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Insert foot into mouth.

October 20, 2006

Lately all I’m hearing on the tech boards are ‘experts’ saying that Microsoft’s iPod killer, code name Zune, won’t be able to dislodge the iPod.  It has too much of a lead, people won’t want to switch, they’re screwing their partners, blah blah blah.  Thats fine and all.  I understand that they’re the equivalent of professional trolls who get paid to say provocative shit about whoever lands between their cross hairs. 

However, people have been knocking Microsoft for over three decades now.  Saying they don’t innovate, they’re thieves, they write buggy code, they can’t compete with the new shiny stuff coming out.  The first three might be true but they’re also true of just about everyone else in the industry as well.  The big difference is that MS can compete, they always have and they usually win.  The strange thing is that nobody seems to remember after the fact.  It just sort of happens.  Someone rules a tech market and everyone knows their name.  A few years later MS is on top of the hill and it’s like they were always there.

1.  Who are these Microsoft guys?  Why would I want anything other than my Apple II?

2.  Windows?  But Macs already have a GUI.

3.  Why would I switch away from WordPerfect?

4.  We use Novel to run our network.  It’s neat.

5.  Are they insane?  Everyone uses Netscape Navigator!

6.  But we already have QuickTime and Real Player!

7.  ICQ and IM are all I’ll ever need, they’ll never bloat up and sell out!

8.  Java is the ultimate RAD language, praise Sun!

9.  Pfft, games?  All they’ve ever done is lame flight simulators.

10.  No way, I love my PlayStation, I don’t need 2 consoles.

After crushing Apple into sauce, cornering the office productivity market, killing the network market with active directory and windows server, dominating the internet browser market, taking the number one spot amongst media players, pushing their way to the top of instant messaging, turning Sun’s masterpiece into a joke compared to .Net, grossing 80 million on a single game before release and absorbing two of the finest game studios on the planet, and crushing the undisputed and longtime favorite gaming console you’d think that people would learn to take Microsoft seriously.  

Those are just the big ones that I can think of off the top of my head.  More?  Ok, best IDE for programmers?  Yep, Visual Studio 2005.  SQL Server came into the game late and is only threatened by MySQL because it’s free.  Everyone flipped over Google Maps.  Compare them to Virtual Earth now, it isn’t even close.  Rural areas on Google maps look like someone threw up on the screen, on VE I can make out cars easily.  The birds eye views of New York City have to be seen to be believed and the road level beta of Seattle has you actually driving down the streets reading menus in restaurant windows.  Their speech recognition in Vista is going to bowl over Nuance.  Have you tried One Care and Defender yet?  Symantic and McAffee’s bloated days are numbered.  Even excellent products like AVG and NOD32 aren’t going to be able to compete with the perfect OS integration, tiny footprint, bonus offerings and almost trivial price tag. 

How long do you think Firefox is going to keep it’s following?  Fanboys are fickle creatures.  The security issues are starting to happen.  The memory hogging and leaks are starting to get less forgivable.  IE7 is coming and it has tabs.  More? Ok, Office 2007 is going to blow everyone away, the people in the Beta are ready to pay now.  Not that Thunderbird ever caught on but the new Outlook is going to ensure it never will.  Google did a desktop search that started strong now nobody wants anything to do with it.  Windows Desktop Search on the other hand is catching like a cold in a kindergarden.  I’m only surprised they haven’t done a bit torrent client yet.  It hasn’t gotten much press of late but they’re doing a Photoshop killer too.  But Adobe is so well established they don’t need to worry, do they?  It looked pretty cool though.  Search engines?  Online offerings?  Live.com is pushing ahead slowly but with the determination of a glacier and anyone who thinks that it isn’t a threat should be treated with caution.

Finally, OSX.  Some people switched and the iPods gave Apple a boost it hasn’t seen since Bill gave them a few million to keep them from sinking in the 90’s.  Vista has been in development for years now.  Rant and rave about delays, tell the same old jokes, use dollar signs instead of s’s following m’s.  Say whatever you like but I’ve heard people say they couldn’t do it before.  The beta testers are impressed and beta testers have seen everything.  Many are using it as their primary OS and they’ve spent years getting their old OS just how they like them.  If they were rushing it to market buggy it would be one thing but they’re taking extra care this time.  This should not make Apple stockholders feel warm and fuzzy.

Microsoft doesn’t mind giving the competition a head start in much the same way as a certain fish with a fin and a charming grin full of razor sharp teeth.  Would you trust someone who tells the swimmers not to worry about the sharks?  Oh yeah, don’t worry, they haven’t eaten anyone in more than a week.

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