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Does Microsoft Still Matter? 2013 Will Decide

 3:56 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Does Microsoft Still Matter? 2013 Will Decide [readwrite.com]

2013 will be a make-or-break year for Microsoft. Not so much from a financial standpoint, but for how the company is perceived.

Traditionally, Microsoft has built itself around the PC, anchoring itself by its core operating systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and now Windows 8. But in the last few years, Microsoft's Server and Tools division has generated the highest revenue and profits in the company, followed by the traditional pillars of the company, Windows and Business Tools, or Office.

How will Microsoft fare in 2013? Financially and overall, just fine. But be on the lookout for softness in the company's traditional businesses as Microsoft evolves into a services company.



 5:29 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

IE Gain[s] Respectability


IE is crap.


 6:02 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have you even tried IE 10 on Windows 8 before making that sweeping generalization?

Regardless, the point of the article wasn't to rehash dogmatic browser wars, but how Microsoft's new business strategy focusing more on services than software might fare.


 6:29 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

The heading of the prediction was
Microsoft Online: Bing, IE Gain Respectability

I'll grant that the text below it seems to imagine that a wide adoption of windows 8 and IE10 would push more bing into the users' hearts and minds.
But then scroll back to the first prediction - if it's a prediction - I'd call it fact already - that Windows 8 is a (mild) flop.
I'd venture 8 is worse than Vista in getting adopted in businesses.

For IE to gain *any* respect, MSFT will have to fix those still on XP and get them to stop using the crap they forced upon us in the past. Artificially linking the browser versions with the OS versions isn't going to get them any love - nor respect.

Anyway: to me MSFT is already obsolete if it were not for the wide adoption of office. Just need to find a way the wane the business world from that -expensive- package.


 6:48 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have no plans on using microsoft any less, or on adopting anything from Google, and I don't think I'm alone so I don't see the doom and gloom the article talks about.

I'm sure both companies will do what's best for them but I have to do what's best for me, ya know? Webmasters tend to be immune to most marketing however, it will be interesting to see how Jane public reacts.


 7:08 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Microsoft is kind of where Lotus was in the early 90s. Due to some stupid moves MS is at risk of losing the home consumer market and already has in devices that aren't traditional desktop or laptop computers, except for XBOX. So far they're still keeping a grip on the corporate environment but is anyone really trying to unhinge their stranglehold on office computing?

Home consumers buy a computing device like they buy a toaster, it's an internet appliance. It browses the web and sends email, and you don't really need MS for any of that including office productivity tools. Data compatibility is the real issue as people don't really care what they use as long as they can access their data and it looks the same no matter what device they use.

Microsoft has almost no presence in devices like DVRs, TVs, GPS, etc. unless you're using your XBOX or desktop PC for those functions as it's pretty much a Linux world so they're already pretty irrelevant at that level.

The point is you don't need MS already but it's already preloaded on the machines which is why it maintains it's dominance IMO. However, if they don't regain the hearts and minds of consumers with the Win 8 one-size-fits-all-devices strategy they could end up an increasingly irrelevant niche market.

MS obviously went upscale with Surface to compete with Apple while Google aimed squarely at the mass market sweet spot with Nexus so they've already fumbled the mass market with Win 8, it's just a matter of how many scraps can they take from Apple at this point.

However, MS is tenacious and they will just keep hammering at this problem until they get it right. The destroyed Netscape, Lotus, Novell, Digital Research, Word Perfect and put a dent in Intuit's market, and many more. They're in it for the long haul, unless they lose their way, this is just a temporary blip. The real question is, will consumers keep drinking the MS kool-aide while they wait for MS to get it right this time?


 1:20 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Paul Graham wrote an article a few years ago that sums it up. Microsoft doesn't matter anymore.

While the PC you bought for Christmas may have Windows on it, all of the software that you use that came with it runs on any other OS and, most everything most people do, they do through the browser or they use a mobile device where MS is still virtually non-existant. You don't need Windows anymore.

As far as IE10 goes, I still have to write code hacks on code that works in any other browser just to make it work in IE10 because it's non-existant or poorly supported. IE10 is better than IE9 but that's nothing to brag about. It's still the worst browser on the planet for coding.


 2:36 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

My two cents:

When it relates to browsers, I think MS is in trouble. If you look at the trend in our industry, I am sure you already know that when you are using certain sites or applications, it's clear that developers who have a vested interest in their product will be somewhat bias in their approach, for example: Adwords working more effectively on Chrome vs. IE. We started experiencing this at the beginning of the year, coincidence? I don't think so. Developers have gotten a lot more strategic in developing certain sites and apps to work better with certain browsers, so therefore yes I think IE is going to eventually dwindle in users.

As far as MS becoming a servicing company? Well, I think most people still use a PC and Laptop to do their work. I still dont feel tablets are there yet. We will see.


 6:13 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Windows 8: business users are doing their downgrade thing, so they -for now- have no trouble with it, but aren't using it either. Home users: well they're out of luck.
Windows 8 is really bad, but I'll let somebody else explain it: [youtube.com...]

IE: MSFT only won the browser wars against netscape by tricking the masses to use IE and by people making websites at the time falling for the "made for IE" stupidity. Today people are smarter when it comes to browsers and if you still try to surf the web on an obsolete IE version, well you expect things to break badly as most of us can't be bothered by 5 different versions of the same broken browser that each needs their own set of fixes - while all the other browsers "just work".

XBOX: never owned one, nor any intention of ever looking at owning one.

So really the one thing they have left is Office. And it's a big one that nobody currently seems to be willing to tackle outright. Of course there's iWork on the mac, OpenOffice etc. but a true challenge: no they're not. iWork could be a true challenger - all Apple has to do is to release it for Windows ... but that would probably cause retaliation by blocking Apple products from getting (newer) versions of Office - monopolies are like that: evil.


 6:33 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm a little too close to the situation to let this one slide as a bunch of my team went to work at Netscape after we got our golden handcuffs take off our stock after the Lotus acquisition.

IE: MSFT only won the browser wars against netscape by tricking the masses to use IE and by people making websites at the time falling for the "made for IE" stupidity.

No. MS won because Netscape crashed all the time and more importantly couldn't display most of the web. MS created the dreaded quirks mode just to make the web function and people flocked to it because it was the only thing that worked reliably. Just like Word and Excel, MSIE simply worked more reliably, which is what the masses wanted, no headaches, just an appliance to view the web.

Only designers and webmasters care about the details, if it works, people will continue to use it. If you keep jumping through hoops to make it work, shame on you for proliferating the problem.

Now that most everything, at least for home users anyway, is browser based, which browser you use is pretty irrelevant making MS irrelevant. If you primarily use MS web services you're probably more inclined to use MSIE, if you're a Google web services user Chrome, if you're a developer then Firefox, if you're a true die-hard nerd Opera, etc. ;)


 7:32 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

The NYTimes had an article yesterday talking about how Google Apps is now taking enterprise customers away from Microsoft Office in droves.


 9:04 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

If MSFT wants to fix the browser market, they should acquire Mozilla. Since DOJ and Europe is going after Google now, it might be able to argue that combining resources is a necessity against Google. That would be the only way to mount a real defense against Google and to ultimately win the browser wars.


 9:08 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was recently in the market for a new desktop for the new year (read: last night).

I went to Bestbuy.com and the other "big brand" websites.....they ALL had Windows 8 preloaded onto the boxes. All of these companies just lost out on a $1000 sale because I was not sure if my SEO/other tools would work with Windows 8, coupled with the fact that as a small business owner, I don't want a "tablet experience", I want an operating system that can be used for business, and Windows 7 was more than up to par in that regard.

In my opinion, M$ is just trying to be like Apple.....and while the majority of Americans just use their tablets for internet browsing while on the couch, Windows 8 does not seem like a good investment from a business standpoint.

I had to buy a "return" desktop from the Dell Outlet, as they were the only ones that came with Windows 7.


 9:22 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I happy to like Win 8 better than Win 7. Plus, I am running it in a virtual environment off my Mac. To be honest, I like it as much, if not more than Windows XP. Much faster and streamlined. I installed ClassicShell to get the toolbar back. Never had any issues.


 10:33 pm on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic Lesson 1: Use "or Create "Controversy and Cater to battles. This will give you a ton of free publicity as people love to read controversy, and those on both side will come to start their opinion "bring more people". You article will get shared, and debate within you niche. You sit back and enjoy the traffic.

Notice those Ads on the Article? That's the real purpose of this article "Traffic, eye balls for sponsors, Ad revenue".

Don't appease them.


 12:39 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

A few months ago, my brother was having difficulty with IE and decided to download/install FF and Chrome to see which one would work better. As many have already mentioned, most home users are tied to the browsers, and if the browser works as expected, they could care less if it's IE, FF, Opera or Chrome.

In that respect, Microsoft, IE, Windows (aside from the server platform), will continue to lose its identity. But I don't think this is the end of Microsoft. I just think they have to look at reinventing themselves--as all business must do from time to time.

Besides, it may be a while before corporations and the U.S. federal government release their grip on enterprise Microsoft products.

@BaseballGuy: I was recently in the exact same situation. I wanted to purchase a laptop for a wife, and since she wasn't interested in Windows 8, I wanted a Windows 7 Pro configuration so that it could join the domain at her workplace. I also perused Best Buy's PCs online and discovered that you can narrow the search by OS. On other "big brand" sites, you literally have to type in "windows 7" in the provided search box to locate Windows 7 machines. Most of them still have PCs with Windows 7, but generic searches only reveal Windows 8 PCs.


 5:30 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

MS won because Netscape crashed all the time and more importantly couldn't display most of the web. MS created the dreaded quirks mode just to make the web function and people flocked to it because it was the only thing that worked reliably. Just like Word and Excel, MSIE simply worked more reliably, which is what the masses wanted, no headaches, just an appliance to view the web.

Sorry Bill, but that's just not true.
- Netscape didn't crash ever (at least not on any of the supported Unix OSes - I didn't use any windows at the time.
- Couldn't display: well you were more often than not prohibited from displaying it cause some zealot put a script blocking you - a simple JS test to see if it was MSIE and if not you'd get booted out with the message to install IE
- IE on wintendo worked far less reliable than Netscape on unix

The world wide web was just fine before MSFT came along with IE - they messed it up more than anything else and we're still suffering from their lack of insight in how it was all supposed to work (reminder for those not having read the HTML 1.0 specs back then: server sends compliant code to the browser - browser is lenient in interpreting errors the server shouldn't send.)

I'll grant that Netscape in the browser wars did some serious missteps too <blink> e.g. should never have been supported - ever.

MSFT has done exactly nothing good for the web, quite on the contrary. They have employees on nearly every committee that makes the standards - yet they're continuously the only one making browsers that are systematically not compliant with those standards. They're also the only browser maker not allowing their browser to be upgraded on still in use OSes - just cause they can annoy us - or to continue their mantra that the browser is part of the OS - which they claimed to be since NT4 SP4 (but if you had not added IE, you could continue to upgrade NT4 without getting IE ...

Word reliable ? Seriously ? Ever used word for a long document ? It's guaranteed to make you start over a few times a day - no matter what version - no matter what service pack. Just try to use the hierarchical automated numbering and make a change on the style of the numbering on any long (100+ pages) document and poof it screws up the numbering - guaranteed - and you can't correct it anymore - better hope you have a saved copied from before the change and just not do those changes again as it will get you again and ultimately force you to go through the whole document and manually correct every title.
Just try to include an "floating" (to use the web terminology) image and then see what it does with positioning when it gets close to a footer.
Really there are far more superior and far more reliable packages - they just never became popular.
Ventura (old MS-DOS - SGML), FrameMaker (multiple OSes), Pages (Mac) etc. are all superior in various ways - and all are far more reliable.

But the good thing indeed are tablets and their use by consumers to "consume" - and that they are sporting nicely compliant browsers that like to work with the standards - let's keep MSFT out of that.


 6:37 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry Bill, but that's just not true.
- Netscape didn't crash ever (at least not on any of the supported Unix OSes - I didn't use any windows at the time.

How can you tell me it's not true that it blew up on Windows, which is the talking point here, when you used it on Unix? I used it on Windows and the software had issues, both in it's display capabilities and application stability. Granted it got better with each version but MS got much better much faster and they also gave it away free and bundled it with the OS.

I was in Silicon Valley, I used it daily from it's earliest incarnations, I know many people that worked there mainly because they previously worked for me so obviously I don't know anything about it whatsoever.

Never mind.


 7:18 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Everything on windows and windows itself blew up in those days every time you moved a mouse or pressed a key. But I guess you know that ...


 8:32 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

they're also the only browser maker not allowing their browser to be upgraded on still in use OSes

Nope, Firefox and Chrome do this too. Try installing the latest versions on OS X 10.5.

Word reliable ? Seriously ? Ever used word for a long document ?

Yes. I've got a 180+ page document here, with many 'floating' images. Works perfectly. I even had to change the entire numbering structure a couple of weeks ago, handled that fine as well.

I'm not saying anything about MS being perfect, but in developer circles they get an unfair bashing, in my opinion.


 1:37 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

In the late 90s I was trading stocks using Scottrade and had an issue. Called Scottrade tech support and they asked which browser I was using. IE I replied. There was a groan followed by a request that I switch to Netscape due to all the technical issues with IE.

I can't say I really remember but I don't recall Netscape having any more problems with web sites than IE after I switched.

As far as "winning the browser wars", nowadays browser choice is a personal one and no different than what clothes you wear or what car you drive. Technically all of them are pretty good so which one you use should be based on its interface and if it suits you ... except ... IE.

Inept at best, IE is the worst browser on the planet, technically speaking. It's the only browser you know you will have to write hacks for. It's the only browser you know won't look or work the same as the others, speaking as a developer.


 1:48 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Getting back on track, my wife needs a new computer and I'm going through the same issues about whether to get one with Win8 on it and throw it away by buying/installing Win7. I could build her one, too. If it weren't for the fact she uses QuickBooks for our businesses I would put her on Linux cause everything else she does can be done there.

Then the thought came to get her a Mac but she's not good with change and she'd have to buy a new copy of QuickBooks, I think.

When one of my boys went to college, everyone there had a Mac and he was the only one with a Windows notebook. He was so impressed by what the others were able to do that he saved up on his own and, last year, bought his own 27" Mac desktop. "It's everything I wanted and more", he told me. Then he bought an iPad. Now he wants an iPhone because everything works seamlessly together and not because he's become a fanboy.

Well, he may be a fanboy but from experience using the products. I enjoy using his desktop when I visit him, he lives out of town, but I use BSD and Linux and build my own systems. But this story brings up what I think I wanted to get to.

Apple has been doing this multi-device, seamless integration for a long time. Microsoft started trying to do it a couple weeks ago. Hmm.


 1:50 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Inept at best, IE is the worst browser on the planet

Nope, there are far worse, it's just that people don't know about them. IE is just the worst of the most popular browsers. There is a very big difference.

But this is turning into a browser war discussion. Back to the OP, I think that if MS can survive Windows ME and Windows Vista to do so well with Windows 7, they'll do fine as long as they make Windows 9 top notch.


 2:00 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

MSFT will somehow regain control of the browser market. Google is the new MSFT, and MSFT will use this to their advantage in order to get back on top; if not at least to level the playing field.


 2:15 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have you even tried IE 10 on Windows 8

I have. It's nice. If I had never seen any browser other than Chrome 1 and Firefox 3, I'd be over the moon to have discovered it. But I'm a creature of habit. I've gotten so used to the clean, uncluttered interface of Chrome, that I just won't switch now. So IE 10 is a good browser, several years too late.

With Chrome, Google really offered something new. To me, the fundamental look of Opera, IE and Firefox are similar. I wouldn't expend the energy to switch from one to the other unless the one I was using was causing serious problems.

Unfortunately, I think that's how people feel about their iPhones, their Android phones, their Kindle readers and so on and on. Microsoft could come out with products tomorrow that would be incrementally superior, but people won't switch for incremental superiority at this point.


 2:29 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Chrome follows and watches everything you do. Google is not known for upholding privacy. Remember why CHMN Schmidt said, if you want something to remain private, do not put it on the Internet. Chrome, while nice, I and most others do NOT trust Google and their respect for privacy. While Google wants everything in the world to be shared and public (for data mining), I do not. At least MSFT has do not track as the default. I'd take MSFT and Mozilla over Chrome any day. I actually prefer Camino, but not sure how much longer the browser will be around.


 3:47 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

At least MSFT has do not track as the default.
And by doing that MSFT broke the DNT compromise and gives cause to advertisers to ignore the compromise and track you anyway. They should never have done that if they wanted DNT to work. Moreover they knew this would happen so MSFT is breaking DNT intentionally - I'd not call that caring about your privacy.

 4:40 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

So IE 10 is a good browser, several years too late.
IE 10 is NOT a good browser for reasons I already said.

Chrome follows and watches everything you do.
False. Web sites track. Browsers do not. All of my customer's sites track visitors who come to their page with javascript on the site. Almost every site you visit does.
Google is not known for upholding privacy.
False. Google's privacy policies are published, well known, and understood. While there have been errors on their part, the only problem was people perceived them as spying when they were not. Google is the only company that publishes who requests personal data from them. If they were hiding anything, they wouldn't tell you. Their goal is search results and advertising, not you. They don't know or collect anything more about you than what every credit bureau already knows. Probably less. A credit bureau knows how much you make, where you live, where you work, who you're married to, etc. Unless you put that on the internet, Google wouldn't know that, but then everyone else would, too.

 5:40 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Good luck with drinking that Google Kool Aid...


 9:20 pm on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Compworld - You're only listening to what you read on some forum somewhere and not the truth. Are you aware that Bing also collects data when you do a search with that? Yahoo, too? Are you aware that MSN does and your local newspaper? Are you concerned with what they do with your visiting habits?

Visit any of my clients pages and I know where you came from and where you went. I know your IP so I can narrow down to where you live. I know what you clicked on, how long you stayed, what OS and browser you use; your screen resolution and more.

This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58 ( [1] 2 > >
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