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Microsoft is one of the world's most ethical companies

Despite past business practices that suggest otherwise, Microsoft is now one of the most ethical companies in the world.

I have been the host of the Microsoft Windows Blog here on TechRepublic for many years now, and there is one common theme expressed by members almost daily in the discussion forums, and I put this diplomatically: When it comes to business, Microsoft is ruthless to the point of being unethical or, at the very least, unfair. That is the perception I see expressed by members time and time again.

Hold on a minute

However, now there is a published list that states unequivocally that Microsoft is one of the most ethical companies on Earth. According to The Ethisphere Institute, Microsoft is one of the 145 most ethical companies, and they are joined in the Computer Software category by Adobe, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Teradata, and Wipro.

According to the website, The Ethisphere Institute is "a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability."

Here is what The Ethisphere Institute says about its list:

The World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies designation recognizes companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business "ethically" and translate those words into action. WME honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today.

Turnabout

Fascinating

So if The Ethisphere Institute is to be believed, it is incorrect to continue classifying Microsoft as unethical, unfair, or an otherwise bad-acting company. It is apparently time to stop judging Microsoft by its past transgressions and to start evaluating the company on its current practices. A change in thinking that I would suggest is probably long overdue (it's not the 1990s anymore), but what do you think?

Is it time to put Microsoft's past in the past? Is it time to let bygones be bygones -- forgive and forget, etc.? Is it time to judge Microsoft by its current business practices or do you have a bone to pick with The Ethisphere Institute?

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

131 comments
flotsam70
flotsam70

Apparently in this "post-modern" culture, we can redefine ethical behavior to conform to our own relativist standards. Since when is planned (aka forced) obsolescence ethical? Or how about buying out competitors and hanging them out to dry? I'm a big fan of Microsoft products and believe the company has done some (ok: a lot of) good. Trust their ethics? Not anytime soon.

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

I notice that as their ethics marginally improved, their market share marginally diminished. They haven't had true innovation in a long time, instead trying to copy everything Google, Apple, Adobe, or other companies come out with. Without the brutal lack of ethics they depended on during the 90s, they copy and overtake strategy is failing them. If they would use innovation instead of imitation, they wouldn't need to be as cut-throat as they had been, and to a large extent, still are. When you are in front, you do not need to stab the guy in front of you in the back. When you are slashing away at the guys aside you and behind you, you cannot focus on moving forward. I find it mind boggling that MS, with the resources and installed base they have cannot lead in innovation. Maybe if they look forward, instead of at what everyone else is doing, they can get on track. PS And for Pete's sake, stop designing by committee! Jobs was a jerk and a dictator, but the products shine!

ghiberset
ghiberset

What about Ethisphere independence and financing ?

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

Mention Adobe, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Teradata, and Wipro. and I start to shudder. Especially "symantec" Is this an attempt at self praise by companies that have fallen foul by other means? Or are they so crooked they have to tell us this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_activation < Dismal failures > Symantec root kit and sad software problems. Adobe reader 200 MB to read PDF files? You have to be kidding. Spyware? All are responsible. I tell ya. They forget who's computer they are compromising with their "license agreement" Its similar to holding a gun to my head with their "agreements" which apparently is not legal. Hooray for Piratebay!

lobofromwv
lobofromwv

You know, that Hitler guy wasn't such a bad guy either!

azlk
azlk

I must say I'm dissapointed with TechRepublic lately.. increasingly I read here Microsoft......Microsoft....Microsoft......Microsoft...... Developers....Developers....Developers....Developers.... Seems like somebody very_big helps some authors to promote their comanies, technologies etc. Sadly if that would go that way hereinafter... p.s. excuse my English...

azlk
azlk

I don't believe ethisphere's "investigation". At least it's not true here in Russia. And it looks very like paid_by_some_very_friendly_OS advertisement. You may think what you want. I say what I see.

l.kobiernicki
l.kobiernicki

If it promotes business, an MNC will turn itself upside-down/inside-out, in the pursuit of money, all the while considering its clients to be fools for believing 'em .. " There's one born every minute ", as the saying goes .. Don't believe the words. Only look at what they do, have done, and are already planning to do next. No more WinPE disaster-recovery boot discs. Stupid propietory .wim instead of market-standard .iso. A whole raft of products - solutions, looking for a problem, that they won't in any case solve. Leopards don't change their spots !

osgcurt
osgcurt

I don't know how long the author has been in the industry but it seems like he is still young. We who started out with key punch cards, have seen the cycles. Every company has had to keep cards close to it's chest, so to speak. That's why complicated molecular diagrams on white boards at biotechs have to be out of site. So they can only be so "forthcoming". The success of Microsoft allowed for the formation of the other large and successful tech firms. Remember, the first Apples were on a par with Commadore 64 machines, and the 64 had a very Apple like UI. But is was Microsoft that got the PC on the desktop because of the OS and a "Business App" called Visacalc. Later to be taken over by Lotus and word perfect and DB III plus and the rest is history. So, the Redmond bashing is getting so old and in this writer's view point very short sited. Do I wish that Microsoft had made better progress in their OS products? Sure!!!!! We missed the features we had in IBM systems, Unix systems, Novell systems, etc. but we got more work as tech professionals from Microsoft's success. Even writers who have a limited overview of the "modern tech history" get work from bashing Redmond. Let's just be glad they are still around.

dgoodale
dgoodale

I'm not buying it. A company so full of itself that it would steal another companies product, incorporate it into Windows and have the nads to keep the copyright intact in the stolen code is a company I'll NEVER trust. Yes, it was a while back but I doubt the people who lost their jobs because of Microsofts theft are quite as forgiving as a thinktank of uninvolved philosophers. There are MANY more stories of Microsoft's unethical and illegal behavior.

lkarnis
lkarnis

Seriously... Microsoft... ethical... what a joke. I talk to business people who get pressured by Microsoft all the time. Pay up or we'll ask for a software 'compliance' audit - that you will have to pay for. Or technical people who are told... sorry we can't sell you Windows Server 2008 R2 DataCenter because that SKU is 'unavailable' (but we know that you'll use it to legally and dramatically increase your VM count without paying us any more money). But, W2k8 Standard and Enterprise is available - for the appropriate license fee. 'Aggressive' business tactics that fly below the journalistic radar screen are still 'aggressive'. I can't believe anyone would consider one of the worlds most heavily fined, anti-competitive companies to be ethical

kenc1327
kenc1327

I don't consider any company that has repeatedly tried to monopolize the market as an ethical organization.

kirk_augustin
kirk_augustin

Microsoft has not changed. For example, they still try to charge hundreds for their OS, when an OS should be free, and they force bundle almost free with hardware vendors. That is illegal, but no one prosecutes because MS has more lawyers than programmers. And speaking of programmers, MS has more green card than anyone else, when US programmers need jobs.

webdesign
webdesign

I've had to put up with Microsoft for the past 31 years. They are definitely NOT an ethical company, and no amount of money Billy Gates spreads around to charities can buy any level of respect or ethical behavior. Microsoft should have been prosecuted under the RICO act in the '90s, but Bozo the Clinton and his Judicial Jokesters decided instead that the fit punishment would be to embed Microsoft even further into the education system by instructing them to donate computers and software. Please explain to me HOW a company can force me to purchase their software if I'm buying a computer to put something completely different on it? Any new system I buy, I have to pay a license fee to MS even if I don't want their software. Hmmm, don't have to pay Chevron for their gas if I buy a car but plan on using Arco. Something smells horribly rotten in this "Ethical Company" study, and it's got the stench of MS all over it.

rev_robert1221
rev_robert1221

As part of a Web Development team, we continue to incur significant extra expense making websites work in Internet Explorer. We develop them to work in accordance W3C standards and because Microsoft refuses to conform to those standards it cost up to an additional third of labor hours to make them work in IE. Microsoft is using it's marketshare to control the development of web applications. In my opinion, any company that refuses to conform to industry standards and uses its market position to hold the industry hostage is not acting ethically.

blarman
blarman

I have to question anyone saying major software companies are "ethical" without disclosing the criteria. Ethics are by definition a code of conduct, but there is no guarantee that one company's "ethical" behavior is acceptable to another's! Also, I don't agree with the idea that we should allow past transgressions to simply slide. If there was remorse shown and an attempt to atone for past mistakes, yes, but I haven't seen this as part of Microsoft's behavior. They only thing that has forced them to be more honest is that they don't have a monopoly on phones and tablets, so it is making them honestly compete for once. Here's how I judge ethical: 1) Does the company provide good support for their products (the products don't have to be bug-free, but they should make a priority effort to fix the bugs)? 2) Is the company open and honest about the terms of use of their products? 3) Does the company provide real value in its products and upgrades? 4) Does the company allow its products' merits to compete in the market or do they attempt to stifle competition? 5) Does the company intentionally make inflammatory FUD remarks about competitors to try to dissuade customers from purchasing competitors' products? 6) Does the company work with international standards bodies to adhere to standards for computing, such as the IEEE? 7) Does the company treat its employees fairly? #1. While it may be expensive, the few times I have had to contact MS support directly have been met with good results and a good experience. That being said, however, Microsoft gets a major ding here for forcing OEM's to do most of the tech support for them. Rating: 3. #2. Microsoft is pretty open and honest - if draconian, and my experiences with revalidating XP after a hard drive crash went pretty smoothly, even though I felt it was unnecessary in the first place. The other thing that really dings Microsoft here is their legal department. Rating: 3. #3. This one is completely subjective. I personally don't see all that much to whoop and holler about after XP - FOR THE COST. Value is always a comparison of what you get for what you pay. $250 for a new skin and funky ribbons on an operating system isn't my idea of value. Rating: 3. #4. This is the one where Microsoft drops the ball completely. Rating: 1. #5. Here is another area where Microsoft needs to let their products - and not Steve Ballmer - do the talking. And there is a difference between a product comparison and just going after your competitor. Rating: 2. #6. Given Microsoft's attempts to force the IEEE to adopt its standards, this one is another where Microsoft gets bad grades. They have been willing to work with others in some areas, but in most they have been decidedly hostile. Rating: 2. #7. I've personally known a couple of people who worked as peons at Microsoft. The compensation was good even though the demands were high, so I have to give them good marks here. Rating: 5. So on my scale, Microsoft earns a 19 of a possible 35. There's still plenty of room for improvement. That kind of score isn't going to put them on my top 145.

jrlentine
jrlentine

I agree that MS often gets a bad rap but I really question Ethisphere's right to judge any company. They rate Adobe as one of the top 145. After my experience with Adobe, I would rate Adobe in the bottom 145. I had a system crash and obviously could not deactivate Photoshop in order to reinstall it. I was treated like a criminal by their customer service. The immediate assumption was I was trying to illegally install more copies of PS that I had licenses for. It took hours, emails and discussions up the chain of command for them to simply reset their system to account for the reinstall. A presumption of software piracy by their paying and licensed customers should certainly exclude them from any sort of "honor".

branty1970
branty1970

As an educator I know I can approach Microsoft for help. Google are very good too but Apple couldn't care less about education. We have to pay almost full price for everything whereas Microsoft and Google are almost throwing training, software and help at us. Is it a surprise that Apple products don't get into schools? Maybe it's deliberate, maybe Apple won't to keep their products 'mysterious' and just out of reach.

spaceconsulting
spaceconsulting

I only know from my experience. They come out with a new product with a lot of problems and tell you how much better it is than the old one. Vista for example (better than XP? I don't think so). So you are stuck with it, but they soon come out with a newer product (Win7) and tell you how much better it is, and that it solves all the new problems they created in the last version. But of course they don't give it to you and ask forgiveness for selling you the last piece of junk. No, they want you to "upgrade". So then you find out the new Win7 64 bit doesn't run your old applications. That's OK, they have an XP mode (yeah, going back not one but TWO versions to an OS that actually works!). But wait, you can't run the XP mode unless you pay for another "upgrade" because your version doesn't allow it. Even though the only reason you would even want to run an older OS is to get your computer to work because the new OS doesn't work, they want to steal even more from you. No way, can't do that. So maybe I will load the operating system from my old computer onto the new one, so I can use the old OS that works, with the new computer with larger RAM and bigger screeen. Wait...you will have to buy a new license for that because you can't transfer the OEM license to a new computer, it is locked to the old one. And all I wanted was for my old software to run on a faster computer with a bigger screen. You just can't get there from here with MS no matter how you try. Don't worry the newer better Win8 will solve all the problems....right! So you tell me...are they ethical?

PCcritic
PCcritic

Actually, I suspect that Microsoft is one of the most sued, and convicted, companies in the world. Beyond that, it seems to delight in introducing incompatibilities in its product upgrades, so requiring users to purchase software upgrades merely to remain compatible with others rather than to get necessary new features. Also, it got its billions, or hundreds of billions, of dollars by seriously overcharging for its software. It could do much better.

Zolar
Zolar

If Microsoft was truly ethical they would prevent access to the registry and sensitive components of the operating system by all outside connections and all add on software. They would sandbox internet exploder. They would lock the registry. They would use a USB Flash Drive like an ignition key for a car. No key - no access. Now that would be in the best interest of everyone and quite ethical. Lose your key and call from the phone number they have on file when you register, get a new flash key in the mail in a day or two. Can't wait that long? Then don't be a dummy and lose the key in the first place. Sell replacement keys for $20 + Shipping.

Zolar
Zolar

It is unethical for ANY company to rape the consumer like they do. Microsoft is fully behind all copyright 'protections'. When Microsoft helps design a system that has to 'ask' for permission to download or copy something then they are unethical. It is NONE of Microsoft's business what people do as long as it doesn't involve stealing Microsoft products. Ever hear of the term 'fair use'? Everything on the internet is fair use without exception. It is unethical for Microsoft to charge $200 for Win7 Ultimate and only charge OEM's $50 for the exact same software. It doesn't warrant that much profit. It DOES show that Microsoft is being greedy beyond comprehension, just like oil companies are. Anyone remember the fiasco about Microsoft's genuine advantage? And just how is that ethical? They see everything you have on your computer if they wanted.

Buitremx
Buitremx

Let's talk, not about past transgresions, but about current issues. And let me mention something first: I make my living by supporting Microsoft customers, so I do know a little bit about this issues. I'll mention just a couple of situations to make my point: Microsoft wants to secure the computers against customers trying to change the Operating System, even if it was to install a different Windows version. Idem, Microsoft wants to lock out their customers from the ARM devices, so only Microsoft software will run on them. And all of this in the name of ... security? Sure. Of course, they could just program a more secure product, but that's still not going to happen yet. I know that these issues are still in the air. But this are future situations, so I'm not trying to judge Microsoft from past business pratices. Actually, I'm not trying to judge Microsoft at all, since this issues will only allow me to keep making my daily living off them.

AttractBiz
AttractBiz

My final opinion is still pending the outcome involving a "Special Extended Free Trial Offer" to transition from the old "OfficeLive" system to the new "Office365." Apparently , my update to the new system hit a "Technical Glitch," which is still unresolved after more than one week. Until now, I have been pretty satisfied with Microsoft From Windows 95/Office 97 through the new Windows8 (Beta Test) and pretty much every update in between. As the old saying goes (hopefully): "This too shall pass . . . ."

cm1967
cm1967

Let me guess....Everyone that thinks MS is now an ethical company use MS products and software, right? If MS truly wants to be considered an ethical company, at least in my book, they need to stop spreading lies, they need to stop launching ridiculous lawsuits and they need to stop spending their billions of dollars putting the "small guy" out of business.

andrew232006
andrew232006

They continue to reap the benefits of their past deeds. So I will continue to judge Microsoft on them.

rsmall_gensco
rsmall_gensco

Based on what's happened even in the recent past, it's hardly inconceivable that The Ethisphere Institute is funded by MS. Even if it's not, how many times in the past couple of years alone have we read about studies that proved MS superiority and oh by the way, the company that made the study did so with funding provided by MS? I have no doubt they are much improved compared to years gone by. (The preceding sentence is also known as 'damning with faint praise'.)

bharris
bharris

...do we reward the accumulation of ill-gotten gains? I do see a refreshing turn around in Microsoft's handling of many things both technical and business related over the last few years, but they should never be allowed to completely shrug off their past and should consistently be held to higher standard BECAUSE those past transgressions were significantly responsible for their current perch in the industry. Just my opinion, of course, but I'm not deterred from it by this article in the least.

Kent Lion
Kent Lion

Notice that the article says "...one of the world's MOST ethical...", so it doesn't say much about Microsoft or about the state of ethics in today's business world. A (self-styled) think-tank doesn't produce any of the value represented by the goods and services required to keep society alive and healthy; it just redistributes some of that value to itself, and perhaps helps companies and governments redistribute a lot of that value to themselves at the expense of the local and world economy. Judging from the hidden costs of owning MS Windows and Office, the hidden costs in wasted time of what Microsoft produces now far exceed any contribution those products make to the creation of real value; however, they're nothing compared to the visible and hidden costs of what all medical industries divert from the world economy. From that point-of-view, they may well be among the world's most ethical; but so what? Exceeding legal compliance minima says nothing if laws are unfair, full of loopholes, and non-existent; and by their actions, we know how important fairness and ethics are to lawmakers. Who asked The Ethisphere Institute to perform this study, what companies/industries were included in their study, where does their funding come from, and what definition of ethical did they use to rate those companies? The answers to these questions would probably give some perspective on their conclusions...

Puregoldj
Puregoldj

The author mentions that the Ethisphere Institute named MS one of the 145 most ethical companies, but there is nothing to back up the statement. For example: (1) What was this rating based on? How are they defining 'ethical'? What is MS doing to qualify as ethical? (2) the author seems to be saying let's just forgive and forget because MS made this list, but does he have any evidence that MS deserves to make such a list (he doesn't say so)? (3) Who are these folks at the Ethisphere Institute? Are they a truly independent, objective group, or do they tend to have biases or represent a particular point of view? Is this a group we should have confidence in? In short, if you are going to mention something like this, either back it up or criticize it. Should we or should we not see this as something meraningful?? Just saying that it happened, so maybe we should forgive MS for past misdeeds is rather meaningless.

icsflorida
icsflorida

Reminds me of the question - "Amongst thieves, who is the most ethical?"

delimitaciones
delimitaciones

Microsoft has more than a history of really bad practices, it became their standard of behavior and it's not completely in the past, it only changed a bit, it's difficult to trace their actions because one of their ways is using proxy companies. Recently in the antitrust case filed by Novell, they tried to convince that the technology market should not be regulated because moves too fast (if that's not ethical at least is malicious) What about the OnLive vs TuCloud case: http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/03/ceo-dares-microsoft-to-sue-him-over-virtual-desktops-that-flout-licensing.ars?clicked=related_right or the standarization mining: http://opensourcebuzz.technetra.com/2008/04/03/ooxml-victory-taints-iso-credibility/ The CodePlex license taint: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/03/codeplex_licenses/ Their legendary tax evasion schemes: http://microsofttaxdodge.com/ http://microsofttaxdodge.com/2009/11/about-microsofts-nevada-tax-dodge.html http://boingboing.net/2010/02/14/broke-ass-washington.html And everybody loves philanthropic scams: http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/649 http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2459509 http://techrights.org/2012/02/06/taxpayer-trick-in-vietnam/ And Chinese fun... the same goes for Apple and many others (like Nike): http://www.pcworld.in/news/chinese-teen-labor-taints-microsoft Also their actions in the patent issue are just... well, judge by yourself: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/08/microsoft-trying-to-patent-technique-for-studying-evolution.ars http://www.editorsweblog.org/2006/11/30/microsoft-tries-to-patent-rss-feeds but not so malicious as IBM trying to patent the patent system or the "Eat healthy" policy Maybe Microsoft has changed, but hasn't changed too much, is a sort of absolutist company (like a dictator disguised with capitalism) and the company behavior is more pathological... but ??is not every other big company like that? ??even just a little? what about Apple (they're tracking users more than google).

clerk2stew
clerk2stew

I still think the one's that spent an extra $100.00 dollars to get Vista ultimate got screwed! Wow you will get lots of extras. What two, that wasn't worth it. They even said they dropped the ball on that one but they didn't make it right. I will never get ultimate in any version again.

KevinTye
KevinTye

In a news article in Linux Format Magazine, it was reported that Microsoft blocks Linux from ARM devices. Apparently they are not going to allow people to dual boot their ARM based PCs. Personally, I believe that a component of ethical behaviour is providing choice, and anything that takes away choice is in my book unethical. Just my opinion. KevinT

flotsam70
flotsam70

I like and use both Microsoft and Apple products. I tinker around under the hood more than the average user, and I don't believe for a second that Apple is somehow more innovative than Microsoft. Apple seems to have more momentum at the moment and sure, they make a lot of nice shiny stuff, but I run into problems with Apple products at about the same rate as I do with Microsoft products. I believe that for the foreseeable future, Apple will continue to play second fiddle in the enterprise space and for good reason. Microsoft's products allow enterprises to leverage their wetware: in well-run organizations, you will see fewer sysadmins per PC (because fewer are required) than in an all-Mac environment.

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

You supported your opinions well and quantified them! (Sure beats posting "M$ sux!" and calling it a day.)

kirk_augustin
kirk_augustin

The fact MS give schools free software is a marketing investment, not good ethics. And you are also wrong about Apple, because they give away far more to schools than MS. You just did not make the right connections. But you should not be using either. OpenSource is what schools should be using, because it not only is free, but can be totally understood, modified, and supported, and does not indoctrinate.

sboverie
sboverie

I did not have to buy anything extra to add XP Mode to my Win 7 /64 system.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Also, MS encourages apps to use the registry as opposed to writing files with configurations.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I suspected this list was dubious. The reason I thought we should discuss it was because I saw a press release and blog post from Microsoft patting themselves on the back for making the list. I don't think Microsoft is worse or better than any other corporation, but laying claim to award-winning ethics is a bit of a stretch.

doctorphibes53
doctorphibes53

I agree but I think it's more accurate to say what the medical industry (both pure medical and pharmaceutical), diverts from the "U.S." economy. What Americans pay for medical care and prescriptions far exceeds what the rest of the world pays for the exact same care (especially prescriptions and insurance coverage), by both American and foreign companies. We are horribly gouged by this industry (and our elected officials allow it, so, by saying "elected", I ultimately mean "we" as Americans allow ourselves to be gouged because we're apathetic, can't formulate our own opinions about candidates, toe the party line, or allow the Electoral College to choose for us ). In the hospital...$15.00 or more for 1 Tylenol tablet!!!!??? Come on!! Wake up America!!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

1. My name is Mark, you can refer to me by that name - it's okay. 2. I purposely made no attempt to explain or critique the list from Ehisphere because I am much more interested in what TechRepublic members have to say about it. I could give you my opinion, but when it comes to business technology and how it is deployed and works in the real world I defer to the members of TechRepublic. Asking about the origins of The Ethisphere Institute is an excellent question. It does make you wonder about their motivations.

nwallette
nwallette

What manner of sorcery is this?

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

I don't think you understood quite what I was saying. I am not Pro-Apple. (I used to be, but Apple does every evil thing I always hated M$ for.) Apple is not innovative. It was back in the Classic Mac OS days. I was using Mac OS 7.1 when my mother was using Windows 3.1. NO comparison. When windows 98 came out, it was good, but the Classic Mac OS already did everything 98 did. No innovation gold star for M$ there. Apple stopped innovating and started copying, but SJ did manage to improve everything he copied and made it shine. (I am not an SJ fanboi either. He was an arrogant jerk!) My comment at the end of my post about Apple was that Apple doesn't design by committee. It was SJ's way! M$ designs by committee. Vista might not have been the failure it was if one person had the final say over everything in it. I know 7 is basically Vista code, but they ironed the interface out so it isn't as big a PITA as Vista was. That is why 7 is a success while Vista was a flop. (And as an Admin, 7 is still a PITA to administer to. For the end user, it works well.) In the enterprise, Apple was trying to copy and catch up to M$. That is the same mistake M$ makes in other arenas. (I also tried to keep current with OS X, but I found it too frustrating, and stopped using it at home. I am all Windows now. [And I feel so dirty!]) The rest of the copying thing is just obvious. M$ didn't give a damn about a web browser until Netscape gained traction. Then they were willing to lose money to beat Netscape! Once they planted Netscape in the ground, they stopped caring about browsers..., until Firefox showed up, then they were developing them like gangbusters again! Bill Gates has admitted in interviews that he saw the Mac OS about to make DOS irrelevant, so he started creating Windows. For all the things Windows got right, it wouldn't exist if Gates hadn't seen the Mac OS while contracting with Apple to write software for the Mac OS. M$ has had several different document imaging platforms, (That I am aware of,) which were obviously attempts to dislodge the PDF platform. .Net was in response to Java. Silverlight was in response to Flash. Google created Desktop Search, and now we have M$ desktop search installed and running by default. Windows Live because of Google Docs. M$ Search has had how many different names in a vain attempt to compete with Google search? Many of the interface and built in features of Win'XP were already in the Classic Mac OS years before XP. (By that time Apple was also copying some of the features in XP, so it was a wash in terms of the Fanboi wars.) M$ tried to copy AOL back in the day, tried to copy Google, tried to copy Adobe, and tried to copy anyone and everyone else in an attempt to be the only platform out there. They cannot innovate if they are copying. That strategy was very successful in combination with their cutthroat business practices. Now that they are less cutthroat, they are not as successful. Copying and buying out small companies is not enough. I am not suggesting they go back to being as cutthroat as they were before. I am suggesting they stop copying and start innovating!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

You didn't have a Home version but a Pro or Ultimate which are far more expensive to buy than the Home Version which comes preloaded on most new systems. M$ has conned the System Makers to load 7 Home and then when you buy your new computer you pay for the version of 7 that you need and Office when you realize that what came preinstalled was nothing more than a Trial and the the salesperson misled you yet again. Col

tech
tech

Let me make sure I have this right. You authored an article citing a list you suspected was dubious. You deliberately did not do any research to prove or disprove what you suspected. And you don't think Microsoft is better or worse than any other company. Did I understand that correctly? So what was the point then? Troll?? I mean if you are going to write something shouldn't you either be providing facts i.e. "Reporting" which includes verifying sources..., or providing opinion i.e. "Editorializing"? Otherwise, what exactly is the point?

jlippens
jlippens

That's how we ended up with Obamacare...his way of trying to "fix" the problem. Note that I have not said this is bad or good, so keep politics out of it! Back to MS.....

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The point was to find out what you and all the other TechRepublic members thought of the story and to see how the poll turns out. If I give you my opinion up front, the discussion becomes about me and not about the story.