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Microsoft Operating Systems Software Windows

MS Sales Growth Limited by Delays in Windows 308

Alien54 writes "As reported by Bloomberg, Microsoft Corp.'s sales growth will probably drop below 10 percent next fiscal year for the first time because delays in the next version of Windows have created the longest-ever lag between releases of the software. They go into some detail on how the lack of new products also hurts multiyear subscriptions, because clients that buy the contracts expecting to get product upgrades may not renew if new items won't be available for a while. Didn't someone say once that they have enough reserves to last 5 years without any sales at all?"
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MS Sales Growth Limited by Delays in Windows

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  • How much? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LaserLyte ( 725803 ) * on Saturday May 08, 2004 @02:56PM (#9094823)
    I wonder how much Longhorn is going to cost exactly? A combination of Microsoft's obviously declining userbase and 5+ years of development costs needing to be covered is going to mean Longhorn's pricetag will have to be pretty steep if MS is going to profit directly from it.

    Hmm... the article claims "Windows runs 93 percent of the world's personal computers". That's way more than I would have guessed. How is that measured exactly? And who by?
    • by LaserLyte ( 725803 ) * on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:02PM (#9094871)
      And...of course, this is after I've bought my nice new 6GHz/2GB/1TB machine [slashdot.org] to run it on :)
      • Re:How much? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gortbusters.org ( 637314 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @05:31PM (#9095767) Homepage Journal
        You know, I have to wonder where the line is drawn between new features/performance and usability. What I mean is a nice 6GHZ/2GB/1TB machine sounds like it'd be great for 'next generation' applications, but hey what kind of applications are those? More specifically how much cool new stuff can you cram in together before using the computer becomes unmanagable?

        Here's a good example. Arguably I could go out and replace my old 1GHZ laptop with a nice spanky new one. What would this get me... I might be able to play a few more games. I might be able to keep more applications open at once. I might be able to have tons of tabs in Firefox open.... but there is a limit to all of this stuff. More than 10 tabs open and the labels of the tabs become un-readable in Mozilla. More then a few word documents open and you have to search through the list in the panel. Why not just open/close documents from the filesystem?

        As it stands today, I can run outlook, have a few word documents open, an IDE, some business apps, and winamp running and my computer does fine. I'm highly productive and I have little desire to get a new computer. (Caveat: I gave up gaming on PCs a while ago, it was always a loosing battle for keeping up with the latest graphics card, and I like laptops -- now I just do Xbox).

        Let me wrap up my rant with some trolling... IE hangs today and lags the hell out of Windows. Outlook gets slow/crashes and Word crashes. Maybe 6GHZ/2GB/1TB is a precaution for all the havoc from xaml/avalon.
        • (Caveat: I gave up gaming on PCs a while ago, it was always a loosing battle for keeping up with the latest graphics card, and I like laptops -- now I just do Xbox).

          This is happening more and more often. When a console is less expensive than the next graphics card, and 1/10 as expensive as the computer required to run the next graphics card, the decision is obvious.

          Example: UT 2004 will not run at more than 15FPS on a rather recent machine. No matter what resolution it is running at, nor what the sett
    • Re:How much? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by msim ( 220489 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:05PM (#9094897) Homepage Journal
      Even taking the inflation costs into account, haven't the costs of windows ballooned disproportionately since the days of windows 95?

      I mean Win98 was a bit of a hike, WinME (i never even walked past it in a shop, i'd take a detour) presumably shot way up in cost. Then they extolled the virtues of Windows 2000 (which i admit was the best they've released thus far) as the start of the merger of consumer OS and Business OS.

      And now they are wallet raping everyone with XP. LaserLyte may well be right about the costs going even further up into the stratisphere. No matter what people say though, i just find it a bit difficult to get my head around paying so much frickin money for something as intangible as software.

      I'm sure that if they lowered the cost of the software somewhat, then they'd be able to cash in on the people that originally thought their software too expensive (and thusly found a mate with a cracked cd of Latest-funky-jive (TM) operating system.

      Sure as shit on a stick they'd have my attention and i'd consider buying Microsoft Software if they made it more stable and cheaper. And that's saying something!
      • Re:How much? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by msim ( 220489 )
        blah my spelling sucks today :-\
      • Re:How much? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ryanh50 ( 534202 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:55PM (#9095185)
        I find your comments about the cost of XP rather interesting. The XP Home upgrade can be purchased for 99.00 at any retail store. THe pro version is 199.00.
        If you fancy yourself a new computer you can get an oem copy of XP PRO fro around 149.00. I am assumming that you are building your computers.
        When you look at the cost of software the OS is very very cheap compared to other sofware packages. Symantec wants between 45 and 60 bucks for a virus scanner! So lets be reasonable and say that a hundred or so bucks for an Operating system is a good deal.
        • Re:How much? (Score:2, Informative)

          by msim ( 220489 )
          Oh heck, my original rationing was correct.
          That was for the OEM releases. However for the "full boxed" software, i got the following prices from "Harvey Norman" which are the bastard son equivalent of Fry's & Walmart over here in Australia. Cut & pasted from their website.

          microsoft ms windows xp home edition $459.95
          microsoft ms windows xp home edition upg $239.95
          microsoft ms windows xp professional A$669.96
          microsoft ms windows xp professional upg $459.95

          So in some way i was right about the prices
        • Re:How much? (Score:2, Insightful)

          And why did you need the virusscanner in the first place ? Or WinZip/backup/defrag/zonealarm/spyware removal/whatever-ware for that matter ?
        • Re:How much? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vsprintf ( 579676 )

          Symantec wants between 45 and 60 bucks for a virus scanner! So lets be reasonable and say that a hundred or so bucks for an Operating system is a good deal.

          Is it really? The irony here is thick. For a hundred bucks you get an OS that will get you 0wned before you can spend the six hours needed patching it over the 'net. You will have to pay for that virus scanner you mentioned to protect you from the OS. Then, by default, you will be running with administrator privileges because many third-party progra

          • Re:How much? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Gortbusters.org ( 637314 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @05:55PM (#9095932) Homepage Journal
            Selling software is all about markups. Even with a good sized and well paid development team, you only need to make a few million before you cover the cost of R&D. Through in marketing, support, training, etc and you've maybe at most doubled (5mil to 10mil lets say). For all software giants, this is probably a drop in the bucket. They probably have their bread and butter products that gross in the hundreds of millions. That's all US owned development. Imagine if 90% of your development was outsourced, you just grow your profit margin even more. But hey, that's just business as usual...

            The real rip, as you point out, is the surround support that Windows brings. It takes SO much to get a productive system, and even then you can experience disaster..... here's one scenario I'm sure you or someone you know has been through:

            You call up Dell and have a spanky new PC delivered. But, you don't dare plug it into the network because you didn't get the latest virus scanner with it. So you go out, buy the virus scanner, hook everything up and start to surf the web. Assuming that you don't pickup a new virus between when you connect and when your virus scanner updates itself, you are probably 'OK' for a while.

            Now of course there are almost no applicatons on your new computer. Minesweep, Word Pad, Paint... bleh. So you go get Office, buy a handful of fun computer games, PhotoShop, Quicken, Turbo Tax and you're finally starting to get use out of your computer.

            As time goes on you use your computer as normal. Sometimes it hangs, sometimes a program crashes, but hey that's ok as long as there isn't a blue screen of death. At some point, you start to notice pop-ups. First a couple, then like 4 or 5 whenever you open up IE. Maybe your virus scanner didn't find them! One of your techie friends say that you got 'adware' or 'spyware' or something that's like a virus, but not harmful -- just annoying.

            You find something like PestPatrol and download the free version. To your suprise you have 50-100 adware/spyware programs on your computer. Oh wait, you can't clean them unless you pay another 60 for the registered version. You buy it, you clean it, but for some reason things just keep coming back.

            As time goes on you probably end up doing 1 of 2 things. First, someone might tell you it's good to reinstall Windows every year or so to "clean things out." Another option is that you just oculdn't get rid of that last virus/adware/spyware. Not being a techie, you find some directions, execute them wrong, and the system won't boot anymore. Tech support (you did get the 3 year warranty right?) says they will have to reload your systme.

            Depending on if your re-install was planned or un-planned you might have saved data or not. The worst case scenario is of course that you do your re-install but you are missing all your applications! You downloaded the software instead of getting the CD... You didn't buy the upgrade service, you don't have your old license key, they don't offer the old version, and no discount on the new version....

            Moral of the story, Windows seems to be a good way to pay a lot of money for things just to get a system that is actually useful to you. Also, with a system prone to re-installations you open yourself up to upgrade package fees or buying the same software multiple times. This whole scenario could have easiy been a Linux user, but the difference is the availability of free software and initial costs.
      • Re:How much? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Jaysyn ( 203771 )
        LOL, don't go shopping for Microstation v8, ArcGIS/IM/FM/SDE, AutoCAD, or any professional 3D Animation/Modeling program. $250-$300 is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of these programs. No, Edu. versions don't count.


      • Re:How much? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by loraksus ( 171574 )
        Yeah, they are "wallet raping" everyone with XP. And will contrinue to do so until longhorn comes out. MS is making a killing delaying their launch date for Longhorn. There isn't any incentive for them to do otherwise.

        They have realized "hey, there really isn't any serious competition, so we really don't need to improve our products with the exception of patches, etc." In the meantime, they collect their fees for almost every computer sold through retail channels while paying almost nothing for programmers
    • Re:How much? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nkh ( 750837 )
      You're saying Longhorn is going to be more expensive but for most people Longhorn will be free (pre-installed on their new PC bought at Wallmart) and they won't see the difference...
      • Re:How much? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jane_Dozey ( 759010 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:18PM (#9094979)
        It won't be free, the cost will just be included in the bottom line of the new PC.
        I wonder if the price of PC's will go up, or if the OEM licences will be proportionatly cheaper.
      • by ecalkin ( 468811 )
        the cost of the machine will be much higher. partially due to the oem license from the manufacturer, but also due the requirements of the machine.

        part of the problem ms will have with this is that windows 2000/xp will run nicely on a lot less resources. two years from now people will asked to buy a machine with a *lot* more memory, disk space, and cpu cycles to support longhorn. disks and memory are cheap but not that cheap and high end cpu speeds are not cheap.

    • Re:How much? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dark404 ( 714846 )
      A combination of Microsoft's obviously declining userbase and 5+ years of development costs needing to be covered is going to mean Longhorn's pricetag will have to be pretty steep if MS is going to profit directly from it.

      Don't get me wrong, I use both windows and linux (mepis to be exact), but I fail to see how it is obvious microsoft's userbase is on the decline. Linux is still very much a niche os, almost exclusively among geeks. Even being overly generous about linux as a server os, desktops outnumb

      • Re:How much? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nightgeometry ( 661444 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:00PM (#9095219) Journal
        Hmmm, I bought a mac recently. When i went into the local apple dealer to try and get one they had a 4 week back log, *too many* people buying them.

        I sat in the shop for awhile, playing with the macs. While i was there about 7 people came in, same as me, always used unix or windows, and wanted a mac. 7 people, but i left after 45 mins (admitedly it was a saturday morning).

        I know more and more people buying cheap (ish) iBooks, first time mac users mostly. It seems to me that mac use is going up quite drastically.

        Could just be I'm seeing more of them as I am looking, if you get what i mean.

        *shrug* just thought I'd say.
      • Re:How much? (Score:5, Informative)

        by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:05PM (#9095243)
        I fail to see how it is obvious microsoft's userbase is on the decline.

        I can't find any solid evidence for a decline.

        Microsoft Sells 210 Million Copies of Windows XP [forbes.com] The number mostly based on new OEM system installs, currently running about 10 million a month, up from 9 million a month last July. Figure in corporate licensing, academic distributions, etc., and the number of legit, licensed, XP installs alone must be over 300-350 million.

        The Google Zeitgeist [google.com] tells much the same story, 90% all queries to Google come from systems running Windows, 47% from systems running XP. Not a bad showing for a three year old O/S.

    • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:21PM (#9094994) Journal
      mm... the article claims "Windows runs 93 percent of the world's personal computers".

      I'm afraid that's a typo.

      It should read "Windows ruins 93 percent of the world's personal computers".


    • Re:How much? (Score:5, Informative)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:33PM (#9095052)
      The price of Windows has very little to do with the cost of developing it. The OS division has annual profits of about 85% [yale.edu]. And of that last 15%, most of it is marketing, support, and manufacturing, not r&d. They are already charging what the market will bear, and since the operating system is a natural monopoly this is far beyond the production cost.
    • Declining market share is different from declining userbase.

      More people using computers means that even if market share shrinks, userbase grows.
    • With the release of Windows 2000, many companies, including mine, upgraded our workstations. With the release of Windows XP a year of so later we saw no reason to upgrade. This is why I believe Microsoft is taking their time with the release of Longhorn. This theory has a flaw because today's hardware won't run Longhorn efficiently from what I have seen. Scratch that theory, I don't know what the hell Microsoft is doing.

      By the time 2006 comes around our Windows 2000 workstations will probally be runnin
    • Re:How much? (Score:2, Interesting)

      [ Various factors ] mean Longhorn's pricetag will have to be pretty steep if MS is going to profit directly from it.

      Well, Microsoft doesn't have to make (much of) a profit on the Longhorn iteration of their OS per se. What they do have to do is stay in the game: if previous and future iterations make nice profits, they'll do OK (until there is some paradigm shift and the game changes too much; I wonder if (in)security + too much malware might cause one given enough time...).

      However, the delays on thi

    • "I wonder how much Longhorn is going to cost exactly?"

      It'll probably cost the same "1 support tech salary per 20 business computers or 2 home computers" that any other version of Windows costs.

      Plus their overtime for each virus outbreak, so maybe 10 hours every three weeks.

  • Man that sucks... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gooberguy ( 453295 ) <gooberguy@gmail.com> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @02:56PM (#9094826)
    ...for Microsoft. At least my computer doesn't seem outdated even though I'm running Windows 2000, which is over 4 years old. That's like 50 in internet years.
  • by karmatic ( 776420 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @02:59PM (#9094847)
    Depending on how well the Distribution creators handle this, this can be a blessing or a curse for Linux. Generally speaking, companies want equal or better features before they consider switching (equal, if price is the main concern - better, if it's not).

    The long delay between releases will give Linux a chance to improve itself, and present a better alternative to Windows, with more features, better security, and a lower price.

    However, this can also be a curse - MS is taking their sweet time, and this may be due to fixes, or it may simply be that they are developing stable, great features. If Microsoft releases a slew of new features which businesses find to be essential, Linux will once again be playing the "catch up" game.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the next few years.
    • by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 ) <<brock> <at> <brocktice.com>> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:07PM (#9094906) Homepage
      The culture at microsoft, as far as I can tell as an outsider, seems to focus on things in this order.
      1. Business savvy
      2. Proprietary lock-in
      3. DRM
      4. Features
      5. Security

      I don't think they're actually capable of producing the kind of product you'd expect at over $100 per license, whereas Apple seems to be.

      I keep watching them say it's all going to be done right, and from the very beginning I knew they'd do what they'd always do. It's like an addictive disease. They just can't resist shoving another product out the door before they ought to. Thus, they have announced that they'd cut features (you'll hear this spun different ways, but yes, they're cutting features) to get it out the door closer to the predicted release date.

      I predict (and in this I don't think I'm a great tech forecaster, it's just painfully obvious) that once again, it won't be ready even by 2006, but people will be waiting, and they'll be watching Linux encroach, and an expensive, unfinished product will roll out the door once more.

      This is the time for Linux. Everyone is getting sick of Microsoft's incompatibility with standards. As more people use non-IE browsers and non-MS server software once again, fewer and fewer sites require MSIE. The worms and viruses are an additional "blessing" (though I have to fix them all the time at work -- ugh) in that they give users another reason to get fed up with Redmond.

      You're also right in that the game has to be played right. Linux distros jumping the gun and trying to foist unpolished products on the market could come back to bite them in the ass. I guess only time will tell.

      • While you are probably correct, there is the possibility that Microsoft is starting to learn it's lesson. Their IIS market share is dropping, Mozilla (and unfortunatly the neutered AOL version - Netscape) are taking back the users from IE, Linux is starting to actually see some desktop share, and OpenOffice is quickly becoming a viable alternative to MS Office.

        They will probably just go "Time for more lock-in! Then our competitors can't beat us." It would certainly coinside with their history. However,
      • by the_duke_of_hazzard ( 603473 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:15PM (#9094960)
        I think you're right in that this is Linux's big chance, but Linux still has a long way to go before it really penetrates into the naive user market. Partly because "Linux" is not a monolithic entity organised and focussed enough on the end user to really win them over. By the time Linux is pushed as a product as useful and usable as Windows, Longhorn (albeit a stunted version) may be out, and if Microsoft have learned their lessons (I suspect they will have) it will be a much better product underneath. It doesn't even have to be that good to "win". Linux has already won the server argument; it's just a matter of time before Microsoft recedes from view in that arena. That's if the desktop market really exists in the same way by 2006. Linux's adaptability to new devices means that MS's domination of the desktop market could be irrelevant by 2010. In which case MS will be like IBM: a huge lumbering beast that can't change direction until it has to. When it does, though, it's hard to ignore.
      • by g0qi ( 577105 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:22PM (#9094998) Homepage
        I keep watching them say it's all going to be done right, and from the very beginning I knew they'd do what they'd always do. It's like an addictive disease.

        I'd be careful in discounting MS. A wait time of nearly 5 years is the longest, considering they're not exactly rewriting everything and the kernel like NT. Even NT, from scratch, took about 4 years to get done.

        This is the time for Linux

        I agree it is. But don't short-sight yourself. If your whole selling point relies on that the next version of Windows is absolutely going to contain critical kernel flaws, then something is wrong with your argument.

        Everyone is getting sick of Microsoft's incompatibility with standards.

        Everyone at Slashdot is. Slashdot is not exactly the online journal of choice for Joe Sixpack. Stop kidding yourself, and understand your competition seriously.

        I post this from a Fedora machine, and I love GNOME. But it's sickening to see how dismissive most geeks at slashdot are when it comes to anything about Microsoft. The first rule of war is "Know thy enemy well".
        • Um, work on NT started in around 87, first release in 93. That's six years. First useable release wasn't until late 94.

          Not that I think there's anything wrong with that, I think the idea that you should get a major version iteration every year or so is absurd. If the OS is so poorly written that it takes a major version to handle things that arisen in the past year then you've got a real problem.
        • As someone who does tech support of pretty much all windows machines on a windows network (only as a part time job) I can tell you that people are getting fed up and looking for alternatives.

          A friend of mine is at a university where nobody can use their computers anymore due to the worms. She likes video games but she's no technophile. I offered to fix her problems but she said she didn't have time right now with finals and all, so I burned her a knoppix cd (the latest, 3.4), did an example boot for her i

      • As more people use non-IE browsers ~.
        Not according to Google [google.com] (scroll down).

        • The chart is hard to read, because it doesn't show you the sum of all the MS IE browser versions. To my eye, it looks like the only 2 non-MSIE lines (Mozilla and other) are growing.
        • I disagree. It looks to me like "other" and "Netscape 5.x" have both grown a lot. "Other" looks like it has at least doubled in the past year and a half (Safari?), and Mozilla has grown steadily (and NOT just at expense of Netscape 4.x). It's just that they're both still dwarfed by the happenings on center stage, where different versions of MSIE battle for the mainstream.

          I'm not saying Mozilla or "Other" will be #1 anytime in the forseeable future, but they are getting closer to that crucial 10%-15% wh

      • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:13PM (#9095290)
        Everyone is getting sick of Microsoft

        So sick in fact they don't care. Thats right, they don't care. Its just a tool, and Windows is the tool that runs everything.

        Users don't turn around and say, "To hell with MS and they're security holes, I'm not gonna put up with DRM." They just don't care, they use the OS that runs software. They need QuickBooks, they want their games, so they use Windows, not because its the best techinical solution, but its the only one.

        Before you type again about how every little stumble MS makes is "Linux's time," forget EVERYTHING you know about computers, DRM, DMCA, and just about everything else thats discussed here. Now your not a programmer or an admin, your just an average user. You need QuickBooks, you want to play the latest game, you need Office. You will run only one OS, Windows. Linux and the MacOS will never cross your mind, and if it did the sales person will tell you, I'm sorry no that game or that software only runs on Windows, and you'll put it out of your mind.

        So no this little thing is not Linux's time. MS could turn around and call their users all sorts of names and use endless strings of profanity and people will still use Windows. And lastly, even if this did cause MS users to jump ship, it wouldn't be to Linux distros. 'User' distros have tried to make a user-friendly Unix like OS and have been for ages, but Apple beat them too the punch. If people are going to leave Windows, its going to be to the next best supported desktop OS, and thats OS X, not Linux.
        • Bear in mind that Apple have refused to support the x86 architecture. Would people be more likely to move to a free OS that ran on their existing hardware, or a pretty expensive one that ran on pretty expensive new hardware?
          • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @05:31PM (#9095764)
            Well would people run an Expensive x86 based OS or a free x86 based OS? Mac hardware isn't that much more expensive then x86 hardware with the same capabilities, and you pay half the cost for OS upgrades between versions. Office runs on the Mac, along with a number of other important pieces of software. On top of that, Mac's look a lot better, which is important to some people. So I would still be shocked, SHOCKED!, (yes, I really mean that shocked), if your average user chose Linux over a Mac.
      1. The long delay between releases will give Linux a chance to improve itself, and present a better alternative to Windows, with more features, better security, and a lower price.

      So, I'm confused...what needs to be improved?

      • How about a *massively* improved GUI? I was using Linux the other day. It seemed slow, unstandardized, and unergonomic. It needs a complete overhaul, with some goddamn concrete standards. Anyone who says that choice between different WMs is a good thing is really rather mistake, IMHO. It only makes it virtually impossible for application makers to provide a consistent interface.
    • I think this is bad for linux. Microsoft isn't going to release a new os unless they feel it has a lot more features than linux. The only thing linux has going for it that affect most people is price and stability. Other than reliability, linux distros have only been playing catchup with microsoft and apple. A lot of "features" in linux really just are clones of ms and apple. Microsoft's probably thinking they should keep it a secret for a while so they can't be copied to linux. When they release long
  • by karmatic ( 776420 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:02PM (#9094878)
    (Courtesy of Seattle PI [nwsource.com].)

    Microsoft's cash reserves as of Dec 31, were 53 billion dollars. To put that into perspective, it is enough to "fund NASA for a year, assemble a fleet of 100 Boeing 747s, and buy every person in Seattle a 2004 Subaru Outback -- with a few billion left over for incidentals."

    • NASA's 2004 budget: $15.4 billion
    • A fleet of 100 Boeing 747-400s (at $215 million each at 2002 prices): $21.5 billion
    • A Subaru Outback (at $23,470 MSRP) for every person in Seattle (pop. 563,374 in 2000 census): $13.2 billion.
    • Total: $50.1 billion

    • > Microsoft's cash reserves as of Dec 31, were 53 billion dollars. To put that into perspective, it is enough to "fund NASA for a year, assemble a fleet of 100 Boeing 747s, and buy every person in Seattle a 2004 Subaru Outback -- with a few billion left over for incidentals."

      But wouldn't get a Slashdotter a date with the Olsen Twins.

  • by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:04PM (#9094892) Journal
    ON the heels of some wacky law threats this week i think this is a setup for a perfect trifecta:

    Rambus : We didnt make enough money because you didnt license enough from us. We will sue you.

    Fox News : You wont sell your billboard to us. We will sue you.

    MS : You arent buying from us because we are hyping our new stuff years before its ready, we will sue you!. (?)

    (this post is for humor purposes i am not serious, such a lawsuit would be silly.)
    • MS: You arent buying from us because we are hyping our new stuff years before its ready, we will sue you!

      Worse than that:

      MS: You aren't buying from us because you already bought all our old stuff and we haven't made anything else for you to buy yet, we will sue you!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:06PM (#9094904)
    My company does Windows consulting primarily, but we do have two Mac guys (one of whom is me) who handle the art departments at large corporations, among other Mac-based clients.

    Company management has been concerned for some time that the 'project' aspect of our business will take a nosedive during this long period between major Windows releases-- many of our clients have already upgraded to Windows 2003 server and have mostly XP and 2000 client workstations that won't need replacement for a few years. With the Longhorn delays adding up, the Windows integration side of our business is facing something akin to a nuclear winter.

    In light of this, we just had a long meeting yesterday about things we need to do to bring in new Mac clients and otherwise grow the Mac side of the business.

    Hopefully, Apple will take advantage of Longhorn's long gestation period as well.
    • Yeah, it sure would be nice to replace the current OS near-monopoly with a full-blown hardware and OS monopoly.
      • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:44PM (#9095101) Journal
        Not a concern. Apple will never take the personal computing market -- they chose the "lucrative but closed platform" approach that Sun did, where you have to buy Apple hardware to use Apple software. The market won't move from vendors that provide competition (and better prices) to a single, closed platform en masse. It just isn't going to happen -- most Microsoft-centric complaints today are simply because Microsoft had a software monopoly. Businesses are not going to be burned again. This isn't a slam at Apple -- what they did seems to have done reasonably well for them -- but it does mean that they don't compete directly against Microsoft for the masses of businesses out there.

        Apple gaining market share is good for almost everyone (the sole exception would be Microsoft shareholders). Apple (and I'm not saying that this is by preference, but by necessity from not being a monopoly in the PC industry) has, along with the rest of the OS folks, gone with UNIX. They weaken the effectiveness of Microsoft programs to produce lock-in. They help weaken arguments for homogenous computing environments being a phenomenal idea. I use Linux, but I don't care if people want to use BeOS, Mac OS X, or FreeBSD. It makes them happy, and I'm all in favor of that. The only reason a lot of Linux folks get irritated about what the masses use is that they get indirectly impacted by Microsoft pushes to cause lock-in -- closed protocols (like Windows filesharing), closed formats (like Office's) and deliberate attempts to avoid intercompatibility. Any market share Apple gains weakens attacks Microsoft does on Linux, which is great for those of us who are fed up with dealing with Windows.

        Even better, a lot of FOSS software that I work on also works under Mac OS X, and Mac OS X FOSS work (if to the POSIX APIs) works on Linux, so there's a lot of shared effort. Plus, Mac OS X users run software on PowerPC, which is a great way to test and turn up nasty C mistakes.
  • by jimmy page ( 565870 ) <{ug2b} {at} {juno.com}> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:07PM (#9094908)
    Do you think that sales have also come down due to lack of compelling reasons to switch.

    Office 97 as good as 2000/XP/2003 Win 2000 as good as XP 98 fine for home use..

    What's the point in switching unless to Linux? Unless you like to donate to Charity through the Bill Gates foundation.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:07PM (#9094911) Journal
    Delays in Windows are only one problem.

    Some of the other serious issues Redmond is facing:

    1. Worms/spyware/viruses destroying the home market

    2. Lack of reasons for further upgrades to Office

    3. Enterprise shift to Linux

    4. Consolidating competition from IBM & Novell

    In general terms, their problems stem from having cornered the market for a product that is almost out of fashion: high-cost, complex (and thus insecure) software. People need low-cost, secure software.

    Their best hope is to produce an interim release of Windows 2000 that has been seriously upgraded in terms of security. But even then I don't see how they can survive the commoditization of their core market.

    5 years' budget goes awfully quickly when you are used to double-figure growth.
    • Their best hope is to produce an interim release of Windows 2000 that has been seriously upgraded in terms of security.

      Nah, too hard.

      Their best bet is to produce an interim release of Windows 2000 that changes nothing underneath but just adds a fancy new UI, maybe something bright, colorful and cartoonish. They could rearrange all of the system controls and add on-line license verification to finally defeat those pesky pirates, while only mildly inconveniencing their legitimate buyers.

      Oh, wait...

      • . . . and add on-line license verification to finally defeat those pesky pirates, while only mildly inconveniencing their legitimate buyers.

        I think you meant: "finally defeat their legitimate buyers, while only mildly inconveniencing those pesky pirates."

  • by financialguy ( 680124 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:10PM (#9094927)
    True, MS has more than enough cash on hand to survive for years to come, but that's not what stockholders want. They want profit growth and a primary way of doing that is with top line growth, e.g. growth in sales.

    The real impact for Microsoft will be less revenues and a lower stock price.

  • by pvt_medic ( 715692 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:12PM (#9094942)
    Its at apoint that the wait will help. Because most operating systems 98, 2000, me (yuck), XP work on the same computer. What is the incentive to upgrade. I forgot the eactual statistic but isnt there a sizable percentage of the computers on the net still using 98. I know we have two computers at home using 98. And there is no reason to upgrade them. But in like 5 years or so the computers are going to be so much faster. Wasnt it that the specs for longhorn needed dual processors running at 4-6 ghz, a gig of ram and like a terabyte of hard drive space. That is something that these prexisting systems just wont know what to do with. by waiting so long there no way that 98 is going to be able to run on a system like that. Everyone will have to buy longhorn.
    • I forgot the eactual statistic but isnt there a sizable percentage of the computers on the net still using 98.

      The Google Zeitgeist [google.ca] now puts it at 22%.

      A bit further down the page, it looks like Mozilla is slowly gaining market share. Yay :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:13PM (#9094951)
    I am posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

    I can safely tell you to expect a "SE" version of Windows XP by December of this year. It will have some enhancements and adjustments, plus it will also have a new media center-like program included.

    Expect an announcement in the next two or three weeks.
    • You mean Windows XP SP 2? This is already in Release Candidate mode to MSDN subscribers.
      • The beta was for MSDN subscribers, the RC1 is a public release...

        http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/win xp pro/sp2preview.mspx

        If you're a developer it's really essential to have at least one PC running it (preferable amd64) as there are a lot of changes... the NX protection fubars Mozilla, Digiguide, most Antivirus software, etc.
    • This has already been talked about here. Until I saw your post, I was going to make a speculation that MS would announce a "Second Edition" of XP.

      If you are who you say you are, I suppose that my suspicion is correct. Microsoft is going to make users pay for what should be in "SP3."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I am posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

      I can safely tell you to expect a "KDE" version of Windows XP by December of this year. It will have some enhancements and adjustments, plus it will also have a new media center-like program included.

      Expect an announcement in the next two or three weeks.
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:18PM (#9094980) Homepage
    So we're used to having MS release a new hit cd every two years. By hit I mean boy-band tracks hastily cobbled together and pushed out the door to an awaiting fanbase. (look, how else do you explain it?)

    Ballmer and Gates make press conferences touting their new hit singles like "A New Outlook" and "DRM - Quicker Than A Ray Of Light" -- but of course you can't just buy the singles. You have to buy the entire CD...and good luck trying to get rid of the tracks you don't want.

    Now people started complaining about how their hits aren't put together well so they decided to finally take it slow, spend time at the studio, and actually sit down to make good music. The fanbase was like "awwww, you didn't have to do that!" while the critics were "riiiight, like they'd REALLY do that."

    Then MS realized they're not going make the 2 year cycle deadline so faster than you can say "oops, I did it again" they start tossing out stuff they were promising to deliver. Their new hit "Palladium Blues" may have to wait. That new Filesystem track that you could Tae Bo to -- gone.

    So what's left? Probably a complete rehash of their latest album. Maybe they'll P-Diddy some of the stuff Apple released a few years ago. Toss in a reworked "IE Blockin' Da Poppas" along with Ballmer's dance moves and the fanbase will eat it up like a warm leftover casserole.

    As for me, I'm a critic, not a fan. I'll stick to my GPL's Greatest Hits cd. You know, the one that comes with the "I Honk For Herring" sticker and a video of Stallman singing the "Hacker Song." I must say I passed on the Torvalds In Speedos poster, though.
  • 5 years? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KrisCowboy ( 776288 )
    Microsoft can survive for 10 years without selling even a single product or service. They can survive on the vast Research and Development(R&D) they've built-up over the years. Well, guess what, Bill Gates won't be the richest if they stop selling stuff, and computer industry will be a lot better.
  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:27PM (#9095031)
    I am terrified to think what will happen if MS actuall gets it right with Longhorn.

    We have all, to various extents, been accomplices in MS monopoly 9who has NEVER purchased any MS product?)

    We clammor for more scurity and fewer bugs and so forth. What if MS ACTUALLY provided a secure and stable OS? And then people upgraded to it. What then of Linux, OS X, and the like?
  • "Didn't someone say once that they have enough reserves to last 5 years without any sales at all?"

    That assumes that they aren't spending billions settling lawsuits.

  • Many Small Things (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @03:40PM (#9095086)
    Microsoft is currently threatened by a barrage of minor issues which add up to something serious when combined.

    1) Lack of new products prevents sales and damages customer loyalty.

    2) Severe worms damage customer loyalty, increase costs in maintenance and customer service.

    3) Competing products getting stronger with OS-X on the desktop on Linux both embedded and in servers cut into what sales they would have.

    4) Strong competition generates press for opposing sides, making them appear less innovative than they want to.

    5) Constant lawsuits present a steady sapping on resources.

    6) Constant web-popups make IE seem sad in comparison to Firebird and Opera, as well as a lack of features being painful. This detracts from their general appearance and aids competitors.

    7) More people are satisfied with their current systems and are just refusing to upgrade.

    8) Piracy of windows is staying widespread despite product registration, and the lack of legitimate copies is adding to the virus issue.

    9) The next version of Java is looking stronger than .Net and reasonably fast, preventing their newest system from completely stealing Sun's thunder. Once again, damaging credibility.

    10) Although X-Box started gaining on the other consoles finally, all the competing systems are starting to push even more for handhelds, and likely integration between the two, resulting in an aspect where the X-Box will be lacking.

    11) The G5 chip is the first time that a Macintosh processor has been seen as competitive with the top Intel chips, further undermining their superiority.

    12) The iTunes music store is still unrivaled, re-solidifying Macintosh as the OS for multimedia, along with programs such as FinalCut and Garage Band and products such as the iPod.

    13) Governments are starting to strongly consider open standard, raising the lobbying costs for Microsoft and potentially requiring some new file formats to be supported by them.

    14) OpenOffice.org shows a technically capable alternative to MS-Office. Where MS-Office was once clearly on top it may have to start fighting for its place soon. Also, the latest version of MS-Office, MS-Office XP, doesn't run on as old of hardware as OpenOffice.org, so many people with old Windows systems have an alternative upgrade line, as opposed to being locked into upgrading computer, OS, and office suite all at once.

    15) Many large contracts for Linux have been seen recently, harming Microsoft's public image more.

    There is other stuff, but I can't think of it at the moment.

    I would say their strongest pieces at the moment for increasing sales are .Net, the X-Box, and WMA with DRM. MS-Office and Windows are still their biggest products, but they can't increase in sales very much.

    Their OS is just not going to be ready before 2006, so it cannot stimulate a recovery. What they need is something to make it worth the wait. .Net is that, as it has very much promise and says something about how much total change will come with their next OS release. Also, .Net can compete with Java somewhat, helping them in a buzzword cattle.

    MS-Office was traditionally their big seller to tie people into their systems, but it's basically finished up. They have very little room to improve. Most of the improvements that could be of value cost more to develop than they will bring in sales (better type-setting control and similar advanced features) or will have a huge risk of damaging their current monopoly (a new office suite can have a radically new UI and be easier to use without losing customers).

    X-Box, on the other hand, is totally up-and-coming and is technically superior to the competition. If they can get the X-Box2 out in a timely manner, they can get press about being innovative, they can get a rush of sales from nowhere, and they can stimulate their gaming division, giving them a third strong arm to thei
    • MOD PARENT UP! Very impressive analysis.
    • Re:Many Small Things (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drunkenbatman ( 464281 ) <iNO@SPAMdrunkenblog.com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @03:04AM (#9098578) Homepage
      There are a lot of things that are a little off in this, and I think you might making big generalizations based upon your views. Have a salt shaker ready, but most of this is unintentional Longhorn FUD, some of it prolly deserved and at least you didn't mention Copland. :) MS isn't the only one who is going to experience this, others already have (ie, Copland, or even OSX).

      After watching OSs come and go over the years, I've basically come to the conclusion that a major Operating System project coming together when its supposed to is more of a happy accident than anything. This stuff comes up whenever every major OS is being developed. Writing the kinds of stuff MS is trying to do is hard, hard stuff. Just ask Apple... things might look all well and rosy over in their camp, but its not if you look closer. Same with Linux. And its only going to get harder as the demands increase, which is something any game developer understands.

      Bill Gates coined it best when he said "Momentum begets momentum". The problem is that once you reach a certain point (call it what you will, market saturation, etc) you have to push harder and harder to keep that momentum. IE, once you've reach escape velocity, you're cruising from the outer atmosphere to the moon. But to get to mars in a reasonable time frame is a bitch and a half. To get out of the solar system is an exponentially bigger bitch, etc, etc.

      That's ~95% of the problem MS is facing, which is the old adage of being a vicitim of your own success. Same thing is starting to happen with chip makers, as others have recently commented on... sure, speed can keep improving exponentially, but the cost to do so can become prohibitively expensive.

      But of course MS is going to get there, even if each super-dooper feature they've promised won't be in it. Apple's feature list kinda had to be paired down drastically, and even then it still shipped years late and couldn't play DVDs, just to keep some perspective. :) I just don't really think there's some perfect storm going on here, and I don't think a lot of others do either.

      I mentioned the momentum thing, which MS understands full well. When you're pushing that rock up the hill, the last 10% is often the highest. MS, like others, is simply going to try to raise the barrier to entry to a level where OSS competitors are having to play catch up to the next plateau. They're even doing it with Google: you better believe they're in the fight for their lives soon. Think Soviet Union vs USA: arms race, and whoever can outspend the other before one falls wins. Thats one aspect... the other is where a drug patent x expires, and the company combines x with y, and even though x+y may be nothing special they spend tens of millions of dollars advertising it to joe schmoe who, when they go to their doctor, only wants the purple pill.

      People are happy with x, and Linux gets x. Fine, MS spends a huge amount making x+y, then marketing it, and everyone wants x+y, which Linux doesn't have. OpenOffice seem to have too good of a .doc format? Alright, change it, with a lil DRM for spice. This could be any number of things, including online media. In short, MS is in a long hard slog until they reach the next technical plateau. Then they can cruise awhile, then its more billions.

      To specifically go through some of the problem points:

      1) Lack of new products prevents sales and damages customer loyalty.

      Debatable, but I'll give it to you. I don't think most people care about not having yearly OS updates, in fact if I had to wager i'd guess most consider it a feature. Knowing game x from 3 years ago still works is a big boon in joe sixpacks world. And mine, come to think of it. Now if 3rd party releases weren't hitting, yeah, obvious point. But since I don't know for sure, I'll give it to ya.

      2) Severe worms damage customer loyalty, increase costs in maintenance and customer service.

      In a perfect world, absolutely.
  • I'm sure that... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phidoux ( 705500 )
    ... the prohibitively high cost of the recommended standard hardware configuration for Longhorn is also going to effect MS' sales.

    Of course, this is all good news for Linux on the desktop.
  • General Trend (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tbjw ( 760188 )
    Does anyone else wonder what it might mean when a company as massively gigantically ginormous as Microsoft can't churn out a new release of a flagship program in a year or two? They are either doing something exceptionally cunning and devious or else they simply can't make a new version in this space of time, and I'm sure we all go with option b.

    I just think it means personal computers are now officially insane.
  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:11PM (#9095282)
    Despite all their service packs and hot fixes, they never really seem to FIX anything. Besides 'Doze itself there are a bunch of MS products I've used over the years that had serious problems. Not necessarily "bugs" per se, but features that didn't work as advertised or missing functionality in general.

    Case in point: VS.NET 2003 has several annoying bugs and problems that have been the subject of hundreds if not thousands of complaints. It's been out a while now and there's no service pack in sight. Maybe half a dozen features from VS6 were "removed". Sure, they added a hundred, but those 6 were commonly used and their disappearance causes angst and frustration on a daily basis. What's the MS response to all this? "Wait for Whidbey."

    Right. That's just been delayed again. And they want you to pay for it, of course. Why can't they just friggin' fix the garbage they've put out already? There are countless similar examples over the years. Access, Word, SQL Server... you name it and it has had bugs at some point that MS refused to fix. They say to wait for the next version, but that doesn't address the core issue that you have a piece of expensive software you already paid good money for and they refuse to fix it. They refuse responsibility to make it work right. Perhaps, at some point, software should have warranties if it costs beyond $X. I'm sick and tired of paying for MS software that they essentially sell "as is".

    This doesn't even begin to address the notorious problems they have with security. I think they're related. It goes to their culture of never having to fix anything. The recent years of being forced to patch holes and vulnerabilities goes against everything in their culture. That's why they can never get the security fixes "right".
  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:12PM (#9095288) Homepage Journal
    So now we have an opportunity. Longhorn is supposed to be packed with great new features such as WinFS, C# and .net. Are we just going to copy them, or come up with some new personal computing paradigms? If so, what would they be?
  • by agwis ( 690872 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:38PM (#9095419)
    hey go into some detail on how the lack of new products also hurts multiyear subscriptions, because clients that buy the contracts expecting to get product upgrades may not renew if new items won't be available for a while.

    You /., linux zealots, and Windows bashers never present the true facts. Windows may be closed source and proprietary but there are many programmers that contribute freely to Windows. Just in the past month alone I've received all of these updates at no extra charge:

    • W32/Lovgate.x@MM!122880 05/06/2004
    • W32/Bagle.ab@MM 05/06/2004
    • DDoS-Chessmess 05/06/2004
    • BackDoor-CBA 05/05/2004
    • W32/Sdbot.worm.gen.o 05/05/2004
    • Exploit-LHA.demo 05/04/2004
    • W32/Sasser.worm.d 05/03/2004
    • W32/Netsky.ac@MM 05/02/2004
    • W32/Sasser.worm.c 05/02/2004
    • W32/Sasser.worm.b 05/01/2004
    • W32/Sasser.worm.a 04/30/2004
    • W32/Gaobot.worm.ali 04/28/2004
    • W32/Netsky.ab@MM 04/28/2004
    • Passreveal 04/28/2004
    • W32/Bagle.aa@MM 04/28/2004
    • Qhosts.apd 04/28/2004
    • W32/Misodene.b@MM 04/28/2004
    • Exploit-MS04-011 04/28/2004
    • W32/Misodene.a@MM 04/26/2004
    • W32/Netsky.aa@MM 04/26/2004
    • W32/Bagle.z@MM 04/26/2004
    • W32/Vavico.worm 04/23/2004
    • W32/Gbot.worm 04/22/2004
    • PWS-Iyus 04/22/2004
    • W32/Blaster.worm.k!backdoor 04/21/2004

    Not only that, but I received a new browser enhancement called mywebsearch, a free time synchronizer called precision time, and I can check the weather anywhere with my new (might I also add...free) weatherbug program.

    I understand that we can expect a ton more free programs/upgrades like the above when longhorn comes out. Quit bashing Windows and admit that more free programs/upgrades are available for us Microsoft users than you Linux/Mac users!

  • by Saint Stephen ( 19450 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @05:18PM (#9095692) Homepage Journal
    I worked there 3 years. Every company meeting went like this:

    Jesus god all mighty we got a lot of money from Office and Windows this year. Here's their breakdown, and here's everybody else, some made money, some didn't, but who cares because Office and Windows really came through!

    Now, even though it's just ridiculous, we still expect 15-20% growth from Office and Windows again. And I'll be damned if they don't go out and do it, year, after year, after year.

    Trust me, if MS does one thing at all, it's make its numbers.
  • real rich guys.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @05:49PM (#9095894) Homepage Journal
    ... only live in their own little worlds, with NYC or LA or DC rent structures guiding what they think things should cost, flying everywhere, lunches that cost what a working family uses at the grocery store for food for a week.
    And etc rantage there.

    quote-age here:

    ``The overwhelming majority of PCs are not running Windows XP and the opportunity is quite good for the Windows XP product wave ahead of Longhorn,'' Connors said in an interview in April.

    DUH, earth to rich guys, no it's NOT Mr. Connors, the overwhelming number of people are using 98, have gotten used to it, their hardware they paid MOST serious folding money for just a few short years ago still works,they get everything done they want to do, And there's *little to no reason* for them to get EITHER a new computer or a new operating system. Most folks could get by quite handily dropping 50$ on a new stick of ram, good to go for several more years, if they even feel like it, and people are actually getting hip to firewalls, ad aware action, etc. It's slowly turning around, but folks are learning and they aren't as easy to fake out with blinkenlights stuff any longer.

    Time for the hardware and for-sale OS guys to buy a clue, they can use some of their dot bomb stocks as "money" for that, there used to be a decade called the 90s, they all made tons of cash, OBSCENE huge amounts, now it's back to the real world. They will sell SOME, they will make SOME money, they won't *make* (sell ridiculous cheap to make 10 cents copies of stuff for huge $$$) money like the 90s, because people are now over that period of "irrational exuberence". Same like the movie and music guys need to bingo to that, people are just buying less of "stuff" now, especially stuff that is still more or less working OK, they are concentrating on the essentials, like paying the mortgage, the car off, kids in school, paying down CCs down that are already maxed, fed state and insane property taxes, etc. In fact, I can't think of a single person I know who is "clamoring" for some new windows OS, either XP or son of XP. People, when and if they get a new box, expect some OS on it, that's it for the most part. That's when they upgrade, and frankly, even the dullest is hip to whatever you buy brand new next week is borken and needs to be patched, so they figger, why spend an extra 100 clams just to download more patches starting the next week. They are already doing that now. Now from win 3.1 to 95 and then to 98 you got a lot of folks switched, since 98, it has slowed way way down, for the reasons I stated. They see "upgrading" as getting snookered now more than GEE WHIZZ, JISS CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THAT NEW XPTURBO STUFF, GOT TO GET ME SOME RIGHT NOW!

    Ain't happening, and them rich dudes with degrees and status and hanging out with all the other rich dudes can't figger it out why not..

    Now, this isn't slashdot readers, or *some* businesses, but for everyone else, there is NO need, sales will stay slumped. And all the rich analysts and marketing folks trying to resurrect that gravy train just will not get it that spending another grand (whatever, I am ranting) for a new box and OS is not all that vital to people to whom that represents a real important level of "spare" cash to come up with, to do *exactly* what in essence they are already doing. If a new box and OS represented only like 25$ to joe paycheck, sure, they would go buy a new one. It's all relative.

    The future 5 to 10 years down the road now- is free software and real cheap hardware,almost throw away when it's broken hardware, and THAT'S IT, time for them boys to come up with a new business plan soon, hanging on to the 90s won't cut it for too many more years.
  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @05:53PM (#9095917) Journal
    Linux advocates will claim victory.

    Mac advocates will claim victory.

    BSD advocates will claim victory from beyond the grave.

  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @06:10PM (#9096015) Journal
    "MS Sales Growth Limited by Delays in Windows"

    I wonder if this could be reworded as

    "MS Sales Growth Limited by Development Model"?

    Seems logical that, as the OS grows more and more complex, and the same product needs to do more and more (since it's closed source no-one else can offer assistance on the OS level), a single company with developers might not be enough to create an OS.

    I think Microsoft is struggling very hard to get Longhorn out reasonably quickly while still having enough features to encourage users to upgrade. It will be very interesting to see where all this goes with, say, the "Windows" two versions later than Longhorn or so... And how quick/efficient open source software development will be then.
  • XP+ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TastyWords ( 640141 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @08:02PM (#9096654)
    This is exactly why Microsoft has hinted before at an intermediate product between XP and Longhorn. It's not to provide customers with a better product while they are waiting, it's a form of Microsoft "passing the hat". Have we seen this behavior before? Think Windows 98, Windows SE, Windows ME. Did SE and ME provide anything sigificant to provide us with anything significant to put us in a position of XP? No. Did it provide Microsoft with anything? You bet. Pull together some early code, test it for compatibility with Win98, burn some CDs, push it onto the market, and all of the casual users run to BestBuy to keep their PCs up to date.

    Microsoft doesn't have a need to keep the shareholders happy, simply because there are very few outside an inner-circle within Microsoft (clumsy, but accurate). Remember: Microsoft hasn't|doesn't pay dividends, hence their cash reserve (warchest) in excess of $40B.(for those who doubt divdends are paid, I suggest you spend a few minutes of research. Some key words to help you in your search: "Microsoft stock Nader dividend". Nader is only involved after Microsoft failed to pay dividends for a long, long time and he tried to leverage them (so far, unsuccessfully). Basically, adding his name to the search helps to reduce the size of your search because without it, you'll get far too many hits and will be stuck with wading through them. Stock & owership are one thing when it comes to things such as purchasing another company or just plain leveraging, but when it comes down to hard, cold cash, little can be done to compete, hence Microsoft's true power.
    • Re:XP+ (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BCW2 ( 168187 )
      Win Me proved that M$ still doesn't get it. It was the worst thing since Win 3.0, total junk. They are quite capable of throwing out garbage and getting people to pay for something "new" thats much worse than what they had. Remember Win 95 vs 3.11?

      And Longhorn will be no different, anyone that buys any M$ product before the release of SP1 for that product is a sucker. What other company cons people into paying them to be beta testers?
  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug@@@geekazon...com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @01:51AM (#9098307) Homepage
    Several years ago I read an article asserting that Microsoft was essentially behaving like a middle-aged adult hanging onto adolescence. This article might have been on the Motley Fool site [fool.com], I forget. The gist of it was this:

    Companies typically innovate and take huge risks when they are young, because they have to in order to survive against their entrenched competition. Once a company becomes profitable and has a solid product line, it goes into the very different mode of repeating what it already knows how to do and improving itself. The focus is then on expanding market share, improving efficiency, making better financial deals and so forth. A company that succeeds at this phase accumulates a store of cash and starts focusing on things like mergers and acquisitions. By this time a company has evolved a complex management structure and a lot of rules and processes, which make everything the company does slower and more deliberate than before. These mature companies are much better at investing in other companies and leaving them to do the actual innovation.

    Microsoft, the article said, had already entered the mature stage and yet was still trying to act like a startup. That was a couple years ago. Today I think we are seeing this view of Microsoft vindicated. Anything it does now is on a much vaster scale than when Windows 3.0 was released in 1990. Every big release now involves thousands of developers and millions of customers around the world. With a multi-year release cycle, Microsoft can't possibly respond to the market; they can only try to dictate to it. Everything they release was planned several years ago.

    The statement that Microsoft has enough money to survive 5 years without any sales is an interesting bit of arithmetic, but that scenario is never going to happen. MS is a public company with thousands of stockholders, many of them large financial institutions. If Ballmer announced that Longhorn won't be ready until 2009 and will cost $30 billion, I doubt that the stockholders would let him or the existing board stay in place. There might even be talk of using that cash to buy a whole bunch of other companies and move away from doing actual development. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It would just mean Microsoft was finally acting its age.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!