[kwlug-disc] Is MS humbling down?

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Thu Aug 13 20:56:08 EDT 2009

john at netdirect.ca wrote, On 08/13/2009 4:45 PM:
> kwlug-disc-bounces at kwlug.org wrote on 08/13/2009 04:22:05 PM:
>> From: Khalid Baheyeldin <kb at 2bits.com>
>> Companies do change, and "reform" themselves when the market forces can 
>> no longer be fought.

Think GM and Chrysler.

> Small private companies can do this much easier than mature publicly owned 
> companies. Public companies often have to hit rock-bottom in order to 
> think reform is a good idea, or be forced to by legal decisions or 
> sweeping technology changes.

But these small private companies are presumably not monopolies - so I 
think different forces apply. Mind you - think about Lotus (1-2-3), 
and Word Perfect.

>> Some may remember what monopoly IBM was in the 80s and early 90s,
>> and how arrogant, manipulative and monopolistic they were. The acronym
>> FUD was developed to describe their tactics. They had a choking monopoly
>> on mainframes. Even those who made compatible mainframe hardware had
>> to go back to IBM for the operating system and tools.
> I thought it was an anti-trust that forced IBM to change its ways.
>> ...

 >> Then minicomputers happened, with UNIX, and "Open Systems".

Minicomputers didn't just happen in the '80's and '90's - they'd been 
around for quite some time.

But despite screams from vendors and customers for a consistent 
flavour of OS or Un*x between hardware, the manufacturers stayed 
proprietary - and their markets self-destructed. OS costs were 
certainly a factor.

Granted, other factors included the coming of age of the PC, and 
eventually the number of flavours ground down (to 2?) - but by that 
time, this thing called Linux had come along. (And MS tried to scale up.)

'Mini-computers' may have evolved since, but ...

Witness Alpha.

>> After Microsoft realizes that their monopoly is over and they can no 
> longer 
>> choke the market and dictate what users can or cannot use.
>> They will follow IBM's path and become more open and friendly to 
> openness.

I'm not convinced. IBM was a hardware maker - they developed OS' so 
customers could actually use that hardware. MS is software only, for 
all intents and purposes (which is at least partly why they have been 
diversifying, e.g. X-Box.) Given Lotus and Word Perfect, I have no 
reason to believe MS will exist, in its current sw form, 20 years from 
now. They've emphasized online content and annual license fees. 
They've been looking for a way out from the inevitable.

[As for IBM ... they've been VERY successful with their minis.]

>> One or two others may fill its boots and become the big bad monopoly. 
> Will
>> it be Google? Or Apple?

I don't see either taking over the desktop. I also don't see MS losing 
the desktop. Linux having failed to take it over by now, I'm not 
convinced at this point that it ever will. Even a Google Android 
netbook (i.e. how much sw is enough sw, anyways? Leading to web 
services, as John points out.) I don't see it scaling up to a 
massively accepted desktop.

Perhaps an example to look at for "Where goeth MS?" is Palm?

> Google has a significant monopoly on search already, don't they? They also 
> seem to have a lock on our personal information. The idea of Google 
> scanning my email in order to market products to me is unconscionable. 
> I think the current race is for Web Services. Although I don't see myself 
> using "web services" I'm willing to bet others will. Their Chrome browser 
> and OS is a play to expand web services. If a significant number of 
> application developers embrace web services and design their product for 
> Google, they could become a monopoly. Hopefully those programmers will 
> have learned from all those sorry MS developers who find themselves locked 
> into MS and build an abstraction layer so their app works on multiple 
> platforms.
>> I don't think that Microsoft is at this point yet though.  They 
>> still think they
>> can dictate, and they don't have a real single unified desktop that is 
> eating
>> their lunch (yet).
> I agree. Even if there are visionaries at Microsoft who can see the 
> inevitable, they are still making lots of money with Windows and MS 
> Office. Even if it's dwindling they can still make more money by ignoring 
> Linux than embracing it. The execs are bonused on short term goals so even 
> if they know the market will drop out from under them in the long term, 
> they would still try to earn the short term bonus, probably even at the 
> expense of long term success.

They certainly have the examples of the GM execs to follow.

I do wonder ... particularly for the execs - who was smarter, GM or 
Ford? For is still viable, but GM execs got big bucks, and got the 
government to bail them out. If an earlier thread on service contracts 
was correct, and big companies always get them, if government stopped 
getting MS service contracts (which presumably they get) - would that 
instantly kill MS? So is continuing to get contracts the equivalent to 
a GM bailout?

> It would guess that it will take a board decision at Microsoft to decide 
> to scrap Windows. This won't happen until there has been so much loss with 
> Windows and MS Office that they have no choice.

If this were true, and MS Office a factor, Mac Office development 
would have kept up. i.e. You seem to suggest an MS without Windows is 
viable, or comprehensible. vs. say 'breaking up the company.'

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