Monday, October 30, 2006

The OS is almost a commodity

I just got back from the pub, where we managed to drive one poor friend to pull out her Economist just to break up the computer-geek talk, but one of the points of discussion resonates well with Scott Grannemann's article "Surprises inside Microsoft Vista's EULA". Microsoft really is trying painfully hard to prove that it is the new 90's IBM. (You know... before IBM figured out Linux, Java, etc...)

My take on all this is that it proves that the Lawyers and Marketing folk run the show now. I can't see any other reason. The company can't make a profit by making better products, so it will squeeze every last ounce out of the customers it has, there-by making them even more likely to just ship. Even when it does have better products (MS Office vs Open Office, C# vs Java) it seems they are determined to dig their own graves.

The operating system is becoming a commodity. Look at Google, or at how anyone between the ages of 10 and 30 uses a computer. Microsoft needs to stop leaning on Windows and get back to competing! Look at iTunes. If Microsoft could ever build a decent mp3/audio app, they would then kill it by making it Windows specific. Part of the success of both MS Word and Excel depended on their Mac ports (at least from my experience). I know that the world runs Windows on their desktops, but they don't run Windows on their phone, or their iPod, or their Tivo. As I have said before, social computing is based on things like the iPod and YouTube. If Microsoft keeps limiting it's plays with Windows tie-downs (kinda-like tie-ins...) it will continue to fail. I pray that J Allard and co get this with the Zune.

Every day, Linux gets closer to being a viable daily OS for me (again... it has been years, but I lived by a Linux laptop 10 years ago, hard to believe). I've be writing this on an Apple laptop, except for my lack of trust of any V1 hardware platform. Windows no longer implies the tie-in that it once did.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Michael said...

I was briefly confused when I read your post. At first I thought it was Dare (back when he was cantankerous), who would have received a lot of flak for writing a post like this.

It's J, not Jay. The PC media software is primarily made by the same old WMP folks. At great effort I'll resist commenting on that.

You forgot to mention Flash, which is rapidly becoming the preferred format for distributing videos (and works practically everywhere, thanks to the ubiquity of the browser plugin and the portability of the MPEG2 codec).

I'm totally bummed that I wasn't invited along, but I was probably too busy playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance anyway. :-)

8:34 PM  
Blogger derek said...

I'm not sure how to take being confused with Dare... other than it making me laugh.

I really need to invest some time and leran more about Flash. It looks like the new Flex2 effort might finally be turning it into something easily useful for more than just games. Non-gaming uses have been possible for a while, but just not easy. If they really fix that, and get something usable for Web 2.0 type experiences on the phone, then it could be a killer platform.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Take it as it was meant, a compliment :-) Sometimes you two are totally on the same wavelength.

2:42 PM  

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