Jump to content
just_some_guy

Why I have concerns about Microsoft

Recommended Posts

I noticed one of the moderators on this forum currently has the Windows logo as his avatar. Well, I applaud him for being upfront about his biases. In a similar spirit of openness, I'm listing here why I have concerns about Microsoft. And, because TL:DR is endemic on Atomic, I have limited myself to a maximum of two explanatory points per reason.

 

 

They always put short term profits ahead of customer needs and interests.

* they rushed Xbox 360 to market ahead of the Christmas sales, even though they knew in advance it had a significant design flaw which scratched disks.

* to force sales of their console, bought out many popular PC game franchises and developers, and forced them to release games only on Xbox (eg. Halo, MechWarrior), denying PC gamers the opportunity to play these titles for years.

 

They undermine standards, creating customer-unfriendly incompatibilities for their own profit.

* created "two webs", with sites that used propriety MS extensions incompatible with published open standards.

* introduced the "embrace and extend" strategy, to deliberately stop Java and prevent other open standards from being successful

 

They gouge customers on pricing.

* Microsoft's upgrade prices are higher than actual product improvements suggest would be reasonable.

* expecting Vista customers to pay for Windows 7, in several respects a Service Pack for Vista, is unreasonable.

 

Their software gets slower and more bloated, even while our hardware gets faster, negating performance gains.

* computer hardware has leaped ahead over the past 20 years in terms of capacity and speed. Yet Windows and MS's main apps don't show anywhere near that increase in performance, while consuming much more resources, and delivering relatively little version on version in increased functionality.

 

They're lazy, only innovating, or adding functionality, when forced to.

* after they killed Netscape by IE bundling and bifurcating the web into incompatibility, they did little to improve IE until alternatives like Firefox gained momentum.

* this pattern (recent example: putting a decent search function in Windows to counter Google) is repeated over and over.

 

"Their" innovations are mostly copies of others' ideas.

* most of Microsoft's "ideas" are actually copied from others (eg. Apple UI elements for Vista and Windows 7, Firefox functionality for IE), or a result of purchasing other companies.

 

They have more ready cash than most other companies, but don't spend it on fixing their products.

* they are currently sitting on $20 Billion in cash. They could not sell another piece of software for 3 years and still stay in business, yet they have never spent their historically huge cash reserves on programmers or bug-fixing.

 

They try to pass off minor cosmetic tweaks as major improvements.

* Media Centre is a great example. Instead of working on the core issues of codec incompatibility, phantom folder creation etc that plague the Vista version, what they've mostly done for the Windows 7 version is introduce graphic tweaks and peripheral novelties.

 

They pioneer predatory business practices, which encourages other companies to follow suit.

* by creating, and showing how to get away with practices like predatory bundling, "send it out and fix it later" software coding, "embrace and extend" undermining of open standards, they encourage other companies (notably, appliance manufacturers) to pull the same tricks to get ahead.

 

They generally offer low quality products.

* how many Gbs of patches should you need to download in order to get each brand new just-released version of Windows to work, and why don't MS apply those patches before they sell it?

* witness: Xbox quality issues, ongoing Vista incompatibility issues, etc.

 

They ignore the law of the land.

* even when found guilty of breaking the law, they use legal process tricks and chicanery to delay implementing the judgement.

* then they re-offend when it's cheaper to pay the fine than lose an illicit business advantage (eg. European IE bundling case)

 

They think they know better than me what I need, and force me to do things their way.

* constant changes to UIs, default file locations, and application commands, costs us all time and effort re-learning each new version, often for no genuine productivity gain.

* they are increasingly locking down power user short cuts, folder permissions, and burying control options, to stop those of us who know what we're doing from doing things in the simplest way.

 

The quality of their Products is generally poor.

* constant Windows bug fixes, endemic Xbox console problems.

 

 

Sure, there are things that Microsoft have done which are net good for us as consumers. But frankly, most of them are incidental after-effects from their ill-gotten premier position in the industry. Or, token PR attempts to win back favour from those of us who are disgusted by their business practices. And, these positives are outweighed by the many negative impacts of the customer-unfriendly, unethical and slovenly corporate behemoth which dominates our hobby/industry.

 

In any case, I hope you found the above perspective at least slightly interesting.

Edited by just_some_guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we all now microsoft operating systems are peices of shit, they have dominated the market for years... it is interesting to see linux fight back and slowly introduce itself into the market (eg Asus Eepc etc).

i have recommended linux operating systems to new users for years, heck they dont even have to worry about virus/malware protection, the constant bloating with the file system, massive patches... etc They have found linux easier to use than microsoft based systems and havent had a single problem with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're assuming that TinBane changed his avatar to what is currently showing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're assuming that TinBane changed his avatar to what is currently showing.

Yes. Is there any reason why I shouldn't assume that a moderator changed his own avatar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly because on numerous occasions, it's been mentioned that Takoma is changing it.

 

(Verifiable by looking at the URL for the image in question)

Edited by Nich...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard that they spent more money marketing the original XBOX than in R&D on it.

 

Anyway, I thought it was common knowledge that Microsoft was more a marketing company than a software company. Bill Gates gift was in marketing, and buying into markets (then later forcing monopolies through aggressive competition)

Edited by smadge1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one question... why the fuck do people waste their good money paying microsoft to hire monkeys to develop their software when there are free options out on the market...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one question... why the fuck do people waste their good money paying microsoft to hire monkeys to develop their software when there are free options out on the market...

It's a good question. I think the answer is: critical mass in the overall marketplace + the need for general compatibility in file sharing + reluctance for people to learn new OS/apps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the answer has more to do with backwards compatibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting post, JSG, good to get behind the perspective :-)

 

"send it out and fix it later" software coding,

I'm not a software developer (network engineer/sysadmin) so perhaps I'm not properly aware of the practicalities involved, but looking at this point from a purely hypothetical view, it really is something that grates against what I would think is common sense.

 

it is interesting to see linux fight back and slowly introduce itself into the market (eg Asus Eepc etc).

Linux (I'm using the term colloquially and loosely here) has been pushing out of the developer mindset and making inroads in such markets as enterprise and desktop for longer than the eeePC has been on the market - although I think I get what you're overall point is, and I would agree that it's an interesting process to watch :-)

 

one question... why the fuck do people waste their good money paying microsoft to hire monkeys to develop their software when there are free options out on the market...

I suspect the answer would, in parts, be vastly complex; or at least, incredibly detailed and just about as varied for nearly each person who had made the choice :-) For this question, I'm not sure there is a general, catch-all "people" to refer to, although it is an interesting question. Myself, I'm a believer in using the best tool for the job, wherever possible :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At work, the organisation has an agreement with Microsoft for software. This not only gives us a good deal, but it also gives us access to highly specialised technical support. One of the reasons we moved from WSS3 to MOSS2007 was for enterprise wide deployment, and it's capacity will scale better. Not only that, but MS don't support WSS3 beyond what's available in KnowledgeBase articles. (usually made up of things their customers have submitted)

 

By paying for MOSS, we have a guaranteed support commitment from Microsoft well into the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have recommended linux operating systems to new users for years, heck they dont even have to worry about virus/malware protection, the constant bloating with the file system, massive patches... etc They have found linux easier to use than microsoft based systems and havent had a single problem with it.

i find your suggestion that users generally find linux easier then windows very odd.

 

you see, i too have tried to use linux, and i find it much harder to use the windows. anything more advanced then browsing the internet invariably requires use of the terminal, and i find your claim that new users could possibly find the terminal easier to use then a well structured GUI they have used in some form their whole lives rediculous. i dont deny that linux is a viable, powerful, workable OS. but its far less user friendly then windows and miles behind MacOS when it comes to new users.

 

if all your users do is write word documents and browse the web, maybe they do find it nicer to use then windows, but i bet the first time they went to install a program and had to go three rounds with the synaptics package manager, they wished they had windows and its double-click-the-installer simplicity.

 

certainly, your claim that none of your clients have ever had a problem with linux is utterly ludicrous.

Edited by Sir_Substance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly because on numerous occasions, it's been mentioned that Takoma is changing it.

 

(Verifiable by looking at the URL for the image in question)

BAM!

 

But hey, at least he got some good exercise jumping like he did ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have recommended linux operating systems to new users for years, heck they dont even have to worry about virus/malware protection, the constant bloating with the file system, massive patches... etc They have found linux easier to use than microsoft based systems and havent had a single problem with it.

New users, as in "new to computers" or "new to linux"?

 

As has been said: anything more complicated than using what the distro comes with (such as, say, having a second HDD mount on boot) requires FAQs, editing config files and using the terminal. And the level of presumed knowledge in the linux community is FAR beyond that of a "new user".

 

Re: Microsoft - yeah, there are SO MANY THINGS they really should be doing better. But like any corporation they're not going to actually get off their arses unless they're forced, somehow. For me, two things keep me with Windows: games (and other easily-found software) and usability/familiarity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They gouge customers on pricing.

- What's unreasonable for you, may be perfectly reasonable for others. I have no problems with the cost of their licensing - I have a MSDN subscription :p

 

Their software gets slower and more bloated, even while our hardware gets faster, negating performance gains.

- That is a highly uneducated opinion. Vista, and more so with Windows 7, runs a lot better on the same hardware I've had for 6 years. The speed is phenomenal on my latest build (~6 second start-up)

 

"Their" innovations are mostly copies of others' ideas.

- Is it a copy of someone else's idea if they own the IP of original idea?

 

They have more ready cash than most other companies, but don't spend it on fixing their products.

- Investing 60Bn in improving their products (as that link suggest) would be a totally brain dead investment, as it would not even come close to a 60Bn+ ROE.

 

They try to pass off minor cosmetic tweaks as major improvements.

*cough*Apple*cough*

- And again, that's only your perception. There have been major improvements on the kernal, but maybe you don't deal with the major improvements, so you're only away of the shiny on top.

 

They pioneer predatory business practices, which encourages other companies to follow suit.

- How can you even come close to drawing a link between Microsoft and bad practice among all other businesses?

 

They generally offer low quality products.

* how many Gbs of patches should you need to download in order to get each brand new just-released version of Windows to work, and why don't MS apply those patches before they sell it?

- Because they're not available before the product is sold? Uh, if they waited to apply every single patch before the product was released, we'd never see any products from company. Apply some common sense. Also, what's with all those *nix ISO's I have to keep downloading for updates? They're a solid 3/4GB ea.

 

* ongoing Vista incompatibility issues, etc.

- Compatibility issues are more to do with 3rd party vendors than anything else.

 

They think they know better than me what I need, and force me to do things their way.

* constant changes to UIs, default file locations, and application commands, costs us all time and effort re-learning each new version, often for no genuine productivity gain.

- They've moved some items to be in a more logical place, and that's hiding them?

- Have you heard of PowerShelll? Saves me many hours every day. And I love the constant improvements. Life would be so boring if there was nothing new to learn.

 

The quality of their Products is generally poor.

* constant Windows bug fixes, endemic Xbox console problems.

- Don't forget to mention the Zune - quite possibly one of the biggest POS ever.

 

On the whole, it doesn't sound like you've ever really used Microsoft products. A lot of your arguments are generalisations and as an avid user of their products and technologies, I don't see them applying very well in reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JSG do you really need to constantly bash Microsoft and their products. If you don't like them don't use them, its not like they force you to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have recommended linux operating systems to new users for years, heck they dont even have to worry about virus/malware protection, the constant bloating with the file system, massive patches... etc They have found linux easier to use than microsoft based systems and havent had a single problem with it.

i find your suggestion that users generally find linux easier then windows very odd.

 

you see, i too have tried to use linux, and i find it much harder to use the windows. anything more advanced then browsing the internet invariably requires use of the terminal, and i find your claim that new users could possibly find the terminal easier to use then a well structured GUI they have used in some form their whole lives rediculous. i dont deny that linux is a viable, powerful, workable OS. but its far less user friendly then windows and miles behind MacOS when it comes to new users.

 

if all your users do is write word documents and browse the web, maybe they do find it nicer to use then windows, but i bet the first time they went to install a program and had to go three rounds with the synaptics package manager, they wished they had windows and its double-click-the-installer simplicity.

 

certainly, your claim that none of your clients have ever had a problem with linux is utterly ludicrous.

 

basically if you set them up with the basic interface, install open office for them, and email program give them mozilla and install a few card games they have no problem at all. They can surf the net until there heart is content without having to worry about viruses or any crap like that. Ive got all the programs that they require on my memory stick so all i need to do is install and there they go they have got what they want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of us would love to agree with you JSG however the reality is this. MS rules the world as far as the PC is concerned. Why? Because of a decision they made a couple of decades ago with IBM who were stupid enough to agree to MS demands. By the time they realised their mistake, it was already too late.

 

Think back to Window v3.11 days. IBM was coming out with OS/2. I used both OSs so I know the differences. OS/2 was great. Far better than Windows 95. It took the release of XP for MS to catch up. Then why did it fail? Device driver support, availability of applications are just some of the things that caused its downfall. However, the main reason and by far the only thing that caused OS/2 to fail is compatibility. Sure you could run OS/2 on a PC but it didnt have many applications and eventhough you could run a windows program on it it was slow and ultimately pointless exercise.

 

That is where MS holds the key to its domination and why people, even if they dislike MS practices, will always buy and will stay with Windows. Like AIMBOT stated, its easy to install, easy to use and has a knowledge base as long as the great wall of china. Everyone uses it. Almost all the tech that we used today have been made popular by MS. Sure there have been several products that havent lived up to expectations but MS arent the only ones who have done so.

 

However, remaining with the primary topic of MS and software, until there is a VIABLE pieces of software that will replace what MS has got on the market, things are unlikely to change. Of course, we have OpenOffice and all such software which more and more people are using as time goes on, a win on the part of competition, and its free too. As far as the OS is concerned, there is nothing that comes close at the moment accept Mac OS X. Look at the past and you will find along the way, others OSs that have tried and failed. Like I said earlier, until the time comes when there is a viable alternative, the world has no choice but to use MS products and MS is under no obligation to do anything at all if it doesnt want to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, two things keep me with Windows: games (and other easily-found software) and usability/familiarity.

Bingo.

 

Secretly I really like Windows 7, its pretty and it works, but I think they fucked up the pricing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They always put short term profits ahead of customer needs and interests.

* they rushed Xbox 360 to market ahead of the Christmas sales, even though they knew in advance it had a significant design flaw which scratched disks.

* to force sales of their console, bought out many popular PC game franchises and developers, and forced them to release games only on Xbox (eg. Halo, MechWarrior), denying PC gamers the opportunity to play these titles for years.

You just gave two examples of MS putting long term profits ahead of customer needs and interests (which, naturally, every successful company does to one degree or another). MS rushed the 360 to market to ensure a solid consumer base ahead of Sony's launch, and MS forced sales of their console to ensure the long-term survivability of that console as a profitable games platform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You just gave two examples of MS putting long term profits ahead of customer needs and interests (which, naturally, every successful company does to one degree or another). MS rushed the 360 to market to ensure a solid consumer base ahead of Sony's launch, and MS forced sales of their console to ensure the long-term survivability of that console as a profitable games platform.

We could argue the toss on that. To me, short-term is 10 years. But in any case, that's somewhat missing the point. A more viable business strategy is to continually make your customers happy, by delivering against their needs, instead of finding ways to cheat or force them. Loyal customers will stick with you for decades, recommend you to others, pay more for your products because they want to do business with you, etc.

 

 

JSG do you really need to constantly bash Microsoft and their products. If you don't like them don't use them, its not like they force you to.

No. That's why it's only about 1 in every 25 posts I make on these forums. And that again is a fraction of the general pro-Microsoft posting that's prevalent in these forums. The purpose of this post was to explain exactly why I think some criticism of Microsoft is valid.

 

 

That is where MS holds the key to its domination and why people, even if they dislike MS practices, will always buy and will stay with Windows. Like AIMBOT stated, its easy to install, easy to use and has a knowledge base as long as the great wall of china. Everyone uses it.

Yes, and that ill-gotten incumbency is also what stops better OS's and apps even being invented in the first place (why bother?) and spreading when they do exist. So it's a bit of a circular argument. But in the end we're still entitled to expect Microsoft as a company to put more effort into the quality of its products.

 

 

AIMBOT: detailed response to follow later, when I'm done with work for the day, cheers.

Edited by just_some_guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is where MS holds the key to its domination and why people, even if they dislike MS practices, will always buy and will stay with Windows. Like AIMBOT stated, its easy to install, easy to use and has a knowledge base as long as the great wall of china. Everyone uses it.

Yes, and that ill-gotten incumbency is also what stops better OS's and apps even being invented in the first place (why bother?) and spreading when they do exist. So it's a bit of a circular argument. But in the end we're still entitled to expect Microsoft as a company to put more effort into the quality of its products.

 

 

I have to agree with you there regarding consumer expectations. To a point, Windows 7 does deliver, except its price point. Its still way to expensive although much better than Vista. And lets not talk about MS Office which has always been over price imo. With Steve Balmer having the reigns, we have seen some interesting changes at Redmond, things that we would never have seen before this. Id like to be the idealist and think, "Maybe, just maybe, MS is heading in the right direction at last."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

install open office for them

now i know you are lying. you see, i use open office extensively, have done for years, and i know that it interfaces with Microsoft office about as well as a jellyfish does with a porcupine. unless you wish to dig yourself deeper by telling me none of your clients have ever tried to save a file from OO in MS format and then open it on a MS Office system, we both know your users have run into problems. Edited by Sir_Substance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard to respond to a post like this without sounding like one is defending Microsoft...

 

But I'll do my best.

 

- Rushed 360's out.

 

Yeah, it's business, you try to beat your competitor's products to the shelves. Doing so with *quote* alleged *quote* known faults is at your own financial peril. The disk-scratching problem is stupid anyway. If you move your console while things inside it are spinning, you're asking for trouble, especially if the console carries instructions not to do so.

 

- Bought franchises.

 

Oh look, they used money to secure IP to help sell their console. That sounds a bit like an investment to me. Dear lord, call the feds.

 

- Web standards.

 

Yeah, this is pretty shitty.

 

- Pricing

 

They only (really) get to sell you one piece of software every few years. If you get it with a PC, you pay less than $100 for it anyway. People pay $110 for games that will only last a few hours.

 

- Slow + Bloated

 

This, I agree with. As hardware gets faster, we just find more to bog it down with. This is true of linux too, though. Fedora Core 10 takes about the same time to boot on a modern quad-core machine as it took Red Hat Linux 9 on a Pentium 3 to boot.

 

- Lazy

 

The difference between MS and Firefox is that MS's software costs money to develop. It's bad business sense to spend loads of money writing features that they're not sure people will want or use. Firefox has the luxury of no-deadline, no-cost development, and can experiment with these things.

 

- Innovations are copies

 

*Shrugs* Every company in every industry ever has done this since the dawn of time. Meh.

 

- More cash not spent on fixing.

 

Money spent doesn't directly equate to bugs fixed.

 

- Predatory business practices.

 

MS are hardly pioneers of this stuff, check out the green room thread on Goldman Sachs. Intel are guilty of it too. It's big business.

 

- Low quality products

 

Periodic releases of patched media is a costly exercise, this is why they made it possible to slipstream.

 

- Ignore the law.

 

This is what they pay their lawyers for.

 

- Think they know better

 

They don't. But if they never changed anything, they'd be criticised for being stagnant. It's a cath 22 really. Sometimes you need to make mistakes to know what you shouldn't do, eh?

 

- Poor quality (again)

 

They constantly fix bugs because they're found in the wild. I challenge you to write software that will work on 100% of PCs on the planet. There's billions of them. Not to mention the billions of billions of different ways people are going to bend it. You can't address every bug, vulnerability, etc in a debugging think tank, it's just not possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm kinda hoping they fix the Zune brand, they could make something innovative, but Zune hasn't been outside of Nth America for a long time now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×