Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Feb 2010 20:48 UTC
Microsoft Now this is something you don't read every day. Dick Brass, vice president at Microsoft from 1997 to 2004, has written an article for The New York Times' Op-Ed section, detailing the flaws in Microsoft's corporate culture, and how they've severely affected the company in a negative way. Telling, and painful. And, in a way, very sad. Update: Microsoft responds. "For Microsoft, it is not sufficient to simply have a good idea, or a great idea, or even a cool idea. We measure our work by its broad impact."
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RE: 10 years of stagnation.
by isaba on Thu 4th Feb 2010 22:17 UTC in reply to "10 years of stagnation."
isaba
Member since:
2006-12-30

In his view, software goes from being a specialized product, to a commodity, to being free over it's lifetime. To me, he successfully argued that not only is that the case for individual products, but for that type of product as a whole, i.e. operating systems and office suit[e]s.


That's it. That's the big big problem ahead for MS.

Or they might wake up and shape up... either way.
My suspicion is they are shaping up. They already have built a lot of hardware. They're heavily investing in hosted solutions...


Surely they're trying, but here their problem with hosted solutions is something they did not have with OS and Office: competition.

In short, from a strategical point of view, as a business they face two formidable forces they -mostly- didn't have for decades: open source and competition. The future looks much more interesting than the past...

Edited 2010-02-04 22:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Office didn't have competition?
by MollyC on Fri 5th Feb 2010 02:35 in reply to "RE: 10 years of stagnation."
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I seem to remember WordPerfect, Lotus, and Ashton Tate/Borland dominating the word processor, spreadsheet, and database markets, respectively. And I recall WordPerfect and Lotus selling Wordperfect and 123 for the same price that Microsoft began selling entire integrated suites. And yet, according to reviews, Microsoft's spreadsheet and word processor were best of breed, despite being at a much lower price. Microsoft out-competed Lotus and WordPerfect, fair and square, and it's sour grapes to pretend that no competition ever existed.

Reply Parent Score: 3

isaba Member since:
2006-12-30

Sorry, no sour grapes here. And yes of course they did have competition at first, and MS did very well indeed. I remember the coexistence of Lotus 123 and Excel in my Mac and my PC, same with WP and Word...but it did not last long IMO. They had great products and they do have great products now, but that does not change the fact that they have remained alone at the top for many many years, that is a de facto 'no competition'(monopoly), right?

Edited 2010-02-05 12:04 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I seem to remember WordPerfect, Lotus, and Ashton Tate/Borland dominating the word processor, spreadsheet, and database markets, respectively. And I recall WordPerfect and Lotus selling Wordperfect and 123 for the same price that Microsoft began selling entire integrated suites. And yet, according to reviews, Microsoft's spreadsheet and word processor were best of breed, despite being at a much lower price. Microsoft out-competed Lotus and WordPerfect, fair and square, and it's sour grapes to pretend that no competition ever existed.


People at companies change and companies change. When they had real competition they worried about, Microsoft Corp was a different beast.
I quote(translated) one of the sales guys at my local Microsoft Office: "We don't care what software you use, as long as it is being runs on Windows."

Reply Parent Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I seem to remember WordPerfect, Lotus, and Ashton Tate/Borland dominating the word processor, spreadsheet, and database markets, respectively. And I recall WordPerfect and Lotus selling Wordperfect and 123 for the same price that Microsoft began selling entire integrated suites. And yet, according to reviews, Microsoft's spreadsheet and word processor were best of breed, despite being at a much lower price. Microsoft out-competed Lotus and WordPerfect, fair and square, and it's sour grapes to pretend that no competition ever existed.


MS Word and MS Excel were never "best of breed", and have always lacked in functionality compared to WordPerfect, Lotus WordPro, Quattro Pro, and Lotus 1-2-3.

The only thing that MS Word/Excel did better than the rest was to have a 32-bit Windows 95 version available first. Lotus and WordPerfect dropped the ball, there, not having true 32-bit versions available almost until XP was released.

WordPerfect 2000 (9) is still miles ahead of MS Word 2007. Lotus WordPro (forget the version number, I think it was part of SmartSuite 97), being a 16-bit Windows 3.x app, is still miles ahead of MS Word 2007.

The only thing that gives Office an edge over the competitors is file format lock-in that happened back in the Windows 3.1/Windows 95/Windows 98 era.

Maybe for simple documents, Word is okay. But go beyond 10 pages, add in styles, sections, ToC, footnotes, and so forth, and Word becomes an unusable mess.

Same for spreadsheets over a couple of hunder rows in length, with dozens of links between sheets and tabs.

Office may have "won", but it most definitely was not due to better implementations, better features, or being "best of breed".

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: 10 years of stagnation.
by gustl on Fri 5th Feb 2010 21:01 in reply to "RE: 10 years of stagnation."
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

Microsoft lives with it's Office Product, because of two reasons:

1) It is a good product, fast, reliable and useful.

2) The main competitor, OpenOffice is not as fast and equaly reliable, with a slightly smaller feature set. It is also not as well known.

Microsoft will get into troubles, once OpenOffice gets installed onto every PC in the industry.
Small companies will start using OpenOffice, and carry it towards bigger and bigger sizes with their growth. And Microsoft has only two ways to hinder this development: Stay ahead on features, speed and reliability to justify a higher price, and try keeping the files from getting 100% convertability into OpenOffice.

We will see Microsoft making several changes to the Macro languages and to the file formats in the future, to make sure OpenOffice will have to lag behind in format conversion perfection.

Reply Parent Score: 2

morglum666 Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm a little confused by your logic.

>> Microsoft lives with it's Office Product, because of two reasons:

1) It is a good product, fast, reliable and useful.

2) The main competitor, OpenOffice is not as fast and equaly reliable, with a slightly smaller feature set. It is also not as well known.

Microsoft will get into troubles, once OpenOffice gets installed onto every PC in the industry.

<<


So every PC in the industry is going to be installed with the slower, less reliable, less featured office package?

That doesn't make sense at all. Its stunning the divide between people with IT experience and those who get their news from the Internet and assume that it's all real.


Morglum

Reply Parent Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Microsoft lives with it's Office Product, because of two reasons:

1) It is a good product, fast, reliable and useful.

2) The main competitor, OpenOffice is not as fast and equaly reliable, with a slightly smaller feature set. It is also not as well known.


In my experience MS Office is much less reliable than OpenOffice*. And usefulness is a deeply subjective definition. Though Excel is the only tool that is worth to people that use it as a database.

* OpenOffice crashes less. In fact, since I write a lot of documents, I had to move to OpenOffice, because MS Word crashes just too often.

Reply Parent Score: 1