Windows is collapsing, say Gartner analysts

Microsoft WindowsWindows is too "monolithic", claimed Gartner IT analysts Michael Silver and Neil Macdonald last week.

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Re John's coment below

Anonymous | | Permalink

As chance would have it, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer added a bit of spice to this particular stew when he admitted to an audience of Microsoft "Most Valuable Professionals" at a conference in Seattle on Thursday that Vista was "still a work in progress".

Any one with a basic grasp of economics can hear the alarm bells that accompany that statement. It is quite clear that the market is dominated by the supplier and is in dire need of competition to stir up some innovation and start shifting power towards the consumer. However, other than the EU, our legislative powers have made little effort to regulate Microsoft's market dominance and rectify these fundamental issues.

Criticise Microsoft all you want for failing to grasp the potential of the internet in the early days, but that is nothing compared to how our governments failed to keep an eye the company and it's position within the market. I fear that it is too late now, the monopolistic cash cow is in place and is likely to stay unless something radical occurs in the near future.

dahowlett's picture

Anyone notice

dahowlett | | Permalink

That on Apple's earnings calls, Apple machine sales units stood at 2,9 million units?

BTW - cafe culture attracts geeks. Starbucks is the new all purpose office and meeting place for developers.

Windozing

MikeBellisimo | | Permalink

At the weekend I was drinking coffee in one of those chains that manage to take fresh beans and grind them to remove all the taste when I noticed that there were 5 custonmers with laptops. Four of them were Macs.

Since Macs can now run Virtual PC you only really need to live in the world of Windows if your job depends on it. If all you need is a PC that will do things then a Mac will be fine.

Spot on ...

Anonymous | | Permalink

Phil - you are absolutely right with your analysis and the fact that M$ want to be both poacher & gamekeeper; but that has always been their ethic, even in the past when they used undocumented API calls in their own o/s to trash the competition.

Today you only have to look at their Accounting program which is 'free'; basically a loss leader (underwritten by the likes of XP/Vista etc) to destroy the competition such as Sage. Guess who they are targeting with FREE - the accounting profession as a marketing channel to the user base

The untold number of times M$ has forced change on the market for the sake of their own revenues rather than the benefit of the customer and consequently delivered a flaky product with no accountability

One only has to look at the 'weekly/Tuesday' update releases to realise that their products are full of holes from day one and the public are basically being used as beta testers (and paying for the privilege). When their product has finally stabilised they then issue another (i.e. Vista) and everyone gets back on the merry-go-round

In reality these changes cost all concerned (software houses & users) an absolute fortune and the only winner in revenue terms is M$ (pass GO collect £200); whilst everyone else is the looser

The trouble with M$ in the wider market has always revolved around their spoiling tactics aimed at other peoples products rather than concentrating exclusively on getting their core products right

It is the same old story, M$ should cease ALL future development & releases until they have their existing core products completely bug free - either that or they should start paying the public for being their beta testers with products that quite frankly are not of 'merchantable quality'

This is where one can hope that Linux etc will make a mark because users are becomming distinctly disenchanted with M$ antics

Too many fingers in too many pies

Anonymous | | Permalink

Why has it taken so long for somebody to speak up? I worked for Xerox in the 1980s selling a wonderful ground breaking system called initially ViewPoint and then Global View. It was the first system ever to have the Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pull down menu (WIMP) interface. Within the system office type tools. Unfortunately it had to have its own hardware platform as PCs were not then powerful enough. Xerox tried marketing it like they did (successfully) photo copiers and failed dismally. They quickly abandoned it and left the mass market to Microsoft. There were several features of the then Xerox product, which operationally, were far more functional and user friendly than much of MS product is today.

One thing I have always found hard to understand is the ready acceptance of the IT industry of MS's practice of selling IT operating systems and development tools to write applications like accountancy programs, whilst developing and marketing their own similar applications. Like asking King Herod to baby sit!

What the market needs is for a company with a windows-style operating system and basic office tools to work with a major PC manufacturer to port their systems on for a very nominal fee. This would reduce the prices of PCs, expose their systems to a very wide customer base and drive future support and upgrade revenue streams. It would go a long way into breaking the MS monopoly in this market and give the industry a choice. They could then ask MS the question "Do you want to be a supplier to us or a competitor? You cannot be both! "

John Stokdyk's picture

Ballmer speech to Microsoft MVPs this week

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

As chance would have it, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer added a bit of spice to this particular stew when he admitted to an audience of Microsoft "Most Valuable Professionals" at a conference in Seattle on Thursday that Vista was "still a work in progress".

Among other comments he made were: "It's a very important piece of work. We did a lot of things right and have a lot of things we need to learn from. You never want to let five years go between releases...

"Vista is bigger than XP and it's gonna stay bigger than XP. We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still."

In spite of the defences mounted by the likes of Redmondmag and Mary Jo Foley, comments out on the net still seem to be running strongly in favour of the Gartner stance. On one digg posting, for example, YodaJones commented: "Ballmer is an idiot. He has ZERO technical skills and nothing gets done right under his command. I think he is the main reason Microsoft is doing such crap work for the last few years. I can name one thing he has motivated us (as Microsoft Partners) to do ...move our enterprise clients to open source solutions."

Lou3000 added: "Congrats, you paid $300 to be a Beta tester."

Lots more coverage out on the net, if you have time and inclination.

John Stokdyk
Technology editor
AccountingWEB.co.uk

WINDOWS ISN'T COLLAPSING - I AM

dhollister | | Permalink

I have this theory "if it works, don't fix it" and every time I've ignored it, I've found myself in trouble.

As a one-person operation, I use Excel 2003 (upgraded from 97, etc) and Windows XP and do so almost with the same natural reflex rhythm that I drive my car. The software is as familiar as an old pair of shoes.

Lulled into a sense of false security by Microsoft's marketing, and assurances from my IT man (soon to become my ex-IT man) I had a new computer built with Vista and Office 2007.

Bob left at lunchtime and I gave myself the rest of the day to get to grips with Office '07 and Vista. By 11.00 p.m. I'd achieved nothing, the little bits of work I had managed had then crashed, and I was faced with a mountain of work to do the next day. I felt sick - and I felt thick.

The operating difference between Office 07 and Office 03 is as chalk and cheese. I challenge anyone - especially aged 60 - to simply pick it up and carry on working at the top speed required in this day and age.

After 4 hours tossing and turning in bed, I got up at 4.00 a.m., ripped out the new computer, replaced the old ones back in their proper places in the office network, re-configured the network and printer settings, e-mail and broadband settings etc and at 7.15 was back where I needed to be to work the day ahead.

The feeling of utter relief was amazing. LIke a total reprieve.

The new computer together with its user-hostile software is boxed up in the spare room and will remain there till someone makes me a reasonable offer.

And the moral of this story is - if it works, dont fix it.

It's a great shame that Microsoft can't adopt this policy but I can imagine that is a few years they'll stop "supporting" Office 03 and XP, so you'll all be forced into making expensive changes for change's sake. I say 'you' because I think that the end of Office 03 and XP will mark my retirement.

And this being the case, if my experiences are repeated on a global scale, it may well be possible that Microsoft will collapse as people simp[y reject 'change for change's sake' and look elsewhere ?

Accounting software

johnboon | | Permalink

Over a year ago I bought a couple of low-end Vista-based Acer computers. Within a month, I had "upgraded" them to Windows XP. It took a bit of effort to get the drivers, but now they run faster, are user-friendly, and are compatible with the accounting software that I use. My opinion on Vista - it stinks. My opinion on Windows - like any other virtual monopoly, it is too expensive (for what you get), lacks any incentive to meet customer needs (like state-run, then privatised, telephone companies), and has many annoying little features (such as offering to send a report to Microsoft every time it does something wrong). It is too all encompassing. Compare it with Google, which has a small footprint, and is never "in your face". Also I have never been able to decide whether to use Outlook (which is good for Contacts and Calendar and Importing) or Outlook Express, which is faster for getting emails and when I am on the road. So nowadays I have both Outlook and Outlook Express. Surely this is wastage. You would think that Microsoft which be able to produce one good package. I am experimenting with Thunderbird, but am not yet won over. IAll in all, I am wasting too much time and money on IT.
Regards
John Boon
Australia