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  1. #1
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    Why Bash Microsoft?

    OK- I've been drinking and I feel like starting a debate. Maybe this has been posted b4 but not while I was around. I'll start simple. John makes a product. John is greedy. John sells said product to M$. M$ makes millions of dollars more off John's product then they paid. People get mad at M$. Why not get mad at John? GO -->
    Last edited by Basscyst; 11-18-2003 at 03:18 AM.
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  • #2
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    OK, I'll bite.

    The problem is that, that is not how M$ does things.

    More "REAL WORLD" example.

    John and Bob are working on similar project (unbeknowst to each other) developing the next great widget program.

    John and Bob finish the project at the same time.

    M$ sees the product and contact John and Bob. Bob say's go to (you know where) this is mine. I developed it and I'm going to sell it to the public for $99. (example).

    John say's, "You bet, I'll sell my soul for $100,000".

    M$ distributes the product for almost free with their operating system.

    Bob can't compete at that level for he asks M$ to buy him out as well. M$ says go to (you know where) you had your chance.

    Bob sues M$ for copyright infringment, monopolistic practices, unfair advantage, etc...

    M$ pays off supreme court judge to rule that this is M$ expressing freedom of speech (or some other [insert stupid argument here])

    M$ sues Bob for DMCA violations

    Bob loses (for the same reasons above)

    Now that there's no competition, M$ charges $999 and cuts support after 1 week.


    There you go. Typical M$ Business plan. Buy competition. Squash competition. Jack up prices. Make money.

    Next -->

    COMMENT: It's not that I hate M$ products, some of them are quite nice and user friendly. But rather it's that I HATE their business ethics / practices. That's the real problem with M$.

  • #3
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    Of course your take on MS's business practices are both simplistic and overdramatized. While MS has done nearly everything you say at one time or another, those are exceptions to their normal business practices and not standard practices.

    What bothers me the most about all the MS bashers is their faith in other companies competing against MS, especially when those companies are guilty of doing the same things that MS has done.

    IBM, Sun and Oracle are all guilt of the same business practices and things wouldn't be a whit better if one of them were to gain the same kind of domination that MS has (actually IBM once had that domination and since I can recall that, I remember IBM being worse in it's practices back then than MS is now).
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  • #4
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    True. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    And I recognize that my example was a dramatization however, when looking for creativity and innovation in the marketplace, monopolies rarely make any significant contribution.

    Sure, they standardize processes as M$ has done, but that standardization comes at a price.

    The question is: Are we willing to accept that price? Currently we are, so M$ continues to exist. However, if we decide that we require innovation more than standardization, we need to be able to move forward. M$ time and again has proven they do not want that to happen. And rightfully so. That would mean the end of their business. They continually use their monopoly to shut down competition (IE Explorer is one good example of this, as well is their $8,000,000 grant to SCO to fight IBM over Linux source code) which they need to be held accountable for.

  • #5
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    With the ever increasing popularity of nix systems, M$ bashers are becoming more than a minority. My problem with most M$ bashers is that they don't have a proper reason for disliking the company. It is becoming a fad to be anti-ms.

    In my oppinion Microsoft have produced many brilliant products and founded many markets by themselves.

    Also bcarl, I find your argument to be very weak as has already been stated it is common practise for companies to do what you have stated, although no company does it quite like how you said.

    Besides, one a product becomes very successful, say like IE for example Microsoft decide that you'll have to pay for it and it will not be included in their os.

    People don't buy Microsoft products because they're cheap, they don't buy the operating system because it comes with a certain product. They buy these things because of the amount of time, money and skilled professionals they have working on the programs. Microsoft create quality user interfaces to nearly all of their products, some programs adapt to how you work, most work they way you want to work in the first place.

    With the widespread adoption of broadband technologies by many thousands of people every month support for software has reached a new level, as far as I can tell Microsoft are leading the charge here with the new features of windows xp including the remote desktop progam which allows direct interfacing with a users computer to visually show them how to achieve something or fix a problem.

    In most cases I see no reason to bash Microsoft. Most who do don't even know why, they only have the idea which isn't backed by any facts.

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  • #6
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    Originally posted by Mhtml

    People don't buy Microsoft products because they're cheap, they don't buy the operating system because it comes with a certain product. They buy these things because of the amount of time, money and skilled professionals they have working on the programs. Microsoft create quality user interfaces to nearly all of their products, some programs adapt to how you work, most work they way you want to work in the first place.
    Somewhat, but it is more that Windows comes on most consumer computers by default. So people end up buying compatible products.
    OracleGuy

  • #7
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    Originally posted by Mhtml
    Also bcarl, I find your argument to be very weak as has already been stated it is common practise for companies to do what you have stated, although no company does it quite like how you said.
    Exactly my point. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I live in some deluted fantasy world where we all hug and love each other, but the overall coprporate attitude of large companies, and the business ethics, are the fundamental problem.

    Does M$ do anything worse than the old IBM or AT&T monopolies? No. However, the government, in both cases, stepped in a said, "You've got an unfair competitive advantage in your marketplace and are using that advantage to the detrement of the industry". M$ seems to be skating past that issue. Especially with the current US administration.

    Typically you don't see the business practices and ethical problems like the ones at large cops, in small to mid-sized businesses. Oh sure they exist, but those compaines are severly impacted when they try to over charge for products or provide poor service. To have a stable, viable small business you really need to focus on customer satisfaction. On the other had, large businesses tend to focus on revenue growth, profits, and share holder value rather than customer service. (Dispite what their PR departments say)

    M$ is not the only company I don't like, they're plenty of them out there. Best Buy, Large Banks, (I use credit unions - member owned!), some telecom companies (Q-worst for example), Network solutions, and the list goes on.

    Although, I guess my viewpoint may be a little distorted. I'm the 3rd generation in my family to own and operate a small business. I know what customer service is, how to provide it, and when I'm not getting it. That's my biggest grip. I'm not singling out M$ as suggested, rather saying that they are the stereotypical large corporation.

  • #8
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    Originally posted by oracleguy
    Somewhat, but it is more that Windows comes on most consumer computers by default. So people end up buying compatible products.
    There's some very good reasons why Windows comes on most computers that MS's detractors don't like to acknowledge because those reasons count for a lot more than the arm-twisting MS also used.

    One major improvement was the richer API provided by Windows and the ease of developing drivers for Windows as compared to DOS. Prior to Windows a hardware manufacturer for a device like a printer often had to write dozens of drivers in order to support all the various software packages because those packages all supported different interfaces. With Windows they were forced to write one additional driver to support Windows but with new applications being written for Windows and with many of the older applications being rewritten for Windows the amount of work they had to go through in order to develop new hardware was reduced.

    That advantage was also available to the big competitor for Windows at that time, namely OS/2. So why did Windows beat OS/2 it's technically superior competition? Through software applications and price. Until it was already too late to win the battle, IBM kept the price of OS/2 quite a bit higher than the DOS/Windows bundle, but that was only a small factor. The big difference was that MS also provided high quality, low cost development tools (Borland deserves a kudo here, they also provided such tools and kept competitive pressure on MS to keep their tools low priced as well). The cost of the development tools for OS/2 were considerably higher and they were also a lot harder to use with less available documentation.

    Because the applications people used were developed for Windows, OS/2 eventually lost that battle.

    Interestingly enough, during the early years of Windows MS couldn't get much developed for it, not until MS finally came out with their own applications for Windows would a lot of other software vendors consider porting theirs to Windows. As it turned out, having a lead in those applications turned out to be another competitive advantage for MS. That lead was improved by missteps by their competition. Take Word Processing for example, Wordperfect was the king of that market, any new printer would always have a driver for Wordperfect or they could count on very few sales.

    When MS ported their Word product to Windows, Wordperfect decided to wait before investing in developing their own Windows product. They were however so enamoured of their own printer driver interface that when they did finally take the plunge, they wasted a lot of their development money on making their own printer driver interface for Windows instead of using the already developed interface. It also didn't help that they rushed their product to market before it was ready so their first couple versions were very buggy and unstable. By the time they recovered from those mistakes and had a stable and usable product available they'd already lost much of the market.

    OTOH, Lotus 123 lost it's place as the primary spreadsheet program because MS looked at it's Windows applications and decided they could bundle them together and offer them for an attractive price. That wasn't an "anti-competitive" action, it was in fact a very competitive action since MS wasn't the leader in any of those product categories. It also turned out to be a very good move for the user community who responded by buying a lot of those MS Office bundles and ultimately established the MS applications as the leaders in that market. After all, why buy copies of WordPerfect, Lotus 123 and Harvard Graphics separately when you could get equivalent products to all three of those for a price that was less than the cost of just one of them.

    Another great example is going on right now, the MS media player has always been present in Windows since the 3.1 days but now we have RealMedia and Apple complaining to the EU that MS is competing unfairly by continuing to provide and improve that player. This despite the fact that both of those players add a nearly useless, ram and cpu cycle wasting background application when you install them. The RealPlayer is inflexible, surrounded by advertisements and their preferred format yields a poor quality video. Quicktime has good video quality (maybe even excellent quality) but the Apple people just can't resist trying to make the interface like the Mac so Windows users a frustrated by a program that acts "strangely" for no good reason. MS on the other hand has made their player really customizable and made it easy to build really wild looking cusotmizations so people can have fun with their player. I don't see why it's so hard to understand why people prefer to use the MS media player. FWIW, Real and Apple could easily write CODECs to allow their proprietary media formats to be played within the MS player but instead of focusing on promoting their media formats they've instead chosen to spend their efforts in being contrary and stubborn because people don't like their players as well as the one from MS.
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  • #9
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    I do agree with you Roy. If memory serves, didn't M$ at first not release some or all of the APIs? They used them in their programs but didn't tell anyone else. In a way, it is good that they did, otherwise level of interaction between 3rd party products with the OS. And I am in support of it, I mean without it, I couldn't have written a simple vb prog to shutdown my computer when it is ran so I can use it as a scheduled task.

    Don't know how many of you have heard this but Microsoft wants or was at least considering making it so instead of a software box saying you need 500mhz cpu, 128megs of ram, etc. It would say you need a system rated 50 points or higher (or whatever). I think this is a really dumb idea, one of the most obvious side effects would be that people would be driven to have more points than their friends. And depending on how the score was calculated, my computer could be rated 75 points so I would think a 50 point peice of software would work, but if the algorithm gives you an X ammount of points for ram, I could have 4gigs of ram and it would unbalance my score. (Probably not the best example but hopefully you see my point) It would be my guess that game publishers wouldn't take on the idea, or at least not lose the existing specs (aka list both on the box).
    OracleGuy

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    I do agree with you Roy. If memory serves, didn't M$ at first not release some or all of the APIs? They used them in their programs but didn't tell anyone else. In a way, it is good that they did, otherwise level of interaction between 3rd party products with the OS. And I am in support of it, I mean without it, I couldn't have written a simple vb prog to shutdown my computer when it is ran so I can use it as a scheduled task.
    Well, yes and no. MS's Office group did indeed use ONE undocumented Windows API in their software. I don't recall who it was that figured that out but since it was relatively easy to install software that monitored API usage even in Windows 3.x it's really pretty difficult to hide the use of an API. IIRC, it turned out that the undocumented API they used actually had a documented counterpart that would have worked better anyway. All in all, it turned out to be much ado about nothing.

    Of course there was a real basis behind the complaints, but it wasn't a case of using hidden APIs. The reality behind the complaints was that the MS Office group was creating enhanced and common functionality across their products in the form of what's now known as the "Common Controls". Those "Common Controls" were picked up by the Windows development group and added to Windows with the purpose of making them available to everyone for development but because they were developed by the Office group they got used first in those programs before the rest of the world had a chance to learn about them. That's not the only enhancements to Windows that have come from the Office group but it's probably the best example. It's that kind of cross-pollination between the OS and Application groups that's behind the allegations of using hidden APIs and other "unfair advantage" complaints and also what's the real reason why there was such an effort to get MS split into two different companies during the court battles. The whole "undocumented APIs" thing actually muddies the waters and removes the focus from the real point.
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  • #11
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    Originally posted by bcarl314
    M$ pays off supreme court judge to rule that this is M$ expressing freedom of speech (or some other [insert stupid argument here])
    If you have proof of this then case closed -- the M$ towers will fall and the judge(s) involved will be disbarred and probably imprisoned. Show me the proof...

  • #12
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    If you have proof of this then case closed -- the M$ towers will fall and the judge(s) involved will be disbarred and probably imprisoned. Show me the proof...
    smarty it was a situation.....not real....nice try though


    Jason

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    He still has a point.
    OracleGuy

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    As mentioned before it was a dramatization. Granted, not a REAL example, but you must admit that the M$ legal machine is quite well oiled!

    Not only that, they are now actively
    supporting the destruction of linux and GPL.

    I think they deserve the bashing they get!

  • #15
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    Point taken. But what if proof is given that the LINUX community did steal core source code from SCO? Should this be dismissed solely on the grounds that GPL is good and all else is bad?


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