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RE: The Problem with Microsoft

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I can't believe I'm going to defend MS...

With regards to your crashing problems, I have found that a meticulous
installation will reduce (not eliminate) crashing. This involves closing
down all Windows apps before you install. If the application does not behave
properly, you may wish to try an uninstall (closing down all Windows apps,
uninstall, reboot, close down all Windows apps, reinstall).

MS Office is particularly contankerous and probably due to the monster that
it is. After you have un-installed, I suggest downloading MS Office File and
Registry Eraser (I don't know the URL, you can either call Tech Support or
search their Knowledge Base) before you do a reinstall. You may also want to
use something like NU WinDoctor which may clean up any problems in your
Registry. If all else fails, re-format your HDD and install ONLY the
software you use.

With regards to MS applications, I can only WISH my other software would
have as many features, run as well and written as well as MS Office. I love
the hyperlink and bookmark feature of MS Word. I use the hyperlinks a lot in
creating "To Do" lists and put them in my calculation table of contents so I
can go to specific calculations in my design package. I also love the fact
that MS has incorporated VBA into their apps which, on the most basic (no
pun intended) level, has allowed me to use drop down list boxes in my Excel
spreadsheets to speed up lookups. And, of course, I do not believe there is
a desktop database with nearly as many features and contains the power of MS

IMO, there is nothing on the market that can touch this (MS Office) package
with regards to power and ease of use. I wouldn't mind it if MS would buy
all of the software companies so that these features could be integrated
into all of the software I use (including incorporating them into MS
Binder-wouldn't THAT be nice?). Did anyone try to use (i.e., make a living
with) AutoCAD R13 for Windows before the C4 release? Most of the other
Windows software out there is written by "yahoos" who don't really have a
clue about Windows programming and it shows in their apps. Apparently,
Autodesk realized this when they hired MS to help write some of the code
modules based on Microsoft Foundation Classes (everyone follow along: "cut,
copy and paste"). I'm sure most of you using AutoCAD R14 now can tell a
difference between the professionals and the amateurs.

Don't get me wrong, I like to bitch as much as the next person. Everyone on
this list can attest to that. I also have resented the control and power MS
is acquiring and, at one time, tried to cut the unbilical cord myself by
trying other packages (WP8 Suite, etc.). While these other packages had some
nifty features not found in MS and generally required less overhead, nothing
I tried was more stable and more powerful than the MS products I currently
use. What do you want? More horsepower or better gas mileage? I want both
(and I want it now).

If you don't like MS, use something different. Buy a Mac. I don't really

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From:	Bill Polhemus
Sent:	Saturday, October 24, 1998 9:39 AM
To:	'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject:	RE: The Problem with Microsoft

From:	Mark E. Deardorff [SMTP:MarkD(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Friday, October 23, 1998 7:35 PM
To:	seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject:	RE: The Problem with Microsoft

> > This is one of the reasons that I am not a big fan of Microsoft
>  > and Microsoft's products.

> Why? Microsoft's products don't take actions you dislike, Bill Gates does.
> You are, in essence, eschewing widely used products for a free (Linux) OS
> that is not supported by any traditional drafting or design tools. I love
> products.

Perhaps I should be more precise.

Although I use MS products constantly, I am not a fan of the fact that MS
products often disappoint.  For example, the current version of MS Office is
incredibly slow to load.   Excel often "barfs" on a file that I'm using, and
I have to recover it.

Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer seem to crash with GUSTO on my
NT system.  This indicates a fault with the OS.

I get regular crashes of the Desktop, which resets, but I lose some of the
"goodies" in the tray, which is an irritating development.

Anyway, just a lot of quirks, the attitude at MS concerning which is, "well,
we'll fix it in the next release, which you will pay to upgrade."

> >Mr. Gates doesn't seek to be
> > competitive in the finest American tradition; he seeks to avoid
> > innovation by buying out his competition.

>  This is simply untrue propaganda distributed by people who wish they were
>  lucky as Gates or who have suffered. He doesn't seek to avoid innovation.

I'm sorry, but I continue to insist this is true.

The BIGGEST example was with 16-bit Windows.  Gates would have you believe
that this was a "stopgap" until a "true 32-bit system" could be developed.
But they already HAD one:  OS/2, which was released a few months before
Windows 3.1.  Gates didn't like the ties to IBM, so he abandoned it, then
disparaged it (after saying in 1987 that it would be THE system of the

The innovation however would have robbed MS of the "cash cow" that was DOS,
so they went the 16-bit Windows-on-top-of-DOS route, and saddled users of
superior machines with inferior software for five years more.  Further, they
(very cunningly) began to insist the computer manufacturers who wanted to
install DOS on the machines, also install Windows.  They thus leveraged
Windows onto machines even though there was little or no demand for
it--Windows 386 and 3.0 had been PR nightmares, and the savvy users didn't
WANT the product, claiming they were waiting for OS/2.

Even Windows 95 was hardly 32-bit, but was a dress-up of 16-bit Windows for
Workgroups 3.11, with a new interface.

When a new innovation (i.e. OpenDoc, Java) comes to the fore, MS quickly
announces that it will be releasing its OWN version of the technology soon,
so as to keep the new, non-MS technology from gaining hold (in this case, it
was OLE 2.0 and MS' own, propietary version of Java).  However, they take
their time getting the vaporware to market, and the technology languishes.

I should point out that this is the very tactic IBM used in the 60s and 70s,
to the same effect.  Only the intervention of the Justice Department in 1978
(I believe) stopped the practice.

> MS has been extremely innovative and has sought to purchase other
innovative companies.

Wrong.  What they've done is to come out with a competing product to try and
stifle competition even in those markets where it had not theretofore been
active and then, failing to achieve market dominance, seeks to purchase the
more-successful competitor.  More examples:  Financial software, where
Quicken has always dominated even over MS Money, and the palm-top devices,
in which MS' WinCE machines are outshone by 3COM's Palm Computing Division
products or licensees such as the PalmPilot, PalmIII and IBM's WorkPad.

In each case, MS chose to disparage each product, then attempted to buy
them.  In each case, they were stymied, either by the competitor or through
DoJ interference.

>  It makes sense. MS didn't develop the original version Visual
> Basic in-house. They bought it from Alan Cooper and made it into an even
> greater product. Don't forget that all those companies he so "unethically"
> purchased were willing to sell. And some never did.

[Bill Polhemus]

Again, I don't fault any company for reading the tea leaves, and then adding
to their product line by purchasing promising technology.  But MS simply
goes for market dominance even when the product is proven (see the Quicken
and PalmPilot examples above).

> My stomach turns every time I see Scott McNeely, CEO of Sun, crying to
> congress and the press about how that big bully MS has cost them so much.
> (So did the railroads when Henry Ford brought the first Model T off the
> production line.) Sun was once a great company developing UNIX
> But the workstation industry started losing market share when Windows NT
> began to be adopted in large corporations.

[Bill Polhemus]

I don't agree that the government has any business interfering in what is
transpiring.  But you don't necessarily have to agree with government
interference to realize that MS' strategies are bad for users.

And I think the problems with Sun are a "hardware" related.  The PC platform
has simply caught up with the workstations in performance, and the price of
the mass-market machine is unbeatable.

Therefore, people look around see that "Windows NT" is supposedly the answer
on the PC platform and go with it.  Of course, Windows NT has disappointed
as well--we are simply a small company using it as the NOS, and have had
problems galore.

If a reliable version of UNIX were available, it would challenge NT.  No,
wait, there IS one: Linux.  And what is the industry buzz?  That Linux makes
MS VERY nervous, because it is open in nature, and not liable to be easily
hijacked.  Sun has SunOS, but no marketing savvy in the mass-market world
outside the workstation crowd.  Linux can be whatever you want it to be.

Unlike SunOS.  EMPHATICALLY unlike Windows NT.

> Not because MS forced them to
> adopt it, but because it offered many advantages over UNIX.

I note that you fail to give examples of such advantages.

There are really only two:  It runs on the PC platform, and it is from MS,
the marketing juggernaut of our day.

> > That's why DoJ is after him.

> In the next paragraph you say DoJ is after him for another reason.

Again, I was imprecise.  Let me say that the reason the DoJ SAYS it is after
MS is one thing; the reality, I fully believe, is quite another.

> > But that is not to say that they are not "anti-competitive."
> > They emphatically are.

> Tell us why they emphatically are "anti-competitive." It sounds to me that
> they are "hyper-competitive."

They are anti-competitive because it seems to gall them like no other
business entity that I've ever seen, that anyone else is successful in even
a niche market related to information technology without MS' "by your

Why this should be so is a mystery, but I believe it is bound up in the
personality of Bill Gates himself.

>  It is MS's competitors that are
> anti-competitive. They are the ones that are asking the Feds to do what
> themselves cannot, sell their inferior products. Inferior, that is, in the
> minds of consumers.

I don't disagree with this, but the real difference is this:  Without the
intervention of the Feds, Gates' competitors probably stand little chance of
getting over on him.

Unchecked, Gates and company will continue to dominate and stifle
innovation.  I've shown, above, examples of just how they do this.

Now, I think that rather than a "government check" on their activities, we
users who are in the know need to step back and think for a minute, not in
the herd-mode, but as individuals, what the implications of NO information
technology outside of MS' technology means for us all.

That's why I think we should take a hard look at Linux and other products
that are as good as, or superior to, what MS has to offer (or claims they
WILL offer in some indeterminate time in the future).  I don't think we need
to compromise, but if we as users encourage the competition, MS will
eventually have to compete as well.

Now, I do think that the DoJ's refusal to allow MS to buy up "baby" would-be
competitors is a good thing (example: Intuit).  And they were also right to
enjoin MS from forcing PC vendors to per-unit licensing. But I think beyond
that they should be allowed to do their thing unhindered.

> > I think that wise business heads need to
> > recognize that fostering MS in this, is counter to their own
> > interests in keeping competition alive in the very vital
> > information infrastructure area of American (and global) business.

> Why is it in my interest to hold MS back?

It isn't in your interest to allow them to dictate what you are or are not
going to have in the way of information technology.  How you arrived at the
conclusion that this "holds MS back" escapes me.  I'm talking about
resistance to MS' holding YOU back.

> Many people seem to believe that
> something is wrong with companies achieving the level of market share that
> MS has.

I'm not one of them.  Rather, I believe that we as consumers have an
obligation to ourselves to make such companies EARN their market share.

Since IT is still relatively new, we continue to have lowered expectations.
If we'd open our eyes and ears, and see that "where we want to go today" is
often NOT where MS can (yet) take us, we might begin to demand more of them,
and back it up by taking our business elsewhere.