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Thursday, 29 June 2006

Comments

PMC

I think it would have been appropriate for you to have made a declaration of personal interest before that last post!

Lots of companies are still using Office 2000 or even Office 97. This has long been a problem for MS. People just don't upgrade often enough (or at all). I can't see this in and of itself driving sales of Office 2007 or convergence of communications solutions. It's companies like Cisco and Juniper that are really driving convergence (circuit-> packet; fixed -> mobile). Something like this from MS is a nice to have (the OS does just work in a way it didn't 10 years ago and a way in which Linux - I guess, I haven't tried it for ages - still doesn't), but the battle for who owns the desktop in 2011, much less 2016, is still to be won. Remember Gates and Ballmer are being squeezed out because they are now seen as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Great companies (DEC, IBM) can and do fail. It can happen to MS and it can happen to Google.

Daveon

It depends on the target market for this. The home user is a minor consideration, although the reality is I will almost certainly be moving over to Vista and Office 2007 when I upgrade my machine next. Quite seriously, when we move to the US I'll have to look at whether or not it is worth shipping this PC over versus buying a new one. We'll see.

Corporates are getting the upgrade message and that's where the big bucks and the MS lock in are. Frankly, you and I don't matter to them, which is hardly a shock. They'll have your phone anyway ;)

PMC

I'm talking about companies. MS's problem is that corporates won't upgrade. We still use Office 2000, for instance. That's why they have tried to move to an approach in which companies rent rather than buy software.

MS fundamental problem is that unlike Google, they can't produce exciting new products. In fact, probably the coolest thing that MS ever did was the BASIC interpreter in 1975. I know, I know, but if you don't innovate, you won't survive.

Daveon

I'm not sure that even your ertswhile employer is of much interest to them. A bank with 1000 seats, OTOH, is. We recently shifted to Office 2003 and XP Pro SP2 as part of a global alignment of IT services across all the group companies and it's really streamlined things, especially corporate email and VPN access.

Nor can I agree that MS are not producing exciting new products - they're there, they're just not necessarily consumer brand facing ones. Although, the new Windows Mobile solution is pretty cool, even if I do say so myself.

Likewise Plays-4-sure is making a big splash in the US, the Xbox360 and MCPC are doing some interesting stuff in the home entertainment space and, IE7's RSS features are really rather sweet.

They could screw up Windows Live and Vista really badly and be history in 5 years, but I'm not betting on it.

PMC

MS aren't going anywhere soon. It's always possible to find some particular MS product and say "Isn't that cool?". But none of these things are cool in the way that say Google was cool when it launched or Gmail or even Flock.

They already have screwed up Windows Live and Vista really badly. Why do you think Bill is being squeezed out?

Daveon

I think your perceptions are clouding this. Flock isn't really "cool" - it's useful, but it is a pretty medicore web browser. Gmail was "cool" because of the storage not the functionality.

I'd also say that Bill is not being squeezed out. He is certainly leaving of his own accord, probably to take Buffett's job at Berkshire Hathaway. Alchin, who is arguably the one who did screw up Vista, has been squeezed out. There is also a position to be made that Steve Balmer is not longer the asset he once was.

The majority of people use MS stuff, often without even thinking about it. Certainly Windows live messenger is a good product and significantly superior to Google chat.

PMC

The point is that Gmail was an innovative , imaginative and industry-disruptive product. When was the last time MS produced anything like that?

Firefox is a damned good browser. As in Opera. The only reason for ever using IE is because idiots insist on producing sites that will only work with it (in some cases, this is because of interworking with other MS products).

Lots of people use MS. Just imagine how much better the world would be if MS products were good rather than (barely) adequate for the task.

Daveon

Oh tosh! ;) [yay, our first flame war] Gmail was Hotmail with more room - Hotmail was the disruptive product that redefined email. Gmail jumped on a bandwagon with a big edge.

I've not used Firefox because, the reality is, I don't need to - there are no features there that I don't have, so what's my need to change? As you say, a lot of IE "goodness" comes from working well with other MS products which I use because they are superior to the alternatives.

The facts of software development is that it is realtively easy to come up with an individual cool product, but much harder to come up with a suite that does a range of things. MS ain't perfect, but they are streets ahead of all the competition in that regard.

It would be nice if they wrote better software, but what do we mean by "better" and "good" anyway?

What is it about Firefox that you like that you don't like about IE?

PMC

MS bought Hotmail. Yahoo! probably had web mail about the same kind of time.

Opera and Firefox have always felt more "robust" to me. Certainly, Firefox has a number of neat features. A lot of people like tabs and the build-in search is very useful. To be honest, many people would argue that Macs are "better" than PCs. I agree that a lot of that is marketing hype, but much of this is "holy wars" territory. You'll never convince an anti-MS zealot like me that anything they do is cool. But then I long for Unix. The truth is that there are few things more reassuring than a warm command line in the Kern shell. I trust Unix, I know where I am with it, in a way I don't with MS.

Daveon

MS buy lots of things :)

Certainly, based on your install of IE, I can see why you'd prefer something else ;) - MS tend to release too early, but that has more to do with the commercial pressures they have with running a business than poor skills. I'm certainly prepared to testify that they have clever/amazing people working in Redmond.

I can't help you over Unix - we all have crosses to bear :)

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