back to article A decade to forget - how Microsoft lost its mojo

It was a confident - some might say complacent - Microsoft that entered the decade. Microsoft was the PC. Such was its grip on the desktop and laptop ecosystem that it could force OEMs to ship its browser by threatening to cut off access to its operating system. In quick succession between 2000 and 2001, Microsoft shipped …


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  1. jake Silver badge


    Microsoft has burned it's bridges.

    As of January 1, 2010, I will no longer be accepting contracts to work on Microsoft's products ... and I'm going to explain, in excruciating detail, exactly why to anyone who will listen. Including my current customer base which uses MS products.

    1. Chris Miller

      What a wiener

      "I will no longer be accepting contracts to work on Microsoft's products": newsflash - contractor throws toys out of pram and brings down Microsoft.

      "I'm going to explain ... to anyone who will listen": talking to a mirror, then.

      "my current customer base which uses MS products": good luck with finding *anyone* that employs contractors and doesn't have any Microsoft products.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. MS Rocks

      @ Jake

      Oh no! Really - you will stop accepting contracts? That will certainly spell the end of MS, their stock price will plummet as soon as the NASDAQ opens.

      And I sure your customers will not be feigning anything when they appear to be interested as you go through 'in excruciating detail' why you will not be working on MS projects.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Be unemployable then

      It's your choice and a free world. MS is the dominant OS and tools provider. We're still waiting for Linux to sort itself out and become usable by the masses. Like it or hate it, you still need to use MS.

      (re-posted due to spelling)

      1. Daniel B.
        Thumb Up

        Pretty much employable!

        I've been able to boast that I actively refuse jobs that have even a whiff of MS technology in the horizon, and still land good jobs. In fact, knowing UNIX, Linux and Java seems to land me *better paid jobs*, mostly because VB brainless coding monkeys swarm the market, so VB programmers are seen as trash, while Java devs have better reputations.

        The only people who claim that MS "owns" the IT market are those who aren't in IT. UNIX still leads the server market, and most of the big orgs use either UNIX or mainframey stuff like Tandem NonStop or the IBM fridges. :)

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge


          I actually have to agree with Daniel here.

          Though, unlike Jake, I don't work on MS because I hate the products, and not because I'm having some sort of strop!

    5. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      Tail wagging dog

      I love a service provider who listens to it's customers rather than it's own personal opinions.

    6. Hugh_Pym


      I love it when someone puts their life balance ahead of their bank balance. He may not make as much money as he could by taking 'MS is computers' suckers for a ride but instead he may actually enjoy what he does for a living and feel pride in what he has created.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Hear Hear

        I have much the same approach, and now work on Large Power systems and PLCs instead of knocking my brains to bits re-learning the same product every 18 months

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Robert E A Harvey


          All you nitwits up there, please note that I said I was refusing any contract dealing with MS products. Nowhere did I even hint that I would refuse contracts from companies that used MS products. There are still a lot of MVS, OS/390 and z/OS systems out there, for example, and that's just from IBM! Throw in various other higher-end gear (Sun, HP, et ali), and I have no end of work when I want it[1] ... and I get a higher rate working on them, and with fewer "WTF????!!?!?!! ::tears out hair::" moments than working on MS gear.

          Someone, somewhere, asked "how" ... Well, combined with the above, I generally run (and suggest) a cut-down, customized Slackware system for desktop use, with a kernel compiled for the hardware in question. Think that's not doable? Think again ... As long as you plan ahead, purchase the hardware that will run the software you want to use *AND* you understand the needs of the targeted user.

          For example, on this particular laptop I installed Slackware once, when 12.0 came out in July, 2007. Instead of my usual custom, "lean and mean" installation, I chose to install the whole thing, including all the source packages, just out of curiosity. I've used slackpkg and cron to keep it synced to -stable ever since (cron emails me when updates are available ... I'm not daft enough to auto-update!). Result: I'm now running Slack 13.0, all the hardware works, it's been rock-solid, and I spend close to zero time maintaining it.

          [1] And I may not want it ... Looks like the various Ranch businesses (except the Tack Store) are all going to be in the black for the first time since we bought the place. Profit from growing grapes and making wine! Whodathunkit?

    7. Bob Gateaux

      oh dears

      Good luck with the job centre plus people - but I am fearing they use the Microsoft too so you may not be able to sign on.

  2. Goat Jam

    MS Decade of Fail

    "If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine"

    Not bloody likely.

    Oh, and as far as Silverlight being a "winner", I'd be interested to see what definition of "winner" is currently in vogue over there at Vulture Central . . .

    And another thing, seeing that it's Christmas and all, do you think it might be possible to give your commentards a chrissy present? I would like an Evil Steve Ballmer icon please. Don't worry about the Angel Steve, i'll never use it.

    Fail, because it is much more succinct than the original article and says the same thing.


  3. Big-nosed Pengie
    Gates Horns

    It'll be interesting...

    to see what happens at the end of the decade in a year's time. It's always dangerous to make predictions a year early.

    "If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine - and if it no longer lobs grenades on intellectual property and patents that poison the atmosphere - then it could harness open-sourcers on Windows and Azure."

    ROTFL. "Release the flying pigs!"

    1. Gulfie

      Erm... but this IS the end of the decade...

      Remember celebrating the end of the last decade? at the end of 1999? On December 31st 1999? Thousands of people on the streets of London and all the other major cities of the world? Did anybody turn around and say "hang on guys, you're all a year early"? Nope. January 1st 2010 is the first day of the next decade. Muppet.


      1. Anonymous Coward

        Err... was there a zero 0, or did they start from year 1? And yes, A LOT of people did point out that Dec 31st 2000 was the actual end of the 20th century; but the smart people just said "Hey, two parties!"

        Who's the muppet now?

        1. Daniel B.

          Fixing the 0-unaware cultures

          I follow the ISO standard:

          I think astronomers and scientists don't like timescales jumping numbers. Thus, Christ was born on Dec. 25, 0000 and centuries begin on 00's, not 01's. Anyway, decades are referred as the 70's, 80's, 90's ... which implies that the decades themselves go 70-79, 80-89 ... I'd doubt the mathematical abilities of anyone claiming that 1990 is part of "the eighties", century-beginning-offsetting notwithstanding.

          1. h 6


            Look at a photo from 1990, and indeed it looks like the 80s.

        2. Mike Flugennock

          Hell, yeah, there was a Year Zero...

          ...and you wouldn't have believed the frickin' _panic_.

          But, seriously, folks... while I'm sure it's technically correct that the century began on 01.01.01, and that the next decade begins on 01.01.11, I think part of the reason folks like to mark it on the year ending in zero is that we all seem to really like nice round numbers (no pun intended)... kind of like watching the odometer on your car turn over at 100,000 miles -- which was especially cool if you drove a car which was quite old, and only had a five-digit odometer, so when you hit 100,000 miles, it'd roll over to zero.

          (d'ohhh, c'mon, you guys; _somebody_ else here has to be old enough to have driven their car 100,000 miles/km)

        3. Vitani

          I presume you mean "so was there a *year* 0"

          Anyone can be a muppet, and a decade can be any ten years be that 2000-2010, 2001-2011, or even 1784-1794!

          1. Frumious Bandersnatch

            I presume you mean ...

            "a decade can be any ten years be that 2000-2009, 2001-2010, or even 1784-1793!", obiwan?

    2. Neil C Smith

      New decade?

      My years are like my arrays - I start counting at 0!

    3. Al Jones

      When did the 90's start?

      Was Jan1st 1990 the first day of the Ninetie's? Or was Dec 31st 1990 the last day of the Eighties?

    4. Raymond Cranfill


      2009 IS the end of the decade, which began in 2000. If you count each year using one finger on each hand, you'll see there are ten years. (:

  4. Alan Brown Silver badge

    windows mobiles

    "functional but boring" ???!?!?

    After about 25 minutes with one I (literally) threw it at the head of the toerag who'd tried to unload it on me as a work phone and went back to my old Nokia 3100.

    I prefer a phone where the UI doesn't get in the way of what I want to do.

  5. IT specialist

    Microsoft will soon lose its browser

    Microsoft didn't so much lose its mojo. It lost its mobile.

    Now that Microsoft's Windows Mobile has been completely knocked out of the mobile handset scene, we'll see cascading effects crashing through Redmond.

    For example, soon there'll be more people accessing the internet from mobile devices, rather than desktop/laptop PCs. The Internet Explorer web browser only exists on its failed Windows Mobile platform, which is now out of the game.

    That means the future of web browsing is Webkit (eg Safari, Chrome, and many other browsers are based on Webkit).

    The other thing worth mentioning is that Microsoft played hardball in the industry. It played nasty. As mentioned in the article, it threatened OEMs with withdrawal of their Windows license unless they played the One Microsoft Way.

    People haven't forgotten. PC companies, now becoming phone handset makers, are rushing straight to Android. They remember Microsoft's past behaviour, and don't want this repeated in the mobile scene.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Oi, oi, oi

      "That means the future of web browsing is Webkit (eg Safari, Chrome, and many other browsers are based on Webkit)."

      And Gecko? It's not like it has no market share.

  6. Adam White

    Why Search?

    What the hell have web ads got to do with Microsoft? I'm sure they make a lot of money but so does washing detergent and oil refining. I don't understand why Microsoft thinks it can or should own this market.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    and there is your answer...

    "and made a radical departure by moving into hardware to take on games-market leader Sony with the Xbox."

    They spread out and spend an entire decade making poor quality hardware and ignoring what they used to be good at.

  8. Mage Silver badge

    Windows 7

    Yes it's better than Vista, by Km.

    But Bask? I don't think so. It offers nothing extra to XP users and many disadvantages. Linux is better supported than ever too, with even alternatives to the dreadful Windows Monopoly of Sage for Accounting.

    1997 or so will be seen as the high point. Microsoft will slowly decline over the next ten years. Since 1990s they have in reality only released/updated three OS, and over the last 10 years made them worse. At least DOS/Win3.x-9x hybrid junk is gone so we are down to two. Both of which started off as much better designs than the bloatware they are now (NT3.1 -> NT6.2, WinCE ->WinMo6.5)

    1. Raymond Cranfill

      I completely agree

      Here, here! I completely agree. MS has screwed itself. It sewed the wind so now it gets to reap the whirlwind. It has a great operating system with NT 3.51. It totally f**ked it up when it bolted on all the win95 crap. The only hope that I can see is for MS to take a public domain version of Linux or Unix and then build a proprietary user interface around it, with everything designed from the bottom up with net connectivity and safety as paramount concerns. It could then run XP or 7 or Server 2008 in a hidden virtual machine, much as Apple did with OS 9 on OS X, or PPC code under Intel using Rosetta. MS could then give its developers 5 years to make the transition and then jettison all that Spaghetti Code that makes it so hard for them now. I say they could do this. The question is whether they are nimble enough and far sighted enough to actually do it. Only time will tell. If Apple can come back from the brink in such a big way in only ten years, surely MS can.

  9. N2

    lost its way

    As it see it, they have to have a finger in every pie to achieve market dominance

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, they could & should do better, particularly with their leader Steve Ballmer.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    " king of the tech universe."????

    I went through that entire period of time not caring about and seldom using anything microsoft.

  11. JC 2

    MS was an era, that's all.

    That era was the evolution of PCs to do the most common things people do, stably and without excessive mundane burdens. Now with each successive Windows or Office version, there's less and less value added while 'nix and other open source apps continue to get ever closer to meeting the needs of the majority of PC users.

    The minority will be quick to point out some feature the rest of the users "should" need to feel is important in their opinion, showing how far they have lost the bigger picture that when an OS is thrust upon world + dog, it has to be flexible enough to scale down, not everything-and-the-kitchen-sink, and remain static for those who opt to keep what worked for them the way it is/was.

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Red Rag to Redmond Bull? ...... A Challenge to Rise to, or Flaccidly Fail to Satisfy?

    "The Xbox looks like continuing to challenge Sony, which has acted with a curious inertia to Microsoft throughout The Noughties."

    A challenge which Microsoft [the West] will lose easily to Sony [the East] if they don't capture the Virtual Reality Play Market with a Killer Network InterNetworking Program ..... and to compete in that Field of Excellence one needs to Master the Robot IQ, which is High Zen Territory and an Eastern Passion.

    It is maybe probably definitely much wiser and more truthful to consider, that rather than there having been any curious Eastern inertia in the Field of Dreams and Great Game Play, there has been a Solid and Steady and Stealthy Overwhelming Embedding Machine Coding Advance into Western Command Systems of SCADA Origin.

    Bravo, Sony San. To ITs Victor, Future Spoils with Enlighteningly Powerful Media ProgramMING/Magic Mojo SOAPs ...... ........ with AI Turing Components for Colossal Projects ........ Out of this World Missions?

  13. Mark Monaghan
    Gates Horns

    Never say never again

    People that write off Microsoft are overlooking the company's great talent for reinventing itself. Remember it is essentially a marketing / legal operation with an IT division tacked on.

    As for IE (and I'm no fan of the wretched thing) anything that still has "only" 63.5% of the market is likely to be around for some time.

    As someone once said "Do not underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers".


    @Big-nosed Pengie: 01-01-2000 to 31-12-2009 is ten years or one decade. It's just not the FIRST decade of the 21st century.


  14. Dibbles
    Gates Halo

    Competition keeping it honest

    Maybe this is just being relentlessly upbeat, but the emergence of Firefox has arguably made IE8 a better product than it might otherwise have been. With genuine competition in the market, MS has to compete on product functionality and usability, rather than forcing its products on people due to sheer market dominance. So while we may not see it return to 90% market share, from the point of view of quality of output, it could be argued that greater competition is a good thing.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Don't judge to quickly

    Microsoft still has an impressive range of products like Office, Visual Studio, SQL Server and the Windows Operating system.

    These systems are at the tools that dozens of millions of office workers in large, medium and small businesses use every day to get their job done. Actually, to get the world economy moving every single day !

    Linux is much too fiddly to be of real use on business desktops and Apple is just too pricey. Windows machines are just economical and all works out of the box.

    I think the major challenge for microsoft will be one of human resources - they must find young and gifted talent for their senior management team if they want to compete with "Vaccum Cleaner" Google and its young team. But not all is great with Google either - many of their "free" tools and services are simpleton knockoffs of execellent MS tools like Office and Visual Studio.

    Let's wait and see the next round of this game.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    5 Years micro$haft free

    and still counting - i have *nix on the desktop and *nix on the servers and have never looked back.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @jake, and re mobile browsing

    "soon there'll be more people accessing the internet from mobile devices"

    I've been saying this for a while, especially to people with ridiculous websites that are totally mobile-unfriendly. Two currently particularly relevant examples while we're snowed under: and

    Typical of their breed, they are far too flashy, far too data-intensive, and all but useless on a small screen. Yet who would be their most important class of user: someone who is, or soon will be, out and about, and/or on the open road. Someone whose internet access is probably via phone, and probably via GPRS not 3G. Sorry MetOffice, your recent website "upgrade" made your weather maps on a mobile phone even worse than they were before. How hard can this be?

    The map on TrafficEngland is just utterly ridiculous, verging on the unusable even on a desktop.

    What kind of idiots are using taxpayers money to pay for this kind of rubbish?

    But they are far from the only ones, and maybe not even the worst.

    Please, can we have nice simple webpages with nice simple content up front. If you want Flash and silly scripts and such, fine, but hide it behind the front page, make it optional, don't waste the punters time, screenspace, and bandwidth. What works well and doesn't irritate users on a mobile will probably also work well and not irritate users on real screens. (El Reg sHell adverts, are you listening?)

    @jake: "I will no longer be accepting contracts to work on Microsoft's products ... and I'm going to explain, in excruciating detail, exactly why to anyone who will listen."

    Care to share it, either in full or just the highlights? Here or on your LinkedIn page... If you twitter/facebook/etc about it, do you think you could do a RATM v Cowell? That'd be fun.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @AC 11:32

      First of all, I don't waste time on !GooMyFaceYouTwit and the like. Computers and networks exist to complement my RealLife[tm], not replace it. The last computer game I played was Wumpus, probably over 30 years ago.

      Second, I carry a basic phone (Nokia 5185), because I have a real computer, a real electronic camera, real music, and etc. everywhere appropriate. All I want my phone to do is make and receive phone calls, which the 5185 does far better than any more modern phone stuffed to the gills with gee-gaws.

      Basically, here at here at home we've been pretty much Windows free for around ten years. The router in my machine room runs a stripped down BSD, the one on the barn's DSL line is a Linksys WRT54G running Tomato. Most of the servers are BSD or Slackware, with a smattering of more esoteric gear (small cluster of vaxen, a relay rack full of Sun pizza boxen, etc.). My one remaining Win2K box is going to get archived and reformatted with Slackware on the tenth anniversary of me first installing Win2K on it[1]. My wife has stopped using WinXP, and always boots into Slackware, so I'll archive that partition and reclaim the space for something else. Mom and my Great Aunt are happy with their custom versions of Slackware, so that's not an issue. The "Windows only" machine in the barn died, and the kids boot the dual-boot boxen into Slackware. The Macs are Macs.

      As for my contracts, I'm just refusing to take on anything MS related. I get plenty of work fixing other stuff ... in fact, I'm already turning down computer work in favo(u)r of making the Ranch's various businesses more profitable. We actually bought this place with the intention of getting me out of computers and networking entirely[2], and we're nearly there ... Over a third of a century in any one business is enough!

      [1] 10 years, no Blue Screens, no Malware, no re-installs, no problems. I didn't say I didn't know HOW to make Windows systems sing, but rather that I don't really enjoy it. Note that that machine was airgapped for most of it's life.

      [2] I'm retiring to a life of sun-up to sun-down manual labor, 7 days a week. I can't wait! :-)

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    But only MS can give HW mfgs what they desire

    An ever bloating OS which continues to sink resources almost as fast as they can make upgrades.

    MS has *no* friends in the software business, merely companies it has not or cannot destroy.

    Wheather or not MS can continue to convince customers that Windows is vital to *them* is another matter.

    Thumbs up for the article. As long as the competition *stays* diverse and follow standards which MS cannot or rather will not (embarce, extend extinguish anyone) follow there will not be the one overwhelming player to beat in the market which MS *really* needs to beat. Only Google in the search market is like that.

    By 2019

    Google buys MS?

    IBM buys MS?

    Happy new decade

    1. h 6
      Jobs Halo


      Apple buys MS?

  19. Pete 2 Silver badge

    normal business cycles

    This happens to every business. They go from being an innovator, to being mainstream and then into decline as someone new comes into the picture and eats their lunch. We've seen this with IBM, with car producers and all the other big-name businesses that have been lost or taken over.

    We can see that they are in the decline phase: they missed the boat with the internet AND with mobile tech. While they more-or-less played catch up with the net, all they can ever do with Windows mobile is be a "me too" player. As for Bing, well:.... 10 years too late.

    From my perspective, the demise of MS is irrelevant (I'm still happy with my virtualised XP instance). I just want to spot the next big thing.

  20. Prag Fest
    Gates Horns

    Not looking good for MS

    I'm still amazed at how hard Win Mobile sucks. The iPhone showed them how to do it, years ago, yet with all their resources they cant even get a half decent copy together. The iPhone is flying off the shelves, Android is looking pretty damn good (Ballmer laughed that one off too I believe) and they are talking about having something vaguely useable by the end of 2010. Shocking.

    Oh yeah, and MSN, Live, Bing whatever it's called this month. Flaky, limited in features, inconsistent look and feel across the services, utter pile of sh1t. They need to bin Ballmer quick time and get someone in who 'gets it'.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually, this really seems a US problem

    I've talked to plenty MS staff abroad in various countries, and there's a fair amount of good people amongst them who have increasing problems with the US attitude which is, quite simply put, losing them sales hand over fist.

    In some cases they have a better story to tell, but because US management is STILL very much going "the American way" (screw everyone where we can possibly get away with it) it won't get heard. It appears US management is really failing in its duties to its shareholders - they nuked the long term prospects, and it'll take nothing short of a minor miracle to halt this.

  22. gerryg

    @IT specialist

    It seems worth noting that Webkit was born out of KHTML.

    The KDE project is worth a mention, I think.

    1. h 6


      And was made by Apple.

  23. Geoff Mackenzie

    Winning the trust of open sourcers

    Speaking for myself, I'll trust MS when they GPL Windows.

    I won't necessarily use it, but I'll believe they're sincere about open source.

  24. Jim 59


    So long as all PC manufacturers continue to integrate Windows at the factory, MS dominance is assured. Every PC comes with with a forced-purchase of Windows, which leverages and mandates the use other MS products in the home, office, back office and even the data centre. It doesn't really matter about software quality or what competitors do.

    1. Quirkafleeg

      Re: leverage

      That's one reason why I buy components. No WIndows tax.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Circling the plughole

    the end is neigh...but oddly its a spontaenious self combusation..

    MS destroys PC gaming by introducing a console and preventing PC game release. without games the homeuser buys a mac.

    MS destroys remaining customers faith by selling Shite at £150 disk then offering a nice shiny new fix at £150 a disk.

    Way to go! and I thought they'd need a push. I don't even need to bother.

  26. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    All it would

    take to bring m$ crashing down to earth would be for games producers to not use any directx stuff and stick with opengl or other standard

    Thus you would not have a reason to buy a PC with windows on for the kids since the games would play the same..

    Would it hold onto its business share?

    Well for one thing, all the senior IT managers would be looking at their non-m$ home pc and thinking "Exactly why do we pay m$ an extra $100 per machine when we could get an alternative"

    But just maybe, it will shake up m$ enough so that we get a decent non-bloated OS that does'nt have 15000 security holes in it and runs faster that windows 95

  27. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    Lost Mojo???

    I am sure a lot of companies would kill to be in a "bad position" like MS is today.

    Still easily dominant OS and plenty of software sales.

    People might be whining about WM, but WM/CE is very successful in the industrial world. Plenty of embedded devices, scanners and machines use it every day.

  28. David Haworth 1

    Azure? Not a cloud in sight...

    "Azure" is the colour often associated with a cloudless sky. Strange that MS should decide to use it to describe their "cloud-computing" offering.

    Or is it another round from the MS-Footgun (TM)?

  29. bobkt

    MS &

    I don't believe Microsoft are a spent force but they have ceased to innovate, not that they did much of it in the first place and will just fade into the background furniture like IBM has done. i.e. They will continue to make money and their shares will be happily traded but no-one interested in the next big thing, innovation or interesting products will give a toss and rightly so.

    (Trolls are oid hat too)

  30. John Sanders

    I think

    That MS has still fuel to run for a while.

    It would take many more big screw-ups to finish MS and even so they'll still retain a large portion of the market.

    MS's death will be no quick death at all, but mostly a steady decline.

    I subscribe to the idea of the directx thing being a huge retainer of mass market.

  31. windywoo

    Exaggerations for the sake of headlines.

    As usual. Vista may have deserved the hate initially but XP was despised on release too. After some patches and proper driver support from OEMs Vista turned into a very usable OS. Also at the end of this decade MS made sure Linux made little head road into the netbook market by lowering XP's license cost for those platforms. Much as I would have loved to see Linux expand its user base, MS barely broke its stride as it brushed Linux out of the way. Now Windows 7 is actually useable on netbooks, Chrome better offer something amazing or people will still choose a full featured OS over a cutdown smartphone-esque one.

    XBox did a remarkable job considering the console market previously has only sustained two big consoles at a time. Xbox has managed at least for a time to outdo Sony although Sony look like they are making a comeback in that field. We will have to see how Project Natal affects the situation.

    And in the coming years we have to watch how Windows 7 performs (already installed on more machines than OSX), cloud computing, Office 2010.

  32. JohnG

    Desktop/Notebook OS and Office

    Microsoft's dominance is entirely based on two product areas: Windows as desktop and notebook OS and Office. All they have to do to keep their monopoly is to avoid screwing those up (so they failed with Vista). Corporates stick with Windows desktops because of Office and they stick with Office because everyone else sticks with Office. Moving a company away from Office usually implies the conversion of various documents, databases and spreadsheets - and it is this that never works properly. Such things were much simpler when Word and Excel beat Wordperfect and Lotus123.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      do you mean MS Office Product Or Office the workplace?

      I do not use MS office at home I'm perfectly happy with a free offering.

      as for the workplace, well thats the sticking point that MS have but only until the seniors retire and us users move up the food chain. (as is always the case!)

    2. Cucumber C Face

      @JohnG: The Ribbon?

      >Microsoft's dominance is entirely based on two product areas: Windows as desktop and notebook OS and Office. All they have to do to keep their monopoly is to avoid screwing those up<

      True ... but have they already screwed up Office? Have we seen the full impact of the ribbon on their bottom line yet?

      The ribbon should have warranted a mention in the main article. For Joe and Jane Luser that may be the single greatest change in "My Computer" this decade - Vista included. Argably even Windows 3.n to Windows 95 wasn't that drastic.

      Escape - because that's what most people want to do when confronted with M$ Office post-2003. Are there reliable figures on uptake / adoption?

  33. Giles Jones Gold badge

    What they need to do is pretty simple

    They need a roadmap and they need consistent policies and opinions on various subjects.

    All to often there are people at Microsoft who build bridges with the open source community and competitors only for Ballmer to come along and start sounding off about GPL being a cancer and Linux stealing all their code.

    The top brass at Microsoft are too opinionated, they would find they would make it into more markets if they thought before sounding off about the competition.

  34. Dave 129

    Just a little foot-note re: ajax

    MS were the ones that actually created AJAX... well the underlying process of XMLHttpRequest. It was first in IE 5.5 (I think, but I CBA to check), then certainly IE6. It was years before anyone actually made use of it. So at least as far as AJAX (that we all know, and presumably "love", today) you can thank MS for that little known and underused ActiveX control.

    Not that I want to defend MS at all, but they did manage to do something useful with that and I think many (if not most) people seem to forget that little known fact.

  35. Robert E A Harvey
    Gates Horns


    I'd like the competition authorities to see that we have real alternatives of the OS supplied with the hardware. When Dell says "Dell recommends windows 7" and it really means "Dell enforces windows 7" something is wrong.

    I do wish Apple would come down off the fence and sell OSX legitimately for generic installation.

  36. Mark Jonson
    Gates Halo

    Not late to the game...

    But Microsoft was actually ahead of its time. It had pioneered (through Windows CE) the Auto PC (Ford's Sync being a spiritual successor to this), the first "PC Companion" through the handheld PC, which would later, thanks to Palm, be rivaled by and reformed into the Palm-size PC/Pocket PC that we still continue to see integrated into the "Windows Phone" today. New name, same product. This is just a small sample of many products Microsoft introduced too early when the market wasn't ready. The problem was that most of this innovation occurred during the mid-to-late 90's when even tech and business consumers didn't see the benefit of mobile computing, while mobile networks weren't ready to support cheap, high-bandwidth data with good coverage. (Arguably they still can't, *cough*AT&T*cough* in the US). Regardless of the reason, the truth is that after consumers rejected Microsoft's attempts to enter the mobile market early-on, Microsoft lost interest in continued R&D and assumed the PC would continue to drive the tech industry through the decade and beyond since that was the only area seeing strong growth at the time. That false assumption lost them nearly a decade of market dominance in other now-prospering industries and markets. Microsoft could have yielded iPhone-like control over handsets today, had they not become complacent with the smartphone being a high-end, high-priced PDA with phone capabilities, only for those who didn't want/need a Blackberry (which was a niche product in its infancy at the time).

    Where Microsoft was late to the game was in realizing something that has driven Apple philosophy since the 80's: given enough time to penetrate the market, consumers will adopt new technologies. Microsoft has forever lived in in the 90's, where more than half the population (of the US, anyway) didn't have a mobile phone, possibly owned one computer (a desktop at home, or they didn't own one and used their computer at work), had dial-up Internet since content was small and cable/DSL was expensive, only available in cities, and not considered necessary; and most didn't have any other electronic mobile devices, except possibly a portable CD player. Today, that couldn't be farther from the truth, as mobile penetration reaches 80% of the US population, and almost everyone under the age of 35 has an audio player (usually an iPod/iPhone) and at least 2 computers (at least one being a laptop), the consumer (market) could arguably rival businesses in technology use and consumption. Of course, I'm not talking about industrial apps and whatnot, but people today spend thousands of dollars more on technology per year than a decade ago (regardless of what you consider to be the start of a decade... ;) )

    With all that said, my point is that Microsoft should have stuck with a strategy to enter these new markets if they wanted to be more successful today. Giving up is what led to their current state of failure in these areas. As long as they would have recognized growing consumer adoption of technology over the past 10 years, and responded accordingly they would have been able to maintain and grow their presence in this market. People never forget the past and while corporate culture has changed since 1999 (mostly since the Secure Computing Initiative, and moreso after the Vista debacle) it may take another 10 years for the market and for consumers to see Microsoft in a different light than the money-hungry monopolistic empire that the DOJ portrayed in 1999. Microsoft's only hope now is to win back consumers through honest, hard work. They need a line of good products in their online services (Live) division, mobile division (Windows Mobile), and entertainment division (Xbox). While they spent the past 20 years sacrificing the growth of all three of those divisions in the names of Windows and Office, it's time to realize that strategy is only viable for so long until you sap them dry. And now that the mobile division has been successfully sapped dry with the aid of Apple, and the online division because of Google; they're starting to realize the same fate is in line for the Xbox because of the PS3 has finally come into its own with a $299 model that can compete with the Xbox on price and game selection (while widespread RRoD and E74 errors provide more motivation to avoid the Xbox). I have a friend who just got an RRoD. He's out of warranty and Microsoft wants $99 to fix it. Instead, he's actually considering scrapping the Xbox 360, his still-active Live subscription, and his whole game collection to move to the PS3. That's how bad it is for Microsoft's entertainment division. Microsoft, this is your chance. Start pouring some R&D money into the Xbox, Windows Mobile, and online services (Bing is a good start) and the next decade might not be that bad for you. Otherwise, you might just have to throw in the towel come 2019. And that's a sad fate for a company that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting the personal computer on every desk and in every home.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge


      Mark has just posted a well-written almost thesis, and 4 of you mod him down.

      oh how un-seasonal-spirited of you all!

  37. Syd

    Xbox challenging Sony


    You mean, in the sense of Homer Simpson challenging Jean Luc Piccard over a comb; while Nintendo roll around in swimming pools filled with hundred dollar bills.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      fair enough i guess....

      many of us who bought wiis have helped nintendo. never again. what a waste of cash it was. basically a gamebube with a shitty wand controller. it was a novelty and when wii2 comes out (that might look as good as a ps2) and we are on ps4 and xbox720, it will just get laughed at.

      remember that sony and ms already are working on novelty controllers. once they get them working nintendo will die a slow death again. nintendo dont bring anything new to the table any more.

  38. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    "When Longhorn finally shipped as Windows Vista"

    I think you mean "when longhorn was finally scrapped and Server2003 was sprinkled with gloss and bloat and shipped as Windows Vista", don't you?

  39. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    May I annoy the Moderatrix?

    "As Microsoft moves out of the Noughties and into the next decade"

    ... that would be on the end of next year then?

    1. Matt Bradley

      Fencepost error

      Aww bless. You're suffering from a fencepost error there: 0-9 = first 10, 10 - 19 = second 10. Its really simple once your learn your basic maths.

      Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe 1990 was in the 80's... but I suspect that you're the only one who's going to argue for that one. ;)

      1. Oninoshiko


        ahh but you forget there is no "Year 0 Anno Domini" therefore you HAVE to start at 1, This makes decades run from 1-10, then 11-20 moving into the more modern periods we get things like 2001-2010.

        Go back and have another look at those basic maths, decades are 10 years, there is no 0 AD. You seem to propose that we have one dacade of 9 years for some reason I can't fathom.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Birth Age 1

          OBOE which that logic we are born at the age of 1, those first weeks and months before you were 1 never happened.

          While 1BC proceeds 1 AD that is an anomaly that thankfully was never carried through to todays decades or we would would now be still at 1808 because for example 1989 would proceed 1991 at each decade would infact be Ennead or Nonet, now I'm getting confused

      2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Any one period of ten years is a decade

        But the so-called "noughties" are from 2001 to 2010.

        Incidentally no change of millennium happened in 2000, either.

        And I DID miss a lot of parties (well, "miss", as in "I missed the windows7 launch parties, oh noes woe is me").

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Hold on a sec...

      Errrr... No. Fair enough, call the "next decade" 2011-2020. I seem to recall somebody mentioning you'll just miss out on a bunch of parties. (Actually, that was for the new millennium)

      Wait - I got distracted.

      Fair enough, call the "next decade" 2011-2020, but if you're talking, say, "the Noughties", you'll be talking 2000-2009. The decade *following* on from that'll be 2010-2019, the one after that'll be 2020-2029 or "The Twenties" (Being the years with "twenty" in them)

    3. Doug Glass

      Often Wrong

      2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. <= I count ten.

  40. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    Thumb Up


    "If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine - and if it no longer lobs grenades on intellectual property and patents that poison the atmosphere - then it could harness open-sourcers on Windows and Azure."

    Unlikely. So many open source users are using either Linux or OSX, 1) They're either volunteer, or working for a Linux vendor in many cases. So they won't be "harnessed" unless they want to be. 2) They're not running Windows. 3) To develop for Windows & Azure, for the most part you have to be running Windows. I think cross-compilers are a foreign concept to Microsoft. I for one will never purchase a copy of Windows, or get hardware that has it bundled. (I suppose people could do .NET stuff with Mono if they want on non-Windows systems.)

    @jake, good for you! I refuse to work on Microsoft systems now either! In fact most of the people I know that used to fix people's problems either quit, or jacked rates WAY up (like $150 an hour). I think this is a genuine threat to Microsoft, people tolerated Windows faults assuming they could pay some kid like $20 to fix it.. the talented ones either fled Windows, or jacked the rates up! Microsoft products break for no good reason, are virus prone, unstable, and relatively inscrutable compared to the other OSes available. The lack of package management is painful; the poor driver support and tendancy to tie the OS to a machine is painful as well (You know, if you ditch Windows, if your computer dies you can just move the hard drive to a new machine? Yes you can.) These same people complain how "hard" computers are, "why do they break all the time?" etc., and just don't believe me when I say my computer doesn't break because I'm not using Windows.

    @AC "Like it or hate it, you still need to use MS."

    Like hell I do. And I think Hugh_Pym and DanielB sum it up nicely.... Just knowing the state Windows is in EVEN OUT OF THE BOX, I can't take any pride on my work on it. EVERYTHING felt like a kludge, between the registry and windows/system or windows/system32, I never REALLY knew what was going on, and too often the system behavior was unpredictable. I felt like a (fill in shitty car here) mechanic, it never ran quite well and I knew it was just going to break down soon enough. Admining a UNIX box in contrast is a pleasure, the behavior is predictable, and I know when I am done it is just going to run and run. And as DanielB says, there's plenty of jobs... 1) Microsofters tend to have a distorted view of the market.. Microsoft is large but it's not like there's nothing else. 2) I think there's less job competition in the UNIX market.

    Personally I view Microsoft as similar to Digital Research.. they thought they were infallible, based om market share they appeared infallible, throughout the early 1980s. CP/M is dead, and I think Windows is on the way out too. Microsoft will take a LONG LONG time to fall, due to huge cash reserves, and just like every system ever made, there'll be SOME Windows systems left for a long time.

    This is another reason I've left Windows behind though -- it's so complex, there's layer upon layer upon layer with sometimes arcane interactions... but to me it'd be like learning the inner workings of CP/M... I just don't think it'll be knowledge I will have a use for.

  41. dave hands
    Gates Horns

    If you want OSX

    Don't wait for Apple to sell it as a generic install, because that isn't going to happen.

    Apple are perfectly happy without putting themselves in the nightmare position of trying to provide support to all the different hardware combinations currently at large in MS land.

    That old saying about being nice to people on the way up because you'll meet them on the way down is going to bite Microsoft on the arse.


    And there will be laughing, snickering and a pointing of fingers.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    new world of online openness

    > Microsoft paid the price for its confidence. When the internet changed the world, it became clear that the software Microsoft had refined on the desktop and server was not suited to the new world of the online openness ..

    You are incorrect MS operating systems were fully designed for the Internet, at least as far back as Windows 95. They they fail miserably is down to the defects in the product. Namely embedding the browser and email client so deeply into the core OS. ActiveX being the chief culprit. Here are posts from 1994/5, where the chief software architect discusses 'Internet Strategy' ..

    from 1997, Preserving the desktop Paradise

    1. Levente Szileszky

      RE: idiocies about internet and that PoS Win95...

      An Anonymous Clueless Coward wrote it: "You are incorrect MS operating systems were fully designed for the Internet, at least as far back as Windows 95. They they fail miserably is down to the defects in the product."

      What a LOAD OF HORSECRAP - Internet Explorer WASN'T EVEN IN WINDOWS 95, it was only released later, as part of Plus! extra crapware.

      Microsoft was completely CLUELESS about the internet back in 1995: not only they didn't have a browser but THEY DID NOT EVEN HAVE EMAIL products, let alone Exchange (took a good year to release their first, literally useless version: it was slow, full of stupid bugs and lacked even basic features of regular unix/linux mail clients.)

      An Anonymous HIlariously Clueless Coward wrote it: "Namely embedding the browser and email client so deeply into the core OS.""

      OHH YEAH! So deeply that it didn't even show up in it...!

      Put down the M$ crackpipe, kid and check out the facts - you're posting complete BS...

    2. Inachu
      Thumb Down

      Your post is partly wrong.

      Windows 95 was not built for the internet not until version 4 of Internet Explorer.

      Install Windows 95 and try to work with the os.

      Many things are not intergrated.

      But now install IE4 with the desktop intergration and windows 95 will pretty much feel like

      Windows 98

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Will never sell their OS by itself. The reason for its legendary (although not entirely accurate) record for stability is because it is only sold with limited specification, fully tested hardware. This is not the case with Windows.

    Oh and Apple make a stack load of cash selling machines at 25% more than the Wintel version

  44. Fred 24

    It all started with a pint! the local.

    This year I have been ASKED to install Ubuntu to rid users of their dimdoze hell. That's not advertising, that's real people (247 to date) who have heard by word of mouth. And it really needs to be said that over the last 5 weeks many of the local students have been happy to get shot of windows7!

  45. Kiminao
    Jobs Halo

    Of course...

    the 800 lb gorilla here that neither the article nor the commentators have the balls to acknowledge is Apple and its resurgent Mac platform, with OS X the absolute, undisputed, best PC operating system available. More people are lining up to buy Macs than ever, Apple remains one of the few _profitable_ PC manufacturers, and IT (at least outside of the US) is beginning to embrace OS X with increasing earnestness.

    MS may try to copy more and more of OS X (Win 7 certainly shows they're trying very hard indeed) but there's really no hope for them ever to come close.

    Bye-bye, MS, keep Balmer around for ever!

  46. Mr Young

    You know...

    I'm no fanboi when it comes to Microsoft but they have provided compatibility haven't they? It's nice and speedy dev. using a processor emulator with WinXP and I've got ZERO chance of any other OS option! Flames? please, no...

  47. Levente Szileszky

    One word: BALLMER

    I'm seeing a lot of good projects picking up speed at Microsoft lately so I must assume he's being slowly sidelined - GOOD if true. If not then they should act quickly - the sooner they get rid of this bald f*ck the better for M$ and us, customers.

    Yes, it's Ballmer = the principles he represents. Not the clueless, ugly-as-hell, nowadays almost digitally illiterate, bald, uber-arrogant fat pr!ck, throwing chairs when cannot deal with his failures (like so many similarly fucked-up Americans - though still better than the ones who 'grab the shottie' and go on for a good killing spree.)

    No, it's NOT HIM - it's HIS TYPE, his principles.

    He represents the mother of ALL CLUELESS, ARROGANT BEANCOUNTER f*cktards.

    I firmly believe that it is Ballmer's menacing influence and his type of people at Microsoft that caused this enormous loss of market importance - they are slowly bringing down this already FUBAR company (FUBAR with its regions of utterly clueless, incompetent PMs and self-centered developers etc etc.)

    I think he perfectly embodies everything that's wrong with MS - it's his crooked morals, the corrupt business model he represented, the disgusting way of doing, achieving goals at all cost he represented.

    Microsoft's only chance to transform itself if the board gets rid of this useless bald f*ck and his ilks ASAP (while shedding the legions of clueless-useless PMs, assistants) and everyone over 40 (OK, maybe 45) who was not only hired but even simply OK'd by this menace.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    "If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine ... "

    So they just have to learn not to laugh maniacally while twirling their handlebar moustaches and everyone will forget the past decades? Sadly I think that's true.

  49. Raymond Cranfill

    What? No Apple effect?

    In an article devoted to the missteps of M$, I am surprised to see no mention of one of their fiercest threats - the growing popularity of Apple products on the desktop, laptop, game console, mp3 player and smart phone. OS X is clawing its way back to relevance, with perhaps as much as 10 per cent of the domestic market, and still growing by multiples of 10 per cent year on year. The iPod and iPhone have practically made WinMobile irrelevant. And even the lowly iPod touch is exploding as a game machine, much to the chagrin of both MS and Sony.Apple may not be a MS killer (yet), but they have given the Vole a great big black eye. My how times change.

  50. passionate indifference
    Thumb Down

    the amount of anti-ms fanboyism on this comment board is a bit of a turnoff

    the amount of anti-ms posts that got modded up is rather tragic

    the success of the linux and open source movement is great for the IT industry, and there's a lot of truth in stories around how MS have rather publically dropped a few balls. software and hardware platforms are a lot more heterogenous, and now corporate and enterprise customers are getting some good stuff out of open source software

    but a lot of posters are expressing views and opinions that aren't really reflective of the industry at present, and ms's position in it. you can try to ignore the giant squid in the kitchen, but pretending it isn't there isn't exactly going to increase the credibility of your, uh, 'movement'

  51. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not good for compatibility

    "You are incorrect MS operating systems were fully designed for the Internet, at least as far back as Windows 95"

    You are being a bit revisionist. Windows 95 did not ship with a web browser, E-Mail client, and by default TCP/IP was NOT installed -- it was an option that had to be turned on when running the install CD. They only "bundled" Internet Explorer when they decided Netscape should be put out of business. (Netscape was planning to make a whole desktop environment within the browser... shades of Google...)

    "I'm no fanboi when it comes to Microsoft but they have provided compatibility haven't they?"

    Absolutely not.

    1) Vista and 7 have aimed more towards a "clean break" in software compatibility. I mean, it's not bad, but there's still all these apps that won't run. And if your solutions to run them in a VM anyway, it really doesn't matter if that VM is running on Windows or not.

    2) Windows XP has very poor hardware support out of the box -- VERY poor. I'm amazed they did not include additional drivers with SP1, SP2, and SP3 CDs (at least for ethernet and wifi stuff, so the user could get online to retrieve the OTHER drivers they need). If you think it has good support you have not installed it in the last 6 or 8 years. Besides out-of-the-box experience, there's also newer chipsets now that simply do not have XP support.

    Vista and 7 have support for more modern hardware but have dropped support entirely for older hardware.

    Ubuntu in contrast (in general other Linux distros have similarly good support...), I've installed on a large variety of systems ranging from a P2 to a Core2, it's pretty usual to just expect everything to work out of the box. (A P2's a bit sluggish but a P3 will run Ubuntu 8.04 fine, and 9.10 seems to actually be a bit faster than 8.04) Since most drivers are open source, once a piece of hardware is supported it STAYS supported. I've gotten a free scanner (admittedly quite a while ago) because Win98 supported it but XP didn't (worked out of thebox),, a TV capture card I bought HEAVILY discounted because the company had only 2000 but not XP drivers (yeah apparenltly they actually didn't work in XP.. worked out of the box), my friend got a printer for $10 recently because no-one could get the windows drivers to work (sticker on it said 3 different IT people tried to set it up). HP's web site no longer has windows drivers for it, I think maybe they never worked... he followed online instructions to put a file from hp's web site into /lib/firmware. Works 100% now. Not out of the box but amusing nonetheless.


  52. windywoo

    Overstating the Mac threat.

    Apple have 5% marketshare worldwide and that grows at a fraction of a percentage each year. They dominate the MP3 player market and online music sales but for all that clout in those areas and the opportunities Vista provided their share of the PC market moved 2% in 10 years. They are content to sit back and reap huge profits from the people who see a PC as a fashion accessory and who are willing to pay well over the odds for something that looks cool.

    I wholeheartedly take issue with Ubuntu working out of the box. In my experience it must be connected first via ethernet to download some non-open source drivers for wifi or graphics. Then you have to hope that your router supports IPv6 or it can crash. An operating system that can crash your router is not something I would recommend to casual users. After you have your wifi drivers, be prepared for low bit rate connections for no apparent reason. My realtek adapter connected at speeds as low as 1Mb to a 54g router and slowed even websurfing to a crawl. Command line fixes for this problem were the only solution I could find. I installed privoxy so I could filter out adds in browsers other than Firefox. I had to configure the system to use an HTTP proxy on the local machine. Not only did this break the update service, I had to delete the proxy settings to get the thing to work again. It wasn't simply a case of ticking the direct connection box instead of the use proxy box, the damn update program remembered the proxy settings anyway.

    I also have problems with the fact that I'm using two wireless adapters and the g one is stopping the n one from connecting at full speed. Still researching this one, but it says a lot about how useable Linux is that I can't find a simple solution to something I could deal with easily in Windows.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre
      Thumb Down


      "I can't find a simple solution to something I could deal with easily in Windows."

      So I assume you tried to install Windows on your laptop (from a real MS CD-ROM, not your tweaked OEM one) and it worked out of the box. Yeah right.

      I was going to respond to the rest of the post but my answer sounded like a madman's rant so I scrapped it. Suffice to say that my grand-aunt sounds more tech-litterate.

  53. Levente Szileszky

    For all Apple-loving ignoramuses... much as I hate M$ I can only laugh at your hilarious-clueless wet dreams about Apple posing a real threat to M$...

    ...READ MY LIPS: NEVER UNLESS THEY REWRITE OS X ENTIRELY and change their business model (<-won't happen before Jobs dies.)

    1. In case you forgot corporations buy multiple times more lics than individuals - and OS X is clearly NOT EVEN AN OPTION if it would come to replacr any modern (2008) AD-based networks especially with 100+ machines. It does not even have a true server version whatsoever, let alone advanced management tools.

    2. Apple offers 1/10000th of the software library and most of them are still coming from Mothership Apple. Hint: producer/designer/WAITERs are NOT A SERIOUS MARKET FORCE. Yes, we like you, you are cute in your hideous-ugly-metrosexual clothes or bald head with giant eyegl;asses with thick black frames but trust me, you are NOT a market force. You can buy your little Macbook Pro and build your home studio and hopefully one day you can quit being a busboy and start being an actor/producer/designer/whatever but your so-called "switch" STILL won't make a dent in M$ revenue because it's not based on you, you're barely counted, sorry.

    3. Hardware prices and offerings ARE PATHETIC. Even the most rabid Apple-fans, fake "analysts" - people like this slimeball Mossberg - who often sit on the board while posing as tech-journos in big papers and sites, even they agree that Apple has to rethink their pricing strategy. Apople has no product to sell whatsoever in the most sought-after price bracket, the $500-1000 range. Nothing for home users (no, Mac Mini is not an offer for anyone wanting a computer, it's only for idiots, an abomination) and especially nothing for enterprise accounts.

    4. They almost killed their entire reseller chain and even the remaining ones are fighting for their life everyday, thanks to Apple's disgusting cartel tactics - you cannot lower your prices or you won't get any more, period.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Reading these posts, if you didn't know, you would think that MS was a step away from complete and utter destruction. Linux is only a threat in very, very limited markets. Apple also is a niche-based market. Apple will never pose a threat to the PC because, well, it sucks. Supporting it sucks. I actually like to be able to walk into a store and buy my software any time of the day or night. If (very big if here) Chrome ever poses a serious threat, it won't be any time soon. Maybe by 2020.

    .NET was a success, Vista was a bomb, 7 will be a success, XBox was a success (depending on your metrics but you have to see that they did make headway), the last version of Office was a success. I would challenge anyone to find a company that made more impact on us in the last decade than MS.

    To actually beat MS, you have to take market share from them because unlike many of their competitors, Microsoft actually gets paid for the software they write. They happily take my money and I happily give it to them. The only place they actually lost significant market share was with IE/Firefox and Firefox was clearly a better product. I don't see that in any other market they currently dominate except for maybe (another big maybe) Visual Studio and Eclipse and I am not so sure they do dominate IDEs for Windows.

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