Windows dissatisfaction at all time high.
August 6, 2002 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Windows dissatisfaction at all time high. Of 1,500 corporations surveyed, nearly 40% are actively seeking alternatives to Microsoft and their new licensing schemes. "This cumulative dissatisfaction will not necessarily translate into corporate defections to rival operating systems. But it does open the door a crack and raises the possibility that Linux and Mac OS X can gain new footholds in an overwhelmingly Windows world."
posted by jragon (12 comments total)
film at eleven.
posted by quonsar at 1:49 PM on August 6, 2002

Licensing is a BIG profit maker for companies. For example, 4 years ago when I was a DBA, the company I worked in wanted to purchase Oracle 8. The software fee was $30,000, and that was with the very limited support. And technically for ONE CPU, though we did use it on a dual CPU system. Getting a dual would have added like another $5000.

I really love Windows XP, but it's EULA is getting very strange. I have the feeling that one day that I'll try to open something and it will say "NO SOUP FOR YOU" and that will be it.

Mac OS X is great too. If you get a chance to play with it, it is addicting. And of course a properly configured Linux or FreeBSD machine is great too. Hopefully companies will consider what EXACTLY they need, and find cheap/free alternatives such as OpenOffice. Don't most businesses just need spreadsheet, word processing, and email anyways? Maybe a little Database thrown in as well?
posted by ericdano at 1:55 PM on August 6, 2002

At the risk of re-opening the debate over Apple's decision to charge $129.00 for MacOS X v.10.2 in lieu of the rather dismal adoption rate so far (gee, perchance this has something to do with charging us $39 for the Public Beta, $129 for version 1.0, and a year later another $129 for what is arguably the first GOOD version...)

Anyhow, this story furthers the 'crack in Microsoft's dam' belief that has been out there for a while, the computer industry might just get interesting once more...
posted by tgrundke at 2:15 PM on August 6, 2002

The new licensing scheme happened to work out very well for me. It forced my cheap company to finally buy all the 2000 and XP licenses that I've had in the budget for the last 2 years. The deadline to still be able to purchase upgrade licenses was July 31st. I finally have a good project. In terms of the licensing program, if you have had to deal with the numerous different licensing programs over the last few years then you would welcome the consolidation.
posted by LouieLoco at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2002

I don't like the new license policy. Where I work, the IT director asked me if we should upgrade our servers to SQL Server 2000. We have two production servers (2-CPU), and the pricetag was somewhere around $50,000. I just couldn't justify it. The good thing about the new licensing policy, is companies are asking themselves, exactly what is this upgrade going to do for me? In the end, the added features of SQL 2000 were not enough. As for OS licenses, we are moving to a shop with all NT 4.0 workstations, and Windows 2000 on the servers and 'power-user' computers. I can't foresee the need in the next several years to upgrade the OS. I realize that for some companies (CA, PeopleSoft, SAP), subscription software works. However, I have a hard time justifying to the CEO, that this purchase order will need to be done again next year for the same software! So many applications on the corporate side are in place for 10-15 years. (The application that my current project is replacing was written in System J in 1988!) Recurring license fees just don't make sense for these types of applications.

I think one thing corporation are realizing is that as long as they develop their internal applications as web applications, the client OS becomes less and less important. So I can have the fancy Windows .NET server running all the latest tech on the server, and serving pages to the user's browser.

The other thing we are experimenting with internally is Linux/Apache/PHP. So if a company has made the leap to commit to internal web applications, the next logical step is the server OS becomes one of choice. All the user sees is an internal address http://foo/bar.php, whether the server is Windows 2000 or Linux is completely transparent to him. So in this context switching to using Linux server-side is easy to try.
posted by patrickje at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2002

Why did companies ever decide to go with Windows over Macintosh in the first place? And I'm not talking about the publishers...
posted by cinematique at 4:07 PM on August 6, 2002

Because Macintosh for the longest time did not offer protected memory. Which means any program could crash any other program (or the OS stack, or anything). Macintosh also failed to offer a compelling development language/toolset. Of course all these issues went away with OS X.
posted by patrickje at 4:27 PM on August 6, 2002

Why did companies ever decide to go with Windows over Macintosh in the first place? And I'm not talking about the publishers...

In the behemoth corporate environment I work within, the Macs went away not because of what patrickje describes, but for one simple reason. The Powerbook 5300 was simply the biggest piece of dogshit laptop ever made. Once there is a perceived lack of product quality, it doesn't matter if the TCO is still lower with a Mac platform. Apps got shovelwared onto a web server, and they went upon their way with MS.
posted by machaus at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2002

Please don't be too quick to praise Mac OS X over Windows. Yes it's MUCH better than Windows but licencing details aside I think it has more in common with Windows than it is different. When/if Apple gains enough market share, they will surely employ similar predatory and counterproductive tactics as MS.

I'm an Apple certified tech, and I think what they've done to date is fantastic. They have put Unix on the map for small business and consumers and they're going after medium to large business. They have lit the way for Linux and other open source Unix-based systems. They are an inspiration and a challenge. And I hope the open source community will rise to that challenge; if so, they will have helped open source very much.

My dissatisfaction with Windows is grounded in the same place as my dissatisfaction with Apple. I know eventually Apple will sell me down the river to benefit their bottom line. And the longer that takes to happen--the more I am tempted to wed myself and my custmomers to their 'innovations'--the more of my resources will go down the drain when it happens. How do we get around this wasteful arrangement? Is open source the answer? Probably not in its current state. But it looks to me more like democracy than anything else I've seen in quite a while.
posted by maniabug at 8:07 PM on August 6, 2002

Why did companies ever decide to go with Windows over Macintosh in the first place? And I'm not talking about the publishers...

As an old Amiga user i'd say the reasons were rather financial than functional. When IBM decided to grant licenses for other hardware manufacturers to build IBM compatible PC's the market was flooded with affordable PC's while the only Amiga's/Mac's/Atari's/etc remained "genuine" products. The retail dealers shoved all non-PC products in a corner where geeks would hang out trying to get a C64 to crash while John Doe bought himself a PC. The result was that Amiga/Atari couldn't cope with the situation and just died away and Mac's became the choice of "believers". Back then Amiga/Atari/Mac were way better than PC's but the prices were too high. I don't think Windows was much of an issue back then, though.

Windows wasn't even a real OS before 98...

Given the choice of OS for a server i'd always choose LINUX over WIN (i have no experience with OS X), because of stability and price (both software and hardware).
posted by popkick at 8:07 PM on August 6, 2002

Why did companies ever decide to go with Windows over Macintosh in the first place? And I'm not talking about the publishers...

This is actually a really involved subject and there's not one answer. But some components of it were the fact that PC's were much cheaper, IBM already had the hearts of corporate IT folks, and Microsoft did a really excellent job in the 80's of establishing it's desktop productivity packages as standards, standards which worked better on their operating system than they did on the various DOS versions of the time. And better than on the Mac of course.

Conspiracy theorists would also suggest that the absolutely terrible version of Word 6 on MacOS drove the stake through the heart of Macs as general office work computers in corporate environments.

Little known facts - Excel started on MacOS.

The initial adoption of personal computers in corporations was driven in no small part by accountants/business management folk buying Apple II's to run (Visicalc? I've forgotten the name of the first spreadsheet) so that they could run financial reports that the IT folks would make them wait weeks for.

I'm rambling, I could go on and on on this subject. Sorry!

As for the cracks in the dam theory, I was unhappy to hear that my employer embraced the new licensing policy and was an earlier supporter of it, spending money that we might have spent elsewhere from my department's perspective.

and one last aside - good lord you brought back memories with that mac 5300 laptop comment, those truly were awful machines.
posted by Tempus67 at 8:33 PM on August 6, 2002

That's funny, this week my department is having a meeting to talk about switching, but over to the dark side. It's time to decide if it's worth upgrading to G4s and OSX. I'm all for sticking with Macs, but my company is already deeply in bed with Microsoft, so I'm genuinely scared. It's also hard to find qualified Mac support people.
posted by panopticon at 10:17 PM on August 6, 2002

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