiot

Why, yes, he's all of those things!!

Amazing this new fangled technology -- how does it know?

$49.95 for a Gold Netscape purchase... (1)

botlrokit (244504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199635)

...versus free for Internet Explorer.

Mind you, even though IE has been riddled with security issues from the very beginning, IE set up a unique precedent in providing a cheap window to the web. Effectively, Microsoft was able to show the world that one's limitations for computing might require only the browser itself. Don't forget that IE's contribution (free browser for expensive PCs) may have pushed the idea forward that the browser could eventually replace an entire PC, such as a thin client.

Dvorak warning (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15199639)

While everyone is writing about the improvements in the new IE beta released last night, Dvorak found a way to get some more traffic by writing the opposite to appeal the Slashdot geeks and MS haters.

People should simply start ignoring this jerk, his "analysis" makes no sense whatsoever and is apparently designed to stir the community.
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