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April 27, 2006 9:21 PM   Subscribe

The Great Microsoft Blunder. Short but scathing article about how Microsoft has continually dropped with ball with Internet Explorer.
posted by zardoz (66 comments total)

 
[This post was deleted for the following reasons: Dvorak]
posted by weston at 9:30 PM on April 27, 2006


Dvorak has his head wedged. He completely ignores the historical reason why Microsoft developed IE: because Netscape was threatening to replace Microsoft as the central monopoly of the computer industry, and threatening to make Microsoft's operating systems into commodities.

If you'll pardon a self-link, I explained the situation in the first part of this post three years ago. (You can stop reading when you reach the part about Sun and Java.)

Gates knew exactly what he was doing, and Dvorak clearly doesn't have a clue. And that's why Bill Gates can buy Sweden, and Dvorak can't.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:30 PM on April 27, 2006


Weston wins the thead! First post!
posted by mullingitover at 9:33 PM on April 27, 2006


Dvorak is an dolt and an attention-whore.

That said, he's not entirely wrong here, just mostly. But in his usual easily-imitable style, he focuses in one tree to try and make his point, missing the forest all around him.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on April 27, 2006


(Also 'X wins the thread!' is really getting annoying.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:37 PM on April 27, 2006


Don't be jealous, Stav. You'll get one someday.
posted by mullingitover at 9:44 PM on April 27, 2006


Microsoft should pull the browser out of the OS and discontinue all IE development immediately. It should then bless the Mozilla.org folks with a cash endowment and take an investment stake in Opera, to influence the future direction of browser technology from the outside in.

This guy is an idiot. He's almost as bad as that Cringley guy. He starts off by making a valid point, and then goes off in some completely wrong and weird direction.

Wasn't one of these guys just saying how Intel is going to buy Apple? Or vice versa? Can't even remember.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:55 PM on April 27, 2006


Oh, I've won many a thread, my friend. If this mouth could talk, the tales of ASCII metaglory it would tell, of mountains of lexical riches and acres of smooth textual womanflesh, of heroic snarks and vibrating broomstick jokes, of cameras gained and cameras lost, of preview buttons lovingly caressed and post buttons confidently bashed, a tightwoven tapestry of wasted time sprawled out to the very horizon.

But Dvorak is still a weenie.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:56 PM on April 27, 2006


Dvorak is an idiotTM©® ⇒ □
posted by killdevil at 9:57 PM on April 27, 2006


If Dvorak knew what the heck he was talking about, he'd be a CEO or CTO of a tech company, and not just writing fluff pieces about tech companies. Anyone who doesn't get why IE is critical to Microsoft is either clueless or a troll.
posted by milnak at 10:05 PM on April 27, 2006


Please. IE may have been late and implemented badly, but at least it wasn't...

Microsoft Bob.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:12 PM on April 27, 2006


Dvorak doesn't have to be right. He just has to turn in something snarky by deadline.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:12 PM on April 27, 2006


I've had the opportunity to meet many of the computer journalists (having done that myself for several years in the 80's) and John Dvorak is a genius compared to the likes of Byte's Jerry Pournelle.
posted by skeeter1 at 10:43 PM on April 27, 2006



Please. IE may have been late and implemented badly, but at least it wasn't...

Netscape Navigator 4.
posted by dvdgee at 10:43 PM on April 27, 2006


Dvorak is to computers what Skip Bayless is to sports, or Mark Steyn is to politics. Writers whose reports are all full of the sound and the fury, signifying nothing.

You wonder sometimes whether they believe their own BS.
posted by dw at 10:47 PM on April 27, 2006


He completely ignores the historical reason why Microsoft developed IE: because Netscape was threatening to replace Microsoft as the central monopoly of the computer industry, and threatening to make Microsoft's operating systems into commodities.

Only if by "ignores" you mean "comments on spesifically"
This fiasco and the great Microsoft Blunder began when Marc Andreessen, then of Netscape, made some silly, off-handed remark about how the browser would become the next platform for applications and suggested, in so many words, that Microsoft would be destroyed. Instead of the boys at Microsoft laughing out loud and then ignoring this remark, they started scrambling around like ants on a hot stove.
posted by delmoi at 10:54 PM on April 27, 2006



(Also 'X wins the thread!' is really getting annoying.)


I AGREE.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 PM on April 27, 2006


(Also 'X wins the thread!' is really getting annoying.)

Well, all right. Let's change it.

LOSERS OF THE THREAD ARE : mullingitover, Afroblanco, stavrosthewonderchicken, killdevil, milnak, FormlessOne, Steven C. Den Beste, skeeter1, dvdgee, dw, delmoi, suckerpunch! Con-grab-u-la-shuns, losers!

Oh, yeah. And Dvorak. That guy totally loses too.
posted by suckerpunch at 11:16 PM on April 27, 2006


Actually, with three comments (oops, now four) I lost three (ok, four) times. So I am teh suparloser!

Or, just maybe, I am the winner amongst the losers. Hah!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:19 PM on April 27, 2006


I'm never about winning. I'm all about competing and doing my best.

I'm true to the MeFi ideal, unlike Weston, who represents everything wrong with MeFi, the world, modern competition, George W. Bush, and Internet Explorer's CSS implementation.
posted by dw at 11:37 PM on April 27, 2006


...Netscape Navigator 4...

Ugh! WORST BROWSER EVAH!
posted by Artw at 11:57 PM on April 27, 2006


I think it's worth remembering that while we all hate IE now, it's what most of us used for years. There was a long time when using Netscape instead of IE inspired the same revile that using IE instead of Firefox or Opera inspires now. Netscape wasn't free at first and had poor performance and memory leaks, so when IE came and started pulling itself together, it really was welcome.

However, I do question the security and performance impacts of integrating it into the operating system. I suspect it should have just stayed bundled, or possibly only integrated with MS applications.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:07 AM on April 28, 2006


metafilter: acres of smooth textual womanflesh?
posted by juv3nal at 12:27 AM on April 28, 2006


Actually I thought the article was pretty spot on.
posted by lagado at 12:41 AM on April 28, 2006


I hate all browsers. That's why I access Metafilter directly by listening to, then screeching into my dial-up modem.

(Thank god I have perfect pitch and am fluent in binary)
posted by Davenhill at 1:15 AM on April 28, 2006


I agree with lagado. I'm don't know Dvorak from Adam, so I can't comment on whether he is an idiot or not. But it seems pretty clear to me that this whole business with Internet Explorer wasn't exactly brilliant on Microsoft's part.

What, exactly, has Microsoft gotten out of it's entry into the browser business, dollarwise?
posted by moonbiter at 1:17 AM on April 28, 2006


Oh no, Mitrovarr, I always hated IE. Mainly because I started with Netscape before IE existed and stuck with it, even through the somewhat tragic Netscape Communicator phase. Every time I used IE I felt out of place and frustrated by some things I took for granted with netscape (and later on all the mozilla variants).
posted by slimepuppy at 2:11 AM on April 28, 2006


What, exactly, has Microsoft gotten out of it's entry into the browser business, dollarwise?

They destroyed Netscape. Sure, Netscape spawned Mozilla, which will wipe IE off the face of the web if there's any justice in the world. But, in the corporate sphere at least, that battle is long over. Netscape lost its opportunity to become the next platform standard and marginalize Microsoft. Microsoft got another decade to consolidate and extend the Windows market.

Not that Microsoft isn't in trouble now. AJAX is putting Andreesen's musings into practice (and making IE look like an incontinent palsy victim in the process, with its anemic support for the latest standards), Apple is now offering a side-by-side comparison between DOS and UNIX (which is what it is, despite any fancy window-dressing), and Windows Mobile is still the platform whose sole selling point is that it fucks over users instead of developers.

Still, you fight the battles in front of you. Netscape probably could have pulled a Microsoft on Microsoft. (That is, done to Microsoft what Microsoft did to IBM back in the day.) IE, combined with Netscape's baffling lethargy, allowed Microsoft to keep Windows from being commoditized at a critical juncture. It will happen, eventually -- I pray that it's happening now -- but another decade of monopoly profits is not exactly chump change.
posted by bjrubble at 2:20 AM on April 28, 2006


Now that everyone has critiqued the comment I can pettily say that I think the article was badly written and that I wonder how exactly such a bad writer manages to sell his stuff to ABC News. Yay!
posted by taursir at 3:29 AM on April 28, 2006


They destroyed Netscape.

Yes, but ... was Netscape really a threat to Microsoft's market? I mean, forgive me if I'm wrong but didn't/doesn't MS make almost all of it's profits on it's Office and OS products? How was Netscape threatening in these spheres? I mean, yes, they destroyed Netscape's revenue engine by releasing a competing browser for free. But was it really a zero-sum game -- was it necessary that Netscape the browser-maker be destroyed so that Microsoft could continue to make money?

See, I'm not convinced of that. Again. What, exactly, has Microsoft gotten out of MSIE in terms of revenue? Directly: zero. Indirectly, it seems to be much harder to say, and one can argue (as this guy is) that they've actually lost money because of it (dollars spent in development, bug-fixing, bandwidth costs pushing those bug-fixes to consumers, PR value lost in being the maker of something that opens up huge security holes in their OS, etc.). Sure, they've got like 80-90% browser share, but how, exactly, does that benefit them as a business when they make no money from it?

Now, I don't think they are wasting their time with MSIE 7, because they're already in the browser market and they need to fix what they have. But I'm not so sure that the author is wrong on this. What are the advantages of so closely coupling the browser to the OS for Microsoft? Why can't they seperate the two once and for all and be done with it?
posted by moonbiter at 3:38 AM on April 28, 2006


I wonder how exactly such a bad writer manages to sell his stuff to ABC News.

He doesn't. Google his name.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:52 AM on April 28, 2006


Jon Dvorak and Cringely are truly dingbats. I think when they were pimply they used to read Adam Osborne's 'From the Fountainhead' column in Interface Age (I'm dating myself here) and thought, "Gee, when I grow up I'm going to be a gadfly!"
To focus on just the browser and forget the real work that went on - bundling IIS, ftp, smtp and telnet services into NT 4 - is typical for these surface-structure 'journalists'. MS couldn't afford not to have made this move, and wisely (if incorrectly) chose to brand its browser, to make the decision for IT types easier. Most IT decision makers are not-very-smart, not-very-brave people, but they are smart enough to have learned the simple maxim, 'buy one, blame one'. Microsoft had to do what it did with IE to serve the adoption of NT4 as a server-side operating system, which is what MS desperately needed to destroy the chiclet-toothed devil, Scott McNealy. And they did, thank God. I hope someday with MSSQL they will do they same to Larry Ellison.
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:23 AM on April 28, 2006


Of course it took eight years to off Scott, but he was a fighter, and MS had earned scorn over BSOD, their horrible LAN operating systems, and their unholy marriage with IBM for OS/2...
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:26 AM on April 28, 2006


Yes, but ... was Netscape really a threat to Microsoft's market?

Hell yes. Internet Explorer's deathly ActiveX technologies and OS binding is there for a reason - not to provide ammunition to kill Netscape with, but because both companies saw where the future of computing was going to be. (This is absolutely not about viewing web pages; networked applications are the ultimate in software-as-a-service and will be a mammoth, competition-killing cash cow to whoever gets it right.) Microsoft was clearly betting that, by providing strong links between the web and Windows, people would continue to use their OS even as they flocked to networked applications. Netscape was multiplatform; IE did run on Macs as well, but the less said about that implementation the better.

It would appear that they didn't think through the implications enough - hence the nine zillion IE security issues - and couldn't see the current crop of AJAX and similar technologies coming. These days it looks like they've conceded to losing that battle and are regrouping to at least make sure Google don't try and kill Office. I wish them luck ...
posted by bwerdmuller at 4:27 AM on April 28, 2006


there, i'm done, k thanks
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:27 AM on April 28, 2006


Metafilter: dropped with ball
posted by caddis at 4:30 AM on April 28, 2006


If we're going to be linking to "ZOMG MS IS BAD" articles, why don't we link to someone whose lifeblood is reviewing and previewing Microsoft products, instead of a rock-the-boater like Dvorak? Paul Thurott has an excellent site covering basically anything that MS does with a healthy dose of tech background and a zillion screenshots. And he doesn't like a lot of things about the direction Vista has gone.
posted by Plutor at 4:35 AM on April 28, 2006


bwerdmuller is right IE is so embedded in the OS that it has become an open door for spyware and other malware that can literally take over your computer. IT departments have had to spend and continue to spend many thousands of dollars cleaning up the mess. The one thing you can say about other browsers is that they at least didn't do damage to the OS.
posted by Gungho at 4:59 AM on April 28, 2006


Yes, clearly Dvorak is a moron, but I think the greater point he is making is that Microsoft's preoccupation with IE, it's tight integration to Windows and all the resultant crap that goes along with it has caused Microsoft to get sidetracked.
posted by tgrundke at 5:08 AM on April 28, 2006


I am actually contractually obligated to note here - in agreement with many - that Dvorak is and has always been an utter tool, and I've been (unwillingly) reading him since his articles were first buried between hundreds of pages of ads in the back of Microtimes and it's fellow pulp-press ilk.

I can still remember him railing passionately - but incredibly wrongheadedly - about bulletin board systems of all things, or modem file transfer protocols, or brands of floppy discs.

"Wedged" isnt' even nearly descriptive enough to accurately describe the location of Dvorak's head.

You really need a whole ream of blueprints covered in densely scrawled engineering notation describing various vectors of force, torque and load to describe the scenario properly. Removal would likely see the invention of a new class of heavy machinery - Dvorak Ass-boring Machines.
posted by loquacious at 5:12 AM on April 28, 2006


Folks, give Dvorak a break. He can't predict that Apple will go out of business every column!

(You know, Cringley is at least right once in a while, and has the balls to go back to his predictions and see how they did. Dvorak? 10,000 predictions of Apple's doom, and still going!)
posted by eriko at 5:29 AM on April 28, 2006


My favorite ever Dvorak column: The Looming Cable Modem Fiasco. It starts off with: The noisiest buzz in the industry lately has been over the emerging use of cable TV systems to provide fast network data transmissions using a device called a cable modem. But the likelihood of this technology succeeding is zilch.
posted by zsazsa at 5:39 AM on April 28, 2006


What bwerdmuller said but with some minor changes. Win3x didn't have its own TCP/IP stack. NT, a fine operating system designed by Dave Cutler, was for the most part not much of a networked operating system. Microsoft got some market share from Novell with WfW, but it was a kludge. The web literally changed the world. It changed the dominant business computing paradigm, it changed people's daily lives. Microsoft relied back then even more than today on owning the business desktop; on every other front they were lagging. RISC-based UNIX workstations ruled the territory between PCs and minis and were working their way downward, Novell was still the LAN platform of choice, Apple still owned the publishing and educational PC markets, and the web and Mosaic and then Netscape exploded onto the scene confounding almost everyone's predictions of the evolution of personal computing. Http got used and implemented in ways no one had anticipated and the web browser slowly but surely swallowed up WAN apps that were previously implemented seperately and with their own protocols. Sun invented Java. Moore's Law predicted more computing power than anyone knew what to do with would soon arrive and at that moment the intersection of the popularity of the web, the technology of Java, the extensibility and flexibility of http all opened a window to a new computing world that Microsoft was in the worst position to exploit—they lagged behind everyone else.

What Andreeson specifically said, and it wasn't an offhand hand casual remark, was that Netscape's long-range plan was to turn the web browser using java into a hardware and platform independent OS where every app and the GUI itself worked essentially like Hotmail or Yahoo! or Google's toolbar do today—from a user's perspective, they are truly portable and deeply networked—and in each of those examples you can see technology inexorably moving in the direction that Andreeson predicted. Netscape gave away their browser and there were no serious competitors. With that as leverage and their expertise, they owned the server-side of the web software market which, not incidentally, was still RISC-centric and NT was a curiosity. That gave them a great deal of leverage. Because the Internet is TCP/IP-centric, Novell was put at a disadvantage but that's not to say that it helped Microsoft. No, the alliance between Sun and Netscape pointed in the direction of a WAN and LAN network platform that displaced Microsoft from the desktop because Microsoft was lagging in every market related or potentially related to personal computing with the exception of the un-networked business PC and a few ubiquitous applications—and that platform was clearly dying in favor of a networking environment; NT had not been designed to be that environment or a business desktop OS; the DOS + W16 platform was inadequate and at end-of-life; these other burgeoning sectors didn't offer Microsoft a sideways transition and a haven from which to build a stronghold in this new networked world because they were hopeless lagging behind everyone else in these other sectors. Yes, late in the development NT became more network-centric and Microsoft and HP collaborated on a port of NT to the state-of-the-art Alpha RISC processor, but that was a long-shot and expensive.

The one thing that Microsoft had that no one else could even touch was their incredible dominance of the PC desktop via their operating system and (increasingly) some apps. They desperately needed to leverage that huge advantage into a way to keep these burgeoning sectors from growing, circling, and then strangling and replacing their stronghold on the desktop.

But the web was the vibrant link between each of these other sectors: more and more of the workstation market became an Internet services market, the web a platform for LAN workgroup and enterprise computing (driving the business ascendency of TCP/IP), allowing true interoperability. Netscape, at least, saw a hardware-agnostic future with the likes of Transmeta providing a layer upon which Java and the web-browser could truly be the new platform of choice. Embedded processors would scale to PCs to workstations and servers to minis and a user's GUI environment would be truly portable. Workstations would grow downward and embedded processors would grow upward and eventually consume the PC OS market as dominated by Microsoft.

For these strategic reasons, it was absolutely crucial that Microsoft develop and deploy IE using their desktop domination-leverage. Also, and this is important, from a computer science and long-range point of view it made perfect sense to bundle the browser into the OS because in one way or another, the future of computing belonged to the Internet and its forward path passed through http. Netscape knew this and their strategy was identical to Microsoft's except in tactics, the inverse: the browser would become the relevant operating system and in this way central to an Internet-centric future.

IE saved Microsoft from imminent peril. They could indirectly control the evolution of web protocols via a domination of the desktop browser and specifically thwart the Java-centric future Netscape imagined; they could gain a real foothold in the workstation/server market with an NT and an http server identified with their domination of the browser on the desktop and the evolving internet standards; in conjunction with with a deep reworking of how MS's OS's work in a LAN in a TCP/IP-centric manner they could triangulate against Novell and finally win that battle.

The computing world is almost certainly the poorer for Microsoft's success in this vast project of their reorganization. But it was a shrewd and necessary business decision and had they not made it and followed through on it and, instead, followed the path imagined by Dvorak, they'd be a marginalized OS and app vendor fighting for descreasing portions of non-network-centric business computing pie. BY the way, you can also see, from this context, the necessity of the XBox.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:09 AM on April 28, 2006


If it's not free1, it doesn't exist.

1 As in free software.
posted by NewBornHippy at 6:42 AM on April 28, 2006


"metafilter: acres of smooth textual womanflesh?"

Oh, great. You got your boyzone in our Dvorak.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:50 AM on April 28, 2006


Microsoft is projected to have 10% and 15% revenue growth in fiscal 2006 and 2007, respectively. This on revenues of $39b. If all the pundits who think Microsoft is so stupid are so smart, why is Bill Gates so rich?

Safari routinely crashes on my Mac. Opera's fine, but who really cares what fucking browser you use? Its 2006.

Oh, I forgot. Its all about Web 2.0. Right.
posted by sfts2 at 6:59 AM on April 28, 2006


NT, a fine operating system designed by Dave Cutler

NT wasn't designed by DC, it was really designed by DEC.

(Hint: There's a reason NT3.0 felt like somebody wedged a Win3 interface onto VMS 5.)

When Cutler and his gang left DEC1, they took a few tapes with them. We've often wondered a couple of things -- did they get all the VMS code out of Win2K3, and what did they have over DEC that kept DEC from suing them into oblivion. We first noticed this when we saw that the NT TCP stack did odd things -- the exact same odd things that the VMS stack did.

1] Yeah, I know, we were supposed to say Digital. Yeah, whatever.
posted by eriko at 7:01 AM on April 28, 2006


EB and bwerdmiller have it. Companies like Sungard build massive database and financial processing solutions that rely on client output through Internet Explorer. Every one of those IE clients is going to be running on a Windows PC.

IE makes Microsoft plenty of money, and will continue to do so despite the fact that it's a pretty poor solution for end-users. Dvorak is ridiculous.
posted by selfnoise at 7:22 AM on April 28, 2006


Why is IE a poor solution? Firefox has tabs. Very nice. Firefox periodically loses all my bookmarks (OK, this has only been an issue on one machine out of half a dozen or so but it is a huge bug), its printing is atrocious (I have to use IE to print Google Maps among other things), it is a memory pig and crashes more often than it should, and despite its supposed safety from viruses and the like it is updated far less frequently than IE, even in the face of published weaknesses. That said, I am a dedicated Firefox user. I love tabs.
posted by caddis at 7:52 AM on April 28, 2006


I hate to derail, but, caddis:

"I have to use IE to print Google Maps among other things"

What exactly is it that it doesn't do right? I've printed Google Maps with Firefox on a number of occasions and I've never had a problem with them.

"it is a memory pig and crashes more often than it should, and despite its supposed safety from viruses and the like it is updated far less frequently than IE, even in the face of published weaknesses."

Have you updated to 1.5.0.2? It's about a thousand times more stable for me. The last major update of IE (6.0) was released in 2001, predating the entire Firefox project. Major security bugs are patched and released within hours. There hasn't been anything severe on the 1.5 branch, which is why there haven't been any rush releases.

posted by Plutor at 8:15 AM on April 28, 2006


moonbiter: What, exactly, has Microsoft gotten out of it's entry into the browser business, dollarwise?

...

Yes, but ... was Netscape really a threat to Microsoft's market? I mean, forgive me if I'm wrong but didn't/doesn't MS make almost all of it's profits on it's Office and OS products?


For the answer to that, you have to look beyond individual applications and look at what Microsoft is selling to corporate clients. What Microsoft sells is an entire Microsoft-centric pocket universe in which they can make all the rules. You have Exchange for email and collaboration, IIS for web services, MS SQL Server for databases, Microsoft user management and authentication, Microsoft network file sharing. What isn't sold by Microsoft can be supplied by a large number of 3rd party vendors using Visual Basic or VBA layered on top of Office. Intranet websites can be built using IE-specific HTML extensions and ActiveX.

The inclusion of IE into the operating system is not about the browser, and I think technology rags focus too much on the home user. It's about controlling the entire corporate network from side-to-side and top-to-bottom. MS Windows includes IE for the same reason that it includes authentication clients and file sharing clients. Dvorak would probably realize this if he actually stopped to read the advertising that provides his paycheck.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:13 AM on April 28, 2006


As a web developer I'm no fan of IE, but back in the days of Netscape 4.x it was the far better browser.

Strange how the jumping through hoops process has switched from the former Netscape's open source browser to that of IE when Netscape 4.x was a massive development headache. Such is the nature of software and the march of time however. The process now is develop to Firefox, jump through a lot of hoops for IE, and then some hoops for Safari, if you want to make XHTML/CSS compliant pages.

It would be wonderful if MS at least developed a standards compliant browser and at most, would drop it and use the Gecko engine.

As for control of the corporate network, that's up to the admins, not the applications. Microsoft presents a case for people to use their solutions, just like any other company, but anyone is free to use whatever they like, or a combination therein, which is what I run into most often from a variety of clients.
posted by juiceCake at 10:01 AM on April 28, 2006


I believe KirkJobSluder has hit the nail on the head.
posted by tadellin at 10:02 AM on April 28, 2006


Gates knew exactly what he was doing, and Dvorak clearly doesn't have a clue. And that's why Bill Gates can buy Sweden, and Dvorak can't.

You should read Fooled By Randomness.

I agree that Dvorak is an idiot, but your implication that Gates's intelligence is the primary cause of his wealth is absurdly wrongheaded.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:44 AM on April 28, 2006


When someone wins as often and as consistently and as big as Gates has, there's more to it than luck.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:46 AM on April 28, 2006



When someone wins as often and as consistently and as big as Gates has, there's more to it than luck.


He won the OS and the Office Suite. Those made a fortune, and involved significant effective lock-in.

Very few other Microsoft products have significant market penetration. And the ones that do are fairly average products, that would be easily developed by anybody with access to MS's Office and OS revenue stream.

I fail to see the wins you refer to.

Of course my money says that you don't see them either, but you just hate admitting that you said something stupid.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:54 AM on April 28, 2006


The Paul Thurott article that Plutor linked to was far more interesting reading - and a far biger indictment of sloppy, bad policy at MS - than the original FPP. Just my opinion.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:01 PM on April 28, 2006


re: cable modems - that's a great one zsazsa. I'd love to see a compilation of Dvorak's top ten worst predictions.
posted by pitchblende at 12:12 PM on April 28, 2006


Has anyone else downloaded and started using IE7?

I have, and I don't like it. They've added a couple of cool features but overall it feels sloppy and text rendering looks really bad for reasons I can't quite explain.
posted by cell divide at 12:13 PM on April 28, 2006


He won the OS and the Office Suite. Those made a fortune, and involved significant effective lock-in.

Very few other Microsoft products have significant market penetration. And the ones that do are fairly average products, that would be easily developed by anybody with access to MS's Office and OS revenue stream.

I fail to see the wins you refer to.


You should look a bit closer, then.

First, there's a huge difference between winning a market and keeping it. WordPerfect? Lotus 1-2-3?

Second, Microsoft is as successful as it is in the corporate world because you can realistically buy everything you need from them, for the most part. Their product are tightly integrated, in ways that no other vendor can match. Owning the desktop gives them leverage in areas where they otherwise just couldn't compete. Who'd use Exchange on its merits as a standalone product, for example? But integrated with Active Directory, MS clients, etc, it's pretty attractive.

Windows Mobile is another good example of this. It's actually pretty nice now, but its reason for being is really that it integrates well with other MS products such as Exchange. Now, it's one of the top OSs for smartphones and PDA phones. I consider that a win, even though they don't dominate that market - yet.

was Netscape really a threat to Microsoft's market?

In retrospect, not as much as MS thought, I'm sure. But Netscape's business model was to get their browser into people's hands in order to drive the server market - Netscape servers were not free, and for a brief shining moment were the dominant platform for web applications. Had then known how quickly web servers would become commoditized (Apache, IIS) they might have rethought that plan.

It would appear that they didn't think through the implications enough - hence the nine zillion IE security issues - and couldn't see the current crop of AJAX and similar technologies coming.

Not at all. Well, at least on the second part of that. They didn't think through the concept of users running as Administrators and running executable code over a network, that's for sure. But they've been somewhat ahead of the curve as far as AJAX-y stuff - you could do most of that stuff in various forms since IE 4/5, and lots of people have. They just couldn't use in for public stuff since there were no guarantees that everyone else was running IE.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:45 PM on April 28, 2006


What exactly is it that it doesn't do right? I've printed Google Maps with Firefox on a number of occasions and I've never had a problem with them.

When I print them from Firefox many of the street names seem to disappear. Agggghhh.

Have you updated to 1.5.0.2?

Yes. Still a big pig, chokes somewhat less often.

I almost never have issues with any website with IE. However, with Firefox any number of websites fail to work, such as menus etc. (I know, it is because they were written for IE as opposed to the standards, but they still don't work in Firefox, making IE a better choice if you want to use those sites a lot.) For the average user IE is effortless, yet a bit clunkier. If I had to set my parents up with a web browser it would definitely be IE. Set it and forget it. That is also why the corporate IT guys go for it. The fiddle factor factor with Firefox is just higher. If you can do it yourself then perhaps the enhanced elegance of the interface of Firefox wins out over the easier administration of IE. If you can not, or do not want to do it for 10,000 users, then you can see why IE is in many instances the better choice. That is what MS is selling - convenience. Tabs are a big difference. For geeks, extensions are too. Most users could care less about extensions.
posted by caddis at 4:15 PM on April 28, 2006


Mozilla > IE 6 > Safari > NN 6 > NN 5 > IE 5 > NN 4

Cheers.
posted by linux at 4:34 PM on April 28, 2006


me & my monkey: That seemed like a really long and drawn out way of agreeing with me.

Remember that in my post I actually said Very few other Microsoft products have significant market penetration. And the ones that do are fairly average products, that would be easily developed by anybody with access to MS's Office and OS revenue stream.

Your example of Windows Mobile is a fine one. They were able to use their existing revenue streams to fund development and redevelopment of a horrid product, for years. This is an unremarkable success.

I've met monkeys who could've pulled it off.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:37 PM on April 28, 2006


cell divide writes "Has anyone else downloaded and started using IE7?"

Yep. Still can't understand why they tool the menu bar away. Do they not realize that many people use keyboard shortcuts? It seems like a dumb choice - and can't for the life of me figure out why I am completely unable to resize some of the toolbars. I am limited from encroaching too much on the tab region, I guess, but it means there are some menu items that cannot be shown (like selecting "full screen" using the mouse rather than hitting F11) unless I first click a tiny target and then pick my option from a sub-menu of the resulting dropdown. There is also NO visual cue to let me know when I am clicking a toolbar vs. when I am clicking the space reserved for tabs. Stupid, stupid, stupid design.

caddis writes "Set it and forget" your security and privacy. You know how fast an unprotected (or protected, even) system gets nailed running IE with open net access? Firewall, antivirus, and three different antispyware programs didn't stop our lab computers from getting fragged. We have far, far fewer problems running FF by default than we ever had before I conviced my lab to stop using IE.

linux writes "NN 5" FOOL there was no NN5! Went straight from 4 to 6 with the Gecko code rewrite.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:27 PM on April 28, 2006


That seemed like a really long and drawn out way of agreeing with me.

Not so much, actually. It's not just the revenue stream, it's the integration between the products. KirkJobSluder got it right earlier, I think.

You know how fast an unprotected (or protected, even) system gets nailed running IE with open net access? Firewall, antivirus, and three different antispyware programs didn't stop our lab computers from getting fragged.

You know, it doesn't have to be this way, even with IE.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:24 AM on April 29, 2006



You know, it doesn't have to be this way, even with IE.


It's a nice idea but if you install/uninstall stuff on a fairly regular basis, it becomes really incovenient. RunAs works most of the time for installing, but not near as often for uninstalling.
posted by juv3nal at 9:20 PM on April 29, 2006


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