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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 157028  
Subject: What I don't get. Date: 5/3/2000 8:58 AM
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What makes these arguments about MSFT so difficult to not only understand but to tolerate is this: the only complaints about this company comes from people in the industry who want to convince us that a.) MSFT never innovated a thing and b.) if it weren't for MSFT this field would be so much more innovative.

This is rather incredible because it hasn't been the consumer who has driven the need for more bandwidth, better graphics, a more user friendly GUI, voice recognition, a cheap operating system, better hardware, better software, bigger hard drives, etc, etc. Most consumers had no idea how technology could better their lives. Whoever thought that you could use the computer instead of your phone (telephony?) who ever thought that e-mail could become universal. Who ever thought that a 300 baud modem would not be enough or that Graphical interfaces could be fully utilized on the 'net. Who ever realized that html programming and pearl code could turn basically anyone into a “web designer” and web site developer?

I'm not sure how this field could be anymore innovative. In fact, in many cases it innovates too quickly for the average consumer who find themselves with obsolete computers after only two years. Before MSFT and Windows 98, in fact, you could count on paying at least $ 2,500 for a PC and, if you were a professional, investing at least $ 5- 10,000. in all the software and hardware, etc. that you'd need.

Today, you have no such problem. Prices have dropped, we can do more things on the internet and on our computers than anyone ever thought of, no less dreamed. (Wow, my computer is a juke box, it's a radio, it's a TV, it's a DVD.) What on earth is missing here? Oh yeah, my computer is not a semi-conductor, a nuclear reactor, it doesn't bake bread (oh wait, MSFT is actually implementing that technology so that your oven will probably not only make bread but get turned on by a phone call, your eggs can tell you when they need replacement, your milk when it's about to go sour, and so on.) Where is this lack of innovation of which you all speak?

I don't give a damn whether MSFT bought it or innovated it; an argument we've had so many times I could puke. A lack of innovation in this industry is hardly our problem. Please someone name one invention that we so desperately need that has not come to market due to Microsoft. I'm sure you can name a few products that failed. To the consumer that's largely irrelevant because the fact remains most of us are basically trying to figure out how to fully utilize all the products we already have. (Of course, we're just ignorant non-techies who, like the nanny state tells us, don't really know what is good for us.)

Sorry folks, your arguments fall pretty flat. There will come a time when MSFT blocks innovation but that has not happened yet [you don't consider getting a $ 10,000 piece of equipment to market for $ 1,200.00 "innovative?" I guess it depends on what your definition of "is" is.] If it has, the consumer is (of course) too stupid to notice so the point is , well, moot.

What I see here is a lot of angry techies, and that's who brought this lawsuit. Is that what anti-trust laws are for? You continue to rant about some nebulous innovation that hasn't occurred. I think all our heads are spinning because of how fast this technology moves and how obsolete expensive products often become because of it. In fact, MSFT's policy of backward compatibility has saved thousands of dollars for the consumer; an accomadation not even APPL bestowed on its customers.

If MSFT has stifled innovation, where's the evidence? If MSFT has stifled your ability to out-tech the market and drive us all nuts, I say “good.”

The salvation of this industry has been Windows 95-98, something techies abhore because it makes you all less relevent (oh yes, I saw you all fight this- from GUI's to the mouse because you considered all of these “innovations” somehow beneath you.)

Do you think you still have to explain to anyone on this board or on the face of this earth? That MSFT “stole” the GUI from APPL who stole it from Xerox? How DOS was a derivative of the (bankrupt) DR-DOS, or how Bill Gates took the Altair and actually made it work for the masses? It is the retentive and myopic attitudes of most techies that would have stopped this industry dead in its tracks. The marketing guys pull these ideas forward, and MSFT if nothing else is the tremendous marriage between marketing and tech. That is why it is so successful.

Consumers don't care about your inter-industry problems and there is no evidence, empirical or otherwise, that MSFT has stifled opportunity or innovation. Oh, maybe for some of you but that's not our problem.

If Netscape had a problem with patent infringment (oh, gee, Netscape “bought” the technology for the browser from Mosaic. god fobid, MSFT tried such a stunt. Oh wait, it did. How is Netscape innovative and MSFT not?) or collusion between MSFT and OEM's or any other issue against MSFT, Netscape should have brought it to court as a corporate action. This isn't an anti-trust case because on this level it is fundamentally flawed: you forgot the consumer. We haven't been harmed!

With AT&T everyone knew this was a monopoly and most consumers were fine with getting out from under. With MSFT the argument fails to hold water. You brought your lawsuit too soon. Call us in 25 years when we're all clamoring for something we need that MSFT has blocked from coming to market then maybe we'll care what you have to say. Instead, I for one resent you using the DoJ as your personal law firm. Your actions are going to screw the consumer and once again put us under the thumb of the out of touch techie who lost this “war of innovation” because they cared not a whit about what consumers want.

Do you think Jerry Yang had this problem? Jeff Bezo's? No way, their products were aimed toward the consumer, to make our lives easier. Not to take technology and innovation ever farther out of the reach of the novice or average user. We all thank MSFT (and APPL) every day and I for one curse only the geeks who have made it take so long for this technology to get into everyone's hands. As a long time Mac user I see what went on for the last 15 years and to quote William Shakespere (a guy you love to hype as either genius-innovator or malign as thief): “ Men at some time are masters of their fates; The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves.
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Author: CarlosMunn Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33091 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/3/2000 10:35 AM
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Even though my thinking is somewhat clouded by a dislike of the greedy Gates personna and his buggy software, I realize that he has great vision. I also believe you are essentially correct and so does public opinion. And don't kid yourself, this is not about justice, this is totally political and as such, pubic opinion will be the major mover. Gates/Balmer know this and are merely waiting it out.

In the meantime win 2000 is done and hundreds of bright people are now focusing on Gate's new vision.
I can hardly wait to see where this will take us... techies and all ..... screaming into a future that is happening so fast that next weekend is now last week.. and, as usual, the government is still operating in the 1980's .. <grin> and I got a super buy because of it! Long on msft




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Author: TrueRed Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33194 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/3/2000 9:08 PM
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I have read many posts making most of the same points you have made here, especially that the consumer has not been harmed. But I think you have said it best. You covered the issues thoroughly and with style.

I had to laugh about geeks not wanting the mouse. I remember when a user had to be familiar with arcane UNIX commands, my favorite being grep.

TR


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Author: akated One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33210 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/3/2000 11:45 PM
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Surprisingly, not much of a thread on this post 15 hours after it was posted. I believe you must have said it all, Sera.

You might have also mentioned that lurking in the background of this mess are Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison the primary beneficiaries of the proposed break-up who are doing everything in their powers to keep from competing with MSFT.



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Author: SammiSampson Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33217 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 12:21 AM
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(Sera's entire post can be seen at http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1180128007157000&sort=postdate. If you're a disgruntled, bitter technie ... don't bother.)

Sera, quoting Shakespeare: "Men at some time are masters of their fates; The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves."

You've outdone yourself, m'dear! Congratulations on dotting all the "i"s and crossing all the "t"s.

This has been one of those 'Net-less days and, had it not been for akated's post, I might have missed a post no one should miss.

Thanks, Sera, for the usual excellent job!





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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33236 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 3:54 AM
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I remember when a user had to be familiar with arcane UNIX commands, my favorite being
grep.


and just how do you do grep with a mouse?

the GUI has its benefits, but it's not as open or as flexible as a command prompt.

sorry I am a techie.

oh, and if your response is that you...
1) go to Start menu
2) click on Find...
3) type in the filename extensions or whatnot
4) type in the text I am searching for
5) press search

...or some such thing. you're just doing grep. but, of course, it doesn't do regular expression pattern matching, so it's not as good as grep.

yahoo for Windows!


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Author: montashigi Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33246 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 8:03 AM
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Sera, congratulations on your fantastic post. I read it earlier, and I really admired the way you were able to express how quixotic the anti-MSFT arguments about innovation must appear to the regular Joe computer user. You deserve every Recommend you got (including mine), and I'm sure you'll get a ton more when TMF does the right thing and taps you for Post of the Day.

I'm going to spend the rest of this post trying to make a connection between what you describe as the public's perception that computer technology is moving plenty fast (and maybe even too fast), and the technologist's determination that we need to push aside Microsoft's monopoly so that progress can move even faster. I think this disconnect is the reason there may be a perception that the case is driven by Sun, Oracle and MS's other competitors (the company's propoganda might have something to do with that too, of course), and it seems to be what is behind much of the complacency displayed by the financial press, as expressed in the WSJ's laughable editorial and Mary Farrell's uninformed opinions on Wall Street Week last Friday. I will save my observations about how WSJ is trying to keep Microsoft's problems from tanking its cherished DJIA (Nice pick, guys! At least Intel ain't a dog!), and how the Wise love a monopoly because then they don't have to analyze competition and can sit on their lazy asses phoning in their LT Strong Buy and NT Accumulate recs ad infinitumfrom the hot tub.

My day job is as a web developer for my company's internal intranet (my night job is as a poster on this board ;) ). My co-workers would come ask me for a certain web site with certain functionality, and often I would be able to offer them things they hadn't even considered. For instance, they might ask for a site with a picture of a bear, and I would say, "Let's see, if we used some Javascript to do some dynamic HTML, you can have a dancing bear." They would lift their eyebrows in surprise and say, "You can do that?"

The point is that the regular Joe computer user who has a limited exposure to computer technology is usually not as cognizant as the technologist about what is actually possible with even existing technology. Most competent tech workers (this is where I put myself) can see up to the horizon of what is currently available; the true technologist (guys like Bill Joy, Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Tim Berners-Lee--guys most Americans never heard of, except maybe Linus, but guys who are ROCK STARS among tech people) can see beyond the horizon toward the true end state of computer technology. Despite the general public's awe with current computers, the technologists are telling us that you ain't seen nothing yet, or to borrow from Ballmer's screen debut (Is this the first time Ballmer has ever talked without waving his arms like a madman?): "The best is yet to come." The technologists should be considered the experts on the state computers, and I think most Americans appreciate that. Most of us would say, "What the hell do I know? I can't even program my VCR."

This might sound very elitist (go ahead with the flames), but the truth of the matter is that we depend on expert opinions every day of our lives. You don't show up at the scene of a fire and say to the Fire Chief, "Stand aside, son. I'll take care of this." And you don't say to the ER doctor, "I think you better intubate stat!" no matter how much TV you've seen. In the matter of computers, I can get around them fairly well, but when the network goes down and someone has to swap out the RAM on the NFS servers, I just cross my fingers and hope the experts know what they're doing. There seems to be very strong consensus among technologists that computers can be better, that computers should be better, and that regardless of whether Microsoft is good for the economy, the plain fact is the company has done nothing to make it better. You don't hear from them in the media as much as the blowhard Larry Ellison, but I believe Joel Klein has been soliciting their opinions and he hears them loud and clear.

My conclusion is that we all think computer technology is pretty darn good as it is in its current state, but that is besides the point. You don't pass up a mission to Mars just because getting to the moon was "pretty darn good." We have in our midsts true visionaries who have given us outstanding technologies in the past, who are working hands-on to build the technologies of the future (see Linus's new career as a chip fab), and who tell us that we are merely playing with pebbles on the sea shore while the entire ocean of computer technology is waiting to be explored. I'll sign off with a very partial list of upcoming technologies as predicted (with dates!) by technologist Ray Kurzweil in his book, "The Age of Spiritual Machines," (1999, Viking Penguin) a true must read.

2009 -- A $1000 computer can perform 1 trillion calculations per second. The Web is wireless. Most word processing is done through speech recognition. Computers are tiny and wearable.

2019 -- A $1000 computer can calculate as fast as the human brain, and are invisible and embedded everywhere. Displays use 3D virtual reality. Interfaces are completely through natural language. The vast majority of economic transactions are through simulated persons. We begin to interact with computers as if they were people, as companions, caretakers, and lovers.

2029 -- A $1000 computer can calculate as fast as 1,000 human brains, and are implanted into human beings, with direct neural pathways into the brain. Computers routinely pass the Turing Test and claim to be conscious beings. Humans accept that claim.

2049 -- Nanotechnology comes forward. Nano-robot swarms controlled by distributed computing creates tactile things and images instantly on demand. Computer virtual reality becomes real touchable reality. The cost of producing goods become negligible.

2099 -- Humans and computers merge seamlessly. Humans gain a form of immortality by inserting their consciousness into machines, and machines gain humanity by imitating (reproducing) humans. The goal of intelligent beings become the constant search for new knowledge. We all become knowledge-explorers.

Kurzweil ends with a cryptic, "Some many milleniums hence... Intelligent beings consider the fate of the Universe." Very scary stuff to our present understanding of technology, but damn it would be exciting! I hope I live long enough to see it all come to pass. If only Microsoft sees itself as part of this future.

(By the way, I saw your post, BeDucky, with the L&H info. Thanks! It's good to see Microsoft is collaborating with others on speech technologies. I always thought that if they ran the rest of their company like they are running this project, we would all be MSFT cheerleaders.)

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33248 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 8:08 AM
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SB said:
>>> oh, the connection between microsoft and dropping computer prices is really tenuous. more likely that increasing competition in the computer hardware sector, efficient manufacturing practises, cheaper alternative materials and the like drove down the prices of computers.

What drove down the price of computers was consumer demand. If you think Windows had nothing to do with that, you don't remember how difficult it was for a non-computer person to use a computer in the days of DOS. Oh, except for the Apple, of course, which was priced out of reach of all but the rich.

Steph

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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33250 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 8:35 AM
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What drove down the price of computers was consumer demand. If you think Windows had nothing to do with that, you don't remember how difficult it was for a non-computer person to use a computer in the days of DOS. Oh, except for the Apple, of course, which was priced out of reach of all but the rich.

Steph


So true. I say that as a 15 year Mac user. Does anyone, by the way, remember Ventura? IBM's attempt at giving us Desktop Publishing? What a flop that was, overpriced and exhausting.

Honestly, there is a whole other world out there that PC users should have explored. Including the genesis of the PC/desktop industry which from my humble, non-techie view strikes me as extremely revisionist.

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33254 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 9:52 AM
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Sera1 said:
>>> Including the genesis of the PC/desktop industry which from my humble, non-techie view strikes me as extremely revisionist.

Things have certainly changed, as Microsoft and the US government can tell you. It used to be that the victors wrote the histories - now, the losers write the histories and the winners pay reparations.

Or maybe things haven't changed so much. This reminds me of the 70s oil crisis, with the US automakers screaming about how they were being raped by the Japanese competition, disregarding the fact that they'd thrown their own advantage away and completely failed to foresee the market. Yup, yup, the Japanese were the bad guys and it was all their fault and the government better protect them or the world as we know it would simply come to a halt and wouldn't that just be terrible for the economy and the consumer and...

So the government "helped" us with import tariffs and surcharges and taxes.

Yeah, nothing really changes.

Steph

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Author: sgawron Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33256 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 11:02 AM
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Well said, Sera1

Also keep in mind that the antitrust laws that Microsoft was tried under are nearly 100 years old. They apply to a time when railroads owned the line, warehouses for storage and the company who would buy the farmers goods. They were the only game in town. Microsoft doesn't built computers, only software. Linux, Unix, Java, etc wouldn't exist if this were truly a monopoly situation. I have never felt that getting IE Explorer for free was over charging me in any way!
Thank you for your enlightened views

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Author: rehowes Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33264 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 11:41 AM
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Congratulations Sera1,

Welcome to the Post of the Day club. It was deserved.

Randall

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Author: jjackel Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33265 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 11:46 AM
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If MSFT has stifled innovation, where's the evidence?

If MSFT has muzzled everyone, why don't I hear screaming?

It's the nature of innovation that you often don't know what you need, or what is even possible, until you get out there and try it. If someone stops you from trying it, you don't innovate, and you probably don't know what you would have ended up with if you had tried.

We'll never know where we could have been had MSFT not improperly used its monopoly power. That's the insidious thing about monopolies, and that's why we restrict their behavior while leaving other firms alone.

Jonathan

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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33267 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 11:58 AM
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sgawron wrote:

"Also keep in mind that the antitrust laws that Microsoft was tried under are nearly 100 years old. They apply to a time when railroads owned the line, warehouses for storage and the company who would buy the farmers goods. "



Also keep in mind that intellectual property laws stem from rights granted in the U.S. Constitution and are over 200 (!) years old. They apply to a time when horse-drawn buggies ruled for transportation, before even railroads came into existence. Let's get rid of these laws completely; clearly they are outdated.





"Microsoft doesn't built computers, only software. "


And there is heavy competition in the manufacture of computers, but not in the market for desktop operating systems.




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Author: svpav Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33270 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 12:07 PM
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Wow!!!!! I believe this is not about innovation, but competition. I also believe you are very generous in your giving credit to msft for $1,000 computers! Is msft the only company involved in the computer industry? I think you should credit the hardware manufacturers and originally, the end of the cold war that made the material the original pc chips were made from come out from under the perview of the military. Widespread availability of that original technology led to the introduction of these items into the marketplace. Private industry just turned it into the commonly accepted items they are now.
I agree with you in that msft has made the PC very usable, but they are not without their strong arm tactics. IMO, that is what got them into hot water.

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Author: dingof Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33272 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 12:36 PM
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What are you talking about. There is very high competition for the best operating system.

There is Windows 95, Windows 95, DOS, Windows 3.11,
Windows NT 3.50, Windows FWGPS, Windows NT 4.0, Windows NT 2000, Windows NT 5, and more Windows.

Who want's to use Linux-Caldera, RedHat, Unix, or AIX, SUNOS, Solaris, Novell, etc..

Why else would ~90% of the population be using
Windows ? (Simplicity.)

WE ALL want simplicity, not complexity.

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Author: SmoothSammy One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33274 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 12:42 PM
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Er, down where I come from, I was always taught that consumer demand drives prices UP, not DOWN ... and it's increased supply or decreased demand that drives cost down.

Now, in the case of hardware, what drove the prices down was the competition between the hardware manufacturers who were trying to sell products to the few people who were buying. Microsoft had nothing to do with it.

For example: A 1 gig hard drive in 1990 cost around $3000... today you can get a 10 gig drive for $89 + shipping. Did "consumer demand" make it drop that far? Absolutely not. It was advancing technology (innovation) and rival companies trying to make money (competition) that caused this.

Example 2 (now that I think about it): Windows 3.0 cost about $100 in 1990. Windows 98 costs about $100 today. Hmmmmmm... seems as if there hasn't been near as much innovation or competition in software....wonder why?

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Author: drainr Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33275 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 12:42 PM
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Several years ago (1993 or 1994) I attended a conference held by MSFT up here in Toronto, Canada. The speaker, I cannot remember his name, who was a lead technical developer for MSFT basically discussed MSFT technologies such as COM and ODBC and tools such as VB (incl. the DOS version, do remember that?) and VC++ (16bit) etc:
During his speach he kept on referring to what he called MSFT philosophy of commodizing the entire software business. I thought to myself, "Crap, these guys want to, and are going to, turn what I do into a service". But I then realized, heck, who cares?
What MSFT have done, borrowed or innovated is no different that what Henry Ford did 100 years ago. What, you think Edision invented the lightbulb? Ford the car? Nope, they adapted (embraced and extended) existing technologies. In the end, the commododization has helped, not hindered the consumer and small business owner.
Today, as yesteryear, I still work in the IT field, watching fads come and go. The be-all-end-all solution either fail or turn out to be way to expensive or just simply crap, and MSFT extend its reach to the higher end market. Taking what it learned previously and adapt it.
Sad for MSFT they are now beginning to eat the lunch of the guys who know how to lobby. There only mistake was political. IBM, NetCrap, Sun and Oracle were scared that what MSFT did to Borland, Corel and DR-DOS was about to happen to them.
They could have adapted, but it easier to get political.
Before you ask, yeah, I am a techie, a true one, not some guy who started in this business after being downsized from their job of 15 years. And yeah, I like and hate MSFT at the same time. Their Office apps are by far the best for the end user, their GUI OS is going to rule the desktop 'till the desktop is a memory. My wife loves win98, and hates Linux. That speaks volumes to me.


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Author: Trikki One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33279 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 1:00 PM
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1. FireWire. Technically this hasn't been kept from the market, but it has been kept from those of us that don't have Macs. It is faster and more reliable than USB. But Bill hasn't seen fit to support it yet.

2. All of the technological innovations that have occured over the past two decades are in no way related to Microsoft! Windows is an operating system. It is software, and not really impressive software at that.

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Author: CarolDiPalma Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33281 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 1:15 PM
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To Sera1 - concerning your comments on Microsoft - You expressed so very well - I'm with you. Go Go Microsoft

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Author: marimba Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33288 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 2:10 PM
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Saw this on "Post of the Day" and felt compelled to toss in a couple of rejoinders...
Sera1 writes:
I'm not sure how this field could be anymore innovative. In fact, in many cases it innovates too quickly for the average consumer who find themselves with obsolete computers after only two years.


Ever stop to think about why? It's because the size of the software being produced, primarily the OS, is inflating astronomically. Who's writing the OS? For 95% of the market, it's Microsoft. If you have a problem with computer obsolescence, place the blame where it properly lies.

Sorry folks, your arguments fall pretty flat. There will come a time when MSFT blocks innovation but that has not happened yet [you don't consider getting a $ 10,000 piece of equipment to market for $ 1,200.00 "innovative?"

1) If it's a foregone conclusion that this time will come, well, how long do you want to wait?
2) It's a leap of faith to credit Microsoft with applying downward pressure on PC prices when in fact each new release of the software requires about double the resources of the previous release.


The salvation of this industry has been Windows 95-98, something techies abhore because it makes you all less relevent (oh yes, I saw you all fight this- from GUI's to the mouse because you considered all of these “innovations” somehow beneath you.)

Are you joking? That's an invalid argument. Most of the "tech shortage" out there is for companies looking for people to put band-aids on Windows all day long.

Judging from the critical characterizations in your post, I'd say your ideas stem from an unhealthy case of class envy.

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33291 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 2:18 PM
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SmoothSammy said:
>>>Er, down where I come from, I was always taught that consumer demand drives prices UP, not DOWN ... and it's increased supply or decreased demand that drives cost down.

That's only true if you're dealing with a purely supply and demand situation. Technology (and for that matter, most industry) doesn't fit a pure supply and demand model.

The reason is that demand also drives innovation - innovation in production as well as innovation in the product itself. Look, for example, at what's happened to the prices in writable CD technology. In the beginning, the prices were exorbitant because individual manufacturing costs were so high. But demand for more, newer, better, cheaper products created a situation where lots of other factors came into play - who could find a way to reduce costs, who could introduce new features while keeping price competitive, who could grab enough of the market to make mass production viable...

That's a natural curve in consumer products. We've seen it with TVs and computers and even with "idea" products like software. It works because we haven't gotten close to the real limits of either supply or demand - we can make lots more chips, if there's demand, and if the price is low enough, we can drive demand higher at least for the intermediate future.

Demand only drive prices up when you begin to approach supply limits, as long as competing products are available.

>>> Now, in the case of hardware, what drove the prices down was the competition between the hardware manufacturers who were trying to sell products to the few people who were buying. Microsoft had nothing to do with it.

You're ignoring the fact that without consumer demand, all the competition in the world is meaningless. As long as you had to be a computer science major to connect to the Internet, the 'net had limited commercial viability. As long as you had to be an engineer to install a piece of software and get it to work, end user software had a limited commercial viability. Forty companies making private bookkeeping software has an impact on price, but only if there's a market for that software - and the market for that software doesn't exist until computers get into the end user world. Intel saw the handwriting on the wall and got themselves right in bed with Microsoft - because they saw that the easiest, cheapest way to expand sales was to put technology within reach of every end user in the world.

>>> For example: A 1 gig hard drive in 1990 cost around $3000... today you can get a 10 gig drive for $89 + shipping. Did "consumer demand" make it drop that far?

Absolutely. Innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum. While some people spend time figuring out how to build a better mousetrap just for the satisfaction of it, those kinds of innovations never make it into the consumer world until somebody wants to buy it. As long as desktop computers had limited consumer appeal and most of the buyers were business, the need to drive prices lower just wasn't as important - because the companies who needed computers bought them no matter the price and the ones who didn't wouldn't buy them no matter the price.

What the Macintosh and Windows accomplished was to put access to the technology at an end user level - now, every dingdong in the known universe can plug in an eMachine and be on the Web in 20 minutes without knowning a thing about computers. No interrupts, no port settings, no autoexec.bat files and paths and all that jazz. Just plug it in and go.

That end user accessibility is what created the market for small to medium business and for Joe Blow in his study down the street. And that market, and all the seemingly endless money being dumped into it is what's driven the industry. If there wasn't money in it, all those hardware and software people would be putting seats in pickup trucks or something.

>>> Example 2 (now that I think about it): Windows 3.0 cost about $100 in 1990. Windows 98 costs about $100 today. Hmmmmmm... seems as if there hasn't been near as much innovation or competition in software....wonder why?

Well, considering inflation, what you really gotta wonder is why Microsoft kept the price down if there's no competition. We're actually buying software at a discount, and if the DOJ is right about them being a monopoly, they discounted it for absolutely no reason.

But the real answer is again in demand - if the choice is to sell 50 million copies for a hundred bucks or 5 million for 500 bucks, which do you pick? Particularly when incremental production costs are neglible so that it costs just about as much to sell 5 million copies as it does 50 million.

Remember, computer technology is still largely a luxury item, even in the small business world. If prices don't stay in reach, how're you gonna get the world hooked on your product? And there's Apple and there used to be OS2 hanging out there in the wings, waiting to swallow up the opportunity if Microsoft misses a beat - so prices stayed low and Microsoft made a ton of money anyway, because demand was through the ceiling.

Steph

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Author: marimba Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33294 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 2:26 PM
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jjackel writes:
If MSFT has muzzled everyone, why don't I hear screaming?


In the void of technical support, no-one can hear you scream. No, I'm serious. In the whole MSFT question, we need to think about the difference between customers, consumers, and home users. Customers are usually business procurents. They have the budgets to negotiate special technical support contracts that the rest of us just can't pay for. The consumers are the people who actually use the software, and they may benefit from such a contract if they work for a business.

However, being a home user is like being in jail. You get one free phone call. If you want any more freedom, break out your Visa card and get ready to pay. It's really true...nobody at Microsoft cares, and nobody can hear you scream.

Here's a tech support anecdote for you: I actually got my start in the industry by working tech support for Microsoft. One night I was trying to get a modem working with Windows NT 4.0, and because I only had one line, the support person had to call me back after I tested it. When he did, I caller ID'd his phone number and was surprised to see a 770 area code, a local Atlanta number. I was disappointed with the quality of the service and I was sure I could do better, so I asked him for an HR contact number, sent in my application, and was hired a month later. Not by Microsoft, but by a "PSS Partner," Wang, to whom they had outsourced their support.

If you want to see what I saw inside the beast, read on. Microsoft was focused almost exclusively on closing tech support calls, and not very motivated in the realm of customer satisfaction. We were given an extremely rigid "support policy" which all but stated that if there was any non-Microsoft software on the machine, we didn't have to fix it. If the machine wasn't on the hardware compatibility list, we didn't have to fix it (even if it was an application problem). Hold times and call length were the major concerns. "Going the extra mile" to help the customer was discouraged...I kept a call 40 minutes one time to talk a guy through actually opening his case and moving a jumper on his sound card. Did I get praised for a good save? Nope. I got upbraided for exceeding the average call time on an unauthorized procedure.

Microsoft may be focused on their business customers, but they are way out of touch with home users and hobbyists. Those are the people who truly have been harmed by Microsoft's practices. Now if we're going to say that they don't represent a large enough market segment to worry about, fine. But let's at least be honest about that.

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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33298 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 3:24 PM
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SB said:
>>> oh, the connection between microsoft and dropping computer prices is really tenuous. more likely that increasing competition in the
computer hardware sector, efficient manufacturing practises, cheaper alternative materials and the like drove down the prices of computers.


yeah, I said this... but the post is gone

did I offend someone? was it the airbag thing?

SB

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Author: unholydave Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33300 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 3:25 PM
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Any of it.

Before MSFT and Windows 98, in fact, you could count on paying at least $ 2,500 for a PC and, if you were a professional, investing at least $ 5- 10,000. in all the software and hardware, etc. that you'd need.

You mean before inexpensive electronic components from low-wage Asian factories. This flood of high-quality but low-cost hardware is responsible for all of the base price reductions for PC's in the past 15 years.

Oh yeah, my computer is not a semi-conductor...

It isn't? Oh, you mean superconductor.

...[not a] nuclear reactor...

Almost, with a gigahertz Pentium drawing all the amperage from your neighborhood.

Please someone name one invention that we so desperately need that has not come to market due to Microsoft

A stable PC OS that's also easy to use. Software that isn't bloated. Software that doesn't force the consumer or business to constantly upgrade because of file format changes. Intuitive software which does not require training courses.

The salvation of this industry has been Windows 95-98, something techies abhore...

You mean "geeks"? No, much of their current employment depends upon Windows and its proprietary bugs. However, some geeks have moved on to more creative and constructive careers in the Linux and Unix worlds.

and to quote William Shakespere[sic] (a guy you love to hype as either genius-innovator or malign as thief): “Men at some time are masters of their fates; The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves.”

Wow, The Julius Caesar defense! A rare legal tactic that has not been very successful during the past two millennia.

(Of course, we're just ignorant non-techies who, like the nanny state tells us, don't really know what is good for us.)

Actually, every sentence in your post shows belongs to some sort of reverse reality or conflicted self-parody. I've quoted from your post sparingly.

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Author: montashigi Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33308 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 3:41 PM
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SB said:
>>> oh, the connection between microsoft and dropping computer prices is really tenuous. more likely that increasing competition in the computer hardware sector, efficient manufacturing practises, cheaper alternative materials and the like drove down the prices of computers.

yeah, I said this... but the post is gone

did I offend someone? was it the airbag thing?

SB


Yeah, what happened? The sweatyboatman post was fabulous, and I don't remember him pitching his investment site or using (much) profanity. The MF board servers were kind of goofy today, and maybe something got lost. Can a TMF techie let us know what happened? I believe it was MSFT #33238. If there were any George Carlin dirty words in there, I'm sure sweaty will be willing to clean it up, right? I think he was pushing 8 Recs on it too. I'm forwarding a copy of this to fool@fool.com, webfool@fool.com and webtechs@fool.com

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Author: FreeFlyingFool Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33310 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 3:42 PM
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sera1 wrote:
If Netscape had a problem with patent infringment (oh, gee, Netscape “bought” the technology for the browser from Mosaic. god fobid, MSFT tried such a stunt. Oh wait, it did. How is Netscape innovative and MSFT not?)

I'm afraid you've gotten ahold of some inaccurate information here, as this isn't at all what happened. Unfortunately, the real story demonstrates exactly how Netscape is innovative and Microsoft isn't.

Mosaic was the first real browser. The first version was written by Mark Andreessen and Eric Bina in early 1993. They were coworkers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. Andreessen was also a computer science student at UI at the time. After the two inventors finished the initial version (for Sun workstations, I think), they recruited other developers to help them produce versions for other platforms and add functionality. They put their browser on the NCSA's FTP site and it quickly became popular. Seeing the popularity of the program, NCSA made Mosaic an official project.

Of course, if you recognize Mark Andreessen's name, you know most of the rest of the story. Jim Clark, former CEO of Silicon Graphics, saw Mosaic and recognized the huge potential that the browser had. He got in touch with Andreessen and the two hit it off. They returned to Illinois and hired six of the seven original developers of Mosaic. Along with some folks from Silicon Graphics, they formed Mosaic Communications to sell browsers and web servers.

Here's where the story gets tricky. Not long after Clark and Andreessen formed Mosaic Communications, the University of Illinois and NCSA began to realize that Mosaic had been developed on their nickel and had commercial value. So they sued. There was a lot of wrangling that went on, but the long and short was that Andreessen and the rest of the development team rewrote the browser to get rid of code they'd developed while at NCSA. They were also required to pay royalties to NCSA for the right to sell the software they'd written. Finally, Mosaic Communications was forced to change its name.

They chose "Netscape" instead.

As time passed, NCSA formed Spyglass to commercialize the technology developed there. Spyglass inheirited the Mosaic code (even though nobody there had anything to do with writing it) and tried to compete with Netscape. They lost fairly quickly. Ultimately, though, they licensed the Mosaic source code to Microsoft, which had come late to the party and wanted their own browser. IE wasn't that great a product for the first several releases, but they eventually got it up to par. It was a laggard in the market, however, until Microsoft started to give it away.

So lets review:
1) Netscape didn't buy anything from Mosaic - they were Mosaic.
2) Netscape was started by the team of people who developed the first usable browser. They are the ones who innovated.
3) When competing with Spyglass, Netscape's ability to innovate allowed them to carry the day.
4) Microsoft bought their browser, they didn't innovate.
5) Microsoft was losing the war with Netscape until they began bundling IE with Windows for free.

That is how Netscape was innovative and Microsoft wasn't.

If you want further information, I'd recomend reading Nerds 2.01, the companion book to a fairly recent PBS series. It's a well written look at the history of the internet, from the original work at Lincoln Labs and BBN in the 60s nearly up to the present day.

--
FreeFlyingFool

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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33313 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 4:04 PM
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Thank you, Sammi, akated, Jason, rehowes and the rest of the folks who gave me such nice replies (via e-mail.)

akated: You might have also mentioned that lurking in the background of this mess are Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison the primary beneficiaries of the proposed break-up who are doing everything in their powers to keep from competing with MSFT.



Thank you for nailing that one, I purposely didn't "name names" as I thought it was better not to restate the obvious. I mean they left some invisible trail there, didn't they? Too much.

I stopped reading responses to this thread after three, when one poster accused me of "geek-envy?" (No disrespect to my techie pals on this board.) I figured it was such a good day why risk a "problem post" by putting this accusor in his/her place.

Best regards,

Sera ;)



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Author: kookibear Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33322 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 5:07 PM
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People who work in this industry can tell you that the stolen innovation is sitting behind an empty desk. The smartest minds in the industry were bought out of many software and hardware companies and the lure was options, salaries, you name it. But they haven't got much work to do. They work at microsoft, but with no actual job. They are there so that the other companies can't use their brilliance anymore. Why do you think that so many companies are pulling out options like BMW's as carrots to entice employees to stay? There is the stolen innovation.


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Author: MyNameIsKen Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33325 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 5:25 PM
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I can't belive you people fall for this stuff.
I remember windows in the early days. It STILL crashes all the time. Ever heard of "The Blue screen of death"
If you are using windows you see it all the time.And anyone who thinks LINUX is hard to use hasen't given it a try in the last year or so. Personaly I think the only hope for a stable version of windows is if they break MSFT up. maybe one of the baby soft's will spend some time trying to make windows into stable OS.

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Author: Rimbo Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33327 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 6:24 PM
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I can't believe this made "Post of the Day." There's so many cases where this post is misinformed or misinforming that I don't know where to begin. Oh yes, I do: Netscape didn't "buy" Mosaic -- it was started by the same people who INVENTED Mosaic. Mosaic became Mozilla. Get it?

Oh, here's one innovation Microsoft stifled, is stifling and continues to stifle: Platform independence. Imagine being able to run the same software, no matter what computer you buy -- PC, Macintosh, or DEC Alpha.

Also, a lot of the so-called "innovation" you're referring to is another thing that we "techies" hate about MSFT -- it's called "feature bloat." Like you said, most of us don't want all of this "innovation." But it's MSFT that's pushing things we don't need down our throats, forcing us to upgrade! If you download Linux once, you never, ever have to upgrade it. You may patch it with later revisions if you want to, but you never have to upgrade. And most of the time, the so-called "upgrades" with Microsoft products (especially their operating systems) is just to add features we don't need or want or to fix bugs they should have fixed in the first place.

I mean, most Operating System upgrades are designed to IMPROVE performance on your current hardware. But not Windows! No, with Windows you have to BUY NEW HARDWARE just to get the SAME amount of performance!

Thomas Penfield Jackson GETS IT. If you don't get it, you either have an interest in seeing MSFT succeed (e.g., you're a shareholder) or you have been misinformed.

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Author: BlueEyeZ One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33328 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 6:42 PM
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Rimbo: "Thomas Penfield Jackson GETS IT."

Don't get too excited there, the higher courts just turned on their paper shredder.

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Author: DJWKLW Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33330 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 7:05 PM
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Rimbo - Why can't you believe it? This is an excellent, well thought out post. Why would the Fool pick it otherwise?

I believe that the kleenex are on aisle three.

Quit your blubbering.

Jackson gets it??? Yeah maybe....but if his ruling gets smoked on appeal. Does he still get it? Or does he "get it", because he agrees with you.

When you start laying down posts as good as Sera1, than maybe, just maybe, you can think about talking her down.

DJ

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Author: RyTorres Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33332 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 7:10 PM
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Microsoft doesn't built computers, only software. Linux, Unix, Java, etc wouldn't exist if this were truly a monopoly situation
I would have hated to have been a part of the Java development team. I would have just created a programming language that worked across platforms and allowed the programmers clean and familiar coding. Then I would see Microsoft messing with the implementation on their browsers, and then trying to build their own version of Java that diverted from yours just enough to make the buying public go, "I better buy the Microsoft version or I won't be able to run my code in a few years." And I would say to myself, gosh I just made a really innovative product and what happens? Microsoft tries to give me a good old fashioned rogering. I wonder if I should keep trying to innovate, maybe I should just bang my head against a wall. Now Visual J++ didn't take over, but Microsoft tried to squash Java; steal it; do what they could to it. That kind of practice makes techies disgruntled, it makes them say "What use is there for me to put in the hours programming if MSFT will just drive me out of business." For every Linux and Java there is a Borland, a VisiCalc, a Novell that innovated and won't do so anymore because, well it doesn't pay to.

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Author: FreeFlyingFool Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33335 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 7:34 PM
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DJWKLW wrote
Rimbo - Why can't you believe it? This is an excellent, well thought out post. Why would the Fool pick it otherwise?

I believe that the kleenex are on aisle three.

Quit your blubbering.

It was well written, but it contained errors in fact. Rimbo pointed one of the more egregious ones out (the idea that Netscape bought their browser from somebody), but there were others.

Lets try to stick with the merits of the arguments and not fall back on personal attacks, shall we?

--
FreeFlyingFool

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Author: nelson0 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33337 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 7:44 PM
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"Why would the Fool pick it otherwise?"

It got 66 recommendations?

Rob Nelson
ronelson@vt.edu

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Author: CowDog One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33362 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/4/2000 10:40 PM
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"If you want to see what I saw inside the beast, read on. Microsoft was focused almost exclusively on closing tech support calls, and not very motivated in the realm of customer satisfaction. We were given an extremely rigid "support policy" which all but stated that if there was any non-Microsoft software on the machine, we didn't have to fix it. If the machine wasn't on the hardware compatibility list, we didn't have to fix it (even if it was an application problem). Hold times and call length were the major concerns. "Going the extra mile" to help the customer was discouraged...I kept a call 40 minutes one time to talk a guy through actually opening his case and moving a jumper on his sound card. Did I get praised for a good save? Nope. I got upbraided for exceeding the average call time on an unauthorized procedure. "

Marimba, I suspect these were Wang's policies, not Microsofts. I further suspect the reason they were more concerned with closing cases and keeping call times low was because Wang was screwing Microsoft's customer to keep its own margins high. This litany of callousness toward the home user is bad because like you many folks are not ready to make the distiction between Microsoft and Wang who was contracted by Microsoft to support whatever it was you supported.

Definately a business problem for MS but something they need to take up with their outsourcers.

CowDog

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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33379 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 1:01 AM
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montashigi wrote...

The sweatyboatman post was fabulous, and I don't remember him pitching his investment site or using (much) profanity.
The MF board servers were kind of goofy today, and maybe something got lost. Can a TMF techie let us know what happened? I believe it was
MSFT #33238. If there were any George Carlin dirty words in there, I'm sure sweaty will be willing to clean it up, right?


I don't remember putting any dirty or offensive language in there, but if I did, it certainly wasn't intentional. I wish I had saved it.

You know my first thought when I saw it wasn't there that TMF had yanked it because it contradicted their "Post of the Day".

montashigi, thanks for getting my back. :-)

------------------------
I've seen other replies to the message saying basically the same thing as I said in my message. I'll try to recreate it...

the problem with sera1's "post of the day" was that it made the assumption that somehow consumers are responsible for innovation. we can't blame microsoft for failing to innovate because no one is clamoring for any specific innovations.

the average consumer does not know what's on the horizon. we didn't demand compact disks, or laptop computers, or airbags, or airplanes. Anything that's ever been invented has been invented by "a techie" who sera1 so reviles (for some unknown reason). The mouse, the GUI, every tool you use ever (except for your body) was invented by techies.

the consumer has very basic and simple demands. "I want to survive a car accident", "I don't want my cat's litter box to stink up the whole house", "I don't want to die during childbirth", "I want high quality, portable music", etc...

Then the techies (doctors, phsyicists, computer dorks, engineers, chemsists, chefs, etc...) come up with airbags, fresh step, penicillin, and audio CDs (respectively).

Why do they do this? It's called a patent or a copyright or just a tactical advantage over your competitors. Why did Netscape invent Frames? or implement javascript in its browser? Why did Sun create Java? Why did Chrysler invent the minivan? Why did the scientists at Columbia invent the Nuclear Bomb? The tactical advantage of having a superior product.

(I honestly tried to think of some way of putting Microsoft in that list. The best I could come up with is that animated paper-clip. But they don't need the tactical advantage of innovation, they have the tactical advantage of having a lot of cash and no morals.)

Only after innovation (if ever) does the consumer become involved. Sadly, sometimes innovation is stifled, intentionally or not, by internal beurocracy or external competitors (e.g. MSFT).

One of the sickest things I have ever heard of is the practice of hiring talented people in order to prevent them from using their talent somewhere else. The only company I have ever heard of doing this is good ol' MS. I can't say for sure if it's true or if it's propaganda. But I was once recruited by Microsoft, and that experience tends to lead me to believe posts like this...
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1180128007157038&sort=id
Stifling innovation before it happens. The best is never to come.

SB

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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33392 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:34 AM
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aha! there it went...

okay, I just recently went and checked my hotmail account (where TMF mail goes) and I found out what happened to my post.

The message copied below was removed. We want to maintain a minumum level of civility at The Fool. If you would like to repost without this line <the offending line -- which was the first line of the piece -- in quotes here> that would be fine.

okay, so it's posted after this message without said line, which wasn't meant in any mean-spirited way. I apologize.

SB

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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33393 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:42 AM
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Repost! Long. But funny (IMNSHO)

This is rather incredible because it hasn't been the consumer who has driven the need for more bandwidth, better graphics, a more user friendly GUI, voice recognition, a cheap operating system, better hardware, better software, bigger hard drives, etc, etc. Most consumers had no idea how technology could better their lives.

yeah, just like the auto industry. remember that clamor for exploding bags of hot air that burst out of the stearing wheel whenever you're in an accident. man, I am so glad they finally gave in to consumer demand.

oh, do you remember that tremendous outcry for slim, circular, shiny on one-side, labeled on the other disks which could store music and data, but couldn't be copied easily? Finally the recording companies caved and gave up on their cassettes. what were they thinking?

I for one never tire of hearing my grandparents talk about those days when the whole family would gather around the radio. During the advertisements they would talk about what big jerks the media people were for not just coming up with the television. it wasn't until those riots in the streets for "colored pictures" that any action was taken whatsoever. and then they came out with black-and-white. as if Joe Public would accept that.

and penicillin. come on, everyone and their grandma knew that there was some weird moss or something growing in the rainforest that killed bacteria (which, as every four year old has known since the dawn of time, cause diseases). They were just too busy catching up with all those other medical advances.

I think you get the idea. Consumers have very simple wants. "I don't want to die if I get into a car accident", "I want crisper picture on my television", "I want to be excited by movies", "I want my cat's litter box not to smell better", "I want to send dirty pictures to my girlfriend in China", "I want to survive childbirth", etc...

What happens then, is that techies (be they computer people, chemists, engineers, doctors, etc...) figure out a way to solve these needs.Sometimes they figure out better ways to solve these needs than have been
done before. this is called "innovation".

microsoft does not do this. but you don't care. just like you don't care about "the internet" or "the laptop computer" or "radio" or "moving pictures" or "clean drinking water" or "electricity" or "the wheel".

William Shakespere (a guy you love to hype as either genius-innovator or malign as thief)

I do both? Have we met? Did I have a conversation with you about the Bard? I don't know how this turned into a you vs. me thing. yes, I am a techie, but I like the mouse, and I really like Shakespeare (I have never called him a "thief"). You seem to think that me and my cronies called up the JDA and said, "please kick the crap out of microsoft". I didn't. I had no idea that they were going to do this. they didn't even send me a note or leave a message on my machine. boy was I pissed after that $15 donation to PBS and all, I thought I had Clinton in my back-pocket.

Before MSFT and Windows 98, in fact, you could count on paying at least $2,500 for a PC and, if you were a professional, investing at least $ 5- 10,000. in all the software and hardware, etc. that you'd need.

oh, the connection between microsoft and dropping computer prices is really tenuous. more likely that increasing competition in the computer hardware sector, efficient manufacturing practises, cheaper alternative
materials and the like drove down the prices of computers. maybe you were thinking of Intel... they have their own message board:
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?id=1140069000000000

peace,

SB

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Author: OleDocJ Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33394 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 5:54 AM
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Jonathan:
We'll never know where we could have been had MSFT not improperly used its monopoly power. That's the insidious thing about monopolies, and that's why we restrict their behavior while leaving other firms alone.


Right On! I've heard this before...

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!"


OleDoc


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Author: marimba Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33402 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 8:29 AM
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In response to my comments regarding:
"If you want to see what I saw inside the beast, read on. Microsoft was focused almost exclusively on closing tech support calls, and not very motivated in the realm of customer satisfaction. We were given an extremely rigid "support policy" which all but stated that if there was any non-Microsoft software on the machine, we didn't have to fix it. If the machine wasn't on the hardware compatibility list, we didn't have to fix it (even if it was an application problem).


CowDog writes:

Marimba, I suspect these were Wang's policies, not Microsofts.


Nope...the reason I know this is that second-tier escalations from outsource partners go to Microsoft. If we didn't follow their rigid support policies to the guideline, they wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole, and we had to tell the customer that they were basically out of luck. The Microsoft techs didn't want to talk to end-users unless they were a representative of a major business account. I was pretty disgusted by the whole thing.

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33406 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 9:14 AM
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Marimba said:

>>> I was pretty disgusted by the whole thing.

I'd have been disgusted, too.

You know, though, I'm always hearing these horror stories, and I've never had one myself. Now granted, I don't call tech support too often, but the few times I have I've gotten great support.

I love the on-line support, too. I've had to send emails three times, and gotten answers within a couple of hours all three times. Two problems were solved immediately, the third took three email exchanges and finally a phone call (they called me) to fix.

I don't doubt that people have had bad experiences. You can't have people talking to customers and not have a few problems. I'm just always surprised to hear that it's some kind of universal problem, since I've never seen it.

Steph

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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33407 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 9:18 AM
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The sweatyboatman said: "yeah, just like the auto industry. remember that clamor for exploding bags of hot air that burst out of the stearing wheel whenever you're in an accident. man, I am so glad they finally gave in to consumer demand.

oh, do you remember that tremendous outcry for slim, circular, shiny on one-side, labeled on the other disks which could store music and data, but couldn't be copied easily? Finally the recording companies caved and gave up on their cassettes. what were they thinking?

I for one never tire of hearing my grandparents talk about those days when the whole family would gather around the radio. During the advertisements they would talk about what big jerks the media people were for not just coming up with the television. it wasn't until those riots in the streets for "colored pictures" that any action was taken whatsoever. and then they came out with black-and-white. as if Joe Public would accept that."


Did you even read my post? I said "This is rather incredible because it hasn't been the consumer who has driven the need for more..."

The examples you cite, however flawed, (airbags? That's been a real "blow" if you'll pardon the double entendre, for a lot of people who have gotten killed by them. But I digress.)

My point was that MSFT hasn't stiffled innovation because everything the consumer has been able to imagine (and much more) has somehow made it to market.

Your argument seems to support my position. Unless I am missing something, a better tactic (actually, the only one) would have been to name something that is out there that the consumer hasn't gotten that MSFT stopped from coming to market.

The sweatyboatman: "and penicillin. come on, everyone and their grandma knew that there was some weird moss or something growing in the rainforest that killed bacteria (which, as every four year old has known since the dawn of time, cause diseases). They were just too busy catching up with all those other medical advances."

Penicillin came to market. What is your point??

The sweatyboatman: "I think you get the idea. Consumers have very simple wants. "I don't want to die if I get into a car accident", "I want crisper picture on my television", "I want to be excited by movies", "I want my cat's litter box not to smell better", "I want to send dirty pictures to my girlfriend in China", "I want to survive childbirth", etc...

What happens then, is that techies (be they computer people, chemists, engineers, doctors, etc...) figure out a way to solve these needs. Sometimes they figure out better ways to solve these needs than have been done before. this is called "innovation".


Well, MSFT sure didn't stop you from sending porn to your girlfriend in China (thank God), care to make another claim about what, again, was my original point: an "innovation" that MSFT has somehow prevented from coming to market?

sweatyboatman: "microsoft does not do this. but you don't care. just like you don't care about "the internet" or "the laptop computer" or "radio" or "moving pictures" or "clean drinking water" or "electricity" or "the wheel"."

Huh? Again, where are we going here?

I (Sera) said: "William Shakespere (a guy you love to hype as either genius-innovator or malign as thief)"

The sweatyboatman said "I do both? Have we met? Did I have a conversation with you about the Bard? I don't know how this turned into a you vs. me thing"

lol! You turned it into this. Incredible as this may seem, I never directed this post to you. I never knew you existed. Such narcissism.

sweatyboatman: "yes, I am a techie, but I like the mouse, and I really like Shakespeare (I have never called him a "thief"). You seem to think that me and my cronies called up the JDA and said, "please kick the crap out of microsoft". I didn't. I had no idea that they were going to do this. they didn't even send me a note or leave a message on my machine. boy was I pissed after that $15 donation to PBS and all, I thought I had Clinton in my back-pocket."

Is this for real? I'm real glad about your $15.00 donation to PBS. Somehow I don't think you're influencing much else at all. My point is/was that "the Case against MSFT" was not driven by consumers it was driven by MSFT's competitors. Even tho nobody might have informed you (I can understand why), is that a claim you'd like to dispute?

My point/question was: Is anti-trust law an instrument of failed- or P.O.'d- competitors using the government as their own private law firm or is it a mechanism for consumer harm. Why do almost no consumers feel they need to be "protected" against MSFT?

I said: Before MSFT and Windows 98, in fact, you could count on paying at least $2,500 for a PC and, if you were a professional, investing at least $ 5- 10,000. in all the software and hardware, etc. that you'd need.

The sweatyboatman said: "oh, the connection between microsoft and dropping computer prices is really tenuous. more likely that increasing competition in the computer hardware sector, efficient manufacturing practises, cheaper alternative materials and the like drove down the prices of computers. maybe you were thinking of Intel... they have their own message board:
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?id=1140069000000000

peace,

SB"


Clearly your connection between reading comprehension and conclusive analysis is what is tenuous. Had MSFT not availed an entire population of cheap and adaptable software to run on any machine I certainly doubt the economies of scale that pushed down the prices of RAM, hardware and other manufacturing costs would have filtered down to the consumer. Care to dispute that the success of MSFT's products were not the driving force behind the massive drop in prices due to commercialization, standardization and mass production? Or did the price of RAM out of Asia, Intels & AMD processors, zip drives, hard drives, etc, etc, simply drop to accomadate APPL, IBM and SUN? (If so, it's funny those cost savings never “trickled down” to the consumer in those products….ever buy one of those machines?)

By the way, whoever "problem posted" my last response to this tedious thread (which got both responses pulled): Get a life.


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Author: CowDog One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33410 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 9:48 AM
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CowDog writes:

Marimba, I suspect these were Wang's policies, not Microsofts.


Marimba writes:

Nope...the reason I know this is that second-tier escalations from outsource partners go to Microsoft. If we didn't follow their rigid support policies to the guideline, they wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole, and we had to tell the customer that they were basically out of luck. The Microsoft techs didn't want to talk to end-users unless they were a representative of a major business account. I was pretty disgusted by the whole thing.

I agree this is a bad problem. But, Microsoft's support policies regarding escalations seem to be fair. Can Microsoft be expected to provide support on which sound card dip switches to change? Also, should Microsoft be expected to take an escalation from Wang that involves a non-microsoft product? I still think the biggest problem is that MS probably contracted Wang to outsource some support for a flat fee, and that Wang, interested in maximizing their profit on the deal directed its own support personnel to turn calls over quickly and close cases. Probably in order to report better numbers to its customer, Microsoft. I still agree that this is bad for Microsoft's customers and that Microsoft needs to do something in order to ensure that its outsourcers have the satisfaction of the end user more in mind than they do now.

CowDog

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Author: rehowes Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33415 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 10:28 AM
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Repost! Long. But funny (IMNSHO)

I'm scratching my head.

Sera1 argues that consumers don't know how (future) technology can improve their lives. It is the techies who trot out the products and then the consumers buy.

You then post a "rebuttal" that says that no, the consumers didn't push for these wonderful things, the techies saw a way to introduce technoloy that betters the consumer's life and the consumer then embraces the new technology.

You'll never change Sera1's mind if you support her arguments.

As to the hardware price thing. I challange anyone to show that there would be any demand at all for bare hardware. MS products had lots to do with spurring demand. That increased demand prompted hardware suppliers to enter the market and lower their costs so they could lower prices to gain market advantage. The link is not at all tenuous.

Randall

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Author: crassfool Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33421 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 11:16 AM
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Sera1 says
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves.”

... and then goes on at great length about how unable she is to imagine how the industry could possibly be more innovative. Dare I suggest that this lack of imagination is not in the stars, but in Sera1?

Also given to us at great length is a portrait of those who want to require MSFT to follow the law like other companies

What I see here is a lot of angry techies, and that's who brought this lawsuit. Is that what anti-trust laws are for? You continue to rant about some nebulous innovation that hasn't occurred.

Actually, it was the Department of Justice who brought the lawsuit, because Microsoft was making it impossible for other companies to compete on the merits of their products. That is what anti-trust laws are for.

I think all our heads are spinning because of how fast this technology moves and how obsolete expensive products often become because of it. In fact, MSFT's policy of backward compatibility has saved thousands of dollars for the consumer; an accomadation not even APPL bestowed on its customers.

I'm sorry, but this is the most amazing moonshine I've read in the entire debate. Every software manufacturer has a policy of backward compatibility, and others including Apple have done at least as well as Microsoft.

If MSFT has stifled innovation, where's the evidence? If MSFT has stifled your ability to out-tech the market and drive us all nuts, I say “good.”

Whatever.

... It is the retentive and myopic attitudes of most techies that would have stopped this industry dead in its tracks. The marketing guys pull these ideas forward, and MSFT if nothing else is the tremendous marriage between marketing and tech. That is why it is so successful.

I hate to get personal, but this is someone who can't even spell PERL but claims to know the internal workings of the industry.

Consumers don't care about your inter-industry problems and there is no evidence, empirical or otherwise, that MSFT has stifled opportunity or innovation. Oh, maybe for some of you but that's not our problem.

Us versus Them, you gotta love it.

Look, we all have a position about Microsoft, and every one of us needs to vent occasionally. But I am seriously disappointed that the Motley Fool would choose to designate this misinformed tantrum as Post of the Day.

Crassfool

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Author: olegik Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33422 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 11:35 AM
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crassfool:

in response to your post #33421 :

Not only you're very rude but you also have no clue about what you are talking about. Rudiness alone would warrant you a place in my pretty crowded P-Box. You really didn't have to go in great lengths explaining to the world your lack of knowledge on the subject....but you did. And away you go.

-Oleg

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Author: ngr2 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33424 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 11:50 AM
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rehowes, the point is this: consumers have a vague idea what they want accomplished. Techies know how to get there. Microsoft gets in the way. Open source is an end run around this obstacle.

As to MS products spurring demand, I strongly suspect that other products would have spurred it further, had they been permitted to.


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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33426 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 11:52 AM
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Sera1 wrote:
"It is the retentive and myopic attitudes of most techies that would have stopped this industry dead in its tracks. The marketing guys pull these ideas forward, and MSFT if nothing else is the tremendous marriage between marketing and tech. That is why it is so successful."


crassfool responds:

"I hate to get personal, but this is someone who can't even spell PERL but claims to know the internal workings of the industry."



I say:

This is also someone who claims to work in marketing--see Sera1's profile. So, I think there is a little bias here to glorify the marketers. (I also find it odd that someone who works in *marketing* would poke fun at other peoples' careers on such a regular basis. Something about glass houses comes to mind. Ah well, the world is full of surprises...)



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Author: MyNameIsKen Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33428 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 12:20 PM
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I pledge allegiance to the OS of the united company of Microsoft.
And to the monopoly for which it stands.
One company under Bill indivisible with Internet employer for all.


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Author: fox1219 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33429 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 12:22 PM
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Good Grief!!
Guess it has become more difficult to be civil.

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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33437 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 12:39 PM
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crassfool:

in response to your post #33421 :

Not only you're very rude but you also have no clue about what you are talking about. Rudiness alone would warrant you a place in my pretty crowded P-Box. You really didn't have to go in great lengths explaining to the world your lack of knowledge on the subject.... but you did. And away you go.

-Oleg


<smirk.> Thanks, Oleg. I was going to mention that this posters handle just about said it all but I think you said it better. (Crass fool: seldom have I seen a person in one self-named identification indict his own self.)

Sera

PS- How much you want to bet I get "problem posted" for this because instead of chosing to waste my time responding to post #33421 or ignoring it, (thereby giving it validation, I just chose to call it as I see it?

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Author: fox1219 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33446 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 1:05 PM
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TMF has a stake when they declare "The Post Of The Day." They are not fools,they know that many will read & the more the better.

The point > is not that the Post is absolutely without a doubt 100% correct> but is it worth reading, & does it make you think, maybe in a different way.
I liked the Post by Sera1, & I learned something, & that's a good thing BTY--I'am dyslexic & don't need to be reminded of my lack of the skill of writing & speeling.And yes I used a spell ck. & Rreread before I clicked submit. Still make mistakes.
Best
Fox

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Author: montashigi Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33464 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 2:10 PM
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olegik said--
Not only you're very rude but you also have no clue about what you are talking about. Rudiness alone would warrant you a place in my pretty crowded P-Box. You really didn't have to go in great lengths explaining to the world your lack of knowledge on the subject....but you did. And away you go.

olegik,

I think Penalty Boxes have a place on message boards for when someone is intentionally being a constant disruption or an annoyance, but to use it as punishment for someone's opinions I think is a gross abuse. I have crassfool's post in front of me on another window right now, and I agree with you that he was rude, but it's certainly no worse than a lot of people on this board have given. My impression of crassfool's previous posts is that the way he expresses himself may be "crass," but his opinions and insights are very often valid--and I'm not only saying that just because this post agrees with me. If you feel he is stepping over the line, let him know, and if crassfool is the stand-up individual I hope he is, he will tone things down a notch. I think Sera will admit she's no angel herself. I will never put you in my P-Box (which is completely empty, but the way) because I think you are an articulate observer of the computer industry and I don't want to miss your insights.

You might say that when you put someone in the P-Box, you are only hurting yourself, but I think when you announce it to the world like that, you are hurting the whole board. It erodes the community atmosphere when you are telling everyone there are certain opinions you refuse to hear. Your admission that you have a "pretty crowded P-Box" disgusts me. Come to think of it, put me in there too. crassfool and I can keep each other company playing cards. Hell, it sounds like there's enough people in there we can throw a party. By the way, you're invited too, olegik.

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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33485 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 3:27 PM
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Sera1,

I am sorry if my attempt at whit went over your head, or past your left ear or under your feet or just completely the opposite direction of you.

Two things:

1) consumers drive innovation in general but not in specific. consumers didn't know what penicillin was, but the scientists who found it knew that it would solve the consumer problem of "not wanting to die" or at least help. same thing with the mouse and the GUI and the computer itself. responses to general consumer demands.

no consumer knows what's coming in the future. but we all want it. doesn't the future of technology excite you? do you know what it is? probably not, but you know what you want: faster, smaller, easier to use, friendlier, smarter, more colorful, etc... all of this is going to happen, but who knows how?

2) when you cast broad, reaching and sometimes offensive statements about a group of people you have to realize that those people are going to take it personally. the post that started this mess was filled with slanders against "techies". I am a techie. Therefore I took it personally, as though you were adressing me.

Smiles,

SB

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Author: sweatyboatman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33487 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 3:29 PM
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Sera1, btw...

Again I think I may have said something offensive while not meaning to.

"I am sorry if my attempt at whit went over your head, or past your left ear or under your feet or just completely the opposite direction of you."

by this I mean that I appologize for being witty rather than clear. I am honestly sorry for the confusion.

SB

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Author: Thermopile Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33489 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 3:46 PM
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crassfool wrote:

Actually, it was the Department of Justice who brought the lawsuit, because Microsoft was making it impossible for other companies to compete on the merits of their products. That is what anti-trust laws are for.

Actually, the suit was instigated by the likes of Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy, whose products, by the way, are doing quite nicely in the marketplace; and let us not forget Jim Barksdale who sold his company to AOL for a few billion dollars, I guess he surely ended up a big loser.

Anti-trust laws are supposed to protect consumers, the DOJ hasn't shown that consumers have been harmed in any way by Microsoft. Some of the competition may have been crushed underfoot unfairly, but private lawsuits are the remedy for that kind of behavior, not running to the big stick toting government.




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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33494 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:32 PM
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crassfool wrote:

Actually, it was the Department of Justice who brought the lawsuit, because Microsoft was making it impossible for other companies to compete on the merits of their products. That is what anti-trust laws are for.

Thermopile responded: Actually, the suit was instigated by the likes of Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy, whose products, by the way, are doing quite nicely in the marketplace; and let us not forget Jim Barksdale who sold his company to AOL for a few billion dollars, I guess he surely ended up a big loser.

Some of the competition may have been crushed underfoot unfairly, but private lawsuits are the remedy for that kind of behavior, not running to the big stick toting government.


Great post, Thermopile. I completely agree. I was going to respond to TMF Eric's excellent comments about Netscape. I agree they have a tort, only a private lawuit is the venue. Of course in this realm you have to show harm, which is kind of difficult considering you were bought out to the tune of $ 1 billion dollars by AOL. This wasn't an anti-trust "situation", it was brought by MSFT's competition (not the consumer) and the remedies of a break-up and treble damages, by states' AG's, for alleged consumer harm is just plain absurd.



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Author: Sera1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33496 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:42 PM
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Sera1, btw...

Again I think I may have said something offensive while not meaning to.

"I am sorry if my attempt at whit went over your head, or past your left ear or under your feet or just completely the opposite direction of you."

by this I mean that I appologize for being witty rather than clear. I am honestly sorry for the confusion.

SB



No problem! Thank you for such a first class post. By the way, it's OK to disagree. And I'm glad you're able to send porn to your girlfriend in China. If MSFT tried to stop that I would really be pissed. (Ironically, Tipper Gore might be the one who you should take aim at for that.)

Best regards,

Sera ;)

PS- I did not mean to insult techies. Well actually I do. Some of them are really downright annoying. But, honestly, nothing personal.

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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33497 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:42 PM
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Thermopile wrote:

"Some of the
competition may have been crushed underfoot unfairly, but private lawsuits are the remedy for that kind of behavior, not running to the big stick
toting government."



How many small businesses that have been crushed still have the funds to fight a protracted lawsuit? SyNet's lawsuit against Microsoft bankrupted the company after Microsoft repreatedly stalled and stretched out the proceedings, and it was only SyNet's creditors who were able to continue SyNet's lawsuit against Microsoft. The man who owned SyNet lost his shirt. At some point, after enough people have been stomped on, I think it's appropriate for the DOJ to step in. The way the law is written, they are supposed to step in. If you want to limit it to private suits, then I think you would have to change the law. I would be much more inclined to side with you on this if we were dealing with an isolated incident. But given the scope of Microsoft's violations, a full and proper case against them can't be made just on the basis of one company's claims. It took a DOJ investigation to be able to demand access to all the pieces of the puzzle, to portray the full extent of the effects of Microsoft's behavior.

And running toward the government won't necessarily work. Intergraph did that in its fight with Intel, and the FTC settled with Intel for *much* less that what Intergraph was seeking, so Intergraph had to continue with its own private lawsuit. The Intel case clearly shows that the government won't just run with any trumped up accusations simply because the target is a huge company. Why this is so hard for some folks to understand is something of a mystery to me.




"Anti-trust laws are supposed to protect consumers, the DOJ hasn't shown that consumers have been harmed in any way by Microsoft. "


Microsoft's big customers have claimed harm. Perhaps you heard of a Microsoft customer called IBM? Or one called Gateway? If harm to Microsoft's biggest customers isn't going to satisfy you, what is?




"Actually, the suit was instigated by the likes of Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy, whose products, by the way, are doing quite nicely in the
marketplace; and let us not forget Jim Barksdale who sold his company to AOL for a few billion dollars,"


Barksdale was in fact asked, at the Senate Judiciary hearings, why he didn't simply sue Microsoft himself. He said his company couldn't afford the cost of a lawsuit. That sounded a little thin to me, but I haven't seen Netscape's balance sheet, so I don't know whether it was a reasonable claim or not. But, other smaller companies have been affected who probably could not afford a lawsuit.

You might also note for the record that the DOJ has essentially not paid any attention to McNealy's crazy remedy proposals, so I don't think you can say Sun has the DOJ in its pocket.



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Author: MyNameIsKen Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33499 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:46 PM
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Lord, deliver me from the man who never makes a mistake, and also from the man who makes the same mistake twice. Ie;(windows 3.1,windows 95,windows xxx)

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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33500 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 4:48 PM
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Sera1 wrote:

"Great post, Thermopile. I completely agree. I was going to respond to TMF Eric's excellent comments about Netscape. I agree they have a tort,
only a private lawuit is the venue."




How can they possibly have a case if the only way to prove an antitrust violation is--as some people here keep arguing--to show damage to *consumers*? How does damage to *consumers* give Netscape the right to sue? If the damage is to consumers, Netscape doesn't have the right to sue--the consumers do. Non-injured private parties don't have standing to file suit.

Is this finally an admission from you guys that harm to a company is sufficent grounds for an antitrust lawsuit, without having to prove harm to consumers? Inquiring minds really want to know, as this looks like some significant movement on your part!



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Author: alderion Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33511 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/5/2000 5:32 PM
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PS- I did not mean to insult techies. Well actually I do. Some of them are really downright annoying. But, honestly, nothing personal.

I am also a "techie" and I also take your posts personally but that's ok because I think marketing pukes suck too. So, you must suck by association.

-Peter

PS- I did not mean to insult marketing pukes. Well actually I did. Some of them are really downright annoying. But, honestly, nothing personal.

PPS- can you say hypocrisy?

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33573 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 10:42 AM
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Hi Sera! I haven't been able to keep up with the Fool lately, not as much leisure time at my job anymore. So, I'm finally getting back to that post from the 3rd.


Yes, I'm an "angry techie." You've laid out your arguments, let me lay out mine. Sera, you're in the curious position of thanking Microsoft for their efforts in bringing technology to everyone's hands, despite the supposed desire of geeks to keep it to themselves. You presume that Microsoft's efforts have led to the low-cost PC, the drive to meet the needs of consumers, the fast pace of innovation in computer technology. You're giving credit to Microsoft for much of what you enjoy about today's computer industry.

Let us ignore the fact that, lacking the geeks, there would never be software or hardware in the first place. Let us not consider that some of the techies you've derided are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Microsoft products you uphold. (I guess these are "good techies" because they are on your "side" of the argument?) What I'm concerned about is your understanding of this industry, your view of how our world should be ordered. Because mine is different.

Allow me to step back for a moment. A computer is a device for manipulating numeric values. The amazing variety of things you can accomplish with your PC only exist because someone recognized a way of understanding numeric computation in a specific manner. For example, a man at Stanford (Douglas Englebart) came up with a different way of interacting with a computing device, using a "mouse" and "windows". See:
http://sloan.stanford.edu/MouseSite/
for some history of his work. It is by no means self-evident that a mouse and a window is the only good way to interact with a computing device, or even the best way, but it is a good way. In the end, you can thank Englebart for coming up with the concepts behind the all the windowing interfaces you've used.

The computer technology industry is, in the end, an entire industry of good ideas. It is an industry that only exists upon the efforts of "techies". Remove that spark of genius, that new way of understanding how a thing that processes numeric values can be used differently, and the game is over. You can talk all you want about industry standardization, market penetration, focus on the consumer, corporate planning, advertising, and so forth. But in the end it always comes down to a single human being with a good idea that leads to the next advance.

This is what all investors in Microsoft must understand. Regardless of how it happened, the focus on the individual has been lost. In the battle between the software companies to reach the top of the market, too many developers have been stepped on, too much individuality has been squashed. Too many "angry techies" have been created.

And I think it may already be too late. You're so stuck on McNealy, on Ellison, on Reno & Jackson, when all of that is meaningless. If McNealy or Ellison had a chance at beating Microsoft, they would have managed it years ago, and the government will never enforce anything that will be long-term detrimental to Microsoft shareholders or employees. But the real threat has been growing for years now, is plain to see today: fed-up techies, the same ones you've grown sick of on this message board, have given up and gone open source.

People here seem to think that Linux is a competitor for Microsoft. Hah! Linux isn't a competing product, it's the grim reaper knocking on the door of every company that sells operating systems. It's the combined effort of thousands of designers and programmers who are no longer needed by an industry that has settled down on a single proprietary "standard". It is the ultimate expression that software is, beyond all else, more the product of an individual's imagination than a corporation's wealth and industry. And it is going to destroy the world of software as we have come to know it -- why pay fees for individual use of a binary when you can get the entire program (with source!) for free?

Argue all you want about innovation, about marketing, about Microsoft's efforts in the world. All I have to do is point to the legions of people who have designed and implemented Linux and the full range of other open source software, and ask you, "why weren't their efforts paid for by the software industry?" Because they've certainly created competitive software, software that is powering the internet as we know it today, software that is gobbling up the server market at a terrific pace, software that is extending into the embedded arena quicker than you can snap your fingers, software that even today is making inroads into corporate and home desktops with office suite software and popular games. In other words, they've created products that are beating the commercial world at their own game.

Sera, the fact is that it is already too late for you to be complaining about the treatment Microsoft is receiving on this board or in the press or in the courts. It's too late for you to say that techies should go out and create a better product. The better product has been created, despite the fact that it had to be done outside the market system.

The existing market is no longer relevant. Windows is moot. One operating system that runs on all the hardware you've got or will get has been created, an operating system with no artificial limitations as to its use or distribution, and it is only a matter of time before it or derivatives of it dominate this world.


John

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33583 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 11:46 AM
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Steph wrote:

While some people spend time figuring out how to build a better mousetrap just for the satisfaction of it, those kinds of innovations never make it into the consumer world until somebody wants to buy it.

So, Steph, what do you think of Linux, GCC, Gnome, the Gimp, X Windows, and so forth? Funny how they've made it into end-users hands without being bought...


John

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33584 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 11:54 AM
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Randall wrote:

As to the hardware price thing. I challange anyone to show that there would be any demand at all for bare hardware. MS products had lots to do with spurring demand.

Uh-huh. And, I believe, MSFT also had something to do with keeping other forms of demand-spurring software off of that bare hardware. :) Thus, the current Anti-Trust case.


That increased demand prompted hardware suppliers to enter the market and lower their costs so they could lower prices to gain market advantage.

And all this was made possible by the fact that IBM (whether they had originally desired to or not) allowed all those hardware suppliers to build compatible computers. Why couldn't we achieve a similar effort of software suppliers to "enter the market and lower their costs so they could lower prices to gain market advantage"? What's good for the goose should be good for the gander here.


John

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33604 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 1:51 PM
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John said:

>>> So, Steph, what do you think of Linux, GCC, Gnome, the Gimp, X Windows, and so forth? Funny how they've made it into end-users hands without being bought...

I don't think anything about them, as end user products. I realize that if I were a politically correct geeky type, I'd be preaching the "Linux will take over the world" mantra. Honestly, however, I just don't believe it yet.

I don't even know very many geeks who're bothering with that stuff on their home systems, and not a single non-technical person. Some businesses are finding that class of product useful to them, but I'm not convinced yet that there's any staying power. Talk to me again in five years.

Steph

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Author: rehowes Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33615 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 3:32 PM
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As to the hardware price thing. I challange anyone to show that there would be any demand at all for bare hardware. MS products had lots to do with spurring demand.

Uh-huh. And, I believe, MSFT also had something to do with keeping other forms of demand-spurring software off of that bare hardware. :) Thus, the current Anti-Trust case.


That increased demand prompted hardware suppliers to enter the market and lower their costs so they could lower prices to gain market advantage.

And all this was made possible by the fact that IBM (whether they had originally desired to or not) allowed all those hardware suppliers to build compatible computers. Why couldn't we achieve a similar effort of software suppliers to "enter the market and lower their costs so they could lower prices to gain market advantage"? What's good for the goose should be good for the gander here.


There is still no demand for naked hardware. There is demand for hardware with alternative OSes. I hope that need can be met.

And let's not forget that when the PC first was introduced there was a choice of not one but at least two (IIRC three) OSes. MS/PS-DOS, PCode (and I think there was a CPM available). The no OS argument doesn't fly for the time period when the clones were initially jumping on the PC bandwagon. I can't remember when P-Code and CPM(?) died but I'm pretty sure that the hardware competition had set it and so we did have hardware and software competition then.

Randall

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Author: nelson0 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33619 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 3:46 PM
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"There is still no demand for naked hardware. There is demand for hardware with alternative OSes. I hope that need can be met."

I disagree. Quite frankly, we get better deals on OS's ourselves as a reseller than if we get it shipped with our Dell machine. That's on servers, which Dell does ship naked.

On desktops, we have a box full of windows licenses (just the licenses, and it's a big box ;) that it would be more economical to re-use, but we have a second box of duplicate licenses because when we upgraded the hardware, the licenses came with them.

I can see some areas where the demand would go up if there were any supply at all. But because of no supply, the demand is not seen.

Rob Nelson
ronelson@vt.edu

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Author: DarrelPr Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33623 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 4:04 PM
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Wow. I miss a few days on the board and find almost a thousand new posts. I'll never catch up.

Anyway...

"...Windows 3.0 cost about $100 in 1990. Windows 98 costs about $100 today. Hmmmmmm... seems as if there hasn't been near as much innovation or competition in software....wonder why?"

Using dollar signs to measure innovation is somewhat short sighted don't you think? You can't realistically look at the feature set of Windows 98, compare it to Windows 3.0 and tell me there has been no innovation can you?

By the way Sera, excellent post!

Fool On!
DarrelPr
(A proud MSFT employee but speaking strictly on my own behalf.)


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Author: DarrelPr Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33626 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 4:24 PM
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"FireWire. Technically this hasn't been kept from the market, but it has been kept from those of us that don't have Macs. It is faster and more reliable than USB. But Bill hasn't seen fit to support it yet.

The IEEE 1394 interface ("Firewire") is fully supported under Windows 2000. Keep in mind too that Compaq and Sony have been shipping Intel-based machines with Firewire ports running Windows 98 for at least 1 - 2 years now.

Regards,
DarrelPr



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Author: DarrelPr Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33639 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 5:04 PM
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"I suspect these were Wang's policies, not Microsofts. I further suspect the reason they were more concerned with closing cases and keeping call times low was because Wang was screwing Microsoft's customer to keep its own margins high..."

Cowdog, you nailed it.

In 1994, I was a Windows NT support professional working in what was then known as "Microsoft Corporate Networking Systems". I had been very involved in the Windows NT 3.5 beta ("Daytona") and was dispatched to one of our support partner's sites to present 2 weeks of hands-on training to their support staff. This was one of the single biggest outsourcing partners Microsoft had at that time with regards to call volumes and the number of staff. (Names withheld to protect the guilty.)

This partner took NT (and other MSFT product) support calls and was paid by Microsoft on a per-call basis. To generate more revenue, they needed to accept more calls. To accept more calls, they needed to keep the calls as short as possible. They were discouraged from doing any “hand holding” with customers and in fact, each support professional was goaled with keeping the call under (I think) 20 minutes. In the application departments (Office, etc.), the call time goals were even lower.

While the technical expertise of these people was top notch, they were not given the opportunity to really exercise it with the customers. In fact, I remember one supervisor walking up and down the aisles my first day there and jumping all over people who weren't actively engaged in a phone conversation with a customer. They worked 10-hour days and their training was done on their own time.

When I returned to MSFT, I relayed this information to my immediate management staff. Since I am but plankton on the MSFT food chain, I don't know what weight my testimony carried. I do know however that there were some major changes made at this partner shortly thereafter and we started seeing higher customer satisfaction surveys being returned from customers who had used this partner. (Microsoft surveys customers that use our partners and the partners are held accountable for the customer satisfaction scores.)

A quick disclaimer: I guess having worked at Microsoft PSS for over 8 years, I have become spoiled with regards to working conditions, training (technical training and customer service skills training) and the overall quality of people I work with. I wouldn't trade it for all the RHAT, LNUX, CORL or CALD shares in the world. ;-)

Foolishly (and with apologies for the long post),
DarrelPr
(A proud MSFT employee but speaking strictly on my own behalf.)



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Author: rehowes Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33655 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/6/2000 7:05 PM
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I disagree. Quite frankly, we get better deals on OS's ourselves as a reseller than if we get it shipped with our Dell machine. That's on servers, which Dell does ship naked.

That hair is split mightly finely.

If you have a demand for naked hardware because you have unused licenses you still "want" PCs running windows.

Randall

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Author: Heinrich Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33700 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/7/2000 3:49 AM
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Brilliant Sera1! Brilliant.

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33715 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/7/2000 11:51 AM
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Steph wrote:

(On the subject of open-source applications)
I don't even know very many geeks who're bothering with that stuff on their home systems, and not a single non-technical person. Some businesses are finding that class of product useful to them, but I'm not convinced yet that there's any staying power. Talk to me again in five years.

But, Steph, this is an investment board! The point is not to invest your money in the technologies that became popular five years ago, or even the ones that are popular today; the idea is to invest in what will be popular five years from now. I'm saying that I believe that Microsoft will not be as valuable five years from now as it is today, because the entire marketing structure upon which it relies is being eroded away by this new software development paradigm.


John

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33721 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/7/2000 12:56 PM
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John said:

>>> But, Steph, this is an investment board! The point is not to invest your money in the technologies that became popular five years ago, or even the ones that are popular today; the idea is to invest in what will be popular five years from now. I'm saying that I believe that Microsoft will not be as valuable five years from now as it is today, because the entire marketing structure upon which it relies is being eroded away by this new software development paradigm.

And I disagree. I think Microsoft isn't at the top of its business lifecycle curve yet, although they should be approaching it in the next 5-10 years. I haven't yet seen the products that I think will begin to replace MSFT, although I expect to begin seeing them soon (like in the next five years). Linux/open source is one possibility, although the logic behind their commercial viability is still a mystery to me.

To be honest, I don't think =any= of the current crop of products, including MSFT's, are the next generation. While we geeks love the internals, user interface and maintainability (maintainable by Joe Dipstick down the street, not by a geek) are what will determine what the next generation will be. Personally, I expect to see a major shift in interface. I'm not a creative genius who can guess where that shift will take us, but we're due for a leap into the future in how we interact with these machines we've come to depend upon so much.

Now, if you want to talk about emergent technology that excites me, we can do that. I'm hot as heck over the idea that landlines will probably be gone in less than ten years. I wouldn't own a dime in a dial up ISP or a pure telephone company right now, or in cable technology, because I believe those companies will be out of business or face some very tough times in the short term. I'm hot on two way satellite technology. Microwave, like SpeedChoice, will be an interim step away from wires running into your home and business, but they're not the end of the evolution. I'm hot on where PDAs are going, and the morphing of PDAs with other consumer tools. I'm truly excited about a company called MicroChip (MCHP) who're doing programmable tools while many of their competitors are still building hard tools that you have to replace to upgrade. Etc. There's a ton of technology that excites me a whole lot.

There just isn't anything that excites me all that much in the OS world right now. Believe me, though, I'm looking for it. I think that the next revolution has to be in interface, and I don't see the exciting things I expect to see in the folks who're going to end up taking over the world.

Haven't we had this conversation before? It seems to me that we've how I feel about the Linux/open source world. I won't be buying any RedHat stock any time soon, and in the process may very well miss a glorious investment opportunity, but I just don't believe in it. I don't understand how they'll be commercially viable, and I don't see anything particularly revolutionary about the way they interact with the user. Without those two things, I don't see how they can pull off a coup. I'll be rooting for you to get rich and live happily ever after, though - it bothers me not at all to occasionally miss the boat.

Steph

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Author: Thermopile Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33747 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/7/2000 7:54 PM
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Steph wrote:

(On the subject of open-source applications)
I don't even know very many geeks who're bothering with that stuff on their home systems, and not a single non-technical person. Some businesses are finding that class of product useful to them, but I'm not convinced yet that there's any staying power. Talk to me again in five years.

PietrzakFool replied:

But, Steph, this is an investment board! The point is not to invest your money in the technologies that became popular five years ago, or even the ones that are popular today; the idea is to invest in what will be popular five years from now. I'm saying that I believe that Microsoft will not be as valuable five years from now as it is today, because the entire marketing structure upon which it relies is being eroded away by this new software development paradigm.


So John, you're suggesting that we invest in -- what, companies that give their product away? That, as investors we seek to back a product such as Linux which no one actually sells? That we support a movement that seeks to bring down the curtain on the very system that that we are employing to grow our wealth? Wittness the rise and fall of the Linux based public companies. RedHat will be lucky to be making a profit in 5 years let alone be worth more than Microsoft.

Your open source movement is what, 10 years or so old? Pretty old for a new paradigm don't you think? Do you really believe that the 235 publicly traded software companies are just going to roll over and die while your utopian vision of the future replaces them? I contend that your vision of the future will probably not go away, but will remain a small slice of the pie, niche products to fill niche markets.

Your view of Microsoft is myopic, you see an old line software company where in reality what you have is a conglomorate in the making. Microsoft is reaching beyond the traditional software arena, positioning itself to move into other markets, helping to create markets where none now exist for it's products.

Let's indeed revisit this issue in 5 years. I predict that your new paradigm will have failed miserably in replacing the current system.




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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33751 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/7/2000 8:27 PM
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Thermopile writes, in reply to PietrzakFool:

"Your open source movement is what, 10 years or so old? Pretty old for a new paradigm don't you think? Do you really believe that the 235 publicly traded software companies are just going to roll over and die while your utopian vision of the future replaces them? I contend that your vision of the future will probably not go away, but will remain a small slice of the pie, niche products to fill niche markets."



I've always figured that once a software category or particular piece of code matures to the point where it's not being rapidly advanced, then it becomes a good candidate for freeware open-source implementation. Certainly you're almost never going to have the open source folks doing cutting-edge research... that costs money, and while some people will write code in their spare time, I very much doubt they're going to also fund expensive research with their spare cash. Those innovations eventually trickle down to open source, but open source isn't at the cutting edge. Sure, there is some money there... Stallman gets a little money, universities have computer science research funding, and companies like RedHat might funnel a little bit in that direction. But is that enough money? I doubt it. Universities are probably the biggest area of publicly-funded research here, but if a university professor comes up with a great new data compression algorithm or something similar, you can bet the university is going to patent it, so you can't count on all of those things to be open-sourced.

Question is, will enough end users demand the cutting edge features to keep open source from overrunning a large area of low-end computing? I could imagine a scenario where in the future high-end OSes for high-powered computing stay commercialized and low-end desktop OSes like Windows 98 are forced to a near-zero price point because the non-cutting-edge open source product meets their needs well. On the other hand, that could require high-end OS designers to give a fig about user interface, which doesn't currently seem to be the case.




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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33786 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 8:21 AM
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ericb888 said:

>>> Question is, will enough end users demand the cutting edge features to keep open source from overrunning a large area of low-end computing? I could imagine a scenario where in the future high-end OSes for high-powered computing stay commercialized and low-end desktop OSes like Windows 98 are forced to a near-zero price point because the non-cutting-edge open source product meets their needs well. On the other hand, that could require high-end OS designers to give a fig about user interface, which doesn't currently seem to be the case.

I have trouble believing that will happen, simply because there's so much money in "low-end desktop OSes". I think Microsoft and whatever other OS people stay in the business are at least going to keep doing the value-added business in order to sell their product - and the dollars in that market are going to help drive improvements that consumers will buy. Nobody is ready, yet, to give away a 150-200 million household market to the open source people.

I also have trouble believing it because that class of product is the place where the most dramatic and visible improvements can happen, and everyone from MSFT down to the end user knows it. Even incremental improvements impact usability and value to the end user.

Add to that the fact that the consumer at least in the US just doesn't believe in something for nothing. Even people who know better tend to have that kneejerk reaction.

As long as the market is big and there's room to either improve or replace existing products, I'm going to be surprised if open source gets much of a foothold there. There's just too much money at stake to let that slip away.

Steph

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33807 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 12:31 PM
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Thermopile wrote:

So John, you're suggesting that we invest in -- what, companies that give their product away? That, as investors we seek to back a product such as Linux which no one actually sells? That we support a movement that seeks to bring down the curtain on the very system that that we are employing to grow our wealth? Wittness the rise and fall of the Linux based public companies. RedHat will be lucky to be making a profit in 5 years let alone be worth more than Microsoft.

No, I don't suggest that you invest in companies that give their product away -- Linux is not the product of Red Hat in the first place. I'm not saying you, as an investor, should seek to back a product such as Linux -- it doesn't need any of your help. But yes, I am suggesting that you at least investigate this movement that threatens to bring down so many existing business models, because it is going to happen whether you like it or not. Companies like Red Hat will be making profits, and although I doubt they will ever reach the kind of profit level Microsoft enjoys today, I expect that Microsoft isn't going to see again the kind of profits it enjoys today.


Do you really believe that the 235 publicly traded software companies are just going to roll over and die while your utopian vision of the future replaces them?

Well, heck, hundreds of software companies rolled over and died for Microsoft to reach the position it has today, I think that makes a good precedent for open source. :)


Your view of Microsoft is myopic, you see an old line software company where in reality what you have is a conglomorate in the making. Microsoft is reaching beyond the traditional software arena, positioning itself to move into other markets, helping to create markets where none now exist for it's products.

Oh, I certainly realize that Microsoft is reaching beyond its core competencies these days. However, the profits generated in other arenas will not necessarily match the profits it has derived from desktop software, and with pressure from both the government and open-source software, Microsoft is going to have a heck of a time maintaining the ridiculous profits it has generated up to now.


Let's indeed revisit this issue in 5 years. I predict that your new paradigm will have failed miserably in replacing the current system.

It's a date. :) I do believe that the current miserable system will have been replaced by the new paradigm...


John

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33808 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 12:38 PM
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ericb888 wrote:

Certainly you're almost never going to have the open source folks doing cutting-edge research... that costs money, and while some people will write code in their spare time, I very much doubt they're going to also fund expensive research with their spare cash.

Why? In the world of software, research requires only two things: human ingenuity and the hardware for development work (and sometimes the hardware isn't necessary). One of the spurs to open source development has been that hardware has become cheap and plentiful. So human ingenuity is the only bottleneck. Universities and corporate research labs have been the classic way to bring humans together to collaborate on new ideas, but the internet today is doing just as good a job (if not better, in some ways) in allowing people with similar interests to communicate with each other.

I see no reason why research can't be done effectively and successfully in an open-source world.


John

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33809 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 12:46 PM
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Steph wrote:

(On open source software on low-end computers)
I have trouble believing that will happen, simply because there's so much money in "low-end desktop OSes". I think Microsoft and whatever other OS people stay in the business are at least going to keep doing the value-added business in order to sell their product - and the dollars in that market are going to help drive improvements that consumers will buy. Nobody is ready, yet, to give away a 150-200 million household market to the open source people.

This isn't a question of Microsoft giving, it's a question of open source taking. There may be money in "low-end desktop OSes" today, but that will disappear once free desktop OSes become popular.


John

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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33810 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 12:49 PM
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PietrzakFool writes:

"Why? In the world of software, research requires only two things: human ingenuity and the hardware for development work (and sometimes the hardware isn't necessary). One of the spurs to open source development has been that hardware has become cheap and plentiful. So human ingenuity is the only bottleneck. "



Well, let me offer a rewording of my argument. A common criticism of GPL-style open-source is that it becomes difficult if not impossible for the programmer to earn money for the open-source work. Currently, a lot of the programmers who do this type of work do it as a hobby and, like Linus, they have day jobs where they are paid. Personally, I don't see that changing... there have to be enough commercial jobs remaining so that these folks can keep their "real" jobs, otherwise they probably won't be able to continue their hobby either. Now, where is most of the innovation going to come from? The paid work, or the hobbies? I'm not saying open-source will have no innovation, but I'd still expect most of it to come from the paid work, since that is presumably where these people are going to spend most of their time. I still see GPL-style open source as a side show that can't exist without the main act. If you want to talk about the model of revealing your source but not allowing anybody to use it unless they pay for it, that might be a different matter.




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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33813 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 12:54 PM
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youngsl writes:

"I have trouble believing that will happen, simply because there's so much money in "low-end desktop OSes". I think Microsoft and whatever other OS people stay in the business are at least going to keep doing the value-added business in order to sell their product - and the dollars in that market are going to help drive improvements that consumers will buy. Nobody is ready, yet, to give away a 150-200 million household market to the open source people.
...
Add to that the fact that the consumer at least in the US just doesn't believe in something for nothing. Even people who know better tend to have that kneejerk reaction."



There used to be some money in web browsers too. Microsoft came along, gave away a product, and destroyed the revenue stream. And Microsoft keeps pushing "something for nothing" in web browsing, and they seem to have done okay with it, right? Any reason to believe this scenario can't repeat with operating systems themselves?

And with web browsers in general still being so much more unreliable than other types of software, I'd say that market could well use some dollars to help drive improvements, yet Microsoft has largely sucked it dry.



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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33814 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 1:07 PM
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ericb888 wrote:

Well, let me offer a rewording of my argument. A common criticism of GPL-style open-source is that it becomes difficult if not impossible for the programmer to earn money for the open-source work. [...]

Ok, well, I admit that is true. I'm looking for future software development to become an adjunct to providing service, rather than an adjunct to further closed-source licensing sales. It seems to make so much more sense that way...

Regardless, all we need is brainpower with some time and a little incentive. That really isn't hard to achieve; all of those have already been accomplished to some degree with the current open source movement. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to go from the effort taken to create Linux to the effort needed to perform completely new research.


John

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Author: PietrzakFool Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33815 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 1:10 PM
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Oops! I missed the < /i > in my previous message, the last two paragraphs are mine, not Eric's...


John

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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33856 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 8:01 PM
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ericb888 said:

>>> There used to be some money in web browsers too. Microsoft came along, gave away a product, and destroyed the revenue stream. And Microsoft keeps pushing "something for nothing" in web browsing, and they seem to have done okay with it, right? Any reason to believe this scenario can't repeat with operating systems themselves?

Microsoft only gave it away because they could generate the revenues another way - like with the sales they did to folks like Disney for the privlege of appearing as a default on the desktop. They didn't give up a revenue stream, they simply shifted it away from direct sales. A move, by the way, that other browsers could have followed had they wanted to. I just can't find it in my heart to call that "something for nothing." I'm not paying for it, but somebody sure is.

There may be some way to shift the revenue stream in a similar way with operating systems, and if some company comes up with a paradigm that works, then we may see free OSes.

Steph

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Author: ericb888 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33861 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 8:34 PM
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Steph wrote:

"There may be some way to shift the revenue stream in a similar way with operating systems, and if some company comes up with a paradigm that works, then we may see free OSes."


We already have free OSes. Question is, can they standardize on one good interface and attract application development that will interest desktop users?

Microsoft's cash cows generate so much money that certain companies seem to think it's worth their while to spend money giving stuff away just to keep Microsoft from throwing so much weight around. Witness Sun's interesting acquisition and giveaway of Star Office.



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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33877 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/8/2000 10:16 PM
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ericb888 said:

>>> We already have free OSes.

You're correct, of course. I should have said "...free OSes as a significant factor in the OS market."

>>> Microsoft's cash cows generate so much money that certain companies seem to think it's worth their while to spend money giving stuff away just to keep Microsoft from throwing so much weight around.

Do you really think that's what's driving folks like Sun? I figured they were giving it away on the basis that if they get a foot in the door then they can sell it.

I guess I just don't buy into the 'out of the goodness of our hearts' school of development. I =know= I don't buy into it for myself. I'd never bother to write another line of code if I weren't getting paid for it. While it's an interesting way to make a living, it would be a very boring way to starve.

Steph

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Author: marimba Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33950 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/9/2000 1:22 PM
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DarrellPr Date: 5/6/00 4:04 PM Number: 33623 writes:
<P>"...Windows 3.0 cost about $100 in 1990. Windows 98 costs about $100 today. Hmmmmmm... seems as if there hasn't been near as much innovation or competition in software....wonder why?"</P>

Using dollar signs to measure innovation is somewhat short sighted don't you think? You can't realistically look at the feature set of Windows 98, compare it to Windows 3.0 and tell me there has been no innovation can you?


Let's see...

1990, Windows is making a bad attempt at aping the Apple GUI. Programs still run in a cranky DOS shell, frequently crashing and returning coherent error messages.

1998, Windows is making a better attempt at aping the Apple GUI, with embedded aping of Netscape. Programs run in a cranky DOS emulator on a cranky DOS shell, returning cranky error messages blaming the 3rd-party vendor.

Same song, different tune.

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Author: MidgeB Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 33971 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/9/2000 5:01 PM
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Right on! Wish this post could get in the Judge's hands--more power to you. Midge

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Author: SammiSampson Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 34449 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/13/2000 10:57 AM
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Lest we forget ......

Sera "penned" a message some days ago that ... in my opinion ... was one of the most lucid and eloquent in defense of Microsoft I've ever seen from anyone.

Sera made so many valid points that it's impossible to find one most important to quote here. The post is at http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1180128007157000. I heartily recommend that those of you who haven't read it do so.

One more time, Sera, you've demonstrated the lucidity essential to logic that originally earned my respect.

Congratulations !!











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Author: rosem3 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 34519 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/14/2000 10:08 AM
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Sera1

Thank you for a most articulate post. This is the first clear identification of the "techies" as a major destructive force behind the DOJ's pursuit of MSFT.

About two years ago, in a burst of honesty, one young "techie" actually admitted to me that he hated MSFT because Windows made "people like me unnecessary....."

Now if only your post could be sent to the DOJ, Congress....and, of course, to Bill Gates.

Thanks.



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Author: nelson0 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 34523 of 157028
Subject: Re: What I don't get. Date: 5/14/2000 11:18 AM
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"About two years ago, in a burst of honesty, one young "techie" actually admitted to me that he hated MSFT because Windows made "people like me unnecessary.....""

FWIW, Windows clients of my company take up more time and pay us more money. They're good for business. Of course, some techies do hate the calls after hours or some of the hand holding, but I've had it that way with all kinds of clients. No-one is immune to the being-paged-at-midnight syndrome.

Rob Nelson
ronelson@vt.edu

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