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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Structuralist [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 4:27 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: PDA
> Bill, your comments about CE devices are clearly your opinion,


> and probably with less research than devoted within the published articles
> quoted from.

In this case, I'm going with my gut feel, you're right. All the market
research in the world is useless if you're looking at the wrong thing.

MS has been wrong before (Anybody remember "BOB"? If not, it helps
illustrate my point). I think the scads of money they've thrown at Windows
CE--only to LOSE market share--says it all, though.

> The two articles I indicated were consistent with many other articles I've
> read. While there is no doubt that Palm OS devices have dominated
> the market
> the fact remains that CE devices or the CE operating system is far from
> obsolete or even "dying" - they have as tough a time gaining back market
> share as Linux would have cutting into Microsoft's portion of the pie.

I'm not saying that Windows CE is "dying", but that it is a dead-end. It
will have a niche-market among the tiny minority that thinks they have to
have a COMPUTER that fits in the palm of their hand.

To me, it's like HP saying "gee, we really need to make some more
programmable scientific calculators to keep that market fed." Well, there is
very little market for programmable calculators, because MOST (not all,
MOST) people just don't bother using them.

Show of hands: How many of you--like me--have a calculator with programming
capability that ever use it? I'll bet the number is in the single- or

The Windows CE concept is just plain counter-intuitive. But when your
philosophy is "Windows Everywhere," you tend not to see the huge disparity
in philosophy between a full-fledged computer OS, and what amounts to an
embedded system.

> "Bloat" within operating systems means nothing as long as the operating
> system is stable and Windows CE is a tremendously stable platform.

Linux is a tremendously stable platform. It is also a very powerful system.
It can run rings around Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP. So why don't we see
STAAD-III/RISA/VisualAnalysis/AutoCad/etc. for Linux?

Because it just doesn't fit the marketing scheme any more. No one needs a
*nix system to run powerful programs on cheap but powerful PCs. So Linux
will ALWAYS have a niche market, only (and will, I believe, continue to kick
MS' a**--in relative terms--in that market, Servers).

BTW, the very notion that you have to comment of Windows CE's "stability"
points up the problem. It's like saying my cell phone's operating system is
"stable." Talk about damning with faint praise.

> Your disdain of the Microsoft operating system is clearly heard by all.

It isn't disdain of an operating system, but disdain of a
one-philosophy(OURS)-fits-all approach to what should be a simple
undertaking: How do we give intelligence to what is, in essence, an
electronic Swiss Army Knife?

Saying "I know! We'll apply the SAME bloatware approach to this simple,
specialized little gizmos as we do to a file server!" just doesn't inspire

> However, you seem to believe that it is factual that only the Palm OS can
> serve the needs of the public and this is not a true statement.

No. The PalmOS just gets it right in this case, that's all I'm saying. They
saw the PROBLEM first, and then developed a solution to the problem. MS did
it bass-ackwards. They took their "solution" ("Windows Everywhere") and have
tried to bend the problem around it. That's why they have failed and why
they will continue to fail.

This really isn't that hard to figure out.

> The public
> does tend to support whatever is most popular or that which has
> the greatest
> market share (not by competition, but by being in the right place at the
> right time as Microsoft was with DOS).

Do you not understand that if the public were looking for a COMPUTER they
could hold in the palm of their hand--one that just does the SAME THING that
a big PC does, only with a dinky little screen and a hopelessly lame
input--that MS would have had this thing walking away? I mean, unless you're
a Mac-only fanatic, when you think of COMPUTING you think of Microsoft.

But that isn't what happened, and why? Because the vast majority of people
don't care about having a PALM TOP COMPUTER. They want an electronic
ORGANIZER. They want a fast way to get to phone numbers, or their
appointment calendar. They want to be able to take quick notes, or make
quick sketches, or look--quickly--at stock quotes, or jot a fast email.

They don't want to run QuickBooks on their palm-top. They just want to sync
the most immediately necessary information to their little electronic

That's why the PalmOS devices have succeeded, and the Windows CE devices
haven't (yes, I said "haven't succeeded," because you have to look at the
huge amounts of $$$ that MS has sunk into this thing, and they've LOST
market share. That simply indicates to me that they never understood the
market in the first place).

> If you believe that Palm is on such strong ground, why was it reported on
> June first that they were laying off more of its work force this summer
> adding to the 300 already laid off in April (permanent and
> contract workers)
> which represents 16-percent of the company's workforce.

You're talking about Palm Computing. I'm talking about PalmOS-based devices.
They aren't the same thing. I have no "loyalty" to Palm. In fact, the people
who originated the PalmOS don't even work there anymore, most of them have
already done Handspring, and moved on to still newer ground.

It's the CONCEPT I'm talking about, not some individual company.

I do not at this time have a working PDA, for example, as my Palm IIIx bit
the dust about three months ago. I'm trying to decide what to replace it
with. I'm thinking seriously of going with the Ericsson, since my cell phone
is long in the tooth as well. Or maybe a Handspring. Or maybe one of the
newer Palms. I don't know.

But each of them HAPPEN to run the PalmOS. I wouldn't even consider a
Windows CE device. I already own a computer.

> Ziff Davis Publications reported the following:
> "But the smartphones that are likely to garner the most attention
> this year
> are those based on the Microsoft Stinger, a version of the same Windows CE
> 3.0 operating system found in Pocket PCs.

NO ONE takes ZD seriously when it comes to the straight scoop on MS vs.
non-MS products. Everyone knows that. They have been pimps for MS for going
on a decade now. I don't take ANYTHING they say seriously. And this blather
about how "Windows CE is poised to take over..." has been standard ZD cant
for four years. Has it happened? No.


> The only reason for your gloats
> is that Microsoft has yet to put their line on the table which is why Palm
> has gained such a large market share - they were admittedly the
> first with a
> few years lead.

I still don't think you understand what I'm saying, and why. I have a Linux
box. I have a Windows 2000 box. What am I working on now? The MS machine.
Why? Because it is the best for the job. But the Linux system is busy
handling all this email and the gargantuan number of hits on my webpage
(that's a joke, folks). Why? Because it is best-suited for that job.

I have NO brief for any particular product. I am talking STRICTLY
philosophy, and MS' philosophy wrt PDAs and Smartphones will FAIL, I hereby
declare, because they don't understand the market. When all you have is a
hammer (Windows) everything looks like a nail.

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