back to article Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

Microsoft president Brad Smith on Thursday called on antitrust regulators in the US and Europe to scrutinize whether smartphone app store business practices are consistent with antitrust law. Smith's comments, made in an Politico video interview, come just days after the European Commission announced that it has opened an …

  1. Blackjack Silver badge

    No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

    As anyone using Windows 10 must have noticed, Windows 10 throws you some difficulties if you try to install anything that doesn't have those certificates Microsoft charges money for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

      The man has some cheek. Slagging off Google and El Fruity while trying to build a walled garden of their own around W10.

      go eat soap Microsoft!

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

        Exactly.

        Walled garden company complains about other walled garden companies? Microshaft can GTFO.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

        And it's not even a very good walled garden either.

    2. MatthewSt Bronze badge

      Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

      You don't buy the certs from Microsoft

    3. serendipity

      Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

      And anyone using Windows 10 should know, you don't have to install applications to run them. Hence why portable apps running from USB sticks are a thing. Try doing that on your iOS device!

      (I can't believe 19 muppets up-voted the original comment - must be clueless Mac users ;))

      1. Jurassic Hermit

        Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

        I can't believe 19 21 muppets up-voted the original comment - must be clueless Mac users

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

          now 26 muppets and counting! ;)

  2. W. Anderson

    Unclear article point

    Whatever areas that Apple and Google have failed in with their App stores, has no relevance to what Microsoft did or did not do twenty years ago or even now. This "misery loves company" syndrome used as excuse by very many USA companies to excuse their own terrible behavior is ridiculous.

    I resent the fact that Microsoft will not let me download many third party applications from the vendors site if same application is available through the Windows App store, where I must register with Microsoft before such download.

    Another peeve is Windows 10 preventing my third party veridied downloads from installation, especially when such applications are direct competition to Microsoft. Even attempting to install Mozilla Firefox was interrupted several times by Microsoft insisting that I examine Edge browser more closely instead.

    Microsoft enjoys a 90+ % desktop PC market share Internationally - so what!, that's old news, and has no bearing on quality, reliability or security of Windows over Apple MacOS or Linux by comparison.

    The article is therefore of no real technical enlightenment.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "The article is therefore of no real technical enlightenment"

      Lovely, so can I put you down as 'undecided' on our reader feedback survey?

      C.

    2. Joe Gurman

      Re: Unclear article point

      Putting "Apple" and "Failed with their Applications stores" in the same sentence is laughable.Perhaps you missed the coverage a few days ago of Apple's announcement that they had "supported" US$500G in commerce (sales in retail apps, travel apps, ride-sharing apps, food delivery apps, grocery apps, delivery of digital goods and services, and ads) in one year (2019). The only people calling that a "failure" are those not in on the gravy train. Yup, half a treeeelion bucks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unclear article point

        Money ain't the ultimate arbiter of success -look at Bolsanaro, wildly popular with business in Brazil apparently because of his business first and stuff the environment policies. And I'm sure they make zillions of dollars as a result. But I would definitely call the that a failure!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Re: Unclear article point

          You know you're wrong. When somebody says it's not about money, it is about money.

        2. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: Unclear article point

          Where have you been the last three months? His popularity is sinking quite fast due to him doing nothing about the Coronavirus outbreak.

        3. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Unclear article point

          The glass is half full. and, I for one would like to see any goverment that actually bothers to improve the lives of its citizens. I voted for my local politician to put my community first, NOT the world. and or "worldly problems". Mostly at the detrment of the lives of the prople who elected you into office to begin with. So I'm happy that President Bolsanaro is doing well. And anyone still capable enough to are fleeing from communit sh--holes like Venezuela for example.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Unclear article point

        So what? Internet routers sellers should boast about how many billions of dollars sales they support? Looks to me a way to shift people attentions from phone sales....

        1. Oddlegs

          Re: Unclear article point

          Internet routers don't collect a (rather large) cut of all sales that go through them

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "Internet routers don't collect a (rather large) cut of all sales that go through them"

            Thanks to heaven. But Apple was boasting about what people do with its devices - not about how much they blackmailed them and surrendered to Apple. Do people know they could end to pay more because of the Apple Tax? And when private companies were authorized to levy taxes?

            Anyway,. quelle surprise, people use mobes and tablets for their businesses too. I would have been surprised if they used a Tamagotchi.

      3. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Unclear article point

        Does it includes the money made by drug dealers and other shady people?

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Unclear article point

      Hence why I am not using Windows 10.

      Well that and the updates breaking things.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Unclear article point

        Still. After 20 years they can't get updates mastered.

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Unclear article point

      Why were the hulled into Court over again? Because they had... a higly arguable crappy version of an open standard Web Browser. That dared to be cheaper then, and by proxy more poplular then the other guys compeating Browser that was charging over 50$(USD). For what was essentually the same experence?

      Besides how can you compare the Computer (Microcomputer) Industy to that of Moble Phones, and somehow imply that these are the same? Phones tend to locked down out of the Factory. A Computer... Yes even a Fruity one.... (For now), cares not if I decide to run MacOS. Windows, or Linux. Or all Three at once. My Phoneon the other hand. Will almost certainly remain on whatever version on Android it came with. Because Updates are too much of a bother... (Here Buy this new Phone Kid!)

      If any one has a gripe about not having an Tat Market you would think it was Vodophone or someone. I susspect the only reason WHY THE DON'T is because the costs of setting up such an outfit would be quickly cause said operation to collapse the same second.

      And again the majority of people are happy enough to use their provided Marktplace. Becuase the both offer their customers some protection from rouge applications. Where as the other "Appstores" on don't.

      1. Oddlegs

        Woosh

        I think that was rather the point. If computers are expected to be 'open' then why not mobiles. I really can't think of a good reason other than 'because it's always been that way'

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Unclear article point

        They were hauled into court because they required OEMs to prominently display the IE logo on the desktop, and if they dared to install the (in the beginning) more popular Netscape Navigator, they would be denied the ability to sell Windows with their PCs. They used their OS monopoly to cause undue harm to makers of other browsers.

        The design of Windows 98, with the line between Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer deliberately blurred, was all about heading off the inevitable government demand that MS simply remove IE. MS lied to Congress, telling them it was impossible, when they're Microsoft-- of course they could do it. If some guy out there figured out how to remove it with a free program called Mozilla's Revenge, the people who actually wrote Windows could do it. I used 98 SE with Mozilla's Revenge until I moved to XP, and it worked fine!

        MS deliberately put Netscape out of business by means of their OS monopoly. It has nothing to do with IE being crappy.

  3. Philip Storry

    A false equivalence

    Google and Apple have something closer to a "natural monopoly", in that they own the platform that their Store grants them a monopoly on.

    We don't see Google or Apple entering into licensing agreements saying that they'll demand a license for every phone a manufacturer ships, even if it's shipped without their OS. Microsoft did that.

    We don't see Google or Apple extending other company's technologies in incompatible ways to try to extinguish them. Microsoft did that.

    We don't see Google embedding functionality into their store that's designed to drive the use of only their technologies, at the expense of competitors. We do see that from Apple (not allowing alternative web renderers, billing) and did see that from Microsoft.

    Google is the least offensive in this comparison - they're relatively laissez-faire. Their billing cut of 30% for the Play Store is a monopoly, but their standards are the least rigorous and their enforcement is the loosest. Most complaints from Devs I see whose apps are pulled are either mistakes or they were flouting the rules.

    Apple is the new Microsoft. They've only recently allowed the replacement of their own default apps, and exercise tight control of both the platform and what Apps can do on it. Fans who excuse it because "Apple are keeping the platform secure and easy to use" are no better than the Microsoft fans who tried to justify Internet Explorer's deep embedding into Windows.

    But Apple still aren't going as far as Microsoft ever did. Microsoft may well be a recovering Monopoly Addict these days, but pointing at new addicts doesn't allow them to pretend that they weren't once high on the power & profits...

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: A false equivalence

      If you think that Google doesn't employ dirty tactics, go ahead, install Google play without any other Google products. Go ahead, have a go.

      Good luck.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: A false equivalence

      "We don't see Google or Apple entering into licensing agreements saying that they'll demand a license for every phone a manufacturer ships, even if it's shipped without their OS. Microsoft did that."

      Microsoft did. That was and is very wrong. However, we do see Google doing something similar. It's not quite a license on every phone, but it does prohibit them from making any AOSP-based phones if they also want to make ones with Google's services. That's a clear action to prevent competition, and it's not even a Microsoft-type one where manufacturers could produce a competing model but would have to charge the consumer a Microsoft tax on the way. A company making a phone that intentionally runs a custom version of Android will be cut off entirely from Google's products with their existing consumers thrown under the bus.

      "We don't see Google embedding functionality into their store that's designed to drive the use of only their technologies, at the expense of competitors. We do see that from Apple (not allowing alternative web renderers, billing) and did see that from Microsoft."

      Not so. A lot of apps use Google Play to track user accounts in order to determine whether a user has purchased something, even when that purchase doesn't go through Google otherwise. That gives Google extra control over users, making it easier for them to collect information and harder to use Android without signing in. Similarly, they have used their services to provide useful OS functions in such a way that lots of developers will use them, meaning lots of users have to install Google's APIs, which collect a lot of user data and try to prevent users from ever removing them again.

      You have mentioned the developers removed from the Google store. You have mentioned them in a misleading way--although developers are removed for violations with some frequency, Google have been known to kick people out for reasons that aren't very clear. This has been reported several times in El Reg, and in most cases, people can't figure out why or if there was ever any reason for the decision. You may be referring to one such event when you talk about a mistake. What you fail to say is that that mistake was one Google refused point blank to do anything about. Only when the developer was able to get an unrelated Google employee to short-circuit the system was the situation repaired. In that case, you can understand why developers feel they are treated unfairly by Google. In most cases, a business can be as unfair as they want, but since the Play store is the primary way and in the minds of many users the only way to get apps onto an Android device, there is a reasonable argument that monopoly restrictions should apply.

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: A false equivalence

      >We don't see Google embedding functionality into their store that's designed to drive the use of only their technologies, at the expense of competitors.

      How about when you use a browser in incognito mode and then try to access gmail. You get security alerts. Likewise if you log into gmail via IMAPS rather than HTTPS. Wouldn't you far rather have a long-life cookie and only use a browser, hmmm?

      I think we should ask if having a natural monopoly, "helped" or otherwise, should place higher obligations on the monopoly holder than they would have in a competitive marketplace.

      My opinion is "yes." Perhaps, for example, Google shouldn't be allowed to cross-subsidise Youtube and run it at a loss for years and years. Maybe if they act unison with Apple (banning Alex Jones for example) they should be treated as a cartel.

      I can't see a good way to force Big Tech to help their competitors, but perhaps breaking some of the companies to force them to act independently might be reasonable, or maybe forcing them to publish and stick to their pricing plans.

    4. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

      Re: A false equivalence

      Google copied the Skyhook idea. That's pretty much exactly from the MS playbook.

      But while MS wanted you to pay them to use their products, Google and Apple make you pay to use everyone elses products as well.

      That is an order of magnitude more rapacious

    5. LDS Silver badge

      Re: A false equivalence

      A false equivalence? People are so blinded by their hate for Microsoft they can't see the landscape today is even worse. That a fully artificial monopoly, it has nothing of "natural". MS does own the Windows platform just like Apple owns iOS and Google Android. What's the difference?

      If you jold relevant patents, you can ask licenses. Look at how much Apple owns to Qualcomm. Any phone maker pays licenses if it has to, and those who can ask the money, why shouldn't they? Actually they damage their companies if they don't.

      Apple doesn't license its platform to anybody. Google does, but only because its business is nor hardware nor operating systems, just hoarding user data for profit - so it's actually the most offensive of them all.

      Sure, people at MS were stupid. They tried to hinder other companies applications with dirty tricks - they should have just set up a walled garden store and take money from any other application while enforcing than any competing browser should have been build on IE engine....

  4. David Lawton

    Microsoft are much more evil

    Apple, Google or Microsoft are not sin free and they all at some point do questionable things, but Microsoft is the worst of them all and did extremely bad things back in the 90s and early 2000s

    Microsoft forcing PC manufactures to only pre-install Windows, almost killing all OS choice and giving Windows a monopoly.

    Once they had the OS monopoly they start bundling Internet Explorer with the OS to kill Netscape, so now they have a web browser monopoly because everyone is now running Windows because of previous naughtiness.

    We even had competition in the Office suite market, but Microsoft somehow killed all that, Lotus 123, Word Perfect Works...

    Now they break web/HTML standards so web pages work differently in IE then say Firefox or any type of competition, things like ActiveX. Taking almost 15 years to break the stranglehold of IE, and even to this day.

    Even if you hate Apple products you should be thankful they exist, as them releasing the iPhone is the only thing that turned the whole industry upside down that was Microsoft dominant.

    Competition is good in the market, lucky when Microsoft released the dogs breakfast that was Windows 8 I was able to say enough and get my first Mac ever, now I just sit back and watch the s**t storm that is Windows 10 laughing while I enjoy MacOS that just keeps out the way and lets me get on with things, all my family have iPads which just work and generally behave themselves so I don't have to spent my weekends like I did last decade fixing their Windows laptops because they had looked at a picture of a cat and got malware somehow.

    Don't get me wrong if Apple start to annoy me like Microsoft did I will look around, and they are not perfect, its just better in the MacOS/iOS world than Windows world at the moment and has been for almost a decade.

    What Microsoft did 20/25 years ago is way way way worse than what Apple and Google are doing at the moment, and the only reason I don't 100% hate Microsoft at the moment is because they are at least very Multiplatform with their Apps now, just hoping for Microsoft Office for Linux, so those not willing to buy a premium end only laptop (aka as a MacBook) have more non Windows choices.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Microsoft are much more evil

      Remember

      "the day isn't done until Lotus won't run"

      Sorta describes MS then and now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Steve Davies 3 - Re: Microsoft are much more evil

        Even better:

        ''If you're going to kill someone there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry -- you just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.'' - James Allchin

        For the whole story see:

        https://www.nytimes.com/1999/04/29/business/documents-say-microsoft-considered-a-blow-to-novell.html

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft are much more evil

      Never forgiven MS for what they did to Netware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft are much more evil

        Give it a rest!

        The Microsoft today is nothing like the Microsoft of the 90's. Today's MS is all about open source, cross platform tools. Revenue from the sale of Windows licences is a relatively small part of the overall business.

        1. Sven Coenye
          Flame

          Re: Microsoft are much more evil

          So they are no longer charging the FAT tax then?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Microsoft are much more evil

            Nope no FAT tax anymore.

            MS open sourced the spec a few years ago and 'exFAT' is now included for free in the Linux kernel I believe.

            You obviously missed that article in the REG ;)

            1. Sven Coenye

              Re: Microsoft are much more evil

              Indeed. I stand corrected.

        2. Peter-Waterman1

          Re: Microsoft are much more evil

          Really - Msft are not as bad as they used to be?

          Well, lets look at what licencing restrictions that imposed on all public clouds outside of Azure. Seams like its the same old Microsoft.

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft are much more evil

        Never forgiven MS for what they did to Netware.

        Novell were partly responsible for their own deminse.

        NDS/eDirectory, Zen for Desktops (& Servers) & DirXML were good products. Groupwise was fair but they were very slow to update the SMTP gateway. BorderManager was OK and Manageworks was just *meh*. (Have I missed anything?)

        The Netware kernel was basically a one trick pony (Blazing fast file server) and was a deadend so they should have moved to a Linux kernel much sooner. (They did port Java & Postgres to run on Netware but those had problems - mainly due to the limitations of the Netware kernel) They also took their time to properly accept TCP/IP (Netware/IP does NOT count!)

        Trying to compete in the desktop office arena was a major distraction and the company's reluctance to investment in marketing was probably the final nail in the coffin.

        Sure, Microsoft "bundling" filesharing & directory with their own operating system didn't help Novell but you can't blame Microsoft for everything.

        In my opinion, NT4 should have been the kick up the backside for Novell to up their game but their failled to move fast enough.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft are much more evil

      "Even if you hate Apple products you should be thankful they exist, as them releasing the iPhone is the only thing that turned the whole industry upside down that was Microsoft dominant."

      Fun fact;

      In 1997 Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy. Who saved them? Yes that's right, big bad Microsoft. They loaned them $150 million at it saved the company. So maybe all your beloved Apple products wouldn't even exist without MS!!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft are much more evil

      "when Microsoft released the dogs breakfast that was Windows 8 I was able to say enough and get my first Mac ever, now I just sit back and watch the s**t storm that is Windows 10 laughing while I enjoy MacOS that just keeps out the way and lets me get on with things.."

      In summary, you've not been a Windows user for years and haven't even used Windows 10, so really you don't know what you're talking about!!

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper

        Re: Microsoft are much more evil

        The AC has a very good point. My home machines are all Linux, MacOS and iOS ever since Vista showed me how Microsoft actually hated me, but work insists that I use Win10 and it’s a perfectly reasonable OS, in the corporate non-slurping version, anyway.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft are much more evil

        In summary, you've not been a Windows user for years and haven't even used Windows 10, so really you don't know what you're talking about!!

        I can vouch that he got it right.

        I liked XP, and I kept that until Windows 8.1 came out. I began to chafe at the limitations of 4 GB, and XP x64 wasn't going to work (very little support, not much time left, etc.), so I had a look at 8.1. Er, no, I said.

        I moved to 7 x64 at that point. I railed against 8.1 and the moronic minds who thought that was a good idea.

        8.1 was such a flop that MS abandoned the idea of fixing it (originally, Threshold was to be Windows 8.2) and introduced Windows 10. People were saying that this was going to be the make or break OS for Microsoft... two flops in a row would doom them.

        I saw Windows 10 when it came out, and I was appalled by what I saw. I moved back to 7 and waited for 10 to improve as Vista had (it actually got decent, though nobody knew that. People had abandoned Vista and never given it a second thought). It became evident that it was not going to get better, as the flaws were part of the grand design, not oversights or results of an unfinished product being released (like Vista).

        I did keep 10 on one of my PCs so I could monitor the progress... or lack thereof. It didn't get any better in the ways that mattered.

        When I thought back to Windows 8.1, my dislike of it seemed almost quaint compared to why I despised 10. Had I really hated 8.1 so much when its flaws were correctible with things like Classic Shell and other similar programs?

        It took Windows 10 to make Windows 8/8.1 look good.

        I did end up upgrading to 8.1 on several of my PCs... the last version of Windows I would use, it turned out. I bought several Windows 10 laptops and converted them to Linux since then, but I kept 10 on just in case I need it for something, and that something has really only been testing things to compare to Linux (like assessing battery life on each). They're on 1809 now, and I still can't stand 10. I can't wait to get out of there and back to a sane OS whenever I try it. That only happens once every few months, but still, it's like using a porta-potty that is, uh, ready for servicing, and that has been sitting in the hot sun. Can't wait to get out.

    5. Sanctimonious Prick
      Pint

      Re: Microsoft are much more evil

      I remember uninstalling Internet Explorer from Windows 98SE - that's when I lost access to the desktop - and that's when I moved to Fedora 12!!!

      edit: it might've been Fedora 16 - can't remember right now.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft are much more evil

      "Microsoft forcing PC manufactures to only pre-install Windows, almost killing all OS choice and giving Windows a monopoly."

      Agreed that was a disgrace. They should have been confident that DOS/Windows was good enough that nobody wanted any other OS, instead of being downright nasty about it.

      "Once they had the OS monopoly they start bundling Internet Explorer with the OS to kill Netscape, so now they have a web browser monopoly because everyone is now running Windows because of previous naughtiness"

      I sort-of disagree because it seems to me that having a built-in web browser is something a modern desktop operating system needs. It certainly needs an HTML rendering component. Yes, people can install any browser, but built in browsers usually has advantages in startup times, memory consumption and battery life, partly due to using the builtin HTML renderer.

      When the EU slapped down Microsoft for bundling IE, I think that was partly due to the fact that they failed to act earlier on other more serious misdemeanours.

      But Microsoft are still right to call out Apple and Google. It's hypocritical when you take into account their history, but not so much the present day.

  5. gobaskof

    Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

    Store monopolies are frustrating (much more so for a dev), but I find it far less sickening than purposefully incompatible services and protocols.

    Exchange server tried to only work with through their own protocol limiting access to our favourite email clients. Even now they support IMAP, some institutions refuse to enable it (my university IT team claim IMAP is not GDPR compliant!! so they can't turn it on).

    Worse than email servers are all the messaging apps. No one would accept a phone that only calls people on the same network provider, or an email account at only emails accounts on the same domain. So why the hell do we accept that WhatsApp/Teams/Slack/Skype/Hangouts/Facebook-Messenger all can't talk to each other. Same for video calls.

    Store policies suck, but I have F-Droid on my phone and I run Linux and as a consumer I avoid most of this pain. But if a collaboration is on slack, or my university holds meetings on teams, or a conference sets up a WhatsApp, etc. This is where I can't avoid proprietary services and still do my job, and for what? Sending sodding text messages back and forward. It is not a Monopoly problem per se. There are loads of the bastards, but companies like Microsoft are able to abuse their monopoly on say office products to funnel universities/schools onto their application. I would take no change in the "app store" world the world could agree on an instant messaging/group messaging protocol, and a voice/video protocol (and all the big players actually use it.)

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

      Well said that person!

      > Sending sodding text messages back and forward.

      As an engineer my primary job function is to 'manage complexity' -- I have to take complex concepts and reduce them to implementable and testable components. This is the polar opposite of what large software companies do. Microsoft has been a prime offender since the very beginning, it started life taking relatively simple pieces of code and wrapping them up in such a way that they appeared complex. I don't know if this was deliberate -- programmers on the whole seem to worship complexity -- but its been very profitable because there's no money to be made from a thing that just does a job after the first sale.

      The problem with this approach is while it keeps the money flowing it gradually implodes under its own entropy -- more and more noise, less and less information. Due to a historical accident I often find myself having to use software toolsets from the early to mid 90s and they're just as effective at developing systems today as they were 30 years ago. This doesn't mean I'm stuck in the past, far from it, but you get a perspective about just how much of what we use everyday is just noise. Pretty noise maybe, but still noise.

      (....and Microsoft still hasn't figured out USB.....)

      1. serendipity

        Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

        So what you're saying is that if you were an automotive engineer you'd be still building Model T Fords because anything beyond that is unnecessary complexity...

    2. mevets

      Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

      You can rail against slack/hangouts/(pile of shit); but I have slack (for example) on my ios, macos, linux and android devices. In contrast, because I once had an IOS cell phone device, I am eternally stuck on people upset that I didn't "respond to their text". The kindly reminder that they didn't send a text, rather they used that asshole companies proprietary thing lands on cold ears.

      Protocols aren't the problem, people have shifted to certain behaviors; it doesn't matter how open Slack is; it will not have an iMessage bridge until Apple grows a pair.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

        "because I once had an IOS cell phone device, I am eternally stuck on people upset that I didn't "respond to their text". The kindly reminder that they didn't send a text, rather they used that asshole companies proprietary thing lands on cold ears."

        You mean you didn't bother to unregister the number when you gave up the ability to receive messages from that platform?

        You register, and some people get a cheaper/easier way to message you, which works across all of your and their devices. You stop being able to receive that protocol there is an established procedure for deregistering the number.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

          That guy is complaining about "asshole companies proprietary thing" and uses iMessage?

          Consistency...

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

      Amen.

      Part of the problem is that Big Tech has an iron grip on the application space. There was a time when any number of mail and music applications were in common use for example. Now its outlook and spotify.

      Without heterogeneous applications to talk to, non-proprietary standards are moot. Everything now runs on webmail, because there's one less application to install and its a consistent interface. It is difficult to argue against that tactically, though strategically, I think its dangerous play not to maintain competition in any space.

    4. 9Rune5 Silver badge

      Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

      my university IT team claim IMAP is not GDPR compliant!!

      I.e. they cannot be arsed to configure their IMAP server to require TLS?

    5. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

      Even now they support IMAP, some institutions refuse to enable it (my university IT team claim IMAP is not GDPR compliant!! so they can't turn it on)

      At our place we switched off IMAP on Office 365 because the implementation is so bad. I'm sure one of our engineers still has nightmares after seeing what Microsoft did to IMAP.

    6. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Stores might suck, proprietary protocols are the real killer

      Another clueless user who believes Exchange is just a mail server. And that "proprietary" protocols don't exist in FOSS software too. "Proprietary" is whatever is not issued by a standardization body. If for any protocol developers needed to wait for an approved RFC or ANSI/ISO standard IT would have gone nowhere. Exchange, like Notes before it, needs a specific protocol to expose its features, and the old e-mail only protocols are not enough. A protocol can be both proprietary and published (Exchange protocols have been published for years now, although they are not free to use).

      Funny thing: how much money universities get from their patents and copyrights, down to their sport teams? Or when the money are used to pay university people that's OK, as if companies could be charities, in Ray Stantz words in Ghostbusters "Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities; we didn't have to produce anything. You've never been out of college. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results."...

      Why no University wrote a great web conference/messaging application and donated it to the world? Why people with such ideas immediately leave the university and setup their own companies to make money???

  6. John H Woods Silver badge

    hypocrisy ...

    ... it's so galling, it's always hard to remember that it doesn't invalidate the point. When my fat, alcoholic doctor tells me to excercise more and drink less I know on an intellectual level that it's still good advice, but my instinctive response is to dismiss it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

    Do I get some sort of medal? I think I deserve one.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

      No, just cookies

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

        No, just cookies cooties

      2. Maximum Delfango

        Re: I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

        I'd take the cookies over the medal. That's probably why I'm fat.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

      just flush when you're done...

      (If you're using chromium, "rm -rf ~/.cache/chromium/Default/*" erases all history, etc. in Linux; for firefox, you can tell it to erase all history on exit. You're on your own otherwise)

  8. Frank Marsh
    Mushroom

    Damage the hard drive?

    I have to question the technical accuracy of the statement: uninstalling IE "would actually damage the hard drive."

    I can't recall the actual details, which probably involved corrupting your Windows install in some way. But damaging the hard drive? That seems unlikely.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Damage the hard drive?

      Agreed. Its not at like Apple going out of its way to brick jailbroken iPhones.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Iglethal - Re: Damage the hard drive?

        iPhone is an Apple manufactured product. My Windows PC is not. Spot the difference ?

        What Apple is doing is wrong, what Microsoft is doing is even worse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Iglethal - Damage the hard drive?

          "iPhone is an Apple manufactured product. My Windows PC is not. Spot the difference ?"

          yes it means Apple has got you by the nose and your short and curlys - so they can do as they please - their hardware, their software!

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: @Iglethal - Damage the hard drive?

          You mean Apple owns the phone even after it sold it to you? Anyway MS never bricked any PC. Of course if you delete in unsupported ways libraries the system deems critical the system won't boot. With any OS. You were still free to install any other OS on your PC - something again Apple tries to forbid you.

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: @Iglethal - Damage the hard drive?

            Au contraire, Apple kit makes an excellent platform for many a Linux distro.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: @Iglethal - Damage the hard drive?

              I meant install anything else on an iPad/iPhone.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Damage the hard drive?

      It is complete bullshit. There was no uninstaller for IE so you couldn't uninstall it. You could run any web browser you want without removing IE. And if you decided to delete parts of the operarating system (the IE files) it might cause Windows some problems running but in no way would it damage your hard drive. Whoever that "expert" was should not be given column inches in a respectable publication like El Reg. Let The Verve spout his shite.

      1. Joe Dietz

        Re: Damage the hard drive?

        Complete and utter bullshit that doesn't even pass a brief sniff test.

        1) no need to uninstall IE, you just installed netscape and clicked on its icon instead. If you wanted to use netscape as your default, you just needed to change the MIME type association to make it the invoked application.

        2) if you really insisted on removing IE you needed to be careful to not delete some dlls that dealt with HTTP networking protocols that other bits of the operating system also used. It wasn't so much that they where part of IE, just that they where mis-packaged in the directory hierarchy along side IE because the IE team happened to be responsible for their development and it never occurred to anybody that it was apparently going to be illegal in the view of the courts to provide a web browser as part of the operating system simply because netscape wanted to charge for one separately.

        3) IE was not a great product but it certainly wasn't the cause of hard drive damage - that would be the general state of storage in the mid-90s.

        And fun historical bit for all of you IE haters out there, until IExplorer 2.0 and later, it was actually just a derivative of Mosaic. Hate Active X if you like, but its success is hard to argue against since it enabled a lot of things that just didn't exist in the standards of the day.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Joe Dietz - Re: Damage the hard drive?

          ...mis-packaged in the directory hierarchy, eh? Not that Microsoft would do that on purpose, would they ?

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Damage the hard drive?

        Much though I appreciate Ell Reg, I would not characterise it as a totally respectable publication - and may it carry on being thus.

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Damage the hard drive?

        All the more scary is that this drip under pressure claims to have taught the Microsoft case for years. Rather sad to think that students might have paid good money for such crap tuition.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damage the hard drive?

      It wouldn't cause physical damage, but it would kill the windows install. For some reason, windows explorer (the windows shell program) was merged with Internet Explorer (the phb saw it had explorer in the name and wondered why the c: drives file tree didn't include pronhub or something). Uninstalling the windows shell will permanently break windows. It was a bloody stupid idea at the time, and looks worse now.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Damage the hard drive?

        "It wouldn't cause physical damage, but it would kill the windows install."

        Sure. But since there isn't an uninstall feature for IE, people weren't 'trying to uninstall it', they were 'trying to delete it'. Start deleting random directories that store programs (even ones that do have uininstall features) and see where that gets you on Windows.

      2. 9Rune5 Silver badge

        Re: Damage the hard drive?

        Presumably some people would be so enraged after borking the OS that they would thump their desk so violently as to cause the r/w head to crash into the disk platter. Repeatedly.

        In the 80s, given a MFM drive, the OS could play around with the interleaving (while low-level formatting the drive...), which might cause extra stress on the drive? But it would be very obvious if the OS started doing that. I'm sure some of us would remember that happening.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Damage the hard drive?

          If the controller was fast enough to handle 1:1 interleaving, or if it was one of the 8-bit/3:1 slower ones, it should make no difference to the drive itself in terms of drive stress.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damage the hard drive?

      And ironically Apple still makes you jump through hoops if you want to remove Safari from your Mac!!

      Plus ça change ;)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damage the hard drive?

      Agreed, the guy is a law prof not an IT prof, so probably still thinks files are really deleted when you hit the delete button! ;))

    6. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Damage the hard drive?

      The "emeritus" professor looks quite clueless. You didn't need to remove IE either - just install another browser, nobody forbade or forbids it, and forget IE. Which eventually was what most people did.

      The problem was that free software usually kills paid for one unless the latter has no real replacement.

      There are now more software houses killed by Linux & C. than Microsoft Windows. It is really impossible to make money in some areas now.

  9. darren.b

    Microsoft still at it

    I had a look in the Windows store for Opera browser, Firefox and Chrome. None of them were there.

    I did the same in Google Play. All were there.

    And the Apple one. All were there.

    Can Microsoft explain that one?

    1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

      Re: Microsoft still at it

      Regarding the Apple Store, at least on iOS they all use Navigator/WebKit, so they will all render the Web page the exact same. The only difference is they may sync your bookmarks, passwords, etc with the desktop equivalent.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft still at it

        Yes, but you know what - the actual render engine ought to be completely irrelevant.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft still at it

          Not if you would like to use addons or features that get into the backend stuff a bit. For those of us that want more control over our kit, the lock-in to AppleWebKit comes with locking out of a lot of functionality we would like to have.

    2. SloppyJesse

      Re: Microsoft still at it

      > Can Microsoft explain that one?

      For average Joe to install one of them on iOS or Android, it needs to be in the Apple / Play store.

      For Windows they can go to the software vendor's website and download the setup program.

      Windows store is an irrelevance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @SloppyJesse - Re: Microsoft still at it

        And how long would it take in your opinion before Microsoft closes door on installing apps from outside the app store ?

        1. serendipity

          Re: @SloppyJesse - Microsoft still at it

          Well if you knew anything about development of Windows apps you'd know that MS has been down-playing the Store and offering renewed support for win32 apps and the like - just look at what they're doing with .Net Core these days which offers great flexibility and is cross platform and open source.

          So the short answer is; a very long time if present trends continue!

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: @SloppyJesse - Microsoft still at it

            It was not for want of trying.

            They tried to get their walled garden, just as they tried to get Windows 10 mobile going. They failed in both, but if things had gone differently, you can bet MS would do everything it could to build an iOS style walled garden. They're playing sour grapes here.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft closes the door

          There is already a version of Windows that has done just that. Not sure how popular it is... probably not very. But they'll keep on trying to build that wall and get others to pay for it. Sounds familiar?

          They'll probably get there in the end but will they have any users other than corporates with them? If they lose the 'joe public' user then they are clearly doing something very, very wrong but will they see that for what it is? probably not.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Microsoft closes the door

            You're talking about Windows 10 S and Microsoft announced it was being discontinued over two years ago in March 2018!

            In normal Win 10 versions there's the free 'S Mode' option that can be activated to restrict installations to Store only apps - useful in educational settings for example to stop the little 'darlings' installing unapproved stuff!

            But hey don't let the facts get in the way of your paranoia!!

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft still at it

      Do you go to the Disney store and complain they don't sell anime merchandise? Or a Nike store and complain they don't sell Addidas? Yeah you proabably do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft still at it

        @iron "Do you go to the Disney store and complain they don't sell anime merchandise? "

        I did and they told me to fuck off. It was Snow White that said it too. Bitch.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft still at it

        Your analogy is wrong.

        It should be, Do you go to the Disney store and complain that you can't buy Disney stuff down at your local super market. If you did they would tell you that you are mistaken, you can go to other stores and purchase Disney items, probably cheaper (unlike with Apps for Apple Mobile products).

        1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

          Re: Microsoft still at it

          But wouldn't the analogy be you couldn't buy some cartridge for some disney product that didn't pay disney a license fee?

          Or like asking Sony why you have to pay them a fee to distribute a game, which you developed, on disk using your own money?

    4. serendipity

      Re: Microsoft still at it

      If you think the Store is the only way to install stuff on Windows 10 then I'm sorry but you must be a noob - or a Mac user who's never actually used Win 10 - either way a noob! ;))

    5. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft still at it

      Who under Windows install any browser from the store? Did they submit their applications to the store, or ignored it as most Windows developers do, being not required at all?

      You'll get prompted to install Chrome anytime you open Google - and how many software installed Chrome without user approval?

      1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

        Re: Microsoft still at it

        Having a prompt to install Google Chrome each time you access Google services with another browser should be the reason for an anti-trust investigation.

    6. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Microsoft still at it

      So you are complaining because Google, Mozilla & others don't provide an installer for their products from Microsoft Store?

  10. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    > "There was a real arrogance to Microsoft that put off a lot of consumers," he said.

    Was?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Is, but mainly was. Think about it: if you were to draw up a top-ten tech arrogance chart, based on current and not past behaviour, would Microsoft feature? They wouldn't on mine. (Facebook, on the other hand, would appear twice, once specifically for Libra.)

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        > if you were to draw up a top-ten tech arrogance chart

        Might be, but while I have used Microsoft products from DOS 1 to Windows 7, I never used Facebook or any of it's products (AFAIK).

        I just know I was quite happy with Microsoft for decades, but the constant and ever-increasing "we know better than you what you need" attitude eventually caused me to divorce them. Just saying.

        1. Falmor

          Wasn't there a time when Facebook were tracking even non-users around the web? If I'm not misremembering this, it gave them the ability to sell your data to advertisers without having to provide you with any service what so ever.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Devil

            > Wasn't there a time when Facebook were tracking even non-users

            Yes, it even had a name, they called it "the 21st century".

        2. Buttons

          Selective quotes :)

          "I have used Microsoft products from DOS 1 to Windows 7, "

          "I just know I was quite happy with Microsoft for decades, "

          I really, really tried W10 et al . . . but there was no love and I ended up dumping Windows. I've worked and trained in the MS ecosystem for years and seen most of its incarnations, perhaps not DOS 1, but I was there for DOS 4 and Windows 3.13.

          I seem to remember that DR-DOS 5 or 6 came out with a better memory manager and disk compression, vital for some games (Wing Commander!) and to increase disk space on my 40Mb home drive. MS responded with similar improvements in MSDOS 6. An upgrade was given away free on computer magazines (Remember them?) which sort of canned DRDOS for me. MS did the dirty on them and I was more fickle then.

          As of last christmas I've been a happy Non MS and Non Apple user and it feels comfortable. The main issues I get is when I meddle with things that don't concern me and I have to restore the system which takes < 15m. Otherwise, bloody snappy and responsive.

          Edit for repetition and I don't work now.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            > I really, really tried W10

            Well, the problem started much earlier and came to a head with the tablet-optimized Win8 (almost) nobody had asked for. Till then they had only dumbed things down and removed features, but starting with Win8 they went full mental and lost all ties to user reality. Win10 was the logical conclusion of that "I don't really know what Windows is for, so let's go crazy" design mentality. After all people don't pay for it anymore, so they can't complain it it doesn't cater to their needs, do they.

            > computer magazines (Remember them?)

            Well, Internet mostly culled them, but I guess the total noobs they are now targeted at don't know how to use Internet, so there is still a market niche for them...

            That been said, I have fond memories of tweaking my autoexec.bat and config.sys to eke out some additional octets of memory for some game... Mostly because it was easy, gave me nevertheless bragging rights, and was tied to the pleasure of playing some game. (Not to mention it's now improved by nostalgia, good ol' times and all that.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry - Apple and Google are going to save the world from Covid by generously allowing people to use their phones to aid track-and-trace (so long as they only do it the way Apple and Google approve of) - so let's not complain about them any more as we don't want them to be less helpful next time as they might well be the case if we keep on asking them to pay the same taxes as everyone else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - You're joking

      Aren't you ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC - You're joking

        Not necessarily. While he's not directly invovled with Google now, Eric Schmidt has been reported as making comments along these lines. See

        https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/14/21221141/coronavirus-eric-schmidt-google-big-tech-grateful

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC - You're joking

        I hope not it's a valid point. That's one thing that's definitely changed in the last 20 years, mobile and social media companies feel they have a moral imperative to impose their mostly American moral values on the rest of the world. They're becoming a bit like a World government by proxy, slowly but surely leveraging their power to exert influence. Just wait to we're all in self driving cars and automated homes with everything controlled by AI. We'll be f*cked if we don't tow the line!

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Gimp

    If MS is the answer, illustrating open, non-proprietary behavior....

    Then at the very least you've done a poor job of phrasing the question!

  13. Lorribot

    Why does Apple not take 30% of O365 subs?

    If Apple can justify charging Hey then they should also take 30% of Microsofts O365 licencing for Excel, word and co.

    Can't see the difference myself, oh wait Microsoft is massive and very rich with very good lawyers and can't be bullied, Hey is a tiny minnow and easy to pwn

    1. MatthewSt Bronze badge

      Re: Why does Apple not take 30% of O365 subs?

      Office applications and OneDrive have a free tier, so the apps can legitimately be used for free.

      The one we should be comparing it to is Netflix

    2. s2bu

      Re: Why does Apple not take 30% of O365 subs?

      Because you don’t pay for the O365 sub through the app itself. That’s why.

      1. I am the liquor

        Re: Why does Apple not take 30% of O365 subs?

        So the question is why are Apple telling Hey they can't sell their subscription outside the app store, when Microsoft are allowed to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why does Apple not take 30% of O365 subs?

          Because Microsoft wouldn't give 30% of the O365 subscriptions. --> MS Office would be removed from Appstore and companies would turn exclusively to Android phones because of that.

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The only reason Microsoft is not in the dominant position for its app store is that they failed to get on board with a decent mobile OS until too late. Back when they had the CE based Windows OS hardly any phone manufacturers wanted to sell a phone with Windows OS because of the shady practices that MS had used to bully out the competition on the desktop, so they came up with Symbian to keep MS off their phones.

    As for the current status of the smartphone app stores Apple is definitely more restrictive than Google, at least with Google you can offer to take payment outside of the play store, or even just have a free place holder app that instructs someone to download an app from your own website and then side load it onto your device.

    But the issue with Google is more about Google play services which many apps dont work correctly without them being present, so phones like Huawei without the Google services have less apps available.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @mark l 2 Are we talking about MS app store

    on mobile phones or on a general purpose PC ? If the first one is nonexistent the second is coming slowly but surely. Hey, MS needs an app store like the other big boys. Remember, only captive, locked-in users can be properly monetized.

  16. ovation1357

    Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

    This is a truly staggering display of hypocrisy from Microsoft!

    Don't get me wrong: Apple really aren't that much better - I guess there's a bit of a different in that people seem to know and accept that they're entering the 'walled garden' with them, but some years back when I was considering just possibly buying a MacBook the first thing that put me off was that, on an already over-priced and under-specified machine, there was only a choice of an impractial gloss finish and for the slightly less awful black colour they wanted an extra £100! The nail in that coffin was that they'd banned the Opera web browser from their iOS app store - that kind of anticompetitive behaviour was an instant no-deal.

    (This was the point where I bought a ThinkPad, installed Linux and never looked back).

    Microsoft has abused it's dominant market position time and again, and continues to do so. It's still tricky to buy hardware that doesn't come with a Windows license, all PCs have a dedicated 'Windows' button on the keyboard which is a real sign of their dominance, they've continually crushed (usually superior) competitive software and let's not forget that they had a bit of a fantasy with secure-boot which could have resulted in machines which could only boot Windows.

    The only good reason to buy Office might be Excel (and Word of you need the compatibly with the rest of the world's docs), but you get Exchange/Outlook thrown in - Outlook is an utterly awful mail client which causes me great stress every working day but there's no alternative that I'm allowed to use, and really the best alternatives require IMAP which many corps won't enable, so your stuck with a proprietary protocol.

    You also get Teams 'thrown in' which is a pretty poor quality alternative to Zoom - but they're winning this one too. Not by offering quality or innovation (in fact the latest Teams updates are all about trying to catch up with features from Zoom and others) but by forcing their product into the forefront in an already captive market, the execs just go along with it as they love Microsoft and it's 'free'..

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

      The only reason m$ continue in the dominant desktop position is because they wont port office/outlook to any other OS

      Hence m$ has a captive market.

      Introduce a few changes every year and goto a subscription based model and you'll keep the cash rolling in with very little work... just like IBM used to... until someone does to m$ what m$ did to IBM.......

      <just installed linux mint on an ancient (2009) laptop... oh look it works and we can reuse said laptop....when win10 wouldn't even spit on it....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

        You do know you can get Office for MacOS right? And there's apps for iOS and Android. And you can run the online version on Linux? Heck you can even install a complete Linux subsystem under Windows 10 and run nix development tools.

        I'm very surprised to hear about your supposed experience with a 2009 laptop because generally anything that can run Windows 7 can run Windows 10. I recently installed Windows 10 on a 2006 media centre PC running a dual core Pentium and with only 3GB of RAM without issue. The only problem was that the DVD playback was too laggy (as it was with a number of Linux distros I tried as well) so I ended up installing Linux Lite which was the best performing distro I could find for my hardware.

        Oh and "m$" that's so original haven't seen that one before (honest!) You're so 90's ;))

        1. ovation1357

          Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

          Back in the days when I had a Power PC Mac running macOS 9, I had MS Office Mac Edition (I think it was 98) - quite ironically it was much better than the Windows version.

          I heard a story once that this was because Microsoft subcontracted it to some Mac developers who wrote it from the ground up any and made it better.. I've no idea if this is true but I hope it is..

          Anyway, the 'modern' Office UI sucks big time and the online versions are far too basic, whilst still looking flat and lifeless. With the exception of the rather handy font and styles selections in the ribbon, I'd still very much like my menu bar back please!

          I'm extremely happy with LibreOffice for the most part. It's not perfect but it's way nicer to use than MS Office. I only ever have to use MS Office occasionally if I receive a document with weird formatting or advanced macros.

          I've had recent experience of installing Win 10 on old hardware and whilst it runs, and even boots reasonably quickly it's still a horrid OS and just uses crappy generic drivers for the older hardware.

          Case in point quite recently was an old Celeron basen Laptop with Win 7. The Ubuntu live USB flew and worked with all the hardware out of the box, including the touchpad which had two-finger scrolling... After installing Windows 10 on it (for someone else who still wanted Windows), the touchpad was demoted to being a dumb mouse. Turns out that there's no support for scrolling because they just use a generic driver and that's that. Total pants! There's no good reason except for the built in obsolescence that Microsoft is so famous for. It seems that the official line on many of these former Win 7 devices is simply that it might work but it also might not and you'll be on your own. Meanwhile the Linux community still actively supports a great deal of that hardware.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

            So why don't you try installing macOS on your old hardware?

            Oh yes that's right, coz Apple won't allow it!! At least MS don't restrict you to their own hardware. But I get it, it's Apple so we're not supposed to point out how controlling and restrictive they are because they're nice people and they're doing it for our own good after all, and it's purely a coincidence that they're one the richest companies in history ;)

            And just because you have a problem running Windows 10 on one piece of (fairly crappy) Celeron based hardware doesn't mean it won't run on other older hardware. I've personally installed it on several old bits of kit without issue.

            1. ovation1357

              Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

              I thought that 'hackintosh was a thing? I personally have no desire to install macOS on anything. In fact I hated it so much when I moved into a team that uses Mac's, that I dual booted my Mac Mini with Ubuntu and never looked back.

              Likewise I have no desire to install Win 10 on anything for my own use. I've installed it on both old and new hardware and I'm not impressed with it either way round. It's a mess. Yes, it boots faster than previous versions and can perform okay on older hardware, but on the older machines Linux is still more performant and seems to offer (ironically) better hardware support. It also offers a big choice of user interfaces ranging from practical, efficient legacy UIs to whiz-bang touch centric experimental ones. (Note: Sadly GNOME/GTK3 is doing horrible things to long-standing UI principles which is going to rock the Linux desktop boat again.)

              It's ultimately a personal choice - I still frequently have to help people with annoying problems Windows 10 (and let's face it, MS is getting quite a poor record for pushing out botched updates that break stuff or even brick the system) whereas my mother and mother-in-law both run Linux now and a rarely ever get asked for any help. So in my view, Linux desktop already passes the 'grandma' test.

              Personally, I hate the TIFKAM UI and all the associated mobile-friendly big buttons, ribbons and flat, featureless windows. I think it's an abomination and that's a very big part of why I only use it when I'm forced to. When someone asks me for help and they do want/need/like it then I'll help them the best I can.

              Linux is great but it's not good at everything - e.g. I'm not about to try and coax an Adobe CS user away from their Mac, because unless Adobe ports Photoshop it would be a non-starter.

              Somebody heavily reliant on complex MS office documents will probably not accept Office 2010 running under Wine on Linux like I've got for emergencies. But the reason they _need_ Office in the first place is because Microsoft deliberately refused to give any sensible support to open document formats and instead chose to invent its own one which isn't really open. Hence my continued standpoint that they're a nasty, abusive monopoly player and they certainly aren't in any position to be pointing fingers at Apple or Google.

      2. Buttons

        Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

        HpCompaq nx6310 dual core Intel thingy with inplace upgrade from XP to W7 to W10 (When it was free).

        Initially it was an experiment to see how long W10 would last before MS stopped their support on it and its still ongoing. Since then I've added memory and SSD. Its now stored unused in a cupboard for when I need to know what W10 looks like. If I bring it out and switch it on I usually have to wait for hours of updates to complete before I can use the machine confidently again. Spins up quite well after the updates have installed and its rebooted. Not bad performance for 2006 except the video is a bit glitchy and the wireless adaptor sometimes needs a kick to connect, but that could just be ancient hardware related.

        I had a chinese generic tablet with the same W10 upgrade from W8.0 but that died when windows refused to install the upgrades because of lack of disk space . . . W10 failed for that bit of kit.

    2. Tomato Krill

      Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

      If you're seeing Outlook as only an email client then perhaps you dont need Outlook?

      Outlook and exchange are peerless, like it ir not, in their role

      1. ovation1357

        Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

        Well I have to use it for my calendar too and it's totally shit at that!

        There's so much wasted white space that on my 1920x1080 screen I have to choose between having my message preview at the bottom and showing only about three lines of a message (or a few more lines at the expense of only being able to see a couple of entries in my inbox); or I can move the message preview to the side but then I can only see the first few characters of the sender, subject and date in the message list.

        There is absolutely no way I can also add the 'today' calendar preview on that screen so I have to manually switch between views, which for some reason I can't cure now defaults to the utterly useless 'month' view of the calendar. And whilst I'm taking about 'useless', there's a mini calendar showing the days on the current month but it doesn't do anything at all - in any other calendar client you'd be able to schedule a new appointment directly from the day on that overview but not on a outlook.

        Oh, and it's message search is, quite frankly, shocking! A message I'd be able to locate in a few seconds in Thunderbird may take me several searches on outlook and may never materialise.

        I tried the outlook Web client in the hope it might be a bit better and it's even worse than that desktop version :-(

        I use Thunderbird for all my personal mail (and business where I'm permitted to) and I can see everything I need, nicely presented on a single screen (with the same resolution) with no wasted space and everything at a useful as usable size.

        There's a tonne of people complaining about Outlook's terrible layout and terrible colour scheme in Microsoft's forums but it's all falling on deaf ears.

        I'm forced to use Outlook but I'm actively looking for a way to use ThunderBird or something similar because it's really affecting my ability to actually track and manage my emails and calendar and is causing me unnecessary stress.

        If I sound at all angry is because I am fairly angry about it. Here's a massive world-leading corporation charging schools, universities and public sector (i.e. tax payers) and home users vast sums of money per-user for substandard products when there are many other platforms and applications ranging from cheaper to free which strive to deliver much higher standards of quality and work much better, yet thanks to aggressive sales, years of vendor Lock-In and abuse of their monopoly there's still too many organisations accepting this overpriced crap, and poor grunts like me being forced to use it because it's the "corporate solution"

        1. Buttons

          Re: Hello Pot? Kettle would like a word with you!

          I don't use Outlook or the associated software (Whats it called these days? Office 365?) but I suspect that businesses buy into it because its seemingly good value for money with little outlay on on-prem equipment or staff and can be used from anywhere. If something goes wrong or needs attending then its a call to MS support. Brilliant for the small businessman I would guess.

          I do sync with a Nextcloud homeserver for calendaring and use one of the many small email providers that provides reliable email. My simple system gives me access to email and calendaring over many devices for the whole household but it may not be suitable for the average Joe who just wants stuff to work, which I understand is generally the case with the MS and Google cloudy thing. I had to set it up and maintain my systems.

          I get the frustration with the failure to fix glitches, but you have to report them to the developers before they can be actioned/ ignored. I wouldn't buy into the MS or Google packages, not my cup of tea but YMMV.

  17. karlkarl Silver badge

    Honestly they started this invasive approach with their "Activate Windows" DRM. Once people are tied to servers the only next step is to lock them in further with "App Stores".

    I am just glad that Microsoft is seeing their (criminal IMO) approach from the bottom like the rest of us :)

  18. naive

    Free is more expensive than one thinks

    Slaves get housing and food for "free", but I guess nobody would fancy becoming one.

    It works the same for our "free" mobile Operating systems, we get it for free, but since it is for free we are in the mercy of its owner.

    The sad thing is that app shops are not needed for security.

    IoS and Android are both Unix based operating systems, which allow easy per app separation of privileges by assigning a different user-id for each app, I do not think there are apps in any of those stores running as root.

    Apps just get access to devices like camera, phone, sms and others. If that is managed well, no app can influence others or access information we want to protect by limiting use of devices on the phone.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft, Apple, or google, who is the most evil?

    Oracle of course.

  20. tekHedd

    We wanted to say something earlier but...

    ...we waited this long to say anything because *we* wanted to be the ones with the monopoly store.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love Apple.

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