IT Employment

Sanity check: Is Microsoft for grown-ups and Google for kids?

While Google continues to grow in prestige and profit, there are signs that its halo is slipping. As a software and services provider to the enterprise, quality control and staffing issues are big problems for Google, and it's driving some developers and businesses to Microsoft.

While Google continues to grow in prestige and profit, there are signs that its halo is slipping. As a software and services provider to the enterprise, quality control and staffing issues are big problems for Google, and it's driving some developers and businesses to Microsoft.

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Google has been on a tear for the past decade. It has risen from a scrappy little Internet search engine built on a cluster of cheap Linux machines to one of the world's most powerful and profitable companies and, arguably, the most well-regarded brand on the planet.

During this same decade, Microsoft has seen its star fall nearly as far as Google's has risen. Although never a wildly popular brand, by the late 1990's Microsoft was to computing as Kleenex was to tissue -- at least for the masses.

However, its anti-trust defeats in the U.S. and Europe have painted Microsoft as an ugly, petty bully, and its own product development and public relations failures with its flagship Windows Vista product has become one of the most infamous blunders in the annals of American commerce.

The two companies are now, of course, arch-rivals and are competing fiercely in Internet search, advertising, and software. Google is winning big in search, while Microsoft still holds a huge lead in software. But, these two spheres are colliding as the Internet evolves into a front-end software platform that will eventually relegate the operating system to back-end plumbing.

This process will transform the traditional business model for software and will expand the Internet into a more targetable and lucrative advertising platform. That's why Google wants into the software business and that's why Microsoft is trying to turn itself into an Internet company.

We're now at an early crossroads in Internet applications, and honestly both Google and Microsoft are floundering and getting soundly outpaced by startups like Zoho and Force.com. Google Apps are simplistic, lack sophistication and standardization, and do not have as good of an online/offline sync as Zoho, for example. Meanwhile, Microsoft's "software + services" strategy is barely recognizable since the "plus services" part has so far been half-hearted because Microsoft fears cannibalizing its cash-cow business, Microsoft Office.

Nevertheless, the situation is most acute for Google. The Web is its home territory and there are two disturbing trends that it must overcome if it wants to take its success in Web search and expand it into Web applications:

  1. Inability to move software out of Beta mode
  2. Challenges in hiring and retaining the best software developers

Let's take a closer look at both of these issues.

Google is increasingly developing a poor reputation -- especially among IT professionals -- for perpetually leaving its programs in "Beta" mode. This is viewed as a cop-out that's used to lower expectations and deflect criticism. After all, when there's a problem with the software it's too easy to simply respond, "What do you expect, it's still in Beta."

Even worse, the perpetual Beta issue is evidence that Google has problems with its processes, discipline, and organization. Google has prided itself on its decentralized structure that fosters creativity and innovation -- and it's clear that it has led to many successful new products and developments. However, that approach of slightly-organized chaos is also one of the reasons that Google seems incapable of taking a major software product the last mile to deliver a production version that it is willing to stand behind and guarantee its quality.

And, that issue of quality control also leads us to Google's other major challenge -- staffing. This may sound puzzling at first, since Google has been famously lauded as one of the world's best companies to work for because of its employee-friendly approach that includes fringe benefits like free meals, free transportation, and the ability to bring your pet to work. And, it's also true that while Microsoft was the most desired destination for many techies in the 1990's, it has been Google that they have flocked to in the largest numbers since the turn of the 21st century.

Nevertheless, in 2008 new anecdotal evidence has emerged that some software developers are leaving Google because they want to create better products and are frustrated with Google's lack of organization and lack of dedication to quality control. Meanwhile, some software engineers are even (gasp!) choosing Microsoft over Google when they get offers from both.

Google's benefits -- free meals, free transportation, and even laundry services -- have always had a major appeal for students straight out of college. And, Google has hired tons of these students at entry-level wages over the past decade. The problem is that once the highly-motivated workers in this group mature and get past the outstanding benefits at Google, they ultimately want to create great products and get rewarded and recognized for their efforts in building lasting programs that are valuable to users. It's become clear that some of them are not finding that at Google.

I'm not giving Microsoft a free pass here. When it comes to software quality, Microsoft does not have a stellar reputation. In fact, one of the major "innovations" that Bill Gates pioneered was the idea of releasing software that was good enough, even if it wasn't perfect. Google's perpetual Beta approach is, in some ways, just a variation of that theme.

But, Microsoft also has a well-developed, highly-organized internal structure that is almost the antithesis of Google. Microsoft knows how to run a product cycle to move software out of Beta, bring it to market, and stand behind the end product, and the company will likely apply this process to Web applications once they fully commit to it.

While lots of things will change with the move to Internet applications, the perpetual Beta will never replace the traditional got-to-market cycle of software, and pretending that it will is unsatisfying to both users and software developers.

Bottom line for IT leaders

Microsoft is a known entity for IT and the enterprise. The best IT leaders have learned how to manage the relationship with Microsoft, even when they gnash their teeth over the price of Microsoft software and the lack of alternatives. The advent of the Internet as a software platform is going to put price pressure on Microsoft and provide IT with more choices, and that will be a very welcome development in the coming years.

However, while Google has taken a huge lead in search and wants to make inroads into business applications, they will not be a major player in this category unless they can overcome their issues with perpetual Beta software and better organizing the talented developers that they recruit.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

85 comments
The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

They will release a joint 'kill all' web based OS / Search product to push out all others from the market. Due in 2015

tvanderkooi
tvanderkooi

To me as an end user, I don't care which company can suck up to developers the best. I want the software that best fits my needs and that I can get support for when it breaks. All you need to do is check Google's homepage, is there a link there to access support for their products? No! I don't care if you call a product Beta, Alpha, or Release code, if I can't find your support group for the product then it won't installed on any business network I touch.

pavkey88
pavkey88

Beyond the obvious critique - that Microsoft's final releases are essentially beta - and that you're PAYING money for it, you miss the point. Microsoft is in the software business. Google is in the advertising and search business. Google is constantly innovating and experimenting with different technologies to improve the user experience. What has Microsoft done lately - silverlight? ha. Vista. ehhh...it's ok now, but a year ago-ech. How about Microsoft's internet advertising - puke. How about Microsoft's ACTUAL advertising - puke. And yes, Gmail is still in beta. who really cares? I've got tons of clients that are using it. In fact, I'm looking at this site in Chrome - why? because IE sucks-it's slow, bloated, and requires extra work to make sure it displays websites correctly. Chrome's got issues too, but for only being out a few weeks as compared to Internet explorer, it's off to a good start. Google ain't perfect by any means, but they're a hundred times better than Microsoft.

dataplex
dataplex

I would choose to work at either given the chance. I think they are both great companies and they both still have a good chance at innovation in their arenas of choice. If antitrust weren't such a big issue I would like to see some collaboration from the two groups - developer "swapping" is a good way to do that under the covers, whether the two giants know it or not. As for the perpetual beta, I'd like to think that is a design choice. When a product goes from alpha to beta, the developer is left in a state of mind where "this is okay and it's going to work, but my work isn't done. There's more to be had here." When a product ships into "release" mode, it's all about bug fixes and QA and the developer gets into the mindset of "oh this is a major product I have to fix bugs now - push that innovation to the shelf." When was the last time you saw microsoft push out a major awesome feature into a shipped Office product? Or even a major web based product such as Hotmail? Google let's their developers continue to innovate without the pressure of "shipped" software. If you choose to trust their developers to fix their software and add innovative features, then Google is the ship for you. If you'd rather wait around for Patch Tuesday for 2 years and then get a "new" release of a product - that you pay for again - which is really just 2 years of patches and a face lift, Microsoft is a better bet. I enjoy Microsoft's development platform a little more. The .NET framework is awesome, and the development tools are top notch. Google is pushing their ideas and advancements, but they are using other people's languages to do so (Python, perl, javascript, etc). I like to take advantage of both and use Google's APIs in .NET projects. I get enterprise level language and IDE tools, and web enabled data APIs and services.

Jaqui
Jaqui

the ADULT operating systems actually offer you OPTIONS on install, unlike Windows and OSX. but MS' product have always been designed for gaming, so they are for kids. Google's stuff is for the young "social butterfly" that has recently finished schooling.

VKhambhaita
VKhambhaita

I have used Microsoft software, most of it, from day one. I have Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit running running on my laptop and Vista 64bit on my desktop. Never had any problems with installations of Microsoft software. Its solid and well written. Everybody puts out patches and updates. Nothing wrong with that. Its called improvement. There is always room for it. If you think I have shares in Microsoft you are wrong. Competition is good. You have got to give everybody a chance. I have used Apples OS and also loaded Linux on my PC. Neither invoked any excitement in me as Much as Microsoft's OS and software. If ever Microsofts OS throws any errors at me its always because of a fault with third parties' software or hardware. Of lately there has been anti Microsoft Propaganda written by the same IT writers who have praised Microsoft in the past. Good luck to all thats what I say. Good luck to Google. Good luck Apple. Good luck to Linux and to all the developers out there. Concentrate on what you do best instead of watching the other person with a bad eye. The world is a Big democratic playing field and lets keep it that way. Finally Microsoft has always been a solid company and has to remain so to keep its users and share holders happy. All that comes with hard work and loyalty to both. Be good. Thats Microsofts moto. Nothing wrong with staying on the top or winning the race. P.S Microsoft is not just for grown-ups. Peace to all. Mr. Virendra Khambhaita Wisher of a peaceful world

oritobi
oritobi

So their saying to make it in business applications google needs to become a microsoft.... ok

runaway1956
runaway1956

Wow. Sanity check? Microsoft has been in late alpha since it was released in it??s W95 incarnation. Only WinXP has made it so far as a late Beta. The fact that Microsoft makes official releases of it??s buggy software doesn??t make that software ??final??. Google is more honest than Microsoft, in that, like Linux, it is ALWAYS evolving into something new, and something better. Microsoft would benefit from going open source. Then they would realize that their latest and greatest release (Vista) is in reality late alpha or early beta software. Sanity check, indeed.

j3hess
j3hess

... these two spheres are colliding as the Internet evolves into a front-end software platform that will eventually relegate the operating system to back-end plumbing. "This process will transform the traditional business model for software and will expand the Internet into a more targetable and lucrative advertising platform. " Excuse me? Call me a fuddy duddy, but I'm not ready to give someone else that control over my computing system or offer up my desktop as an advertising platform. Nor do I trust the Gmail TOS precedent that gives Google unlimited rights to my content and no liability. Google Aps may build a niche in the market, but they're not going to replace the enterprise-housed IT systems. So while Microsoft and Google may compete in the labor market, I see their product markets as remaining largely distinct for the next decade. (After 10 years, prediction becomes too dicey.)

dukethepcdr
dukethepcdr

This issue brings up a problem inherent in the less structured, more open-source-like atmosphere of companies like Google and Mozilla. Letting "innovators" make changes pretty much at will to your programs may encourage innovation, but at a cost. The cost is reduced certainty that the program will reliably do what it was supposed to do. This is fine for surfing about on the web at home, but when a company's very existance depends on a reliable web presence and the ability to find things on the web in a timely manner, then perpetual beta mode is not good enough. Let me put it this way: Would you rather drive to work in an experimental vehicle that may or may not hold together and respond like you depend on it to do, or would you rather drive a thouroughly tested and proven vehicle that has a high probability of getting you to work safely and on time? If your business suffers when there is down-time (most businesses do), then why would you rely on programs that are never finished and always seem to have something that needs tweeked? Sure, Microsoft's programs aren't perfect. Nothing made by human beings is perfect. At least companies like Microsoft eventually release alpha modes of their programs and stand behind them with warranties and support. I don't mind using non Microsoft programs such as Firefox to surf the web (I'm using it right now) but I'll always keep good ole Internet Explorer handy just in case I get another one of those "no server found" errors. Sometimes, firefox will say a server isn't found, but I'll find it with IE. I must say that I like the more streamlined and speedier firefox though.

tinyang73
tinyang73

Hands down, no questions asked!

vindog
vindog

...mainly because I have no need for Google products except for search. I have been in technology for 20 years, so "new" is never "new" to me. I am impressed with software that does something useful, does it well and continues to do so for a very long time. Take cell phones for instance; I've had one since early 90's and I have never been happy with them because they still don't do their primary purpose better than they ever did- make phone calls. Why not focus on making a phone that works everywhere, all the time with excellent clarity? Who said I need a phone that blogs, plays movies, needs anti-virus and reboots?

RightPaddock
RightPaddock

As an old timer, I do not believe that good software will ever come from an advertising centric business. I know the media is funded by advertising and that does not prevent good journalism. Software development is primarily an engineering discipline. Software performance can be empirically measured in terms of resource usage, defect rates etc, journalism is not subject to such measures. Software development creates long use products, the media industry creates short use products, i.e. todays news will be wrapped around tomorrows fish & chips. Perhaps if software development is to be funded by advertising we will need a new paradigm that replaces One-Click software, with Use-Once software.

hal9000
hal9000

Microsoft delivers what they say they are going to, at a price. It may not always be the best, and it sometimes needs refining but it is usually polished and well thought through, and has something for everyone. Google is still playing in the sandpit, and aside from their searches, has not really delivered much of note at all. Google is also facing a trust issue that to date Microsoft has not had to deal with to the same extent with software on local machines. I tend to agree, Google needs to grow up and get their house in gear. End users might like the low cost of the products, IT professionals are looking for more substance, even if the price is higher. While it is not always the case, paying for a product with a history and a defined life cycle has advantages over "free" products, not least the advantage that one can expect and demand that where a product is broken, it be fixed. As far as Vista is concerned, I am personally running Vista Business on one laptop, and XP on several other older machines. I have not had any more problems with Vista than I have had in the past with XP. Vista works on hardware designed to run it, as does XP, 2000 before it etc. Having lived through exactly the same nonsense with Windows 3.1, Windows 95, 98, 2000 and XP, I now simply have a quite chuckle when I read the "Vista is rubbish" comments. As far as my business is concerned, we are not running out to upgrade anything to Vista. The machines were bought to run XP. As we purchase newer machines, we will switch to Vista.

rschultz
rschultz

Not sure I agree with the "quality" issues implied in this article; at least for the SMB space. Have been using Google Apps for the past year and have not run into any of the issues implied. On the contrary have found it to be an excellent platform and am beginning to work with my SMB customers to move them from Office / Exchange to Google Apps. With all due respect I suggest that if you want to "cast doubt" do so with facts that can be reproduced otherwise your comments lack credibility and feel like partizenship.

mckinnej
mckinnej

I'm really glad you stated that Google's perpetual beta cycle is really just a twist on the Microsoft development model. I'd call it more honest. (No, I'm not a Google fan-boy.) With a MS product, the first service pack is a given, the second almost certain, and now due to the longer and longer development cycles they've established, third service packs are becoming more common. How is that any different than beta software? The only real difference is in the label. The problem lies in the possibility of the label scaring off some business customers who think it is not ready for production use when the real difference in quality is closer to nil. At least when they use the beta label we have some indication that the software is under active development.

verd
verd

I think that Google is a great search engine, they should stick to that. I don't not like there software. I will stick to Microsoft. I have been running Vista Ulitmate for over a year and only reinstalled it once and only because I have a full install disk instead of an update disk. Updating never works to well even though you could use it as a full install if you did it right. Most failures with Vista come from user error and people putting on machines that were meant for XP

rm.squires
rm.squires

I must admit, when I first found google, it was the best thing since sliced bread. But I have seen them move into other areas of computing quite badly. While the idea is there, there is no real features. The gogle apps are basic. I was going to use google apps instead of desktop installed office apps, but I need some features which are featured in desktop based office applications. Google maps, another great idea was google maps tied in with google earth. The only good thing out of that combo was goodle earth. Google online maps just does not live up to multimap.com, in my opinion. I also used google video while it was in the beta stage. Unfortunately its been that way for a while now, and a few months ago they made the worst change out. It started with a client side video player, which would auto download the video. Now, you have to rely on the uploader to upload in the same format as the download format. From *.GVI to *.mp4 which often does not support the uploaded video. Which ensure that if the developer used a different codec no player will read the file, or play it correctly. Clearly Google has lost its way, now going for what looks good and is easy and cheap to do. Google needs to wake up and take a long look at itself, or it will never truely sucess like has done in the internet search market. Until they sort themselve out i will only use the limited but secure e-mail services and search functions. And watch videos on google video now and again, but i doubt i will be able to download them to watch them at my leisure.

hudsonmbg
hudsonmbg

I have always used enjoyed Microsoft's software until the day Vista came into my life. I have had my worst nightmare with Vista. To be honest, I have had to reinstall Vista more than 20 times. I once did it twice a day. What irritates me most is that every laptop nowadays runs Vista and even with a 2Gig RAM, dual-core processors, my system still freezes as if I am trying to play IGI2 and at the same time rendering a video with AVID. I had my ugliest Friday when 1 hour to close of business and one hour to visit the clubs with friends, I decided I had enough with Vista and decided to downgrade to XP. I installed the OS, called Dell and asked where I could find drivers and was told they are still to compile drivers for that particular laptop. Guess what. I reinstalled Vista. I am saving for a MAC pro. I pray MAC OS is better than Vista. As for Google, well, even though their software are in beta, their beta products outclass Microsoft software. They are more exciting.

deepsand
deepsand

You've obviously been quite smitten by Google's glitz & glamor, by the beeps & whistles emitted by its brightly colored spinning contraptions. However, for those of us who require a close look under the hood, it is quite apparent that, for all its faults, MS IT products are very much superior to Google's toys.

tvanderkooi
tvanderkooi

I will grant that *nix is in fact much more mature (geriatric), but anyone who has used Microsoft's new OS (Server 2008) and says they don't offer options at or immediately after install is not clued in. Microsoft's OS hasn't been built for gaming since Windows 98 was retired.

jck
jck

MS lets you choose things when you install. Like: Your name Your Initials The validation code you wanna input :^0 Microsoft is for dummies who don't want to learn/can't learn technical stuff, and want to use just one hand to click a mouse so they can eat or do something else with the other one. :^0 Google is the fashionable option for those who are sick of Microsoft. I'm still waiting on that 100% native support for Microsoft games...then I'm full blown Linux. :D

junixronquillo
junixronquillo

one word.. money.. these 2 giants are just after making money.. not helping out people.. anyway if we're dtermined enough we van make our own software don't we? we're just being pulled by the ear.... instead of a simple and effective application everyone into making thing complicated and more into visualization than effectivity...

MrRich
MrRich

Me too... But they'd have to start hiring people over 50 with limited math ability. Somehow I don't meet their profile.

avidtrober
avidtrober

1. Microsoft stays in beta, too, they just *call* it version 1 and 2...then version 3 which *should* be version 1. 2. "Microsoft also has a well-developed, highly-organized internal structure " - lol. Microsoft is a *bureaucracy* that STILL puts out beta's (named version 1 or 2) after much, much more resources applied to the task. Microsoft's install base is due to its sales & marketing achievements; it's software dev skills are actually quite poor. The company's strategy is to hoard cash as a competitive edge, effectively subsidizing their dev shops and insulating them true market/entrepreneurial forces. Internally, is widespread grief Ballmer has got to go, ZERO vision. And, Turner, a Wal-Mart COO, tells you what they're thinking in terms of "operations" in the near future. 3. Who couldn't see Google was a waste of time years ago? They're playing with Wall Street money, looking for something else besides a search/ad revenue stream. Any accomplished software engineer (which is not the same thing as experience) could see it's a bunch of kids playing. Google has the chance to unseat Microsoft and are losing it. If they act, going after some top-exec in some other tech corp is probably the wrong move, i.e. stick to entrepreneurial successes that are lean-and-mean. Google has always lacked product-to-market vision in dev cycles; that's obvious for years.

eric.p
eric.p

I use Google Apps for some personal things, and Microsoft Office at work. There's absolutely no way anyone could convince me to move to Google Apps at work, as the apps are far below those of MS Office in necessary functionality and professional appeal. Google Apps is far from being able to compete with MS Office in the professional environment. It's great for community organizations and very small businesses who can't afford the Microsoft software, and who only need basic features. I also wonder if it makes much sense for a business to rely on Google to store all of their documents. Google makes no guarantees of safety, and therefore would not be liable if data was lost, which could be highly damaging to a company. There are hosts of other reasons, which I don't have time to relate here, but I think most of them should be obvious.

fourijm
fourijm

NO, Linux is for grownups, Microsoft is for kids.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Don't worry...Mac OSX is much better than Vista. Vista is like a poorly made knockoff of OSX. Vista vs. OSX: DRM: Vista uses up processor cycles to check for DRM files on media, even if you are not playing any. OSX does not. Winner: OSX Networking: Vista requires 5-6 clicks to set up a wireless network. OSX has the wireless network icon in the taskbar. Winner: OSX Search: Vista has a search function in the start menu that quickly indexes files. OSX has spotlight in the taskbar that quickly indexes files. Winner: tie Dock: Some vendors are now placing a software "dock" to launch files into Vista. This dock often becomes hidden or behaves erratically. OSX has a dock built into the OS that does not behave erratically. Winner: OSX Speed: On a computer with a 3.0 Ghz processor and 4 GB RAM, Vista takes on average of 2.5 minutes to start up. On a comparable computer, OSX takes approximately 1.1 minutes to start up. Winner: OSX Software: Microsoft Office, Adobe Production Studio CS3, and Open Office on both systems. Winner: tie If you go with Mac OS, you will be pleasantly surprised at what it can do!

eric.p
eric.p

I've been using Vista for quite some time, now, and I love it! I haven't had to reinstall it once, though I use it heavily 8-12 hours or more every day, using some very high-powered developer applications and MS Office, etc. Sure, it has some weaknesses, but I can tell you Macs have plenty of those, too. I think this has all become such an emotional thing, where certain individuals seem to be more susceptible to suggestion and get all emotional over such mundane things. I am more productive with Vista than I was with XP, and I loved XP! I believe Mac OS probably has a legitimate place, but to get all tied up in this perpetual fight over which is best is nuts, in my humble opinion. Use whichever works best for you and quit trying to convert everyone else to your preferred way of doing things!

kknepple
kknepple

What computer do you have, I think you mention a Dell. I have a Dell Precision 670 and did the inline upgrade from XP Pro to Vista Ultimate. I had a driver issue with my sound card that really was very tiny (but hey still an issue.) Besides that issue I have never looked back. At home I have an XP Pro box, and now a Vista Box (Dell XPS 420.) The XP Box was handed down to my wife and this weekend when I was watching football where was she getting on my Vista Box because she likes it so much more.....Vista has been great what are you people doing to have your computer crash and feel the need to reformat? BTW I support Mac Leopard boxes at work and it is nice but not Vista. I think people just like to say they use Apple because they feel like they are distinguishing themselves and are of a higher intelligence than a regular user. Oh yeah wanted to throw this out there. We run Adobe products and our CEO is a big time HUGE Mac fan. We ran a side by side test with our graphics dept. supervisor. I felt she would just go with Mac because of pressure from the CEO. She was using an Imac 24 10.5.4 vs. Vista SP1 for over a month we were moving her desk and I was configuring her new setup and she said "I do not know what you are going to do with that Mac but it isn't going back on my desk." This is after we made supporting any Mac issues she may have our top priority (her trouble tickets went directly to the IT supervisor. Because we did not want the CEO saying that the IT dept. just didn't give her enough support during the transition.) I thought this was Macs strongest arena that being graphics.

sseifert
sseifert

As a long time lover of the Windows Platform, and one who could not understand why this love affair with Mac-nuts - I have to say I am a convert. While being recently disgruntled with the poor job Microsoft did with Vista, and swearing I would not by a notebook with it installed, I bought a MacBook. Why I didn't do this sooner, I don't know. Start up and shut down is infinately faster, no crashes, installs are seamless, and it performs exactly what I want it to do.

th3_sniff
th3_sniff

Besides, Vista is excellant. I'm using the server version since forever (easier to master when used daily), win2k8 for me.

lmenningen
lmenningen

...if they don't make money, how are the programmers paid?

eric.p
eric.p

If Microsoft, or any other software manufacturer, were to wait until everything was "done", they would never release anything. In order to get something out the door, decisions need to be made concerning what's going and what's not. Striving for perfection, while it is a good thing, will delay software releases indefinitely, too. It comes to the point where you have to pay for all that development effort, and that's why you have unfinished versions going to market, followed up with service packs and subsequent versions. None of them are ever completely "done". If we waited for that, we would still be back in the dark ages of software (maybe we still are, but we would be a lot farther behind than we are). It's all about facing reality - mixing a bit of that with your idealism.

rschultz
rschultz

Your feedback raises valid points but does not address the issue I flagged. The original article raised questions on gApps "quality" not its functionality. As for functionality, it depends on what you need. In my business of supporting the SMB market I've found that many (not all) SMB customers find the functionality in gApps adequate. If more is needed then Office may be the way to go. Your concern over potential data loss is one that bears consideration but is something I believe can be addressed. Again, my response was to the implied "quality" issues in gApps to which I still have not found substance.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I don't know how this got into a Vista vs MAC forum, but my 2 cents on MAC wireless capabilities. Had to manually configure a static address on a MAC before it would work on a wireless network. Vista and and XP machines had no problems. The people running the network (small mom and pop type) said no one has been able to get a MAC to work on their wireless. Ya, big winner on the wireless setup. Bill

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Our computer club has 30 computers. 6 of which are dual boot Mac OSx and Windows Vista. With the experience seen, I believe that it is solely up to the individual whether it satisfies their needs. I have never seen the need to "knock" the other. Just seems childish. http://www.mojaveexperiment.com/?fbid=EAihB

eric.p
eric.p

Your points of comparison are pretty much irrelevant for the vast majority of computer users, so again, I must say that while Mac OS is probably better for some people, I have yet to see why businesses should change from what works just fine for them. I can tell you as a software developer, there's no way I could do what I need to do on a Mac, in the same productive way, and until Macs become more developer friendly, they're not going to achieve more than their current market share among the general market, either. And since Microsoft has such a huge head start in that area, I can't imagine that changing in the next 20-30 years, at least.

deepsand
deepsand

Is the resulting inability of web developers to easily perform cross-browser comaptibility on Vista of no import?

GoodOh
GoodOh

I needed a new laptop in 2005 and was sick of waiting for Longhorn (as it was) to appear so grabbed an Apple PowerBook to 'fill in' till a Vista (as it became) laptop was available. While far from perfect, OS X is just such a better fit for me (not for everyone) that I have fallen for the old cliche of 'Once you go Mac you never go back'. Missing the "Vista is rubbish" hype (my experience and observations have Vista as "good but flawed" just like every other OS) has been an added bonus too. Being able to walk away from XP vs Vista debates with a flippant (and empty) "Get a Mac" clang has been a true sanity saver.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

I am also a convert. Macs do cost more but you pay for what you get. There is no windows based laptops on the market that even come close to matching build quality of a Mac book pro. Plus you really aren't losing any functionality going to a mac. if you decide you want to run windows, you can run it on a mac too.

1bn0
1bn0

obviously cannot properly evaluate the average end user experience nor offer an objective opinion base don the same end user. I have two clients using Vista because it came on their new notebook. Both do basic Web Browsing and Email. Neither really likes it but "it's good enough for what I need"

avidtrober
avidtrober

This is the line sold off to excuse the poor quality and poor methodology. "Perfect" is a subjective term. "Bug free", or very close it it is not. Whatever features are there have an objective measure of quality. "Perfect" could mean what the right/wrong features are, a marketing target. And, that is another (lengthy) discussion that leads to poor methodology. "Methodology" is such an abused term, it's hard to get a single idea across using the word. SCRUM, RUP, Agile, etc. are all poor excuses for what methodology really is: internal "playbook" approach to product-to-market. The poor quality, scope/schedule creep, missed market target features and more are simply poor methodology.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'll add it too my list encase I walk into a client's and find one. What was the encryption being used? Here I've DDwrt on a Linksys running clean with *nix, osX and Windows wireless connected regularly. Long ago I did have some issues where the osX wireless would not talk to the router. I believe I was trying to use WEP on the router and the osX machine wouldn't have anything to do with it. It was too long ago now to remember clearly though.

deepsand
deepsand

It's tough to do web design on a machine that does'nt support the rendering agent used my most of your target audience. I'd have thought that to be obvious.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

IE6 was so perforated with security vulnerabilities, why in the world would someone want that?

GoodOh
GoodOh

Your experience is exactly the kind of story that make a lot of the 'this maker's gear is great' stories next door to useless. All machines are put together out of bulk parts and there will always be lemons. If you get a lemon the fact that few others did is no consolation. The rabid Apple fanbois sometimes have trouble with this fact of life but it's a fact none the less. I use and enjoy my Apple stuff and have had none of the troubles others have had but I'm not so deluded as to imagine there aren't huge problems with Apple gear on occasion just as other makers experience.

jimtravis
jimtravis

My experience has been the complete opposite of yours. My problem machines have all been Macs. I have $500 PC laptops that have been more reliable, trouble-free, and stable than >$2000 Macs. The $500 laptop may not be as thin as the MacBook Pro, but I can actually use it on my lap without burning myself, or having it slow down to the speed of PDA when it gets too hot. I had to reinstall the OS on a new MacBook Pro to boot for the first time, bad disk image from Apple on the new machine. I also had to reinstall the OS on an iMac because the beachball was the most prevalent graphic, and it was bascially unusable. I have never had to reinstall Windows on any of the many Windows based machines I owned. Concerning Vista, I have two Vista machines since before SP1. All have been stable, no crashes, no driver problems, and I like the interface. Maybe I was unlucky, and all m Macs were made on a Monday. However, all my bad hardware problems, and required OS reinstalls have been Mac's.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

but they seem to be more the exception to the rule. We have 1 as well and it had the battery problem too. The replacement battery from Dell was $120. The screen is crisp and bright. We have several 820's and 830's that do not have any problems, and several Dell lattitudes that are at least 5 years old floating around. The screen brightness is most likely from accounting not paying for the better quality lcd, it was an $80 difference in price when we bought ours. As for the Lenovo, I haven't used any of their latter products, but they are the company that made the thinkpads for IBM, but that has no bearing on continued quality, especially without IBM there to demand a certain level. In my experience the Dells hold up well, and I KNOW the old thinkpads do too.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

as I find it more usable then Exchange, but other then that Mac networks are a fright. OSX server removed all the real tools and made it "simple" which removed the flexability from the tool. And has zero GP like ability, just some basic ACLs.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

My fleet of Latitude D620 laptops are the worst laptops I have ever had to work with. The lcd screens don't get bright enough, the keyboards are junk and the batteries are junk. Almost every one of them had to have the battery replaced it it's first year of warranty and now that dell doesn't warranty their batteries past a year, i've had to buy new batteries again at $300 a piece. As far as Lenovo goes, I've never used one to form an honest opinion but then again this is the first time i've heard someone talk good about them. Those I know who have them have all said that since the thinkpad line was sold to Lenovo that quality has went downhill. But then again if you want to talk about overpriced hardware, Lenovo is no better than Mac in that category. It's not like their prices have ever been competitive.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

built then the MacBooks, especially since all Macs are just intel machines with commodity parts. For that matter, the Dell Latitude line holds up pretty well. Lasting long past its productive life. Im speaking purely from a hardware perspective here.

nhahajn
nhahajn

Which is why we still use XP. Using a Mac is fine for home, unless of course you want to play the newest games. I guess I just haven't had any good experiences with Mac's.

nhahajn
nhahajn

Maybe I haven't spent enough time managing Mac's, but I don't see that managing Windows is as hard as you make it sound. I can control almost every aspect of a Windows desktop using GPO's. I can few all of their error logs remotely, even assign applications as I see fit. XP pro and Office 07 are very business orientated. And yes it may take a few 3rd party tools to make my life easier, but a lot of them are free. It just takes a little training, research and aptitude to manage MS environments.

MrRich
MrRich

I have managed a network of Macs and it was far easier than managing a modern network of PCs. AT least in the O/S 6 days... The challenge we face in Windows Land is that Windows management is a bucket of bolts. Microsoft gives you lots of capability, but out of the box you get a pile of disjointed MMC control panels. Nothing that gives you a unified view of the network. (Group policy will let you set things, but you can't see what is going on.) I can't say for the Mac side today, but in PC land we definitely rely on after-market products to manage what is still a consumer oriented product suite. Example: Exchange doesn't seriously try to manage the settings in Outlook. You can't just 'set' all Calendars to be shared in an organization. IMHO Because the desktop suite and the OS are primarily consumer focused. But as to Google - Writely is just not going to cut it in a business environment. If Open Office has formatting issues that are important enough for us to stick with Microsoft - we're not likely to go with Google Docs. The top 5% of power users here would grind to a halt. (He said - after spending $30,000 on Office 2007.)

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

I wasn't talking about using it in a corporate environment, i was talking about using it for personal use. But now that you mention it, windows vista isn't corporate friendly either. The majority of the software my company uses is not supported on windows vista. Blame microsoft or blame the vendor, i don't care but windows vista is not corporate friendly either.

nhahajn
nhahajn

Have you ever tried to manage more than just a few Mac's on a corporate environment? There is no built in central management tools. Not saying Mac OS is good, just that they are a pain to manage.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

My finacee has Vista, doesn't like it as much as XP, even 1 year latter, but it works just fine. We have 3 sales staff with vista, 1 loves it, the other 2 are indifferent. I had it on my laptop but it ran to slow for my tastes on the hardware.

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