View Full Version : Tip of the Day : Did you know about Microsoft ?

07-10-2006, 11:57 AM
Taken from :
"Just Say No to Micro$oft" by Tony Bove ,
No Starch Press


The Empire Strikes Back: A Thumbnail History of Microsoft

At every step of personal computer software evolution, Microsoft either
pushed our or bought out competition and consolidated its position as a

1980 to 1983

Microsoft rolled our DOS, avirtual copy of Digital Research's CP/M, as
described in the precedingsection, along with the introduction of the IBM
PC. The PC clone indusuywas born, and nearly every manufacturer of CP/M
machines went our of business.
For me, it meanr that all my CP/M-based applications were useless, my
third-party add-in cards for the standard SlOO bus used in CP/M computers
were obsolete, and my documents and databases were locked on dish that
would never be read by the new wave of PCs.


Microsoft squashed all competition by developing windows, a virtual copy of
the innovative GEM Desktop graphical user interface (GUI) by (once again)
Digital Research to run on top of DOS. The Apple macinrosh rose in opposition,
its interface also loosely based on the GEM Desktop (which, in turn, was
based on an interface developed at Xerox). Despite being unstable for years,
Windows grew to dominate the desktop PC business, leaving the Apple Mac
marginalized, while Digital Research went out of business.

For me, it meanr buying a Mac to do graphics and page layout, buying a
PC to maintain compatibility with clients who used PCs, and spending the
next few years tying to share files between them. The Mac eventually captured
most of my work because the Mac emphasized desktop publishing: to this day
I can still open the files I created on early Macs.


Microsoft released Windows 3.1, and several years later, to fix bugs in that version, they released Windows 95 to unversal acclaim, Microsoft touted this version as ready and able to do desktop publishing (which it finally was) and multimedia (which it woefully wasn't - but at least it played music, a decade after the Mac started playing music). The high tech industry, dominated by high-profile investors in Windows application software companies, gave windows 95 its vote of confidence as a standard operating system, while competitors vanished. Apple held on to its proprietary system and refused to license it, dooming the Mac to a very small minority market share.

Microsoft also took over the markets for word processing and spreadsheet applications with prodocts that were essentially clones of WordStar and WordPerfect (word processing) and VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3(spreadsheets). All these companies, founded by ex-hippies and free thinkers, were eventually sold or went out of business, and their products are no longer on the market. All efforts to standardize document formats(including Adobe's PDF) were sabotaged by Microsoft's inability to print to those formats.(Microsoft wasn't the only company to blame.The markers of QuarkXPress, the most popular page layout software for magazine publishing, were also reluctant to support them. Quark had learned a thing or two from Microsoft's marketing strategy, and locked in its publishing customers by hard-wiring solutions that work today but break tomorrow, forcing customers to buy upgrades.)

For me, it meant disaster if I used any word processor other than Microsoftword.
PDF remained an elusive ideal never fully realizeduntil after the
Internet hit and put Microsoft off-balance. Fortunately, Word on the Mac has
been a tolerable tool set until vely recently (one of the reasons I wrote this


Microsoft owns more than 90 percent of the desktop computer system market,
marginalizing the Mac as the only possible competitor. Microsoft crushed all
other Internet browsers, putting innovator Nerscape out of business, and
moved swiftly to lock our other media players, putting pioneer RealNetwork
in jeopardy. Microsoft gained considerable market share in the world of PDAs
and handheld devices with a portable version of Windows, and is now moving
swiftly to establish its digital rights management ( DRM ) technology to control
access to all of the world's audio and video content. And so it goes on.

BY the year 2000, I was exploring various alternatives to Microsoft softwares
to escape virus attack. As an employee of various technology companies
over the years, I was required to use PC laptops running Windows 95, but
I continued to invest in Mac Technology at my home/offlce,
because windows 95 was not suitable for multimedia work. As my children grew up on
Macs and PCs, they preferred PCs-ironically because more games and
multimedia titles were available for PCs. While game developers used Macs
to create and edit graphics, digital audio, and digital video, their results were
coded into Windows games, because Windows owned the lion's share of the
PC market.

Even I got into the act, developing and publishing a multimedia CD-ROM
called Haight-Ashbury in Sixties(http://www.rockument.com). It was completely developed and programmed
on a Mac, but sold to run on windows 95 PCs.I also sold a Mac version.
And I spent about 10 hr on PC technical support for every minute I spent
on Mac technical support.
My family now uses Macs and PCs linked in a wireless Apple Airport network
(and Ethernet). We use Airport because it work seamlessly with wireless
Mac and PC laptops with no need for software installation on the PC laptops.
I now use nothing but alternatives to Microsoft software on my Mac PowerBook
(except for testing purposes).

With the Adobe PDF standard for documents and the sevice capabilities
of websites and portals on the Internet, there is less of a need to use Microsoft
software-even for business. It's possible to use the Web as an interface to
popular enterprise applications such as SAP business packages and Oracle
databases. No longer do people need to duplicate their once PC environment
on a home PC. People can use whatever they want, as long as they can
connect to the Web.

At the same rime, all the folks using Microsof software and windows
are targets for viruses and nearly defenseless against them, relying solely on
Microsoft to address the problem. Bill Gates spoke at a trade show in early
2004and declared that that year, Microsoft would focus on security. Thanks,
Bill. Three years after September 11, and I feel as insecure as ever.
Consumers aren't the only ones left insecure by Microsoft (in this case,
by Microsoft code). Businesses are also much too insecure due to Microsoft's
monopolistic practices. Software entrepreneurs avoid entire areas of computing
because Microsoft owns them.

Microsoft is not known for innovation but for copycat engineering and
stifling the competition with FUD. AsJerry Kaplan points out in his book Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure, Microsofr became adept at identifying promising market niches with weak competitors. "It would closely study their products and tactics, then launch an attack on their position with a strong product and aggressive pricing. Sometimes, Microsofr would propose some form of cooperation orjoint development, to learn about the marker before staging its own entry. This was the corporate version of the cheetah's hunting technique: keep a close eye on your prey, sneakup, then outrun it."

In the sixties, we learned that in communist Russia, you could have only one kind
of car or washing machine-the kind manufactured by the state. With no
competition, the state-run factories churned out products that were faulty
and drab. No Calvin Kleinjeans, no Guccis. Rock 'n' roll was not allowed on
the radio (if you could even get a radio).

Communist Russia and Microsoft have at least one thing in common:
an agenda for world domination. Any organized effort to diminish Microsoft's
power in the industry is met with overpowering force. There are numerous
examples, bur the case that achieved the most notoriety was the Netscape


Ah just pretty long, let me stop here. :D

Bill Posters
07-10-2006, 12:06 PM
I imagine that the gist of that is old news to anyone inclined to care.

07-10-2006, 12:28 PM
I imagine that the gist of that is old news to anyone inclined to care.

but Not everyone has thoroughly known it,esp the Windows users.:thumbsup:

Bill Posters
07-10-2006, 01:02 PM
Not everyone needs to thoroughly know it.
I doubt that anyone other than some technology historians and business prosecutors actually need to thoroughly know it.

Most people don't give a damn and it's not necessarily the case that they should.
So long as MS products do what they want at that time, they're satisfied.

It might grate on some others that MS has some extremely questionable business practices, but few outside of the IT/tech/web development world wants to spend time asking those questions.