Microsoft will Die, part 2

25 Oct

Last time I talked about why I think Microsoft is going to die and what I think they should do to save themselves. I got the response that I expected to get, disagreement, but that is ok because I like to argue.

Today I would like to talk about who could kill Microsoft and how they could do it. I want this to be from a neutral point of view from the part 1, meaning that I don’t care if it is likely for Microsoft to die I just want to talk about who could kill them if they really were going to die. What I mean by that is if Microsoft dies who is going to be the one to edge them out? Oh and this one isn’t a foss vs Microsoft thing like the last one.

Community driven linux distros are really good but they aren’t going to take on Microsoft anytime soon because they don’t have the organization, or resources. People want to get their software from a company that they can go to if they have problems. Sure they can go to a third party to get tech support but most people won’t want to mess with that because lets face it people are lazy and don’t care if the third party would be better or not.

I want to break this down to four(4) questions:
1. Who could defeat Microsoft In the home pc/workstation market?
2. How will they do it?
3. Who could defeat Microsoft in the Server market?
4. How will they do it?

There is a pretty big list of people that could compete with Microsoft for the Home pc/workstation market: Apple, Sun, Novel, Red Hat, and Canonical. I previously Talked about my feelings towards Solaris. So I think I can safely say that as long as sun doesn’t drastically change directions with solaris you will not find a Solaris box in every home until everyone becomes Masochistic computer geeks. However, Sun can not be counted out of the Workstation business because as long as there is an in house IT presence willing to work with Solaris it will have a place in the work environment. I could be completely wrong and Solaris is the best thing since sliced awesome. And yes I know I’m doing them out of order.

As you may know if you’ve ever read the blog, my main computer is a mac running Mac OS 10.4. I like Mac OS because it makes some things easy, easy generally means less options though. Oh, and I also know that using a Mac makes me a hypocrite, but that is a story for another time. The average user will have no problem using a Mac as long as they are willing to learn that it is just different from windows and not just wrong because it isn’t what they are used to. Apple is pretty self explanatory so I’m not going to go on any further about them, except to say that Apple isn’t that strong in the workstation area.

Novel is a lot like Sun except that their product is more user friendly. Novel seems to be going more for the workstation sales more than anything else, which makes sense. I personally don’t like Suse that much but that isn’t to say it isn’t a great piece of software. With Novel’s stupid patent agreement thing with Microsoft they may well end up being the go to guys for businesses that fall for Microsoft’s saber rattling. I assume that Novel also offers some kind of tech support for Suse so that will bring in people that don’t care about the patent deal as well.

The thing that makes these next two different form the previous three is that they are community driven, with backing from a corporation. RHEL isn’t Community driven but fedora is so actually Red Hat fits into both, kinda. For Workstations RHEL is the best option from Red Hat if you want them to support it, but in the Home PC market RHEL is not really worth it because you can’t buy just a single license, or at least I don’t think you can, so Fedora is your best option. Red Hat doesn’t sell tech support for Fedora as far as I know but if they wanted to market it to home users in an attempt to make money they probably would offer it. If your wondering how they could make money off fedora hang on just a little bit because I’m going to explain that in answering question two.

Canonical is probably the best choice of all of these for a non-technical home user. I haven’t used the newest version of Ubuntu (Gusty Gibbon) so I can’t comment of its usability but I can comment of older versions so I will. Historically Ubuntu has been more user friendly than other distros (this is actually very arguable) but I don’t think that if I gave me dad a copy of Ubuntu he would be able to use it very well. Maybe Ubuntu has become the most user friendly (idiot friendly) OS known to man since last I used it, but I doubt it. So anyway, Canonical is in the best position of all the companies that I have mentioned to take over in the home user market because they already have a presence with Dell. If dell offered pcs that were significantly cheaper due to Ubuntu in a way that made it just as easy for your average Joe to get them as it is to get a windows box from Dell I think a lot more people would go for the machines running Ubuntu.

2. How will they do it? If I were put in charge of one of these companies and asked to try and gain market in the Home the first thing I would do is to through it in a box and ask Walmart, Best Buy, Circuit City, and who ever else I could find to sell my stuff. I would sell it as cheaply as possible and since all of the Companies I mentioned are selling Free Software (excluding apple) as cheaply as possible means free. Of course, I would charge something for the box but I wouldn’t actually charge for the OS. So I would charge a few bucks to compensate the money I spent to make the physical box itself (paper, cd, ink, shipping) and I would charge a fee for tech support. As long as the price is lower than windows and you can make money off of tech support this should work. The major advantage this has over windows is that tech support is not included when you buy windows, If you want tech support from Microsoft it will cost you on a per call basis. Like I said before people like tech support, but they like “free” tech support better.

The next thing I would do is try to get an already established hardware vendor to sell my product. I’ve already discussed why I would do that so I’m not going to do it again.

3. The list of contenders in the server market is about the same as the home pc market. you have, Sun, IBM, Novel, Apple, Red Hat, and Canonical. Microsoft is not as strong in the server business as they are in the home/workstation business so it wouldn’t really take much to beat them. The only place where I can think of windows servers being dominant is file servers or windows domain for a businesses and organizations that don’t know better. Because I feel that a lot of this is obvious and this is starting to get long and I don’t want to split it into another post I’m only going to talk about the exceptional companies.

I would not use Ubuntu as a server for any purpose at all. Ubuntu isn’t designed to be a server it is designed to be human friendly which is a direct con tradition of what a server is. Ubuntu is designed for people that don’t know what they are doing and not for people that want to do it themselves or do it right. Now I’ve never used Ubuntu sever but if it is anything like the normal version what I have said is true. If you want a Linux server you need a Linux for geeks not for human beings.

4. How will they do it? simple Charge less. If Microsoft is charging a $10000 per year site license fee for a host to run Windows give them them your OS with hardware included for the same price in a one time deal. Or you could just show them your uptimes ;).

I did end up talking a lot about free software but that is just because there is very little non-free software out there that isn’t Unix. Unix is great but is it becoming less important as business move away from it towards Gnu/Linux. On top of that the one Unixen I did mention is free; the world seems to be moving towards free software so that is what I had to discuss.

If I forgot anything let me know.


Posted by on October 25, 2007 in Microsoft, opinion


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “Microsoft will Die, part 2

  1. Null

    November 25, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    There is always the possibility that another OS besides OSX or Linux may blow Microsoft away. It would require a lot of work, but given the number of hobbyist and infant operating systems being developed out there, OS development has clearly begun to extend very well beyond the Windows/OSX/Unix-like dominance triad. Syllable, SkyOS, MenuetOS, and others are all interesting projects that could easily learn from the mistakes of the “mature” operating systems, better exploit newer hardware, lose legacy and compatibility garbage that exponentially contributes to lousy/kludgey designs and system bloat, and merge in all the things that users actually want.

    What is it about modern OSes? Windows (before Vista) has the most consistent and easily used overall user experience that I’ve seen so far, where keyboard shortcuts are consistent across programs, stuff generally works the same way (right-clicking brings up a context menu in 95% of apps, for example), and installing software is as simple as double-clicking on a setup.exe file (Linux = spaghetti for the newbie, and what the HELL is up with Mac OS X “disk image” files?! HOW IS *THAT* “EASIER THAN WINDOWS?”), but Windows itself has far too many nit-picky problems, security holes, and glitches. Themes were “tacked on” in Windows, even Vista uses the same “tacked on” structure for themes, requiring that a “Themes” service be running to actually make use of them; they were an afterthought, and are poorly implemented. Sometimes in XP on some systems, hovering over the clock DOES NOT show you the date, and sometimes tooltips for things like tray icons come up *behind* the taskbar instead of in front of it like they’re supposed to. The filesystem drivers are so lousy in their allocation techniques that a Windows filesystem will fragment almost immediately (this is from experience, not a wild Windows-hating assumption, I can take an imaged filesystem, install a service pack on it, and immediately 80% of the OS is now fragmented!)…really, being a Windows user of 15+ years, I’ve got to say that the system locks together nicely, despite its quirks, but if Vista is what I’ll eventually be forced to use, I don’t think so, and the fact that I have to have special tools just to zero out a disk, create disk images, or use an ISO image as if it was a CD becomes more and more frustrating (it was fine ’till Linux spoiled me on that one!) Paying for software sucks pretty bad, too.

    Mac OS X…yeah, it’s uhhhh, “BSD” at the core, but then again it’s not quite BSD either. It’s not running X11 (not always a bad thing), and the X11 implementation apparently has plenty of issues, making the availability of *NIX-like OS software not quite as easily achieved as one would like. Why is software for Mac OS X distributed as a “disk image file?” It took me a while to figure out how to install Firefox on OS X, and while it’s kind of nice to not need to run a Setup program to install Firefox, dragging it out of a “disk image” doesn’t seem to make too much sense either. Why can’t Safari unpack the disk image into a folder or something? Oh, and let’s not forget that Mac OS X can, at times, perform awfully lousy. If I see that rainbow swirly plate for too long, I start to rip my hair out. I don’t use OS X much, but suffice it to say that I’ve seen (and heard) enough to know that OS X is just as annoying as Windows, but in a somewhat different way…and what else would you expect from a company that only very recently realized that a mouse should have with MORE THAN ONE BUTTON? How long was the big joke about “what Windows users can do that Mac users can’t?…Right-click!” applicable and funny to us Windows users?

    Linux, the bastard child of UNIX users and coffee-driven programmers everywhere. I switched to a 64-bit Linux distro because I finally had it with Windows, and while Linux can be extremely frustrating to set up and certainly isn’t ready for the n00bs out there who just want Solitaire, the power it (combined with the free software running on top) gives me is awesome in comparison to Windows. The mouse pointer sticks a bit more when the system is under extreme load, but everything seems to go faster. I’m copying three (!!!) DVDs from three external DVD drives to a USB external hard drive right now, and the effect on my system is perceived to be zero, while at the same time I’m seeding/downloading torrents AND running an eDonkey client, probably saturating my connection and pissing off my cable provider. Of course, despite its power, Linux and the software that constructs the system on top of it is a hellish mess that truly brings out the most examples I’ve ever seen in one place of Murphy’s Law in real-world practice. While the stability is wonderful and the capabilities are enormous, finding out that OpenOffice has somewhat lousy RTF support or discovering that you haven’t installed FUSE, ntfsprogs, and NTFS-3G yet when you need to do that 13-DVD copy for someone is not much of a thrill, and WINE still leaves VERY much to be desired. Linux also inherits a lot of UNIX design decisions that, honestly, suck. Things like major/minor numbers for devices and User/Group/Other permissions are still the norm, despite years of kernel support for things like POSIX Access Control Lists, now implemented on most of the major filesystems available in the Linux kernel. Konqueror doesn’t even offer me a tab to edit the ACLs on a file, despite the support being built in. And let’s not even get me STARTED on CUPS and Samba.

    BSD? It’s nice for some servers, but supports less stuff than Linux does, while still inheriting all of the things that make UNIX suck.

    What’s really needed is an OS that’s really, REALLY hard for anyone (that’s not an OS zealot at least) to say “sucks.”

  2. Justin

    November 26, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Wow, that is a long comment. I totally with you on installing software, I was just thinking about that the other day. I don’t think any of the big 3 OSes have a better setup when it comes to installing stuff, they all equally suck.

    I don’t know if I agree with you that Mac OS is just as bad as windows. It is annoying in some cases, but then so is Linux. I am, however, glad that Apple didn’t use X11 because X11 is really slow and big.

    Do you have a blog? You seem to want to stay anonymous, which is okay, but if you have a blog I would like to read it.


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