Free ride? I'll say

Started May 4, 2002 | Discussions thread
Silicon Junkie© Regular Member • Posts: 349
The World vs. Microsoft

Tom May wrote:
I like hyperbole as much as the next guy.....
... As if PARC, Apple, IBM, OS/2, UNIX, LINUX, VMS had never

They are a monopoly.....

Interesting that you mention almost every single competitor to Microsoft in one sentence, and claim they are a monopoly in the next. Microsoft is guilty of shrewd business dealings, and that is all. I believe this whole anti-trust suit against Microsoft is a big waste of my money as a taxpayer. I have Microsoft (in part) to thank for my job and place in society today. Microsoft has been an excellent contributor to the economy of not only the US, but the entire planet.

The markets dictated the course of the computer industry. In the late 80's and early 90's, if everyone wanted a GUI operating system on a $5000+ computer, the mass market would have leaned to Apple. Since most consumers (or businesses for that matter) didn't have that much to spend on hardware, and then buy additional software on top of that, the mass market instead leaned toward the PC platform that had a less expensive entry point.

Beyond that, since the market en-masse chose the PC platform, the PC platform began to realize more software being developed for it, because the market bought more PCs than Macintoshes. This in turn, continued to make the PC platform more attractive than competing products, as you could do more with the hardware. At the time, this did not preclude anyone from developing or using a competing OS, such as OS/2. In fact most of my network machines I supported in the early 90s were IBM branded OS/2 boxes. However, IBM did not spend the development dollars on OS/2 to keep up with Windows - so don't blame Microsoft on the demise of OS/2. We eventually moved from OS/2 to Windows. We could have chosen Macintosh, or perhaps Unix, but Windows offered greater usability, and functionality at a lower total cost of ownership than competitors - so, the choice was a no-brainer.

Other companies were in the same boat. For example, earlier on in the industry, WordPerfect had best of class software vs. MS-Word. How many years went by between the release of WordPerfect 5.x, and 6.0? In the same amount of time, MS-Word went through no less than three separate releases, in which most of the bugs were worked out, the software stablized, and then MS-Word became the best-of-class word processing software. If anyone remembers, WordPerfect 6.0 was a dismal failure because it was extremely buggy. It is not Microsoft's fault that WordPerfect lost market share to MS-Word because MS-Word ended up becoming the best-of-class product. In fact, it was incumbent upon WordPrefect Corporation to continue their development and innovation to ensure that their product remained the best of class. Such management would have been good for the company, as well as good for their shareholders. If they had, WordPerfect Office would surely enjoy a larger share of the market today. However, this is where WordPerfect failed.

The same is true for other of Microsoft's competitors - Novell being a key company that pops into mind. How long did Novell rest its laurels on NetWare 4.11 without any further product developments or releases? Meanwhile, we saw Microsoft go from Windows NT 3.51 to Windows NT 4, to Windows 2000 server, and their desktop OS with over twice as many versions. OK, so Novell beat Microsoft to market (by a hair) with NetWare 5 over 2000 server. It was too little too late, and Novell is still scambling to catch up. Novell has "realigned" it's business model at least twice over the past 18 months - doesn't look good for them from where I sit. Is that Microsoft's fault that Novell didn't continue to innovate on their products, and cannot develop a business strategy to compete in the industry? No, it certainly is not.

There are many other players in this argument than just Microsoft. Make sure you look at this issue from every angle, such as product development, the management of Microsoft's competitors, the market as a whole, the installed user base, and total cost of ownership of one system versus another. If you think people switch products such as Novell NetWare to Microsoft NT Server because Microsoft is a monopoly, you are deluded. It is because Microsoft's products offered as-good or better functionality at a lower total cost of ownership over the long haul, coupled with the fact that it can handle the business needs of the implementation. That is the reason why IT managers and executives made their decisions to throw money at Microsoft, and no other. Do not fall victim to the press, and what they would have you believe, which is: ohh... big, bad Microsoft.

By the way, IMNSHO, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was wrong. He was just sore because the Appeals Court overturned his ruling in a previous case against Microsoft. Judge Jackson's actions spoke louder than words to me, and I cannot believe that this case has not yet been thrown out because of the bias he displayed during the conduct of the case.

It is a dog eat dog world out there, and one must compete to survive. Microsoft was better at it than their competitors because they reinvested in their product lines and marketing department. The smaller companies (Sun, Oracle, etc.) have only themselves to blame for not being able to compete because executive management pocketed huge bonuses and did not pump dollars back into R&D. The natural evolution of the industry and marketplace has taken Microsoft to where they are today.


Q: What is the world's largest PC peripheral?
A: An IBM OS-390

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