Home > Windows > Windows plan underscores Microsoft struggle Windows plan underscores Microsoft struggle Eugenia Loli 2004-02-02 Windows 33 Comments A move by Microsoft to extend support for an older version of Windows underscores a new reality for the software giant: Convincing customers to upgrade is becoming much more difficult. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 33 Comments 2004-02-02 6:47 pm Goes without saying companies don’t spend money to correct items that happen to work. Just because there is an upgrade path available, doesn’t translate to a valid reason for doing so. I will grant you Windows 98 is far from the best desktop OS available, however for large companies keeping it is the lesser of the other evils. In the business world you don’t simply format, install Linux, and go on…. There is just a triffle more to it than that. 2004-02-02 7:13 pm Most people, and rightly so, treat their computers like information appliances and don’t get too into them. If it works, why spend $$ on features most people won’t ever use? Tons of people still run Win 95/98 or Mac OS 7/8/9 for that very reason. Upgrade? For what reason? 2004-02-02 7:39 pm “Upgrade? For what reason” @@%£$$@!*! Reason! Because, because, because its the latest thing. All shiny and new. With bells ‘n’ whistles ‘n’ stuff. Reason?!? Honestly Christopher. Pay attention. 2004-02-02 7:51 pm I know many people, mainly gamers, who moved back to Win98, simply because they ran better on the older OS. Many business clients still run Win98 on their workstations, as it runs their buisiness apps just fine, thanks, and they do not want to incur the cost involved in upgrading multiple workstations. As an aside, has anyone else noticed that in MS commercials, everyone in the ad is doing something other than actually working? Pehaps most businesses would rather their employess be doing something constructive, rather than dancing and gyrating. 2004-02-02 8:08 pm Haha! That seems to be Microsoft’s approach. Apple doesn’t seem to freak about about a rather large chunk of their users not upgrading (perhaps they should?). The only valid reason I can think of that would apply to most people is security, but then I’m often presented with “I got nothing no one wants” attitude. Heh. 2004-02-02 8:14 pm I /hate/ those darned MS commercials, their just lame! People acting like they just got handed a million bucks because “you got the new microsoft office!” The vast majority of the features of MS Office I have zero use for, and I use it every day at work. We just upgraded to Office 2003, since many users are now using that, and – one a not that old 1 ghz machine!!! – everythings freaking slower then Office XP. A 1 ghz machine? Now its sluggish? That can’t be right. I also hate how everthing gets moved around in every new version of Office, why? To f*ck with us and see if we’re paying attention? I support lots of users who use versions of Office ranging from 97 to 2003 and often the user themselves have no idea what version their running, having to walk them through something and they tell me “sure, 20003, thats what I have” when its really 2000 is a massive pain. Ugh. /rant over/ Honestly, so MS says OpenOffice only has as many features as Office 97 as if thats a handicap. It isn’t for me that the vast majority of the users I support. Why upgrade? If it works…. 2004-02-02 8:15 pm Why upgrade? Security and stability. Those are important for everyone. 2004-02-02 8:27 pm um, iirc, windows 3.1 hasn’t had any problems with the latest virii attacks and works over the past couple of years, and DOS wasn’t very prone to crashes. and office did almost everything i wanted it to do. maybe not-upgrading is the solution 2004-02-02 8:30 pm Thats true, I really don’t recall too many crashes with Win 3.x – imagine how shocked I was when Win 95 hit. Blue screens seemed like at least a weekly ordeal. DOS too, lacking memory protection naturally it could crash, but I really can’t recall it ever really happening. 2004-02-02 8:43 pm It works mor Macs. Many programs out for OS X will not work on 10.1, including Apple’s own Safari browser. Stop making things that work for it. Windows 98 is around 7 years old and OS 10.1 has only been around for 2 and they are getting away with it. 2004-02-02 8:45 pm Upgrading goes beyond OS’s, many people use older apps for the same reason – it works. I know people who still use Netscape 4.x for that very reason, their hardly worried about the latest Safari or any such. Vendors should stop supporting old apps after that many years, but users will continue to use ’em. 2004-02-02 8:49 pm I can understand why a home user might not want to upgrade, but a business still running Win 9x is insane. These companies would benefit greatly to an NT just to save on down time. 2004-02-02 8:51 pm that should read “benefit greatly from an upgrade to an NT” 2004-02-02 8:51 pm If you must use Windows as your business desktop, use 2K. 2004-02-02 8:52 pm The only reason I updated to Windows2000 back in 2001 was the stability issue. It was more stable than Windows 98 which came with my Dell in 2000 and it was bad. I have since stuck with Win2000 and have had no problems. Six months ago I installed another drive and installed Linux which until now was running on a separate computer for over 8 years. While Microsoft has the right to stop supporting an OS which is old, it’s really the consumer who makes the call. Like many of you I’ve seen many people running Win98 or even Win95 and don’t want to upgrade. In my case too when I decide to terminate my support for Windows I’m doing so in 2006 or 2007 when I’m going fully to Linux because of stability and security, nothing more. 2004-02-02 9:11 pm In the business world you don’t simply format, install Linux, and go on…. There is just a triffle more to it than that. That’s because in the business world you’re working with a bunch of idiots who can’t do such a thing. Its not like its difficult or anything. They just seem to have a hard time separating their data from their OS. Not our problem. 2004-02-02 9:21 pm If Terminal Services in Windows Servers was free (it requires TS-CAL licenses) people could reuse their old computers as graphical terminals to run the new applications on the new server. M$ could sell new aplications and new copies of Windows Servers. But no, Bill Gates is not interested in this idea. He wants people have fat clients and upgraded frequently. He bougth Terminal Services technology from Citrix to make it inviable (in $$ sense) to use… 2004-02-02 9:45 pm It’s far from a matter of “can’t”…. It’s a matter of common sense… You don’t just change the OS on 500 workstations because you “can”. If that was the case there wouldn’t a single copy of WIN9x in the entire business world. You seem to have the idea the IT department runs large corportions? FWIW: The IT department couldn’t be any farther down the corporate ladder if they were in the basement, and in more than a few places; thats exactly where they are. Before you begin to get all up in the air about a career in IT, do yourself a favor and study Business 101. 2004-02-02 10:10 pm Why upgrade? Security and stability. Those are important for everyone. In the few occasion I boot into windows, I use a Win98 OS. It is fully patched. One does not need to upgrade the OS to get security, and I have never been satisfied with the level of stability on any Windows OS. A while back, someone found a bug in a Windows OS, I’m not sure if it was 95 or 98. Apparently, the OS would crash after 58 days of continuous use. No one ever discovered the bug, as no Windows OS will run that long. 2004-02-02 10:16 pm after 58 days the system clock in windows rolls over. i remember that from senior design because we relied on the system clock for keeping track of time (it was time based presentation software). one of our issues was that if the system was on for 58 days and the clock rolled over, our software’s timing would also get off sync. i’ve never heard of windows crashing because of that, at my previous job we had an NT Server that would run just about forever without any problems. 2004-02-02 10:42 pm I agree with you, but I would also look for some creative licensing changes from MS. You have a good idea, and others have had the same thought. However,in this case it’s not just MS involved. Can you imagine how much OEM’s like Dell and Compaq/HP hate Terminal Services?(apart from selling a high-end server) It steals their hopes of convincing a shop to upgrade basic workstations simply due to age, and performance. TS also reduces a good deal of the security concerns with 9x systems. It’s a decent way to extend the life of the network; while preserving the existing infrastucture. Much of which tends to unravel a well polished sales presentation. It’s not just MS who wants you to upgrade your OS, it’s Dell, Compaq/HP, and others….FWIW: They all can go thru a very long sales presentation, without ever uttering “open source” as an option. Terminal services is less than perfect, but it makes a good deal of sense in SOME situations. Our users, support staff, and management all adapted quickly and thats the most important part. Our future workstation replacements will take the thin approach. Just when the entire world thought the business desktop market was going to vanish from the clutches of MS, here comes another wave of boot to LAN systems without a real need for a local desktop. I thought we threw out all those Wyse terminals years ago; and now here comes round two. 2004-02-02 11:20 pm Is software more like a car, a piece of furniture, and a TV? Or is it more like clothes? The average consumer probably thinks computers and the software that comes with it are more like cars and TVs. The closer match would be the TV since most consumers do not think about maitenance for the computer. But the product that is probably closer to how software should be viewed is clothes. Clothes wear out and get holes. New styles arrive each season. In order to be curent or to replace what is defective you need to update your wardrobe. As with clothes sometimes there is too much focus on looks rather than functionality in the software market. So how do you get people to think of software in the same way they think of clothes? Viewing the cost of software upgrade should be seen as the cost of updating your wardrobe. Businesses have other concerns where the clothes anology doesn’t work. Upgrading is good even if the old is still working. 2004-02-03 12:03 am To me Windows 2000 was the best OS MS ever released. Theres nothing you can do under XP that you cant do under 2000. XP,2003 and onwards have too much crap. And as for the security issues….well Windows is insecure simply because it has too much uneeded crap running by default. Its as simple as that. I run my 2 win2k machines at home behind a ADSL router and as such have not been affected by any worms. I also use Mozilla for my web,mail and news and i dont open ANY attachments ANYONE sends me. And with my McAfee virusscan updated weekly as a final security measure i really dont worry about worms and viruses. Ill stick with win2k until 2007 when it reaches end of life and at that time will consider the latest Linux distribution offerings. 2004-02-03 12:36 am For example, the upgrade to WinME was …. hmmm… well… Also, I remember when Win98 came out: most upgrades crapped out, sometimes rendering the system unusable. Ooohhh and I remember that WinNT 3.51 patch that zapped some of the disks! That was a gem. Basically, I stil have not upgraded my desktop computer at work, even though officially we were suposed to, about 2 years ago :o) I just didn’t have the time back then, and funnily enough, the NT 4.0 desktop I have still provides all the applications and services I need! 2004-02-03 2:37 am You work Nokia in Finland? What ya doing using Windows at all? 😛 Still, I recall many NT 4 Service Packs that were more of a curse then a help, to this day my cousin whos a Windows admin is suspicious of Service Packs and will wait for months before installing one. Sure, it might contain security updates, and Microsoft “thoroughly” tested it internally, but once you’ve been bitten more then once… No, Linux isn’t perfect, but the reaction time is much better if theres a screwup in a Linux kernel. Plus distros don’t ship kernels that hose hardware, in general (sorry Mandrake). 2004-02-03 4:40 am >I can understand why a home user might not want to upgrade, but a business still running Win 9x is insane. These companies would benefit greatly to an NT just to save on down time. Yes, but if it’s hard to get people to upgrade from win95 to NT. Imagine how hard it will be to get them to upgrade from NT to 2k,XP and eventually Longhorn. As new OS versions is developed it becomes increasingly difficult to make improvements to functionality that is worth the cost of an upgrade. In other words when the customers need is satisfied it doesn’t matter what gizmos you invent companies won’t buy it. If we plot users satisfaction against development effort we would expect to see an S-shaped curve. Microsoft is now on the top of that curve. At the same time free desktop environments like Linux is still on the steep part of that S-curve, where small development efforts results in major improvements in user satisfaction. At some point people will find that free alternatives to windows is good enough, and use them instead. Just as we will see OSes turning into a comodity bread and butter software like Office suites will go the same direction, then databases will follow. In the end, the only way to make money out of software is to sell software related services. Microsoft knows this and they are starting to prepare for that time by intorducing the .net platform that could be the base of such services. The question is how well will they stack up with e.g. Linux distributers that have used this business model all along. 2004-02-03 5:14 am Microsoft is just reaping one of the joys of their monpoly status! After all, Win98 is by far the most widly used HOME system…still at 60%+ [most #1 Win2K boxes are company] MS did a GREAT job getting their monopoly with Win98…and it really was a monopoly back then. Now they have to support it when they don’t want to. Let’s hope the lawyers keep on hounding MS for “fair support”….just to slow um down. What just deserts! After all, what can they do? If they DON’T provide ongoing support for Win98 then where will people turn for updated software…that Emenmem looking “Linux” kid IBM advertized during the superbowl last night!!! I think every exec in the country has heard of linux NOW… Oops! MS hand is forced. Support the “obsolete” systems inspite of the old system’s conflict with their [diabolical] plans…or loose the “monopoly” 90% status, the only good thing they have left, forcing them to play nice or not at all!!! Looks like that “invisible hand” is comming to put the smack down Billy! 2004-02-03 5:51 am Personal attacks really don’t add to the discussion on this board. You have any information about I.T. in the Corporate World you wish to share with us? Probably not. If any I.T. department is not seperating data from system files with regards to storage then they are not doing their job properly. In my experience, too much of what I.T. in the Corporate world is dictated by Corporate Management which has no clue when it comes to deploying technology but then the I.T. guys need to learn how to present their ideas properly and many can’t. It’s a downward spiral driven by red tape and brown nosing on a social scale to climb that Miracle Coporate Ladder. Keep your data format’s open and stored centrally or at least on seperate drives/partitians to your OS and Apps and migration to anything you desire is easy. Also don’t give your users too much power but the default Windows privelages on user accounts are Administrator, so no wonder the S hits the fan. I’m just appauled by the amount of incompetance there exists out there in the I.T. world. Really appauled. 2004-02-03 1:10 pm Hey all. I work at a small pc shop near Greensboro, NC, USA. Since most people already have PC’s at this point a large part of our work is upgrades. We sell WinXP with the majority of our new PC’s (those that are not usually have asked for Win2K Pro or Win98) but a good share of people opt to keep Win98 when they upgrade their box. Mostly cause it saves them around $100 and there really isn’t any compelling features about XP for the average user who just wants to do email, surf the web, word processing and some solitaire. Of course a number of our hard core gamers still prefer 98 too. For those looking for more stability we most often recommend Win2K Pro. I works great and still has the look and feel of 98 for people who don’t like to learn all the newness of XP. I would love to switch all our customers to FreeBSD (all you who think FreeBSD is too much for most people, give me a break… with a good gui and apps preinstalled, its no more learning curve than Win2K would be for a linux user coming to Win2K for the first time) or a good Linux distro but that isn’t going to happen any time soon. In the mean time we upgrade them from 95 and try to steer them away from WinMe. And with the ridiculous number of viruses aimed at NT based Windows, 98 still works just fine for most people. I don’t see that changing anytime soon no matter what propoganda M$ forces on us. 2004-02-03 2:19 pm Microsoft should release a FULLY SUPPORTED version of Windows which ONLY runs on machines faster than 100mhz, but SLOWER than 1Ghz. This could be the ultimate upgrade for slower PCs and would incorporate the latest security updates, as well as containing more modern thenes for WIndows. Also, it would be based on the XP/NT codebase, so stability would be rock solid. The graphics system, too could be upgraded, with basic graphics running using hardware accelerated Open GL/DirectX to speed up performance on slower machines. It would be aimed at those currently running Windows NT, 95 and 98, who desire a more stable and modern system but dont want or cant afford new hardware. This release would eliminate the extra bulk present in Windows such as CPU intensive graphics and extensive multimedia/gaming extensions. The benefits to users are obvious, but Microsoft would also gain by doing this, as they would be able to stop supporting buggy 98 and 95 and also gain extra revenue from customers shelling out for this release. 2004-02-03 2:22 pm To me Windows 2000 was the best OS MS ever released. Theres nothing you can do under XP that you cant do under 2000. XP,2003 and onwards have too much crap. And as for the security issues….well Windows is insecure simply because it has too much uneeded crap running by default. Its as simple as that. 2k is nice as a bridge between NT4/98 and XP, but from a software compatibility standpoint it’s not the best (though it’s gotten better over time with patches). Our office just upgraded to 2k, and I don’t see it going any further for a few years. On the other hand, I used 2k at home almost from the time it was released, primarily because 98 became unusable (due to memory leaks) if left on for more than a week. I upgraded to XP primarily because it worked better with most software, especially games, although hardware support is not as good (partly the fault of the hardware developers, especially with Creative Labs refusing to offer drivers that actually work, which was also a problem under 2k initially). As with any OS, you can strip out a great deal of the excess crap to get the system running as you like, but I’ve found that not to be needed to as great a degree with XP as with 2k or 98 (unless, of course, you want to run it on an older system and need to use the 2k-style interface). I run my 2 win2k machines at home behind a ADSL router and as such have not been affected by any worms. I also use Mozilla for my web,mail and news and i dont open ANY attachments ANYONE sends me. And with my McAfee virusscan updated weekly as a final security measure i really dont worry about worms and viruses. Ill stick with win2k until 2007 when it reaches end of life and at that time will consider the latest Linux distribution offerings. I use firebird for my primary web browser (using IE for pages that seem to give me trouble, sometimes those pages still have problems, though, meaning it’s not the browser’s fault), but that’s primarily because it’s almost as fast as IE to open and it has the tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking built in. I use Outlook (not Outlook Express) for email because I’m better acquainted with it’s filtering than with other email clients (and I like the interface on 2k3). I only run an anti-virus program if I notice something wrong with my system, and so far, even when I run a check, haven’t had one on the system that I didn’t intentionally install to check the anti-virus software. I update my router configuration periodically to make sure the right ports are blocked for the latest virus coming through a port rather than email or web pages, and since Outlook blocks executables I don’t worry about it. For my home system, I simply consider my options and build accordingly. I upgraded a number of components for 2k simply because it had more limited hardware support than 98. I’ve had to upgrade my sound card since upgrading to XP. I’m building a Linux box for the living room and choosing the hardware according to the function. If game developers shift to Linux, then my primary box will shift as well, but there will be a Windows box in my house as long as there’s a Windows box on my desk at work and/or the majority of games are released on Windows. 2004-02-03 2:31 pm It would be aimed at those currently running Windows NT, 95 and 98, who desire a more stable and modern system but dont want or cant afford new hardware. This release would eliminate the extra bulk present in Windows such as CPU intensive graphics and extensive multimedia/gaming extensions. The problem with trying to get people to upgrade that don’t want (or cant afford) new hardware is not simply a matter of meeting CPU/RAM/hard drive requirements. You also have to deal with the vast number of modems and network cards out there that only work on 98, the sound cards that don’t work on any NT based OS, the video cards that haven’t had driver updates in 4+ years, and all of the other unusual peripherals and cards that stop working from one OS to the next. I know plenty of people that have scanners that worked fine under 98 but haven’t worked with 2k or XP (or Me in the rare couple of cases where people upgraded to that OS). Creative Labs rarely updates their drivers to work properly with a new OS, yet has been the most popular brand of sound card for many years (and I know many people who first experienced opening up a system and adding a card with a Creative Labs card). Until nVidia started their unified drivers it was very rare that you could download the latest driver from a company and your video card would work fine. Of all the hardware I have, the only thing that dates back to when I was running Win98 is the network card, and that’s simply because I got sick of dealing with compatibility issues with cheaper network cards and put down the $100 (at that time) for a good Intel network card which has been detected and installed properly by every OS I’ve installed on a system using one (including several Linux distros and Win98/2k/XP), but I’m certainly not the norm here, otherwise Win98 would be considered dead by almost everyone. 2004-02-03 3:03 pm “I know many people, mainly gamers, who moved back to Win98, simply because they ran better on the older OS.” Win98 better for games ? Against 2K I admit (for some specific games), but definitelly not against XP.