This is a significant article.
I’ve written at length for my distrust of Microsoft, representing in my view, a road that personal and business computing should have never gone down.
Microsoft got lucky with DOS – everything else, Windows, Office, Sharepoint, .Net, Exchange – it’s all momentum from that huge mistake that IBM made all those years ago, letting Bill Gates provide a disk operating system he didn’t even own at that point.
It allowed ‘computing for the rest of us’ to be a ridiculed statement made by a company that didn’t understand what ‘business’ needed.
Over the years, Apple has struggled on, sometimes lacking any direction, sometimes having the odd big success, but even that was dismissed as transitory – the mantra being that Apple needs a hit every year or two, otherwise it would just fade away.
Meanwhile Microsoft soldiered on, knowing that their army of IT people whose jobs depended on Microsoft staying in pole position, would keep them healthy.
An almost parasitic dependancy on each other developed, Microsoft need those IT managers to keep fooling company’s into believing there is no alternative, and those IT managers need Microsoft to keep the technology just opaque enough so that their jobs are safe, the rest of us suffered, or worse, carried on, not even knowing there was an alternative.
One thing they didn’t bank on was BYOD – bring your own device. Even in my little corner of the world, away from the US and even London, I’ve seen the effect. More people are choosing ‘anything but Microsoft’ for their personal computer and phone needs.
It’s still early days, and I don’t see a Mac on every desk anytime soon, but the article puts it perfectly:
“These days consumer preference dictates enterprise decisions. If you’re not powerfully out in front with the consumer, you’re going to end up getting hurt in the enterprise. That’s why it was smart for IBM to partner with Apple. Led by Apple, they’ll bury Microsoft in the same grave BlackBerry cluelessly fell into.”
Apple’s joint enterprise with IBM is very significant, as is this article. I’ve never seen any commentator dare even mention this as an option. I’ve also never seen anything like this from Apple either.
The enterprise doesn’t mention Macs, but I can understand that. In the eyes of business, the Mac brand is tainted (even though it’s a world away from the Mac of 1984).
However it doesn’t matter – the juggernaut that is iOS is the Mac OS underneath. Everyone knows that, Microsoft knows that, IBM knows that. What they don’t know is what iOS devices Apple will release in the coming years, which will be automatically part of the agreement.
If you consider that iOS and Mac OS will merge at some point and what the device Apple will merge them on will look like, you can start to see a future where we will all be using devices that run iOS.
Any IT manager still clinging on to Windows will use it in the server room where it belongs – just don’t let any normal person near it.
And I haven’t even mentioned the software services that Apple offers as part of this agreement – why would you choose Office when (an admittedly enhanced) iWork is free?
Way back in Apple’s past, when money was tight, market share was none-existent, mind-share even less, the Apple-faithful and the wider tech-press looked to Apple for a solution to their woes.
Just what was Steve Jobs and Apple going to do to stop the downward spiral?
Steve’s answer surprised everyone, and in hindsight it’s the approach that has, in part, turned the company around, and secured their future – Steve Jobs said:
“For Apple to win, Microsoft doesn’t have to lose.”
Most of the Apple faithful balked at this comment, did they here that right? What was Steve Jobs on? Did he really know what he was doing? Surely Microsoft has to be crushed, stamped upon and erased from history so that Apple can ‘win’.
But Steve was right. One of the problems with Apple, was that they were obsessed with Microsoft, and it damaged everything they did, every effort, every promotion was measured against the impossible goal of toppling a giant.
What Steve Jobs did is refocused the company, allowed them to say to themselves, “it’s perfectly OK to have a small market share, there is room in this industry for everyone.” With that approach Apple could concentrate on what they were good at, and measure their success against their own watermark, not somebody elses.
Which brings us back to Ballmer. Wouldn’t it just be a breath of fresh air if Ballmer said:
“We don’t worry about Google – we relish competition, and there’s room in this industry for everyone. We don’t have to win all the time.”
I think the whole tech industry would breath a sigh of relief that at last, Microsoft was happy with it’s lot and concentrated on creating great products for us all.
“In a blog post entitled ‘Competition Authorities and Search,’ Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner said part of the motivation for Microsoft and Yahoo’s search deal was ‘we are concerned about Google business practices that tend to lock in publishers and advertisers and make it harder for Microsoft to gain search volume,'”
And here’s the killer line:
“according to court documents, Ballmer pledged to ‘f***ing kill Google’ after learning of Google’s plan to hire a key Microsoft engineer in 2005.”
Poor Microsoft are upset that Google isn’t just rolling over and letting them dominate search, just like every other company has let them take over their business-niche before them.
Maybe Microsoft are angry because:
a) they can’t ‘cut off their air supply‘ like they did with Netscape in order to create an abusive monopoly in the internet browser business
b) they can’t blatantly steal code from Google, like they did with Apple’s Quicktime, in order to have a product that got even close to what Apple had
Still, while Microsoft and Google are at loggerheads, it keeps them occupied whilst everyone’s favourite fruit company can stroll past them.
NetWitness found a botnet with control of 74,126 Windows systems spread around 196 countries. These systems are found at medical companies, insurance companies, educational institutions, energy firms, financial companies, Internet providers, and government agencies.
Prevx came upon a cache with logon credentials for 74,000 FTP accounts. These accounts were for companies such as NASA, Cisco, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, Amazon, Bank of America, Oracle, ABC, BusinessWeek, Bloomberg, Disney, Monster, and the Queensland government.
You know, you start to become jaded concerning the security of the most popular OS on planet Earth.
The OS that 90% of the people viewing this blog use.
The OS that your company runs on.
The OS that your government runs on.
The OS your school, college or university runs on.
The OS that your bank probably uses.
The OS that despite being quite clearly not fit for use, somehow continues to be used, because so many people’s lives dependent on it.
What people? Well you, me, the IT department that won’t even let you change your desktop pattern wallpaper at work, your parents, your friends, the guy you overheard talking in the bus queue this morning about how his computer has become unusable again, or the other guy he was talking to who said that all he had to do was:
a) pay for more security software
b) visit this site that tells you how to solve your latest Windows problem in 38 easy steps
c) buy a new computer
d) don’t do anything on your computer to do with online banking or payments of any kind.
And, yes that last group of people who benefit from the crap that Gates & Ballmer peddle every day – the criminals and ne’r-do-wells that use the money they generate from hacking your computer to buy & supply drugs to your kids, fund terrorism, and various other nasties.
Lots of fun for all concerned.
Thank you Mr Gates and Mr Ballmer for all this, and thank you Apple for allowing me to write this blog on a computer that is not affected by any of this.
Sorry for being so jaded, but I don’t see anyone, anytime soon kicking Windows technology out of the door.
Amongst Microsoft’s many, many accomplishments, is this lovely little gem:
There are bugs that Microsoft patch pretty quickly, there are bugs that take a little more testing and take longer, there are bugs that they take ages to patch for some reason.
And now, from your trustworthy business OS supplier comes a first in long history of innovation – a bug that cannot be patched.
It can’t be fixed.
Why this isn’t more widely reported is beyond me. Microsoft’s solution is to run IE8 in a restricted mode which seems a band-aid solution to me.
Sure, Vista solves this little hiccup, but just about every Windows box that I can see from my happy little Mac studio, is still running XP.
What galls me the most is that this little feature has been present in every version of Windows up until Vista, they’ve only just discovered it as far as I can tell.
A few years from now, will there be another ‘unpatchable’ flaw in Vista, Windows 7, 8, 9 etc that they discover?
Why do people not question them? Why do they just accept this? Why is the news full of Apple releasing another device that everyone fails to understand, because it just happens to do something different, and not full of Microsoft’s unbelievable, amateurish and downright dangerous coding?
No other web browser on the Windows platform is affected. Does that not say something about this company?
Way back in 1997, Apple was very nearly history.
I remember back then that I seriously thought of getting out of the graphic design business for good, I could not face a career having to use, what was then, Windows 95/NT.
I decided to hold on and hope for the best, but even I never thought that Apple could go this far.
If there’s one thing that defines Apple, since 1997, since Steve Jobs came back, it is that everything they do, and I mean everything they do, MAKES THEM MONEY.
A sh*tload of money.
Profit margins on their hardware that others can only dream of (around 40% for the Mac).
Software – since Steve Jobs returned, Apple makes the best software in their target markets (please Apple, take on Adobe!)
Content – the iTunes store makes profit on music, movies and apps.
Apple Stores – have the best profit per square foot of any retailer.
Next we have the tablet, and with the rumours of more content deals and that huge data centre built for some as yet unannounced reason, we can expect that to rake in even more cash.
But as the MacDailyNews/Businessweek articles states, what is it for?
Apple have spent a little here and there, acquiring one or two businesses that make strategic sense.
But there’s a lot of money left and it’s looking very unlikely that Apple are going to give that money to their shareholders (with a dividend), or it’s users (by reducing that profit margin).
So what’s it for?
Take a look at the graph at the top of the page – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Reinforcing my previous post concerning the apparent invisibility of our friends at Redmond – why does no-one dare to question the insecure system that allowed all this?
China hack into over 30 western companies due to flaws in Microsoft Windows – how much more serious does this have to get?
Why does nothing seem to stick to this company?
The best (for them) days work Microsoft ever did, was to convince everyone that they are blameless for the security holes in their software.
Courtesy of Rixstep:
Words don’t often fail me, but the sight of a dozen minor-geeks, awkwardly clapping and trying to dance, under the guise of spontaneity… well I don’t know what to say or where to begin.
Microsoft, you’re making a complete fool of yourself. You really don’t know what (hopefully) irreparable damage you are doing to your brand (such that it is) and your public image.
Years from now, when Microsoft are long, long gone, people will look back at the YouTube video and say that this was one of the 10 or so key moments where severe blows were dealt that added to this company’s downfall.
The reason why Microsoft have survived and prospered this far, is because of the army of Windows IT Professionals that have propped up this loose assortment of sloppy hacks and ass-backwards ‘me-too’ and ‘just good enough’ coding.
They have survived because of the mass-ignorance of your average PC-buyer, who needed their hand held whilst buying their computer.
But now things have changed. Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook and dozens of others have caught up whilst Microsoft were sleeping, and Microsoft’s customer has changed – they are armed with geek-knowledge and they know how to use it.
Ballmer, like the captain on the Titanic, tried to ignore it, but now, with market-share and mind-share slipping he has to do something.
He calls on his troops, but more and more of these troops are bringing in laptops with Apple logos on them. They have iPods, and iPhones, they use Google instead of Bing, and Office is the last thing on their mind with free alternatives readily available.
So he does something – Vista. A total failure that would have finished most companies – but Microsoft isn’t ‘most’ companies.
He tries ‘new’ and ‘different’ advertising campaigns. They are met with derision, confusion and worst of all – laughter, the ‘at’ kind, not the ‘with’ kind.
Plan B. If you can’t beat them – join them. Or copy them. Copy them in exactly the same way you’ve copied them before, back when that ‘computer for the rest of us’ was first released.
Copy it backwards and upside down. In such a way that although all the pieces are there, they just don’t quite fit together.
What you are seeing in this poor, poor, sad video above, is Microsoft in the raw. When the support from all the IT professionals has gone.
They have to compete. On their own. This is who they really are.
I’ve often thought Microsoft were indestructible and I would be writing this blog to the end of my days with them always there, always copying, always getting it totally wrong.
You know I’m beginning to see, at last, the end of this once never great company.
…and the other 10% have another chuckle at the expense of the deluded majority.
Posted using ShareThis
Upon thinking about Microsoft entry into the retail space, a few thoughts occur.
Microsoft have a really deep seated envy of everything that Apple does. Now, they’ve always had this from the very first meeting about Windows 1.0, and in the past they could get away with it.
After all, despite all Apple’s efforts, they were not a mainstream company. Microsoft and their partners dominated and no-one outside Apple’s niche had ever heard of them.
All the great unwashed saw was ever greater ‘innovation’ coming from Redmond. They did not know that this innovation was a photocopied, me-too agenda based upon what Apple did.
This approach works fine, as long as Apple remains a niche.
Can you really say that Apple Inc. is at this current moment ‘a niche player’?
Group together everything that Apple does, the Mac, iPod, iPhone etc, and their approaching 10% market share (and even greater mind-share), I think not.
Why does this make a difference? Well, Microsoft can keep up the pretense of being an ‘innovator’ as long as no-one (or at least the majority) knows that Apple exists.
This is all the more difficult, and one very good reason this is getting harder, is because of those pesky Apple Retail Stores.
People used to listen to their ‘geeky friend’ on what computer to purchase, which was usually, if not always Windows.
That’s not the case now, they see an Apple Store, go in, and more often than not, purchase. I don’t know what their footfall conversion rate is (the % of customer who enter a store and either do or do not purchase something), but according to Apple 50% of those purchases are to Windows users.
So what is Microsoft to do? Well there’s only one thing to do, fight fire with fire.
But Microsoft has a problem, and it’s a problem that cannot be got around. The PC model is proprietary OS on open hardware. Apple’s model is open OS (sort, parts of etc), on proprietary hardware.
Now I don’t care what people say, Apple’s model gives us more reliable computers, Microsoft’s model gives problems – lot of them, with more chances to go wrong.
Apple’s model is naturally fits the retail environment. People enter Apple Stores for an experience. Yes, they take their computers in to be fixed, and Apple manages that quite well, as their model keeps those fixes down to an acceptable level.
Microsoft? Their model invites problems, how the hell are they going to manage all those PC users with viruses, spam, malware and faulty hardware because their ‘geeky friend’ made their computer?
This should be interesting to watch…
This is going to be fun to watch…
Imagine the scene: Microsoft opens it’s store, hoping that people will walk through the door and fully grasp that Microsoft software can help their digital life and will be wowed by everything they have to offer and they won’t go to that funny fruit store down the street.
However what will happen is that Joe Sixpack will walk through the door walk up to the counter and say, “Ug! Computer not work, you fix!” (Along with the 20 people behind them with similar complaints).
The patient (and butt-ugly) Microsoft genius with say, “I’m very sorry sir, but your issue is a hardware issue and I’m afraid Microsoft only deal with software, I can give you the number of the Dell support-line?”
Mr Sixpack will then say, “Ug! Dellman say your software got virus, you fix!”
The Genius eyes will then light up and say, “Aaaah, yes sir then we can help you, we sell virus killing software starting at $59.95 per month for our basic package.” He then hands him a leaflet.
Mr Sixpack numbly hands over his credit card, “just make computer work – me want pr0n!”
At the end of the month Microsoft will say that their software stores are a great success, having sold millions of software packages that help their customer get more from their computer purchase.
If anything, this will force more consumers into Apple stores because for the first time, Microsoft will meet the great-unwashed PC buying public – and their problems. I really don’t think Microsoft realise that aspect at all – they really are that arrogant and full of themselves.
The will not be able to cope – it will be a PR disaster. All Apple needs to do is air a well-timed Mac vs PC add that targets this sh*t storm, and watch them come through the doors.
Microsoft, please, please, please – carry on.
I’ve not published for a while as I have been knee-deep in the negotiations to convert my company’s website from a standard informational website in to a fully-fledged ecommerce site.
So I’ve let pass the current effort by Microsoft to counter the resurgence of the Mac with their own set of advertising, costing $300 million no less.
Being very busy, I don’t have the time to look into the metaphorical reasoning behind the Seinfield ads, but I assure you I will sooner or later.
I’m a marketing guy and I deal with peddling bullshit to consumers on a daily basis, and at first glance these ads seem amateurish at best.
In addition, I’m too late – they’ve been pulled already.
Microsoft have continued the assault on Apple with the ‘I’m a PC’ ads. Again however, the ads seem poorly thought out and clumsy in their execution.
But I’m not going to go into detail, but one thing I’ve noticed is the reception that any advertising effort by Redmond seems to generate in the media. It seems that the press is resoundingly negative in their judgement.
Why is this? Surely something can be said of these adverts that would give Microsoft some hope? Even myself at my most impartial, could, if pushed, muster some sort of positive morsel.
It seems to me that the tables have been turned.
Back in the 80’s & 90’s, the main motivating factor, the thing, above all that would sway someone’s opinion on whether to choose an IBM PC or a Macintosh, was their friendly (or not so friendly) neighbourhood geek.
The spotty nerd at work, the weirdo that fixed the computers, the clumsy nobby-no-mates that bored you senseless with talk of RAM, memory, DOS & hard disks.
And his recommendation was (you guessed it), the DOS (and Windows) PC. He scoffed at the Mac, calling it a toy, lacking in software, no powerful and something that nobody used.
And his recommendation stuck. For years. And years. We’ve been at the brunt-end of that decision ever since. The entire IT industry is geared towards pushing us to Windows and the PC.
Fast forward to the last few years. After years of crashes, viruses, trojans, malware and ever cheap computers, that seem to last little more than 18 months, the consumer who relied of their geeky friends recommendation just doesn’t believe them anymore.
So who do they believe? Well who’s left?
Their not going to listen to a Mac user either, because we get lumped together with those geeky weirdoes.
The only thing left is the media. They are listening to the media, the ad-men, all those artists who use Macs in all the creative departments up and down the land, all those PR agencies and marketing people who use predominantly the Mac.
The Mac’s time has come – for years the IT geeks recommended the PC to anybody who would listen, well those days are gone. Now that the consumer’s ear is turning towards the media, we will recommend nothing but the Mac.
Poetic justice for all the years of misery they’ve put us all through.