Linux

Microsoft fans need to get fired up and enthusiastic

Debra Littlejohn Shinder argues that it's time for Microsoft's fans to stop being afraid to show their enthusiasm and excitement in public.

I spent last week in Louisville at the TechRepublic Live 2011 event hosted by our friends here at TechRepublic. I learned a lot, including some interesting insights into how a lot of people "outside the fold" feel about Microsoft and Windows -- and how they feel about other operating systems and software companies.

Because I work with and specialize in Microsoft technologies, many of the conferences and events I attend throughout the year -- TechEd, MVP Summit, local TechNet events - - are sponsored by and/or focused on Microsoft. Others, such as Black Hat and Defcon, tend to have a strong anti-Microsoft aura about them (even though Microsoft is one of Black Hat's many sponsors and almost always sends at least one or two speakers).

In the latter case, those few who are Microsoft advocates are generally busy playing defense, responding to the (sometimes valid, sometimes not) criticisms and comments about Windows' quirks and flaws. In the former case, the use of Microsoft technologies is taken for granted, with most folks wanting to know the "how to" of deploying various scenarios. However, in both cases, it's all too rare to see a whole lot of real all-out enthusiasm from the Microsoft fans. And I have to wonder why.

Where's the fire?

Perhaps the fans are taking their cues from the speakers. I couldn't help noticing that when Jack Wallen was giving his presentation about Linux, he was all fired up about it. Never mind that, according to NetMarketShare's statistics, Linux still has only a smidgeon over 1% of the operating system market share as of September 2011. Jack believes in Linux, he's in love with Linux, and he's passionate about it. The excitement is evident in his voice and in his body language, as well as in his words.

Some other speakers, including my husband (Tom Shinder), gave presentations on Microsoft technologies. Those talks were very professional, very informative, very interesting -- even inspirational -- but the same sort of over-the-top enthusiasm wasn't there. It might be easy to conclude that Jack is just a better speaker, but I don't think that's the case. I've seen that same fire in Tom's eyes before, when he was talking about Microsoft's products and services. And it's not as if Tom's talk didn't touch the audience; they voted his topic one of the top ones that they wanted to hear more about in a follow-up "unconference" session.

Playing it (too) safe?

I can understand why Microsoft speakers tend to go for the more business-like approach. Certainly being seen as a representative of a big company that's under so much public scrutiny is a heavy responsibility. Getting too wound up on a public stage can be dangerous -- and much more so when you're seen as a representative of the company. A slip of the tongue -- especially in a public forum with dozens of tech bloggers present -- and you could find yourself being quoted all over the web, saying something you never intended to say.

And sometimes (certainly not always) speakers who get carried away by their enthusiasm make exaggerated claims and unsubstantiated statements. Then they end up looking bad -- and making the company look bad -- when they're called out on it.

One way to avoid that is to stick pretty close to a predefined script. The problem is that when you're mostly reading from the slides or notes, or delivering a memorized spiel, you tend to come across as less enthusiastic in comparison to the speaker who's "making it up as he goes along."

What about the fan club?

Okay, that explains why the speakers who work for Microsoft may be a little "toned down." And in a way, comparing Tom and Jack is comparing apples to oranges, since Jack is an independent "fanboy" who doesn't have to worry about legal departments, corporate policies, and what the boss might think about his talk. In fact, when you're a member of the media, the more provocative the talk, the better you like it.

But what about the Microsoft fans who aren't employed by the company? Why don't we see more enthusiasm from them? Is it that same phenomenon that I mentioned last week, in regard to Microsoft's relationship with security (familiarity breeds, if not contempt, at least a loss of passion)? Is it that we're talking about an older, more settled demographic? Much as I hated the Mac Guy commercials, I have to admit that, in general, corporate types in their 40s don't, well, gush over the things they like nearly as often as 20-somethings do.

I'm often asked, by people who use and like Windows, why Microsoft always gets such a bad rap. Why is it that Apple can come out with a "new" feature that Windows has had for years, and the press goes wild about how "innovative" it is?

A few examples: Mac OS X "Snow Leopard," which came out in 2009, boasted such great new features as a 64-bit OS, support for Exchange, built-in malware protection, and other features Windows has had for years. Likewise, Lion gets things like full-screen application windows and the ability to resize a window from any side or corner (huh? You couldn't already do that? Seriously?).

The point isn't that Apple is hyping these things to the max; of course they are. That's what marketing is all about. The point is that users -- and more troubling, the media -- rarely call them on it. Instead, Mac fans wax poetic about how magical and revolutionary it all is. Why is it that when Microsoft introduces amazing new capabilities -- such as Windows Media Center, a DVR solution ten times better than what the cable and satellite companies offer and without the monthly fee that TiVO charges -- nobody seems to care?

Maybe it's just a matter of Microsoft representing more mature technologies, appealing to a more "establishment" oriented demographic in both the consumer and the business markets. Linux lovers tend to see themselves as outlaws, free spirits rebelling against the status quo. It's easy to get revved up about that.

Apple fans certainly exude their own brand of enthusiasm, but they are often made fun of as brainwashed cult members who mindlessly follow the crowd, and indeed, now researchers have discovered that Apple devotees actually emit brain waves, in response to Apple products, similar to those of religious people responding to symbols of their faiths. Maybe the problem is that Microsoft users are more pragmatic. They realize that, after all, it's only an operating system.

Fanning the flames

What could Microsoft do to kindle those flames of excitement and passion among both employees when representing the company to the outside and plain-old users who prefer Microsoft products? There's certainly no lack of enthusiasm at the top; we've all seen Steve Ballmer literally bouncing around the stage. Watching him speak always leaves me exhausted but also excited about the latest and greatest Windows features or new Microsoft products. I'd like to see a little "trickle-down effect." I think that's the only way to compete against companies like Apple and Google that inspire such loyalty and passion in their followers (users).

If you're a Microsoft fan and you're constantly getting annoyed because Windows "don't get no respect," stop and consider that maybe you're partly to blame. If you don't get passionate about your OS and express that enthusiasm, you can expect the press to continue in its ho-hum responses to the release of a new version of Windows.

I want to see some enthusiasm for Microsoft technologies, because I think there's a lot to be enthusiastic about: Windows Phone is evolving into a real alternative to the iPhone and Android (to the point that an HTC spokesman has said it will "eventually be better than other platforms), the Xbox and Kinect are selling like hotcakes, and Windows 8 has the potential to change everything. When Steve Ballmer said Microsoft was taking a big risk with the next generation of Windows, that seemed to signal that the company was ready to stop playing it safe in terms of development and innovation. Now it's time for Microsoft's fans to stop being afraid to show their enthusiasm and excitement in public.

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

82 comments
tech
tech

As an "IT Professional" I am only interested in what works for the companies I am involved with. Sure, I use Microsoft products. I do so because I must for compatibility, not because Microsoft excels at anything. Windows (Server or Desktop) is full of a lot of bloat, and spit and polish, but the truth is when you take that away it is not the best at anything. I run Novell File and Print Servers because, in my opinion, it is a better File and Print Server. I run GroupWise because, in my opinion, it is more stable than Microsoft Exchange, I don't have to update and reboot the server every month. At one company I manage 13 servers, 3 are Microsoft, 4 are Novell, the other 6 are linux. Since Novell is also a flavor of linux that puts me at 10 / 3 or 23% Microsoft and of course that means 77% linux / Novell. Two of the Windows Servers are must haves, one is required for a phone system and the other is required for the accounting and CRM Software. My linux servers include Mail Gateway / Spam filtering, System Monitoring, LAMP, DB, Document Management, and more. I manage just shy of 100 desktops, they are 98% Microsoft Systems. This is in large part due to the a fore mentioned accounting and CRM software, However, even this is changing. As clients want access from their phones and tablets, and with Document Management Systems, and other systems migrating to a platform independent model, Microsoft products fall by the wayside. When I update the CRM software later this year, the need for Windows Desktops for that goes away. You want me 'fired up' about Microsoft products, then Microsoft needs to give me something to be fired up about! Stop treating everyone like a common criminal at every turn. Get rid of all the DRM CRAP, and start focusing on making a better mouse trap. Because in my eyes right now their mouse trap looks just like the others only its made of gold instead of wood and brass. Funny thing though, it doesn't work better, it just looks better, so why should I pay the premium? That's right, I shouldn't I should add the difference to the bottom line.

wuboyblue
wuboyblue

The thing that Microsoft really doesn't do is flex it's muscle and show what it does right. WMC totally rules, integrating with the Xbox, forming the greatest of single home entertainment unit. Apple has nowhere near this kind of integration. Sure, I'm sick of the bland interface of W7. I've been guilty of writing code that has corrupted the entire OS, forcing a re-install of W7. But the way all of my home entertainment ties in, from my Xbox 360S which drives in Dolby Digital 5.1 to my A/V Receiver to my X-fi platinum sound card which will drive DTS (Dolby Theater Sound) to my A/V Receiver, all through the miracle of Windows Media Center. Microsoft is king of the multimedia world. Fanbois always come up with random arguments, never really on point to what is real for home entertainment, instead choosing arcane points about Mac capabilities (like it's sound port which drives @ 44.1 Mhz, 24 Bit sampling, which is lame) to their Mac Mojo arguments. If there were truly another game in town as integrated as the Microsoft home entertainment world I may buy it, but right now, I have 5 TB of storage in my desktop, tons of media and I have not seen anything from Apple with this kind of capability. My Xbox ties in the rest. Yep, for home entertainment it's an MSOFT world, oh yea, as a game developer, all of my GDK stuff is also for Windows. I guess in all the fun I forgot to mention that I develop entertainment products in the Microsoft world. All of my Development tools are available in one OS and can cross compile to other platforms. Oops, my bad.

dnox1978
dnox1978

I think Microsoft users are a more mature user category, we don't need to brag, because for us it's a Tool not a lifestyle. I love manny of microsoft products, like windows 7, windows 8 Beta, Xbox, Xbox 360, kinetic, Office 2003 and 2011, For me Microsoft products work flawless, I game om my Windows 7 PC , develop in C++, C# and SQL 2005/2008, test free software, do video editing and photo editing. Runs a couple of virtual , Linux, windows XP, DOS 6, Mac OS X, Windows server 2003 and 2008, for dev. purpose. I have run my windows 7 computer for almost 3 years now and still no problem, I have no antivirus software on my computer, but my Windows home server have antivirus and scans my computer to, I never had any virus or malware on my windows 7 PC. I like the beta of windows 8, my next computer will be an home built windows 8 PC with a 24" or 30" multi touch screen if I can afford it, Nokia Windows 8 phone got real potential, when the release it I'm going to change my iPhone 4 to a windows 8 phone. But for public opinion and as feedback to Microsoft, maybe we need to brag and tell other that we like about Microsoft products, and that the work very good,that they got what you need out of the box.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

I think Ballmer is probably the biggest handbrake that MS has right now. After seeing any one of his awkward performances (why does he insist on wearing light coloured shirts? Why doesn't he wear a t-shirt under them?) I certainly wouldn't want to be seen getting enthusiastic for fear of being labelled in the same category.

chev36
chev36

I am not a comp. whize don`t write well but I am 68 years old I started out on a timex comp. I had microsoft for ever it seems. would not use any thing else it is a good os no body gets excited about it all they do is remember the bad which are a little they seem to forget all the good that is in the os They made Bill Gates seperate his company why is it not free interprise that is in the U. S. A. I support microsoft os would not run any thing else you can try all the os you want but ms will always be on top

dcolbert
dcolbert

In particular when the speaker who was a Macintosh advocate (I did not get this gentleman's name) was talking about his perspective on Macintosh and its place in the business area, I *wanted* to ask some very tough questions. Questions like, "What if you deliver your platforms or applications via RDP 2k8 R2 TS Gateway? How do you deal with your Mac users then? When he was talking about the 12% market share that Macintosh has I wanted to ask, "Hasn't that share been between 11 and 12% for the last several years". There were a lot of challenges I have in dealing with the various doctors in my organization that insist on using their Macintosh in the native OS even though everything about our platform is based around and designed to accomodate Microsoft technologies. It can't be about things being easier and working better on OS X, because when you're accessing our RDP TS Gateway delivered services, OS X makes everything HARDER. So why insist on doing it the hard way? I have hands on experience with dealing with this - and believe me, I *wanted* to bring those topics to the table. But when it came time to ask questions and give feedback, I held back. Getting into this kind of discussion on a web based forum is one thing (and it isn't about being anonymous). Putting someone on the spot like that in person after they've just given a presentation they feel strongly about is just bad form. Especially when you know it is most likely to just draw lines and make people pick sides in a battle that can never be won. Especially when you stand behind the rampantly stronger position. I didn't challenge Jack on any of his points or positions either (although I agreed with a lot of what Jack did have to say). The Mac speaker had good points too - but I think he had a narrow focus as to how OS X plays in his world - and that for many of us in the industry, Mac users just bring headaches, hassles, and support challenges to the table that result in dissatisfied end users who can't figure out why Microsoft-centric business apps don't run well on their consumer and niche-market oriented OS - issues they invariably blame on incompetent Windows IT guys and their Windows based servers and applications. It is self-perpetuating truth. They try to access Windows based systems on their OS X machines, those systems and apps don't run well, and it confirms their belief that Macintosh is awesome and that Windows platforms suck. The depth of Tom's presentation was incredible. The way he presented challenging concepts I've grappled to come to terms with helped turn the lights on for me on several points. It was factual, relevant, and didn't need any cheer-leading to get the point across. Absorbing the information being shared was enough to keep me occupied and paying attention. Ben Stein could have presented the topic in the monotone voice from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and I would have paid attention. Intel used to have a policy, and still probably does, of not *ever* acknowledging that AMD was even a competitor. Intel's position was that to address AMD in head-to-head competition only gave credibility to the idea that AMD *was* competitive. I've used the example before that Sacramento, California spends a lot of time comparing itself to San Francisco, as a city. Sacramento's goals and aspirations as a city are measured by how their activities and opportunities measure up to San Francisco. But you never hear San Francisco compare itself to how it is like Sacramento. Microsoft doesn't need a cheering section. They don't need a rabid fan-base of loyalists willing to passionately debate, defend and argue. Microsoft isn't without their own serious challenges and problems at the moment. They need to start executing much better than they have over the last 5 years, soon. But in the larger picture, when asked about how they feel about the growing threat from the competition to their dominance, Microsoft needs to respond, "We have competition?"

ScarF
ScarF

as I haven't been in many years of waiting for something new from Microsoft, for the consumers. I am not as excited about Steve Balmer. He is nothing but an accountant killing the entrepreneurial spirit. I was very excited about Bill Gates and the way he played Steve Jobs - before and after the help he gave him for Apple. And, indeed,I would be willing to show my excitement on a stage when a really good Windows 8 tablet will kill Apple's and Android's bubbles. In the mean time, I stay with my Windows desktops, laptop, netbook and my Sony eReader. BTW, the netbook I have can beat any tablet at any hour with its functionality, and I don't really miss the multitouch display. I am a PC.

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

I am excited about Windows Phone 7, and most of the people I know who use it are excited about it, especially now that Mango has arrived. But, Windows Phone 7 suffers from the same problem that Windows 7 does....lack of exciting hardware. When we see the announcement of a new Android phone, it isn't about the new and improved features in the OS, it's about the hardware. At this point, everyone knows that Android is pretty solid, so you don't have to talk about that. Where is the exciting hardware running Windows? PCs...to be quite frank...are in the doldrums. They are out there, but there is almost nothing exciting out there on the horizon. I love Windows 7, but I have to run it on my old hardware, and most people I know are already running. I don't have to play evangelist for Windows 7. I may get excited again when Windows 8 is available on tablets. I see some nice hardware designs in the tablet market, but with only two reasonably big name models that I know of, Acer Iconia W100 and Asus Eee Pad, running Windows 7 there isn't too much to be excited about. I also think that for many of us, we aren't truly excited about Microsoft, it's just what we use. Windows 7 has some Wow! in it, or at least it did when it first came out, but I haven't seen much Wow! in Office 2010. I like it, but I don't go Wow!. I think many people think Windows and Office are the best out there, but Windows isn't what they WANT....it's just better than the competition.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

I think it would be dishonest for someone to get really excited on stage about Microsoft. If you want to see enthusiasm you should get a 12 year old on stage to talk about the XBOX360.

Craig_B
Craig_B

Microsoft is the Blob, it's just one big mass that slowly takes over many things. They have saturated so many areas it's hard to describe Microsoft. Are they a Windows, XBox, Application (Office, SQL, SharePoint, Browser, etc), Search Engine, Server, Phone, Storage, Virtualization or Cloud company? Microsoft is all this and more. When you think of other technology companies one tends to think of the one or two things they do, so they have an easier to define identity which may be easier to get behind. Microsoft just slowly takes on more and more.

sissy sue
sissy sue

Getting excited over one's tools seems a bit strange to me.

daniel.hrubiak
daniel.hrubiak

I've seen it all come and go in my 35 year tech career. I've worked joint ventures with IBM, Apple and Microsoft. No disrespect to John Q Public, but non-tech people tend to be lemmings. What they see and hear is what they believe. This being said, it's all about marketing. Apple, whether they have a good product or not, are awesome at marketing. Ask yourself who has better TV commercials Apple or Microsoft. No need to answer. Long live Microsoft!

robert.wade
robert.wade

Plastered on the site was the NON-news about iPhone 4S. Yet, where is similar coverage of the rollout of the Mango update to Windows Phone 7? This is the upgrade that brings Windows Phone, arguable the MOST innovative approach to smartphones (it's even making its way into Windows 8), up to speed and, in many cases, surpassing Android and, more obviously, iOS. And, after a rather horrific rollout of the minor NoDo update earlier this year, Microsoft has accomplished something that Android users can only dream about: simultaneous deployment across ALL carriers on ALL devices. Apple can't even play in that field because, well, they only have device, really, and they owned AT&T until recently. I don't overlook or gloss over where Microsoft is still missing it , but this is the most beautiful and integrated user experience of any ecosystem, yet Apple and Android fanboys permeate most of the technocracy. Personally, I'm sick of it.

Gerbilferrit
Gerbilferrit

Glad you joined Tech Republic Debra. Bit of fresh air on this site actually, its been getting way too bogged down in the trendy elements of IT like Apple and Google. Thanks for flying the flag, I love MS products genrally, there's a few duffers of course, but they really are doing a lot of right at the moment - Windows Phone 7.. *swooon* and Windows/Server 8 can't wait!!! Will cheekily argue down any fanboy who doesn't see the bigger picture or appreciate the history and benefits MS products bring to the pocket, desktop and enterprise!!! Dissing MS's efforts these days is somewhat tiring to hear, and shows more ignorance from the whiner than anything else!

jkameleon
jkameleon

... it's still a big, evil corporation. That's why I'm using Linux whenever I can.

jeff
jeff

Do tell, what software this is? Does it have a plugin for WHS?? I have been running ClamWin on WHS and MS Security Essentials / In-Tune at the desktop.

JamesRL
JamesRL

....about the 2k8 TS gateway. Some of our customers, not all of whom are very technical, have figured out how to access our app from their OSX Macs, which is only available on a TS 2k8 platform, and our customers aren't in the tech business, in fact they are in a business known for being out of date. And they get zero help from us on the subject. But your AMD/Intel analogy is very apt.

sboverie
sboverie

I like what you said about installing MS apps on a Mac and not getting a good experience because the apps are not running natively. I work in a mixed environment and I do find it perplexing to buy Macs, install VMware to run a copy of XP so that the Mac users can work with the standard business apps. I am not a rabid fan of MS, but I do like their products. Windows has improved with nearly every new version and the same can be said for OSX and Linux. I think that if I had to go back to using an IBM AT (with 640K RAM, 20 MB hard drive, 5 1/4 diskette drive running DOS 5 with Windows 3.1) that it would be a horrible experience after using current hardware and Win 7. I think even the most devoted Mac fan would feel similar if forced to use the Mac Classic with the original configuration and OS.

danmartini
danmartini

He is totally honest in his enthusiasm, and every time he opens his mouth, you will think he on the verge of a self induced stroke. He practically speaks in tongues.

TNT
TNT

Microsoft is a Blob because they develop applications, OSes, phone, and cloud offerings... and a variety of other electronics (like xBox, etc)? What would that make Apple then, who develops applications, OSes, phone, cloud offerings... and a variety of other electronics (like iPod, etc.)? You picking up what I'm laying down? And if Apple's marketing is all the rage why do they still have less than 10% market share in the computing space? Microsoft has 86% and there is a clear reason for this market inequity: Microsoft is better than Apple.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

...you might be in the wrong trade/dodge/profession. As a luthier, I was 'all excited' when I got a certain fret file (woohooo!); as a sculptor, when I get (or make) a new tool I need for a specific aspect of my project, I get excited. I neither worship nor hoard my tools, but I can get excited about them. Remember your first laptop?

bobc4012
bobc4012

I agree on lemmings. However, if it hadn't been for the stupidity of IBM management, Gates and company would still be writing Basic interpreters/compilers and probably a few other apps. When people started using IBM PCs at work (and then at home as the cost came down - IBM clones), it opened the door for Microsoft to break (underhandedly) from IBM. They could cut deals with the clone guys to only install MS S/W.

sonnystarks
sonnystarks

How is this "Evil?" Do you earn a paycheck? If so, it is because someone above you made money on whatever it is you do. Is your acceptance of that paycheck evil? There is no evil or good in technology, it's only how it's employed. When Microsoft, Apple, Google begins running sweatshops, then it's evil. Until then, your perspective appears delusional.

Han CNX
Han CNX

Microsoft is cutting down on their evilness though, while Google and especially Apple are ramping it up to new heights.

dcolbert
dcolbert

An RDP connection directly to a W2k8 RDP server will work fine with the available RDP clients on OS X. But connecting through the web-based TS Gateway does not work currently on Mac, to my knowledge. It has been an engineering obstacle for our group in providing support to Mac users. The problem is compounded because TS Gateway will allow load balancing to identical back-end servers through the gateway - but a direct RDP session has to go to a SPECIFIC machine, losing the advantage of load balancing and fault tolerance that TS Gateway brings. But I'm just a manager - I haven't worked hands on engineering our TS solutions or our Mac accessibility to those. Perhaps you know something my engineers don't? I'd love to hear it. I do know there are 3rd party solutions we're looking into - but those add expense, expense that a Windows machine wouldn't incur (let's call it a Hidden "Macintosh on Windows Systems" tax). In my mind, for corporate business use, Windows platforms integrate the best with the majority of environments to this day - and this is just my most ready example. But we've just started to explore this, so if there are free alternatives that are ROBUST, reliable and well designed, let me know. If they're FOSS solutions that feel rickety and act relatively beta, they're not on my agenda, though. My users won't tolerate that.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

They all look like they're cringing in embarrassment for him. Honestly, where did he learn his public speaking "skills"?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Microsoft has 86% and there is a clear reason for this market inequity: Microsoft is better than Apple." So having a larger market share implies product superiority? Ford makes better cars than Mercedes-Benz? McDonald's has a better piece of beef than Ruth's Chris? Costume jewelry is better than genuine gemstones? I'm not saying MS is inferior to Apple, or superior, either. But having a larger market share doesn't by itself demonstrate product quality.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

I'm a Linux fan and I catch hell about it. Each time a new distro hits the mirrors, I get a little excited. Steve did a great job in raising the level of interest in each new Apple development. But the the Windows guys seem almost lackadaisical at new offerings. Microsoft Windows has done more for the average user that all the other OSs put together. I remember when it first hit peoples' hard drives, It was all good things wrapped into one. Maybe we have come to expect too much of Windows after so many versions. Maybe the nitpicking and fault-finding over the simplest things has even the most devoted fans wondering if their trust might be misplaced. That ain't good. Because even though I'm speaking as a Linux fan, I recognize the value of MS's flagship. Many users today would be completely lost without Windows. It is the gold standard of the PC industry. Ubiquitous, easy to learn, easy to use, flexible, eye-appealing software. Expensive, yes, but good.

mjc5
mjc5

It depends on your outlook. When Vista came out, and was running (actually not running) on underpowered machines that we tagged as Vista capable, maybe it was just a bad idea. Some might call that evil, but call it whatever you want. Or the instant obsolescence of all manner of peripherals because of drivers. Yeah, that was sweet when people found out that little bit of fun after they bought their new Vista powered machines. Maybe evil, maybe not. No doubt that it wasn't good business. So yeah, they are just businesses trying to make money. But when they pull stunts like the Vista debacle, a customer might remember that. They might decide to send their money to another corporation.

jkameleon
jkameleon

... for somebody else. For them, my paycheck is evil. It's an expense to be cut whenever possible.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

I don't buy that; but if you do, Apple's are in China under the name Suncomm (and they were newsworthy a couple of months ago for having had to install a chilling 'suicide-fence' to keep the happy workers on the higher floors from flying off into the next World in such large numbers). Your claim was that there's no good or evil in 'technology', but your point wasn't about technology per se but about 'corporations (designed to make money)'. If 'good' and 'evil' DON'T apply to the corporate mandate and raison d'etre, then sweatshops are a common-sense, cost-saving approach to CGS. Public backlash (expressed in loss of revenue / cost-per-unit using sweatshop labor) would be the only concern to an 'amoral money-making operation'. Apple (on our learning of its reliance on sweatshop labor), is only now officially 'evil'....and that's, as you say, corporations making their money (not technology itself) whose amoral plan suddenly crosses into the realm of 'Evil' at sweatshops---but not before. Hmmmmm.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

...although my impression is that Ballmer actually does take himselft seriously. Perhaps not as an "oracle" (pun intended) but certainly as a cheerleader...

danmartini
danmartini

I do think they laugh as much at him as with him. I think he has a few billion more than all of them combined so he really doesn't much care as long as they show up. I actually like a billionaire who doesn't mind making an ass of himself s long as it's in good fun. Contrast this with a droning bore like Ray Ozzie or a grade-A rectum like Larry Ellison who would have you believe you getting pronouncements directly from God Himself, and a cut-up like Ballmer doesn't look so bad.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I dislike both equally and wouldn't drink either if someone else was buying. I'd rather have a Diet Pepsi or a good strong ginger ale. Besides, aren't I screwed up enough for you when I'm sober?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Canadian Club is better than Coors, too!

danmartini
danmartini

It's usually true that no single indicator is ever firm proof of anything. You say xyz is better, that is just your opinion and you are entitled to it. I wasn't arguing that you were right, just that you had the right to deem something better to you than something else. Better is complletely subjective. Lady Gaga is better than Mozart because she looks good in a meat suit. Does she do music too? Nice. It's all good. This article we are "discussing" is a call to get out your Microsoft freak flag. I could see from a mile away that it would be polarizing. So did the author, I bet. On topic, I have to believe that there is some pre-meditation at play here. This mag isn't known for it's love of Microsoft, so, since like a lot of other people I believe that next year will be a new beginning for them, this pub and a lot of others will want to come out early and start showing them some love. They are a patient crew at MS. They are rarely first to any party, the rags are more than happy to take every opportunity to declare them DOA, and in their own sweet time, they quietly unleash the beast and start the body count. Not long after their next wave of products are RTM, you will see a lot of hater mags start kissing up and tossing arounds like words like revolutionary, post-post-pc, etc. A remarkable number are already making baby steps in this direction. I read recently read a dude (I want to say it was on Gizmodo) who said he honestly didn't realize how bad Android sucked until he was assigned to review a pre-release of Mango, and it made all existing phone OS look dated and clunky (paraphrased). We are going to see a lot of that. So yes, kudos author, pucker up now because the faithful (and the adaptive) will be rewarded, the rest will be either taking a lot of damage and scrambling to recover or dragging out their tired old bullhorns and braying like donkeys about the slightest perceived chinks in the armor. Or both. My opinion.

danmartini
danmartini

Props to to you for admitting to a simple mistake. Most people, especially on the interwebs, don't have the guts to admit to misinterpreting anything.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...fits their needs better..." We're in complete agreement. danmartini, I admit I introduced the word 'quality'. That was a poor interpretation on my part of what TNT meant by 'better'. That's why I went back to the source for his definition.

TNT
TNT

I have to agree with my friend Palmetto that market share at any given time is not a proper indicator by itself. As a co-worker of mine pointed out, by that reasoning Lady Gaga is better than Mozart because she sells more records and has more airplay. Of course one could argue that music is an art form and therefore the true metric is the test of time... But I digress. All I'm saying is that corporations and many users have decided that Windows fits their needs better than Apple and that is clear from the inequity of marketshare. If it were close I wouldn't think of making the argument, but if a football team beats another by a score of 86 to 10 clearly the winner is "better" than their opponent at football. As a good friend of mine once said, "I have a quarter-million dollar computer in my pharmaceutical lab and guess what logo comes up when you turn it on. That's right, Windows."

danmartini
danmartini

TNT simply said Microsoft is better than Apple. Now you have had time to think it through and you want to cut from a different angle? What next? Do we have to define what 'is' is for you? You could go on all day arguing why one company is better than the other. At this point in time you can make a case that Apple is better because it has done so much that is good in the past few years. Go back longer, say from the 1980 through the mid 2000s and you couldn't even compare the two companies on equal terms because for most purposes they appeared to be in completely different markets. Microsoft defended the mainstream pc turf and the enterprise from Apple for two DECADES. Now, Apple has planted it's feet and it kicking the snot out of everyone in product popularity. Again, don't pick a single lame metric. If you want to do that, how about overall profitability? Hmm? See how easy that was?

danmartini
danmartini

That was a non argument, taking apart a single statement out of context. Generally, market share is similar to voting. If an overwhelming percentage of people get a thing, that alone makes it preferred by definition. Better quality, as in the examples you cite, doesn't necessarily make a better value or even better sense. Pound for pound, if you consider value, Ford does make some products better than Benz. Give me 10k and tell me to buy a watch with it. I will step over Rolex to buy a Timex and pocket the remaining $9,950.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Thack, let's go back to the source. TNT, how are you defining 'better' as you used it in 'Microsoft is better than Apple' above?

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

"how well a product meets the customers' requirements at an attractive price". That's strictly 'value'; 'quality' actually IS synonymous with 'excellence' in the Ford/Benz et al comparisons above. Yes, costume jewelry is a better value than real gems; it does NOT follow that it is therefore of 'better quality', however. Prove this to yourself by using both as a modifier: 'low-quality' describes a different condition than 'low-value', as do 'high-quality' and 'high-value'. Apple's consumer image is that of high quality; as I can buy about 3 Windows machines for the same price, they (the Apple units) are NOT 'high in value', since their usefulness is comparable---not 'significantly greater'.

Thack
Thack

It depends on how you define "quality". In the worlds of engineering and commerce, "quality" means meeting the customers' requirements at the lowest cost. That is not the same as "excellence", which is a measure of how much something excels, obviously. There is a good argument that Ford's quality exceeds Mercedes-Benz's, in that Mercs may well *exceed* the users' requirements (and thus cost more than in necessary). That isn't good quality. I think you were talking about excellence, not quality, when referring to jewellery and Mercs. If the market share reflects how well a product meets the customers' requirements at an attractive price, then yes - you probably can say it is of higher quality.

danmartini
danmartini

Palmetto thank you for the explanation how threads work here. Also, thanks for sorting out the central issue of mjc5's complaint. That makes his post make more sense to me. That doesn't make MS evil, mjc5, it made them look like they didn't know what they were doing. There is no way you believe they set out to create this enormous gaffe and take such a huge hit to their reputation and their customer's good faith. It was a failed effort for the most part. It didn't advance their position in the world, it set them back and gave their competition the opportunity of a lifetime. I don't know why I occasionally let people's bile for Microsoft get to me. I am aware of the things they did that were anti-competitive a long time ago, when the personal computing industry was young and growing fast, but they did far more good than harm in their history. I seriously doubt the industry would be as large and vibrant as it is without them. I also admit that because of them, I was allowed a career that I never would have dreamed of as a kid. They built my business and they continue to provide me with a great living and a world of possibility still ahead of me. Millions of other people were given opportunities they otherwise would not have, thanks to Microsoft. Ironically, the majority of the haters also benefited from Microsoft's role in history, because they made the arena larger. Hate all you want, but without a catalyst like Microsoft, this industry would not be where it is now. Not that it wouldn't exist at all, but I think it would have taken a much longer time to get to where we are now. My hypothetical grandchildren might live to see this in an alt world without Microsoft, but I am pretty sure I would not be writing this post on this site on this machine on this day if we left everything in IBM's hands. So, mcj5 and tech, you can thank Microsoft for allowing us to be here and piss each other off.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

danmartini, on TR discussion can go down seven response levels. At that point, one can either do what we're doing here (continuing to reply to the sixth level post) or exercise the relatively new 'Take Offline' option. That link begins a new discussion over in the 'Water Cooler' forum and links it back to the original. mjc5, the biggest problem with Vista was exactly what you describe. MS had three or four different levels of hardware certifications for Vista, and consumers couldn't differentiate between them. These 'Vista Approved' specs allowed hardware vendors to ship units with Vista logos on the carton, but the systems were grossly underpowered. MS made the same mistake marketing Vista upgrades to the owners of older XP computers that couldn't handle the new OS. You're buddy's driver issues, on the other hand, are the fault of peripheral and component manufacturers. MS doesn't write hardware drivers, beyond generic ones designed to get a system to boot and function minimally. Drivers are the responsibility of the hardware manufacturers.

danmartini
danmartini

(anyone: What's with the reply buttons being turned off and the take offline buttons on? Where's the fun in that?) Ok, to be honest, mjc5 and tech, I am still working on parsing your respective syntax. I am not going get into wrangling about driver problems on Windows Vista. You fellows are a few years late to that battle and I have no interest in it. Just a couple of observations: How can you use the term dial-up and contemporary peripherals in the same post? Your subject's underpowered hardware is a problem unto itself. Your argument is all over the place, both of you. You haven't even described it in all that you wrote. Not that I want you to because I don't now, but when this conversation was still interesting, it would have been useful. I ran Vista on a few machines myself including a 2gb Dell D800 laptop. That machine was a dog with no os. But it ran fine with Vista. Granted I wasn't on dialup and I wasn't trying to use a Epson dot matrix printer from 1992 but you get the idea. I know that some people had some very real problems with it, but I also know for a fact that a lot of people like to attack Vista because it has a weak chin and is easy points. And let's face it you two are posting for that reason and that reason alone. I was an independent consultant for almost 20 years. I wrote software for Fortune 10 firms down to a couple of mom and pops. Everyone I know survived the vista debacle but then for the most part, the people responsible for IT knew what they were doing. In some cases, that meant knowing enough to avoid the upgrade. It sounds like you are taking great pains to talk about one or 2 machines (so far) and your points are a little sketchy at best. Tech man, your Yugo argument is for idiots. I research my dog toys better than you research your ride. We do things a little differently on my planet. It's been fun. Let's do this again when you have a point.

tech
tech

When a consumer buys something they expect to get what they think they are buying. To use your example. You go to a dealer and they represent that this Yugo will do 100 MPH and is the safest money can by. So you buy it go home and find out it is a death trap that will only go 50, and only if you change out the fuel tank and battery. I am betting you would be ticked off. You thought you were buying a fast decent car, what you got was a piece of junk. So you would be ok with going back to the dealer and having him say "Open your wallet a little wider"? How does this relate to the Microsoft story? The manufacturer certified that the hardware would run Vista, it did not run acceptably. Microsoft put out low specs in order to get people to buy it. Pretty easy to understand, really. Been going on for years over hype and under perform. It's called greed. So after all of this will you go back for a Yugo 2.0, and be enthusiastic about it? Thought not.

mjc5
mjc5

Wasn't my computer man. It was one I had to try to fix. Let me explain for you, Dan, I wasn't clear enough apparently.. Guy bought a computer. It doesn't work. His peripherals do not work. DO you understand that when he bought his computer, he was expecting to do stuff with it? And he wasn't expecting to need to buy new peripherals to work with it? Has windows driven your expectations so low that you think this is acceptable? That a machine advertised as working does not, and that is okay? This has multiple problems. Microsoft said it would work. The store selling the computer said it would work. But it works sluggishly if ever. Some of the problems were fixable, like with the guy being on dialup, and the very first thing Vista does is try to download updates, which stops the computer in it's tracks. Kill the automatic updates, and the thing starts to run, even if like a 386 machine with Win95 cobbled on it. It was just a machine that was too slow for the job it was asked to do. It also had peripherals that were now not useable. The guy had been working on a XP machine, and his printer and scanner had been working fine. Then he's moved to Vista, with a new computer to boot, and everything stops working. The toughest part of my job was convincing him that such a situation could exist. Heck, I didn't believe it myself until I investigated the issue. That peripheral issue was one of the reasons a lot of commercial users didn't switch, because you not only needed new computers, you needed new printers, scanners, and other stuff. Just to do what you were already doing! Multiply that times every station. But I guess you are saying that it is okay to misrepresent a computer as working with an operating system that it won't work with, and okay for not supporting contemporary peripherals. That I do not, is everything of what it has to do. As for opening my wallet, yer talking to the wrong person. I buy much closer to the top than the bottom. But in the Windows world, cheap seems to rule for most people.

danmartini
danmartini

What does your misadventure with Vista have to do with anything? What does your driver problem have to with anything? Your machine wasn't powerful enough? Open your wallet a little wider. Is your car fast enough?

mjc5
mjc5

It isn't nonsense propaganda, when you admit that their evil behavior was real. I remember how happy I was when I got to a machine that was running Vista basic. Not only wasn't it powerful enough, but had no drivers for any of the dudes peripherals, and none were forthcoming. That's evil, and anyone who would continue to use that companies OS system only deserves to be cheated. I decided after Vista that enough was enough.

jkameleon
jkameleon

But, a little bit of healthy paranoia never hurt anyone.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

"If MS changes strategy and starts making Windows, which run only on dedicated hardware, this would radically change" - Yes, agreed, but this is *not* what they are planning to do. They are "tethering" the OEM versions of Windows to the OEM that supplies them. In other words if you buy a Dell machine, AND it has the "Made for Windows 8" logo, then it will only run Dell-supplied Windows 8. You will still be able to buy retail editions of Windows. You will still be able to by non-MS specific computers (HP has always supplied certain models without an MS OS, usually with a Linux distro dropped in the box - not installed) and as for all the white-box mobos, you will still be able to buy them and install whatever version of whatever OS you want, including abovementioned retail Windows. The move is purely (as I understand it) to protect MS and the OEM vendors against pirating of the heavily discounted Windows installs that come on those machines. If you want to run Linux no-one is stopping you, or even getting in your way.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Not exactly the information one could easily stumble upon. > Does Microsoft owe everyone a free ride? No, of course not. On the other hand, nobody owes Microsoft his allegiance, excitement, and enthusiasm. There is no need for that. Linux runs on enthusiasm, Microsoft runs on money. > That "Microsoft is evil" bs is nonsense propaganda based on past behaviors. What's wrong with taking past behaviors into account when making judgements? Banks do it all the time when they estimate your credit rating. True, Microsoft is a tad less evil (and a bit smaller) than others at the moment, but that doesn't mean it's not evil at all. > I am personally glad they are taking control of their products and the user experience, the way Apple does by the way, Microsoft going the way of Apple is exactly what I'm concerned about. Unlike Apple OS, Windows is very open as far as hardware is concerned, it can run virtually anything. Consequently, hardware produced nowadays is also open, it can run either Windows, or Linux, or whatever. If MS changes strategy and starts making Windows, which run only on dedicated hardware, this would radically change. There will be less options for consumers to chose from, and consequently far less healthy competition. > Google . . . The "don't be evil" language of their original charter was the biggest joke and the most devious lie in modern business. Is Google business at all? It seems more like some sort of intelligence op.

Thack
Thack

I think you may have misinterpreted what Microsoft are saying. Only computers that are branded "Made for Windows 8" (or whatever, forgot the exact words) will have the hardware locked so it won't install another OS. Presumably this is to protect their brand, and for security and stability reasons. I don't think Microsoft are doing this as an anti-Linux-on-the-desktop move. Linux has already comprehensively failed on the desktop (unlike everywhere else), it doesn't need Microsoft to shut it out. Any supplier can make a non-locked PC, so long as they don't put that logo on. And of course you can build your own. It seems like a reasonable compromise to me. It will have no disbenefit at all to the vast number of buyers, and techie types like us simply buy one without the logo (or assemble our own).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and Apple isn't a valid comparison. "I am personally glad they are taking control of their products and the user experience, the way Apple does by the way, ... If you want to boot another OS, get another computer ..." MS is proposing a change to the system hardware that MS doesn't manufacture, a change that would affect all manufacturers; getting another computer wouldn't be an option. Unlike Apple, MS doesn't make its own hardware; it's trying to force this change on those who do. Also, many people don't purchase Apple products because of their closed environment. What they're proposing is similar to if Exxon-Mobil forced auto manufacturers to build cars that would only accept their gasoline. Their approach may not be sneaky, but that doesn't mean it's right.

danmartini
danmartini

Does Microsoft owe everyone a free ride? Apparently they are not sneaky at all because you found that information easily enough. I am personally glad they are taking control of their products and the user experience, the way Apple does by the way, and are willing to leave it up to the consumer to take it or leave it. If you want to boot another OS, get another computer or use a Vm. That "Microsoft is evil" bs is nonsense propaganda based on past behaviors. They were absolute omnivores all through the 1980s and 1990s, but they have been clean for a long time and now can't truthfully be called anything but extremely competitive. Google, on the other hand, has built a business on violating copyrights of individuals, stealing content, manipulating their advertising platform, squeezing their partners and their customers, skewing search results and violating technology patents of better companies. The "don't be evil" language of their original charter was the biggest joke and the most devious lie in modern business.