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Motley Fool Writes Off Microsoft

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the limited-vistas dept.

Microsoft 404

The Vista disaster has caught Wall Street's attention before but I've never seen the popular press understand the issues like this argument in the Motley Fool. The opposing argument is a weak statement of faith, essentially "as it was in the beginning is now and forever shall be." "You don't need to watch the 'I'm a Mac, I'm a PC' commercials to see that Microsoft is taking a beating. You see it in the company's financials where its online unit, incredibly, is operating at a loss; overheating Xbox 360 consoles find the company taking a huge warranty hit for a system losing market share to the Wii; and the upgrade wave of its flagship operating system has been more of a ripple than a tsunami. That last point is important. This was supposed to be Microsoft's final feast, the major last hurrah for its Windows Vista operating entry and its Office 2007 suite of applications before the inevitable embrace of cheaper open source operating systems and Web-based apps... In fact, even Microsoft will tell you that its fortunes peaked several months ago."

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Frosty Piss loves Microsoft (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181530)

Of course, I love pouring a tall steaming mug of frosty piss over Microsoft's head. Who wouldn't?
 

Re:Frosty Piss loves Microsoft (3, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181632)

What is it now, steaming or frosty?

Attention mods: (-1, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181974)

That's "troll" or "flamebait" you insensitive clods!

Now to prevent an offtopic modding myself, from the summary:
You don't need to watch the 'I'm a Mac, I'm a PC' commercials to see that Microsoft is taking a licking

Did Timex buy them out? "Microsoft takes a licking and keeps on ticking". Although in Microsoft's case, "ticking" probably means the critters your dog brings home from the woods in his coat, considering that Microsoft is King of thr Bugs. Or Lord Of The Fkies or something.

Go ahead, astroturfers, mod me dowm. If you mod me down I shall become more powerful than you can imagine! [slashdot.org] Yes that's an old one. And no, there's no new journal today so don't even bother looking.

-mcgrew

No spam for YOU! Oh wait a minute, mod this one "overrated" I did.

Re:Frosty Piss loves Microsoft (1)

TheAngryIntern (785323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182048)

hehe, this made me lol. is it steaming because it's so cold?

dancing (0, Flamebait)

Gearoid_Murphy (976819) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181538)

on microsofts rotted corpse!!!!!!

Re:dancing (5, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182144)

Motley Fool: Bring out your dead!
Gearoid_Murphy: Here's one.
Motley Fool: Ninepence.
Microsoft: I'm not dead!
Motley Fool: What?
Gearoid_Murphy: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
Microsoft: I'm not dead!
Motley Fool: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
Gearoid_Murphy: Yes, he is.
Microsoft: I'm not!
Motley Fool: He isn't?
Gearoid_Murphy: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
Microsoft: I'm getting better!
Gearoid_Murphy: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
Motley Fool: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
Microsoft: I don't want to go on the cart!
Gearoid_Murphy: Oh, don't be such a baby.
Motley Fool: I can't take him.
Microsoft: I feel fine!
Gearoid_Murphy: Well, do us a favour.
Motley Fool: I can't.
Gearoid_Murphy: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
Motley Fool: No, I've got to go to Sony's. They've lost nine today.
Gearoid_Murphy: Well, when's your next round?
Motley Fool: Tuesday.
Microsoft: I think I'll go for a walk.
Gearoid_Murphy: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
Microsoft: [singing] I feel happy! I feel happy!

Apologies for spamming you with this Monty Pythin troll.

-mcgrew

In other news (5, Insightful)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181578)

MSFT shares are up 3% today after another strong rise yesterday, after announcing their financial results and outlook.

Re:In other news (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181662)

I'm accustomed to "X writes something in Y arguing that..." being reported as "Y says..." It takes real journalistic skill, though, to turn what's obviously a point-counterpoint piece into "Motley Fool Writes Off Microsoft".

Re:In other news (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182204)

It takes real journalistic skill, though, to turn what's obviously a point-counterpoint piece into "Motley Fool Writes Off Microsoft".

It doesn't take a genius, it only takes an editor who will post a story from a Twitter.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181666)

Yep. If Microsoft had a nickel for every incorrect assessment of its impending death "real soon now," it would be richer than it already is. Back in the real world, Microsoft will probably outlive all its detractors with a decade to spare.

Re:In other news (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181960)

Yep. If Microsoft had a nickel for every incorrect assessment of its impending death "real soon now," it would be richer than it already is. Back in the real world, Microsoft will probably outlive all its detractors with a decade to spare.
That would be true if there were > 0 incorrect assessments (1 = $0.05 richer), so while you are factually correct, it lacks the impact you where trying for.

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181718)

MSFT shares are up 3% today after another strong rise yesterday, after announcing their financial results and outlook.
Yeah, I noticed that on MSN Money when I was running at the gym last night. The reason they cited that was strong Vista sales. That's not what I've heard on Slashdot.

Now I know he's a Microsoft robot but on the otherside of this issue is Ed Bott [zdnet.com] who cites adoption rates. Of course there are other factors like Vista being forced down people's throats.

You have to admit, the stories we're hearing just don't add up. People can spin this like Vista's a flop or success. I'm guessing it's par for the course and Microsoft is doing fine. My company will be shoving Vista onto my workstation in a year and it's hear to stay.

Do I like Vista? Not at all. That still doesn't mean I should live under a rock in denial.

Re:In other news (2, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181784)

Isn't it not uncommon for businesses to skip entire versions of windows?

With the next version coming quick (allegedly) I don't see any compelling reason to not go XP -> 7 without dealing with Vista at all. It was only recently that new software stopped working with Windows 98.

Re:In other news (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181958)

Isn't it not uncommon for businesses to skip entire versions of windows?
It is not not not uncommon at all! :)

My company was not in love with '98, so made the jump quickly to 2000, but then stuck 2000 on every machine that came in the door until they had trouble making new hardware work (laptops, for instance, just remained XP). Last time I checked, they were still blocking SP2 - though I've been working remotely for 2 years so that might not still be the case. The loaner PC that I use when I visit is still 2000. I suspect they will be similarly slow to adopt Vista, and may skip it altogether if MS releases another OS quickly enough.

Then again, my company still runs Exchange 5.5 and just tells everyone to clench during daylight savings :)

Personally, I won't upgrade my PC to Vista, but if I happen to buy one with it pre-installed I won't remove it, either. I've set up some Vista machines for people and played with it quite a bit now - it's really not so bad. It just has some new irritations, and some things are flat-out impossible to do (or at least not that I could figure out with the help of Google). But on the whole it is stable and not really much different day-to-day than XP.

Re: NT 3.51 to XP (2, Interesting)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182140)

Good point, and you are right on businesses (even large ones) skipping entire versions of Windows. The transportation company I work for ($10 billion in revenue) went straight from NT 3.51 to XP about 2 years ago.

Re:In other news (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181856)

If Vista is indeed a failure, it is only a failure in context, most companies would be glad to have such a failure on their balance sheet.

Re:In other news (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182052)

Really? Has Microsoft really made back 5 years of development effort from Vista sales? I find it hard to believe with most sales coming from bundled (i.e. low profit) type sales.

Re:In other news (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181954)

That's not what I've heard on Slashdot...You have to admit, the stories we're hearing just don't add up.

Wow, that's a real conundrum! I wonder what the explanation could be?

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181992)

MSFT is selling Vista for 2-4 times what XP went for. MSFT could sell 200% less copies of Vista and still come out ahead of XP money wise.

especially in order to get the same functionality as XP PRO, or Leopard (both of which sold for ~$130)you have to buy the $400 version.

So yea of course MSFT is seeing strong sales numbers. if I doubled the price of my product while having an illegal monopoly I woudl see strong sales figures as well..

Re:In other news (2, Informative)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182256)

No. If they sold 200% less copies of Vista than XP, they'd buy as many Vista licenses (from whomever would sell them to MSFT) than they sold XP licenses. 200% less than 100 copies sold is minus 100 copies sold, i.e. 100 copies bought. 50% less than 100 copies sold is 50 copies sold, of which, in turns, 200% copies sold would be 100 copies.

Also, Vista Ultimate is sold for some $200 (OEM) to $210 (Upgrade if you insist on retail packaging). Using the $400 retail price tag for comparison doesn't work out because Leopard's an upgrade (and some $80 cheaper at that) and neither Vista's nor XP's retail editions account(ed) for the majority of sales.

Also, AFAIK, the illegal part of MSFT's monopoly has ended, unlike the continued support of XP in general [wikipedia.org] or support by MSFT's current productivity suite [wikipedia.org] .

Long story short: Try trolling people who don't know anything about the topic at hand or find better arguments.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22182034)

So a bott likes MS? This isn't surprising at all...

Re:In other news (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182216)

The reason they cited that was strong Vista sales

Actually Vista is selling like hotcakes. Dell is buying lots of copies, Gateway is buying lots of copies, Sony is buying lots of copies, OEMs are buying lots of copies.

The only people who aren't buying Vista are businesses that aren't making computers, home computer owners, upgraders, and everybody else.

-mcgrew

(no journal for YOU! You;ll have to make do with reruns. Happy DT.)

Re:In other news (0)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182224)

You heard how great Vista was selling on MSN Money??? Grain of salt there pal. I'll bet that satan told you that hell was filled with virgins and ice water too and you believed it because HE told you so.

Re:In other news (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181876)

MSFT shares are up 3% today after another strong rise yesterday, after announcing their financial results and outlook.

True. Selling 2 licenses, one for bundled-Vista and another to usergrade it to XP is a real good way to boost sales. But it will not last. Lets see what happens in Q2 when the X-Box returns are in.

And a rise over a market crash? Some of my stocks are up 10% in 2 days and 3% is on the lean side.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22182156)

Some of your stocks? Are you seriously giving us the opportunity to think you are comparing (for what little information you gave) non-tech sector stocks with tech sector stocks? I know you sure as hell aren't including AAPL in your 'assessment' of the stock market, as it's gone from 165 to 135 in the past 5 days.

Why not just look at the S&P, because, you know,it's a fucking index. It's not up 10% so your comparisons are idiotic at best.

Speaking of idiotic, but what exactly are your qualifications on gauging the market? Calling it a crash in the first place lets me think, hmm, you might not know anything about this.

You might hate Microsoft, and want them to burn and die, but a monolithic company like Microsoft, which has holdings all over the world, is less likely to see a 10% net gain (or loss) in a day due to how the world economy generally works world economy.

Re:In other news (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182300)

And yet this argument is invalid because most people know that Vista includes downgrade rights to XP Home or XP Pro. You don't need to buy XP again. They aren't artificially boosting sales in this manner, at least not on a wide scale.

The reason Microsoft has always been a good stock buy even though the stock price has dropped through the roof in recent years, is they consistently make money. I expect there are enough smart people in that organization that they will continue to put out products that make money. I don't care how long this FOSS fad goes along, eventually people will realize that in order for software to keep progressing, they have to be doing it for profit, and people will gladly pay for the priviledge of using a system that is professionally maintained and supported. You have to admit, even the companies driving desktop linux are those who profit from it, not those who do nothing but tweak it and give it away.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22182266)

MS has been gaining revenue quarter by quarter.

"Despite the hubbub over Vista's features, revenue inched just 15% higher in fiscal 2007. The company is guiding investors to expect a 15% to 17% advance this fiscal year."

The reason why this article is critical is because this is from the Inside Value section of Motley Fool. They are looking for the home run hitter stocks or companies that will be making huge strides. MS isn't dying it's just not making 100%+ gains every year. Not all that surprising from a mature company.

Weak statement of faith (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181580)

"Weak statement of faith", twitter? That's rich coming from someone whose faith in his own assertions is so weak that he chose to disable comments in his journal rather than make a real effort at refuting critics who post in it.

And yet... (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181582)

...despite Vista's problems, Microsoft announced a 79% rise in profits [yahoo.com] today. I guess they can survive one OS screw-up.

Here's hoping HD DVD's troubles means that they'll remove all the "secure path" BS from Windows 7. They only did it to placate Hollywood, and it's a major reason why Vista had developmental problems. (Note, they'd have had to do it too if they were supporting Blu-ray instead - the point though is that I'd like to see Microsoft throw a tantrum and remove a "feature" they should never have added in the first place.)

Re:And yet... (4, Insightful)

bizitch (546406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181754)

Right

They survived Windows Me and they already announced (leaked) the next OS is on the way sooner than thought

They also have more money than God - So they will adopt, adapt and improve (and steal, and "innovate" etc etc)

Re:And yet... (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182066)

The reason MS survives it flops and continues to dominate is simple - continuity. You can still read files written under Windows 3.1, browse the file system on a Win95 machine via the network, and map a drive on a WinMe box. All straight out of the box, without a single command line. And since the guys having to make the decision to wholesale dump MS and switch to FOSS still have their grandkids baby pics on a FAT formated floppy, they will continue to buy MS. Because if they ask IT about the track record of a given FOSS program, most IT guys will be hard press to sign under the "this will still be supported in 10 years" line.

Re:And yet... (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182132)

They also have more money than God
Major point there. No company is permanent or invincible, but Microsoft is the type of behemoth that can bleed off small ammounts of money for DECADES without folding.

They are still turning a (sizable) profit. They not only need to start taking a loss, but they need to either start taking a MAJOR loss each quarter (doesn't look likely), or, we gotta wait it out. As long as they're managed just well enough that their losses are minor, I doubt we'll see Microsoft go away in the foreseeable future.

Still, that doesn't mean that they need maintain their current control for that long. I'd love to see Microsoft in 15 years, putting out their OS that only has about 25-30% market share, and shipping Office for Linux (and naturally Mac, but they already do that so no big change there). Xbox would likely be scrapped by then (admittedly though, the 360 is the only current gen system I own, but I bought it pretty much exclusively for Mass Effect).

If Linux could just get that level of commercial support, I think it would be a major victory. I'll admit that, though not the only things, having WoW and MS Office available are major factors in my preference of MacOS over Linux right now. Linux is ideologically the better way to make software, and I hope to goodness that within the next few years it gets the functionality, polish, and commercial support to be functionally the better of the two as well. Microsoft has already proven that Windows is steering towards crippleware, and Apple is likely not far behind.

Re:And yet... (1)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181888)

I find amazing that anybody can seriously suggest that this is a company in a weak position.

Anybody who does just has very little sense for how far this company has come in the past 10 years in terms of the breadth of their product offerings and their success in penetrating markets.

1998 (right before the Internet was going to destroy MS):
near monopoly (>90%)in OS, Office suites, internal only server use
2008:
near monopoly (>90%)in OS, Office suites, major player (>30%) in game console, smart mobile, database server, web server, mail server, information portal, bit player (but growing) in CRM, BI, operations management server

None of this means that these businesses aren't operating in a competitive environment, but I'd take a lot of convincing before I believed these guys were toast.

Re:And yet... (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182210)

They only did it to placate Hollywood, and it's a major reason why Vista had developmental problems.

No, they did it to "embrace, extend, and extinguish" Hollywood itself in a bid for total power over the end user.

If Vista-style DRM becomes the norm for all Hollywood releases, then:

1) F/OSS gets shut out of the legitimate playback market. Hollywood doesn't care because Mac and Windows stay in.

2) Software-as-a-service where the software is very fat desktop applications is much easier to support. (And let's be honest, local software will always be faster and more feature-full than browser-based applications.) $20/month for access to the *entire* Microsoft home applications portfolio begins to look very attractive, especially when combined with digital television and broadband access into a single package.

3) DRM into TCPA means that web sites will be able to discriminate based on the end user. All of the content on Youtube that can today be easily ripped to .avi will then be completely unrippable.

4) After consumers become used to the idea of #2 and #3, Microsoft will be able to dictate terms to *all* content providers including Hollywood, software developers, and other markets as yet unknown. You want 90% of the desktops in the world to run your software? You need a TCPA key signed by Microsoft. Comedy Central wants to offer streaming video? They'll need a TCPA key signed by Microsoft. You want to run a F/OSS operating system? Fine, but the corporate portion of Internet will be off-limits to you -- and routers will use QOS to ensure that the non-TCPA-accessible Internet is not fast enough to compete with the TCPA-locked-down Internet.

THAT is why they did DRM in Vista.

Who thinks The Fool is a good source? (5, Informative)

acvh (120205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181586)

AP
Microsoft Tops Street in 2Q; PC Sales Up
Friday January 25, 9:45 am ET
By Jessica Mintz, AP Technology Writer
Microsoft Beats Street in 2nd Quarter; Vista, Office, Xbox Games Helped

SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. forecast a rosy 2008 -- despite broader economic worries -- after it blew by Wall Street's expectations for a second consecutive quarter.
"We will be impacted just like everybody else," if the U.S. falls into a recession, Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said Thursday. "But overall, we feel very optimistic about our second half."

Company officials touted rising sales in each of Microsoft's business divisions, a slate of important upcoming business-software launches and the growing contribution from sales in non-U.S. markets.

Microsoft raised its outlook Thursday for the rest of its fiscal year, which ends in June, matching Wall Street's forecast and sending shares up in after-hours trading.

The software maker's quarterly earnings jumped 79 percent to $4.71 billion, or 50 cents per share, from $2.63 billion, or 26 cents per share in the second quarter a year earlier. Quarterly revenue climbed 31 percent to $16.37 billion from $12.5 billion.

Uhh... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181588)

What part of Microsoft's record earnings yesterday did Slashdot seem to overlook? I think the joke is on us.

http://www.news.com/8301-13860_3-9857633-56.html?tag=newsmap [news.com]

Re:Uhh... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181692)

Article says:
<quote>In fact, even Microsoft will tell you that its fortunes peaked several months ago.</quote>

Coward says:
<quote>What part of Microsoft's record earnings yesterday did Slashdot seem to overlook? I think the joke is on us.</quote>

The 2 statements are 100% in agreement. If future earnings continue to hit records than it is wrong, but if the record set last quarter is the high point than it is also a peak.

Re:Uhh... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181728)

fuckin' extrans

Hasta la Vista (2, Funny)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181596)

Hasta la Vista, Baby .....

Re:Hasta la Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181638)

Hasta la Vista, Baby .....

Translation: Enjoy the view, baby.

Re:Hasta la Vista (3, Informative)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181742)

The phrase 'hasta la vista, baby' features in an exchange between the film's characters John Connor (Edward Furlong) and 'The Terminator' (Arnold Schwarzenegger):

John Connor: No, no, no, no. You gotta listen to the way people talk. You don't say "affirmative," or some shit like that. You say "no problemo." And if someone comes on to you with an attitude you say "eat me." And if you want to shine them on it's "hasta la vista, baby."
The Terminator: Hasta la vista, baby.
John Connor: Yeah but later, dickwad. And if someone gets upset you say, "chill out"! Or you can do combinations.
The Terminator: Chill out, dickwad.
John Connor: Great! See, you're getting it!
The Terminator: No problemo.

Re:Hasta la Vista (1)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181834)

> Hasta la Vista, Baby .....

How long have you been waiting to use that? =)

Need more coffee (4, Funny)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181624)

'Mötley Crüe Writes Off Microsoft'

Gonna be a long day...

Re:Need more coffee (1)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181928)

Heh. Tommy Lee and Pammy announce they're gonna start dual-booting XP and Kubuntu.

MS still alive (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181626)

While I do not disagree with the article, it makes it sound as though MS is on its last foot. Quite the opposite is true as they just reported record earnings [marketwatch.com] for the quarter.

fortunes peaked (1)

norbac (1113477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181642)

"In fact, even Microsoft will tell you that its fortunes peaked several months ago."

Yes, MS' quarterly report released yesterday is all doom and gloom. What with it's 30% increase in revenue [microsoft.com] and all.

Vista is the Windows ME of our generation... (4, Funny)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181644)

This is especially clear now that Windows 7 is on the horizon. And if MS can survive ME, it can survive anything.

Re:Vista is the Windows ME of our generation... (2, Insightful)

KillaBeave (1037250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181884)

Wow ... "Vista is the Windows ME of our generation" (emphasis mine)

I didn't know a generation had passed since I bought ME in college (for $5 through school).

KillaBeave == Old, Sad Panda

Re:Vista is the Windows ME of our generation... (2, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182030)

Plus as long as Apple computers continue to be significantly more expensive than Windows based computers Microsoft is still gonna stay in business regardless of how lame Vista may be.
I mean you can buy a frigging $400 pc laptop. It'll run your word processor, internet and whatever other work like things non graphics types run. Whereas the starting price of Apple laptops is $1200

AND you can say what you want about Linux, but for the average smuck walking around a best buy with a wad of cash it's not even on their radar.
 

They Must Be Short (1, Informative)

dsginter (104154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181654)

Microsoft just posted great earnings [yahoo.com] . While I'm no fan of the Microsoft, I always see these wonderfully timed stories and wonder who is paying for them (e.g. - trying to scare up liquidity).

If the Motley Fool and others wanted any dignity at all, they'd shut up and do this sort of reporting for non-event days.

Re:Dignity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181986)

If the Motley Fool and others wanted any dignity at all, they'd shut up and do this sort of reporting for non-event days. ...or they could just mod you into oblivion...

Interesting (3, Insightful)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181656)

While I can see this as a mark of the beginning of the end for Microsoft I really wouldn't write them off just yet. They still have a metric butt-ton of market share, and are still overall profitable. Should they manage to stop the hemorrhaging of cash with the XBox (Which I can easily foresee) and come up with a good reply to Vista (Like they did with Windows ME/Then Windows 2000), then I can see them rebounding quick.

However, I also see the general public becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to things like Operating Systems and understanding that there are indeed options out there. And with knowledge of options will come people exercising those options.

In other words there's a up and down roller coaster ride ahead but this ride may be coming to a full and complete stop.

Re:Interesting (3, Informative)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181846)

Windows 2000 was NOT and answer to Windows Me. They were directed to completely different markets: Me was to replace Win98SE, Win98 and Win95, while Windows 2000 was to replace Windows NT 4.0.
      Windows XP Home Edition replaces Windows Me

Re:Interesting (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182258)

Windows ME was a stop-gap measure, we all knew that. Windows 2000 was technically a better operating system than WindowsME, but it didn't have the bells and whistles needed to sell to consumers (business yes, joe sixpack in Best Buy, not so much), and XP was still too far out. Microsoft needed to give Win98 a face-lift until XP was ready.

Re:Interesting (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22182242)

Part of the surprising profits report from yesterday was that the entertainment division (Zune and Xbox) turned profitable. They swung from a 300 million loss to a 300 million profit for the quarter.

Vista == PS/2 Micro Channel (4, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181676)

IBM came out with the PS/2 [wikipedia.org] and the Micro Channel [wikipedia.org] bus. They fenced it with patents and wanted to charge high fees for people developing hardware and such for Micro Channel. IBM didn't want to get burned like they had before with the PC clones.

But people failed to beat a path to the PS/2; they waited, and used things like EISA [wikipedia.org] until PCI [wikipedia.org] came along and was roughly as good as Micro Channel. IBM finally learned that they didn't own the PC market anymore.

IBM's still around but isn't a colossus astride the computing industry. Microsoft has now discovered that the competition is "good enough" and the Microsoft name isn't enough to force people to follow along with whatever they say. Like IBM, MS isn't going away... but they'll be one option among many in a few years, not the single dominant giant.

Bad Analogy (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181808)

Vista is not Micro Channel. Vista is Windows ME.

Re:Bad Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181908)

No, ME was a train wreck. Vista is not selling as fast as expected.

I wish people who hadn't used Vista would stop bashing it...

Re:Bad Analogy (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182218)

Vista is not Micro Channel. Vista is Windows ME.

The environment around Vista is very different from the environment that surrounded Windows ME. Except for hardcore gaming, inexpensive PCs are available that can do everything a home user would want to do already, and most things corporate desktops would want, too. Vista's price is a much bigger percentage of that hardware cost, and Vista itself simply cannot run well on typical computers - it needs high-end hardware to run acceptably. ME would at least run (as well as ME ever ran, anyway) on typical machines of the time.

Hardcore gaming is moving away from the PC, too, to consoles. Casual gaming has already largely moved away from the PC, except for Flash stuff that doesn't need Vista. Then there's the DRM fiascos. The competition is also much more mature. Apple and Linux are "good enough" for most home use and many corporate desktops. More and more of the day-to-day stuff people use is web-based, anyway, and doesn't particularly care what OS the user is running. MS Office is still king, but even that's suffering its first serious competition in ages. Office is the main reason anybody needs Windows anymore, and the weaker Office's hold the weaker Windows gets.

Again, I am not predicting the demise of Microsoft or Windows. I do see them becoming increasingly marginalized over time, however.

Nah, more like M.E. (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181902)

and if it is like Millenium Edition, they'll get over it and bring out another version in a year (if we believe the rumours) or two (if we believe the forecasts) or three (if we believe our experience).

There's a lot of life in the ole dog yet

Re:Vista == PS/2 Micro Channel (4, Insightful)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182124)

Like IBM, MS isn't going away... but they'll be one option among many in a few years, not the single dominant giant.

As much as I'd like to believe this, I see no indication that it will actually happen.

In my mind, it is software, not hardware, that locks people into Windows. I am a VAR who mostly services businesses too small to have an IT staff, and it seems that every sector has an industry-specific software that only runs on Windows. Examples from my customers include:
-Collision Repair Estimating Software
-Accountant Software
-Manufacturer's Representative Software
-Dental Practice Software
-Church Administrative Software

It's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg dilema; developers would port to other platforms if those OSes's had more marketshare, and platforms would have more marketshare if applications were ported to to the OSes. I just can't see a short-term road out of that conundrum.

Last hurrah (3, Insightful)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181686)

I thought Vista was an interim OS between XP and Windows 7?

Re:Last hurrah (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182050)

Just like XP was supposed to be an interim OS between 2K and Longhorn.

What about the Bull Argument? (4, Informative)

Red Pointy Tail (127601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181696)

There is a corresponding Bull Argument [fool.com] that argues the Counterpoint - each with its own rebuttal of the other argument.

So much for Motley Fool writing off Microsoft. Typically - guess which article gets highlighted in /.!

Re:What about the Bull Argument? (2, Informative)

seyyah (986027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181988)

There is a corresponding Bull Argument that argues the Counterpoint - each with its own rebuttal of the other argument.
Dude:

The Vista disaster has caught Wall Street's attention before but I've never seen the popular press understand the issues like this argument in the Motley Fool. **** The opposing argument [fool.com] **** is a weak statement of faith, essentially "as it was in the beginning is now and forever shall be."

MS has plans for the future. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181710)

Believe you me.

All the talk about "paid for" services in upcoming OS releases means they have long been making plans to squeeze money out of the common PC user.

Year of the Linux Desktop? Not yet peeps.

MS won't disappear overnight, and besides, it would seem that Motley Fool was one of the few stories pointing to a MS slump, the general web consensus points to better MS earnings.

This tastes of anti MS hype, I wish it were true, but alas...

bitFch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181714)

rules are This poor priorities, common knowledge profits without About bylaws time I'm done here, the choosing were compounded example, if you was after a long All servers. Coming things in For the state of later seen in JOIN THE GNAA!! in a head spinning The mobo blew I know it sux0rs, it just 0wnz.', NETBSD USER Not going home notwithstanding,A dabblers. In truth, have an IRC client The problems watershed essay, numbers continue people's faces at You should bring are looking very Dying' crowd - fucking market Fact: *BSD is dying maggot, vomit, shit A productivity sadness And it was direct orders, or Irc.secsup.org or

hmmm. (2, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181736)

and WOOOSH! let the flame fest begin...

except that this is /. and I don't see many MS defenders around here much. Personally MS are not very relevant to me, I only use Linux at home, even my gf only uses Linux. And my firm seems in now pressing hurry to upgrade to Office07 or Vista.

In a year it has been out I have used Vista only once, and it was a very annoying experience indeed - more to the point I do not know anybody who actually uses Vista. Maybe this is the beginning of MS's slide into irrelevance.

Of course, if Linux is the new boy around town we can expect virus writers to turn their attention to it big time and it to suffer the some of the same problems. I don't know what I prefer - insufferable bloat issues or raging dependency woes really.

Re:hmmm. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181880)

and WOOOSH! let the flame fest begin... except that this is /. and I don't see many MS defenders around here much.
Heh, read all 20 messages above you.

There's definitely wishful thinking in there (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181766)

But it's in the first article, not the second.

ZOMG, people are specifying XP instead of Vista! Sure, but they're still buying Microsoft. Apple is topping out its niche appeal, and corporations are run by lawyers who hate and fear Google Docs with a cold reptilian passion.

Wise up, nerds. Major purchasing decisions are not taken by people live with their parents in Wyoming [penny-arcade.com] . They are taken by grown ups who have mortgages and orthodentist bills to pay, and those people recommend, and will continue to recommend, Microsoft because nobody ever got sacked for doing so.

The upcoming recession may see a few smaller outfits switch to freeware in the hope of chiselling a few dollars off the budget, but that's probably a sign that they're doomed, and so wouldn't have been buying M$ one way or the other.

Still, I'm swimming against the tide of opinion here, if not of history, so feel free to get excited about the prospect of the Evil Empire toppling any day now. Let's compare notes in 5 years and we can spot where you went wrong.

IBM (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182104)

The term is "Nobody got fired for choosing IBM."

Where are they now?

Re:There's definitely wishful thinking in there (2, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182146)

They are taken by grown ups who have mortgages and orthodentist bills to pay, and those people recommend, and will continue to recommend, Microsoft because nobody ever got sacked for doing so.
That sounds oddly like the old adage "No One Ever Gets Fired For Buying IBM," a statement which is no-longer true. I don't know about your experience, but in my experience most "normal" people ask techs for what to do. Most techs that I've met these days recommend either Mac or Ubuntu (and have a sly comment about "or you could get an XP machine while you still can"). In the business world management might ignore the recommendation of their techy folks, but not all of them do. I think you should take a long hard look at history before you start anticipating 5-year purchasing decisions.

So? (2, Funny)

endeavour31 (640795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181772)

Motley Fool is authoritative? I have seen better reasoning from crackheads.

Yea, right (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181814)

Microsoft is dominating Sony in the console market, overheating 360's or not.

Most interesting part of article... (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181816)

I read the bull and bear arguments, whatever, they're both waving their arms. The most interesting part I saw was in the bear rebuttal:

MS Cash and Short-Term Investments
6/30/04 $60.6 billion
6/30/05 $37.8 billion
6/30/06 $31.1 billion
6/30/07 $21.1 billion
Notice a trend? It would seem that MS' me-too policy (Xbox, Zune, live search, etc.) over the last couple of years has been pretty hard on their cash reserves. I think if they can turn a profit on these things it will have been worth it because $60 billion of cash reserves sounds like too much.... but if that trend continues, we'll see MS in debt by the time the coming recession is over.

Re:Most interesting part of article... (4, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181916)

What you are missing is Microsoft started paying out annual dividends starting in........... 2004! Plus some fairly aggressive stock buyback.

Frankly, their cash reserves have dwindled because simply put, sitting on 60 billion worth of cash is just dumb.

Re:Most interesting part of article... (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182310)

MS started paying dividends because there stock value was flattening.

If MS didn't have to pay dividends to get investors, they wouldn't. Because having 60B and not trying to get 70B is just dumb.

Re:Most interesting part of article... (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181970)

It only makes a trend if the author has any clue where the cash reserves are going. Microsoft had a HUGE 3$/share special dividend in '04 because investors were unhappy with the large cash holdings - thats why it dropped so much. And thats not even considering the billions they've shelled out for purshasing other companies.

ms needs to die (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181820)

it's the concept actually, that it is ok to send out programming updates without a foolprof means of authentication

this concept has resulted in 2007 being a banner year for hackers and cyber crime. they only result that can be drawn from all of this hacking is that ms/windows is not suitable for commercial business because of its inherent vulnerabilities.

time to move on, and I've got my eye on that Solaris system. that is a good looking system and if that has good tight security, well hopefully ms comprehensive will cover glass breakage

You are clueless. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182150)

It is possible to turn off Windows Update. If you're willing to pay, you can have Windows Server Update Services, which allows you to pick and choose updates.

And maybe you can cite some sources for me -- was 2007 any worse for Microsoft than it was for anyone else? I mean, aside from Vista being useless...

Re:ms needs to die (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182174)

Changing operating systems is not the answer to security. It is a process in which the basic concepts are the same for whatever OS you choose. Simply switching OS every time there are problems surmounts to a silly shell and pea game. Sooner or later the "Bad guys" will pick the shell your pea is under given enough time.

Re:ms needs to die (2, Interesting)

n0dna (939092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182252)

Bully for you!

Some of us however need to run more than StarOffice, Firefox, and the JDK.

Snide Aside: Does Solaris still ignore all the networking setup questions it asks you during install?

"Thank you for filling out the IP and Routing information as well as the Hostname. Please write these down so that you'll have them for reference when you build out the network confs by hand after the installer is finished."

Meh (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181842)

It's not about the money. Want to make more? Just run the printing presses faster. Money hasn't been reliable enough to be used as a measure of performance for nearly a decade now.

Really it's about influence, and that's what Microsoft are losing, have been for several years.

 

Re:Meh (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182208)

For-profit companies don't exist to create "influence", they exist to turn a profit. That means money. Now, influence is a means to make money, but if you have all the influence in the world but no money, you have failed as a company. (Conversely, if you have all the money in the world but no influence, you win!)

but wall st. disagrees (2, Informative)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181844)

tucked away on the right side of the motley fool page, was a little link about MS. When you followit you read:

"Stocks rose sharply for a third straight session Friday as investors cheered upbeat profit reports from big names like Microsoft Corp. and were reassured by word of a possible buyout of a trouble bond insurer."

and

"Microsoft's bright forecast and earnings that outpaced expectations lent strength to a notion emerging in recent days that perhaps Wall Street had been too pessimistic in its reading of the economy."

So the Fool can say what it likes - it's always a good story to bash M$, but the people who know and who put their money on the line reckon they're wrong. Hell, I wish I had "only" $20Bn in the bank

Bill Gate's smartest move (4, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181850)

Maybe Bill Gate's smartest move was knowing when to leave.

The author is breathtakingly stupid (1)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181874)

For an enormous company, growing revenue 15% is no small feat.

More importantly, the author shows his breathtaking stupidity by discussing MSFT's cash position - he points to 6/30/04, which was before MSFT's one time $3/share special dividend announced summer of 04. Currently MSFT has over 9.3 billion shares outstanding - that special dividend was a 27 billion cash outlay if we guesstimate that there were 9bill outstanding in 04.

MSFT bought acquantive for 5.9 billion, and yet their recent 10q shows around 20-21B in cash/equivalents, similar to 6/30/07, so this is a company generating a lot of free cash flow.

Full disclosure - no position in MSFT

He's right, you know. (4, Interesting)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181904)

OK, I'm old enough to have been in this industry when IBM were as dominant as Microsoft are now. We didn't see them start to slide, either. We were only aware that IBM were falling when their decline was already well advanced and unstoppable. I think we're in that position with Microsoft now. Why?

We're heading for a recession. The rebuttal to the FA says:

Sure -- Microsoft's dependence on its Office and Windows products makes it vulnerable to a slowdown in business spending. Then again, GE's power turbine and aircraft engine businesses are vulnerable, too. When the economy turns south, virtually every company is affected in one way or another.

That's true, of course. But GE's customers can't download an open source aircraft engine for free. Also, and significantly, aircraft engines wear out. If the airlines want to keep flying at all, they have to continue to buy spare parts, sub-assemblies, refurbished engines and, from time to time, new engines. No matter how tight the economy gets, unless all GE's customers go belly up, they will have to continue to buy parts - and GE can at least hope to get some of that business.

As the economy tightens up, one of the things that happens is people start looking at where they can save some money. Software does not wear out. Software carries on working just as well as it did when it was new, until the hardware platform which supports it wears out. And even then, it can usually be transferred to a new hardware platform. So as the economy tightens up, people simply stop buying new software. Where's the need to upgrade, when the software you have works acceptably well?

There are fewer reasons to buy software in a recession, anyway. The total number of seats is not increasing - most companies will be laying off staff. And hardware upgrades which had been planned will be put off, so there will be no need to buy software for new hardware...

And if people have to get new software for one reason or another, for every significant profitable product in Microsoft's inventory, there's a free alternative. Not 'cheap', free. Usually, of as high quality as the Microsoft product or higher. Increasingly, as easy to use as the Microsoft product. The tighter the economy gets, the harder it becomes to justify choosing 'expensive' over 'free'. Furthermore, unlike GE's competitors, Microsoft's free competitors are not subject to the normal rules of the financial market. they can't go bankrupt. The recession will not hurt them much - it is more likely to help them.

I won't hide the fact that I think it's bad for this industry to have one dominant player, be that IBM, Microsoft or Google. I didn't mourn IBM's fall and I shan't mourn Microsoft's. But I don't think you can any longer pretend it isn't happening.

strange thing is (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182002)

It sounds like you're as old as me :-)

Software does not wear out. Software carries on working just as well as it did when it was new, until the hardware platform which supports it wears out. And even then, it can usually be transferred to a new hardware platform. So as the economy tightens up, people simply stop buying new software. Where's the need to upgrade, when the software you have works acceptably well?

After the dotcom bust, the hardware manufacturers had a much tougher time than the software guys. The reason was that all the companies that failed (much as they tend to in a recession) could sell off their hardware as part of the liquidation - so fewer people bought new, they just grabbed bargains from the firesales.

However, the software licenses weren't transferrable, so people still had to buy new softs and the software companies that did survive came out of the bust in a better state than the hardware co.s who were effectively competing against their own, second hand, equipment.

Re:He's right, you know. (2, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182288)

I won't argue with your overall analysis, but this line caught my eye:

Software does not wear out.
It does wear out, in several ways:
  1. The ecosystem moves on. Businesses exachange Microsoft Office documents. When people outside the company are sending you Office 2003 docs and you can't open them because you're still on Office 97, your software has worn out in crucial way.
  2. The buglist gets longer and longer. Over time, the numbers of bugs and vulnerabilities only goes up. Some of those are fixed in patch releases; some aren't.
  3. The local ecosystem improves. Lots of business software is predicated on interoperability. My employer's IT department goes to heroic lengths to keep our EOLed case tracking software fully functional; an upgrade to a later version was finally required when the underlying database was also EOLed. Continual incremental upgrades are a sound strategy to avoid a massive, system-wide upgrade later.
  4. The software is EOLed. No more support, no more bugfixes.
  5. Expertise moves on. Employees get promoted, leave, switch departments. At a certain point, hiring new talent to maintain old software becomes more difficult because the community of knowledgeable users shrinks. My previous employer was paying $400 an hour for retirees to maintain our twenty year old environmental systems software running on OS/2.
  6. Most importantly, what software is used for changes. As businesses continuously change, their needs change. Old software can become a limiting factor in doing new things.

You're literally right that software doesn't rot, but you're functionally wrong, I think. Mitigating against switching to free replacements is the fact that a strategy of continual, incremental upgrades is generally the best way to handle the overall environment.

Who to believe? (1)

BlueF (550601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181932)

"Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forty percent of all people know that."

Microsoft Profit Tops Estimates on Xbox; Shares Rise (bloomberg.com) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2fCzio_sChs&refer=home [bloomberg.com]

Microsoft Reports Record Second Quarter Results (microsoft.com) http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2008/jan08/01-24fy08Q2earnings.mspx [microsoft.com]

Microsoft has never been better... (0)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181980)

The article refers to a lot of stuff that is more "wishful thinking" than reality. Microsoft's sales and profits are setting new records every quarter and its products have never been more entrenched than they are now. The authors are living in some alternate reality universe where people are uninstalling Windows, using OpenOffice, and swearing off of Halo 3. The universe we are all in has Windows installs and desktop penetration at an all-time high, Office sales setting new records, and the xbox 360 a runaway success, even with its massive warranty problems. Those things are obvious and I don't even like Microsoft.

The Wii is building its market in a different way (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182014)

The Wii is scooping up mostly casual gamers. These are the sort of people who will buy up a lot of $20-$30 games, but won't be buying a lot of the more "hardcore" games like Halo, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, Devil May Cry, etc. It's almost two separate markets.

One of the things I'm curious about here is that a lot of the people buying the Wii are not in the audience that is likely to buy many games, like the elderly. I wonder how many of the people who've bought the console will actually buy a lot of even the Nintendo-published games for it like Metroid and Mario. If Nintendo ends up with a usebase where 25-50% of the base is just buying a few casual games, their revenues could take a big hit once the console reaches saturation.

Makes sense. (2, Informative)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182162)

So the reason why corporate uptake for M$ Vista has been relatively slow is because.. ...most corporations just lurrrve M$ XP!

Guess M$ will have to dip into that $20 billion cash flow reserve of theirs and 'ride this one out' ...untill they release W7, which those corporations who skipped Vista will almost certainly adopt much earlier.

Oh! I completely forgot: Apple Smuck and Linux OSS** are coming with a vengence.. to a t.v. advert near you.

**Please note that I dual-boot Vista and Kubuntu, though none of the *real users* in my company (you know - the guys who do 'business' and pay for all this stuff) are likely to change OS in the near future since they all seem pretty content achieving what they need to achieve using MS Office, Project, Adobe, SQL Server, Outlook and heaps of intranet apps that run on IE7 (some kool kids are even using Firefox now!) etc. etc. - all running on XP or Vista.

I remember when that had (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182230)

a 60 billion dollar reserve.

Just some food for thought.

You post could have been about the IBM PC 20 years ago.

Microsoft Lego's (1)

Nutsquasher (543657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182248)

Microsoft products are like Lego's. You don't always get the pieces you want in a set, but they plug together nicely, and can be centrally managed through Active Directory (very robustly, I might add).

Everybody out there always criticizes Microsoft when they find another company (the flavor of the year) who has a better Lego piece, or two, than Microsoft. It's touted as the best invention ever, and promoted as the downfall of Microsoft.

But as it turns out, it's not a Lego piece at all. It's a K'Nex piece. By itself, it's wonderful and awe inspiring. But when you want it to play nicely with the thousands of Lego pieces you already own, good luck!

Microsoft's final feast? (1)

davidann (1052942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182278)

This was supposed to be Microsoft's final feast, the major last hurrah for its Windows Vista operating entry and its Office 2007 suite of applications before the inevitable embrace of cheaper open source operating systems and Web-based apps
I doubt this. Putting aside all marketing and pricing wars, Windows is easier for the computer-inept to use. I like Linux, but it's not as user-friendly as Windows is.

Place your bets, or, "put up or shut up" (1)

Bright Apollo (988736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22182306)

MSFT is up on news that profits rose 79%, Motley Fool has an article arguing that MSFT is peaked.

You can make money shorting their stock, so I'd be curious to see how many of you with money in play would go this route.

-BA

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