I can vouch for Microsoft not being connected to the real world. Sometime it might be interesting to review the public face Microsoft puts on its web site and decide whether it clearly and succinctly describes, in non-technical terms, the features and benefits of every product. Microsoft's public face is that of the ignorant flack (Public Relations Specialist) -- one who is adept at putting an acceptably competent, conservative and sober corporate face on a jumble of saleable stuff that does exactly we-don't-know-what for whom and under what circumstances nobody seems to know. I've been asked several times what good SharePoint server is and have been unable to give a good answer. I think I know (I'm not sure) that it is software that centralizes access to a bunch of disparate shared folders in a vast corporate universe. It solves the problem of keeping track of what is available and advertising its availability. However, does Microsoft explain it in such terms? Nope. SharePoint (the name), like so many nouns nowadays in the commerce of computing technology, is self-defining -- the meaning is well-known to everbody who ever touches the code, writes technical articles or writes what passes for documentation. Microsoft ends up believing, wrongly it turns out, that the entire world has got SharePoint (or any of 100s of other saleable entities) fully scoped out. If I go to my boss and tell her we should buy such-and-such a Microsoft product, what am I going to do? Point her at any of the 100s of fluff pieces whose subtext is "trust us" and whose core message is "pig in a poke" and "good for what?" I think not. But, it's such a sunshiney day. Good for a long swim in the crystal blue pool.
Windows! Having spent weeks trying to hook up an Epson 3-in-1 printer/fax/copier to a Linux box has put me off FREEWARE and CHEAPWARE forever. I don't denigrate the socialist/eutopia/idealistic bent of the Linux adherents. They have their axe to grind -- and grind they must. Being beholden to a single megacorp has its downside. Probably a second and third competitors to Microsoft would be an advantage to buyers in the marketplace. However, like the telephone and electric companies, Microsoft make products that turn Microsoft into a natural monopoly. Lots of software Microsoft has created could have been designed differently. Opinions will always differ. However, in the end, it only matters that it has been implemented one way -- the de facto standard way -- and people adapt to that. If it breaks and costs serious money to business people then Microsoft steps in to correct the problem. With Linux, YOU are left holding the bag. This is not a huge problem for small shops that can hire and retain a Linux guru for whom awk and grep are mother's milk. The megacorp customers of Microsoft need Microsoft's loving arms in case bad things happen. Apple produces fine products that everybody tells me is comprehensible to casual users. If that is true then Microsoft can and should take lessons from Apple and make their products easier to use, more forgiving, and more informative when things go wrong. Linux is good in the small -- e.g. the company that only needs to host a small volume web site or ftp site. Microsoft is good in the large.
Okay. Some some "entrepreneur" decides to plaster my computer with advertising that his clients pay to put on the Internet. Since when is the Internet supposed to be an advertising medium -- especially a PUSH advertising medium -- where the user is exposed to advertising without asking for it? If the entrepreneur's business model depends on an exploit of weaknesses in Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft decides to fortify Windows to eliminate the weaknesses, how is the entrepreneur going to counter Microsoft's action? In the courts? I think not. The entrepreneur has been able to sell advertising because of the weaknesses. But there is no guarantee those weaknesses will persist. They are not operating system features. They are inadvertencies and oversights. Should the entrepreneur's business model break down because Microsoft fixes their software, then he can seek to make money some other way. He didn't contract with Microsoft, as far as I know, to open the world's computers to him for fun and profit. As for selling software with "ad support," go another route to sell it -- eBay for example. Furthermore, this Adware/Spyware crap is software from an unknown source performing undefined actions on my computer for the benefit of another. The individual responsible for this unconscionable behavior should be sued for stealing resources from my property without my written permission, whoever and wherever they may be.