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Google's Love For Small Businesses

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-one-is-small-on-the-internet dept.

318

bariswheel writes "The Fearless Frog is at it again: In his latest post, Cringely aims to slap some sense into Microsoft, Apple, and IBM altogether. From the article: 'What counts is that for Microsoft the platform is the PC while for Google the platform is the Internet and nobody can hope to control the Internet -- not Microsoft OR Google. Google is making a ton of money from people [small/medium sized businesses] who never were even in business before. This is not only a fundamental change in how advertising is done; it is a fundamental change in how BUSINESS is done.'"

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OneNigger Suite of Collaborative Trolling Utility (-1, Troll)

brianwk (971783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330270)

GNAA Announces OneNigger Suite of Collaborative Trolling Utilities
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About AMD:

Slow.


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Re:OneNigger Suite of Collaborative Trolling Utili (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330552)

About AMD:

Slow.

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old ways... (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330280)

...If Microsoft's business theory is antiquated, then Apple's- - which is for the most part derived from Microsoft's -- ought to be antiquated, too.

So what's antiquated about making a product and selling it? Sure it's been done for a 1000s of years but that doesn't mean it's outdated... people will be doing exactly the same in the next 1000 years

Re:old ways... (2, Funny)

flobberchops (971724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330331)

Do you want to buy Microsoft Office 1000?

Re:old ways... (2, Interesting)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330333)

So what's antiquated about making a product and selling it?

Given so many companies seem to be incapable of doing it, a great deal, apparently.

Well, both use one product to support another (2, Interesting)

undeaf (974710) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330391)

Ms uses their monopoly in OS's to allow them to lose lots of money in consoles, apple uses their monopoly(AFAIK it technically is one) in mp3 players to keep their PC business safe.

Both also like bundling, ms bundles various stuff they want to push in with their OS, apple bundles together hardware, an OS and a platform for 3rd party programs(though you can't blame them for not encouraging a wine type API for other platforms, and they probably don't even resist it as much as ms).

Re:Well, both use one product to support another (2, Insightful)

kz45 (175825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330512)

Ms uses their monopoly in OS's to allow them to lose lots of money in consoles, apple uses their monopoly(AFAIK it technically is one) in mp3 players to keep their PC business safe.

I see many distros of linux being sold in many computer stores (and pre-installed on machines). Just because Microsoft is the most popular at this time, doesn't make them a monopoly. Nothing is stopping you from creating an OS and selling it.

The same thing with apple. There are 100s of companies out there selling mp3 players (proving it is not a monopoly). Apple just happens to be the most popular.

We shouldn't punish companies for being successful.

Re:Well, both use one product to support another (5, Insightful)

undeaf (974710) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330566)

You do not have the whole market to be a monopoly, standard oil for example had 64% marketshare when it was broken up for something monopoly related. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly#Monopolistic _competition [wikipedia.org] )

And there are things stopping others from selling products in markets which ms has a monopoly in, ms abusing it's monopoly, which they have been convicted of.

Re:Well, both use one product to support another (2, Insightful)

bariswheel (854806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330688)

the problem with monopolies is that they make it much more convenient to use their products and a hell of a lot less convenient to use ther competitors products. The playing field is not leveled. This is why there are monopoly laws. Companies like MS and Apple have a lot of weight they push around. Sure you shouldn't punish them, but what about holding them accountable for mistakes they've made that we have to pay for ? What about IE being artifically and nonsenseically 'bundled' with MS just for legal reasons, and years later customers and companies paying billions for that mistake in spyware/security incidents? should we blame them for that? Because a small competitor sure as shit can't pull that off.

Re:Well, both use one product to support another (5, Insightful)

packetbasher (136771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330730)

I see many distros of linux being sold in many computer stores (and pre-installed on machines). Just because Microsoft is the most popular at this time, doesn't make them a monopoly. Nothing is stopping you from creating an OS and selling it.


I believe that both the US Government and the EU would disagree with you about Microsoft not being a monopoly.

Re:old ways... (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330398)

Look around. Making a product is SO 1950. Sure, it's a necessary evil, but that's why we get all those countries in the far east to do it for us. Now SELLING a product, THAT's where the action is!

I personally think we'd all be better off if everybody would do a little less selling and a little more making. Okay, a lot less and a lot more.

Re:old ways... (2, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330530)

Look around. Making a product is SO 1950. Sure, it's a necessary evil, but that's why we get all those countries in the far east to do it for us. Now SELLING a product, THAT's where the action is!

I thought the world economy has been more about services than products for decades now. Software businesses are waking up to this fact, after some time of distortion (mostly due to Microsoft) in which they wanted to sell copies of bits as products. I don't really mind this, as I can save tons of money by serving myself (using Free software).

Re:old ways... (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330547)

That's why I said so 1950.

I'm fine with services too -- some people need them. I don't, usually. You can even think of them as a product. The problem is, instead of trying to build the best widget or offer the best service, almost everybody seems to be intent on making something that's just good enough and then differentiate themselves through marketing.

So I end up paying not only for a mediocre product but for the marketing as well. Marketing has a negative value to me (it uses my time and annoys me) so it actually detracts from the product, yet in many cases I have no alternatives to paying positive cash for it.

Re:old ways... (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330546)

Apple already DOES have their hardware built in far off lands. Certainly not in the US.

Re:old ways... (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330563)

Almost everybody who actually has a product to sell (that includes service) makes it in a far off land.

Better watch out... one of these days those far off lands are going to realize that they hold all the cards.

Re:old ways... (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330704)

Or their costs of living go up until outsourcing to them is no longer viable (or at least not more effective than production in today's high-cost countries) at which point jobs will wander away from them to cheaper countries.

Re:old ways... (4, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330554)

Now SELLING a product, THAT's where the action is!
Advanced as you think you are I can see you're still stuck in the old ways of the 20th century. The action is in SELLING, not seling a product. Products costs millions to develop and cheap as it is to manufacture them overseas it still costs money. No, SELLING WITHOUT A PRODUCT is where the in crowd knows the action is.

Re:old ways... (5, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330595)

You have indeed surpassed me. I request to study under your tutelage. I aspire to the ultimate zen, profit with no product nor service nor any other material trapping.

Re:old ways... (1)

jacks0n (112153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330672)

spare change for beer?

Re:old ways... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330697)

You still have to ask. Asking is a pain. People should just GIVE me money. Wait... executive sounds nice.

DO you know what the best show is on TV? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330288)

Testicularcancerbusters

Obsession with small business (2, Interesting)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330289)

For the life of me, I still do not get America's obsession with small business. Sure, smaller businesses are less powerful, but they're also problematic from an economic standpoint; most small business either don't hire very many employees, or do not pay for their health insurance, or even both.

I understand they're "living the american dream" and all that, but how much is that worth us as a society? It seems to me that people have just automatically assumed that larger businesses are bad (by associating them with some bad actors among the super-big actors) and that smaller business are somehow intrinsically "good," regardless of the costs to society a large number of small business vs. a smaller number of larger business incur.

Re:Obsession with small business (5, Insightful)

humankind (704050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330318)

Walk into a small business and you find employees that actually know things; employees that usually are more integrated with the local community; employees that are happier.

Walk into any big corporation and you find a bunch of uptight, miserable people who hate their jobs; don't care whether the customer is happy, and generally feel powerless to effect positive change on any grand scale within their operation.

There are obviously exceptions. Companies like Whole Foods treat their employees right, but these corporations are very atypical. Walk into a Wal-Mart and see if any employee there really gives a crap whether you find what you're looking for.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. It's also a fallacy that smaller companies don't employee more people. There are millions and millions of Americans working for small companies or self-employed. They are an intregal part of the workforce in the country.

Re:Obsession with small business (4, Insightful)

flobberchops (971724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330357)

Walk into Microsoft and see employees who just dont care anymore and have no motivation or inspiration. Walk into Google and see employees (ex-Microsoft most likely) who are happier in their jobs.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

flobberchops (971724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330608)

Working at Microsoft is like the movie Office Space. The only incentive you get that you (or to be more exact, your Business Unit) is doing a good job is spam mails with "yeah what he said, its a great win! You rock!" emails from middle managers being "Visible".

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330429)

well there is a lot of reasons that this isnt true, and there are a lot of examples of small businesses who are just as bad as large corporations.

What it boils down to is management, not the size of the business.

Re:Obsession with small business (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330542)

What it boils down to is management, not the size of the business.

Except that you can't be a crappy manager at a small business, and stay in business long.

Big businesses depend on economies of scale that don't exist in small businesses... there isn't ROOM for an incompetent boob in a three-man operation.

You get to three-hundred, and, "Well, Johnson may be a bullying misogynist, but at least he shows up for work."

You get to three-thousand, and Johnson's bullying misogyny is percieved as "leadership".

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

Mike Savior (802573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330685)

Well, with a name like Johnson..

Re:Obsession with small business (4, Interesting)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330519)

The problem is that small businesses that are really really good at what they do start to grow, and a handful of them turn into those giant unfeeling corporations that we loathe. From personal experience, I think the slide into corporate oblivion starts when the first MBAs join the company. An MBA is literally training on how not to be a human being. Business schools rob students of their humanity, and teach them only to worship short term profits. There is nothing wrong with focusing on making a profit, thats the engine that drives our economy, but these MBA grads that are being manufactured don't appear to be able to think long term, either at the long term sustainability of a company, or the long term sustainability of humanity.

Exactly, Are you just a Cog, or a Human? (4, Insightful)

Generalisimo Zang (805701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330531)

I work in a small bussiness.

People in town know me, and I know them. The people who run the other small bussinesses in town all know me, and I know them.

With a relatively small number of customers, I have to treat them right, or we'd be out of bussiness really really fast.

When I do treat the customer right, I know that they'll tell their friends... and I also know that the other small bussinesses in town will stear people my way, just like I send bussiness their way.

Occasionally, I'll get customers who are complete assholes. Over a certain level of assholeness, and they're not worth my time or trouble... and I make certain to send them off to some large corporate store so I can concentrate on the customers who actually respond to being treated well.

The customers I want, I treat like gold.

Now, take your typical corporate environment. The workers could give a fark about their customers, because almost none of the workers in a corporate environment have a direct stake in how well the bussiness does overall (beyond making sure that it doesn't go belly up).

Your typical corporate employee treats the customers at a certain minimum level of service, because he'll be fired if he doesn't.

So, EVERYONE who goes to do bussiness with the corporate places gets treated in a "lowest common denominator" sort of way. They're not quite treated as badly as garbage that blew in off the street, but they're never treated like the "good" customers that I treat like gold.

Everyone in the corporate places, employees and customers alike, gets treated as just another cog in a big machine.

So, if you spend your money at big corporate places, you're in effect voting with your dollars to be treated just slightly better than assholes get treated. But, if you spend your money at small bussinesses and act like a decent human being, then you'll be treated much better.

Every dollar you spend at Wallmart or Blockbuster, is a dollar that you're "voting" with, to be treated as a disposable nothing who gets the bare minimum of courtesy... and nothing else.

I guess if you're a complete asshole, then you'd come out ahead in that bargain ;) Otherwise, you can only lose by giving your patronage to the big corporate places.

Re:Obsession with small business (3, Interesting)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330633)

Not sure where the hell you are getting this from. Just so you know, large companies don't consist exclusively of retail stores. Most large companies treat their employees well and provide good benefits. Just ask anyone working at Microsoft, Google, IBM, or another large company. Of course, you rarely hear about the good employers in the media.

Small business is just that -- small. Most small businesses are too small to pay a decent wage and provide decent benefits. They rarely hire full-time employees and don't always treat their employees well. Have you seen gas station employeees or Burger King employees that were happy with their jobs? Burger King or McDonald's is a perfect example of a small business. Most of those restaurants are owned and operated by a small, local franchisee. I doubt any of their employees are particularly happy.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

Kuj0317 (856656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330661)

Perhaps this analogy is a bit of a stretch, but in my opinion this is like the windows vs *nix debate. Linux/Small business: small, individual components that perform a single, simple function. If one doesnt work, you can just swap it out. If you have special needs, they can be tailored to. Windows/Big business: One stop shopping. If you cant do it here, you cant do it. This is a gross generalization i know. I am simply trying to relay the idea of this analogy.

Obsession with small dicks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330667)

"Walk into any big corporation and you find a bunch of uptight, miserable people who hate their jobs; don't care whether the customer is happy, and generally feel powerless to effect positive change on any grand scale within their operation."

Good thing size isn't everything, otherwise all you small-dicked people would just have to give up. Seriously why is your stereotype any more accurate than the stereotype that a small business is a better environment? Except all you want (for there is always a counterexample). You still want us to basically believe; big:==bad, small:==good.

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

You better stay away from tall or fat people then.

"It's also a fallacy that smaller companies don't employee more people."

Only when it's applied to an aggregate. OF course if you can pull an "exception", then so can I.

"They are an intregal part of the workforce in the country."

Here's a saying for you. "It talkes all different kinds".

Not necessarily (1)

shario (109443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330709)

For what I've seen, many small businesses are not the best places to work. This is because in a large corporation, a manager who is being an asshole or otherwise does not perform well e.g. does not get a change in the way the business is done is usually quickly replaced, whereas in small businesses he usually owns the company and there is no one to sack him. Of course the company will go under soon, but this is equally bad for the workers.

Re:Obsession with small business (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330319)

small companies employ a lot of people, not in each company but when that is multiplied over a huge number then you end up with a pretty bug number. People being in work is good for the economy. Not to mention that small companies won't relocate outside of the country, and the give a lot back in tax... so they are pretty good really

Re:Obsession with small business (5, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330416)

OK, someone's got to go to look up the real number ... here ya go [house.gov] :
Small businesses play an important part in the United States economy. There are about 22.4 million non-farm firms in the U.S, according to 2001 data. Small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all employers. They also employ 51 percent of private-sector workers, 51 percent of workers on public assistance, and 38 percent of workers in high-tech jobs.
Not the 85% of all workers some guy was claiming, but much higher than I would have guessed.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330436)

Add in farmers and you're going to get a bigger number. There's no real reason for excluding farmers after all. They're small businesses. Probably not 85% though. Well, maybe here in Canada.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330579)

farm employment fluctuates (and includes illegal immigrants/migrant workers). As of 2001, it fluctuated between 700,000-1.1 million. That's 2% or so.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330602)

That's it? The most important pursuit has been reduced to 2% of the work force? Wow. How envious our ancestors would be. What's the other 98% do, exactly?

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330630)

I think farmers are excluded from these statistics more for bureaucratic reasons (they fall under a different department's purview) than economic reasons. Anyway, I'd imagine that "private-sector workers" drives the percentage of small-firm workers up far more than "non-farm" pushes it down.

Re:Obsession with small business (1, Troll)

Vicsun (812730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330532)

Depending on how you define "a lot of people" and "small companies", I'd wager you're talking out of your ass and haven't actually looked at any statistics. According to the US Census Bureau [census.gov] , only about 10% of everybody that's employed is employed in firms with less than 10 employees. On the other hand, firms with over 500 employees (I'd consider those to be 'big business') employ about 50% of the workforce.

Do you have anything backing up your argument other than "uhh, there's a lot of small businesses so, like, I'll go ahead and say they must employ a lot of people and I'll hope everyone will believe me because everyone believes things they want to hear regardless of proof"?

Re:Obsession with small business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330581)

...because everyone believes things they want to hear regardless of proof

Exhibit one: Creationists
Exhibit two: Slashdotters

See, people aren't really all that different. We should all embrace love because we are one.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330321)

It seems to me that people have just automatically assumed that larger businesses are bad

The larger businesses primary product is layoffs, which destroy careers, homes, neighborhoods, communities, educations, the economy and society.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330452)

If that's the case, then small business' primary product is "going out of business with no warning and everyone gets fired without severance".

Both have their downsides, that's why some of us live in countries with strong social welfare

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330336)

For the life of me, I still do not get America's obsession with small business. Sure, smaller businesses are less powerful, but they're also problematic from an economic standpoint; most small business either don't hire very many employees, or do not pay for their health insurance, or even both.

A very, very, very, very silly comment. I don't remember the exact figures, but small businesses employ about 85%+ of all the employees in any given country. They are the lifeblood of any country's economy. Lose them and you lose your economy, because large corporations are not what keeps it afloat.

Re:Obsession with small business (1, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330369)

I agree.

It's not that small businesses are *bad*, it's that, truly, they do all the same evil things that BIG businesses do, just on a smaller scale.

I've worked for quite a few small businesses, and they all paid their employees poorly, didn't offer any health insurance, and overworked everyone instead of hiring more employees. Why? Because the owners were keeping all the money to themselves so they could be wealthy. And, being a small business, there just wasn't enough money to go around to pay the employees any kind of decent wage, or provide any benefits.

Don't even get me started on small businesses that are nothing but retail shops. Why should I pay more for a product at some "mom and pop" store just so "mom and pop" don't have to get real jobs? Screw them.

Re:Obsession with small business (1, Flamebait)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330386)

It's the whole left-wing "big successful corporations are bad and that makes me feel enlightened" mindset.

Re:Obsession with small business (1, Insightful)

humankind (704050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330409)

It's the whole left-wing "big successful corporations are bad and that makes me feel enlightened" mindset.

That's now an oxymoron if you ask me.

How many "big corporations" are really successful? You can't name one big corporation that isn't either playing "voodoo accounting" to pretend they're successful, or has a shitload of oppressed employees they're taking advantage of. 99.9% of the "big successful corporations" are a half-inch away from completely imploding upon themselves. Have you had your head under a rock for the last decade or what? Read the news lately bro?

Small and medium sized enterprises (4, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330394)

The obsession is with what elsewhere in the world would be called medium sized companies and startups. And there is a simple reason why it is a good thing. SMEs are the feedstock. Many fail, some succeed, but they have the speed of action to exploit new opportunities. Apple began as an SME. Google was until recently an SME. eBay was an SME. Now tell me any large scale enterprise that shows real organic growth? Most of them can only try to absorb other companies and save money to pay the huge acquisition fees. They employ a lot of people - and frequently wish they did not and try to get rid of them by outsourcing, They run strange tax avoidance schemes that cause their profits to be relocated far from where their employees and customers are based. They incur nonproductive costs (lawyers, borrowing, lobbying) that don't impact nearly so much on small companies.

Show me a large company and I will show you an organisation with huge inbuilt inefficiencies and vast inertia. In the long term it is going to die or split up. That's part of the business cycle. To drive the business cycle, you need new dynamic startups and a regime in which, when they become medium sized, they can still grow. You need strength in depth, like the German Mittelstand. Some will be winners and turn into large companies. But if you only have large companies, in the long run there is nowhere but down. Small companies cannot monopolise their markets, so they have to do something well to survive.

I am surprised myself, but I find myself agreeing with Cringely - over the long term. Until recently it has taken a very big enterprise to build cheap computers, phones, or volume software. The problem is that these things are now commoditised to such a degree that they do not command a premium. It's like the transition from a world in which iron was a scarce commodity and the man who could afford a steel sword could be a military leader, to a world in which iron was a cheap building material and the emphasis moved to poeple who could think of new things to do with it. That this transition is happening over a couple of decades rather than a couple of millenia is a sign of some sort of progress.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330408)

Most small companies cannot do the creative accounting the larger companies can do. Many of the large companies seem to not 'make' any taxable revenue... go figure. The little ones can't do it as easily as the multi nationals. Also, it does not take that many employees to do the health insurance thing. I know of several local 20 person engineering shops that have the same BCBS coverage I have in the 500 person, 120M/year shop I work at. (now large enough to call medium I guess, but started small). It adds up...

Re:Obsession with small business (5, Insightful)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330413)

most small business ...do not pay for their [employees] health insurance

That is only an issue because of the dismal state of healthcare in this country. That is a serious problem that needs to be addressed on its own. Most industrialized "first world" countries provide healthcare for their citizens; don't blame the small businessman for the failings of government.

It seems to me that people have just automatically assumed that larger businesses are bad (by associating them with some bad actors among the super-big actors) and that smaller business are somehow intrinsically "good,"...

It's not a matter of "good" or "bad". The problem with large businesses is that they have a disproportionate amount influence on our lives. They own congress and rig the laws and tax code to favor them. They coldly lay off workers without remorse. They are large institutions who are beholden to no one but their shareholders. They do these things, not because they are "evil", but because they can. Any business, small or large, will do what it can to make money, it's just that some of the things large businesses are capable of are pretty nasty.
Small businesses are a part of the community, and have a human face. They're "one of us". Despite their relative inefficiancy, it is no surprise that people have a warmer opinion of them than their larger counterparts.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330597)

I think you meant:

Most industrialized "first world" countries ration healthcare for their citizens;

Re:Obsession with small business (0)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330420)

I doubt your claims. I expect small businesses employ more people for a given task and treat them better, on average, not least because the owner knows the employees personally, and is quite likely even one of them.

Adam Smith disagrees with you too. Megacorporations are bad for a capitalist economy.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330459)

For the life of me, I still do not get America's obsession with small business. Sure, smaller businesses are less powerful, but they're also problematic from an economic standpoint; most small business either don't hire very many employees, or do not pay for their health insurance, or even both.

The problem is that as the number of employees that actually *produce* something in a business, be it a product or service, grows linearly, the number of managers, HR people, laywers, you name it, grows exponentially. More and more layers of management form between the folks at the top and the folks in the trenches. The big charm about small businesses is that one can arrive at the job in the morning and say "Morning Jack, whatcha think about that game last night?", where Jack just happens to be the owner of the place. Perhaps they don't contribute as much to society, but overall they can be a lot more laid back to work at.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

tddoog (900095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330463)

most small business either don't hire very many employees... If they did they wouldn't be small now would they.

...or do not pay for their health insurance... What is the obession with health insurance? Why should we subsidize the existence of health insurance companies? My family (my parents and my three siblings) never had health insurance and we survived all right. We just paid the hospital bills when they came in. Health insurance is just gambling on the safe bet.

Small businesses exist because of the advantages they have over large companies. They are agile and easy to deal with and do not have to maintain ridiculous profit margins because of overhead. All large businesses were small businesses once.

I understand they're "living the american dream" and all that, but how much is that worth us as a society?

Living the American dream is what promotes progress. People immigrate from all over the world to live the American dream. Some of whom, start small businesses that turn into large businesses.

It seems to me that people have just automatically assumed that larger businesses are bad (by associating them with some bad actors among the super-big actors) and that smaller business are somehow intrinsically "good," regardless of the costs to society a large number of small business vs. a smaller number of larger business incur.

The beauty of small businesses is accountability and responsibility. There is not a hundred people between you and getting the problem fixed. Also, when small businesses make mistakes it can put them out of business unlike in big businesses they just suck up a few losses and bribe a few politicians and walk on down the road(Sony rootkit anyone). There are situations when large businesses are better and when small businesses are better. It is about finding the right balance.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

webwurm99 (974783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330471)

firstly, what company are you in human relations for? secondly, Iused to work for Wal-Mart, and Im here to tell you that big companies dont pay crap for healt ins. either. Id say probably 95% of the people I know that work for companies with 1000 or more employees pay about the same as individuals if we had a 1000 policy discount. Its not The companies paying premiums, they are just garunteeing X number of policies. I own a small business with two employees, on every front corps are getting discounts that I pay for.The area I live in is below state average for wages, but because I have two employees I have to pay work comp based on the average. Its an uneven playing field to say the least. Just because billionaires have put so many hurdles in the way dosent mean small businesses inferior to them.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

masterzora (871343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330474)

Well, according to basic economic theory, small businesses are good because they make sure that big businesses won't ride prices too high. The only ways small businesses can viably compete with a big business are price and quality (look at gas prices now: the product of not having a good supply of small suppliers)

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

admactanium (670209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330539)

For the life of me, I still do not get America's obsession with small business. Sure, smaller businesses are less powerful, but they're also problematic from an economic standpoint; most small business either don't hire very many employees, or do not pay for their health insurance, or even both.
you mean like former small businesses that do things like have 2 employees that build computers in a parents garage? (aapl) or a small business of a college kid building commodity pc's in his dorm room? (dell) or a small business of writing some code between harvard classes? (msft)

Re:Obsession with small business (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330587)

Most economic and employment growth comes from small and medium businesses. Large businesses grow mainly by buying up competitors and then laying of a bunch of employees.

Most new ideas also come from small and medium businesses.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330603)

Sure, smaller businesses are less powerful, but they're also problematic from an economic standpoint; most small business either don't hire very many employees, or do not pay for their health insurance Like Wal-Mart?

innovation, creative power (1)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330666)

Well, first off, you have to consider that we have other objectives in mind than just employing a lot of people and giving them good health benefits... Those things are both important, especially health benefits since for some dumbass reason we still haven't adopted socialized health care, but as far as our national and personal objectives go those aren't in the center.

One thing that small businesses can do that large ones cannot is innovate. Now, you may think to yourself that most of the new innovative technologies that come out you ultimately buy from a large company that has the resources to mass produce them. That's absolutely true! However, those large companies often as not get their technology from smaller companies, either from buying the technology directly, or as is more common in software where development teams are important just buying out the smaller company all together.

Microsoft and Apple are good examples. A huge portion of their respective product lines were purchased from smaller companies, everthing from itunes to virtual pc. OSX itself comes from the purchase of NeXT.

Smaller companies can take risks and if they fail, which they usually do, they won't take down a huge corporation and cause thousands of jobs to be lost.

Overall I'd say, to the extent that we think "as a society," which we honestly just don't do that often, we value the economic power that being an innovator lends us. As individuals, I'd say that many people want the freedom to take risks. Playing it safe in a big company guarantees you won't lose your job... but it also pretty much guarantees you won't get rich, and it certainly hampers your ability to try new things. If I have to choose between being a well paid middle manager at a huge company who has to do everything by the book, or the head of a small company where I'm making much less money and have no health care where I get to do pretty much whatever I want, I would find option 2 pretty tempting.

Re:Obsession with small business (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330699)

Actually, too-large businesses are much more problematic from an economic viewpoint, simply because their size means that their screwups cause MUCH larger perturbations in the social & economic fabric.

While individual small businesses may come and go (along with the accompanying heartaches for the owners & employees of those businesses), good societal support for small businesses in general will provide a wide ecosystem of goods & service providers, which can adapt & respond rapidly to changing market conditions.

Contrast that with the effects of a large business, where a single round of layoffs can devastate the communities involved, where the financial shenanigans of a few corporate executives can destroy the retirement plans of all their employees, and where the concentration of wealth makes it hard for even the most principled-politician to keep their eye on the overall public good.

Also, many small businesses exemplify the "total competition" environment that makes capitalism more efficiently allocate resources based on Adam Smith's "invisible hand", where there is much more opportunity and probability that a few large businesses will end up cooperating (either explicitly or implicitly) to make extra profit at the expense of the consumer.

There are only a few economic situations where a few big business are better for society than a whole bunch of small businesses, and those are where you can get major economies-of-scale for a highly-desirable product.

The shortsightedness of America (4, Insightful)

humankind (704050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330300)

This is a testamonial to the shortsightedness of America and specifically the business and political communities. This is happening all over the country. Most local governments give huge breaks to "big" companies to locate in their towns, while ignoring or hasseling the small businesses with too much buracracy. And they wonder why they don't generate as much tax revenue or big companies pull out, relocate, shut down or outsource out of the country? It may seem like some quick-fix or quick-cash but it's never worth it in the long and run.

Not just local governments and small businesses (2, Interesting)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330551)

This is not a phenomenon solely for local governments. All levels of government are just as bad. This is also not restricted to small businesses.

For example, if you're in Pennsylvania and take Interstate 81 south you'll suddenly see a number of major corporate buildings in all fields - manufacturing, financial, consulting - across the Mason-Dixon before you even get a chance to cross the border. This is because various states also have different ways of handling corporations. As a Pennsylvanian, I can state for a fact that the Commonwealth of PA is *not* tax friendly and instead treats its citizens and businesses as an endless money pit that is constantly subject to increasing taxes. It's no wonder why corporations mock Pennsylvania by having so many offices across the border. Same with Delaware. Their tax laws are much friendlier than Pennsylvania's, which is why so many financial mega-corporations are headquartered in DE.

One thing that I have noticed, however, is that PA municipalities, particularly in the more rural areas, are becoming increasing hostile towards big corporations. Wal-Mart has been defeated no less then three times in the past two years from building their mega-stores in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster area due to citizens fighting them. I know that Wal-Mart is a favorite anti-corporation whipping boy in the past few years; however, the reasons that were cited for stopping W-M include undesirable increase to local traffic and destruction of local, small businesses, both of which are commonplace after-effects of W-M.

Of course, the U.S. itself is very hostile to businesses because of the on-going mentality that if you're rich, you've done so solely through ill-gotten means and therefore need to be punished through taxation. The increasing conversion of the U.S. from capitalism to a federal socialism is also not conducive to corporations or frankly anyone who wants to work hard to achieve wealth because if you're rich, you're living unfairly and need to have your income forcibly removed so that the local, state, and federal governments can give it to others more deserving of your money than you. This is one of the reasons why so many companies have their corporate headquarters off-shore where they can't be subject to the taxes and regulations. Whether or not people think that's ethical, I think that anyone with any sense of economics can at least understand why corporations do that, particularly with so many other countries offering greatly reduced taxes or no corporate taxes at all.

I agree with you completely that small businesses are the ones that get hurt the most. They don't have the clout and financial support that mega-corporations can fall back on. However, harmful taxation is not limited to being subjected to small businesses nor are local governments the only ones who create an environment that is hostile to small businesses. All levels of government are too blinded with short-term greed because of tax dollars that they think they can collect in the here and now.

Re:Not just local governments and small businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330592)

across the Mason-Dixon before you even get a chance to cross the border.

Delaware is not south of the Mason-Dixon Line [wikipedia.org] . Delaware was in fact part of Pennsylvania at the time the line was surveyed. "As a Pennsylvanian," you should know that much history, at the very least.

-Not a fucking southerner

Re:The shortsightedness of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330570)

spell much?

Well (0, Offtopic)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330309)

Google is making a ton of money from people [small/medium sized businesses] who never were even in business before.

They have no choice but to be in business. They all got FIRED from their careers and lost their benefits.

New Rules (1, Flamebait)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330343)

Want business, pay Google.
Want more business then the next guy, pay Google more.
Want to stay in business keep paying Google.
Want to kill the next guy, click-fraud your competitors, so they pay Google.
Oh oh, here some the spyware companies on your keywords, pay Google more money.

Bill it all to the customer of course, who is screwed no matter what.

Hash, but that's the new world order. Smart business. Now if Google would only apply all those smarts to something not evil.

this is flamebait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330424)

Hope I get this comment in M2. I'd especially love the moderator to log out and post an explanation as AC. The mod is undeserved and an excellent example of why slash moderation is fundamentally broken.

Visual studio, anyone? (2, Interesting)

zlogic (892404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330347)

For anyone who read the article, the author suggests that Microsoft should license Vista and Office for no more than $50.
Visual Studio 2005 Express was originally thought to be priced $50 a copy, then Microsoft made it free (as in beer) for anyone who downloads it before November 2006. The express editions have pretty much anything that you get in the real thing, except Microsoft's analog for CVS and a few other enterprise things. Express is a great product for anyone who wants to have fun with coding or even write commercial applications. I think Microsoft may be heading in the right direction, because I'd never pay more that 50 bucks for Windows in the country where I live in, because the pirated version of XP Pro Corporate Edition costs $2.5 and because it's corporate, you'll never need to activate it - installs on any number of PCs without cracking anything.
And because I prefer to be on the safe side, I'm currently using a perfectly legal version of Kubuntu.

Not "Vista"... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330405)

For anyone who read the article, the author suggests that Microsoft should license Vista and Office for no more than $50.

No, he suggests that Microsoft sell a new OS that's actually usable on existing computers and doesn't have the legacy bloat and security problems of Windows... for $50.

Maybe they could bring back Windows CE?

Re:Not "Vista"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330609)

Well actually Microsoft is making a new version of Windows CE

Windows CE 6 beta [com.com]

=D

Visual Studio Express to remain free (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330524)

Visual Studio 2005 Express was originally thought to be priced $50 a copy, then Microsoft made it free (as in beer) for anyone who downloads it before November 2006

Visual Studio Express and all components will remain free. Visual Studio Express [microsoft.com]

This is becoming a very large and very rich site for the hobbyist programmer, including many starter kits and tutorials.

Never mind that... (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330362)

This is not only a fundamental change in how advertising is done; it is a fundamental change in how BUSINESS is done.

For the sake of argument, let's put aside the total absence of numbers in that paragraph... But, if one company is going to be credited with "making a ton of money from people who never were even in business before", surely it's E-Bay!

Right, sure (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330485)

Ain't it the classified section of your local newspaper. You know that bit where anyone can put up an ad?

Been around for how long? Ever since someone invented the newspaper and realised that a load of penny ads still pays for all the costs just as good as full page ads with the advantage you can stick those tiny classified ads anywhere you got a spare space.

Nothing new here.

Re:Right, sure (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330507)

Actually there's been local and national press on how Craigslist is clobbering the beejeezus out of classified ads. Posting for free beats pennies - and newspapers have been getting hit where it hurts. Probably why ad inserts have been up.

What does cringely see as Apple's "platform"? (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330382)

Microsoft can build software for a handheld or tablet computer, a mobile phone or a TV set-top box and even though the wrapper is different, the feel is always very much the same -- that of a fat PC client. Microsoft can't allow a phone to be a phone because they can't dominate and control a plain old phone unless it is more Windows than phone. That's a problem.

It surely is. That was obvious in 2000 when they came out with "Pocket PC", their most successful spin on the handheld, and "Stinger", their fialed attempt to get into the cellphone market.

The Pocket PC meant the end of the Windows CE micro-notebooks and the Windows-CE-based tablets. They were pushing Windows NT as the new tablet... the problem is that while Windows CE felt like a spin on Windows 95, and the Pocket PC felt like a Palm on steroids, the Tablet PC was just an overpriced notebook.

Luckily for Microsoft, Palm had no idea what their product was, and has been trying to turn Palm OS into Pocket PC... and failing, big time. If Palm was smart they'd be selling black-and-white 68000-based Palms for $30-$50 in every grocery store in the USA, and they'd still own the business... because Microsoft couldn't do that. But, no...

But, anyway... Microsoft's platform is Windows. If you're not Windows... even if you look like Windows, Microsoft just wants to make you an annex to the Windows desktop. And if you don't even look like Windows, Microsoft doesn't want you to be a platform. That's why they completely redid the XBox, people were turning it into a platform.

But what's Apple's "platform"? It's not the Mac, and it's not Mac OS, or Mac OS X, because their "handheld/..." is the iPod, and it's nothing like a Mac. It's not even tied in to the Mac. Apple's platform is, near as I can tell, "whatever they can make money selling". That's not something they can control like Microsoft can control Windows. Microsoft isn't Apple's proxy, but what is?

Re:What does cringely see as Apple's "platform"? (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330421)

If Palm was smart they'd be selling black-and-white 68000-based Palms for $30-$50 in every grocery store in the USA, and they'd still own the business... because Microsoft couldn't do that. But, no...Two words: T-100.

Sold like..a lead balloon. Was one of the major factors in Palm's implosion.

Re:What does cringely see as Apple's "platform"? (1)

scheming (862018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330425)

apple's platform is simplicity. ipod - the best-selling, easiest to use mp3 player on the market with a clean/ simple look to it. mac osx - a great, easy to use operating system with a very clean/ simple look to it. apple hardware - easy to use, GREAT integration with the OS and again clean/ simple look to all their products. i don't know if "platform" is the word you were looking to use, but here's your response.

Re:What does cringely see as Apple's "platform"? (0, Troll)

Peturrr (940456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330470)

I think he is refering to the closed format of the Apple music platform.

They use a closed format to keep the customers bound to their devices. That's the Microsoft way, and Apple clearly isn't doing anything else here.

I really think that he has a point here: Apple is just as 'evil' as microsoft, they only hide it very well with their attractive style/design.

Re:What does cringely see as Apple's "platform"? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330631)

I think he is refering to the closed format of the Apple music platform.

AAC is just another name for MPEG4 encoding of music. That's an open standard.

The only thing closed is the DRM, but DRM has to be closed, because DRM depends on obfuscation to work. DRM involves giving someone an encrypted message, the decryption keys for the message, and an implementation of the decryption algorithm, and keeping them from reading the message except when you want them to.

To quote Douglas Adams, "This is of course impossible".

Microsoft's DRM is less open - the only platform it runs on is Windows (Plays For Sure devices aren't "platforms" - they only run one application) whereas iTunes runs on Windows and Mac OS. Real's DRM isn't any different from Microsoft's. Sony's DRM is dead.

And it doesn't matter if Apple's DRM is open or closed because the first thing any sane person does with the music they buy from iTunes is burn it to an audio CD... and once you do that you can play it on any device.

Re:What does cringely see as Apple's "platform"? (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330637)

Apple's "platform" is the Apple experience: products made for people who think like Apple thinks, do things the way Apple does. You know, architects and dilettantes.

Big verses Small (5, Interesting)

humankind (704050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330393)

I work for a small company. I used to work for several big companies. I don't make as much money now as I used to, but I have ten times more freedom and ten times more happiness and ten times less stress. I do more work than I did at the big companies, but it seems less like "work." Even though, technically I don't make as much money as I did working at some larger companies, somehow it feels like I do have more money. Maybe this is because the quality of my life has improved to the point where I am not engaging in consumeristic, distractive or self-destructive behavior as much as in the past, and this leaves me more resources as well as more peace of mind?

When I worked at big companies, there always was an illogical hierarchy that insured good ideas would get buried behind the ambitions of politically-motivated managers. People used internal memos to talk in lieu of face-to-face conversations. We had way too many meetings that didn't get a goddam thing done. And half the staff's specialization involved blaming others for things that went wrong. Normally accountability and responsibility go hand-in-hand, but not in big companies. And things constantly broke down and got lost in the cracks. When I was young, this was huge hit to my idealism and I had to make a decision: Did I want to live my life this way and end up being programmed to accept mediocrity as the status quo? Or did I want to find an environment where the people were truly appreciated and weren't constantly living in fear that some corporate boss would cut their job without even introducing himself?

I would never go back.

word? (4, Insightful)

scheming (862018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330399)

you would really rather have a couple people own big companies and small businesses be non-existent? that would generate the smallest percentage of rich/wealthy people in the united states, leaving the rest of the people (more than 99.9%) in the middle/low class. i guess this would be fine if it didnt sound stupid.

Re:word? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330582)

So you mean nothing would change. Few small business owners get out of being classified as middle class, or make more money (that's usable by them) then someone in a job at a large company.

A need for both (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330443)

I'm counting on Google and eBay to save America"
While it is wonderful that ebay and Google are offering large scale exposure and nation wide distrabution to small businesses, let's not demonize all giant corporations. Some things are better done on a huge scale. Think Boeing and FedEx. While other things are best done on a small,even personal,scale. Like fine dining or health care. The real hope for America is finding the appropirate scale for different industries, instead of business success being defined as becoming a huge market-dominating multinational, success can become about a balanced harmonious place in the economy and community.

Certainly Agree With Him in Parts (3, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330461)

The way software and products are funded is definitely changing. The days of licensing software products on widespread scale (certainly with Microsoft) do look as if they are going to be pretty untenable over the next ten years. With licensing for Windows, licensing for Office, licensing for servers, licensing for other spin-off software like Sharepoint, licensing for Exchange and CALs etc. there are small businesses who will never in a million years be able to use this software in a full, useful and productive manner. Even if they were to, by the time they did the next fifteen versions would have been brought out, leaving theirs unsupported.

Google funds its activities and development through advertising and spin-offs based on that from the services they provide, provided by their development. Small businesses and individuals have got several times the chance of using Google Calendar or Google Groupware than they have of using Exchange. That's what makes them a bit dangerous to Microsoft. Even then though, Microsoft still makes its money through licensing. There's no real way of getting around that.

Ditto with open source software, and that's why it will not be brought to the masses by Red Hat or especially Novell. They charge license fees in all but name. If someone can find a way of taking open source software, and finds a business model that allows them to fund their development whilst giving it away for free, it's bye, bye Microsoft, Novell and a few other companies who make their livings from pure software licensing. Seriously. IBM are a little bit different in that they do more than just that, so they have a chance. There I disagree. But, if you're a pure software licensing company you better hope damn hard that you're providing an adequate service to your custoners and you're in a specific well defined market.

You mean like IBM and Apple? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330596)

If someone can find a way of taking open source software, and finds a business model that allows them to fund their development whilst giving it away for free, it's bye, bye Microsoft, Novell and a few other companies who make their livings from pure software licensing.

You mean like IBM and Apple do?

Re:You mean like IBM and Apple? (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330728)

You mean like IBM and Apple do?

No, that's not what IBM and Apple do.

IBM???Apple??? (2, Insightful)

tooyoung (853621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330486)

Cringely aims to slap some sense into Microsoft, Apple, and IBM altogether
Um, IBM makes its money through enterprise-level applications and services, with some hardward. Apple plays the hardware/music/software game. You may as well "slap some sense" into Boston Market, Sears, and Starbucks for not joining Google's model.

DO YOU KNOW HIM? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330529)

Joe says what ever floats your boat... fuck whoever kids, women, men, animals, bi's, trans and what ever other fucked up freaks you can find.

he uses slave labor in China to make his life easy. Other's pain is his gain

626-274-6426 everbody do drugs tonight everybody JOE WANG tonight

May 10,2006 starts the 6th year of the Joe Wang informational posts. Do you have a favorite vintage Joe Wang post? If you do share it with the FC family.

Joe Wang is so happy it is daylight saving time! It gives him another hour to suck cock, he just loves the juice of the Taiwanese.
Do you know him? Would you like to know Him? JOE WANG!

He uses his DELL to find kids on the world wide web to sell drugs to or who will fuck for drugs

HENRY FORD DID NOT LIKE JEWS or NIGGGERS so how come as a white man you do not drive a FORD I do to support WHITE THINKING.
WHAT DOES THE US POST OFFICE AND PAYLESS SHOE SOURCE HAVE IN COMMON?

THOUSANDS OF BLACK LOAFERS!!

Still going down?? His old Chink Whore mother goes down on everyone but she loves nigggggggers the best.
do you know him, her, them?
would you like to know him, her, them?
do you know joe wang 626-274-6426
do you know Cai Lai?
do you know allan white?
do you know brian pierson?
do you know john joseph?
would you like to know this collection of homos, child abusers, drug pushers to kids, circle jerkers and makers of fuck, fist and suck films with animals and members of mud tribes

doYOUknowHIM JOEwang

As always his mother fucks SHINES for free. whites and asians are $4 or $3 if he can watch
6_2_62746426JoeWang
That bucked tooth, four eye, pan faced yellow bastard has a vision of your pants down around your ankles and your ass wide open to his yellow cock.

He would sell his mother for a hand full of coins.
Brokeback mountain broke Joe's heart. Heee, heees father and hees father's male friends would take hymn out camping in the backyard they would set up a tent in the back yard leaving it up all summer playing Bareback Mounting. Hees dad would dry fuck hymn up the ass hard and fast to get the boi bitch to bleed that all heeess father's friend would throw in a buck and ride that boi bitch. JOE WANG 626-274-6426

Please stop... (5, Insightful)

FooManChu (35221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330553)

posting Cringely's articles. They're nothing but flamebait and don't deserve to make slashdot's front page.

They are hoping... (1)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330572)

FTA: ...nobody can hope to control the Internet.

The big telecom companies beg to differ.

(See: Net Neutrality [wikipedia.org]

Microsoft's business model is in transition (4, Insightful)

rifftide (679288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330593)

Microsoft is clearly trying to reinvent itself, with the elevation of Ray Ozzie, rebranding of MSN as Windows Live/AdCenter, and the surprise announcement of a major investment in server infrastruture. It's trying to be a lot more like Google. As owner (and frequent abuser) of the Windows/Office monopolies, they realize they have both major advantages and disadvantages relative to Google: they can offer "integrated innovation", but many business partners and consumers no longer trust them. So the business model they're trying to get to won't be the same as Google's either. I can see moving towards a hybrid model where consumers and very small businesses can use their software over the web for free, supported by ads (i.e. the Google model), while larger companies could alternatively buy it as packaged software and install it behind their corporate firewall and administer it themselves, to protect the privacy of their data.

Meanwhile they'll still be selling desktop software of course, but this area will start to decline in profitability. Windows and Office are their cash cows and the software-as-service stuff is their new direction which will eat cash for a number of years.

As far as Cringely's suggestion that MS offers a lean and mean, high performance, secure version of Windows, fully compatible with XP applications and peripherals, that could be sold for $49 without major loss of revenue and internal disruption, well, would that it were that easy. That's Cringely's advantage of being a blogger.

PETITION TO BAN WHITES (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330600)

l WOULD LlKE TO START A PETlTlON TO BAN ALL WHlTES FROM SLASHDOT

THlS TECHNOLOGY POSTlNG IS DESCRIMlNATORY TO BLACKS

FOR REPARATlONS WE DEMAND BLACKS ON BLONDS SECTlON FOR SLASHDOT

SlNCERELY, THE UDNERSlGNED:

BLACK_SOLDlER, HATES WHlTES AND RACISTS

Our savior Google? (2, Informative)

SideshowBob (82333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15330622)

So America's savior is a company that is entirely dependent on advertising revenue? Does Cringely remember 1999? Has he read anything about Google's problems with spammers hacking the PageRank algorithms, and polluting Google's cache with useless auto-generated sites?

No offense to Google - I'm a regular user - but I'm not pinning the entire nation's future to this one tech company. That's absurd hyperbole. Something that we know to expect from Cringely (and Dvorak, et al.)

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILD IS? HAPPY MOTHERS DAY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330665)

I sneak into little Jill's bedroom window while you are posting to slashdot. I quickly silence her gasp when she turns to face me by burying my tongue in her mouth. My hand snakes it's way down her petite body to her crotch. I force open her legs and move her my little pony panties out of the way. My cock is positioned at the opening of her vagina as I stop my assault on her mouth.

I plunge my penis into her diminutive cunt. Blood streams from between her thighs as I bite her tongue to stifle her cries.

I continue to assault her violently. I momentarily pull my body away to gaze into her glazed eyes. She is staring at nothing.

The sight causes me to erupt inside of her womb. I pull out a knife and lazily slide it across her throat. She doesn't resist anymore.

If a girl's ass sags she fucks blacks. lots of 'em (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330694)

Like a car, a girl's ass/pussy have certain number of miles in them.

Say an average fuck is 200 strokes at 6 inches or 100 foot per fuck -in (plus same 100 foot out). If she fucks black guys the strokes double and the size can go up to 10 inches per stroke. Her ass starts to droop.

Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15330719)

Amazon also seems to have embraced small bussiness. It seems every time I order from them, they forward the order to some tiny business somewhere. This makes sense for them -- no inventory, no shipping paperwork, etc. They just become one big hosted e-commerce site.
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