Microsoft Kabuki


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Thread: Microsoft Kabuki

  1. #1
    Robert Radina Guest

    Microsoft Kabuki


    Sounds as if Jim thinks everything coming out of Redmond deserves to win in
    the marketplace. Sure, Microsoft has stumbled despite its huge success but
    without the monopoly it enjoys, wouldn't things like Open/GL win out over
    DirectX? Isn't GLIDE better? What about the lowly Palm? It's winning but
    how long before Microsoft eventually gets CE and their pocket PC right and
    owns yet another market?

    I'm all for capitalism but in an industry where the BEST product rarely wins,
    your quote about the suit protecting "badly run software companies" just
    doesn't make sense.

    A company with a monopoly, lots of cash and powerful marketing will consistently
    run circles around any competitive products, regardless of whether they are
    better.

  2. #2
    Robert Scoble Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki

    > Sure, Microsoft has stumbled despite its huge success but
    > without the monopoly it enjoys, wouldn't things like Open/GL win out over
    > DirectX? Isn't GLIDE better? What about the lowly Palm? It's winning

    but
    > how long before Microsoft eventually gets CE and their pocket PC right and
    > owns yet another market?


    So, someone else's monopoly would win, right? So?

    > I'm all for capitalism but in an industry where the BEST product rarely

    wins,
    > your quote about the suit protecting "badly run software companies" just
    > doesn't make sense.


    Um, I really hate it when people say the best product rarely wins. The best
    product almost always wins, and this industry is no different. Are you
    saying that the Macintosh is better? That Linux is better? Give me a break.

    > A company with a monopoly, lots of cash and powerful marketing will

    consistently
    > run circles around any competitive products, regardless of whether they

    are
    > better.


    Really. Then why is my home (a small 980-square foot house in an average
    neighborhood in Silicon Valley) $400,000 today? It sure isn't because
    Microsoft has squashed all the competition. In fact, if Netscape wanted to
    hire 5000 programmers today to go head-to-head with Microsoft they couldn't
    find them. All these dot.com's are kicking Microsoft's ***. Oh, and if
    Netscape failed, how did it get to be sold for $10 billion? If that's
    getting your head kicked in by Mr. Gates and co. I want him to come and kick
    me in the head several times! Come on Mr. Gates, come on!

    Robert Scoble
    Just my opinions and they don't agree with anyone else's.

    ###



  3. #3
    Robert Radina Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki


    "Robert Scoble" <rscoble@fawcette.com> wrote:

    >So, someone else's monopoly would win, right? So?


    I think Linux and Open/GL can be used by anyone. Not completely sure about
    Open/GL being completely "no strings attached" but it is certainly supported
    on multiple platforms. Same can be said about Java. There's also HTTP,
    FTP, SMTP, TCP/IP...the list goes on. These standards belong to no single
    company. Hard to say that someone else's monopoly could win.

    >Um, I really hate it when people say the best product rarely wins. The best
    >product almost always wins, and this industry is no different. Are you
    >saying that the Macintosh is better? That Linux is better? Give me a break.


    Mac: I agree that the Mac is not better now, but it was miles ahead of Windows
    in the early days. Even when it was better, Windows still outsold it. Did
    I buy a Mac? No. I started with DOS and I resisted change. But is this
    an example of the "best" winning? No.

    Linux: This is a matter of opinion and considering strict, eas-of-use features,
    I don't think Linux is better. From a different perspective, though, when
    a band of free software developers can make a product that challenges Microsoft's
    billion dollar baby, I wouldn't call NT or W2K an example of the "best" almost
    always winning.

    Most pundits agree that Microsoft makes mediocre products and yet most of
    what Microsoft makes consistently outsells everyone else. Is this an example
    of the "best" winning?

    Wasn't Beta was better than VHS? (OK, now I'm asking for it...)

    I realize that quality isn't everything but it's a pretty good gauge of what
    the "best" really is. Unfortunately, if quality is poorly marketed, packaged
    or distributed, it will fail and the inferior product wins. I think this
    happens far more than anyone realizes.

    I actually think Windows CE is better than the Palm OS. Unfortunately, it's
    poorly packaged and it's losing. Is the "best" winning here?

    >Really. Then why is my home (a small 980-square foot house in an average
    >neighborhood in Silicon Valley) $400,000 today? It sure isn't because
    >Microsoft has squashed all the competition. In fact, if Netscape wanted

    to
    >hire 5000 programmers today to go head-to-head with Microsoft they couldn't
    >find them. All these dot.com's are kicking Microsoft's ***. Oh, and if
    >Netscape failed, how did it get to be sold for $10 billion? If that's
    >getting your head kicked in by Mr. Gates and co. I want him to come and

    kick
    >me in the head several times! Come on Mr. Gates, come on!
    >
    >Robert Scoble
    >Just my opinions and they don't agree with anyone else's.
    >

    Most think Microsoft is guilty but they don't want the company to be severly
    penalized. I thought exactly as you until I read the entire findings of
    fact. I just couldn't imagine it was all hypothesis and theory. Microsoft
    has plenty of lawyers and money to defend itself. For the DOJ to delivery
    such a one-sided victory is too overwhelming to dismis as Microsoft being
    a victim of circumstances.

    I knew Microsoft was bold way back in 1996 when they first offered to give
    their browser away. As a consumer, I was delighted. I thought it was silly
    to pay for Netscape and have never been a Netscape user even though Netscape
    was better until IE 4.

    I think Microsoft engaged in "dumping" to eliminate competition. I don't
    know what you think but I think IE was a much more expensive product for
    Microsoft to produce than it's wimpy Plus! package. Yet they didn't give
    Plus! away. You can bet that if Microsoft didn't think Netscape was a threat,
    they wouldn't have made IE free. Nobody would have paid for IE. If forced
    to pay for a browser, people would have bought the best -- and that was clearly
    Netscape.

    If any company besides Microsoft would have brought IE to market, they would
    have been out of business before they even started.

    In closing, if there are vast changes ahead due to a break-up of Microsoft,
    I welcome them. I've been through multiple operating system and development
    shifts and have always ejoyed above-average returns. Unfortunately, many
    folks dislike change and seek the stability that monopolies bring. It minimizes
    their personal risks. There's nothing particularly wrong with this but I
    don't feel that it leads to the "best" of anything.

  4. #4
    Robert Scoble Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki

    > >So, someone else's monopoly would win, right? So?
    > I think Linux and Open/GL can be used by anyone. Not completely sure

    about
    > Open/GL being completely "no strings attached" but it is certainly

    supported
    > on multiple platforms. Same can be said about Java. There's also HTTP,
    > FTP, SMTP, TCP/IP...the list goes on. These standards belong to no single
    > company. Hard to say that someone else's monopoly could win.


    Well, standards bodies can be monopolistic too. What if they had all the
    power and individual companies didn't have any? Think they'd start behaving
    differently? I do.

    > >Um, I really hate it when people say the best product rarely wins. The

    best
    > >product almost always wins, and this industry is no different. Are you
    > >saying that the Macintosh is better? That Linux is better? Give me a

    break.
    > Mac: I agree that the Mac is not better now, but it was miles ahead of

    Windows
    > in the early days. Even when it was better, Windows still outsold it.

    Did
    > I buy a Mac? No. I started with DOS and I resisted change. But is this
    > an example of the "best" winning? No.


    I was a Macintosh bigot back in those days. But it was not the better
    product. Why? Because it was proprietary and expensive and it didn't run
    lots of business apps. It was NOT a better product. Better UI, yes, but NOT
    a better product. In fact, the market always decides on the best product.
    Why did VHS win over Beta? Because consumers decided that watching porn and
    getting a two-hour tape length was more important than having a slightly
    sharper picture.

    > Linux: This is a matter of opinion and considering strict, eas-of-use

    features,
    > I don't think Linux is better. From a different perspective, though, when
    > a band of free software developers can make a product that challenges

    Microsoft's
    > billion dollar baby, I wouldn't call NT or W2K an example of the "best"

    almost
    > always winning.


    Well, the market will decide which the best product is. For some people
    it'll be Linux (Linux seems to have developers enthralled with it because
    they have access to the source code).

    > Most pundits agree that Microsoft makes mediocre products and yet most of
    > what Microsoft makes consistently outsells everyone else. Is this an

    example
    > of the "best" winning?


    Wait a second. I'm a pundit (even been on ZDTV) and I don't agree that
    Microsoft makes mediocre products. My OS and Office crash less than any
    other product out there.

    > Wasn't Beta was better than VHS? (OK, now I'm asking for it...)


    No it wasn't. It was +sharper+ but that doesn't make it a better product.
    Sony kept Beta from being supported by the porn industry and VHS could
    record a full movie where Beta needed two separate tapes due to shorter
    recording length.

    > I realize that quality isn't everything but it's a pretty good gauge of

    what
    > the "best" really is. Unfortunately, if quality is poorly marketed,

    packaged
    > or distributed, it will fail and the inferior product wins. I think this
    > happens far more than anyone realizes.


    Quality is a quantitative issue and is often not the most important
    datapoint in deciding whether a product is "best" or not. Consumer Reports
    rarely rates the "best quality" product the best. Ever see them rate a
    Ferrari as a "best buy?"

    > I actually think Windows CE is better than the Palm OS. Unfortunately,

    it's
    > poorly packaged and it's losing. Is the "best" winning here?


    Windows CE is losing because it's harder to use and because it tries to do
    too much. Now that Microsoft has figured that out you'll probably see the
    tide change. But, I still don't know why a salesperson needs to play color
    videos. Hmmm?

    > Most think Microsoft is guilty but they don't want the company to be

    severly
    > penalized. I thought exactly as you until I read the entire findings of
    > fact. I just couldn't imagine it was all hypothesis and theory.

    Microsoft
    > has plenty of lawyers and money to defend itself. For the DOJ to delivery
    > such a one-sided victory is too overwhelming to dismis as Microsoft being
    > a victim of circumstances.


    Microsoft put up a very stupid case. I could make a better one, but then
    Bill Gates didn't ask me what I thought.

    Of course, I was on record about a year ago saying I'd do two things:

    1) Break up Microsoft (before the DOJ got a chance to)
    2) Fire Microsoft's PR agency.

    Bill has done neither and is now paying the price.

    > I knew Microsoft was bold way back in 1996 when they first offered to give
    > their browser away. As a consumer, I was delighted. I thought it was

    silly
    > to pay for Netscape and have never been a Netscape user even though

    Netscape
    > was better until IE 4.


    I have used Netscape to this day and I've never paid for a copy. It sucks,
    by the way, and has for quite a while. Netscape 6 is a total joke. My
    anti-Microsoft friends are trying to justify it to me, but it's slow, buggy,
    and looks like c+++.

    > I think Microsoft engaged in "dumping" to eliminate competition.


    Let's be real. A browser is a rendering engine. If Microsoft had simply
    removed the **** icon the DOJ wouldn't have a case to stand on. Do you argue
    that Microsoft shouldn't have a rendering engine in its OS? Well, take a
    rendering engine out of the OS and you won't be able to see these words.

    Microsoft's lawyers totally missed the boat. They should have changed the
    argument. The OS needs an HTML rendering engine built into it. To have a
    browser outside the OS is stupid. Netscape was just lucky that they saw this
    fact three years before Microsoft did.

    > I don't
    > know what you think but I think IE was a much more expensive product for
    > Microsoft to produce than it's wimpy Plus! package.


    Cost to produce software doesn't matter. Why? Because the marginal cost of
    distribution is $0.

    > Yet they didn't give
    > Plus! away.


    They should have. No one I know bought a copy. And I got one for free and it
    caused my system to crash.

    > You can bet that if Microsoft didn't think Netscape was a threat,
    > they wouldn't have made IE free. Nobody would have paid for IE. If

    forced
    > to pay for a browser, people would have bought the best -- and that was

    clearly
    > Netscape.


    Not true. IE3 came out and I told all my friends that Netscape was dead. IE3
    was a lot easier to develop with and already had cool new features that
    Netscape didn't have. When IE4 came out all my friends saw what I meant.

    > If any company besides Microsoft would have brought IE to market, they

    would
    > have been out of business before they even started.


    I don't know. Opera is doing a darn nice job.

    > In closing, if there are vast changes ahead due to a break-up of

    Microsoft,
    > I welcome them.


    It depends how they would be broken up.

    ? I've been through multiple operating system and development
    > shifts and have always ejoyed above-average returns. Unfortunately, many
    > folks dislike change and seek the stability that monopolies bring. It

    minimizes
    > their personal risks. There's nothing particularly wrong with this but I
    > don't feel that it leads to the "best" of anything.


    Um, I don't look forward to learning another OS. I have eight years of my
    life invested in NT and five more years invested in the Macintosh. I'm not
    looking forward to learning Linux, but I just bought another machine to load
    it onto.

    Robert Scoble

    ###




  5. #5
    Eric Winn Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki


    Baloney, you're talking from your hip pocket.

    Try reading "Winners, Losers & Microsoft Competition and Antitrust in High
    Technology" by Stan J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis.

    The authors did a great deal of in depth research about such things as markets
    "locking in" inferior technologies and "network effects" creating monopolies.
    If you'll read it you'll find most of the comments like yours below are what
    we used to call "WOMs" in the military, or "Word of Mouths" meaning it was
    a story passed around so often everyone assumed it was true whether it was
    or wasn't. Their research about common WOMs along these lines is very enlightening.
    For example, do you accept that the DVORAK keyboard is superior to the QWERTY?
    You won't after reading this book.

    Eric

    As far as badly run companies, you might read Jamie Zawinski's take on Netscape,
    when he finally left.

    "Robert Radina" <rradina@oakwoodsys.com> wrote:
    >
    >Sounds as if Jim thinks everything coming out of Redmond deserves to win

    in
    >the marketplace. Sure, Microsoft has stumbled despite its huge success

    but
    >without the monopoly it enjoys, wouldn't things like Open/GL win out over
    >DirectX? Isn't GLIDE better? What about the lowly Palm? It's winning

    but
    >how long before Microsoft eventually gets CE and their pocket PC right and
    >owns yet another market?
    >
    >I'm all for capitalism but in an industry where the BEST product rarely

    wins,
    >your quote about the suit protecting "badly run software companies" just
    >doesn't make sense.
    >
    >A company with a monopoly, lots of cash and powerful marketing will consistently
    >run circles around any competitive products, regardless of whether they

    are
    >better.



  6. #6
    Jim Fawcette Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki


    "Robert Radina" <rradina@oakwoodsys.com> wrote:
    >>Sounds as if Jim thinks everything coming out of Redmond deserves to win

    in
    >the marketplace.
    >your quote about the suit protecting "badly run software companies" just
    >doesn't make sense.


    Mr. Radina,

    I certainly don't think everything out of Microsoft deserves to win.
    Having been around long enough to endure Word 1.0 (anyone remember the "alpha"
    and "transfer" commands?), and the original Access (not the database, the
    communications program) that would be a difficult positon to take.
    But much of Judge Jackson's position seems to be based on the failure
    of Netscape -- which was a miserably run company pushing an ugly piece of
    spaghetti code -- and the lack of competition for desktop OSs.
    MS didnt' write OS/2, nor did it peddle the 386 version of Sun Unix --
    LARGER MORE POWERFUL companies did. and they failed miserably.
    By main points are these a) the trial hasn't accomplished much of value
    and b) the legal participants seem to be caught up in their "rule of engagement"
    and forgotten that they are actually supposed to be helping consumers. I
    question whether they'd recognize anything that would help consumers.
    Thank you for your comment. / jim



  7. #7
    Jim Fawcette Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki


    There are two large categories of issues in the trial: bundling of functionality,
    and contract behavior. In the first, the DOJ is, in my opinion, misguided.
    In the second, they are correct, but unlikely to do anything of value.

    To me a browser is like a spell checker, a function, not a product, let alone
    a basis for a company.

    At one point, there were over 100 companies selling commercial spelling checkers.


    Then the function got bundled into word processors. Later word processors
    got bundled into office suites.

    As a result, you can now buy an entire office productivity suite for little
    more than a spelling checker alone cost, adjusting for inflation, 20 years
    ago. Sounds like a tremendous win for consumers, to me.

    The history of the PC industry has been one of products continually going
    "up the food chain" to higher levels of integration, constantly delivering
    greater value.

    The DOJ seems to want to grant an injunction against technical advance under
    the premise that this will encourage more competition, when in fact, they
    are trying to outlaw the result of competition.

    Now, when a contract effectively prevents a computer manufacturer from selling
    machines with other OS's, or controlling the UI of its own product, then
    something is fundamentally wrong.

    But, interestingly, most people posting messages on the case, don't seem
    to be concerned about that issue.

    // jim


  8. #8
    Jon Kale Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki


    >Sure, Microsoft has stumbled despite its huge success but
    >without the monopoly it enjoys, wouldn't things like Open/GL win out over
    >DirectX? Isn't GLIDE better?


    What are you smoking? GLIDE sucks rocks: does anyone in the real world (outside
    of the idiots at 3Ddfx) think 16 bit colour is acceptable in this day and
    age? And how many (non-Voodoo) chipsets does GLide support?

    DirectX has and will continue to stuff OpenGL because OpenGL is no more than
    a 3D graphics API: DirectX is a 2D and 3D graphics API, plus a sound and
    music API, plus an input device API, plus an animation API, plus a streaming
    media API. Even if we constrain the comparison to Direct3D and OpenGL, D3D
    wins out as far as the market's concerned because of the way it's architected
    and the way its extension model works (in a nutshell, Microsoft release a
    new version of DX with new features in but implemented in software, hardware
    manufacturers then decide which of those features they can sensibly implement
    in hardware, thus improving the performance of the API. OpenGL, OTOH, depends
    on extensions being made by the HW manufacturers which are then rolled back
    into the standard: if two companies come up with a similar feature with different
    implementations then one of them's SOL)

    >What about the lowly Palm? It's winning but
    >how long before Microsoft eventually gets CE and their pocket PC right and
    >owns yet another market?


    So we should weep for poor little 3Com? At the moment the Palm is the second-best
    handheld on the market (the best, by a country mile, is the Psion 5) and
    the CE devices come a *long* third. If, as a result of iterative improvements,
    Microsoft manage to make CE3 a better OS than EPOC, let alone PalmOS, I ain't
    complaining: it suggests that either 3Com or Symbian took their eyes off
    the ball (see also Gary Kildall, John Scully, Jean-Luc Gassee, Thomas Watson
    Jr and others to numerous to mention)

    >I'm all for capitalism but in an industry where the BEST product rarely

    wins,
    >your quote about the suit protecting "badly run software companies" just
    >doesn't make sense.


    Are you suggesting that a 80 copy of Windows is worse than a 1000 copy
    of Solaris, AIX or OSF Unix? If so, you should start comparing apples with
    apples? The efforts behind the BSDs and Linux originate largely from the
    fact that if you wanted to buy a Unix - for personal use - it would cost
    you several months salary. Furthermore, the browser market is in fact a very
    interesting counter-example to your claim because in a market which had no
    entrenched players and no legacy issues to get in the way, and in which both
    the major competitors' products were free to users (i.e. as close to a straight
    'this-is-better-than-that' choice), IE beat Navigator. And ignoring (for
    a moment) the anti-competitive issues, IE (fundamentally) beat Navigator
    because on the Wintel platform (which is what - 90% of the market), it was,
    by the respective version 3s, a vastly superior browser: compare the current
    versions (Communicator 4.7 and IE 5.1) or the next versions (Netscape 6 vs
    IE 5.5) and tell me the better product has lost.

    >A company with a monopoly, lots of cash and powerful marketing will consistently
    >run circles around any competitive products, regardless of whether they

    are
    >better.


    So? In the UK, we used to have monopoly electricity, gas and water providers.
    We had a monopoly railway provider. Now we don't and I ain't seen any benefits
    - I'm just poorer and later. A monopoly is a Bad Thing when it harms the
    interests of consumers: can anyone put their hand on their heart and say
    conclusively the world would have been a better (not just different :-) place
    if it wasn't for Microsoft?
    --
    Cheers

    Jon

  9. #9
    Robert Scoble Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki

    > To me a browser is like a spell checker, a function, not a product, let
    alone
    > a basis for a company.


    Heheh. I think it's even more common then that. It's a rendering engine. Can
    you imagine if the DOJ said to Microsoft "you can't include GDI functions in
    your operating system."

    I think Microsoft should just get rid of the IE icon on the desktop. That
    would effectively remove the browser from the argument and would force the
    DOJ to define which rendering functions Microsoft can and cannot include in
    the operating system.

    Personally I think that HTML (and other types of rendering) functions are
    dramatically important to put in the base OS and that having them in the
    base OS improves the functionality of the operating system for application
    developers.

    Imagine being a 3D programmer trying to build a game without having 3D
    rendering features built into the Operating System (we know these features
    as DirectX). Imagine how much more difficult it would be to build a video
    game if you had to include your own 3D rendering features.

    As a developer I want MORE rendering functionality included in the operating
    system, not less. This lets me build richer, more interesting applications
    for my customers whether they get to my app from a CDROM or an Internet
    link.

    It's a scary day when we allow the government to decide what rendering
    features are allowed in the operating system. After all, I'm sure there's
    some 3D company out there that's pissed that Microsoft includes 3D rendering
    features in the operating system.

    Finally, I don't see how consumers are harmed by new rendering technologies
    in the operating system.

    Get rid of the IE logo, I say. Keep the rendering features in the OS.

    Robert Scoble

    ###



  10. #10
    Steven Franklin Guest

    Re: Microsoft Kabuki


    ">Wasn't Beta was better than VHS? (OK, now I'm asking for it...)

    You are correct that is was a superior format. I just a hobby programmer
    but I'm an experienced video engineer so perhaps I can comment on this.
    Beta's technical superiority was most noted with Hi-Fi.

    To make Beta Hi-Fi Sony upshifted the video carrier a bit allowing room for
    the FM Hi-Fi carriers to mix in with the video. This required no extra heads
    on the drum assembly and was very easy to play back. Even with completely
    clogged video heads the low frequency of the Hi-Fi carriers could be picked
    up. Plus it was completely compatable with existing Beta machines.

    Contrast that with VHS Hi-Fi. It uses a depth-mutiplexing arrangment that
    is a complete kludge. An extra set of heads lays down a Hi-Fi track ahead
    of the video track, depth recording it all the way down to the mylar. Then
    the video heads lay down a video track on top of that. Result? Ever have
    trouble getting the Hi-Fi to track on your movie? The picture looks just
    fine but the Hi-Fi sound is noisy or keeps cutting out? This is the result
    of a bad design brought on by the VHS format limitations. And now we are
    stuck with it until all the Hollywood types quit arguing about the next digital
    format.

    So, the best technology doesn't always win.


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