Home > Microsoft > Software’s Gentler Giant? Software’s Gentler Giant? Eugenia Loli 2003-09-30 Microsoft 48 Comments Microsoft is used to winning; Now CEO Steve Ballmer is trying to win some friends. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 48 Comments 2003-09-30 6:27 pm Anonymous I seriously doubt they can brighten their tainted reputation. On the one hand, most things they do or want to do are looked down and will be searched for a hidden profit, on the other hand, they give plenty of reasons for that. Just think of things like the BSA, Palladium (or whatever it is named now), DRM etc. Can you get the unease of customers and businesses away if you just smile over issues like that? A poison pill if a poison pill, no matter if you give it with extra sugar or without. Or does he want to stop all of those projects and organisations? I for one have serious doubts he’ll be able to pull that of. Assuming that this isn’t a marketing balloon again (just think of the infamous trustworthy computing). Please excuse grammar-errors, etc, as I am quite tired right now and English is not my first language anyway. 2003-09-30 6:28 pm Anonymous The most important feature of the article was that MS is taking away stock options so they can have more income. The parts of the article that deal with the attitude changes (the so called attitude changes) leave me skeptical as ever. If they WANT to change, then they WILL. That’s all there is to it. Just CHANGE, and quit talking about it. From the many years of events and evidences regarding the behaviors and attitudes of people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Steve Balmer, it is quite clear that these are people with great egos, little patience and a desire to have things the way THEY want them. If they REALLY DO want to change their images, they need to do much more than make hopeful claims; they’ve got decades of bad behavior that they still will not admit to having participated in. If one believes they’ve need to change, it’s usually because they believe they were bad. I see no admission, no proof that they feel bad about anything they’ve done. 2003-09-30 6:41 pm Anonymous Ugh. I can’t stand him. Bill Gates was great as CEO. He was eloquent, polished, and knew how to twist his words to make good PR out of bad truths. Ballmer is far too blunt, speaks poorly, and just gives the impression that he isn’t the brightest crayon in the box… 2003-09-30 6:55 pm Anonymous Can anyone tell me why they make it so hard to enter “their” webb site? I have got to sign up just to read an artical (it wouldn’t let me sign up anyway). 2003-09-30 7:36 pm Anonymous … a lot of spin companies are going to make a fortune soon! The usual Microsoft principal – “Don’t change who we are, pay people to change their perception of who we are”. 2003-09-30 8:14 pm Anonymous Who needs enemies ? Seriously, what would make me happy is to get someone from MS on the phone that could adequately explain to me why the hell they butchered the Intellipoint software with version 5.0. 2003-09-30 8:28 pm Anonymous Good point Now download the 180-day test version of Windows Server 2003. They are improving at more than just shipping press releases. 2003-09-30 8:43 pm Anonymous Is too late, no one wants them around, they have abused everyone on their way. As far as I’m concerned, all I want from there is to disapear. That’s the only way that we can see innovation again. 2003-09-30 8:53 pm Anonymous Where is the Eiffel Tower ? Dah ! In front of the Paris Casino in Las Vegas !!! 2003-09-30 10:17 pm Anonymous Please don’t link to registration sites. This is like Slashdot constantly linking to the NY Times. I don’t read those either. 2003-09-30 10:26 pm Anonymous Why is it too late? Because they have a majority share of the desktop OS market? Because they have a large portion of the SMB server market? Isn’t it best to change the direction of a company, before it loses market share? Who have they abused? Certainly not me. I started out using a TRS-80 Model I that used a cassette deck for offline storage. Technology has only gotten better since then and Microsoft has been a big part of that advancement. Maybe there have been other companies that have been more innovative, but they haven’t been able to get me these innovations at a price that I could have afforded. GNULinux is fine. I have installed 3-4 different distros. I even used to have a partion devoted to Coherent386. But GNULinux breaks down at the application level. Too many apps are perpetually in beta or alpha. I do recognize the fact though that GNU/Linux is pushing Microsoft to be a better company and probably Steve Ballmer to be a better person and CEO. 2003-09-30 11:09 pm Anonymous “GNULinux is fine. I have installed 3-4 different distros. I even used to have a partion devoted to Coherent386. But GNULinux breaks down at the application level. Too many apps are perpetually in beta or alpha.” You do realize that “Beta” and “alpha” are just labels, don’t you? Do you realize that most of the software on windows, if anyone was honest with themselves, would be included in the “beta” category? Heck, 2000 and XP are beta, that is why they need SP1, SP2, SP3…. 2003-10-01 12:23 am Anonymous Actually I was refering to the feel and usability of GNU/Linux apps. But ones that have been labeled beta or alpha have been labeled that way by the programmers, so if they feel that way about thier own app, who am I to argue. 2003-10-01 12:50 am Anonymous Ha. Well if its beta or alpha, atleast you know the developer has or in an unfortunate case, had the intention of adding new and better features. If something is alpha makes you not want to use linux it just a shame. As for the feel of beta apps…I have no clue what you are talking about. I really liked windows until I heard of linux and gave it a try. It was more responsive, stable, the apps are much more “to the point” without bloat, it just does what its supposed to do and most are laid out nicely. Sorry they all don’t have the same look, but KDE and Gnome are definately getting close. Please. 2003-10-01 1:02 am Anonymous Please elaborate “on to the point”. One man’s bloat is another man’s feature. To paraphrase somebody. I argee that GNU/Linux is improving. I am glad. I think Microsoft will perform better with the added competition. 2003-10-01 1:43 am Anonymous People just feel they cannot switch. They feel they have to buy windows And many of them do, with lots invested in x86 hardware and no viable x86 OS with the same or remotely equivalent universe of apps. Because of the lack of competition, MS makes 80 to 85 percent proft AFTER expenses on Office and Windows. In a competiive market, such a return WOULD NEVER EXIST. New entrants would come in a bid things down. There’s only one way for MS to “win” real friends. Use open standards for all file formats and communication protocols, so that competition can exist and their serfs (I mean customers) get their freedom and can actually choose from among suppliers for their OS and Office apps. Stop the lockin, aspire to be the best among several. Trying to be the only – so you rape everyone – no amount of PR bullshit is going to overcome that. 2003-10-01 1:55 am Anonymous “to the point” That just means that their programs are no fuss, you don’t have all of these features which really are not needed. If its a cd burner. That’s what it does, no bloat. Many windows programs have too much, they install more than what YOU want, even if you don’t want them to. Thats basically what i meant. Thats all. 2003-10-01 2:06 am Anonymous But if people are buying this bloat it must be full of features that they want. The marketplace speaks for what the consumer wants. That is basic economics. 2003-10-01 2:25 am Anonymous This situation (MS dominance) is in no way related to “what the consumer wants.” The fact that you made such a statement tells me that you are either uninformed about the reality of the current state of the computer industry and MS’s role in it, or you are trying to reinforce the myths that MS is simply a well run company that sells what people really want and that people hate them only because they’re miserable whiners who have not accomplished anything on their own and need to bash those who are sucessful. (or you are a Microsoft “grass roots” member) 2003-10-01 2:44 am Anonymous Then tell me about your opinions on the situation of how Microsoft came to dominate. GNU/Linux has been available now for ten plus years, yet it still has at best 5 percent of the desktop market. In addition it is basically free. Why hasn’t a product that is free not been able to penetrate the marketplace more than this? How did MS force IBM to not bundle OS/2 with PC’s? Why isn’t IBM bundling Linux with PC’s now? What happened to VA-Linux? How did Microsoft stop them? 2003-10-01 2:57 am Anonymous I still use Windows but I would like to switch to Linux one day. For me the stopper is look and feel (nice fonts in Windows, and fast response of the GUI). 2003-10-01 2:59 am Anonymous On CD-burning software, I disagree. K3B has as much features as Windows software (and some, like directly burning eMovix discs, that you don’t have on a lot of Windows CD-burning software). Seriously, apps for Linux are getting as polished as those found on windows – and if you can’t find the equivalent for Linux, you can always run most Windows apps with Wine/Crossover Office. 2003-10-01 3:04 am Anonymous For me the stopper is look and feel (nice fonts in Windows, and fast response of the GUI). Actually, fonts look nicer in Linux than in Windows XP. Have a look at these screenshots of my desktop (warning: 1600×1200): http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/screenshot.html http://archie.homelinux.net:8080/screenshot2.html As far as GUI response is concerned, it really depends on you hardware, and if X is correctly configured. I can tell that with a Athlon 900 I honestly don’t see much difference. In any case, the new 2.6 kernel is supposed to make the desktop feel a lot snappier. It should be out of testing in a couple of months. My advice: play around with Linux on an older machine, just to get the hang of it, then install it on your main machine (dual-boot) when you’re confortable with it. 2003-10-01 3:11 am Anonymous Can you give some apps to look at that would replace MS Project and Visio Professional? I need lots of network vendor equipment symbols for the diagramming app. I also need the project app to sync with a some kind of app that will run on a Palm OS handheld. I have a Zarus 5500 and there is project app for it but I don’t think there is a corresponding Linux desktop app for it. It is too big for my pocket too so I only break it out for wireless site survey’s etc. 2003-10-01 3:26 am Anonymous Well, there’s MrProject, part of Gnome Office – there hasn’t been an update for months, but with the renewed interest in Gnome Office apps, it’s definitely a project to follow: http://mrproject.codefactory.se/ I imagine that Crossover Office will soon support MS Project. It already runs Visio 2000. 2003-10-01 3:43 am Anonymous Rayiner Hashem (IP: —.res.gatech.edu) – Posted on 2003-09-30 18:41:00 Bill Gates was great as CEO. He was eloquent, polished, and knew how to twist his words to make good PR out of bad truths. Ballmer is far too blunt, speaks poorly, and just gives the impression that he isn’t the brightest crayon in the box. Balmer used to be a senior excutive at Proctor and Gamble, there is a good reason why hardly anyone saw him at Proctor and Gamble. Fortunately for Balmer he works in the US because if he was a manager in New Zealand, the likelihood of him getting his lights smashed out by a group of pissed off employees would be fairly high. Lets put it this way, the last place I worked, a manager got a little too big for his boots. The next day he came back with a broken nose, a black eye and a very toned down approach to handling employees. Moral of the story, if you think that people are going to put up with a manager who belittles people for the sake of making themselves feel bigger, expect retribution. Bill Sykes (IP: —.75.225.241.Dial1.SaintLouis1.Level3.net) – Posted on 2003-10-01 02:44:39 Then tell me about your opinions on the situation of how Microsoft came to dominate. GNU/Linux has been available now for ten plus years, yet it still has at best 5 percent of the desktop market. In addition it is basically free. Why hasn’t a product that is free not been able to penetrate the marketplace more than this? Linux has only been a viable option for the desktop in the last 2-3 years. Even for me, after using it for 9 years realise the limitations. For marketshare to grow there needs to be growth in the corporate market. Once a large number of corporations move over, then businesses who work with that large corporation and rely on it as a large customer will then need to move. The employees in those customers then change over to be “compatible” with their workplace and so the ripple effect continues. How did MS force IBM to not bundle OS/2 with PC’s? Why isn’t IBM bundling Linux with PC’s now? What happened to VA-Linux? How did Microsoft stop them? Solaris can be preloaded with Dell x86 servers and very soon SUN Java Desktop System will be an option on Dell desktops. IBM offer Linux as an option on some of their desktops but their main push is Windows XP which kind of ironic considering the number of IBM/Linux fanboys crow about how great IBM is to Linux considering that they do sweet-bugger-all. 2003-10-01 3:46 am Anonymous MrProject looks interesting. If I get the time to install Redhat 9 or something else on one of these boxes I have setting around I will probably take a look. It is finding the time. The newest distro of any Linux I have laying around on CD is probably Redhat 7.0. Microsoft is just hard to beat on application integretion though. Has anyone here checked out the new Team Services 2? They are shipping it with all Server 2003 variants. It is going to make Office 2003 much more useful within a company. Anyone who thinks Microsoft can’t keep up is dreaming. 2003-10-01 4:12 am Anonymous Jace wrote: “The most important feature of the article was that MS is taking away stock options so they can have more income.” While I’m not a Microsoft fan, the above statement is not correct. MS replaced stock options with stock grants. The effect of this, under current accounting rules, is to reduce income, because stock grants are expensed when given and stock options are not. Regards, Mark Wilson 2003-10-01 4:35 am Anonymous if you think that people are going to put up with … [people] who belittles people for the sake of making themselves feel bigger, expect retribution. Perhaps you should also take that lesson to heart, Mr CooCooCaChoo. You have quite a short temper. 2003-10-01 5:13 am Anonymous How did MS force IBM to not bundle OS/2 with PC’s? Is this a serious question? MS ran around and made strong arm deals with every major and most minor PC manufacturers at the time. The deal that MS had with PC manufacturers at the time was set so that each manufacturer had to pay MS full price for Windows on every computer that went out the door. MS got their money whether or not Windows was on the machine. Even IBM had to pay MS for every machine they shipped. This caused computers with OS/2 to sell for $30 to $40 dollars more for the same hardware. By enforcing these contracts (that were shown to be illegal), MS forced IBM’s hand and there was no way to bundle OS/2 and sell it for the same profit margin and price as the MS products. 2003-10-01 9:02 am Anonymous But if people are buying this bloat it must be full of features that they want. The marketplace speaks for what the consumer wants. That is basic economics. So I suppose Windows and especially Office XP are full of features you/we want? And Office 2003 will have what we asked for? Yes, Microsoft is so big today because they somewhat provided what the customer wanted… but also because the customer doesn’t have any other viable choice. The OSS movement is the first real competitor they get that won’t be able to die that easily at their hands (they can’t bought it and they can’t hurt it financially). That movement still have a LOT of work to do, though. 2003-10-01 12:16 pm Anonymous Well then maybe I should have put it this way then: how did Microsoft force IBM to bundle Windows with it’s PC’s? They could have forgone Windows put OS/2 on all thier PC’s bundled Lotus Suite and undercut other manufactures, as IBM owned the hardware and the software. No one held a gun to thier head and made them do business with Microsoft. Why don’t they do it now with Linux? 2003-10-01 12:44 pm Anonymous Well then maybe I should have put it this way then: how did Microsoft force IBM to bundle Windows with it’s PC’s? They could have forgone Windows put OS/2 on all thier PC’s bundled Lotus Suite and undercut other manufactures, as IBM owned the hardware and the software. No one held a gun to thier head and made them do business with Microsoft. I don’t know where you have been in the last 15 years but until recently, you either loaded windows or nothing at all. If you wanted to offer Linux and Windows, you would lose your Windows licence. As a business, would you put in jepody your business and simply say to customers, “oh sorry, we would love to sell you a computer but unfortunately we can’t install Windows”. What will customers say? oh, thats alright, I’ll go too FooBah Computers Incorporated. You either offer Windows or don’t expect to last long in the computer industry. Now, in the last 18months to 2 years, OEM’s are no longer forced to install Windows or Microsoft software, they now can say, “Here is a computer with Windows XP and Corel Wordperfect Suite”. That has only happen just recently. As for IBM and OS/2, yes, they did offer EXCLUSIVELY PCs with OS/2, *THAT* was when they were going down hill and losing market share. Before Lou Gestner grabbed IBM by its bootstraps and gave it a bloody good shake. The reality, as I said previously, you either Offer Windows or be relegated as a niche vendor. 2003-10-01 1:28 pm Anonymous “Well then maybe I should have put it this way then: how did Microsoft force IBM to bundle Windows with it’s PC’s? They could have forgone Windows put OS/2 on all thier PC’s bundled Lotus Suite and undercut other manufactures, as IBM owned the hardware and the software. No one held a gun to thier head and made them do business with Microsoft.” Bill, you are either naive or trolling! Microsoft has been found guilty by a court of law in the USA in an anti-trust case. Not an opinion, but a fact. Microsoft put an economic gun to IBM’s head! “Why don’t they do it now with Linux?” Again, the anti-trust case. Because of the media exposure of Microsoft’s illegal backroom dealings, companies, like IBM, are feeling more free to sell other products again. 2003-10-01 6:42 pm Anonymous IBM still could have not put Windows on any of it’s PC’s. They could have sold OS/2 only PC’s. They could have bundled it with thier own apps. If it wasn’t economically feasible it was because there wasn’t enough demand for OS/2. Did you run OS/2 or Windows 3.1? IBM couldn’t compete with Microsoft in the small operating systems department it is as simple as that. They gave the market up. 2003-10-01 7:32 pm Anonymous I’m sorry you are convinced that the world is out to get you, but Bill Lamar is in fact my name, and the only name I post under. I guess it must make you feel better to think that only one person dislikes you. And yes, I know you have a short temper, that was the point I was making. It doesn’t matter why particularly, you are just a rude person. You should consider taking some anger management classes. 2003-10-01 7:32 pm Anonymous If it wasn’t economically feasible it was because there wasn’t enough demand for OS/2. Did you run OS/2 or Windows 3.1? Actually, you could run Win3.1 apps on OS/2. You were also supposed to be able to run Win95 apps – in fact, OS/2 was destined to be the successor to Windows. But MS double-crossed IBM and released Windows NT instead. Man, I remember those days…that sinking feeling when it was announced that OS/2 would not run Win95 apps…And I had just spent two days setting up LAN Server, too! (Man, that was a bitch to install!) 2003-10-01 8:13 pm Anonymous IBM still could have not put Windows on any of it’s PC’s. They could have sold OS/2 only PC’s. They could have bundled it with thier own apps. If it wasn’t economically feasible it was because there wasn’t enough demand for OS/2. Did you run OS/2 or Windows 3.1? IBM couldn’t compete with Microsoft in the small operating systems department it is as simple as that. They gave the market up. They could have but the OEM license that they had to obey was that for every computer sold (with windows or not) they would have to pay MS. That is the part that wasn’t feasible. But at that time, with the prices, not many people had computers. It was mainly businesses who upgraded to Windows 3.1 because their current workstations had MS DOS on them. But to one of your questions, I had a friend who ran OS 2 Warp for years, he went from DR DOS to OS 2 to Win2k, only started to use Windows a couple of years ago 2003-10-01 8:15 pm Anonymous IBM still could have not put Windows on any of it’s PC’s. They could have sold OS/2 only PC’s. They could have bundled it with thier own apps. Of course, and they could have lost even more money… They’re a business, remember. If it wasn’t economically feasible it was because there wasn’t enough demand for OS/2. Did you run OS/2 or Windows 3.1? IBM couldn’t compete with Microsoft in the small operating systems department it is as simple as that. They gave the market up. That’s a bit simple minded. Why weren’t they able to compete? There are many other reasons, including but not limited to some dodgy business tactics that lead MS to a trial some time ago… Then again, you just seem to ignore this argument, so I suppose it’s useless to discuss further. 2003-10-01 9:16 pm Anonymous I don’t believe in fundamental change in people over 40. Microsoft is Gates and Balmer and they are both over 40 with no extreme reason to change like life of death. 2003-10-01 9:24 pm Anonymous Please elaborate on these dodgy business practices as they relate to IBM and OS/2. I fully agree that Microsoft has done some unsavory and illegal things to help keep thier control over the desktop. I just think IBM had other options. They were in a unique position. OS/2 was a good OS. It was thiers and they had the hardware to go with it. Also how is Microsoft preventing IBM from bundling Linux with desktop PC’s now? What dodgy business practices are they using against IBM to stop them? 2003-10-01 9:45 pm Anonymous Very well researched: http://www.linuxandmain.com/features/os2retro.html I like this tidbit: “Though it seems obvious now, it was anything but clear to the computer world in 1992 just how powerful preloading would be as a marketing tool. The fact is, most people who own computers today are using whatever came on their machines. […] Inertia is a very powerful force, and there needs to be a very compelling reason before a person will go to the store and shell out a hundred bucks or more for the privilege of installing a new operating system that may not even run on his or her computer. IBM discovered this when its OS/2 marketing efforts — now aimed just a little at the small office and consumer — crashed into floor-to-ceiling preinstalled Windows. (In a delicious irony, Microsoft made the same discovery years later when it rolled out its long-awaited and long-overdue Windows 95, only to discover that people did not rush out to buy it. Were it not for preload agreements, Windows 95 might very well have been a nonstarter.)” 2003-10-01 10:05 pm Anonymous Exactly my point why didn’t IBM preload OS/2 on thier own computers? All thier computers. They should have been able to compete rather well that way. I think they were afraid to fail. I seem to remember the Win95 upgrade sold really well. I maybe wrong but it seemed like it was the Win 98 upgrade had rather lackluster performance. 2003-10-01 10:26 pm Anonymous If you read the paper, you’ll see that the reason IBM didn’t preload OS/2 was an internal struggle between the Hardware and Software divisions. I seem to remember the Win95 upgrade sold really well. Actually, Win95 was not an upgrade, but an entirely new OS. And it didn’t sell all that well at the beginning – people enjoyed 3.1 (or 3.11) and weren’t that keen to change. Fortunately for MS, Win95 came preloaded on new machines. If it hadn’t been for that fact, Win95 could have went the MS Bob way… 2003-10-01 10:30 pm Anonymous …speaking of Microsoft Bob, here’s a trip down memory lane: http://toastytech.com/guis/bob2.html Yeah, it’s off-topic, you can mod it down. But it just goes to show that “innovation” isn’t always synonymous with “good idea”… 2003-10-01 11:28 pm Anonymous http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=%2Fsupport%2… Sorry, you are wrong. Microsoft sold a product called Windows 95 Upgrade, at a cheaper price than the full version of Windows 95, for users upgrading from older versions of Windows. 2003-10-01 11:47 pm Anonymous Well, I misunderstood the original poster. I thought he meant that Win95 was in itself an upgrade to Windows 3.X. – like Win98 is an upgrade to Win95. You’re right that an “upgrade” version was sold, but it was mostly a marketing thing. That still doesn’t explain MS Bob… 2003-10-01 11:53 pm Anonymous Well the version I bought was an upgrade version, I am almost positive of this. It was way better than 3.11 WFW that I had been running. 3.11 was using coopertaive multi-tasking while 95 used premptive, just like Desqview did with DOS apps. 95 only brought down the house about half as much as 3.11 did. Of course Desqview was much better at multitasking DOS apps than either one.