Thursday, June 18, 2009

Microsoft Says New Google Tool Interferes With Outlook Software -

Responding to the comments more so than the article itself...

Sorry, but while I agree with your frustration, I can't in the slightest agree with your explanation for the cause. I take issue with the two other responses to your message so far too. Some examples:

When Microsoft was the upstart company their word processor was good, but not great. As they worked to improve it to compete with the then dominant Wordperfect it had the amazing ability to read and write almost any type of word processing file from any vendor. They also (in a letter from Bill Gates) proclaimed that the operating system should provide open standards for interaction between all applications programs and the hardware (printers, scanners, disk drives) that previously had required each separate application to cooperate with. This is in fact what operating systems are supposed to do. Up to an including Windows NT, Microsoft put a lot of effort into writing and testing drivers for all then extant hardware.

After Windows NT though, things changed. Windows, now the de facto standard of the US government became the arbiter of what new devices users would have easy access to. The Windows-compatible branding program put the onus back on the hardware vendors to be compatible with Windows rather than the other way around. Only that Windows standard has been an intentionally moving target since then with each new version breaking compatibility with whatever came before, at each stage giving Microsoft applications and Microsoft partner hardware an unfair advantage, and inconveniencing users who sometimes were quite happy with hardware made by now defunct vendors.

The Microsoft lock on big government has made them almost invulnerable to competition no matter how poorly their products perform (and by that I mean performance, bugs, security, etc.).

The one company that Microsoft has partnered with (both on and off the books) is Intel and it is no coincidence that each new generation of Intel processors require a radically new version of Windows to work optimally (this is not true technically, but only from a marketing perspective) and each new version of Windows has performed sluggishly on all but the latest Intel processor. Our PCs have been blindingly fast from the mid 90s but you would never know it if you run Vista on anything but the latest systems equipped with more memory than the older systems can even be upgraded to.

This simply ISN'T the results of competition. Quite the opposite it is the results of one hardware company and one software company having completely unassailable positions in the marketplace.

How ironic it is that Microsoft, with a long list of competitors that they ruined by pulling the rug out from under them would now complain when it for once goes the other way. Cry me a river.

If you ever get a chance to speak to a Justice Department official who actually knows anything about computers, please ask them why they have allowed this travesty to continue. Also ask them what percent of their computers are running Windows and Office, and what they pay for it on a per seat basis. Of course maybe MS cut that particular department a deal to stay off the hook.

All I know is that technology would have advanced far faster if WordPerfect and Lotus 123 were still thriving and government offices could run Windows, OS/2, Linux and OS X and all the end-user applications would run on each of those systems. It's doable, as shown by Wordperfect that ran on just about any OS even after they had been reduced to a shell of their former self. It is Microsoft that has held you back, with the help of a few accomplices who all benefited from the arrangement.

Competition, which now rears its head with Google, is the cure for this disease, not the cause of it.

Apple, while I applaud their inroads into the Microsoft monopoly, such as they have been, isn't a whole lot better. They thrive in the shadow of Microsoft by excelling in areas that MS simply can live without. I would love for them to make a run at the entrenched government installed base and provide a credible alternative to Office as well. You'll notice they show no interest in doing such a thing and Microsoft only dabbles (Zune) in areas where Apple is strong. Google is a threat, why?, because so far they have not sent signals that they will join in this dance. So far anyway, and I hope they stick to it.

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