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Rory Cellan-Jones

Is Microsoft a doomed dinosaur?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 5 Feb 08, 08:07 GMT

There, I knew that would draw a crowd. In the maelstrom of comment and analysis that has followed Microsoft's bid for Yahoo, two extraordinary assumptions have been very common.Yahoo is in Microsoft's sights

First, that this is a make-or-break deal for Bill Gates’ behemoth, second that it will fail anyway because Microsoft has been in inexorable decline ever since it failed to spot the arrival of the internet.

The reasoning behind this view often has more to do with emotion than analysis. It's hard to like Microsoft - it has been a looming, overbearing presence for so long. Much of the geek community sees it as the Establishment, and would prefer to avoid its products if at all possible.

There's a nice story in this morning's Financial Times about Yahoo finding it difficult to schedule meetings a few years back because so many staff refused to use Microsoft's Outlook.

Already, the opposition is organising, with Yahoo's own customers at its Flickr photo-sharing service making their views pretty clear. Commentators are suggesting it's just a desperate shotgun marriage of crumbly old giants – one of which failed to spot Web 1.0, the other never coming to terms with Web 2.0. The new media commentator Jeff Jarvis wrote one of the better pieces along these lines.

So just how much trouble is Microsoft in that makes it worth the huge aggro involved in going through with this deal? It was in 1995 that Bill Gates admitted that his business had failed to "get the internet" and it's been suffering ever since.

Well actually, no. In 1996 Microsoft reported income of $2.2 billion on revenue of $9 billion. This year it’s forecasting income of $24 billion on revenue of $60 billion.

Throughout the last decade, commentators have been warning that the growing impact of everything from search to open source to cloud computing would slow the ageing beast – and every year the Windows and Office profits machine has continued churning out ever bigger piles of greenbacks.

Google clearly doesn't share the view that Microsoft is doomed – just look at the sabre-rattling in Sunday’s blog, from a company which doesn’t make a habit of bad-mouthing its rivals.

It’s clear the search giant is determined to stop this deal. “We’re very nervous about it,” a Google insider told me. “Microsoft is so huge it can just hire a couple of thousand engineers at the click of its fingers and put them to work on any problem.”

And while the figures show that a MicroHoo would still have a much smaller share of search than Google, the spinners at the Googleplex are keen to point out that there are nearly 500 million Hotmail and Yahoo Mail users compared to the 51 million who use Gmail. That’s a big audience using your products every day.

The dinosaur description may be applied more fairly to Yahoo, which has lost out at every turn to Google over the last decade by failing to realise that winning at search meant winning at everything else. It is now in a very hard place, looking desperately for a suitor to keep it from the clutches of Microsoft.

But even if this deal doesn’t come off, don’t bet on a wounded Microsoft crawling away to die. The company is already planning a major assault on the mobile world, where all the internet action is now moving, and has got the cash and the muscle to make an impact.

You may not like Microsoft – or its products. But many years after the internet meteorite hit the earth, this particular dinosaur can still scare smaller beasts.

Comments

Finally, someone has written a reasonable critique of the proposed MS-Yahoo deal. It gets a little tiring to hear about the disasterous nature of the proposal from those who fail to recognize that MS, for all its faults (and it certainly has them), is here to stay. Yahoo! desperately needs help; MS - not so desperating, is considering its long-term future. If, as suggested by the alleged "experts", Google, Apple, et al, are so superior to MS, one has to marvel that MS has survived. I guess it all boils down to: either the consumer is an idiot or, more likely, believes the MS product satisfies his or her needs at a satisfactory price.

  • 2.
  • At 04:43 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Charles wrote:

Good on Microsoft! It may produce slow, clunky and often buugy software, but everyone relies on it. If it disapeared off the planet tomorrow everything would grind to a stop. It really needs to innovate and diversify to remain at the front of the league. Taking over Yahoo is sensible, most definetly will not bankrupt it, will increase its audience and will make me far more glad. I wish Bill Gates and co. the best of luck!

  • 3.
  • At 05:08 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Calum wrote:

It's understandable why the 'geek'contingent would want to boycott microsoft products seeing as
1. They never work properly
2. They slow your PC down and add stuff that you dont want on.
3. internet viruses attack on a regular basis.

Unfortunately there is not enough knowledge among joe public to know what other products are availible. I bet if you asked 100 kids who all go to high school and use pc's if ther was any other operating system apart from windows. 95% would say no.

It's therefore simple EVERYBODY boycott mr 'i'm a rich man and make rubbish unsuccesful products' and start buying apple products, software and hardware which nobody writes viruses for, 'virus proof' if you like.
If other such companies made a conscious effort to get their products out in the open then Gatesy and his crew of webnutters would not be so in the forefront.

  • 4.
  • At 05:27 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Ivan Pellegrin wrote:

Good riddance to bad rubbish! Microsoft is still churning money year after year on MSOffice which could be substitute it by most of its user's overnight by the free product Open Office (www.openoffice.org).

As for the Windows operating system, most software has now a version running faster and better on Linux or Mac OS X.

So why do companies still pay billion of dollars year after years in licenses to Microsoft. Why indeed?

  • 5.
  • At 05:40 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Steve S wrote:

Do some commentators really (and patronisingly) think that this is a desparate move by a blundering behomoth? 500 million mail accounts is a lot of eyeballs and even more valuable if you can persuade them to use future mobile apps.

Also, don't forget that the big Web companies no longer just offer internet pureplays. Even Google requires a PC platform for some of its offerings e.g. GoogleEarth, because REALLY useful programs need a lot of horsepower - and you're not going to get that over the internet. PCs evolved by dividing and conquering the mainframe load: the mainframe has just become a server farm...

  • 6.
  • At 05:43 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Ryan Keane wrote:

No, Microsoft is not finished yet but it will not continue to be the monopoly it was once was. Open source is coming and there isn't a damn thing Steve Ballmer can do about it. Their current business models will not work in that climate and so have to branch into new ones, whether they will be successful, who knows?

^ Charles. Everything would grind to a halt without Linux too! It runs more web servers and world's supercomputers than any other OS, and so many devices (smartphones, TiVo etc.) that are becomming so important in our wifi digital world.

  • 7.
  • At 05:45 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Nigel wrote:

I'm not quite sure how Charles works out that "everyone relies on" Microsoft. 90% is a big percentage I agree, but that still leaves 10% of us who never touch Microsoft products and still manage to get on with our lives.

  • 8.
  • At 05:48 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Nigel wrote:

I'm not quite sure how Charles works out that "everyone relies on" Microsoft. 90% is a big percentage I agree, but that still leaves 10% of us who never touch Microsoft products and still manage to get on with our lives.

  • 9.
  • At 05:55 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Andywr wrote:

So Microsoft have decided that they won't spend $22 billion on innovation, but think it is better to spend on market share. Microsoft seem to have lost the ability to innovate, as such they continue to milk their assets and buy customers rather than recruit them. Ballmer should take a long look at his company and start to work out how to build the Microsoft of 2020. Perhaps spawning some venture capital companies with non-corporate thinkers may be a strategy.

  • 10.
  • At 06:09 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

Desperate Times need.... well some panic measures. First Multimap, now Yahoo, has Microsoft forgotten how to innovate? I see a business who cannot move quickly having to buy the next big thing. Dear Mr Gates, please can I have my life back - following all the re-boots I have had to endure. Time for new beginings, from the O\S up I think.

Good, solid, reasonably objective (God, what a strange word to use in this context). It's a pity that the so-called "experts" fail to see MS contribution to IT (and society in general) and can only harp on its failures, of which there are many. Yahoo needs help; MS wants to advance its horizons (as any sane business venture would). Why do we insist on viewing IT as something unique when it comes to business objectives and methods? I personally would be lost without MS (and yes, I've tried the alternatives).

  • 12.
  • At 06:32 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

If the Zune mp3 player is anything to go by, an MS assult on the phone world will need more than money and muscle to win people over.

This dinosaur won't make friends with just muscle and noice alone in the mobile world, especially with consumers.

  • 13.
  • At 06:36 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Don wrote:

I'm not sure why people say that Microsoft didn't get the internet? Windows 95 fully supported the internet, and both Nathan Myrvold and Bill Gates wrote memos in 1994 and 1995 that made it clear they understood the consequences of this -- that the internet would go from being a small UNIX-dominated academic network to being a huge Windows-dominated network of regular people.

Many things contributed to the explosion of innovation on the internet in the last 10 years -- the Mosaic browser, e-commerce, search, online videos, etc. But ultimately, it was the appearance of hundreds of millions of users, running Windows, that fueled that growth.

As a computer scientist and long-time UNIX user (since 1978), I also think people underestimate Windows technologically. The NT system was far more sophisticated than UNIX in every way, from kernel API to GUI interface. It's amusing that Linux is viewed by some as a system for "elite" users, but people who run Linux or even Apple on the desktop are electing (for various reasons) to use systems that do less.

  • 14.
  • At 06:38 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Stephen wrote:

Before Microsft you needed a soldering iron areel of wire and a box of assorted connectors to connect anything to you computer and then employ an engineer to install primitive software. Microsoft brought plug and play and integrated windows software and computers to the world.

Microsoft could just close down and leave the whole world in the dark. Bill Gates has enough money to live without Microsoft, but could the rest of the world?

Its easy to knock them but where is the real alternative. Even Linux is a copy.

  • 15.
  • At 06:44 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mohinder L. Jerath wrote:

As a long time MS customer, MSN user,and having encountered the pitfalls of MS shortcomings and having suffered one too many inconveniences despite extraordinary efforts on the part of MS to resolve issues and problems, I can state without hesitation why MS is failing in its ventures of search engine dominance.

1. Microsoft with MSN does not offer a DSL or any other high connection. This MSN dial up at $21.99 and above a month is waste of time and money and the outsourced service even worst.

2. MS or rather MSN does not even allow a free email service. As compared to Google, Yahoo and others, why should somebody pay $10.99 for this and even after cancellation of MSN account not being able to use the MSN address.

3.After having paid full retail price for MS Office and having MSN account canceled, it is one royal pain to use another ISP to use the MS Outlook express.

4. MS does not want to help solve the consumer problems, but rather add to them.

5. By acquiring yahoo at $44 billion, which it is not worth, how will it solve MS service problem. If it insists on the consumers to have to pay for MSN or Yahoo, more consumers will just turn to Google.

6.MS instead of making a forced marriage with Yahoo to compete with Google, can help it's current clients. who are abandoning MSN in droves.

7. MSN or MS search engine is not going to be useful till MSN offers its own DSL or other high speed connection at a reasonable rate.

8. The yahoo forced marriage will do more harm then good. MS needs to first fix the DSL or other high speed issue first and then think about search engine.

  • 16.
  • At 06:47 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

yeah that 10% isnt using Windows, but how many Mac And linux users are still running Microsofts Office products.

Directly or indirectly, the major player in the software world is Microsoft.

And always remember statistics are garbage

  • 17.
  • At 06:56 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Steve S wrote:

Do some commentators really (and patronisingly) think that this is a desparate move by a blundering behomoth? 500 million mail accounts is a lot of eyeballs and even more valuable if you can persuade them to use future mobile apps.

Also, don't forget that the big Web companies no longer just offer internet pureplays. Even Google requires a PC platform for some of its offerings e.g. GoogleEarth, because REALLY useful programs need a lot of horsepower - and you're not going to get that over the internet. PCs evolved by dividing and conquering the mainframe load: the mainframe has just become a server farm...

  • 18.
  • At 06:58 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Karl wrote:

I would compare Microsoft to the QWERTY keyboard - old and outdated yet everyone continues to use it, as thats what they have been doing since they first used computers. We may not like it but it is here to stay.

The QWERTY keyboard was designed for typewriters so that the keys you use most are FURTHERST away from each other, slowing the typing, so that the keys would not jam on the original machine.

No one (that I know of) would ever even consider using any other key format, despite its inherent flaws. However much I am loath to say it, it will be the same with Microsoft.

  • 19.
  • At 07:07 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • jansta wrote:

Microsoft is here to stay of course, but that is because it has monopolised business systems and home systems.

However I do think that government and education authorities and the BBC should stop wasting money supporting this monopoly. Open Source software is still what the vast majority of the internet actually works on. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl

Schools should be teaching how to use a computer or how to use a word processor rather than how to use Window or how to use office. We should we as tax payers be paying billions for proprietary systems from a company who wrote the book on lock-in, ignores International standards and suddenly decides to end support for older (proprietary) file formats?

  • 20.
  • At 07:09 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • John Farmer wrote:

My company writes about the mobile market and I can tell you nobody there likes Microsoft either. It's not going to get its proprietary products used as standards in the mobile industry, period. Which means its not going to be able to force people off competitors platforms.
And while we're on doomed strategies, DRM is forecast to be abandoned according to many gurus in the media world. Let's face it, Microsoft makes software platforms that work, just. People prefer things with passion and style. Two words that Gates doesn't have in his wardrobe.
The money continues to pour in because the business model of making people pay a license to use computers they have bought is the current paradigm. It's like when people had to pay Xerox a rental to use a copier or printer they had bought. Then along came Canon and HP who said you buy it, you own it. Just pay for the consumables.
"Software as a service" will do the same to Microsoft eventually.

  • 21.
  • At 07:10 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Neville-Smith wrote:

Charles, that would be a bit like everyone driving Skodas because that's what everyone else drives.

If MS Office was to disappear tomorrow (hypothetical but let's suppose), I suspect the world would be astonished to discover how easy it is to switch to alternatives such as Openoffice.

  • 22.
  • At 07:49 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Reader wrote:

While I don't necessarily support (or even like) Microsoft I'd have to ask one very important question of people whom believe that it is a doomed dinosaur. This question being "Where is the competition".

Sure there are competing OS, competing browsers and competing office suits (I personally use such products), they are barely encroaching on Microsoft's territory despite the fact that most of them are 100% free.

Microsoft has a monopoly on the desktop, a very very big monopoly, and this monopoly will keep it ticking over for a good decade to come.
Microsoft has MS Office, MS Windows, IE, Media Player, and even the XBox, it's going to take a very long time indeed for anything to shake them off of the top slot.

  • 23.
  • At 07:56 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Alan wrote:

Microsoft mainly gets a bashing from people who forget how disjointed and stovepiped IT was before Microsoft.

Sure, Microsoft has a lot of failings and - if you are a competitor - is a very nasty beast sometimes. However, from a customer point of view its a lot better than the unconnected systems that existed before it came along. Yes, Windows is proprietary, but it's so dominant, and so connectable that it's not a big technical issue. Very unlike what it replaced in the early 1990s, systems from IBM, DEC etc, which were deliberately designed to prevent almost any data interchange with anyone else's system without buying very expensive product add-ons.

Today's reality is that most non-techs are mildly suprised to find out that Windows is not the OS on all IT systems, a measure of Microsoft's success in expanding the market outside the techie world and selling to non-techs. That was a real achievment and it would not have happened without MS. However, a lot of IT insiders seem to need to hate MS for not-quite-rational reasons.

If MSHoo came to exist, then no doubt this mostly-irrational hatred would extend to the once-cool Yahoo brand. That turnabout would have as much to do with fad, fashion and technical tribalism as with anything more reasoned. It's a mad world, my masters!

  • 24.
  • At 08:01 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • David Gal wrote:

Microsoft made a good point about google dominating the online world. Google made a good point about Microsoft's proprietry software. You wouldn't want google to have a monopoly and you wouldn't want Microsoft to tell you what you can or can't do on your own computer. Google with its deep links to open source and open systems is giving Microsoft a tough challenge. When google and open source operating systems get their act together, Microsoft will be in big trouble. The failure of Windows Vista has shown that the Microsoft of today is waiting to be pummelled by a newcomer OS. The competition is great though, imagine Microsoft Windows going open source!

  • 25.
  • At 08:20 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Leo wrote:

I don't really think people 'rely' on Microsoft as such. It is more a question of having to make do with it because changing would be rather time consuming. I don't know anyone who loves Microsoft (as opposed to people loving their Macs and Linux machines).
And, if Microsoft disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, well, Fedora (Linux) has a very nice and functional user interface that even kids can use.

  • 26.
  • At 08:23 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

I happen to be part of this "geek community" you assume to recognise, and couldn't be happier with Microsoft. I would choose Microsoft over Apple any day.

  • 27.
  • At 08:59 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Tim wrote:

Microsoft's interest in the search market is great. Google is currently the market leader and they need some healthy competition. The winner will be the consumer, just look at the search facilities in Vista and Hotmail. As long as there is a balance these companies will continue to produce better software and in a large number of cases give them away for free. I'm off to use my Hotmail, Google Earth and update my Office live website (and all for nothing).

I never touch MS products if I can help it, and still am able to breath ;).. seriously it is a very good review of the MS Yahoo buy out and I would say that google could be worried about the prospects of MS just keep on buying up the other areas, needless to say that they have never done that before ;).... !!!

For me personally I am a linux user, purely because I find it interesting and also very easy/productive means of coding/office work and really do not miss the MS applications in the slightest.

  • 29.
  • At 09:39 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Roger wrote:

Nigel, ever ordered anything off d'intherweb?

  • 30.
  • At 09:44 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Eddy Agnew wrote:

I do not see any correlation between
Microsoft and Google,as I do not see
any relation between a computer and
a comunication device.
A computer create and process information , a comunication device distribute information.
A computer can be used as a comunication device or by the case
as a piano to play music or as a board to to draw nice pictures or
as a radio to spread news ,but no one of these funtions will make a piano or one of the others to be a computer.A function does not make the object. Remember that a computer
is the big imitator.

  • 31.
  • At 09:45 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • ROB HORSFALL wrote:

Sorry you can't use Yahoo your MS Windows has not been verified.

I wonder how long.

  • 32.
  • At 10:00 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

Nigel - I believe Charles is referring to business. A vast majority of businesses use Microsoft products. Try getting on with your life when the banks systems dont work because MS windows has stopped working!

It may be relatively simple to get along without microsoft in your own personal life (As I do, I will never buy another Windows based computer, Apple all the way). But for businesses Windows is standard, and you cant avoid that!

  • 33.
  • At 10:24 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • D. Fear wrote:

Well, well. So what? Internet is huge, Internet is important - and Internet may go in directions that neither MS, Yahoo or Google have ever imagined.
May I point out that it is not always the oh-so-brilliant-innovative-young-person type who determines what happens?
10% of us do indeed get by - very well, too - without either Microsoft or Yahoo.
Let's wait and see!

As Nigel pointed out, there are vast areas that do not rely on Microsoft technologies. I myself could easily continue work tomorrow in such an event, perhaps even more so if Internet Explorer were to disappear alongside Windows. Google are right to be worried, but I fear mainly for the Yahoo services I use, mainly Flickr, I don't want to see innovate so abysmally like Hotmail did when MS acquired it in '97.

  • 35.
  • At 11:07 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Darren wrote:

Where does 90% come from? This is only desktop PC sales! There is far more to computing than that. Approx 2/3rds of internet servers run Unix. Symbian & Linux have the vast majority of the mobile phone market. Most embedded devices use some form of Unix. Microsofts' 'share' of computing is actually very small; it's just the fact that it's 'in-your-face' that makes it seem so dominant.

  • 36.
  • At 11:39 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Adam Nash wrote:

Re: Charles

As a long term linux and unix engineer I am not a big fan of Microsoft products. However, Windows XP, Office XP/2003 and Visual Studio have all been pretty good products, and in many ways admired by users of other OS's. But in no way will the world grind to a halt without them. Most of the worlds 'crucial' systems run on *nix software and in instances where it is not, migration is now a relatively simple process. Of the six telecoms, two hospital and two university organisations I have programmed for, not one of them has relied on Windows or Microsoft products.

I also hate Steve Ballmer's attitude towards competition and chairs, but I hope Microsoft survives this one with Yahoo. We need competition to encourage better technology. With a couple of big giants in the scene it's easier to see some of the smaller guys that produce great technology, whilst keeping the finance and opportunities there to let all that want to be involved.

  • 37.
  • At 11:57 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

Charles wrote: "but everyone relies on it". This is in some respects true. And because it is true, this is why the yahoo deal is not going to help internet development and progress. Since the internet has become such an important part of information sharing, should we allow one company or two companies to control how and what we search? Even more so if one of those companies also controls the OS and Office applications we use. I look at the MS-Yahoo deal and worry about the freedom of the internet.

  • 38.
  • At 12:01 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Nat Wilson wrote:

It's Google I'm scared of, not Microsoft so I'd be glad to see this deal go through. It concerns me how much the Googletron is pervading our online lives.

  • 39.
  • At 12:52 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Hugh Lawton wrote:

It is hard to imagine a corporation the size of Microsoft crumbling and (though the attention grabbing headline works) it certainly is not going to happen from this deal. All the time it carries on, it allows us Mac converts to continue feeling happy about our choice of superior software....

  • 40.
  • At 02:44 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

Nice post. Yes, MS actually do make good products, the anti-MS stuff is getting a bit tired now. People just blindly accept it. Vista is getting dumped on still, despite outselling XP in first year sales. And it's not bad, I use it every day.

They have done some dirty deeds with regards to monpolising behaviour, which they got away with mostly, but Office still has no real competition after all this time, and their developers tools are still way ahead of the open source stuff in sophistication and ease of use. Borland have failed to compete, IBM and Sun do a better job with Java, but .NET is catching up.

Keeping developers on side is often overlooked by so called analysts, all that seems to matter is Windows and Office, because that's what their readers use. But it is important to keep the people who make software on Windows happy as well, something MS are pretty good at, in contrast to Apple (just look at the iPhone lock down and lack of Java support on OS X Leopard). Apple seem to get away with a lot of draconian acts without much hassle, MS can't even breathe without being jumped on.

  • 41.
  • At 07:03 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Prashanth Kumar wrote:

Yes , it's a good move by Microsoft, why to worry about competition between Google and Microsoft. It will be survival of the fittest, end user will definitely benifted.

  • 42.
  • At 08:27 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • colin wrote:

Steve S is wrong. Google Earth runs on OS X.

For many years I have felt that M$ and Intel have held computing back 20 years. We should be running massively parallel computers by now.

It is true that M$ is unnecessary. I made the jump to OS X several years ago, hanging on to my Win98 machine thinking there were things I would need. It hasn't been on since except to wipe it and install Linux.

The Asus eeepc is a beautiful machine and runs Linux. 350,000 sold in 3 months perhaps points to the future.

  • 43.
  • At 08:38 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • chrisboote wrote:

Why Microhoo? I think YahSoft sounds so much better

  • 44.
  • At 08:51 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Charles wrote:

Although web servers may run Debian e.t.c, most of the stuff accessing them doesn't. I suspect a lot of people also like the security of Microsoft, as though it is buggy, there is a lot of customer support. Where is this for Linux, except on forums? I must admit though, I think Microsoft's recent products have recently gone down the drain.

  • 45.
  • At 09:06 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

Nice critique.

It never fails to amaze me how so many big rivals bash Microsoft for their product dominance, yet never do anything about it. Do Apple write PC operating systems to rival Windows? No (although they write OS's for their own hardware). Do Google or Yahoo write a Windows alternative to Outlook that will meet the needs of the public and industry at large? No.

So until they do, we should embrace what Microsoft has given us and the massive positive impact they have had on the digital office in the last 20 years.

MS buying Yahoo is not even going to produce a single new shrinkwrapped product on the shelf of a computer store. Quit moaning people. If you don't want to use Microhoo (or Yahsoft) then use something else - there's plenty of alternatives.

  • 46.
  • At 09:19 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Stephen Sweeney wrote:

"If it disapeared[sic] off the planet tomorrow everything would grind to a stop."

I've never read such a naive, blinkered view of what the computing world is really like.

How exactly would everything grind to a halt? If anything it would hit a bump in the road, slow down for a bit and then return to full speed.

  • 47.
  • At 09:21 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Anon wrote:

To the open source/apple crowd

The reason why the Microsoft platform is ridiculed for it's virus attacks is due to the sheer number of Microsoft platform users around 1billion?.

It is far easier for a hacker/virus writer to develop for the Microsoft platform as 1) He has a much larger target audience 2)Rich people aren't interested in open source or ease of use so they tend to use MS products. 3) People are not savvy enough to protect their pc's in the first place.

Apple doesn't suffer this problem as hardly anyone uses it.

Open source is a potential area of problems, if it does ever get mainstream and owns 50% of the market, do you really think the writers/hackers are going to think. Wow they use Linux, because it's open source I will not write a virus/hack for it. Yeah right, of course they will, it's another route to market another way of continuing their income etc.

Microsoft has at least culpability for it's products as we pay for them they have a care of duty to us. Open source has no culpability it's written by random people who really have no loyalty to the end user.

Once you know intimately know the internal workings of a mass market OS, it is even easier to hide nefarious applications so that they're undetectable and even simpler to circumnavigate the OS and software installed to protect against these things.

please don't kid yourself in thinking that the likes of open source and apple rule or will rule. if either of them were as popular as Microsoft products we would still be in the same situation.

On the subject of going against Google, it's a lost cause, Google has done what MS did to the desktop market, MS and Yahoo will always be nice players, even though 500million people use their email services they will always go back to Google for their browsing. As long as Google is able to innovate and improve their search algorithms they have nothing to worry about.

Only way Google will lose their number 1 spot is if someone manages to develop an even better way of searching.

  • 48.
  • At 09:33 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • JIm wrote:

Charles, it's obvious you've never used Linux. Not only can it do everything Windows can, but it does it better, and it does a whole lot more besides. Linux is fast, very fast, virus free, rock-solidly reliable and... totally free. Microsoft may be able to hire a whole lot of engineers at the flich of a finger, but Linux doesn't have to: they come swarming to it from around the world. Every minute of the day, someone, somewhere is making, what is already the best operating system out there better. Try it and see!

  • 49.
  • At 09:36 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

@ Nigel:

O RLY?
Have you ever wondered what makes HSBC in Canary Wharf work? What gets the money from A to B?

Windows 98 - Vista.

If there was no such thing as the 32-bit Microsoft OS then you can guarentee that Linux could not be a supplement.

And also, in the US, isnt it that there is at least one Windows PC in 8 million homes?

  • 50.
  • At 10:35 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan wrote:

MS has always survived by replacing its products as frequently as it can get away with, usually at as hig a cost as it can get away with, and failing to provide full 'backwards' compatibility, so that consumers and business are 'forced' to upgrade, to remain 'competitive'. Yet the upgrade from one version to another of a MS product is often more traumatic than switching to an alternative product! The increase in high quality, free, open source software (e.g. Open Office) makes MS's strategy appear increasingly absurd. But MS is very good at finding the opportunities in adversity. For example it managed to stop the Chinese government going down the Linux route by selling Windows+Office at $3US per 'seat'. MS will do anything it can to retain the huge desktop market it has in the West (where its products are licensed at considerably more than $3US). At the moment Google is presenting an alternative to much of MS's core business, getting their teeth into Yahoo would give MS a chance to combat the view that there is any real alternative to MS. Unfortunately this battle of US giants doesn't benefit most of us as a likely consequence is increased attempts to lock users into a single companies products (be it Google or MS. (Sent from my £200 Linux laptop running £0 software).

  • 51.
  • At 10:36 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • me wrote:

Mac and Linux users hate Microsoft for really strange reasons. Mac users cause they'd rather pay £1000 more than any other piece of equipment, i.e the Macbook Air, i mean really; who is going to shell out nearly £2000 for a laptop when you can get a laptop for £600-£800 with better specs.

Linux users hate them because they dont feel the need to pay for software.

Microsoft make the best OS in my opinion especially cause i couldnt get my X-Fi sound card working on 6 different distros of linux because there is because there is next to no support for decent hardware but on Windows i didnt even need to install a driver.


So whether you hate MS or not, they are going no where and will continue to dominate the PC market for many many years and this deal with Yahoo is just another step towards that end.

Im looking forward to the "attack" on the mobile industry cause at the moment lets face it, mobile phones are not worth the money.

  • 52.
  • At 10:58 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Alistair wrote:

I use Linux (Fedora 8) at work and have both a WIndows and an Apple machine at home, but have no real preference towards any of them. Open source software is wonderful but still doesn't manage to be as user friendly as Microsoft or Apple's offerings. Despite the fact that I do love my new Mac, the system is nowhere near as faultless as these Apple evangelists make out and despite everything it is still not as compatible as my Windows machine. I think each product has its place and Microsoft may have a large share of the market, but, even if it successfully takes over Yahoo, as long as firms such as Google and Apple exist to challenge it I don't think this matters all that much. I wish Microsoft luck in its attempted acquisition and Google and Apple good luck with their, still growing, businesses!

  • 53.
  • At 11:15 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Gordon wrote:

Whilst I agree with some of the comments made about Microsoft and its monopoly / buggy software etc etc
I think we should all recognise just how much we owe it.
Like it or not, without Microsoft we would still be using 80886 processors and marvelling at that tennis game!!

Microsoft has recognised for some time that the cash cows of Windows and Office will have their day before too long and so they have been trying to break into other markets, e.g. mobile, gaming and media players. So far all these attempts have had, at best, limited success because MS simply does not understand these markets and it's a brand-stretch too far. Methinks the Yahoo! team-up is another gamble that won't work.

  • 55.
  • At 11:32 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Nigel wrote:

I just wish Microsoft would stop either buying their way to catch up with the latest 'big thing' or stifling competition by using proprietary software.

Why can't they do what most other software companies manage to do and INNOVATE!

Surely they can afford to hire SOMEONE who can think for themselves?

  • 56.
  • At 11:50 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Lee wrote:

I don't really care what is happening with this bid, as long as they wipe Google off the map (or atleast become as popular as Google to compete). :D

  • 57.
  • At 11:53 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Penarthur wrote:

blah blah blah My computer's better than your computer blah blah blah

Why does every "have your say" revert to the continuing OS war that started before the VIC20 kicked the living daylights out of the ZX81?

And Calum, if everyone started using Macs. don't you think the virus writers would just start targetting them?

  • 58.
  • At 12:11 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Knightlie wrote:

Microsoft have achieved their position because, at the time, there was no other viable choice. The quality of their products, which is generally poor at best, has no bearing on this.

Microsoft will never "win" the internet because consumers have more of a choice on the internet than they do on the desktop. Poor-quality internet tools can easily be avoided, and thus Microsoft suffers. And as long as Steve Ballmer's corporate goal is to "kill Google" they will go on suffering.

  • 59.
  • At 12:44 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Aaron wrote:

Calum, you are wrong in your assertion that Apple's software and products are immune to viruses. They are not. The reason nearly all viruses affect Microsoft's products is because they are the most commonly used in the marketplace. Virus writers simply target the largest possible number of users in an attempt to get a tiny percentage of systems infected. It's a numbers game pure and simple.

If Apple were the dominant system in the marketplace, the virus writers would turn their attention towards Apple and the situation would be just as it is now - a battle between those intent on causing harm and the software written to keep them out.

  • 60.
  • At 01:03 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

Nigel - everyone relies on Microsoft in some way or form. Whether it's the running of a stock market, your bank's cash machines, backend servers which run supermarket tills, airport information screens etc.

You may not think you 'touch' it yourself, but I can guarantee you do.

  • 61.
  • At 01:05 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

I for one hope that this deal comes off. Just as it will be extremely interesting to see the results? Will Microsoft manage to stay at the top by throwing money at everything and devouring all competitors, as it has done so often in the past? Or could taking the company into debt for the first time at such a crucial moment, when all its competitors (apple, google, sony, open source) are making such huge gains on them, be the beginning of the end?
I cant see them disappearing all together, but I am hoping that this move may level the playing field and perhaps take away some of MS power to crush everyone else in its way.

  • 62.
  • At 01:09 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • paul wrote:

MS isn't going anywhere for a long time. Habits have to change.

What has emerged is an alternative OPEN computing platform powered by the web , linux and others (apple , consoles , phones, TVs ). This is here to stay for decades.

If windows and office didn't lock you in - things would already be different.

MS cannot use its same strategy anymore - Embrace , Extend , Extinguish.

Steve, Google Earth et al may need a PC platform to be fully experienced at present, however a few years ago we would have thought Goole Maps, GMail, and other brilliant pieces of so-called Web 2.0 to be impossible dreams.

Given the time and resources put into development, these sort of applications will no doubt be available at the simple click of a mouse from most web users home pages.

Of course, failing this Google Earth, along with plenty of other mainstream applications (Skype being a good example) run not only on Windows, but also Mac OS X and Linux. Surely the reason these applications run on platforms such as linux is down to demand from the consumer, which only goes to show the growth in alternative operating systems.

  • 64.
  • At 01:14 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • SullyFox wrote:

"10% of us who NEVER touch Microsoft products" ??????
So how's that Apple server farm going?
Maybe your fingertips don't but even if every desktop moved to OSX/Linux the whole world would still revolve around uncle Bills software. Which explains why MS profits keep on growing.

  • 65.
  • At 01:24 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Chika wrote:

Ryan, the name of the OS you are thinking of is Unix, NOT Linux. Yes, Linux is gaining ground, but it is Unix that provides much of the Internet's backbone and, as so many supporters of Linux remind us, Linux is NOT Unix.

As for Charles, I can understand why he says what he says given that the vast majority of people out there still have no idea about what there is to offer. From the perspective of a person or a company that believed M$'s spiel down the years, the demise of M$ would be scary, although I should point out that the loss of a company does not necessarily mean that every computer will shut down irrevocably on that day. Just ask the users of systems such as RISC OS, Amiga OS and others! We always find a way!

Bear in mind that Microsoft got big by being better in only one field - the production of glossy advertising and FUD. If the public is wising up, more power to them - perhaps it will persuade M$ to produce something that works properly for once!

  • 66.
  • At 01:25 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

Wow. There are some really bizarre perspectives here on this topic. Consumers think Microsoft products satisfy their needs at a satisfactory price ? If (Microsoft) vanished off the face of the planet tomorrow everything would grind to a stop ? Everyone should buy Apple and their "virus proof" products ? Well, in the real world, nothing would stop if MSFT vanished tomorrow - there are alternatives to everything they sell. Consumers buy MSFT products as they don't know about the alternatives and the retailers make no effort to promote them. Not sure why anyone would think an Apple monopoly would be a better bet that a Microsoft one, but the only reason you don't get daily virus problems for Apple hardware is the tiny user population makes too small a target for virus writers to bother - if 80% of home computers were Apples you'd see countless Mac viruses as well. Having said all this, Microsoft is a fine execution company - clueless on innovation until someone else has a good idea for them to copy, but the best in the industry at executing on that acquired vision. Why else do you think their competitors are always encouring the EU or DOJ to take them to court ? It's because they can't compete with MSFT in the marketplace and count on government to hinder Microsoft.

@4 - I'm no fan of Microsoft (that's putting it mildly) but it's just not true that Microsoft Office could be replaced on most users' desktops overnight by OpenOffice. Yes in the home market, but get into a large business with, say, 10,000 users or more and that's a mighty effort where the cost of doing it might outweigh the cost savings of open source. Many companies acquire solutions which are tied into Office's proprietary nature and so OpenOffice can't just simply shoe-horn in.

So what businesses have to do is take a longer-term approach - plan for when their Microsoft agreements end, plan for their desktop refreshes, plan an exit strategy for tied-in applications. This isn't an overnight jump, it's a 2 -5 year strategy, but businesses have to start thinking out it now.

  • 68.
  • At 01:44 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

As usual it's down to education. It's no surpise that the one's who know about the mechanics of Operating Systems, choose Linux et al. I'm gonna switch to the linux OS soon. I think the acquisition of Yahoo is a bad idea. MS are going down. Google is King and has some very clever people who refuse to work for MS working for it.

  • 69.
  • At 02:14 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

Remember the days when Netscape ruled the internet? And then there were those essential apps such as Lotus 123, wordperfect, Winzip, realplayer, disk dfragmenters, Cd writers etc etc.....
Many of them great programs in their day and a number still hanging on to a small market share.

So what happened..well microsoft happened. it incorporated many of the great functions into their standard offerings and even gave some away for free.....to become the Tesco or Macdonald's of the computer world........
When talking about quality in any market we should always recognise the wants of the majority i.e. those who shop at supermarkets, eat junk food and listed to manufactured pop music. There is always room for quality products and services but Microsoft wants to position itself in the mass market i.e. where the real money is. That means it will take on Google and wiill concentrate huge resources to throw at the problem. Google should be very worried. Reports of Microsoft's demise are very much premature and don't be surprised if Google goes the way of the Netscape's of this world.

  • 70.
  • At 05:13 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • pramod wrote:

througout history,companies have risen and then dissapeared without a trace.

Same can be said about the major past cultures in the world.

Thats how life is, otherwise it would have been too boring to see the same thing over and over again.

There is no point to discuss these, as it is bound to happen again and again, and that how the nature of things are.....

  • 71.
  • At 06:52 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Dave Gamble wrote:

I think that MS will probably go they way of Commodore et al eventually. In 20 years time we will look back with fond memories of the various incarnations of Windows and MSDOS that we all used and loathed.

By the way, nothing wrong with Skodas these days, they are built by Volkswagen now you know!!! Mine has a nice Audi engine and a Gold chassis!!

  • 72.
  • At 06:54 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • sawant_nitesh wrote:

I am 100 % sure that , atleast 68 comments out of above 70 must be posted through Microsoft Windows OS.

Microsoft Windows will remain most preferred user freindly OS atleast for next 20 years.

Microsoft may indeed be a dinosaur but it’s not doomed. As a dinosaur it still carries much momentum. Will it evolve? Maybe, or maybe it knows a friend who can!

Microsoft stock is going to do quite well thank you very much. Even if its presence on the web does diminish, there are plenty of rich pickings out there. Plenty of vertical business applications waiting to be tapped into, in markets currently occupied by IBM, Oracle, SAP and so on.

But, as everyone in the industry knows, you cannot just throw money at a problem. Microsoft has buckets of money and can hire plenty of talent to create great applications. But what Microsoft need right now are applications which are, well, not Microsoft applications. Microsoft has a problem with its own culture – it is the obsession with its own technology that is hindering it so badly. Yahoo doesn’t have that problem, so here’s an interesting proposition: why not pay Yahoo to create apps for you?

In years to come, Windows and the PC, they just won’t matter anymore. Microsoft will simply forget about them in the same way as IBM shed OS/2 and its own PC. It may not even need its Office suit as we currently know it. In the future its all smart-phone, and smart-TV, and maybe even smart-fridge.

Microsoft needs to evolve into the kind of reptile that is capable of shedding its own skin once in a while. Having just swallowed Palm, analysts might be forgiven that Microsoft’s new smart-phone operating system is a runaway success. But I’d say that was misguided. We punters just aren’t there for operating systems anymore. We just want apps. I want them on my Blackberry; I want them on my I-Phone. I want them on my Nokia, etc.

Right now the Microsoft MSN/Live Instant Messenger is the one that’s missing on my phone. I have Google apps in abundance, and I have Yahoo on my phone. Apparently I can have the former or the latter but not both. Yahoo on my PC can access my MSN IM. Interesting huh? Cannot do it yet on my mobile though, but in theory it could. For me it’s a no brainer. Microsoft buys yahoo and problem solved. Microsoft would then have 100% of the mobile IM market. In five years all phones will be smart and IM will be the new texting. Are you keeping up? Have you not worked it out yet?

Ok then here’s something else. Google apps exist in different silos they’re not integrated. Only Mail and IM are really getting it together. Blogging is somewhere else and Social, well that’s in different company right now. With Yahoo everything is one place.

Oh did I forget to mention advertising. Uh ok you didn’t either. Did I forget to mention Yahoo have got some great new advertising technology? And there is the search thing. As a per-click advertiser myself and can tell you how pretty lousy Microsoft Live has been when compared to Google. Yahoo might not right up with Google but I reckon they’re still way ahead of Microsoft.

Lastly, well, have you been on Facebook recently? It’s looking increasingly like, well I hate to say it really, an “Operating System”. Apps everywhere. And soon I can have Facebook running on my site. What is really interesting is: who owns Facebook? Well apparently lots of companies do, including Microsoft. Again not Microsoft technology though, but here’s my point, and I keep coming back to it again and again. For Microsoft it’s about breaking free.

On the web and on mobile they just cannot afford to be all Microsoft anymore. Microsoft needs to be Yahoo. Who else can they be right now?

  • 74.
  • At 04:38 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • A Obiomah wrote:

A lot of the arguments made against Microsoft are so far out you begin to wonder. It is almost like a religious duty. People forget or simply do not realise the amount of innovation Microsoft has brought to the table. I use IE7, Firefox, XP, Windows 2003 and Ubuntu Linux; each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Before Microsoft made computers so user friendly; it was black screens and green text... And Amiga's.
It should be obvious to every knowledgeable geek that different tools suit different jobs; if you want low down control of your Operating System go Linux. If you need hand holding, Windows is the way. Guess which Joe and Jane average will choose, they call their PC "it" and their browser "the internet"... Do you think they'd want anything to do with Linux or that they wouldn't set the dog on the person who brought it near them?
Linux evangelists really do not understand people - Microsoft on the other hand realises that most folk while brilliant at other things, need hand holding when it comes to their PC's. That is the reason Microsoft is so pervasive today and is not going away tomorrow regardless of what happens with Yahoo.

  • 75.
  • At 06:43 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Roger wrote:

If I have to pay for Yahoo Mail, I switch to Gmail. Simple as that!

  • 76.
  • At 08:41 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Samantha Atkits wrote:

I really can't say what Microsoft's problem is. I suspect they have got too big to get out their own way. I know that as a senior software engineer I have never been less happy or productive as when working on exclusively Microsoft platforms. Usually cygwin was the first non-standard program I loaded. I did like com and dcom. And I must say that .Net has some promise. But outside that I was never much tempted. It didn't help that every Windows box I ever owned needed wiping and reinstalling periodically. Usually after the second such procedure the box would get Linux installed instead of whatever the current version of Windows was. I did give it a good try.

  • 77.
  • At 08:41 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Liberator wrote:

Re: 67 (Darren)
Well said - Even if this is a disastrous move for Microsoft (which I doubt; they always come up smelling of roses), it won't dissappear overnight. Companies have to start planning for the future and moving to a flexible architecture that is standards-based (open NOT forced-proprietary)so that they can plug-and-play with their infrastructure. I'm talking to many customers who want to move away from total reliance on Windows, and the first step is to get off the licence annuity gravy train that Microsoft pushes. What it also needs, however, is for web-content providers like the BBC to offer their tools on Linux & OS/X as well as Windows, others it perpetuates the myth that there is no alternative.

  • 78.
  • At 08:47 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • StandardPerson wrote:

SullyFox (64) asked "So how's that Apple server farm going?" so I have to ask which one? The massively parallel Xgrids used around the world for scientific computations? Or the data farms based on Mac OS X Server and rack-mountable Xeon-based Xserve servers?

  • 79.
  • At 09:41 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

Innovation?

Surface
Xbox
PhotoSynth
GroupShot
Virtual Viewpoint View
HD View

Never mind acquisitions such as SoftGrid and development leaps forward such as Linq.

I really dont think Microsoft are all that bad. Bad marketing yes and able to capatalise on familar, easy to use software - not entirely. Unlike the author of this article it seems to me that Microsoft are trying to make better integrated software and a small set of people dislike this notion.

I suspect there will just as many Microsoft followers wondering why Yahoo.

  • 80.
  • At 10:41 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Howard wrote:

Very good article. I'd pick a few nits on it being "Bill Gate's" Microsoft these days: as a shareholder perhaps, but he no longer runs it. It's Steve Balmers's baby now. A "most" of the geek community don't want to use it..? hmm I think I'd qualify that to a "many".

It seems somewhat unreasonable to me that Google shouts "no fair" at MS buying Yahoo: has Microsoft tried to stop Google doing online word-processors that compete with Office? Did Microsoft complain at the launch of GMail?

MS as a Dinosaur..? Well Dinosaurs ruled the earth for many millions of years - and evolved into many different forms adapted to different environmental conditions during that time.

Perhaps 'Dinosaur' is the best compliment you could give the company.

This is a more reasonable analysis. I personally believe MS is by no means doomed. I cannot see much major innovations from MS in the past. But their ability to imitate and reinvent better products(in particular, useable products). you cannot say millions of computer users are wrong. Product quality and useability matters. Take an example, a few months back, when Apple first released Safari Browser for Windows, I immediately downloaded it. It looks and feels very good(the appearance). However, apart from a few major bugs, the main problem to me is useability. It can only resize the window from bottom/right corner; Using the address bar to go back to the recently viewed pages/sites is very incovenient. etc. So, I go back to the old IE.

As I heard on a podcast, 'if you tie two turkeys together, you don't get an eagle'.

  • 83.
  • At 11:35 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Saleem Qamar wrote:

I have worked with all the systems out there, for the past 20 years or so, Unix, Java(on MAC, Windows, Unix), Windows(3.1 to Vista) and Linux. Used various programming tools, C/Java/VB/C# etc... My point is I will do my job in which ever environment as long as the company pays me and I can support my self and the family and pay bills. BE Practical and think practical. If You want to travel fom London, England to New York USA, you may not always travel by your favorite airline sometimes that is not possible. Do the best with any situation, So just live with and stop complaining. REMEMBER! it was/is because of Microsoft that millions and millions of people become computer experts. It was their Windows OS User Friendlyness that enabled most people to come to IT. Unix has always been complicated.

  • 84.
  • At 12:21 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Gilbert Gosseyn wrote:

Everyone uses Micro$oft because the world is run by accountants.

Artists, designers, musicians, architects etc all use Macs. Scientists, astronomers, engineers and researchers etc use Unix or Linux. Secretaries and accountants use PCs

A school or big organisation says to the accountants pulling the strings, "We need some computers.." the accountants buy what they're woefully familiar with and everyone suffers.

I know of a private school installing a new computer lab, all funded by one of their investment banker parents. He stipulated, "no PCs, no money", so the art department is still using 5 year old Macs.

I know of a state school, in the process of changing is status to College (or similar) and their Art and Design department are throwing out the PCs and buying Macs.

The kids hoping to develop careers in the creative industries are going to have a head start in this state school.

  • 85.
  • At 12:37 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

Innovation?

Surface
Xbox
PhotoSynth
GroupShot
Virtual Viewpoint View
HD View

Never mind acquisitions such as SoftGrid and development leaps forward such as Linq.

I really dont think Microsoft are all that bad. Bad marketing yes and able to capatalise on familar, easy to use software - not entirely. Unlike the author of this article it seems to me that Microsoft are trying to make better integrated software and a small set of people dislike this notion.

I suspect there will just as many Microsoft followers wondering why Yahoo.

It's a good deal to be perfectly honest. Even if it means Microsoft have admitted defeat and are using their pockets to get themselves back in the game for Internet dominance.

To everyone who's commenting on switching to Apple or Linux, put it this way: we're not on about Windows, we're on about the internet itself. And to answer a lot of questions on why businesses haven't switched to Apple or Linux yet, the answer is simple. People find windows easier to use than anything else, end of story. Don't bother arguing with that last statement because I've witnessed it first hand.

And in responce to:

"If it disapeared[sic] off the planet tomorrow everything would grind to a stop."

I've never read such a naive, blinkered view of what the computing world is really like.

It's you that is naive. I can garuntee that over 90% of viewers of this page are using Windows. If Microsoft went bust, ther would be no more security updates and bug fixes, which means viruses would be even more common than they are now.

What were the figures for Hotmail? 500 million? That's them losing out on their email, instant messaging and other data, so really if MS were to die. So would a big chunk of the computing world itself.

Anyway, back onto the story itself. The people who say that Microsoft are going to fail and die after this deal don't see just how much money Microsoft have to spend. $44bn is a lot of money, but to be honest if they can turn Yahoo around, they'll be resting on quite a nice profit - even if it means using thousands of "geeky developers".

  • 87.
  • At 12:46 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Saleem Qamar wrote:

I have worked with all the systems out there, for the past 20 years or so, Unix, Java(on MAC, Windows, Unix), Windows(3.1 to Vista) and Linux. Used various programming tools, C/Java/VB/C# etc... My point is I will do my job in which ever environment as long as the company pays me and I can support my self and the family and pay bills. BE Practical and think practical. If You want to travel fom London, England to New York USA, you may not always travel by your favorite airline sometimes that is not possible. Do the best with any situation, So just live with and stop complaining. REMEMBER! it was/is because of Microsoft that millions and millions of people become computer experts. It was their Windows OS User Friendlyness that enabled most people to come to IT. Unix has always been complicated.

Personally, i try and boycott MS products as much as possible. Ever since i tried an Apple computer at my workplace, i immediately saw what proper OS software is, not this MS rubbish.

The problem with MS is that they keep re-inventing the same items, but fail at making them successful because they're not "with-it". Vista is just another buggy OS based on W2K and isn't going anywhere fast.

Unfortunately for Mr Gates, it appears that more users are becoming aware of how buggy and slow his Windows franchise is, and are starting to look at alternatives, and so they should! You only need to see how Apple has started to boom to realise this. Not only OS X, but Dell are shipping computers running linux as well as Windows.

Can't wait to see it, but people better say bye bye to Windows... atleast on PC's anyway...

Bring on Windows Mobile! :-)

  • 89.
  • At 03:54 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Mark the Dark wrote:

I think if OpenGL ES has a say in it, Microsoft won't EVER own mobile tech the way they do graphics hardware on PCs.
Everything beyond graphics is fairly moot.

What the heck, I'll harp on it yet again by offering what I think is the obvious, continually overlooked market-share crux:

Strip down Ubuntu or some such as stand-alone access to 3D hardware and platform becomes irrelivant.
ALL serious game companies will jump onboard a unified platform like that.
Microsoft can't risk that strategy.

Until then.. bat companies like Yahoo and Google around all you want. Theyre fashion-trends compared to the actual market demographics which is all about who owns the hardware.

  • 90.
  • At 04:02 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

I think news of Microsoft's death has been greatly exaggerated.

Microsoft's core business is built around it's Office suite and Windows operating systems which are entrenched in the vast majority of companies. It would take a massive sea change and the breaking of years long support agreements to undermine this and, frankly, that's just not going to happen in sufficient numbers for it to make a real difference. Entropy is a powerful thing.

However, MS do need to up their presence on the web having missed the boat first time round. The great thing about the web is that it's constantly developing so what's dominant now may not be dominant in the years to come. By acquiring Yahoo Microsoft gains leverage in the Web without the painful process of expandign their own brand. It's really up to Micorhoo what they do afterwards.

As for the OS argument, it's a tedious one since 95% of PC (Apple or Macs) don't care what they use as long as it works. The fine variations between them really only interest very few people.

  • 91.
  • At 04:35 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Charles wrote:

People are taking my comments slightly wrongly, though perhaps not out of context. Linux is more useful, quicker, less hardware intensive but not as intuitive. For a bit of personal rebuttal, I have Linux running on my PS3, and a Mac laptop (which I do detest...) Microsoft is where it is now by being crafty, Unix/Linux/Plan 9 at Bell Labs/Amiga/Darwin and whatever else is there by being useful. Maybe in 50 years everyone will be using Open Office and Linux but that time, because or ignorance or fright of the unknown, is still quite far away.

I don't want any flaming battles, as this is getting out of hand, but as Sawant (post 72) says most of the posts above will be made in Windows, probably in IE. And an Apple server farm? Writing a whole new OS with the petty cash Steve Jobs has to hand just for a niche market isn't very likely...

On a completely different topic, on which I am not an expert, if something is open source, isn't it much easier to write virus' for? So, if Open Office did take over, any fool could write a few lines in the equivalent of cmd/Java and half the worlds word processors start coughing up blood?

A really good article. It's a shame that something like this is relegated to 'blog' rather than making an 'article' form on the technology page. I think I'll have to set dot.life to my home-page rather than the aforementioned tech page. This is a realistic and balanced bit of blogging,

Nice one.

A really good article. It's a shame that something like this is relegated to 'blog' rather than making an 'article' form on the technology page. I think I'll have to set dot.life to my home-page rather than the aforementioned tech page. This is a realistic and balanced bit of blogging,

Nice one.

  • 94.
  • At 07:57 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Charles wrote:

People are taking my comments slightly wrongly, though perhaps not out of context. Linux is more useful, quicker, less hardware intensive but not as intuitive. For a bit of personal rebuttal, I have Linux running on my PS3, and a Mac laptop (which I do detest...) Microsoft is where it is now by being crafty, Unix/Linux/Plan 9 at Bell Labs/Amiga/Darwin and whatever else is there by being useful. Maybe in 50 years everyone will be using Open Office and Linux but that time, because or ignorance or fright of the unknown, is still quite far away.

I don't want any flaming battles, as this is getting out of hand, but as Sawant (post 72) says most of the posts above will be made in Windows, probably in IE. And an Apple server farm? Writing a whole new OS with the petty cash Steve Jobs has to hand just for a niche market isn't very likely...

On a completely different topic, on which I am not an expert, if something is open source, isn't it much easier to write virus' for? So, if Open Office did take over, any fool could write a few lines in the equivalent of cmd/Java and half the worlds word processors start coughing up blood?

  • 95.
  • At 09:25 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Charles wrote:

People are taking my comments slightly wrongly, though perhaps not out of context. Linux is more useful, quicker, less hardware intensive but not as intuitive. For a bit of personal rebuttal, I have Linux running on my PS3, and a Mac laptop (which I do detest...) Microsoft is where it is now by being crafty, Unix/Linux/Plan 9 at Bell Labs/Amiga/Darwin and whatever else is there by being useful. Maybe in 50 years everyone will be using Open Office and Linux but that time, because or ignorance or fright of the unknown, is still quite far away.

I don't want any flaming battles, as this is getting out of hand, but as Sawant (post 72) says most of the posts above will be made in Windows, probably in IE. And an Apple server farm? Writing a whole new OS with the petty cash Steve Jobs has to hand just for a niche market isn't very likely...

On a completely different topic, on which I am not an expert, if something is open source, isn't it much easier to write virus' for? So, if Open Office did take over, any fool could write a few lines in the equivalent of cmd/Java and half the worlds word processors start coughing up blood?

  • 96.
  • At 05:51 AM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • rmeere wrote:

I believe everything has its place and especially so in the IT industry.

Most of my users are running Windows so I need to code for it.

I'm not particularly fond of the MS development suites so I use Borland IDEs to work in. Same can be said about IE so I use Firefox, Media Player -> Winamp etc etc.

I prefer to use a Linux web gateway on my home network because:
- I finally have a use for my P3 700MHz
- Viruses have a harder time taking a hold of my network (oh and as soon as more users start using the internet from other OS's the viruses will start emerging en mass. Currently only a few people are interested in coding viruses for those OS's. That says something about MS's popularity on its own)
- I don't need to reboot every few days

If I only used my PC for browsing, image editing, reading email etc. I would consider using a Mac at home.

My main PC at home has always been a Windows box. Not because of Office or anything else but DirectX. In my opinion this is the biggest hurdle that other OS's needs to overcome before they can claim a serious share in personal desktops.

NVidia and ATI never promote their new cards with a slogan reading "The new 8800GT OpenGL 4.0 compatible GPU" or something to that tune.

The moment the other OS's get attention from the big game studios I'd be interested. (And yeah I know a lot of games get released for Mac as well but the primary focus for PC gaming has always been Windows. In my opinion mainly because I can actually upgrade my graphics card without buying a completely new box or being forced to use a compatible device).

Just my two cents

  • 97.
  • At 08:41 AM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Setudev wrote:

Charles wrote:
if something is open source, isn't it much easier to write virus?

Any answers? This is a very good point.

  • 98.
  • At 07:43 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Phearret wrote:

Well the notion of such a Behemoth mentality big brother establishment that tries to buy and own everything ... taking credit for DOS, taking credit for the GUI, trying to make their own version of Linux. buying out Debian developers.... Vista being smart enough to restore settings & programs after you uninstall and delete, and any free program doesn't run . now M$ trying to own the home gaming audience.. and just HOW MANY PPL HAVE HAD 3 RED LIGHTS ???

maybe there is abit of truth to M$ releasing buggy code... xbox live accounts can be stolen as easily as an e-mail account... yet M$ still taunts it's secure.........

  • 99.
  • At 12:07 PM on 11 Feb 2008,
  • Dennis wrote:

Microsoft are in the same position that Kodak was in 10 years ago, hugely profitable and reliant on a single product. In Kodak's case this was film, in Microsoft's it is windows and Office (no other Microsoft product has been successful in global terms despite their efforts and investments). If people didn't sell PC's with Windows and Office then Microsoft would go bust overnight. It will only take a shift in usage of PCs for Microsoft to disappear like Kodak, Polaroid etc. Remember when IBM ran the mainframe world and everyone was scared of them?

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