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'Second Thoughts: Microsoft on Trial' | Login/Create an Account | Top | 965 comments | Search Discussion
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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.
Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2, Troll)
by Ananova on Thursday March 01, @10:34AM EST (#19)
(User #255600 Info)
Look, I'm not going to bullshit here. I'll just give you the facts.

1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

2. MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market; they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before. And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle, is much cheaper than it, and thus benefits consumers that way.

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there? Certainly not Linux. And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance. This just backs up my point - Microsoft software is of exceptional quality. They hire the best programmers because they can afford to, and they release top software. Word beats anything else on the market, and as a usable OS, so does Windows (and on stability, Windows 2000 ranks pretty highly to). Combine this with easy administration - the idiot in my office is in charge of DNS administration, which he can easily do using MS DNS manager, because it's just point, right click/properties. He'd have no chance with Bind.

The fact is, for a small business with not many staff, Microsoft software allows them to compete with the big guys - they can offer ISP provision, because they don't need highly paid admins. This is great news for the economy and great news for them.

6. The fact is, as I have stated, there is a lot of jealousy and resentment out there - whereas the truth is that Microsoft produce damn fine software, and their very low prices (believe me - just check the price of a spreadsheet 20 years ago), mean that although they have a monopoly, that has come through selling good software at low prices and therefore high volume.

Damaging Microsoft would damage the consumer. What do you want people to use? Star Office?
--
Hi!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
<<An observation by Anonymous Coward | An apology of Microsoft on Slashdot? by SpanishInquisition (Score:1) >>
Moderation Totals:Troll=2, Insightful=2, Interesting=1, Total=5.
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by (void*) (voice@void.) on Thursday March 01, @10:39AM EST (#26)
(User #113680 Info)
You can hardly attribute the cheapness of the Intel PC to Microsoft alone. What about the hardware motherboard makers, the BIOS makers, Intel, and so on? Saying MS made them do it is like saying the tail wags the dog.

Before MS, there was Lotus 123, Lotus AmiPro, WordStar, Borland and such. What happened to these guys?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @10:44AM EST (#31)
I want some of what you are smoking! Microsoft beat Netscape fair and square? Which rock have you been under for the past 7 years? Windows 3.1 > Linux? Please, don't quit your day job at MS.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Go back to Israel, jewboy. (Score:-1, Flamebait)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @10:44AM EST (#32)
You are a problem waiting to be "solved".
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
by taniwha on Thursday March 01, @10:51AM EST (#48)
(User #70410 Info) http://www.taniwha.com/nospam.jpg
1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

While this is true it doesn't mean that M$ is responsible - in fact I think you're confusing cause and effect - M$ simply ssupplanted the previous reigning monopoly (at time that the govt had THEM in court trying to break them up). And it wasn't because their software was cheaper - it was because the advent of the microprocessor suddenly brought the cost of a low end system from seomewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars (think PDP11) to something in the hundreds of dollars - there were other more sophisticated OSs around at the time - M$ didn't even write the original DOS.

M$ owes it's existance to the technical changes that made cheap hardware available to all of us, not the other way around

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
    by HiQ on Thursday March 01, @10:57AM EST (#80)
    (User #159108 Info)
    Indeed; and before PC's in every home there were also Amiga's, Commodore 64's, Sinclair spectrums, Apples etc. in lot's of homes. So there already was a movement towards having computers at home. The pc, and certainly Microsoft, where not the first on that market.
    How to make a sig
    without having an idea
    just made a HiQ
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:5, Insightful)
by mkoenecke on Thursday March 01, @10:51AM EST (#50)
(User #249261 Info)
The problem with this entire comment is it is only accurate when referring to Microsoft's behavior *before* it had acquired its monopoly. Low prices? Everything else in the computing world has demonstrated consistently dropping prices, *except* for Microsoft products. Priced Microsoft Office lately? Priced Windows, period? How come they're more expensive than they used to be? How come OS alternatives (read: Linux) are so much cheaper (read: free)? I won't say that Microsoft software is total garbage, but I will say that if it weren't for the monopoly they wouldn't be getting a 100% premium in price for it over products as good or better. That, simply, is harm to the consumer. And Microsoft had nothing to do with hardware prices. And Netscape wasn't beaten "fair and square." READ the findings of fact. READ the testimony in the trial court! What Microsoft supporters don't seem to be able to answer is: Why exactly did Judge Jackson, a Reagan conservative appointee, develop such an animosity towards this successful company which has supposedly brought so many benefits to the country? Why? Sure, he expressed his loathing for the company: but how did he come to feel that way? Read the transcripts.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @01:19PM EST (#493)
    What Microsoft supporters don't seem to be able to answer is: Why exactly did Judge Jackson, a Reagan conservative appointee, develop such an animosity towards this successful company which has supposedly brought so many benefits to the country? Why? Sure, he expressed his loathing for the company: but how did he come to feel that way?

    What I don't understand is how a judge with such a marked loathing for the defendant can at all be considered "impartial" and how the resulting trial can at all be considered "fair."

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @03:27PM EST (#651)
      Do you have any evidence of a pre-trial bias?

      The fact that he hates Microsoft now doesn't mean he was biased going in. It just means that when the trial was presented, he listened to the facts.

      You can be impartial and still reach a conclusion, and the conclusion he reached was a very obvious and correct one, that Microsoft violated anti-trust laws and damaged consumers.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
      by Zero Sum (devnull@shalimar.net.au) on Friday March 02, @07:03AM EST (#905)
      (User #209324 Info)
      >What I don't understand is how a judge with such a marked loathing for the defendant can at all be considered "impartial" and how the resulting trial can at all be considered "fair."

      If a judge was shown during a trial evidence of some vile act (paedophilic rape for example) is it unreasonable to develop a "marked" loathing for a guilty defendant?

      What is important is no bias before the facts are determined, and the judge starts "reading up" well before the trial and is the presented with further evidence and argument during the trial. Overall, it is not unreasonable for a judge to develop a loathing for something or someone. If that loathing results in injustice in sentencing, well that is why there are appeals courts. That's what is going on right now. Microsoft could have accepted the judges decision without appeal.

      From my observation, there has was no unfairness in the findings of fact or the sentence. If fact after having read his findings of fact and the decision, I am inclined to think he has been lenient.

      The law is the law unless you can buy a better appeal.


      Zero Sum (don't amount to much). [root@localhost]

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
    by sheldon on Thursday March 01, @03:29PM EST (#655)
    (User #2322 Info) http://www.sodablue.org
    I just priced windows Me...
    http://www.bestbuy.com/software/Detail.asp?m=1023& e=11016940

    $89.95 for the WinMe upgrade. I paid $94.95 for the Win95 upgrade back in 1995.

    How is that a price increase?

    This is really the crux of the issue. Your facts are not facts at all, they are FUD. FUD intended to stir emotion.

    The Appeals court on the other hand is worried only about the actual facts in the case. Not your Peter Pan fantasy dreams.

    I'm amazed your post was rated a 5. :(


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by geophile (jao@mediaone.net) on Thursday March 01, @10:51AM EST (#54)
(User #16995 Info)
although they have a monopoly, that has come through selling good software at low prices and therefore high volume.

This is getting a bit off-topic, but: Do you really mean good? I think a more accurate description would be just barely good enough for consumers who didn't know any better. The damage to consumers comes from this "just barely good enough" attitude combined with their monopoly position.

By the way, there is nothing illegal about being a monopoly (referring to the "although" in your comment). What is illegal is using that monopoly position to compete unfairly in new markets. The big squishy thing in this whole set of debates about Microsoft is defining the boundaries of these various markets. (Microsoft says everything is one big market; their competitors say that OSs and applications are different markets.)

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Microsoft and its competitors (Score:1)
by JonKatz on Thursday March 01, @10:56AM EST (#74)
(User #7654 Info) http://Slashdot.org
A key issue in the trial..it also pops up in the two books out about MS, one from John Heilemann and the other from Ken Auletta. To what extent was the government lured into this action byh MS competitors or wannabe competitors? I think this poster obviously has a particular perspective, but if you read through the appeals evidence, thereis in fact, no one single shred of evidence that MS harmed consumers in the context of IE, Netscape, etc..the basis for the trial. Doesn't mean they didn't, but where's the data?
jonkatz@slashdot.org
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Yes, but... (Score:1)
    by Glith on Thursday March 01, @11:37AM EST (#248)
    (User #7368 Info)
    The argument that because the trial did not demonstrate harm to the consumers and therefore the conclusion must somehow be wrong is in error.

    The trial did not show harm to the consumers because the trial was never about the harm to the consumers. Antitrust trials are instead about harm to competitors - in this case, pretty much the entire software industry. Re-read IBM's testimony in their dispute with Microsoft over OS/2 shipping on their own systems, or Microsoft's defense that they did not interfere with Netscape's deployment channels because they did not crash Netscape.com.

    The consumer's harm is more indirect. We are denied the use of the great software that might have existed.

    The fact is, Microsoft's defense at the trial was laughably inadequate on almost every single point of the trial. They were caugh doctoring evidence on a number of occasions (the faked videos, the "look, you can't install IE on this laptop with that guys program" Samsung affair, and the Emails about them repeating studies until they got the numbers they wanted because "this is for the trial").

    I fear this recent "Oh, poor Microsoft" sediment stems from lack of memory instead of any real injustice. The recent uprising of the competition (Real and Linux for instance) happened only /after/ the trial was underway; I assert Microsoft could not misbehave against them only because fear kept them in line.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft and its competitors (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @03:59PM EST (#689)
    John, I'm way smarter than you. Just thought you should know.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @11:04AM EST (#103)
MS SQL Server is in no way on a par with Oracle, it is a much smaller flakier product.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:4, Insightful)
by nathanh on Thursday March 01, @11:06AM EST (#111)
(User #1214 Info) http://www.manu.com.au/
1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

Ok, 2 faults here. First, you're completely wrong. There were a wealth of personal computers before MS came along. The C64, the TRS-80, the Apple-II, the BBC Micro. MS had some minor parts in some of these computers, but they certainly weren't instrumental in making computers affordable. If any single person could possibly make that claim it would be Wozniak.

Second fault, you are implying causation when all you have is correlation. Computer prices were dropping ANYWAY.

2. MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market;

Microsoft Windows has consistently gotten more expensive. It has quadrupled in price since the first real release (Windows 3.0) even when taking out the effect of inflation.

they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before. And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle,

Nonsense! SQL Server is junk. People who deal with large/complicated datasets recommend either DB2 (the proper mainframe version) or Oracle. MS SQL Server is a toy.

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there?

MacOS, GEOS, Desq-View, OpenLook, CDE, OS/2, GEM, WorkBench, ... Every single one of them was arguably better in at least one category. And I would say that 3 from the above list were better than Windows 3.1 in every category.

Certainly not Linux.

Linux was released in 1991. It was usable for my purposes in 1992 (I dumped Interactive for it).

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

More confusion over the difference between correlation and causation. Here's an extreme example of your mistake: 100% of people who ate carrots in the 1800s are now dead. Your logic produces the conclusion that carrots cause people to die. This is because you confuse correlation with causation.

(believe me - just check the price of a spreadsheet 20 years ago),

Check the price of computer hardware 20 years ago. Microsoft doesn't produce hardware, yet you would seemingly give them credit for the reduction in hardware prices too.

Damaging Microsoft would damage the consumer. What do you want people to use? Star Office?

When Word started to dominate the market it was demonstrably inferior to WordPerfect. Word had an inferior interface. Word was slower and consumed more disk. Word corrupted your documents on a regular basis. Word supported fewer printers. Word had fewer features. At the time I always thought Word was a rather poor knockoff of MultiMate, and nowhere near as good as WordPerfect.

So why is Word dominant today? It certainly isn't because Word was a better product.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by cyoon on Thursday March 01, @11:33AM EST (#237)
    (User #99971 Info)
    Nonsense! SQL Server is junk. People who deal with large/complicated datasets recommend either DB2 (the proper mainframe version) or Oracle. MS SQL Server is a toy.
    Oh, really? Even if it was an inferior product to SQL Server, it's keeping the costs of developing real database applications artificially low. $1500 for a SQL Server license is NOTHING compared to an equivalent license from IBM and especially Oracle (charging by the MHz? That's obscene!) While Oracle is a superior product and DB2 has its advantages, nothing is as easy to use and flexible as SQL 7 or SQL 2000. Right click for everything and there's a product you can put into production in an afternoon.
    Linux was released in 1991. It was usable for my purposes in 1992 (I dumped Interactive for it).
    So you expect secretaries to have moved to Linux in 1992? You're kidding, right? An eight year old could play his games and use Prodigy in 1992. Where was Linux then? Go ask your mother what she would rather do. Put 1992 Windows and 1992 Linux in front of her and see which one she picks. Hell, she would even have the ADVANATAGE of having Linux configured and placed in front of her and she'll STILL pick Windows. THAT is what this argument comes down to.
    When Word started to dominate the market it was demonstrably inferior to WordPerfect. Word had an inferior interface. Word was slower and consumed more disk. Word corrupted your documents on a regular basis. Word supported fewer printers. Word had fewer features. At the time I always thought Word was a rather poor knockoff of MultiMate, and nowhere near as good as WordPerfect.
    No, when Word started to take the market is when it had a version in Windows that introduced a novel concept: WYSIWYG. No, WordPerfect 5 didn't have it -- it was amazing that it simply supported a mouse. I used WP5 all the time until I saw the power of WYSIWYG editing. No longer did I have to view a separate screen to see what it was going to look like Word 2.0 started it and it stuck. WP was too late to the game with that. I can't really fault them for not having the advantage of getting their hands on Windows early on, but if WP5 was clearly a better product, you'd still see it today on every desktop. You make some good points, but I had to respond to these.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
      by (void*) (voice@void.) on Thursday March 01, @01:11PM EST (#479)
      (User #113680 Info)
      No, when Word started to take the market is when it had a version in Windows that introduced a novel concept: WYSIWYG. No, WordPerfect 5 didn't have it -- it was amazing that it simply supported a mouse. I used WP5 all the time until I saw the power of WYSIWYG editing. No longer did I have to view a separate screen to see what it was going to look like Word 2.0 started it and it stuck. WP was too late to the game with that. I can't really fault them for not having the advantage of getting their hands on Windows early on, but if WP5 was clearly a better product, you'd still see it today on every desktop.

      There was a good WYSIWYG wordprocessor then, before MS. It was called Lotus AmiPro. This word processor won the PC Magazine's award for the year's best software. I used it for a senior thesis, with its equation editors, spell check, everything. This was in 1994/5. It took until 1997 (Word 97) to catch up to the feature set offered by Lotus AmiPro. Office 2000 still has numerous quirks, and is still not as consistent as AmiPro was about document formatting.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @02:48PM EST (#610)
        AmiPro was not before Microsoft's GUI word processors, cracksniffer. Word 4.0 for Mac and Word 2.0 for Windows date to around 1990. By 1993, Microsoft was outselling WordPerfect, and at no time did AmiPro/WordPro ever have more than about 5% of the market, meaning Microsoft never gave a fuck about them.
        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
        by ReinoutS on Thursday March 01, @03:44PM EST (#676)
        (User #1919 Info) http://www.cs.vu.nl/~reinout/
        FYI, AmiPro still exists under the name Lotus WordPro, as a part of SmartSuite.

        I used GeoWorks on my XT back in 1989. It also had a WYSIWYG word processor, usable for day-to-day purposes, and pushed better print quality out of my 9-pin matrix printer than I ever thought possible (although printing in that quality was unbearably slow).

        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      charging by the MHz isn't obscene (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @01:51PM EST (#550)
      I personally think Oracle's pricing system is great. Charging by the MHz is an accurate way of charging for the amount of work software can do. It means that a little shop can run the same world-class software that a Fortune 100 company does. It is more flexible than alternatives such as per-seat charges (which don't work well with the Web) and requires no licence administration. What is so irritating about this pricing model?
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
      by nathanh on Thursday March 01, @08:35PM EST (#826)
      (User #1214 Info) http://www.manu.com.au/
      $1500 for a SQL Server license is NOTHING compared to an equivalent license from IBM and especially Oracle

      If you want to talk cheap then you are better off with PostgreSQL or even MySQL. Seeing as you already poo-poo'd Oracle and DB2 despite them being technically superior, proving that you are not interested in technical merits, you might as well pick the cheapest database.

      While Oracle is a superior product and DB2 has its advantages, nothing is as easy to use and flexible as SQL 7 or SQL 2000.

      These are databases, not e-mail clients. The fact that you consider "easy-to-use" a necessary feature for a database is ludicrous. Databases aren't useful by themselves. You additionally need the ability to program SQL and some variation of frontend language. This is PROGRAMMER TERRITORY, and so you should not be using the same criteria to select a database as you would pick an e-mail client or word processor.

      This is a clear sign of the declining quality of computer professionals. You can read as much disgust into the emphasized word as you see fit. You apparently think the first criteria for choosing a database isn't data-integrity, robustness, transaction speed, rollback features, data-type support, customer support, or any other "true" criteria. You seem to think that the most important criteria is that you can click a mouse button and get a list of options. You have your priorities completely messed up.

      Linux was released in 1991. It was usable for my purposes in 1992 (I dumped Interactive for it).
      So you expect secretaries to have moved to Linux in 1992?

      I did say my purposes. Afterall, we were talking about databases, so in context I hadn't really thought that secretaries were the main issue here.

      But on the matter of secretaries. Keep in mind that UNIX was invented so patent typists - i.e. secretaries - could enter information. My first computer-related job was in 1991 and involved upgrading an ISC system which had 10 VT100 dumb terminals hooked off a serial board. It was used by - wait for it - 10 secretaries who used vi and troff for preparing letters and invoices. I think people often underestimate the high intelligence required to be a good secretary.

      No, when Word started to take the market is when it had a version in Windows that introduced a novel concept: WYSIWYG.

      I was of course talking about Word for DOS, which began to supplant WordPerfect because Word shipped "for free" on new PCs. This should have been obvious from my reference to MultiMate: the CPM/DOS word processor.

      But your point is wrong anyway. There were WYSIWYG word processors in the 80s for the Amiga, the Atari, the Macintosh, etc. Microsoft even had a graphical version of Word on the Macintosh many years before Word for Windows appeared. And they certainly weren't the 1st WYSIWYG word processor for the Macintosh. Heck, I remember running some crappy WYSIWYG word processor on my C64.

      I'm almost certain that GEM had a rather good WYSIWYG word processor as well, so that means you could have gotten WYSIWYG word processing on your IBM-PC before Windows even existed.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by ErikZ on Thursday March 01, @02:26PM EST (#581)
    (User #55491 Info)
    Didn't the TRS-80 use an OS made by MS?
    I know the Tandy Color Computer did. Heck, on the Color Computer III, if you hit the right key combo, you'd get a picture of the MS team.

    Later,
    ErikZ
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
      by nathanh on Thursday March 01, @09:09PM EST (#838)
      (User #1214 Info) http://www.manu.com.au/
      Didn't the TRS-80 use an OS made by MS?

      Quite possibly. I'm pretty sure the Apple II had a Microsoft BASIC. And the C128 definitely had a Microsoft BASIC. Grepping the C128 roms turns up "(C)1977 MICROSOFT CORP".

      But the BASIC wasn't what made these computers sell well. The "killer" games and apps for these computers didn't use BASIC at all. They all wrote directly to the hardware.

      This was what I meant when I said Microsoft played a small but non-important role in these earlier consoles.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    X vs MS - see the big picture - not your own niche (Score:2)
    by thebruce (email@company.com) on Thursday March 01, @05:31PM EST (#754)
    (User #112025 Info)
    So why is Word dominant today? It certainly isn't because Word was a better product

    Word is dominant today because it was easy to use for the average consumer, so they gobbled it up and made it dominant. It may not be the best product quality wise, but for the general user, it did everything they needed without problems. On the higher level, the more advanced users may start running into difficulties.

    And that's the same with Windows. For the average consumer, for the general user, the majority of the market use it because it's easy to use and it does everything they want it to do. Microsoft didn't make themselves a monopoly single handedly - the consumer, the general mass market gobbled it up and made it a monopoly! SO - Microsoft products - to the advanced, more experienced user - are not necessarily the best products. But to the mass market, generally any regular person, Microsoft has accomplished what no one else has. Whether it was ethical or not, the consumers gobbled it up and wanted it. If it didn't do what they wanted it to do, they wouldn't accept it, and find other alternatives. So for the mass market, it WAS and still IS a good product. You can't say no one can do better or have a better product, because no one has come close. If someone wanted to overthrow Microsoft, they would have to convince the mass market, and maybe even unethically partner with Microsoft only to hitchhike on their compatibility to gain the mass market, until they can jump off and take the mass market with him. To beat Microsoft, you've got to be Microsoft, or use them against themselves, or act and grow in the same manner that they did.

    Otherwise, you'll end up like Linux - growing fast, but no where near gaining mass market appeal - general, average users. Because it's not easy for them (when most people still don't know how to open their email program, let alone get connected to the internet), and it Windows has the most appeal. Until Linux can enter a standardized and compatible market with Windows, it will never gain mass market.

    If you taunt Microsoft, they will stomp on you. If you befriend them to eventually turn against them, you can stab them in the back. That's just one way of gaining good cometitive ground in the mass market.

    Plus, remember that the general consumer doesn't necessarily want a realistic and viable choice in OS's or any software for that matter. They will go to what is easiest and cheapest to use - together. If Linux and Windows had equal market share, it would NOT last long. Unless they were compatible with each other in the same market, people would readily accept one over the other, just so they don't have to worry about compatibility issues. Just like NS / IE. Linux and Windows will always be different, but they have to be compatible enough for most people, and everyone will more readily use the OS more geared to their requirements (eg - server, desktop, terminal, etc).

    Linux and Windows NT/2000 probably have a fairly competitive marketplace... so obviously if you add in the desktop Windows 98/2000, Windows will have dominance... because Linux hasn't got the marketplace for average desktop users. And it never will until it (the extremist Linux user bunch) stops the blatant anti-MS, rebellious attitude. If someone likes MS over X, you've got to win them over, not make them sound like an idiot because it's so obvious X is better. Mass market will be insulted and generally not accept a product whose creators appear bigoted against what they like, since it seems unfair. So in a way, 'embrace and extend' - agree (gasp) that Windows/Microsoft have done a good job, and are a good product - because it's the truth, for the general mass market - and give them reasons, applying to them, why X is a better choice... but right now, X does not have the features and quality over Windows that the mass general market requires.

    That's the end of the story, sorry if I seemed repetitive :)

    Read the rest of this comment...

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
by snookerwolf on Thursday March 01, @11:09AM EST (#130)
(User #95958 Info)
I think there is a definite misconception about "good" and "usable." One of the reasons Apple became a big company was that it had great interfaces and introduced the mouse. Granted, they swiped GUI from Xerox (OK Xerox gave it away), but THAT changed computing. They made a usable OS. Microsoft leveraged a relationship with Apple and one-uped them. They weasled through a legal loophole then. I have used virtually every platform going and windows is NOT evil. Bill Gates might be the devil incarnate, or just an aggressive savvy business man. It doesn't matter because he lost more money this year in the stock market than I am every going to make!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:4, Informative)
by Christianfreak (christianfreak@netscape.net) on Thursday March 01, @11:14AM EST (#151)
(User #100697 Info) http://www.christianfreak.net
Hmmm lets just take this a step at a time:

1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

Apple? Anyone? I know that I was in Elementary school in the mid 80's everyone had Apple IIs

2. MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market; they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before. And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle, is much cheaper than it, and thus benefits consumers that way.

Really? Linux is free, so is free BSD. Even Linux companies selling the software sell their Proffesional editions for less than Win98. The same stuff that Win2k can do. And I won't even touch lisencing issues for the number of users. Still don't believe it? If they aren't a monopoly then why did WinME start off at $50 and go up to $89 after everyone had been locked into it?

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there? Certainly not Linux. And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

Competition? What about Mac? I'm not a Mac lover but I can tell you that Mac was better in 1984 when it came out than 3.1 ever was. And I'd give my secretary Linux with star office. Its more compatable with Office now than Word 2 would be!

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

It would probably be stronger here and strong in other countries had MS not stiffled competition all over the world.

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance -just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance. This just backs up my point - Microsoft software is of exceptional quality. They hire the best programmers because they can afford to, and they release top software. Word beats anything else on the market, and as a usable OS, so does Windows (and on stability, Windows 2000 ranks pretty highly to). Combine this with easy administration - the idiot in my office is in charge of DNS administration, which he can easily do using MS DNS manager, because it's just point, right click/properties. He'd have no chance with Bind. The fact is, for a small business with not many staff, Microsoft software allows them to compete with the big guys - they can offer ISP provision, because they don't need highly paid admins. This is great news for the economy and great news for them.

I've worked as a Unix admin and I doubt that I could pick up Win2k or NT and just know it out of the box like you suggest. Just because something is point and click doesn't mean its easier (fact is alot of people find it to be a pain). Win2k isn't all that bad I agree, I have friends that use it but they are highly trained proffesionals, Joe user can't pick up DNS and operate it until he even knows what it does. If MS products are so easy why does MS have the MCSE? And why are there countless Word for Dummies type books?

6. The fact is, as I have stated, there is a lot of jealousy and resentment out there - whereas the truth is that Microsoft produce damn fine software, and their very low prices (believe me - just check the price of a spreadsheet 20 years ago), mean that although they have a monopoly, that has come through selling good software at low prices and therefore high volume. Damaging Microsoft would damage the consumer. What do you want people to use? Star Office?

Actually as has been shown countless times their power has come through threats and lying and theivery. Not just netscape but as mentioned above, Samba, Wine to name a few. Microso

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Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by VAXman on Thursday March 01, @11:14AM EST (#152)
(User #96870 Info)
4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

Indeed, the collapse of NASDAQ coincides almost exactly with Jackson's ruling (more precisely, with the growing sentiment up to the ruling that Microsoft and the government would not be able to settle). Almost everybody predicted that the economy and market would collapse if the ruling was against Microsoft. And it did.

Isn't it time the DOJ and Jackson took the fall for the faltering economy, instead of Greenspan?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by Malc (Malcolm_Ferguson@yahoo.NO_SPAM_PLEASE.com) on Thursday March 01, @11:31AM EST (#225)
    (User #1751 Info)
    "Indeed, the collapse of NASDAQ coincides almost exactly with Jackson's ruling (more precisely, with the growing sentiment up to the ruling that Microsoft and the government would not be able to settle). Almost everybody predicted that the economy and market would collapse if the ruling was against Microsoft. And it did. "

    Co-incidental. The bubble had to burst at some point. The Economist was predicting a bust and recession 2 years ago. (it might not have been so bad if it happened then). Perhaps the deflation of MSFT stock was the straw that broke the camels back, but it was going to happen anyway. Asset inflation has been ridiculous and something had to give. The US is in the same position as Japan five years ago... (they had property inflation rather than asset).
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
      by jerkface on Thursday March 01, @02:04PM EST (#561)
      (User #177812 Info)
      The US is in the same position as Japan five years ago... (they had property inflation rather than asset).
      You mean 11 years ago. And the Japanese had both a real estate *and* a financial assett bubble - generally, their stocks were even more overvalued than most American stocks are, judging by price/earnings ratios.

      Last night the major Japanese stock index, the Nikkei 225, reached lows it hadn't seen since 1985. The index is now down to less than 1/3 of its all-time high. I don't think the US is about to get hurt as badly as Japan was, but this information ought to be pointed out to all the people who think stocks always go up.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        [OT] was - Re:Microsoft are [...] and society (Score:1)
        by Malc (Malcolm_Ferguson@yahoo.NO_SPAM_PLEASE.com) on Thursday March 01, @03:39PM EST (#671)
        (User #1751 Info)
        "I don't think the US is about to get hurt as badly as Japan was, but this information ought to be pointed out to all the people who think stocks always go up."

        Agreed on both points. However, I think the real pain will come when all those people realise the latter and suddenly stop investing... a complete loss of confidence. Then it won't matter how good things are, there will be viscious downward circle - price drops due to lower investment, followed by lower investment due to devaluation of assets. When ordinary people in their millions feel like they've lost money, that's when things start getting bad. Isn't this a similar situation to that leading up to the 1930's depression? What with mass mega-mergers, over-inflated assets, exuberant over-confidence in the market, etc? Personally I don't think that it will be that bad...
        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by cyoon on Thursday March 01, @11:38AM EST (#255)
    (User #99971 Info)
    Wait, so you're saying all those companies are worth it? That PE ratios of greater than 300 were valid? Cisco was worth hundreds of billions of dollars? What about eBay, Amazon.com, Priceline, eToys, Pets.com, and dozens of other ones? The list goes on and on ... MSFT had nothing to do with the bullshit business plans they created.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by cworley (cworley[at]symbionsys[dot]com) on Thursday March 01, @11:56AM EST (#307)
    (User #96911 Info)
    Energy prices went up at the same time. It makes more sense that energy starvation leads to recession (than a monopoly being busted up causes a recession).

    One year later, two oil men are in charge of the government...

    Now there's a conspiracy!

    If Jackson's ruling caused the collapse, then the supreme courts ruling to allow the appeals instead of the "fast track" should have brought the economy back: without the "fast track", everybody agrees the case will be in court for another 10 years -- plenty of time for Microsoft to reposition.


    When I die, please cast my ashes upon Bill Gates -- for once, make him clean up after me!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by hardburn (admin@REMOVE.madtimes.com) on Thursday March 01, @12:12PM EST (#359)
    (User #141468 Info) http://hammer.prohosting.com/~linuxnet

    Oh, for crying out loud!

    The ruling came in, but it does nothing to break MS up (it only says they should be broken up at a future date, but will be held off until it's appealed). It is not broken up now, nor was it then. How can it have any effect on the NASDAQ? Well, the overly paranoid people running Wall Street might think that an ineffective ruling will have an effect, they bail out of MS and other tech stocks, and things go bust.

    Now what other causes for a crashing stock market could there be? Hmmm, lots of .coms, running on venture capital, with bad buissness plans and lots of high-priced tech workers. VC runs out, the artificial inflation of the economy due to .coms runs dry, things go back to normal. How does MS and the ruling enter this?

    Oh, and Greenspan is actualy a lot smarter then most people realize. He and his cronies know quite well that huge growth usualy comes just before a huge downturn. So, they take steps to slow down things in a huge growth (by increasing interest rates), and then lowering intrest rates when things start to go down. It is better this way, as it means better succsess in the long term.


    ------
    Microsoft: Re-inventing square wheels

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
    by Pinball Wizard (josheverist@yahoo.com) on Thursday March 01, @02:41PM EST (#601)
    (User #161942 Info) http://www.page1book.com/images/dilbertbase.jpg
    I'm afraid I have to agree with that one. I realize a lot of you think it was circumstantial, but that's not the way I remember history. Microsoft's stock was directly affected by that ruling - it lost what, a quarter of its value in the week that followed?

    Whatever you think of MS, they were commonly seen as the bellwether of tech companies. A strong Microsoft spurred investment into computer companies in general, whereas Nasdaq took a dive riding on Microsoft's coattails.

    The reality is, the stock market is driven by psychology. And what that means is, to paraphrase Alfred Sloan, is that whats good for Microsoft is good for the tech industry in general(in regards to stock prices) And vice-versa. People are fickle and tend to make sweeping generalizations about the computer industry.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -- Chuck Flynn

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @11:16AM EST (#159)
1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable.

No, you have to thank the reverse engineering of the IBM BIOS, combined with the emergence of Microsoft for that.

2. MS have consistently brought down prices

MS, recently, has been consistently increasing prices, especially on the OS component. Part of their strategy in cutting other prices is undercutting, which is good competitive practice. After all, they can make up for it by ripping us off in other ways.

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software.

Tell me, have you even tried Word 2000? I can't stand it, and would purge it from my computer if it wasn't for the fact that there is hardly a choice when everyone else uses Word 2000. Random table magic, unstable Office Assistants, occaisonal lockups. I'll pass.

Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there? Certainly not Linux.

Actually, if we're talking about 1992, I'm tempted to say OS/2. But OS/2 never got the Win32 license it needed to survive, and previous antitrust run-ins that IBM has with the DOJ prevented them from properly marketing their product.

And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

Really, you don't think she'd choose a stable Office clone (StarOffice) that reads more modern file formats then Word 2 does? A decent install of Mandrake has a fairly minimal learning curve and is a helluvalot better then Win3.1. And while we're on topic, lets remember that most computer users in offices would rather call up the IT boys to fix anything on their computer, regardless of it runs Win3.1/9x/NT or Linux.

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

Granted, but don't forget to thank Cisco too :)

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance.

Netscape 6 is a poor release of an incomplete software product (Mozilla). I challenge you to run Mozilla 0.8, it's good. And lets remember, this thing is a complete rewrite from the ground up, designed to run across platforms in compliance with standards. IE can't claim that.

This just backs up my point - Microsoft software is of exceptional quality. They hire the best programmers because they can afford to, and they release top software. Word beats anything else on the market, and as a usable OS, so does Windows (and on stability, Windows 2000 ranks pretty highly to). Combine this with easy administration - the idiot in my office is in charge of DNS administration, which he can easily do using MS DNS manager, because it's just point, right click/properties. He'd have no chance with Bind.

I reiterate my prior points. Word 2k is abysmal software, especially when compared to Word 7 or Word 97. It's bigger, slower, buggier.

As for DNS administration, I recall a few weeks ago when my friend and I were at work, playing with Win2k server. To do anything, you still needed a conceptual knowlege of what a zone was, what a reverse lookup was, and in the end, the DNS setup was remarkably like setting up BIND because the concepts were the same. All the same data got entered, just in different places (pretty GUI windows instead of a textfile in /etc). In reality, knowing BIND was our greatest asset in setting up that DNS.

Anywho, that's my rant. It just seems strange to me that now MS has been made the victim instead of the badguy that everyone wants to pat them

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[ Reply to This | Parent ]
They love Microsoft........ (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @11:25AM EST (#199)
At America's Great Next University........

www.uky.edu


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Before M$ there was DRI on PCs. (Score:2)
by crovira (charles@rovira.org) on Thursday March 01, @11:36AM EST (#246)
(User #10242 Info) http://www.rovira.org/
Uh where did you get the line that M$ started anything about affordability? Linux and all the OpenSource stuff is FREE! Developped because somebody needed it and wasn't greedy with it.

Find me anything that M$ actually created that has not been an utter failure. Bob?

Pu-leez! M$ sees something and buys it outright (QDOS) or reverse-engineers it (Make it more like the Mac! -Gates) Before he acquired Express, there was MultiPlan, a VisiCalc clone. Want me to go on?

Gates is a pimp and a nasty bully one at that. Technology lets him have a bulding full of hos. But they're still hos.

Charles-A. The opinions expressed here are my own. If you don't like 'em... Think up your own stuff. Freedom from RIA
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:4, Insightful)
by Golias on Thursday March 01, @11:40AM EST (#262)
(User #176380 Info)
Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

Thanks to Apple, who made the first affordable home computer, and Compaq, who reverse-engineered the IBM PC. If OS/2 had won the desktop war instead of Windows, computers would still be cheap. If neither had won, and each had 50% market share, computers would still be cheap. Microsoft deserves exactly no credit for this.

MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market;

Kindly name 3 spreadsheet programs that cost more than Excel. Can't do it? Didn't think so.

they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before.

I could flame your spelling of "there", but it seems like a very fitting malipropism this time. :)

And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle,

Bzzt. People pay more for Oracle because it out-preforms MS SQL.

is much cheaper than it, and thus benefits consumers that way.

PostgreSQL is free, runs of free operating systems, and works great.

Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there?

There was the Apple Macintosh, which was a better GUI, more stable, far easier to learn, and even ran MS Office better than Windows 3.1 did at the time.

Certainly not Linux. And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

I'll take that bet.

Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

Microsoft software is also used in the UK, so that statement is just silly. Or are you trying to imply that the economy would be weaker if we were buying most of our software from other US companies? That's even sillier.

Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance. But IE 5.5 beating Netscape 6 is not what happened. At the time when Netscape's business model was scuttled by MS's illegal practives, IE sucked! Had Netscape remained a strong company with lots of resources to command, the browser they would have developed by now may have been outstanding... but we will never know, thanks to MS and their illegal abuse of monopoly power.

This just backs up my point - Microsoft software is of exceptional quality.

Anybody who says that clearly has no experience working with exceptional software. It's like the old saying goes, "I used to think I never had a bad day, until one day I had a good one."

They hire the best programmers because they can afford to,

No, they hire green, mallable kids right out of college, and mold them into the One Microsoft Way.

and they release top software. Word beats anything else on the market, and as a usable OS,

Word is not an OS. It also is not the best word processor available. It's widely used because it's been bundled with "Business PC's" for a decade now, and people who don't know any better think that .doc is a standard.

so does Windows (and on stability, Windows 2000 ranks pretty highly to). Combine this with easy administration - the idiot in my office is in charge of DNS administration, which he can easily do using MS DNS manager, because it's just point, right click/properties. He'd have no chance with Bind. So, you are saying that Windows is the ideal server environment if you want your network to be run by idiots. That's pretty tough to argue with, I guess. :)

The fact is, for a small business with not many staff, Microsoft software allows them to compete with the big guys - they ca

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    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by CargoCult (jonfrum@coconutmail.co.vu) on Thursday March 01, @03:55PM EST (#684)
    (User #313610 Info) http://enzo.gen.nz/jonfrum/
    From memory (and it was a while ago) Lotus 123 were late to windows and produced a more expensive product because "they owned spreadsheets" (just like visicalc before them)

    Apple screwed up not licensing their hardware, end of story

    Errmm Oracle outperforms SQL on Sun Starfires, not what I choose to run as I'm not rich. SQL is nore usable, more stable (its a newer codebase) and hasn't sold its ass to Java

    The netscape thing is not true, ie1/2 sucked to the max, ie3 rocked and thats when netscape tanked - they failed to innovate, got arrogant, lost a few good engineers...

    Wrong on the engineering side, I've seen presentations by Dave Cutler, Charles Simonyi, Jim Grey, Hal Berenson, Dave Campbell and Goetz Graefe - these guys are comp sci giants

    I'm afraid your post is pretty innacurate and your arrogant crack at the end puts you in the sad bearded & sandled UNIX bigot league.

    I choose Windows for somethings, Solaris for others, and MVS for others - horses for courses.
    ....and I value my fellow workers

    **Vanuatu or bust**
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
      by Golias on Thursday March 01, @04:25PM EST (#716)
      (User #176380 Info)
      From memory (and it was a while ago) Lotus 123 were late to windows and produced a more expensive product because "they owned spreadsheets" (just like visicalc before them)

      Nice antecdote. Nothing to do with my point, but interesting. The point is that Excel is probably the most expensive spreadsheet on the market right now. If you think otherwise, name three that cost more.

      Apple screwed up not licensing their hardware, end of story

      Again, irrelivant. I never said that Apple should have won the desktop wars in my post. The only two things I said about Apple was 1. Apple introduced affordable desktop computers tot he world (TRUE), and 2. When Windows 3.1 came out it was vastly inferior, by almost any measure, to the Macintosh OS. (ALSO TRUE)

      Errmm Oracle outperforms SQL on Sun Starfires, not what I choose to run as I'm not rich. SQL is nore usable, more stable (its a newer codebase) and hasn't sold its ass to Java

      I didn't say running Oracle was cheap. In fact I said people pay more to use it. My point was that if performance is what matters most to you, it is a better choice than SQL. I noticed that you chose to ignore my point that PostgreSQL, which also works great and stacks up to MS-SQL quite well, is completely free and can run on a completely free OS.

      The netscape thing is not true, ie1/2 sucked to the max, ie3 rocked and thats when netscape tanked - they failed to innovate, got arrogant, lost a few good engineers...

      Sorry, but IE3 also sucked. It was enough better than IE2 that people didn't completely hate it, but coercing OEM's to drop Navigator and bundling IE with Windows is what killed Netscape, not a better browser. Microsoft's own internal documents acknowledged that they could NEVER have beaten Netscape on a level playing field.

      Wrong on the engineering side, I've seen presentations by Dave Cutler, Charles Simonyi, Jim Grey, Hal Berenson, Dave Campbell and Goetz Graefe - these guys are comp sci giants

      Okay, you saw some some spiffy lectures, I'm very happy for you. I don't know what that has to do with my point, but congratulations.

      I'm afraid your post is pretty innacurate and your arrogant crack at the end puts you in the sad bearded & sandled UNIX bigot league.

      If you are going to call me innacurate, you should at least point out ONE thing I said that was incorrect. Also, I don't know what you mean by "arrogant crack at the end". Do you mean my signature file? That's always there, and it's only meant to make you chuckle. Sorry if it didn't amuse you. As for the "sad bearded $ sandled UNIX bigot league"... You could not be further from the truth. If the depth of your comments are anything to go by, I probably have more experience with NT servers than you do. I have several different platforms, including a couple versions of Windows, runnung on my systems at home, and use Solaris, Linux, Windows, and even MacOS at work.

      I choose Windows for somethings, Solaris for others, and MVS for others - horses for courses.
      ....and I value my fellow workers

      For somebody who claims to be so open minded, you sure launched a tantrum in my direction.

      Information wants to be anthropomorphized.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @11:41AM EST (#273)
> 3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do > produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 > wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what > competition was there? Certainly not Linux. And > even given that, if you ask me if I want my > secretary on the current state of the art > Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet > you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more > effective on Windows 3.1 You're out of your mind. You really think your secretary would be more effective using Word on Win 3.1 then StarOffice on Linux??? I might give you the benefit of the doubt if you had said WordPerfect on Win3.1, but Word on 3.1 was basically unusable for anything beyond a quick memo. I know, I started writing my thesis on 3.1 & Word. My life got considerably better when I got WordPerfect. WordPerfect was a far superiour product for Win3.1. And Excel was nothing compared to Quattro. What happened to them? Bundling agreements. When I bought my PPro a few years back, you couldn't buy a name-brand PC without MS-Office pre-installed. And you couldn't get a price break to have it left off so you could get the product of your choice. A Dell salesperson even told me this was due to their agreement with MS. The Netscape argument is a joke. The DOJ had many arguments they could have made better, especially the office suite bundling stuff. Do you even remember using Word on 3.1? Have you _EVER_ used StarOffice? StarOffice may be slow and resource hungry, but I've never had it crash or corrupt documents the way Word did/does. And of course Linux never crashes. Something Win9* still can't claim.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
by Chakat (email sucks) on Thursday March 01, @11:44AM EST (#279)
(User #320875 Info) http://www.google.com/search?q=chakat
Lemme go get a shovel, 'cuz that's one helluva lot of bullshit. Allow me to refute

1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

So the Apple II, the TI99/A, the CBM Vic-20, the CBM-64, they were what, chopped liver?

2. MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market; they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before. And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle, is much cheaper than it, and thus benefits consumers that way.

Do Lotus 123 and Visicalc ring a bell? And as for your claim that SQL server is so great, why does eBay, who is in a partnership with microsoft, use Sun servers for their databases?

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there? Certainly not Linux. And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

OS/2 was available back then, and if it weren't such a memory hog (it thrashed on less than 8 megs), it would have mopped the floor with Windows 3.1; it was a better working environment.
I'd also be willing to take that bet. Give me a couple hours and an empty partition and I'll have a computer set up that would give a Windows 98 desktop a good run for the money, let alone Win 3.1

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

I'll agree that the US has a much stronger IT sector, but that's more because of lower taxes and less government intrusion. If microsoft were not to have existed, you would still see a very strong IT sector; there would still be a great want to hack.

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance. This just backs up my point - Microsoft software is of exceptional quality. They hire the best programmers because they can afford to, and they release top software. Word beats anything else on the market, and as a usable OS, so does Windows (and on stability, Windows 2000 ranks pretty highly to). Combine this with easy administration - the idiot in my office is in charge of DNS administration, which he can easily do using MS DNS manager, because it's just point, right click/properties. He'd have no chance with Bind.

The fact is, for a small business with not many staff, Microsoft software allows them to compete with the big guys - they can offer ISP provision, because they don't need highly paid admins. This is great news for the economy and great news for them.

Netscape 6 is pretty much crap, I'll give you that. It was based on Alpha test grade software with some of the more critical bugs ironed out; they should have waited for Mozilla to stabilize a bit more before they forked off. I don't have too much with ms DNS manager, so I can't comment too much on that, other than saying that Bind was designed more for a larger organization with a sizable amount of systems. Other DNS solutions for Unix/Linux exist for smaller setups. I'll even refute that an MS shop is the always the best solution for a small business. The company I work for has a "traditional" unix server/dumb terminal setup for most of the office uses; it has a lower cost, higher reliability and higher efficiency than a desktop solution.

6. The fact is, as I have stated, there is a lot of jealousy and resentment out there - whereas the truth is that Microsoft produce damn fine software, and their very low prices (believe me - just check the pric

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A MS lemming speaks: Re:MS are good for consumers (Score:1)
by cworley (cworley[at]symbionsys[dot]com) on Thursday March 01, @11:47AM EST (#283)
(User #96911 Info)
>1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

This was not due to Microsoft, rather, Compaq and others reverse engineered the IBM bios.

With Open Hardware, anybody could build a motherboard or adapter card and the prices plummeted. Intel's processor and Microsoft's OS were the only portions of the IBM PC that couldn't be reverse engineered (note that AMD, et. al., pays license fees for it's Intel clones, and Wine is always one MS patch away from improper emulation).

>2. MS have consistently brought down prices -

After they destroy the competition, the prices go back up. The whole Office package used to sell (not upgrade) for $99. It's tripled in price. Their C compilers were under $100 until they crushed Borland.

Monopoly "Dumping" is illegal. It only benefits consumers for the short term. You're very short sighted on this issue.

>3. ...if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux

It wouldn't be difficult if an OEM bundled Linux with the hardware, as is done with Windows. Furthermore, if they supported the distribution too (which they can do with Linux, and not with Windows), then they could provide a single point of contact for support: just like Sun, Apple, and IBM do on closed hardware platforms.

>4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

Think how much better the economy would have been if Microsoft didn't use it's monopoly powers to kill competition (see my other posts).

>5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors.

The proof must come from competitors that tried but were crushed by unfair monopolistic practices... there are a lot more waiting in the wings.

>they can offer ISP provision, because they don't need highly paid admins. This is great news for the economy and great news for them.

These small businesses waste so much time because of the problems with Microsoft products and do-it-yourself service. The estimates of the cost of this are mind boggling. I often see presidents of small companies working out the software problems... spending weeks at a time overcoming Microsoft generated problems. Microsoft even admits that "Service is the future of software".

6. The fact is, as I have stated, there is a lot of jealousy and resentment out there - whereas the truth is that Microsoft produce damn fine software,

Yes we resent the fact that we must fix Windows for Bill -- he makes the money, we waste our time. It's not damn fine software until you can look at the source to see what it (or you) are doing wrong.


When I die, please cast my ashes upon Bill Gates -- for once, make him clean up after me!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by mwalker (walker@msgto.com) on Thursday March 01, @11:50AM EST (#288)
(User #66677 Info) http://www.nfr.com/
5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors.

This statement is demonstrably untrue. I am not a competitor to Microsoft - I write embedded software for optical switches. I never use microsoft software, except on the dedicated machine I use to keep in touch with the rest of the world. I am forced to keep this second machine due to the closed standards (.doc, .xls) documents that I get from vendors, co-workers, etc.

Almost everyone I know in the computing field - my co-workers, our IS guys, our vendors, everyone hates Microsoft. They hate them so much that the very mention of the word makes them shake with anger. None of us compete with Microsoft, nor have we ever. We're embedded programmers, we're agnostic. But we're also good software engineers, and we know when we're having poorly designed, shitty software shoved down our throats. Like, say, vxworks. The difference in the embedded market is that we have a choice.

Why don't people talk about the real venom? Why don't they talk about the hidden viruses in windows, or the blatant plagarism in DOS 6.2, or the masses of forced non-interoperability in IE 4+ to push their server. or the faked videotape they showed a judge!

People with no vested interest in competing with Microsoft hate them. Not because they are jealous, but because they are not stupid.

This case is obvious to anyone who understands software.

Read 2600. It's Off the Hook!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Before Microsoft, computers were unaffordable? (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @11:51AM EST (#289)
Can you remind me again how much the Commodore 64, the Atari 800XL/520ST, and the Commodore Amiga 500 cost, again? It's been so long, I've apparently forgotten, because I distinctly remember that my lower-middle-class family in the 80's somehow being able to afford them.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
by mech9t8 on Thursday March 01, @11:52AM EST (#293)
(User #310197 Info)
Re: Microsoft Ease-of-Use Quality: Only those that are willing to view configuring their computer as an end rather than a means (ie. computer geeks who are inheritly interested in setting these things up) can install/run Linux.

If someone wants to use a PC to word process, or play with images, or whatever, Linux is simply too complex, it has too much of a learning curve. (Imagine your typical mother trying to set up a Linux machine). Recent distributions are getting easier, but they still haven't reached the level Windows 95 had six years ago. I mean, RPM's (from what I've seen, I could be wrong) don't even add things to a menu/program manger or associate documents with programs - Windows has had that since Windows 3.0. So if you want to run a program in Linux, you have to know the command line... and if you want to make it easier to use, you have to go make configuration changes to Gnome/KDE. Mom ain't going to want to figure out how to do that... most people don't even reconfigure their Start Menu from what they're given.

Until the Linux developers really begin to try to think like non-computer people, Linux just isn't going to catch up with the general populace. It's like Linux GUIs... every screenshot on the Gnome or KDE sites has multiple terminal windows. No one except computer geeks would ever want to use a terminal window.

This is also carrying over to servers, btw... Windows 2000 is way easier to use than Linux (case in point: the Management Console). A, well, stupider person could manage a Microsoft network/server than a Linux network/server. Since smarter people are more expensive, Microsoft's track could actually end up looking cheaper.

Linux is certainly better in my areas, but in ease-of-use, Microsoft is way ahead. (Way ahead, from a MS/Linux comparison. The Mac/MS comparison, its arguable... although from what I've seen Mac users tend to think Windows is harder than it is, and I think the Windows UI has been ahead since Windows 95. But that's just personal opinion.)
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by Ctrl-Z (tim@epenguin.org) on Thursday March 01, @12:01PM EST (#323)
    (User #28806 Info) http://www.epenguin.org/
    I mean, RPM's (from what I've seen, I could be wrong) don't even add things to a menu/program manger or associate documents with programs -
    Windows has had that since Windows 3.0.


    You should check out debian. It has been
    adding programs to me window manager menus
    for years now. Associate documents with
    programs? Why should a process automatically
    do that anyway?
    All your base are belong to us.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
      by mech9t8 on Thursday March 01, @12:23PM EST (#381)
      (User #310197 Info)
      > Associate documents with
      > programs? Why should a process automatically
      > do that anyway?

      Um... that's the type of thinking that will keep Linux from entering the mainstream. ;)

      You create something in Word. You double-click on it. You expect it to open in Word. Why should the user have to load Word, go to file..open, and double click on it in there? The computer should know what the document is. The user doesn't want to use the Word process to edit a document, the user wants to edit a document (subtle but important difference).

      The end result is what's important, not the tools used. (The computer is just a tool, all the user cares about is writing the letter.)

      That's not to say that associating files with program shouldn't be optional during the install, which most installations neglect to ask about, but for your typical user, that's not a problem.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by HiThere (I.am..charleshixson@earthling.net) on Thursday March 01, @12:04PM EST (#331)
(User #15173 Info)
1) Before MS .. now computers are cheap.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Sorry. MS didn't cause the price drop. The prices had been dropping wildly before MS ever showed up.

2) MS brought down prices?
Have you priced a word processor recently? Remember how much WordStar cost? This is flagrantly false, except in certain restricted domains and periods of time.

3) MS => good software.
Sometimes. MS Word 5.1a for the Mac was the best word processor I've ever used. Sort of killed off the competition. Funny, the Windows version still hasn't gotten that good, and neither have the more recent versions of the Mac MSWord.
MS is known to be able to produce some good software when it sees a very good reason to, e.g. there's a lot of competition. The rest of the time it tends to let bloat and decay set in.

4) MS has benefitted the economy.
How do you know? I can't say for sure whether it did or not, though I tend to think not. It certainly hasn't benefitted me, except by inducing me to move to Linux.

5) Nearly all opposition is from jealous competitors.
Seriously? I've never thought of myself as a competitor to MS, and I'm certainly opposed to them. I used to be a mild supported until our office switched to a Windows standard. Since then I've hated them more every year.

6) The fact is...
That repeating falsehoods doesn't make them true.


Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
Don't let THEM imminetize the eschaton.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Microsoft are bad for consumers and society (Score:2)
by Sloppy (sloppy@spam^H^H^H^Hrt66.com) on Thursday March 01, @12:11PM EST (#358)
(User #14984 Info)

Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable.

Nobody is complaining about what Microsoft did in the mid-to-late 1970s. Microsoft became harmful much later, (somewhere around 1987-1989) when they began to use preloads and per-processor agreements to restrict customer choice. This was long after computers had become affordable.

Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software.

So does everyone else. Whether Microsoft's product are "good" (in the absolute sense) or not is debatable, but one thing is for sure: in the relative sense, their quality is well below average.

An office computer today can't do a damn thing that they weren't doing 10 years ago. 10 years is a lot of time for computer technology to stand still.

in 1992 what competition was there?

OS/2, Mac, Amiga, commercial Unixes, etc. In 1992, Windows 3.1 was way behind the average state of the art. In 1995, Windows 95 was way behind the average state of the art. And ever since then, if Microsoft has started to catch up, it's only because disheartened and disillusioned developers have stopped trying to advance the state of the art, due to the knowledge that they will never be allowed to compete in the market. Except for a few idealistic fringe groups, the only people who are still trying anymore, are the Linux dudes, since they don't have to worry about markets.

Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has.

People wasting money on busywork that doesn't result in production, doesn't help the economy, it hurts it. When someone spends $600 paying me to clean up a mess that was caused by a Microsoft product, then regardless of whether or not I made some bucks, that was economic damage. When someone is emailed a Excel97 document that their Windows3.1+some_old_Excel workstation can't read, so that they spend money upgrading their whole box just to cope with the situation, that is damage. If you believe otherwise, then you must love how much hurricanes "help the economy" by creating construction jobs.

Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors

That's flat out false. Most MS opposition comes from MS customers. It's just that it's the competitors are the ones who have the legal basis for going after MS in court, so they are the ones you hear about. The customers don't have any way to air their grievences -- you can't sue someone for making a product that sucks -- except to "vote with their wallets". But the monopoly keeps them from doing that too. Antitrust is their only hope.

Damaging Microsoft would damage the consumer.

Not damaging Microsoft, will damage the consumer even worse.


---
Have a Sloppy night!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
monopoly begets monopoly (Score:1)
by Rozzin (rozzin@operamail.com) on Thursday March 01, @12:21PM EST (#379)
(User #9910 Info) http://i.am/rozzin/
"...although they have a monopoly, that has come through selling good software at low prices and therefore high volume."

This is very misleading, at best.
Microsoft's monopoly was not built independently `from the ground up'.
Microsoft's monopoly came from IBM.
It wasn't that Microsoft was able to sell its product to consumers, but that IBM was able to sell its product to them, with Microsoft's product bundled.

Do you remember the fable of the dosfish?
-rozzin.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by RayChuang (raychuang00.treet@nospam.yahoo.com) on Thursday March 01, @12:23PM EST (#380)
(User #10181 Info)
I hope you run like heck before all the Linux bigots flame you. :-)

Personally, I think the reason why Microsoft is so successful is the very fact that it was Microsoft's inclusion easy-to-setup networking features in both NIC and dial-up form in Windows 95 that really kicked off the explosive use of the Internet as we know it today. Before Windows 95, setting up your computer to connect to a Internet Service Provider was a very tricky situation, what with the fussy setup of Trumpet Winsock for Windows 3.1x.

Netscape made a lot of money in the early Windows 95 days because they got their Navigator 2.0x browser to work as a WIN32 API application; it took Microsoft a year before they released Internet Explorer 3.0, which matched Netscape's efforts.

What really killed Netscape was the fact that Netscape could not keep up with the improvements in Internet Explorer; by the time IE 5.0 came out, Netscape was way behind the times. So far, Netscape 6.0x is nowhere as fast and is far more resource hungry than IE 5.5 Service Pack 1.

Microsoft has something that few other companies have, and that is an excellent Usability Lab that does research into how to make programs easier to use. Note that IE 5.5 SP1 has a very "polished" feel because of this, while Netscape 6.0x feels like a mish-mash of menus in comparison.

The Linux crowd really needs to back the efforts of companies like Eazel, which seeks to create an easy-to-use, "polished feel" GUI for Linux running under GNOME. The fact that ex-Apple developer Andy Hertzfeld (one of the world's most foremost experts in GUI design) is doing much of the work on the Eazel Nautilus interface gives me hope that Linux will within a few years be able to successfully compete with Windows in terms of easy of installation and use.

Raymond in Mountain View, CA
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @01:06PM EST (#472)
    /BEGIN QUOTE What really killed Netscape was the fact that Netscape could not keep up with the improvements in Internet Explorer; by the time IE 5.0 came out, Netscape was way behind the times. So far, Netscape 6.0x is nowhere as fast and is far more resource hungry than IE 5.5 Service Pack 1. /END QUOTE No, what killed Netscape was MS bundling IE with Windows for free. This dried up Netscape's revenue source which dried up the available funds for further development. According to Microsoft's own records, tying IE to Windows was done in order to kill Netscape and take over the browser market. Highly illegal.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
    by great om (bmgoldne@artsci.wustl.edu) on Thursday March 01, @05:43PM EST (#758)
    (User #18682 Info) http://www.theonion.com
    not if you used an Isp's installation disk. In win 3.1 days I used three different ISP at various times (4 if you count prodigy, which I started using because it came iwth my 286 ps/1)
    Sprynet, PipelineUSA, a local isp called Sufnet --they all had installers that would configure trumpet for you, and the browsers (Mosaic mostly) would activate the trumpet winsock dialer automatically. I didn't really notice a difference when I got win 95, except that the dialog boxes looked different.

    (DSL and a routered box and dialing up is a thing of the past, but....)
    ------- Oh damn.... the Sigfile escaped... -Great OM
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:3, Insightful)
by Shotgun on Thursday March 01, @12:30PM EST (#397)
(User #30919 Info)
1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

What does MS have to do with the current drop in RAM prices? Did they enable the AMD and other cheap processor makers? Considering that the price of the OS is the only component of the PC that has RISEN in the past ten years, just how do you attribute the price drop to MS?

On a related note, how do you attribute the price drop in MAINFRAME computer prices to MS?

2. MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market; they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before. And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle, is much cheaper than it, and thus benefits consumers that way.

This is good?! The courts have a name for this. It's called DUMPING. Let me explain. A big company comes into town. Just for shits and giggles, we'll call this company Wal-Mart. Through much fanfare, they advertise ridiculously low prices which they tell everyone they can offer because they 'buy and sell in volume' (ie, we lose money on each widget, but we make it up in volume). Small-fry local competitors can't compete, and within the year they have all shut-down. Wal-Mart then discovers, to their incredulous suprise, that their superstore in the middle of rural nowhere isn't making money. Their solution is either:

1) Raise prices. Usually above what the small-fry guy was charging because there is so much corporate overhead to cover.

2) Close the store and make the people travel an additional 40 miles to the next town (where there is only a Wal-Mart since they've also locked out all the competition there.)

Either way, the customer ends up with crappier products at the same or worse price, worse service since the minimum wage checkout person who used to have his own store really couldn't care less if the wheels fall off you kids bike, and no one to complain to (as if Wal-Mart gives a damn what one customer thinks, unless that customer is a radio talk show host.)

I know that I'm responding to a troll, an ignoramus or a fool, as evidenced by your claim that SQL Server is anywhere close to being on par with Oracle.

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software.

More troll/ignoramus/fool evidence. Define good. (Hint: "I can write a letter before the system crashes," is not it.)

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

Because of it or in spite of it?

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance.

I'm not an MS competitor. I've just used their products as well as others. I choose to oppose MS because I'm consistently appalled by the fact that even though competitors offer superior performance, they are consistently shut out by monopolistic practises. It's not just Netscape either. Can you say DR-DOS, just to name one?

Strangling distribution channels with monopolistic threats is not 'fair-and-square'. Illegal tying and dumping are not 'fair-and-square'. Comparing
1)a product that didn't receive proper development funding because cash flow was cut by monopolistic practise of a competitor
2)a product that was over funded by the monopolistic competitor with monies derived from other monopolized sources in order to attempt to hide that harm is being done to the consumer
is not a fair comparison.

whereas the truth is that Microsoft produce damn fine software

I think I've done a very good job of avoiding personal attack and refuting your presumptions with facts and logic. On this point, however, I'm completely at a loss to dam up the rising tide

Read the rest of this comment...

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
You know nothing about DBs (Score:2)
by Gorimek on Thursday March 01, @12:43PM EST (#423)
(User #61128 Info) http://LAR5.com
Plenty very doubtful statements here, but I'll just bring up a very glaring one.

Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle

I don't think you can find anyone doing serious DB work that will agree with that. SQL Server does have it's uses, but it's way behind Oracle in both quality and features.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:2)
by ChaosDiscord on Thursday March 01, @12:59PM EST (#462)
(User #4913 Info) http://www.highprogrammer.com/alan/
1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

It was very generous of Microsoft to keep prices down on all of those computers they sell. Oh, wait, Microsoft doesn't sell computers. In fact, the price of computers is low enough that the price of Windows is is a big chunk of the total cost of a new (low-end) machine. If you want to thank someone for affordable computers, thank Compaq for producing the first clone of the IBM PC.

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there? Certainly not Linux. And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

What competition? How about OS/2, or DESQView? Many people were enjoying protected memory and pre-emptive multi-tasking before Microsoft chose to share it with us.

What is your evidence for Microsoft benefitting the economy? That they're big and everyone uses them? Standard Oil and AT&T were both big and everyone used them. The economy in both cases improved when they were broken up.

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

I trust you've tested your theory by comparing the economy with Microsoft to the economy of an alternate universe without Microsoft? We can't know for certain that Microsoft helped the economy. Maybe the economy would be stronger if there were many more companies all fighting against each other on more even terms.

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance.

Just compare Netscape 2 with IE 2. Microsoft didn't really have such a clear lead then. To give themselves the lead, Microsoft used their monopoly to take distribution channels away from Netscape. I don't see anything "fair-and-square" about threatening to kill Office for Mac unless Apple make IE the default Mac browser.


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:1)
by Kwantus (xjnaghf@lnubb.pbz(rot13)) on Thursday March 01, @03:19PM EST (#645)
(User #34951 Info)
1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

I could debate the real benefits of a computer in every home - even the basic truth of it, many of my neighbours get on without one - but anywho, I remember using M$ BASIC on a Pet in, what, 1977, '78? Didn't it take rather a looong time, in the digital world, for this crop you allege M$ to have sowed (sown?), to grow? I think you confused correlation with causation here, as another pointed out... how did you look at all the bazillion computer companies that have come and gone since M$ was founded and decided it deserves all the credit? Does IBM get none for making the PC? Does... whoever it was... get none for backengineering the BIOS and making competitive PC clones? Does Altair - the computer for which M$ first produced, IIRC (where's my Hackers?) - get none for seeding a p.c. market in the first place?

Or are you just another johnny-cum-lately M$ worshipper?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Microsoft are good for consumers and society (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @03:20PM EST (#646)
Goodness, where to start:

Look, I'm not going to bullshit here. I'll just give you the facts.

1. Before MS came along, computers were unaffordable. Now we all reap the benefits of a computer in every home.

I don't think that MS can take credit for electronics dropping in price. CD players also cost a lot less than when they were invented, without any single company monopolizing any aspect of the industry -- all it takes is a widely adopted standard.

2. MS have consistently brought down prices - they cut prices in the spreadsheet market; they are producing software that is cheaper than what was their before. And they're still doing it. MS Sql Server, which is at least on a par with Oracle, is much cheaper than it, and thus benefits consumers that way.

MS has been very clever about this. They actually raise prices, but they do so slowly, while adding just enough features to justify the upgrade. What percentage of a $2500 IBM PC was for PC-DOS? What percentage of a $500 PC is Windows? MS does tend to dramatically undercut competitors on initial pricing E.g. SQL Server initially cost less than Oracle) but then they ramp up pricing by changing their licensing terms. For example, if a company buys a PC with Windows on it, but reinstalls the same OS on it as a part of their standard setup, they now have to buy two copies of Windows. No, I'm not making this up.

3. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually do produce good software. Certainly Windows 3.1 wasn't very stable, but in 1992 what competition was there? Certainly not Linux. And even given that, if you ask me if I want my secretary on the current state of the art Linux, or on Windows 3.1 and Word 2, I'll bet you a dollar to a hundred that she'll be more effective on Windows 3.1

I think that it would be hard to argue that MS provides good software. You could argue that MS provides adaquate software, perhaps. You could even argue that MS has prevented the development of viable alternatives. But in the specific case you mention, compare the productivity of that secretary under Windows 3.1 or MacOS, and the answer is (documented) pretty clear. That is (to be clear) the MacOS user of that time could be 2x as productive, with 1/4th the IT support cost, compared to the Win3.1 user. And, of course, there were also options including DR-DOS (faster, more stable, lower cost than MS-DOS), GEM (much faster than Windows, though not as featurefull), AmigaDOS (better than Win3.1 in every way, but sold by a gang of idiots), and I think OS/2 1.0 might have been out then, with clear technical advantages.

You have to judge the suitability of software to its target. MS is pretty good at generating feature-rich desktop software for corporate knowlewdge workers. Those people are willing to accept unstable, inefficient tools because they care more about features. MS is very bad at producing other sorts of software, which is why they have done very badly in both the server and embedded spaces. That is because, in those spaces, people's buying decisions are not made based on features, but on efficiency, reliability and simplicity. As a culture, MS has always won by investing heavily in having more features than their competition, and they haven't been able to retrain themselves to suit other markets.

4. Microsoft have benefitted the US economy. It really has. Compared with the UK, for instance, the strength of the US IT industry is vast - and much of this strength is due to Microsoft.

Why would you attribute that to MS? The UK has as homogenous an OS environment as the US. IMO, the difference is in the VC markets' willingness to invest in startups in the US, unlike the relatively conservative european markets.

5. Nearly all opposition to MS comes from jealous competitors. Netscape have been beaten fair-and-square by MS, for instance - just compare Netscape 6 with MSIE, for instance. This just backs up my point - Microsoft software is of exceptional quality. They hire the best programmers because the

Read the rest of this comment...

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
How about this? (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, @03:50PM EST (#680)
I get to set up the following system for her, though:

Software -

GNU/Linux 2.2.18 +

Ximian GNOME 1.0 +

Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux

Hardware:

Pentium (any speed) +

at least 64M RAM +

  S3 video w/ 2M +

15" monitor +

standard mouse +

standard keyboard
Is it a bet? My dollar against your 100USD ... and I'll bet 100USD...

Ready to lose 10000USD?
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Your primary reasoning error .. (Score:2)
by BeanThere on Thursday March 01, @05:14PM EST (#741)
(User #28381 Info) http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/2018/

Many people (you included) seem to think that Microsoft was the only company who ever wanted to try produce affordable software for the masses on consumer PCs. I've heard this argument a number of times before - basically, the argument is that if Microsoft hadn't been around, nobody would ever have had the "vision" to try develop anything in this market, and that we'd still be sitting with computers being expensive primitive mainframes.

This argument is, of course, completely ridiculous and laughable. Really - there were *hundreds* of people and companies who ALL saw that PCs were going to be BIG MONEY. Plenty of companies tried to get on this bandwagon. IBM was one of the big ones (but they had antitrust worries of their own back then.) But the fact is, if Microsoft had never existed, EVERYTHING that they have done, and more, would have been done by now by other companies - and most likely cheaper and better. Other companies would (and have, so this is a huge "duh") have made databases. Other companies would have made friendly GUI environments (and had (Mac), so this is another huge "duh"). Other companies would have produced cheap, easy to use spreadsheets. Other companies would have produced good word processors. Other companies would have come up with the "easy administration" thing long ago already. Microsoft is *not* the only company that ever thought these things would be big. Get real.

"... insert the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 compact disc with your computer turned off." - NT Installation Manual

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
  The smallest worm will turn being trodden on. -- William Shakespeare, "Henry VI"
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