Coffeehouse Thread

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Cash Cow - article by former MS employee

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  • User profile image
    jamie

    I began using Microsoft products 23 years ago, at age 11, and I worked for Microsoft from 1991 to 1999 as a technology manager. For many years, I was a Microsoft loyalist. While aware of Microsoft’s shortcomings, I always believed that the Soft did its best to improve products over time, as it did with Windows XP. But recently, I’ve had a crisis of faith. Perhaps I’ve rebooted Windows one too many times.

    Full article:
    http://www.seattleweekly.com/features/0422/040602_news_microsoft.php


    Laughable parts:

    "Andrews hasn’t upgraded his PC from Windows 98 or Office 2000. “I’d just as soon have a stable operating system—my time is more important.”


    "download OpenOffice from www.openoffice.org and give it a try. There’s no e-mail program, and it definitely lacks the sophisticated features of Office 2003, but it’s free."  
    ( checkout the boxes haha )

    OK - so he bought a mac - wippeedoo.. but he does raise some interesting points in the article - especially in regards to Google / Linux - and the "Hip" factor

  • User profile image
    orcmid

    I read the article and I thought it was pretty thoughtful.  (The blots are the result of either Unicode characters that we don't have in our fonts or someone mixing in some non-UTF8 material while editing part of the page.  It looks like smart-quote, soft-hyphen, and special-dash stuff but I haven't looked at the source.)

    I am still on Office 2000, and I have two Windows 98 machines here in the NuovoDoc SOHO.  That's right, I don't want the destabilizing experience, especially since I know I am going to do clean installs onto NTFS-formatted drives.  I have XP Pro and Office 2003 already, but haven't installed them.  I keep waiting for the right mood, phase of the moon, and a moment of reckless abandon to sweep me over the hurdle.  Also, my machines are OEM-qualified for Windows 98 alone, and I am not going to buy new hardware this week. (Our family car is now 15 years old, too.) 

     Meanwhile I have taxes to do and I won't be doing anything destabilizing while working on that (I am still on Money 2000 too, though 2003 is over on my shelf waiting to be installed when things quiet down.)

    Upgrading my systems and having the latest and greatest is not what my life is about.  I like Windows XP Pro where I have it installed, though there are days when I wonder whether the additional security and stability are offset by the need to become a system administrator and deal with settings and provisions that I only vaguely understand and occasionally mess up.  If I need an MCSE to run this thing dependably, it is going to turn into a Jaguar joke (before Jaguars became Fords and apparently ordinary folk now trust them more, based on what I see on the street).  That might be a good lesson, but the Mini Cooper "Let's Motor" success may be more instructive.

    The Macintosh experience that many people report is fascinating, both as a credit to Apple and also as a tribute to simplicity.  OSX only has to support essentially one proprietary hardware family, and that is not a luxury that Microsoft has.  I appreciate that.  I also appreciate that there are people for whom that doesn't address their desire for something that simply works for them and gets the job done.  It has nothing to do with open-source, in terms of appeal to the consumer, it has to do with the expectation of stability.  Watch what has people trade in their automobiles and switch manufacturers.  It may not be a lemon for you, with your metric tools and full set of service manuals.  Just keep in mind that's a niche experience.

  • User profile image
    Knute

    jamie wrote:

    Laughable parts:

    "Andrews hasn’t upgraded his PC from Windows 98 or Office 2000. “I’d just as soon have a stable operating system—my time is more important.”


    I can't tell you how many times I got the blue screen of death on my old 98 system. And there were times where the whole computer would just freeze, no blue screen and I had to shut the damn thing off to get it to work again, then of course it would cycle into safe mode.

    This has happened maybe once on my XP box. And it's the same HW that I had with 98. XP is much better and more stable.

    Talk about comedy...

    ~ Knute

  • User profile image
    eagle

    Maybe it was the Motherboard, you know who makes the OS but what about your Motherboard?

  • User profile image
    bjmarte

    The whole article seemed a little slanted to me.  I think this guy has an axe to grind.

  • User profile image
    Jaz

    i agree.  most of what he's said has been fixed in the future versions.

  • User profile image
    ern

    I thought Paul Thurrott had a good response to this article, too.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Interesting that you post this article. I actually read it late last night (saw the headline on the front page of Seattly Weekly on my way out of a local tavern. Obviously, it caught my attention.)

    He clearly left the company on somewhat bad terms because he probably didn't get his way with a project... Being that he was rich thanks to the company he now scorns, he had the freedom to move on and do some really good things for the community for which I applaud him.

    As to his specific complaints, I think he needs to figure out how to manage his Operating System. XP has never performed as poorly for me as he describes and I do a lot of harsh and memory intensive things on my machine (since I write and compile code on it and stress the cpu to the max...). Further, based on his descriptions, it sounds like he's installed free software that installed spyware on his system. I hate when that happens.  

    His portrayal of XP is unfair. His portrayal of Microsoft is inaccurate. Sure, we've written some mediocre software in the past, but XP is not in that category. It's our best and most reliable OS to date. Of course it's not perfect, but it's light years ahead of 95/98...

    At Microsoft, there are many of us who freely voice our concern when we spot a bad idea. This is not a ship full of Yes men and women. We fight for what we believe in and we fight hard. Sometimes bad decisions slip through the cracks because at the time they didn't really seem like bad decisions.

    This article is sensationalistic at best. As somebody who puts my heart and soul into what I do (including countless hours working on stuff that shipped in XP), I just have two words for the author and they are not "Happy Birthday".


    Charles 

  • User profile image
    Knute

    Hey charles do those two words kinda rhyme with "Boo Hoo" ? LOL

    ~ Knute

  • User profile image
    mrservices

    I disagree with the article. Outlook 2003 is more stable, has more usable features and caches with Exchange. Windows XP Pro is easy to use and stable. Software is often times blamed for hardware and driver failures. I am a Microsoft Business Solutions pro and Microsoft is top notch with their support and software. They fix bugs and security holes after testing making sure they work.
    Competition is good to keep innovation going and Microsoft is innovating.
    Roger

    Did I mention SBS 2003 Rocks! Shadow Copy is awesome, Exchange 2003, Remote Web Workplace. This is the easiest server I have ever worked with and is number#1 for small business!

  • User profile image
    bjmarte

    I love it, it only took a single post on slashdot before the word * came out.  That's priceless. The conversation only got more assinine from there.  http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/03/1225241

  • User profile image
    jsrfc58

    The article did have a few good points, but did seem slanted at other times.  It's funny, too, because I have 98SE on one PC at home and XP Home on another.  I don't think I have had XP crash once yet over the past few months, while the PC running 98SE has seized up countless times.  Granted, there are hardware differences between the two PC's, but I also use XP at work with many things running at once and it rarely crashes.  Unfortunately, the article reminded me of a comment in the book "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" about how Windows 2000 was either going to a) not ship, b) be a failure, or c) cause the company to pretty much implode.  When authors go out on a limb like that and try to predict a few years out how a software company's product will perform, it's pretty easy for them to miss the mark.  It did not help his credibility, either, when he made it sound like he had not even used XP yet.  One word seems apt: "disgruntled".

  • User profile image
    Gimped

    When I read this article, or any article like this for that matter, it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I hate getting into religious battles over software. Every software has bugs, every software business plan is different. But the thing about software is, there are a crapload of open standards and the future does not look like it will be held by 1 operating system. Seamless computing is Bill Gates dream, and I think it will happen. However, I don't think that seamless computing will be equivalent to homogenous computing. People will have iPod's and Media Center PCs and Linux file servers or some other combination that fits their needs. Predicting the doom of a company that has $56 Billion liquid and growing is both retarded and useless. Let's all work on building great software and let the cards fall where they may. We shouldn't be having pissing matches over the OS we use.

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