Home > Microsoft > How Microsoft plans to beat its rivals How Microsoft plans to beat its rivals Eugenia Loli 2005-05-12 Microsoft 43 Comments Microsoft is under attack by a bevy of competitors. But is the software giant really at its “most vulnerable moment in history”? In the second part of this BBC report they examine how Microsoft hopes to beat its rivals. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 43 Comments 2005-05-12 8:22 pm by exaggerating security holes, to the media, found on other platforms in order to point out how bad they are. Also, by pretending they want to get mushy with the Linux world. 2005-05-12 8:36 pm While millions of techies love other OS’s you will never get people like my wife to use it. They refuse to learn anything new. They also don’t like that the alt OS world doesn’t fully or offers no support for common applications. 2005-05-12 8:46 pm Quote: “They also don’t like that the alt OS world doesn’t fully or offers no support for common applications.” Common applications enough on Apple, BSD, Linux, … And support for commercial applications should come from people who develop them, not from the OS. 2005-05-12 8:46 pm They also don’t like that the alt OS world doesn’t fully or offers no support for common applications. While that is true, most of the people I know actually go to web forums for support with Office / XP / Other windows apps, and only very rarely contact the software creators. With regards to linux on the desktop, I have actually found these web forums to be a kinder, more helpful place. The only problem with support comes at the corporate level – the number of vendors, and the price, is a limiting factor to adoption. 2005-05-12 8:57 pm Of course, Microsoft was more vunerable very early in its history. For instance, when IBM first approached them to make DOS, Microsoft sent IBM to Digital Research. 2005-05-12 8:59 pm Some OSS projects have good documentation. Many do not however, and that is where commercial applications shine. Most user-relevant information can easily be found. Sure, you could find technical info for many OSS programs, but for an end-user, who cares? 2005-05-12 9:06 pm Maybe you should try installing linux running XPde (http://www.xpde.com/shots.php) I doubt she’d even notice is was a different environment. 2005-05-12 9:18 pm We all know about Microsoft’s strategy of ‘extending’ the ‘commodity protocols’ on which open source projects depend, as a way of denying open source an entry into the market: http://www.opensource.org/halloween/ 2005-05-12 9:40 pm Open source software has become an excellent option for me. Microsoft Office 2003 Student is about $230 Canadian. Windows XP is bundled on most systems but we pay for it too. Commercial software companies are all about getting money from their users. That’s the capitalist system. Open source is low cost in comparisen. A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for students is $25 US. I’m getting a polished OS with all the office software I need for that price. When version 5 comes out I will pay the same price. I can do everything I want with it and it meets all my needs. It’s a no brainer for me. 2005-05-12 10:08 pm Microsoft will do nothing different. They will continue their strongarm tactics and continue to innovate the only thing they’ve ever innovated: monopoly. 2005-05-12 10:21 pm I guess Microsoft is starting their PR bliz. Microsoft isn’t under attack. That’s a corporate strategy designed in a pathetic attempt to rally the troops. Microsoft’s bread & butter are Office and Windows. They sell billions of dollars of it every year, and have for a ridiculously long time. Everything else is a sideline. Even their server division is pathetic compared to Office and Windows. The reason they get into other things is boredom. It’s boring being a monopoly. It’s hard to get smart people to work for you when you’re a monopoly. It’s hard to make your products better when you have no competition. Most importantly, it’s hard to motivate your workers when their jobs are basically pointless. Example: Office 2009 would sell ridiculous amounts of copies, even if nothing changed between it and Office 2003. If they fired every Office engineer now and just changed the label and graphics, it would still sell a ridiculous amount of copies. That’s how it is in the world of a Monopoly. Microsoft just isn’t interesting. They’re desperately trying to change that because the tech industry is driven by drama and the next big thing. But for Microsoft there is no next big thing. There’s just Office and Windows 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016. Oh boy. Heck, why bother to even make a roadmap? 2005-05-12 10:42 pm > Open source software has become an excellent option for me. Microsoft Office 2003 Student is about $230 Canadian. So let me guess, you saved $230 and spent it right back buying iTunes and going to movies. Why did you not contribute $230 to Linus Torvalds or Mozilla?. Since to me it seems you’re into Open SOurce only because its free and not because it’s better than any other solution. 2005-05-12 10:46 pm …by joining them. 2005-05-12 10:47 pm If the folks at Microsoft think that Longhorn is so great and try forcing DRM crap on the rest of the world to make things even more cumbersome I fail to see a future for that company. Macs are “in” and Linux is becoming so popular lately that I can hardly imagine anyone wasting money on Longhorn. 2005-05-12 10:51 pm keep this in mind. Open Source knows no budget or timeframe, it just is. Powered by the desire of the developers to solve a problem and the requests of there users. The code exists because the problem and the people. Microsoft has a bottum line, which is money. Going to market, making the profit, keeping the stockmarket shares up. Always expanding. Two different beasts. 2005-05-12 10:53 pm Nowadays Linux is so easy to install and to use that Microsoft has plenty of reason to be concerned. Even my grandmother and my eight year old niece became used to Linux within a couple of days. I installed Gentoo for my niece and she already know how to “emerge” now software. 2005-05-12 11:18 pm While millions of techies love other OS’s you will never get people like my wife to use it. They refuse to learn anything new. They also don’t like that the alt OS world doesn’t fully or offers no support for common applications. I guess you think that these other OSes are Linux or MacOS X, but they are probably not the biggest problem of Microsoft, even if the probably will manage to get some small market share at the expence of Microsoft. I would be surprised if they get more than 30-40% in the next 5-10 years leving Microsoft with more than half of the Market. At worst free software may force Microsoft to lower their prices or even give away windows and MS-office for free, and switch to a service based business model. This should be no problem for Microsoft. After all, isn’t that what .net is all about. The real problem for Microsoft is their allready installed user base. As you say many users refuse to learn anything new, especially if the new things just is a new way to do the same thing that they allready can do. If Microsoft introduces new features, people will not use it as they don’t want to learn new things. On the other hand, if they don’t change why should people upgrade. Companies have just upgraded to XP, now they are having a hard to figure out how that upgrade actually made them any return of investment. This means that new version of windows will be a hard sell. 2005-05-12 11:19 pm “How Microsoft plans to beat its rivals…” …with a stick, while they sleep 😀 2005-05-12 11:33 pm the world is run by corporations like microsoft and others who also exist to better our lives and make alot of profits. everything we see,hear,touch and know all those experiences and knowledge comes from corporations so they can make sure they have us in their hands so they can make alot money everyday. to make this long story short. the moral of the story is linux which i like alot have a greater chance of disappearing first before microsoft will, because corporations like microsoft is a memeber of the “household brands”, like crest, colgate toothpaste,etc that everybody uses for everyday life. linux is different only I.T., programmers, networking experts knows about linux, in other words basicly IT professionals have heard about linux, but very few regular folks have heard about linux. so to me sounds like microsoft have been in the server business way before linux has and know it sees a bigger market bigger then servers hidden in the office somewhere. now microsoft wants to be in every single person devices and lifestyle. linux is bearly picking up the pace in the server market, microsoft has been there done that. 2005-05-13 12:53 am “Linux is barely picking up the pace in the server market, microsoft has been there done that.” 70% of the web belongs to OSS… In business it comes down to the bottom line. When you can install and run a fully featured and equipped OS with the same functionality for free rather than pay $450 per installation for the office suite and $150 per installation of the OS, you install the free OS with the same functionality and save the licensing costs. Business models and name brands do not matter in shareholder’s meetings, only the bottom line. 2005-05-13 1:09 am Microsoft is competing in a ‘Global MarketPlace’ so it is in their best interest to be as competive as they can be. You can not fault a company for being good at what they do. Bill Gates, is really a business expert, he knows how to market his product and sell it. Kudo’s to MS for making money in the current market conditions. HD 2005-05-13 1:23 am MS are only good at marketing if you think marketing and coersion are interchangeable terms. 2005-05-13 1:28 am Microsoft might be good at “marketing”(hyping) and selling(monopolistic strongarming vendors) their products, however, their products are mediocre. Times have changed and Linux has become a serious and strong contender that is not suffering all the Windows-specific problems we know all too well. Our department has already transitioned to Linux and things have become much less troublesome. Most of us like the Gnome desktop and the various applications much more. 2005-05-13 2:19 am If you want to know how they should compete, they shouldn’t seek to dominate others. Only be attempting to be the best YOU can be, can you compete. that’s all anyone ever wanted. to play in the game. 2005-05-13 2:29 am So let me guess, you saved $230 and spent it right back buying iTunes and going to movies. Why did you not contribute $230 to Linus Torvalds or Mozilla?. Since to me it seems you’re into open source only because its free and not because it’s better than any other solution. Umm, RHEL 4 was not free. It cost $25 US (Academic version). I am supporting open source. That money went to Red Hat which pays developers to improve open source software. These improvements then benefit all distributions. Great model. Very moral. I chose to use open source because it is way cheaper. I’m not a dumb ass. 2005-05-13 3:16 am Personally, I think that Microsoft’s savior is the portable market. It sounds like Microsoft is doing well with PDAs/smartphones, and if I were interested in either one I might buy a MS Mobile product. But what I’m most interested in, and where I think they can keep Open Source at bay, is with laptops. Right now I’m typing this on an HP Compaq NC8000, and I wish I could be running some Linux distro. However, the IR port I think has been supported in only the most recent kernels, and as far as I know (from reading tuxmobil.org), there are no OS drivers for its integrated SD card reader. O2Micro has literally said (I e-mailed to ask) that releasing Linux drivers for the SD card reader is on the bottom of their list of things to do. As long as laptop makers keep adding exotic hardware, Microsoft will have a leg up. 2005-05-13 3:27 am What is, “Crush them under their heel by giving it away until the market collapses.”, Alex? 2005-05-13 6:07 am What is, “Crush them under their heel by giving it away until the market collapses? Port even more OSS apps to win32.While winfs still is vapor ware, maybe Beagle would run even better on windows also.The more similar apps that run on both propietary and OSS platforms the less the “burden” becomes to eventually switch sides. 2005-05-13 7:28 am –article Longhorn works, explains Microsoft UK boss Alistair Baker, because “security needs to be part of the design, not a bolt-on”. –/article Right, I guess unix was not around at the time the started they os and security was not a part of unix design, hell no. Why take into account concepts that have been proven to work, it’s much more fun to invent something that does not –article continues It took Microsoft a long time to discover this. –/article continues I guess they must have been blind… every cs student is taught that to make a good program security must be part of design… yes I agree its damn hard to write secure programs, but its not like MS employ undergraduates that never made it… oh wait, there is Bill –article continues The design and defaults for Microsoft’s older software seem to have been written for a kinder, gentler age – without hackers, internet connections or computer viruses. –/article continues Assumptions, assumptions…. are the mother of all f…ups. Never assume, or if you have to, assume the worst. just my 0.02 cents 2005-05-13 7:37 am Making bug free softwate ? 2005-05-13 8:37 am 70% of the web belongs to OSS… I’m glad to see that OSS has a huge market in the server area. I’m not going to say bad things about OSS. But I think OSS needs to expand out to other markets then mostly being in the server area to really survive microsoft in other markets. business models and brands do matter. toothbrush,pencil,soap,sony,car,blockbuster,couch. now which word grabs more you attention? 2005-05-13 8:40 am I don’t see an immediate threat to Microsoft. The company simply has far too much money to go away. They also have enough resources to try different markets. I think there will be room for lots of players. Linux will exist as long as there are people believing in the idea. Look at Amiga OS, which you practically have to beat to death before it goes away. And this is technology that has not seen its own harware in close to two decades. Linux will have its niche of the market, as will Apple. More and more people are beginning to appreciate these platforms as viable alternatives to Microsoft’s offerings. And don’t forget the Chinese who are developing their own system so as not to be dependent on Western technology. There’s a billion of them feisty buggers. That’s a big market. Someone will want a piece of that, whoever it is [plus the Triads of course ]. Of course Microsoft wants to keep selling Windows and Office, but they are already looking at scenarios where PCs won’t be the thing to have anymore. But you’ll still want/need an office suite, whichever form it takes. And Microsoft will keep a close eye on the market and across the gulf of space, intellects vast, and cool, and unsympathetic regarded our planet with envious eyes… and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us. [to quote War of the Worlds]. The idea is to have a lot of fun while all these shenanigans are playing. There’s not a whole hell of a lot of point to anything if you don’t. 2005-05-13 12:39 pm No matter what some people say, Linux IS ready for the desktop. It’s just the users who have to be flexible and willing to learn. I started switching from Windows to Linux 7 years ago, and I still have a partition with the original Win 98 on my computer. Nowadays it’s much easier, most people will find maybe one or two programs they cannot substitute on Linux. Never mind, install Linux, do email, browsing, office, music stuff, private bookkeeping, DVD watching, programming, picture collecting, picture manipulation and some other stuff on Linux, and tasks where you really don’t find a substitute you can still do a Windows boot for. For all you “private sysadmins” i have a suggestion: Refuse to install pirated software on your mom’s (brothers, sisters, friends, whatever …) desktop. Tell them it is OK to download programs, but only if the license allowes it. If they want to have software administered by you don’t let them make you do something illegal, make them BUY the software. Request them to read the EULAs and push the “I agree” button. Because it is their computer, they have to read the contract they sign. Make sure they have a central folder (in paper) next to the computer where all the license certificates have to go. Let them look at a KNOPPIX desktop, show the GPL to them, explain that it is NOT necessary to keep any license certificates around for free software, that purchasing is cheap and downloading costs nothing, that you can use the distribution you bought on their computers too WITHOUT VIOLATING LAW. Tell them that dual-boot is no problem, so they can go back to windows any time. Install a Linux distro, walk them trough the differences, set up the modem and email connections, show them the browser, show them all alternative programs for one task, ask what they want to use (maybe make some suggestions), remove all alternatives from the menu bar. Try to configure a consistent desktop. If you find out that they don’t use multiple virtual desktops, reduce the number to one. This hand holding takes 2-3 weeks but then these friends of yours will really feel comfortable with the new desktop. Some of them will stay with windows, let them, don’t FORCE them to switch, however refuse to help them with someting pirated. 2005-05-13 2:16 pm How could I convince friends of Linux… … if I can’t even get it to install correctly? … if they can’t run the programs they want (with no Linux alternatives) on it? … if it doesn’t solve any of their unsolved problems? … if it never did them any harm to agree even to the most insane EULA? … if they don’t care about copyright law? This isn’t meant as flaming! If you convince me that under these assumptions, Linux is still better than Windows, I will start convincing my friends of it today. However, one thing should still be said: > don’t FORCE them to switch, however refuse to help them > with someting pirated. If you think that I value EULAs, copyright law, or even law in general, higher than friendship, then you’re seriously braindead. 2005-05-13 2:31 pm The article just reiterates what Chairman Bill Gates wants us to hear. But the reality is that malware, viruses and trojans are everywhere in MS land. Most folks are getting sick of it and have started to explore other options. I think this is the beginning of the end for Windows but not necessarily MS. 2005-05-13 2:56 pm I definitely agree with you. Linux IS ready for the desktop. I do not mean there is no difficulty in the migration to Linux. I am not saying that Linux is the system for all of you. Open source for me is all about choice. The choice and the right to use a different software tool to do the same things. I also started to use Linux about 7 years ago and I saw a huge progression in the easiness of use in all this time. And this evolution has not finished yet. And as you said, you can install Linux with a dual boot, so they are free to use Linux when they want and learn something new. And they can boot at anytime in Windows if they need to use a software exclusively. Linux is not a solution for everything, but having the two OS on a computer is great. You can discover and use the best of both if you’re somewhat curious. And it is important to help the new users of Linux, to hold their hand in a whole new world please others stop making false comparisons and trolls of a sexual matter. 2005-05-13 4:00 pm I’ve just switch to mac and tiger. For good. It’s a dream come true. OSX is ten times better than xp. 2005-05-13 6:35 pm i dont give a crap about copyright law, it the last thirty years it has become so perverted that at this point it is nothing but a self-parody. however, i value my sense of ethics very strongly, and there isnt too much in this world that would make me break it. youre right though, the vast majority of north america has no sense of honor, and would be more then happy to screw over their neighbour if it will benefit them, and if they dont think they will be caught. 2005-05-13 9:35 pm I suppose Microsoft can try. Can’t fault them for trying, hehe. Still amazes me how a 500-pound gorilla thinks it can squeeze into the tiny underdog suit and play victim. –EyeAm “If at first you don’t succeed…keep sucking.” 2005-05-13 10:50 pm –article continues The design and defaults for Microsoft’s older software seem to have been written for a kinder, gentler age – without hackers, internet connections or computer viruses. –/article continues There was plenty of hackage in the 80’s, every kid with a modem may have been just war dialing for broken connects but there was a lot of ’em and it cost a lot of companies a lot of change and downtime. There were trojan filled bbs’s and viruses before they even admitted TSR’s were possible. The hacker pre-dates the computer. You can lead a user to linux but you can’t make them think. Any argument against it can be merely summed up as, “it aint windows”. There is no point in explaining it, it’s a big picture thing, some never will get it. Some would prefer to live under a cruel dictator with clean water, sanitation and electricity then free in the dark with an open sewer running in front of their bombed out hut. 2005-05-14 7:40 pm >“”i value my sense of ethics very strongly, and there isnt too much in this world that would make me break it.” You never bought anything made in China? 2005-05-14 7:51 pm > youre right though, the vast majority of north america has > no sense of honor, and would be more then happy to screw > over their neighbour if it will benefit them, and if they > dont think they will be caught. For most people illegal copying of music/software/whatever is something very different from srewing over their neighbour. In fact, most of these copies are made for friends, colleagues, relatives, or neighbours. 2005-05-15 11:08 am By giving away free copies of upcoming Windows code name longhorn to everybody.